Monthly Archives: November, 2015

What I Wore Sunday: Advent Already?

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It felt like a gross summer day on Thursday when I was out for Thanksgiving (low 70’s and patchy thunderstorms), but Sunday went back to winter. In my haste to finish the “new baby” meal I was making for some friends, I didn’t leave myself quite enough time to assess my winter weather options, so I wound up with this:

What I Wore Sunday, November 29

Dress: Target
Sweater and shell: Old Navy
Tights (navy blue): Target
Boots: Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s
Earrings (tiny little guys): ridiculously old gift
Necklace: holy medals

I usually wear this dress with a completely different sweater, but it wasn’t dry after laundry day. I also usually leave it unbuttoned, which is what I should have done here. I had competing waistlines that got uncomfortable pretty quickly. I also would have gone with a different color if I owned a darker blue cardigan that wasn’t polka-dotted. (So yes, I do own one with polka dots.) I was nice and cozy, though.

As you can see in the bottom-right shoe shot, although I love these boots, LC must think women with my size feet have much wider calves. It took several weeks last year for me to figure out that I need to wear leg warmers with these puppies. I guess they keep the cold out, though, so that’s a plus. It was rainy and cold and dark and terrible, but my shoe game was on point.

Furthermore, it’s Advent! Had I thought ahead, I would have found some purple to wear today. Despite its being my favorite color, I don’t own a whole lot of purple (my base wardrobe color is blue), so I have to have a plan to embrace my love of dressing liturgically. I’ve got three more weeks to work it out.

Fr. Associate Pastor must have made some comments last week about people leaving Mass early. I was distracted by the adorable family in front of me: mom, dad, and four kids, and everyone was well-behaved except the little guy. I was late this week (by which I mean I arrived with only seven minutes to go before Mass), so I had already planned to stay later, but I imagine that plenty of other parishioners felt that burn.

He connected it to Advent’s spirit of patience: waiting for the return of the Messiah and waiting for Mass to actually be over and not just mostly over. He pointed out that St. Paul’s letters all begin and end with a Trinitarian blessing, just like the Mass does. I know those intros because I have read and lectored them many times in all their single-sentence glory, but I don’t think I’ve ever paid much attention to the endings.

One point of contention I had with the homily is the ubiquitous insistence that Advent is a penitential season. Advent is not a penitential season. It’s a season of patience, waiting, watching, hope, preparation, tempered joy, and a host of other things. Parishes do tend to hold penance services during Advent because a great way to get ready for the future advent of the Messiah is to repent, but they could do that anytime. There is one penitential season, and that’s Lent. We are still singing alleluias right now. There no required fasting or abstinence this month (and there’s never that much to begin with). Maybe Advent was once penitential, but it’s not now.

My Advent message comes from my buddy St. Augustine:

My brothers and sisters, believe firmly what you believe: that Christ will return. What does it matter when? Prepare yourself for his coming. Live as though he were coming today, and you will not fear his coming.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Fine Linen and Purple.

Not Alone Series Rewind: What I Love About Being Single

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This week is Rewind Week at NAS. It’s a topic I borrowed from Top Ten Tuesday, a book link-up I joined for a while (until I realized that I don’t read quite broadly enough for a top ten every single week). The directions are simple: choose a prompt that you didn’t post on, or pick one you did post on but would like to revisit.

For my Rewind selection, I am reaching way back to the beginnings of NAS, to a post from Jen’s blog in June 2013:

What do you love about being single? There’s so much to enjoy right now! Let’s share our favorites!

It’s no secret that I’m not quite content in my singleness. I’m not sure I ought to be content, or even happy, about being single, but either way, I am not.

The thing is, I’m not unhappy in general. My dear friend Sabrina asked me at my birthday party how I felt about the past year. I was pleasantly surprised at my answer: this has actually been a pretty good year. My life is good. I don’t quite have the life that I imagined, but it could be (and has been) much worse.

That, plus this end-of-year mood, has me thinking about the parts of my life I enjoy.

Making New Friends

As more of my friends have gotten married, had babies, and moved away, I have seen less of them. It happens. So I keep making new friends. (They are usually also single.) I happen to enjoy making new friends and meeting new people, so that works out nicely. There is the side effect of meeting people who could be or introduce me to my future husband, but in the meantime (or in all the time, if I never get married), I find new people with whom I can share my heart and my life. That is a great joy.

Time

Since I live far from my family (who would probably take up time if I lived closer) and I have a job with normal hours (so it doesn’t take up my whole life), I have a decent amount of time on my hands. So I use my time to do the things I enjoy: blogging, Bible study, prayer, and now dancing. I don’t actually do as much personal reading as I would like, but I get that in there, too. I know some amazing women who manage to do all of that with a husband and children, but they would never dare to say they have time!

Space and Silence

Elijah did not hear the voice of the Lord in the rushing wind or the mighty earthquake. He heard God in the silence. I love silence. Since I am alone for so much of my free time, I can basically enforce silence wherever I am and whenever I desire it. I live with roommates, but we all have our own bedrooms, and we don’t cross paths often. I can just be. It is beautiful when I can “just be” with a friend, but it’s also a privilege to be alone basically whenever I want.

Spirituality

I have an Augustinian heart. I don’t eat meat on Fridays. I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and I pray them my way (which is kind of Dominican, actually). I have a particular way to end the rosary. I get to Mass early so I can pray before and after, and I rarely sing Communion hymns, and I don’t read along with the readings. I like the RSV and Bible studies that come with a workbook. I don’t like small groups that aren’t also Bible studies. I don’t decorate my Christmas tree before Gaudete Sunday, and I keep eating Easter candy until Pentecost. (I’m still working on non-candy-based ways of celebrating the Easter season.) Because I am single, I can live out my Catholic spirituality exactly the way I want to.

I don’t follow the blogs at For Your Marriage like I used to, but the forward-thinking part of my heart fell in love with the site as soon as it was created. There’s a fascinating article about how every marriage is a mixed-faith marriage because no two people experience God and live their faith in exactly the same way, even when they share a religious affiliation. The only person in my spiritual life is me, so that’s one battle I do not have to fight, and I am grateful for that.

Great Freedom to Change

People change. On a molecular level, we’re completely new people every decade or so. On a more macro level, when I look back at my life in just the last five or six years, I’m astounded at how much it has changed, how much I have changed. I only started flossing regularly last fall (I know; I’ve changed; lay off it). Who knows how much I’ll change in the future?

I collect marriage advice, and one important tip is that “you’re not the person I married” and “this isn’t what I signed up for” are far more dangerous phrases than any involving the D-word (divorce). People don’t stop growing and changing once they’re married, and marriage is such an audacious commitment that it only works by the grace of God. As a single person, I can change as much as I want without considering the stress it will take on my marriage. In the last two years, I have changed my fashion sense, my budget, my approach to personal productivity, and my rosary-praying frequency. I hope that I have only changed for the good, but I’m no fool. And I am beholden to no one.

What do you like about being single? No whining! (I worked really, really hard on that here!)


Next week’s topic: Year-End Reflection

How was your 2015? How have you grown closer to God, to your friends and family, and to your vocation? Do you have any resolutions for the new year or special plans for Advent? There are still four weeks left in the year. How will you make the most of them?

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up with Rachel at Keeping It Real.

What I Wore Sunday: The Static Edition

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Despite my best efforts to deny it and the weird low 70s midday temps, I think we’re finally headed toward winter. I’ve lived in the South for so long (seven years now) that I don’t quite remember what fall is supposed to feel like meteorologically. Even back home, we had Indian summers. We slid into summer really slowly, so I guess it makes sense that we’d approach fall the same way: slowly, then all at once. I gave up and turned on the heat. All I could think about all the way through breakfast was how cold I was!

I warmed up before church, so this is what I wore, static and all:

What I Wore Sunday, November 22

Left: The back of my roommate’s head.
Top right: This is the face I make when I realize I am much less pasty in real life than in any of my photos.
Bottom right: Close-up of my dusty shoes.

Blouse: Target
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes: Payless
Earrings: high school graduation pearls

I’ve been waiting impatiently for the weather to cool down enough to wear this outfit again. I’ve never been a big fan of dressing in all black, but I do love black and white. Those shoes are the ones I wear to work several times a week. Pardon the dust. They’re wedges, so they’re way more comfortable than regular heels, although they are terrible for dancing. (That was why I bought them in the first place, sadly.) They’re basically the opposite of my dance shoes: they fit very loosely and I can wear them for long stretches while barely noticing it.

We had Fr. Associate Pastor for Mass tonight, sans deacon. It felt strange. He had to give a long announcement about our “annual” stewardship commitment weekend after his homily (it’s the first time; that’s not annual), and that plus the lack of deacon was so disconcerting that the second lector went up way too early for the Universal Prayer. Honestly, I might have made the same mistake. (I guess I almost did. Had she not volunteered first, I would have picked up that sub spot.)

Despite the lector and deacon confusion, his homily was delightful. He took a spin on Christ the King that I’ve never thought about before. The Israelites were expecting a regular king when they got a shepherd from Nowheresville, Nazareth. We know that. But I’d never considered that, back in the day, most kings took power by killing the previous king. Maintaining their kingdoms was supposed to involve sacrifice and protecting the people, but it never did. It was about trying not to get killed by the next guy too soon. On the other hand, Jesus ushers in the kingdom in peace and gets killed bringing it to fulfillment. His kingdom begins with his death. His subjects, so to speak, have even greater power after he’s gone. His soldiers and generals (that would be us Christians and our leaders) carry on the mission. Christ’s kingdom covers the whole world.

Fr. Associate Pastor also chanted all the prayers, which he usually does not do. I could tell it took a concerted effort, and I thanked him for it on the way out of Mass. It was a great end to Ordinary Time. Do you have your Advent candles ready?


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Fine Linen and Purple.

Not Alone Series: Rejection

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How do we gracefully and graciously handle rejection? How do you avoid falling into self-doubt or bitterness? How can you help or encourage others who have gone through rejection?

Ah, rejection: the great relationship equalizer. I have a high school friend who actually did marry her first boyfriend, so I guess not everyone has been rejected, but most of us have.

As usual, I was inspired to propose this topic by an article I read online. This one was at the always-reliable Verily, and it was literally about how to reject men with grace and charity. Much like our discussion of pursuit did, reading someone’s article turned me introspective and called to mind broader, related questions.

So, how do I think you should turn down an invitation for a date? The most important thing to remember is that asking someone on a date takes guts. It requires risking rejection. This gentleman (who earns such a designation by actually using the word “date”) has opened up his heart to you a tiny little bit. If you’re not interested, you want to decline graciously.

  1. Thank him for asking. Say something like, “Thank you for the invitation,” or “thanks for asking,” or “I’m flattered!” (Also, be flattered.)
  2. Be clear. Say “I’m not interested,” or “I think we should just be friends” (but only if you actually are friends already), or just “no thank you.” Use a neutral tone. Maybe a little bit on the positive side of neutral.
  3. Stop talking. If you’re responding to an email or text message, just send it. Don’t ramble. If you’re face-to-face, say an immediate but polite goodbye, and then leave. Do not apologize or try to comfort him.

Then there’s the other side. I wonder what was going on in the minds and hearts of the men I’ve turned down for dates. (It’s not a long list, but it’s more than zero.) There’s no way to hear “no” without being hurt. My hope is that we can establish a culture where there is more asking and less intensity so that there can be more yeses to counteract the increase in no’s.

That brings us to the pain. Rejection always involves pain. There’s no way around that. The Christian life demands sacrificial love and comes with suffering. Avoid gossip. Unless you rejected your former suitor for an “I fear for my life” kind of reason, you have no business publicizing your reasons for walking away. If you’re the one doing the rejecting, don’t rub it in. That’s just cruel. And finally, own your feelings. Feel your pain. Respond in love. Don’t let one rejection ruin hope forever.

How have you handled being rejected? What are your tips for saying no?


Next week’s topic: Rewind

Choose any previous NAS topic (there’s a list here) that you didn’t post about. Alternatively, revisit one of your previous NAS posts and examine how your thoughts have changed or been confirmed since then.

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up by clicking the handy-dandy new button below!

tl;dr November 2015

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It feels like I just posted last month’s tl;dr, but that was over 3 weeks ago! I’ve had some neat moments since then, anyway:

  • Matthew McConnaughey came to my company’s office for a meeting. He called for directions to our suite (which is not uncommon; it’s tricky to find), so I got to speak to him even though I didn’t get to see him.
  • I got a terrible eye infection. It wasn’t gross, just uncomfortable. It made me really appreciate the effort I’ve put into building community as a single woman.
  • I was able to venerate the relics of my favorite saint, Maria Goretti, in Houston. That was one of the best moments of my entire life.
  • I attended a dinner and talk about the arts and liturgy. It’s a new group, and I’m excited about its future.
  • My streak of consecutive weeks attending West Coast Swing classes ended. I went for seven months straight without missing a week (not counting Independence Day week, when the studio was closed). I am currently in the 8-month level of the syllabus, so I’ll get back around to that class eventually, but it was a nice streak while it lasted.

My event-filled fall continues! It was good and bad to have a week off from fun activities due to illness, but I am still filling up my time with things I enjoy, and that makes all the difference.


Thanks to Jenna for the genesis of tl;dr. Visit her at Call Her Happy.

What I Wore Sunday: Okay, Maybe It’s Not Fall

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Although I only published last week’s outfit post a few minutes ago, I wore that outfit last week. Today’s outfit was just as fall-like but far less appropriate, unfortunately. I swear it was fall again yesterday! Today was a day I was glad I had opted out of the cardigan. I probably could have skipped the leggings, too. Oh, well. I liked how I looked even if I was a bit too warm.

What I Wore Sunday, November 15

Top: Target
Skirt and leggings: Mossimo for Target
Boots: LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s
Necklace and earrings: Charming Charlie

I’ve worn the bottom half of this outfit a few times before. It’s one of my favorite combos, and I am very glad to have been able to bust out the boots again. This was the third day in a row that I’ve worn them. This year, they are all broken in, and I figured out the leg warmers thing, so it’s smooth sailing. I was also glad to be able to pull out this necklace. The beads are blue and the skirt is a bright shade of green. Blue and green was not a color combo I’d considered before I saw Audrey crush it over at Putting Me Together, but now it’s one of my favorites.

No surprise friendly faces at Mass this week. The readings were excellent. (It’s the Word of God; it’s always excellent.) I have a soft spot for the end of the liturgical year when everything gets really judgment- and heaven-focused. After spending the last eight weeks studying the Book of Revelation, I was more than ready for a sweet end-times homily. What I got was another guest appearance by Fr. Pastor to further elaborate on the Catholic Services Appeal. He didn’t mention the readings even once. Instead, I heard the top five reasons why Catholics don’t tithe, only two of which I can remember. One was that they don’t make it a priority. The other was that it isn’t talked about from the pulpit, which Fr. Pastor was literally contradicting as he said it.

I don’t mind homilies or articles about tithing. I was convicted to start giving by percentage instead of dollar amount years ago. When I get my tax letters in January, I’m always astonished by how much that adds up to over the weeks and by how little I miss it. I could do plenty with that money. I could be out of debt even quicker than using YNAB is allowing. But God is my priority, so I give with no strings attached.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Fine Linen and Purple.

What I Wore Sunday: This Is Fall

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What a week! What a two week! It’s been a while since I’ve missed posting WIWS so long that another Sunday comes along first. As I’ve said, I knew this fall would be action-packed, but I did not quite anticipate this level of activity. Someone remind me of this when I complain about feeling unpopular. Just send me a link; I’ll get the hint.

Although I had to change and get to cooking and house-cleaning right afterwards, here’s what I wore to church last Sunday:

What I Wore Sunday, November 8

Cardigan and shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Belt: Target
Necklace: holy medals
Earrings: Claire’s? I don’t remember; I’ve had them for ages.

It was fall over the weekend, although it switched back to summer for a few days mid-week. I took advantage of the opportunity to give my cardigans a run before I enter sweater-washing season again. (They can’t go in the dryer, so they’re tricky. But I love them.) I balanced out the warm top with a lighter bottom by way of this maxi skirt. I won’t be able to go bare-legged for much longer, and I am not sure this one will make the cut for colder days.

I knew that it would be Catholic Services Appeal weekend, and I think Fr. Pastor came to Mass just for the homily the same weekend last year, so I wasn’t surprised there. I was surprised, however, to look up from my pre-Mass prayers to find a friend seated beside me in the pew. It was the mother of a friend of mine, actually. The friend in question is a Baptist convert to the Maronite Catholic Rite. The mother is still a Baptist, although, when I told the son this story, he replied, “She’s the only one who doesn’t know she’s Catholic!” She was an excellent Mass buddy.

I don’t know for sure that the diocese planned to have the appeal on the same weekend as readings about stewardship and giving, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that they did. It dovetailed beautifully. Fr. Pastor began by noting that both widows give what many Protestants and evangelicals call a “love offering”: a gift made purely out of love, without any self-centered consideration. (My Baptist pew neighbor nodded approvingly.) Both widows’ sacrifices were small, but they were given out of great personal sacrifice. Jesus calls the apostles’ attention to the widow to highlight his coming sacrifice, one which will be great and be given with great sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice will also have much greater effect.

Fr. Associate Pastor, who was celebrating the Mass, concluded with a joke. It was funny! That last homily joke that was actually funny wasn’t just a fluke! I even remembered to write this one down:

A little boy went to Mass with his mother. He watched as the collection basket came by, and she dropped in a few coins. On the way home, she began complaining about the homily. He responded, “Mom, what did you expect for such a cheap ticket?”

Out of the mouths of babes.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Fine Linen and Purple.

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