Monthly Archives: October, 2016

7 Quick Takes on Jeopardy!, Co-Signer Release, Mary, and Martha

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

Well, heeeeeey, 7QT! Haven’t seen you around these parts in a while. I have been building up material for ages but never posting, so let’s see if I can sneak a few in here this week.

— 2 —

Jeopardy! has been surprising, delightful, and surprisingly delightful. For the first time since I started taking the online contestant test in 2009, they offered the test more than once this year. I took it in January, which is how I got my audition. I was stunned to receive an announcement email for another test this fall.

Nothing to lose

This Could Be Your Year!

Yes, that’s two different emails. I got the invitation twice, which shows that (a) the system had a bit of a problem, and (b) they do not remove you from test invitation emails even while you’re ineligible to take the test. I auditioned, so I’m not currently eligible.

In other news, recent J!6 questions (the “online version” of Jeopardy!) have been amazing, and I have been getting a lot of perfect scores. Here are some of my favorites:

It's a religious observance that occurs over a 3-day period. What is a triduum?

 This mother of St. Augustine and patron saint of wives has a city named for her in southern California. Who is St. Monica?

The majority of U.S. military personnel are stationed in this souther prefecture. What is Okinawa?

 In 2015, Silento urged, "Now watch me whip, now watch me" do this dance move. What is nae nae?

— 3 —

I read a blog post a couple of weeks ago (which I will not be linking to because one of the suggestions is scandalous) about ways to treat yourself without spending money or eating anything. That’s always been a struggle for me. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is a treat. A new hair clip is a treat. Staying up late is a treat. All of those things thwart my goals, though. They’re tricks and treats rolled into one. I needed real treats.

So I tried one of the tips: I took a nap. You guys, it was the best idea. I don’t get enough sleep anyway, so it was useful, and it felt like a treat because I needed it (see: lack of sleep) and didn’t need it (see: treat).

— 4 —

Read chronologically bottom to top.

Read chronologically bottom to top.

Hey, I’m almost Twitter famous! I seriously had no idea that the David Allen Co. saw Wunderlist as a legitimate tool for GTD. It’s quite an exciting revelation. The guide is available now, but I haven’t bought it yet. Part of me wants to see if I can swing a review copy. Another part of me is proud of my homegrown implementation and doesn’t want to be influenced by the official suggestions. Stay tuned.

— 5 —

I’ve been struggling with my Eucharistic adoration group for a while. It doesn’t help that we were attempting to have discussion via email that are always faster, easier, and better in person. Then my Spanish daily Gospel email brought the story of Mary & Martha right in front of my face.

It started to seem like a Mary & Martha situation to me. I felt like Martha, so burdened with serving that she wasn’t sitting at the feet of the Lord like Mary, even though that was better. According to Scripture, asking Mary to help with the serving wasn’t the right response. So I guess the right response is for me to stop working so hard and just sit. If no one gets to eat dinner because I’m not making it, I guess that’s how it has to be.

— 6 —

There is a special kind of joy in completing a long-delayed project. I love to play Nertz, a Solitaire-based multiplayer game that requires one deck of cards per player. Thus, I own something like eight decks of cards. Most of my decks don’t have boxes, so I used to slap a rubber band on and shove them into the box for Catchphrase. But that looked messy, and the rubber bands kept drying out.

After a little Googling, I discovered that travel soap dishes are great for storing playing cards. I grabbed a few at Target for just under a dollar each, found an appropriately-sized larger plastic box to store all the little boxes, and created this:

playing card storage

I forgot to take a “before” photo, but maybe that’s for the best. Between that and my tickler file, my sloppy piles are now more effective and more grown-up looking. Win and win.

— 7 —

I have student loans. They have a co-signer: my mom. I have been paying diligently for over five years, but I had never even heard of co-signer release until about three weeks ago. A run-of-the-mill post to the YNAB blog clued me in that, if you have a co-signer on your loans, and the co-signer dies, your loan becomes payable in full immediately or goes into default. Your on-time and consistent payment history means nothing. It is based on the co-signer’s credit, not yours, so if that person dies, it’s based on nothing. My mom is in good health, but what if my grandma had been my co-signer? What if my mom died suddenly? Half a decade of work would go out the window.

I panicked slightly when I realized that (a) that’s a huge risk, and (b) I had literally never heard about this possibility. I did a little Googling (all the way to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), consulted my actual lenders, and had the applications for co-signer release in my hands in a matter of days.

I’m trying to dodge a bullet. Yes, gathering and sending paperwork takes time and money. But it’s worth the privilege of not being handed bills for thousands of dollars when I’m already going through a tough time.


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

Sunday Style: Two for the Road

So much for getting back to weekly posts. Sometimes is better than never, though? Right? Here’s what I wore.

October 16

Sunday Style for October 16

Dress: Target
Tank top: Old Navy
Shoes: Target
Necklace: gift
Earrings: Charming Charlie

I saw a meme on Facebook that epitomizes my fashion choices right now. “It’s fall in Texas, which means nothing, because it’s still 90 degrees and sunny outside.” The warmth is less than ideal, but it gives me an opportunity to keep wearing my summery clothes, so I have been taking it. I needed a sweater last Friday morning, which was kind of exciting, but I had to take it off after lunch. Too warm, even inside the office.

Fr. AP gave the homily. He said that the Bible is the best sold, most owned, and least read book in the world. Yep. We struggle to understand it because it was written in a time and culture so different from our own, but it was written for us and for our understanding.

At the beginning of Mass, he’d told us that the readings would be about living our faith and living moral lives, but there wasn’t much about that in the homily except for an impassioned call to vote in accordance with both faith and morals. Fr. AP has been in the U.S. for a while, so I’d imagine he’s aware that we basically never have a fully Catholic candidate. I did, however, feel even more confident in my decision to not vote for either of the major party candidates, even though I know one of them will probably win. I refuse to believe that a vote for A is a vote against B or that a third-party vote is a waste. We don’t vote against; we vote for. I will be held accountable on judgment day for my choices, so I have to do what’s right for me.

I don’t usually talk about politics (on my blog or ever), but it feels right here. On a related but non-church-specific note, the voting episode of Black-ish pointed out that the grandmother character said she’d be voting for whoever the Democrat is, but her actual position on the issues squares with the most extreme Republican values.

Granddaughter, reading from a “where do you stand on the issues” quiz: Should we build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico?

Grandmother: We don’t already have one?!? No wonder so many of them are coming here and taking our jobs!

It was hilarious and sad. The episode that was allegedly about faith was really weak, but that voting B-plot almost made up for it.

We had the same sad ending to Mass, ruining my reasonably good Mass mood. Everything else was quite nice.

October 23

Sunday Style for October 23

Sunday Style for October 23: Details

Dress: Hand-me-down
Shoes: Payless
Tank top: Old Navy
Necklace and earrings: gift

Mr. Man and I had a special occasion to celebrate, so I dressed up more than usual. Maybe I can’t be with him in person, but I can at least look fabulous from a thousand miles away.

I got these new shoes to wear to work and to an upcoming wedding. My previous wedges were also purchased for a wedding, but they were so comfortable that I started wearing them to work most days. That was four years ago. My beloved wedges got so loose that I started occasionally stepping right out of my shoes as I walked around my office! Conveniently, it was BOGO time at Payless, so I got some replacements.

Fr. Associate Pastor began his homily by identifying two kinds of prayer: formal and spontaneous. That sounded like too few kinds to me, but it’s not my homily. He went on to say that formal prayers are what we offer during Mass; and spontaneous prayer is used for group gatherings, meetings, and meals. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure “Bless us, O Lord” still counts as formal.

He also mentioned something about humility or perseverance in prayer that I can’t quite remember. I usually take notes immediately after Mass, but my dad called right after I started them, so I got distracted. I have a journal that would be perfect for taking them during Mass, but I’m not sure I feel comfortable with that. I might try it.

There was also another instance of the dreaded homily joke. It was the one about St. Benedict challenging a peasant to recite the Lord’s Prayer without getting distracted in exchange for the saint’s horse. I think it was funny the first time I heard it, but that was a long time ago.

Mass is inherently miraculous because heaven touches Earth every single time. I don’t usually let any of the externals get to me (lackluster homilies, my bad mood, not my favorite music, wacky versions of once-a-year liturgies, etc.) But altering the way Mass ends and claiming that such a change is an improvement? That’s not okay. I’ve done everything I can do at this point. It’s affecting my spiritual life negatively. I need to go where my heart is leading me. If I am wrong, God will show me. He always does.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Literature Teaches Us What It Means to Be Human (Review of Laura M. Berquist)

Forgive me for geeking out a little bit here. I studied English and education in college, and I used to be an English teacher, so it’s safe to say that I like reading. In particular, I like stories.

For my writing at ATX Catholic and for much of my pleasure reading, I cover a lot of religion, personal finance, and productivity. My heart still lies in the pages of a good story, though. I firmly believe that literature teaches us what it means to be human; thus, when we read stories, we turn into better people.

You can imagine my delight to come across the speech “Reading Literature to Reveal Reality,” by Laura M. Berquist, in which she combines some of my favorite things: Jesus, stories, and learning. It’s a long one, so allow me to share some of how her paradigm fits so well with the one I’ve developed over years of education, reading, and life.

books on stairs

Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

Not Alone Series: Sacrifice for Singles

notaloneseries

We hear all the time about the call of married people to sacrifice for the sake of their spouses, and we all know parents make sacrifices for their children. Religious sisters sacrifice just by taking vows! But if you don’t have a spouse, a child, a community, or even a pet, how do you build a spirit of sacrifice? How do you determine the difference between selfishness and supporting yourself? What are some ways that you offer sacrifices for the people in your life? (Thanks to co-host Laura and to Katie for the suggestion!)

I struggle with this topic.

At this point, most of my friends have moved on to the very states in life listed in the prompt. Their sacrifices are clear. I would imagine they don’t even have this worry: wondering whether they are sacrificing enough. Some have already finished their religious formation and become priests or taken final vows as sisters. Others are married with kids; they have literally moved on, to houses in the suburbs that they hope to fill with more children.

I’m ready for that life. I want it. But I don’t have it. I even put in all the work to build up great communities because of and in spite of my single state, in-person and online. Then, well, they moved on without me, and I got left behind.

I’m still in transition. It’s not just a single-lady thing, and I’m not so young anymore. More and more of my single friends (male and female) have purchased homes and established careers. They’re making permanent decisions. But not me. I still have to do all of the work with no certainty of getting results. I’m spending my life and making uncertain investments.

Is that selfishness? No. God has called me to sacrifice for my family, my boyfriend (after many, many years without dating at all despite desiring to), and my friends. He is still asking me to sacrifice everything I thought I would have by now: a permanent home, a husband, children, a career, money, contentedness. My sacrifice is to wait and not to wait, to be patient and to get things done. My sacrifices are the dreams I once had for my life.

So I’m not being selfish in my single life. I’m living the only way I can right now, and I’m waiting for God to show me where to go next.


Next topic, on November 1: Sharing Spirituality (link up here at Lindsay Loves)

How would you describe your personal, individual spiritual life? How do you want to share your personal spirituality with your future husband? How important is it to you to share a religion with your husband? If you want to join a religious order or movement (or already belong to one) as a lay member, do you want him to join, too? What aspects of your spiritual life are you hoping to share or do together? Is anything non-negotiable?

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

Link up by clicking the blue button below!

Sunday Style: Happy Day!

Aww, yeah. I’m posting during the appropriate week and everything.

postconfession

I’ve been hearing some signs from various voices that I need to set priorities, find some margin, and say “no” to the good so I can say “yes” to the great. My Sunday Style posts actually count as “great” in my worldview. They encourage me to look my best for Jesus and to pay attention during the homily. I should have been doing those on my own, but I wasn’t, so I’m sticking with what works. And you, dear readers, can also benefit. Everyone wins!

Here’s what I wore to church this week:

Sunday Style for October 9

Blouse: Target
Skirt: Random mall store so long ago that I don’t even remember
Shell: Funky Frum (out of business)
Shoes: Fergie for Famous Footwear

We’ve had some cold mornings (59, compared to midafternoon 85), and Halloween is coming, so I’m preparing for the end of feels-like-summer. This will probably be my last week for white shoes. I’ve been prioritizing clothing items that I can’t transition to fall, like this skirt. I’m also getting that “I wear the same clothes all the time” feeling, which means I’m ready for layers. We’re supposed to have a heat wave this weekend, though, so I guess I’ll take it one day at a time, like always.

I have to start my recap with the end of Mass, because I got the sweetest treat! Fr. AP forgot to mangle the end of Mass, so it went exactly like it was supposed to. Happy day! The choir and servers’ facial expressions clearly indicated that they were thinking, “Hey, you forgot you were supposed to ruin the end!” (Or something like that.) My smile was genuine joy, and I was able to sing “Now Thank We All Our God” with a happy heart. I also like that song in general. I’d been praying for the grace to be thankful for Mass, since I definitely haven’t been thankful since the change. Thanks be to God for answered prayers!

Backing up. Deacon G gave the homily. He spoke about how gratitude requires the humility to acknowledge gifts that have been given to us. When we’re prideful, we forget to be thankful even for small, routine acts. When we’re humble, we are thankful across the board. One of my favorite things to do is to thank my friends for their friendship, which I usually do by writing that in their birthday cards. I don’t give cards to everyone, but I am thankful for all of my friends. Once you lose the convenient peer groups formed by school, making friends takes work.

Deacon G also pointed out that the scene with the tenth leper is one of the few instances when someone specifically thanks Jesus for his healing, rather than God in general. The other lepers were healed only physically, but the tenth was also healed with the gift of faith in Jesus.

I feel much better about my parish at the moment. Before the Mass change, I was a perfectly content supporter. I don’t want to leave. But I will.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

“GTD with Wunderlist – Part I” Is Available Here!

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Wunderlist & GTD.

The Internet is a vast and fleeting resource. As I often say, “the Internet never forgets.” That is, until it does.

If you’re just here for the plain-text archive of “GTD with Wunderlist – Part I,” click here! Otherwise, read on for the story.

As I keep mentioning in my ad-hoc WL + GTD series, I love the Getting Things Done productivity methodology (GTD) and Wunderlist (WL). I think Wunderlist is a great tool for GTD. With very few up-to-date resources, I built a GTD implementation in Wunderlist that works for me. I hear praise for GTD all the time and for various apps to use for GTD, but no one ever mentioned WL. I couldn’t be the only one. On a whim, I searched the Wunderlist Support Center to see if there were other aficionados hiding in a space not indexed by Google.

Lo and behold, I found my people! So many of the other threads are full of angry Internet personas (nothing makes people complain quite like not getting as much free stuff as they want), but we were actually cordial.

Our original thread's header in the Wunderlist Support Center.

Sadly, we had such a long and lively discussion that we discovered the Community Forum’s technical limits the hard way. After we had contributed the maximum 100 posts to our thread, I found myself mysteriously unable to post to it. The posts aren’t numbered, so there was no real way we could even know how many we’d made. I had to contact WL Support myself to find out there was a limit in the first place. There were no other references to that limit, so that was an unpleasant surprise.

I was, however, encouraged when a Support staffer created a new thread and added a (non-clickable, as usual) link to the old one in its first post. Hooray! Problem solved.

Until it wasn’t. After “a period of inactivity,” the thread was automatically deleted and unrecoverable. It only went inactive because we reached a limit we hadn’t even known about! That was extremely upsetting. After WL’s three-day sync debacle, I started seriously considering changing apps.

Happily, our original poster, Youssef E.B., saved us! Like a good GTD-er (and a good Internet researcher, really), he kept a PDF of the entire thread for Part I. He sent it to me, I extracted the text, and I am posting it here at Lindsay Loves.

Click here for the archived, plain-text version of the Wunderlist Community Forum thread “GTD with Wunderlist – Part I.”

I have the original PDF, but the file is too huge for me to host publicly. The Support Center only allows plain-text posts anyway, so that plain-text version is as close to mint as possible. The text is completely unedited. I copied, pasted, removed the upvote/downvote text, and did nothing else.

If you’re interested in Wunderlist and GTD, come join us on the Part II thread. No registration required. Also feel free to leave comments here or use my contact form; I’m just an ordinary user, but I do like to help people. Enjoy!

Your Weapons Are Scripture and Tradition (Review: “Dual Wielding”)

I’ve discovered a new kind of Catholic nerdery! I like books and learning and grammar and trivia, so I’ve long considered myself a nerd with personality. When I came back to the Church just over a decade ago, I found it only natural to become a Catholic nerd, too.

There are, however, limits to my nerdery. I don’t play Settlers of Catan, I don’t dress up in character costumes, and I don’t play video games. Nevertheless, when I heard Mike “Gomer” Gormley and Luke Who-Shall-Not-Be-Last-Named on the Catching Foxes podcast mention a book by a college friend of theirs, it piqued my interest. I watch enough fantasy movie battles to know that using two weapons at once is super cool and also super difficult. It turns out there’s a word for that: dual wielding. So when Luke and Gomer talked about “dual wielding” the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I knew I had to investigate. Edmund Mitchell explains the steps and importance of this style of prayer in his e-book Dual Wielding: A Guide to Praying with the Catechism and Scripture.

A review of "Dual Wielding," at ATX Catholic.com

As a book, Dual Wielding does more than simply teach the method. It begins with a compelling explanation of how dual wielding can be useful for evangelization. Mitchell has the experience that so many evangelization trainers preach about—a chance encounter that leads to a discussion of life’s deeper questions, when he can share the story of Jesus—and he has it twice. That’s rare.

At the same time, you might be wondering what the Catechism is really good for….

Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

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