Category Archives: Catholicism

My Restless Augustinian Heart + Bonus Links


My usual day to post at Austin CNM is Tuesday. There was a rather dramatic situation happening a few nights ago now, and I was suffering from a severe inability to think of anything good to review, which followed several weeks of not reading enough.

For the feast of St. Augustine, I posted a link to a celebratory post from the Augustinians of the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, a group I follow having realized last month that I need to nurture my Augustinian heart. My friend Sabrina commented that she had just started to understand a few religious orders, and now she had to add Augustinians to the list. Inspired by her, I wrote my annual non-review post for Austin CNM about my slow identification as an Augustinian and Augustinian spirituality in a nutshell.


In that post, I invite readers to join my on my journey to a greater understanding of Augustinian spirituality. I’m making good on that promise here, on my blog, where I can write whatever I want. Here are some background links on Augustinian spirituality that didn’t make the cut at Austin CNM.

Augustine Day by Day: Villanova University, run by Augustinians, offers a daily quotation from St. Augustine along with a prayer taken from his writings.

The Midwest Augustinians: The Order of St. Augustine, Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, is also known as the Midwest Augustinians. This is the province (a geographical area, kind of like a diocese) in which Austin falls. The Rule of St. Augustine is a short and informative read into what makes Augustinians tick. His rule (way of life) is the basis for many later rules of other religious orders.

Augustinian Friars of Australia: As I was gathering information for my post, I did some Googling and found this great narrative summary of Augustinian spirituality.

Secular Augustinians of Australia: The main group of Augustinians are all men, but men and women are both welcome in the secular affiliated organizations. The Australian secular group has a great outline of Augustinian spirituality, highlighting interiority, Scripture, Jesus, and solidarity.

International Augustinians: The international site of the Order (available in English, Spanish, and Italian) has an elegant overview of Augustinian spirituality.

AugNet: I found this site by way of a link from the Australian Augustinians, and am I ever glad I clicked on it! AugNet is an incredibly rich resource of Augustinian information, and I’m excited to dive in to all of it.

Augustine of Hip-Hop: There is a parody Twitter account featuring Augustine-inspired rhymes. It might be the best account I follow on all of Twitter.

Ephrem Word: Also in my Googling, I found a blog (and tumblr) run by an Augustinian priest. I like his writing, and I like his order, so I think I’ll like this blog.

Hope and Joy (Review: “Light of Love”)



I love sisters. I have one actual, biological sister, and I love her. I also have an ever-growing number of female friends who have entered consecrated religious life, though, and I love them, too. For the record, I also love my friends who have become priests. I tend to hang out with people who follow Jesus pretty seriously, sometimes even into vows with him and his Church.

One of my nun friends, Sr. Dede (who I knew first as a nun, but who became a friend) said once, in a reflection on her vocation, that she sought to “be the stained glass window through which the light of Christ may shine.” I took that to heart, and I offer that phrase in my prayers to this day. It is in that spirit of shining with the light of Christ that I approached Light of Love, a hour-long film by Imagine Sisters. The organization is dedicated to making Jesus loved “by introducing the world to religious sisters in love with Christ through media.” In the film, I got a lamp-lit view of what it means to follow Christ with your whole heart and your whole life. Sisters are a great example of how to love Jesus.

Read the rest of my review at Austin Catholic New Media.

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 88 & 89



I was too flat-out exhausted to post last week. I have been grossly miscalculating the time I need to get up, get in the shower, and get ready for Mass every Sunday. There’s no one to get me moving except me, so I have to race out the door and wander back in tired and full. I make it to Mass more than on time, though, and Jesus is there, so it’s been a win.

Last week, I miscalculated so badly that I didn’t have time to finish straightening my hair! I don’t go farther than HEB with non-flat-ironed hair, so I went for the illusion side pony.


Dress: Target
Bolero jacket: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: gift
Earrings: gift

I wear this dress all the time. I have been hooked on empire waists for years due to my pear-shaped figure, but even though the elastic waist on this dress hits just above my natural waist, I love it. The blue stripes even gave me an excuse to break out my navy blue ballet flats again. I don’t think I’ll be wearing them much this summer, though I love them, too.

The illusion ponytail is my go-to simple hairstyle. I lectored last Sunday, so I wanted to kick it up a notch past an ordinary braid. After I learned to do a sock bun last summer, I swore off basic ponytails for good, so I had to learn a few quick tricks. This one is simple:

  1. Using an elastic band, create a ponytail wherever you’d like. I prefer low side ponytails, but this will work with a regular back-of-the-head ponytail, a high ponytail, or a regular low ponytail.
  2. Separate out a quarter-inch piece of hair from the ponytail. Comb it through well and spray it generously with hairspray. The hairspray is critical if you want it to last.
  3. Wrap the sprayed piece around the elastic until it is completely covered and you are at the end of that lock of hair.
  4. Use a few bobby pins to hold the end of the sprayed lock of hair in place. Try to hide them by pushing them under the ponytail.

Here’s a larger version of that close-up.

Easy-peasy and adorable. I was in such a rush that I did not spray mine. It lasted through Mass, but as soon as I made it to the narthex, it came flying free. Luckily, it’s such an easy style that it was easy to fix before I took my photos.

The necklace and earrings are special gifts. I have had this Eucharist necklace since my first Communion back in the second grade. It is sterling silver, and my entire class received the same necklace as a gift from our teachers. I was unimpressed at the time. In high school, I used the chain for a completely different charm, if you can believe it! Once I returned to the Church in college, I found the charm tucked away, restored it to its necklace, and finally started wearing it. Maybe I shouldn’t loathe my pack-rat tendencies as much as I do.

The earrings are part of a matching set from my mom one Easter. None of my family is very religious; they don’t even go to church most of the time. When I go home, I go to church alone. Even on Christmas. They understand that I’m into Jesus, though, and they support me. My mom buys me religious gifts like these. I need to get her going to actual Catholic stores instead of Family Christian, though. A Catholic girl can only have so many vague evangelical books.

Msgr. Pastor gave an incredible final homily. (He turned up today, but he didn’t celebrate the Mass.) It being Corpus Christi, he emphasized that we need to act as though we really believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We should not take it for granted, especially when Christians are dying right now in other parts of the world. The last lecture concept is true. I only wish he had started giving these killer homilies sooner! May God bless him in his retirement.

I’m basically out of red outfits now after Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Pentecost, so I went with ordinary clothes this week. I also needed another fast outfit, although I managed to finish my hair this week.


Dress: Fashion Bug
Undershirt: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Flower: HEB (seriously!)

That is a the smile of a lady who had a good evening. Not only did I get my hair sorted out, but I managed to keep this wrap dress from slipping all over the place. I don’t wear this dress very often (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever worn it for a What I Wore Sunday post before), and today reminded me why. The wrap is quite flattering because it lets me create a waist in what might otherwise be a bold-patterned but shapeless dress, but it is not secure. As soon as I got into my car and I suddenly saw my upper thigh revealed where my dress had failed me, I knew I was in trouble. It also happened to be a very windy day today. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so thankful for my big, heavy purse!

We had Fr. Fills In Sometimes for Mass instead of our retiring pastor. His homily made reference to a long list of “Catholic heroes,” including Dorothy Day, about whom I have my moments. He basically outlined some of the highlights of St. Peter and St. Paul and reminded us that they make good role models. The choir did sing “By All Your Saints Still Striving,” with the verse for this solemnity, so that made my heart happy.

After Mass, the cashier at our chosen restaurant complimented my holy medals (although I’m not sure he knew what they were) and my hair flower. I felt very pretty…before I shoved a lot of French fries in my face. That was probably not so pretty. The compliment contributed to my smile, though, so I’m calling that a win, too! Wins for everyone!

Check out more Sunday style and recaps at Fine Linen and Purple.

7 Quick Takes on Skipping Bible Study, More Friends Who Are Priests, and Taboo


— 1 —

Once again, I begin with the funniest thing I saw on Buzzfeed this week.


I listen to a lot of radio-friendly (if not entirely morally sound) music, and I like Shakespeare, so this made me laugh so hard. It is also a reminder that Snapchats can be saved. And then shared. And then cause the hilarity of thousands of Buzzfeed readers. I don’t use Snapchat, but that’s a good PSA anyway.

Also, pun-not-intended snaps to Buzzfeed for linking back to what appears to be the original tumblr user to receive (or send) that snap. It’s a win for giving proper credit, even on the Internet.

— 2 —

In case you thought that was my only morally gray choice this week (although I use the term “morally gray” very loosely), as I mentioned in last week’s 7QT, I skipped Bible study for happy hour. Not only was it the parish young adult group happy hour, but I am in charge of that event, so I had to go. We even had a new member to meet this time. He is fresh out of college, which made the rest of us feel like dinosaurs, but our chosen restaurant had delicious food and excellent service, so I call that a win.

We’ll see if my skipping-Bible-study-for-happy-hour adventure turns out as well next month.

— 3 —

I am settling into my new job and my new desk. I have slowly been organizing supplies, developing workflow systems, and bringing in personal touches. I’m still a little rough around the edges in terms of following all the procedures (nothing scandalous in this take, though!), and I haven’t sat down with my new supervisor yet, but things seem to still be going well.

Overall, I am much happier about meeting new people than I have been for the last year (because I can say what I do with pride), and that is grace in itself.

— 4 —

Last Saturday, two more of my friends were ordained priests, this time for my home diocese, the Archdiocese of Washington (D.C.) I was sad to not be able to attend, but I am overjoyed that they are now priests of Jesus Christ. They are great men, and the Church is richer for having them.

— 5 —

A little more on those men, whom I knew better than my other two college friends who were ordained Dominican priests last month.

Fr. Tim Daniel was not at the Catholic Student Center when I first sought refuge there on my journey back to the Church. He was in Japan. When he returned, though, he co-led my small group on my first-ever peer retreat. He continued as the co-leader of my first-ever Bible study the next semester. My college roommate, Maura, was also in that Bible study. We had some interesting conversations working our way through the Gospel of Luke, including whether Jesus ever went on a date (we decided not).

Tim had a slightly longer than usual journey toward the priesthood, but I always knew he would do exactly what God wanted of him. And now he has.

— 6 —

Fr. Chris Seith first appeared in my life as the younger brother of a Catholic Student Center friend of mine, his only sister, Kaitlyn. He quickly became a popular CSC-er in his own right. I served as leaders with him on two retreats, and I saw him star in the youth musical Honk! as Ugly (the ugly duckling). He was fantastic at both.

The thing about Fr. Chris that stands out most, though, is a comment he made during my first winter home while I was in grad school. I was struggling significantly, perhaps more than all first-year teachers do, and I told him how the one bright spot in my life was my community of roommates. I said, “I’m still trying to figure out why God sent me to Alabama.” He said, “Maybe God sent you there to learn how to live in community.” It blew me away. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and he was exactly right. That one comment still encourages me to this day.

If only I could figure out why God sent me to Texas.

— 7 —

I hosted a game night last weekend that was not as well-attended as I’d hoped but still a lot of fun. Some of my friends like to play “tabletop games,” which are just too nerdy for me. I’m not into Settlers of Catan; I’m not into Dominion; I’m not into Risk. I do love Uno and Taboo, though, both of which we played. I managed to win three hands of Uno very quickly, which is a testament to my parents’ love of the game. If only I could bowl like that!

The fourth hand of Uno took so long that the people waiting to join rapidly became bored, so we switched to a brand-new, updated version of Taboo. I must have gotten used to the late-90’s edition, because I have never played one that had Twitter among the clues to guess and “muffin top” as a taboo word for “love handles.” We played boys versus girls, and the girls owned it. All was well.

Until next week!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 87



Guys! I took my photos before church this week! I don’t think I have ever actually managed such a feat. Even though I slept in just like I do every Sunday and spent some time calling my father and my grandfather, I had just the right amount of time before Mass to take my photos. You can even see the sun shining through the kitchen window in my full-length! Happy times.


Polo shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes: Payless
Jewelry: gift

Today felt like a white skirt sort of day. White is the liturgical color for Trinity Sunday, but that’s not as easy or fun to wear as my red from last week. Purple is my favorite color and a flattering one for me, although this polo is so old that it’s starting to fade.

I went through a polo shirt phase back in undergrad. It was not a good phase. In grad school, I realized that I don’t look as polished in polo shirts as I thought. No one looks polished in a polo shirt. The best you can hope for is tidy. My experiment with boat necks has been going quite well, but I still have all these polos that I have to work with. I have enough skirts; my next big style push is going to be for versatile tops. And maybe pants. I usually wear pants, just not to church on Sundays.

I did not hear any good Trinitarian songs today, but that was okay because I did “Sing Praise To Our Creator” with Morning Prayer today, and I fudged yesterday a little to do “Come Thou, Almighty King.” My liturgical heart was satisfied. Fr. Helps Out Sometimes gave a solid homily with dedicated time for each member of the Trinity. I had trouble paying attention, but I was just having an off day. (Remind of that when, God willing, I have toddlers to wrangle.)

His primary image stuck with me, though. It was this one, although he only described it:


I have seen it before, and I knew it is an icon of the Trinity depicted as angels around a table, but it had never occurred to me to ponder why they are gathered around a table. Fr. Helps Out described the gathering as a dinner table. There is one space left empty, the space that is in the viewer’s position. The angels, the Trinity, are inviting us to join them at this heavenly banquet.

I don’t know how typical that is for an interpretation of that icon, but I liked it.

Check out other Mass fashion and reflections at What I Wore Sunday.

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