Category Archives: Catholicism

What I Wore Sunday, Volume 73

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Welcome back to WIWS, where this week features another two-fer. Last weekend got away from me due to the all-day Saturday move. I also lacked wi-fi, and posting a WIWS from my phone seemed just too insurmountable a challenge.

Let’s start with last week.

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I had to lector, so I wanted to wear my cross-patterned scarf again. I don’t quite feel comfortable wearing it to my secular workplace, so it’s getting a lot of mileage on Sundays.

It was also remarkably cold and windy, so I layered up with a long-sleeved undershirt and this great gray herringbone dress from Target. I originally got it to wear to a wedding, but since it’s so heavy and pretty fancy, I don’t wear it often. The herringbone reminds me of a man’s suit. I love a man in a suit. The white skinny belt helped pull together the black and gray with a little more white.

I felt strange not wearing anything colorful, but monochromatic is a color scheme, too. I could have used some gray shoes here, I think. I wear black shoes with my gray pants and gray skirt, but can I use that same color combo with gray shoes and black bottoms? Hmm.

Today was a bit warmer, but not much, so I layered up again.

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Sorry about the blurry full-length! Mirror selfies are tricky.

I’ve worn bits of this to work before, but this is a brand-new combo. I love this Target skirt so much. I initially chose it today to go with chocolate brown tights, but I decided to skip the tights and just go with the skirt. I added this great navy blue polka-dot button-down from Old Navy and my blue polka-dot sweater, also from Target.

I wasn’t quite sure about the convergence of dots, but I like how it turned out. Also, my neutral brown sweater is still air-drying from laundry day yesterday. I had a killer time getting that sweater on over my button-down’s long sleeves, though! I guess I’ve only worn it with short sleeves before. It’s so fitted that I was pulling and tugging like crazy. And of course I was looking in a mirror at the same time, so I had to watch my own comedy routine. Thank goodness my roommate didn’t pick that moment to come out of her room.

The shoes were a challenge. I have only worn this skirt with brown shoes before, so I have that color combo burned into my brain. Today, though, I wore my navy blue ballet flats. I’m still not sure how much I liked the look. Any ideas? Should I have gone with chocolate brown, or is the navy okay?

We had a guest presider at Mass tonight, one I know from my old job. He mentioned the three leading interpretations of what the original sin was, specifically: disobedience, gluttony (which was news to me), or a sexual sin. I don’t think he actually said the part my mind wandered to next (sorry, Father!), which was that Jesus is tempted with gluttony, disobedience, and power in today’s Gospel. Having fasted for forty days, he knows he lives on more than bread. Having great trust in the Father, he knows that his life is not to be toyed with. Having humbled himself despite his own power, he respects the authoritative power of his Creator. As St. Paul says, although the first Adam brought sin into the world, the second Adam kicked it out.

I love the readings for special seasons and feasts. The takeaway message is so much more invigorating when it’s staring you right in the face in every reading.

I think this is going to be a good Lent.

7 Quick Takes on My Shipping, Techie, and Lenten Skills

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— 1 —

I am so glad that today is Friday! The week blew by, and I had an unusually busy day at work, so I am very appreciative of the two days of no working ahead.

On a related note, I am absolutely adding “skilled at packing and shipping” to my résumé in the future.

— 2 —

I survived the Weekend Without Wi-fi, although it was a close call. If I hadn’t had 4G LTE on my iPhone, I probably would have fallen apart completely. I used it sparingly, though, because I have never gone over my data allowance and I am not about to start just when I’m crawling out of the broke hole I was in for most of last year.

I used my time helping my now-old roommate move out, cleaning the house like I do every other Saturday, cooking dinner, and watching A Series of Unfortunate Events. I also managed to finally unpack my last box from my own move in July. Hooray! The walls in my room are still mostly bare, but I have my framed photos up now, so it looks like I actually live here now.

Sunday was a much easier day to be without wi-fi. Reading a real book while eating breakfast (instead of getting sucked into BuzzFeed) was the best motivator for getting my hair and grocery shopping done before Mass. I lectored, we counted the collection unusually quickly, we ate at Jason’s Deli, and I survived the ridiculously blustery night to swing by Target on the way home.

— 3 —

By the time I got home from work on Monday, we had wi-fi again! Well, almost. My new roommate, Samantha, had come home to let in the Internet guy, and he had hooked up the modem to my laptop with an actual Ethernet cable. That was the first time since I moved to Austin that I’d been hard-wired to the Internet.

You see, I discovered when I signed up for service that we could save about $12 a month by switching to a modem-only setup, as opposed to our previous “wireless modem.” I had not known such a thing existed before I moved in here. It was handy to have just one box, but we have plenty of tech space since we’re not gamers or big media people.

So when I got home, I completed the setup on my wired-up laptop, then immediately set up the wireless router I’d purchased when I had this same provider during my first year in Austin. I had to do a factory reset (with a paperclip and everything) since I have no clue what the old password was, but it worked. I gave the router a nice, holy name and a strong password, and I even remembered to change the router login credentials.

And I did all of that in about 40 minutes while reheating and eating a bowl of leftover homemade turkey chili. My stealth techie card is still valid!

— 4 —

I celebrated Fat Tuesday excellently this year. Some friends and I met at a local restaurant for dinner. I ate so much that I actually had a mild stomachache, but it paid off in my ability to skip breakfast and wait until lunch to eat on Ash Wednesday.

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I should have taken a photo of my king cake before I ate it. The remnants should attest to its deliciousness regardless.

I have been remarkably social for the last few weeks, and although it is taking a lot of energy, it feels good to be out having fun. The world through my computer screen is only so big.

— 5 —

This was one of the better Ash Wednesdays I’ve had in a while. It was so strange to not have to work extra hard. I did miss seeing the Ash Wednesday Clown Car, but I enjoyed being able to just be a regular parishioner.

I decided to go to Mass well after work. I’ve been making an attempt to go to my actual parish for events, even though there are two other closer parishes. Even with Austin traffic, I was able to get into the neighborhood early enough to make a stop at the nearest library branch for a few books and bit of Facebooking via library wi-fi on my phone.

When I got to Mass, I was on time and so relaxed. It was the best decision. It was also an act of humility, because I didn’t wear my ashes all day. I got to sit among friends, and the homily was actually pretty good. Fr. Pastor focused on forgiveness and invited everyone to come back on Sunday, especially people who don’t usually go to church.

— 6 —

Wednesday also marked nine years since I returned to the Catholic Church. I’d made the decision before then, but I hadn’t actually gone to church until that day during my freshman year of college. And look at me now!

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Benefit of social media: evangelization through #ashtag.

That first Ash Wednesday, I heard a homily about forgiveness. This year, I heard the same. There are no coincidences.

— 7 —

So far, I haven’t told anyone what I’m giving up for Lent. I always read a reflection booklet my best friend Sarah’s mom gave me years ago. I’m not generally a fan of Henri Nouwen, but even after flirting with the Little Black Book, I’m happy that Christ Our Hope has been my constant companion. I also give up alcohol every year, even though I don’t drink much anyway.

My main Lenten discipline is a doozy, and I know I will be holier if I can accomplish my goal by Easter. These first few days are like Lent training wheels: if you got wobbly or fell already, just brush yourself off, get a lollipop and a sticker (unless you gave those up), and get to riding again. Lent is a marathon, not a sprint! Holiness takes time.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Choosing Sides (Review: “The Great Divorce”)

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This may be the hardest review I’ve ever had to write for Austin CNM. It’s not my last (unless the Lord knows something I don’t), and it’s not because I don’t know how to express myself here. It’s because I’m not quite sure how I can impress upon you the importance of this book and my enthusiasm that you read it—and soon.

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Despite my two English degrees and two years of teaching English, I struggle greatly with complex literature. It’s one of my biggest sources of shame. I miss symbolism all the time. Allegories can be lost on me. I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia and did not know it was an allegory for salvation history!

That early misstep did not turn me off to C.S. Lewis, though.

Read the rest of my review of The Great Divorce at Austin CNM.

Featured image from Unsplash.

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 66

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This was a very busy weekend, but I could never neglect joining in the fun with What I Wore Sunday. I’ve even got extra pictures today!

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This isn’t even as blurry as my full-lengths usually are!

The dress is from Target. I’ve worn it to Mass before, but never with this green Old Navy t-shirt underneath. The dress converts to a roll-top maxi skirt, but I’ve never worn it that way. I like my maxi dresses, but maxi skirts will take some time.

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A closer detail shot.

I added the white skinny belt to accentuate the empire waist, but I think this outfit would have looked better with a black belt or nothing. I was also trying to draw out the white colors in my infinity scarf. The scarf is a Christmas gift from my little brother. We’re pretty far apart in age, so what he knows about me is mostly that I like church. As my friend Warren pointed out at dinner, he may not know me well, but I do like church, so he’s got that down at least.

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And a different angle. This is not my good side, but it’s harder to take selfies with my left hand.

I’ve had these cross earrings for ages. They were an Easter present from my mom, back when my family still celebrated Easter. I don’t think they do anymore. My aforementioned brother (my only brother) will be 18 next Sunday (whaaaaaaat?), so even through we used to do the Easter Bunny, no one has believed for years.

I celebrate Easter, of course, but the idea of going home for it has never even crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I started going to church in college (also, at all) that knew “going home for Easter” was a thing. Not needing to travel has freed me up for many a vigil, though. Not working it this year will be quite unusual.

You may have also noticed my extra-curly hair. I had to have it trimmed yesterday. My stylist offered to curl the ends, so I went for it. The curls were much better defined yesterday, but they mostly made it through church this evening. That’s as much as I could have hoped for. It’s too late to just straighten tonight, but the curls will be gone by Tuesday for sure.

From my point of pew, I was a little lost during the homily. Msgr. Pastor tends to tell a lot of stories during his homilies, and since I don’t like stories, it’s hard for me not to put up a wall when he starts preaching. It’s terrible, but it’s how my brain is operating these days. I know that he told a story about a blind man regaining his sight and being nearly overwhelmed by the brightness, but I don’t remember how that was related to the readings.

What I was really pondering during the homily, though, was the power of callings. If memory serves, Isaiah was pretty young for a prophet. The gospel focuses on John’s recognition of his calling to be the last prophet, the psalm is our response to God’s calling, and the second reading’s intense greeting acknowledges our call to holiness along with the Corinthians. Discerning God’s call can be quite difficult. I’ll be pondering that this week, I think: what is God calling me to, how can I recognize it, and what am I going to do about it?

What I Wore Sunday, Volume 65

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I’m back! I meant to blog yesterday and today, but the weekend started getting away from me. I did some fun things, though, which I hope to turn into tomorrow’s post. Sunday, however, is for fashion.

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Click for full size.

I got this dress at Old Navy just before Christmas. It was on sale for $12 and fits like a dream. I was actually shocked when I was in the dressing room. It’s something called ponte knit, which I had never heard of before but think is my new favorite. I knew a sleeveless sheath dress would be a good buy since it’s so easy to convert into different looks.I wore it with an infinity scarf as a shawl to my friends’ semiformal Christmas party, so I layered a blouse over it today.

I like this blouse, but the tiny checks can be a little mesmerizing if you stare at it too long. The skinny belt was originally part of my Halloween costume. The tights are new ones I got from Target. They’re ribbed, which is fun. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to pattern mixing, and I think it was a good intro to the field. The shoes are also from Old Navy. They were more expensive than the dress!

Our deacon gave a good homily, but I was distracted for a lot of it. Oops. I know he mentioned that the Baptism of the Lord is the first moment we see the entire Holy Trinity in all three persons at the same time. Jesus is baptized, the Holy Spirit descends like a dove, and the Father tells us to listen to his beloved son. How can you not believe in the Trinity after that?

I did think about my own baptism, the anniversary of which was Friday, and my second godson’s, which was one year ago last Sunday. He’s getting so big! I am glad that, since I came back to the Church, I’ve been growing as a disciple and child of God. Someday I hope to have my own children to bring to God. Someday.

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