Category Archives: 7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes on Hydration, Solidarity, and Accidental Mustaches

nazarenesolidarity

— 1 —

Oh, hello there! I was pretty good about getting this post ready to roll on Thursday evenings, and then I was not so good. I hope to improve on that, though.

Although I have not improved at blogging, I have improved at staying hydrated. I have just been drinking more water. It’s part of a long-term plan to sleep better and feel better. I think I read somewhere last week that staying hydrated is a good way to sleep better, so I’ve been trying it. My sleep hasn’t improved greatly. Yet.

I’m not trying any particular method, although I like the idea of marking a water bottle to time your water intake. My routine goes like this:

  • half a glass before my breakfast beverage (orange juice or milk)
  • a cup of tea at work, between 8:30 and 10 a.m.
  • 3/4 of a glass after tea, but before lunch (I’m slowly increasing this using the lines on my striped bottle!)
  • about one and a half glasses after lunch
  • two glasses before/during dinner
  • a glass between dinner and bed
  • sometimes an extra glass before bed

For me, the important part is to drink more rather than a set amount. I’m noticing that I respond more quickly when I’m thirsty, I feel better, and the, uh, biological results are showing up. So far, so good!

— 2 —

I went on a really fantastic retreat last Saturday hosted by Austin CNM. It was just a day-long retreat, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed. One of the co-founders, Cris Almanza, was the main and only presenter. He posted the schedule in advance for people who couldn’t stay the whole day. I didn’t preview it and had already planned to stay until the end, and that turned out to be the best method.

I was expecting the retreat to focus more on new media (that’s in the group’s name, after all), but it didn’t really. I haven’t reviewed my notes yet, but I don’t remember there being a whole lot of blog, Facebook, and Twitter talk. There was a lot of Holy Spirit talk, and some spiritual engagement talk, and some Austin traffic talk over lunch. I also learned how to sing yet a third melody for the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

My main takeaway, honestly, was that I can still be surprised by God. As much as I wallow in spirituality, I don’t really know it all, and I love when the reminders are sweet (not the kind of reminder that sends me, moping, to Confession).

— 3 —

I wound up at an accidental mustache party a few weeks ago. Well, the theme was intentional, but I had forgotten there would be a birthday celebration with my trivia team, and I only wore my mustache t-shirt because it went well with the skirt I wanted to wear. Does that make me an accidental hipster?

— 4 —

I’m pretty horrified about what’s happening to Christians under the oppression of ISIS. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be told to convert, pay a bribe, or leave my home (maybe forever). I do know one thing: to stick to what you believe in when your life is on the line is a true test of faith. It’s the definition of martyrdom. It’s one of the reasons St. Maria Goretti is my favorite.

I have a policy of not letting my profile photos be anything besides actual photos of me, but I have no such policy for my blog.

nazarenesolidarity

— 5 —

On a lighter note, two of my roommates from undergrad are coming into town next weekend. I’m excited to see them; one I haven’t seen in five years! I am glad to have a house to invite them to, enough cooking skills that we can have dinner here, and a reliable hangout to visit for trivia. Something about old friends is just so comforting. I don’t have to explain myself to them; I can just be. There’s grace in that.

— 6 —

I suffered serious burnout this month. I refused to plan an Independence Day outing for my church group, I put off birthday party planning so long that the party probably won’t be during my actual birth month, and I almost gave up on organizing an outing to the Zilker musical.

The last straw was when I hosted happy hour for the aforementioned church group. I zipped uptown from work, got to the chosen location early, and proceeded to take up a very large table, by myself, for forty-five minutes before a single other person showed up. I was lonely, embarrassed, and frustrated. I felt so awful that I apologized to our server on my receipt for tying up the equivalent of two tables for so long. She was nice and attentive, but I will not have a good reputation there.

— 7 —

I missed the beginning of the novena to St. Anne. I did the last five days on schedule, and I have started over on day one as of yesterday, her feast with St. Joachim. You can guess why I prayed and am praying it. Today was actually promising in terms of the fruit of my prayers. That is all.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes on Harry Potter, To-Do Lists, and What I’m Doing With My Life

acnm_imaginesisters

— 1 —

Well, I managed to have an entire day off from work in which to write my 7QT post and during which I did no such thing. My talents are not all good.

I didn’t see any particularly hilarious images on Buzzfeed this week, but there is a new Harry Potter story, so that was the best thing I saw on the Internet, hands down. It was the first thing that made me log in to Pottermore in ages. I’m not linking to any of the news reports on it because they’re all biased and totally misreading things. That is a part of the fandom I do not miss.

But as for the story? I loved it. It seemed like the perfect way to write new material: it doesn’t change anything, but it fleshes out the snippets we’ve heard since The End. It is just like all the other new material JKR has been posting on Pottermore the whole time. I guess that since this is a new story about a new time, it drew a bigger audience. Hey, it worked on me!

— 2 —

The Year of Many Weddings has become the Year of Many First Anniversaries in addition to the Year of Many Babies. The first of those anniversaries was in May, but now the summer clump has begun. Since their weddings were on Saturdays, their first anniversaries are on Sundays. What a lovely day to pray in thanksgiving for making it through that first year!

Today is also the anniversary of the couple whose wedding was the first I attended as an adult. I was invited to be in my friend Lyzii’s wedding, but I had to miss it entirely due to graduate school commitments. That is among my greatest regrets, so I was especially gung-ho about going to Nick and Mary’s.

Since those days, I have had to decline invitations to a few out-of-town weddings due to finances. I know this wedding-heavy phase in my life will end soon, and that it came later for me than for many others, but do those pangs of regret for missing out ever go away? Or is it just FOMO and my love of dance parties?

— 3 —

Last week was very quiet. I stayed in for Independence Day. I missed seeing fireworks, but I needed a day to just rest and be lazy. So I watched four episodes of Joan of Arcadia in a row, and it was glorious.

Subsequently, my Saturday was unusually busy. I managed to meet with a new young adult at my parish, get groceries, go to Confession, clean most of the house, and go out for trivia all in one day. It was a lot of stimulation for this homebody. I had to finish cleaning after I got home on Sunday evening, but I’m calling that a win.

— 4 —

I’ve started using Wunderlist as a to-do application. I’m still getting used to the kinks, but it seems okay so far. I tried Todoist for a few days, but paying for annual access just to add notes was not okay. Wunderlist doesn’t have email-to-task the way I want it, but I can live without that if I have to, since I have the app on my phone.

The mobile app is kind of lame, though. They didn’t update for iOS 7, so it’s still using the old keyboard. That makes it feel so ancient and out of touch! I was delighted to see the announcement just yesterday that they’re rolling out an update soon, but if it takes a year to get such a crucial update, maybe I should have stuck with Google Tasks.

After having Google Reader killed on me, though, I probably shouldn’t get attached to anything besides Gmail. I think Google forgot about Tasks, so they forgot to kill it.

— 5 —

This week was also pretty quiet. I made a last-minute decision (okay, it was the night before) to go to Theology on Tap. I don’t always have the best experience with that, but this one turned out quite well. I had some solid “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life” panic this week, and the topic was vocations and discernment, so that meshed well. I haven’t had a good Holy Spirit moment like that in a while.

— 6 —

Speaking of vocations, my post at Austin CNM this week was a video review again. This time it was Light of Love, produced by Imagine Sisters. One of my former coworkers at the UCC is part of one of the sponsoring organizations, so I heard about the film a year ago when it premiered. I forgot to watch then, though, and I just got around to watching it last weekend. Oops. It was better late than never, though, as my review indicates.

acnm_imaginesisters

— 7 —

One of the things I didn’t write in my review was that I found the film to be missing a spirit of confidence. Thoughtful, wise, confident, committed: I wanted to see those qualities in the featured sisters in huge doses, but I didn’t. That observation comes more from my frame of mind than the film, though. As I said in Take #5, I have been feeling directionless lately. I don’t know what to do with my life. Sisters do.

When I meet new people and tell them what I do (contract administration), I also have to tell them what I used to do (campus ministry), and what I did before that (teaching high school English). As Jen wrote once, when people ask what you “do,” they’re trying to figure out what kind of person you are.

What kind of person does my history make me sound like? I haven’t been able to figure out yet what will give me a sense of lasting peace. Am I ever going to be able to figure out my life? I’m hoping that, as I continue in prayer and growing in holiness, I’ll figure it out, but any direction you can point me in would be much appreciated.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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

tisbayleeiyellethtimber

— 1 —

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

tisbayleeiyellethtimber

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!

7 Quick Takes on My New Job, Being Fancy, and SorryNotSorry

dumbledoredrunk

— 1 —

Thank you for stopping by! Your reward is that I begin this week’s takes with this gem from a Buzzfeed list of Harry Potter jokes everyone can appreciate.

dumbledoredrunk

Best laugh I’ve had in days!

You’re welcome. More at the link; not all are completely family-friendly.

— 2 —

I moved into my new position at work today. My previous job was never terribly difficult, so it took about as long as I’d predicted to train my successor. One of my coworkers trained me on the easiest aspect of the new job today, and I nailed it. I am quite pleased, especially since today’s work involved forcing one of those giant accounting calculators to bend to my will. Why on earth do the minus key and the plus key both have equal signs?

— 3 —

When I called my grandfather on Father’s Day, he confirmed that (a) everyone is waiting for me to get married, and (b) my parents will probably retire to Texas. He thinks Austin; I think San Antonio.

People usually come to visit Austin, fall in love (with the city, not necessarily with a person), and decide to move here. They came to visit Austin, spent a day in San Antonio, and basically fell in love with the River Walk. They did it wrong, but Austin traffic says, “Thanks!” My parents have a few years yet until retirement, and my brother is starting college in a place that is not Texas this fall, so we’ll see what happens.

— 4 —

The second session of my Psalms Bible study was pretty great. I remembered to do my homework, which was substantial (Jeff Cavins does not lie), and I enjoyed my small group discussion. It wasn’t a very long discussion, so I don’t feel like I got to know everyone, but I’m glad I joined the group. I’m young, I’m black, I’m Catholic, I’m familiar with Scripture; I’m a walking anomaly around my parish.

I’m about 90% sure I won’t be able to go to the next session due to a previously scheduled event. Okay, it’s happy hour. Am I a terrible person if I skip Bible study for happy hour? It’s the parish young adult group happy hour….

— 5 —

One of my roommates threw a going-away party for a mutual friend last Friday night. It was one of our smaller purely-social parties, and I enjoyed it greatly. The house got awkwardly hot due to pizza-baking for about three hours, but everyone seemed to be having a good time anyway. We half-watched Three Ninjas at the going-away-girl’s request. I always think of 80′s movies as having their own special quality, but the 90′s do sneak up and delight me sometimes, too.

— 6 —

As I was writing this post, I was reminded that my new jam is “Fancy,” the hit by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX. It is ridiculous but also awesome. I won’t link to the video here (you can find it edited on YouTube, and you will love it if you remember Clueless), but I will mention that I have taken this hit and my designation of it as my jam to sing the hook at every opportunity. As it turns out, I come across a lot of people being fancy in my day-to-day.

I think it’s my new theme song. It’s the perfect thing for getting dressed for church.

— 7 —

No video for “Fancy” here, but I will just drop this one in. One of my pet peeves is women’s tendency to apologize for everything, especially feelings. This video doesn’t bring up the horrible phenomenon of “I’m sorry, but I’m angry” (why are you sorry for having emotions?), but it makes an important point. There are things you should not be sorry for.

Now there’s another reason I like Pantene.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes on Romance, Text Messages, and Being Promoted

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— 1 —

Wow! Linking up earlier than usual last week (i.e. midday on Friday instead of usual Saturday afternoon, or never) was great for my blog traffic. It was a nice self-esteem boost if nothing else.

If you’re new to my blog this week, check out my about page or this month’s tl;dr for a quick intro to me and the lifestyle I lead which fuels my blog content. If you have a blog, post your own tl;dr, no matter how long it’s been since your last post!

— 2 —

As part of my tl;dr, I mentioned that I am single and available. I haven’t been particularly honest about this in my life (although I do still read an alarming number of books about being single and Christian and Catholic). Part of my concern is that it’s been a while since my last date, and the last young man I was interested in turned out to have a serious problem that would prevent our having an actual romantic relationship.

At dinner after Mass on Sunday, a friend of mine mentioned that he’d scoped my LinkedIn profile to see if it was representative enough of me to pass along to a handsome coworker of his. I inquired as to his name (which I won’t post here, of course), whether he loves Jesus (he does), and whether he is tall (he is). This friend’s wife (who is also my friend) confirms that the coworker is handsome, which I will note that I did not directly ask about.

I’m intrigued by this recent romantic rise in my generally romance-free life.

— 3 —

I almost ran out of text messages this month! I don’t have unlimited texting because I have debt to repay, so I used 190 of my 200 messages. Helpfully, I have only two days left to go in this low-text state, but that has never happened to me before in four years owning my own cell phone contract. I feel like a technological caveman, resorting to email and Facebook to share news.

#firstworldproblems #21stcenturyproblems #onabudget

— 4 —

I started a new Bible study at my parish tonight. It is the Great Adventure Psalms course. I went to a live “Psalms in a Day” presentation at another parish a few years ago, and it was pretty fantastic. I heard Bob Hurd’s “As the Deer Longs” for the first time there, and it still wells up in my heart sometimes.

deer

Photo by Lassi Kurkjarvi.

I did not expect Austin’s terrible trademark traffic to make me almost late. I was pleasantly surprised that class had not officially started before I got there (although it started within minutes of my arrival). I did not expect to lose my time to eat a quick packed dinner to time on the road. I did expect to bring the average age of attendees down by at least ten years.

I expected that, since I was wearing one of my company logo shirts, I would have the opportunity to announce my promotion.

— 5 —

I got promoted! I am officially no longer on the lowest rung of my company’s ladder, so to speak. I started training my replacement today, and we expect that I will fully move into my new position by the end of next week (if not sooner). It felt so good to be able to give my new title when I introduced myself at Bible study.

Having found a company where I feel so integrated into the culture is pretty fantastic. Some of my pride in what I do (the good kind of pride, not the bad kind) has returned. It is worth noting that I haven’t actually started doing it yet, but everyone has confidence in me, including me.

— 6 —

Pentecost was delightful. I put together a great outfit, I heard a killer homily, and even though our dinner group (see QT #2) was much smaller than usual, I had the opportunity for much more intimate conversation. I still don’t have another group dinner planned in my home, but I haven’t given up on the idea.

— 7 —

This weekend will include laundry day, a going-away party at my house (we love parties here; someone else is leaving), and Father’s Day. My dad is a great guy, so I hope my family mostly leaves him alone with his beer. It’s what he likes!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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