Monthly Archives: August, 2013

6 Things You Need to Do Before Mass


Well, don’t prepare so hard that you’re like this guy!

Going to Mass is about more than just making it in the door for Communion. My day-to-day life has changed significantly in the last few months, so I have found myself approaching Mass attendance in a whole new way. It used to be part of work. My biggest concern was getting to attend a whole Mass as an ordinary parishioner rather than “working” it by greeting before and after, popping in to make an announcement, or moonlighting in the choir. (Can you moonlight as part of your actual job?) Now that I have to make more effort to get to Mass, I’ve started to improve my pre-Mass procedure, too.

Read the rest of my annual non-book review post at Austin Catholic New Media.

Booking Through Thursday: Tragedy, Comedy, and Borrowing


August 8: Tragedy or Comedy

All other things being equal (good writing, enthralling story, etc), which would you rather read: something serious, angsty, and tragic; something light, fluffy, and fun; or a blend of both (since, really, isn’t that how real life works)?

I prefer comedy. In general, I like something that makes me think, but I’m not a fan of angst. Back in the day, I used to read stories from FictionAlley all the time. You can even find references in my archives to my day as a shipper. FictionAlley organized fics roughly by genre. I was much more likely to pick a story from Riddikulus (humor) than from The Dark Arts (angst, drama, and horror), so I guess that makes me a fan of funny books more than dark ones. But why can’t I have both, like in Harry Potter?

August 15: Neither a Borrower…

I’ve asked before how you feel about lending your books. I’ve asked how you feel about libraries. But how do you feel about borrowing books from friends? Is this something you like to do? Does it make you feel uncomfortable or rushed while reading? Does it affect how you feel about the book you’re reading, pressured into liking it?

Ooh, great question! So far, I’ve only borrowed books from friends that I knew I would like. Books I wind up not liking or am unsure about tend to be ones I’ve purchased (boo) or borrowed from the library (hooray!) I usually feel less rushed with a borrowed book because I know my friend will just ask for it back if he or she wants it. I have a few books on extended loan from my friend Brittany, and I’ve spotted a few books on my roommates’ shelves that would be great for my Austin CNM column. As a reviewer (and as a reader with a pace and desire greater than my budget!), borrowing books from friends is a necessary adventure.

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 43

What I Wore Sunday

I had a tough morning, so my photos aren’t great today. (Don’t worry; the day has picked up, and I’m optimistic about my evening).


Polo from Aeropostale Outlet. Skirt from Deb (I think). Shoes from DSW.

I’ve worn this polo before, and I’ve worn the skirt many times, but I’ve never put this combo together. I was in a hurry since I had to wash and straighten my hair before a much earlier Mass than usual. It’s nice to have simple items that you know will go with almost anything so that you can toss them together in a hurry and still look vaguely put-together.

The skirt is from Deb, I think, years and years ago. You can’t tell from the photo, but it falls at just the right length on my long legs to kick up fantastically when I walk. If I weren’t opposed to short wedding gowns, I’d want something like that for my future walk up the aisle!

Because I went to Mass early and by myself, I also went to a different parish than usual, one that’s closer to where I now live. Of all the priests at all the Masses in all the parishes in my general area (which is many; Austin has a surprisingly large Catholic population), I ran into our Vicar General, Msgr. Mike Sis, at Mass today. I know him from my old job. I felt really special that he recognized me (then again, I’m pretty recognizable in a Catholic church in Austin, Texas).

His homily was fantastic. He presented it like a speech (and he actually referred to it as a talk at one point). His theme was that the readings today reflect the faith of the many characters presented: the Israelites who kept the old covenant; those who fear the Lord; Abraham, Sarah, and their traveling party; the servants waiting for their master; and the new faithful waiting for the Son of Man (which includes all of us today). He listed five ways faith helps us:

  1. It gives us hope in the promises of God.
  2. It frees us from the fear of death, because we know God has saved us and will save us.
  3. It attracts others through our witness of evangelization.
  4. (Okay, this is where I got distracted and reflective about #3 and missed the main point, but it was good, I swear! Sorry, Msgr. Mike!)
  5. It sets us on a great adventure as we grow in faith and experience a life of faith.

It was one of the best Ordinary Time homilies I’ve ever heard. Msgr. Mike also asked me to send him my résumé for his file. I’d wanted to ask him to be a connection, but asking via email seemed so impersonal. (He’s the #2 guy in the diocese; I can only imagine what his inbox looks like!)

In all my haste to get ready and be on time (which I was; fifteen minutes before Mass starts is on time for me), I still managed to prepare for Mass. The theme that stuck out to me was the response of the faithful and the unfaithful to the call of God. The Israelites kept the old covenant for thousands of years until the Messiah came. Abraham gave up everything he knew to follow God’s call into the Promised Land. The watchful servants were ready to greet the master, and the lazy servants were caught off guard. When God calls clearly or discreetly, how do we respond?

It was my after-church errands that turned me into a grumpus, but I feel better now. And I’m going to see a play tonight with my friends! Who could ask for anything more?

Leaving Feedburner


This was me. I’ve moved on.
(image from Mashable)

If you happen to be one of my RSS feed subscribers, this is my official notice that I am turning off my Feedburner plugin. It hasn’t been updated in ages, and in this post-Google Reader era, I’m slowly moving my blog outreach back into WordPress. It just seems like the smart thing to do.

If you still prefer to follow my blog without visiting the site to check for updates manually (which is how I realized the genius of feed readers in the first place, actually), you have three options:

  1. Stay subscribed via RSS by using the normal WordPress feed. To do so, simply view my bare RSS feed and insert that URL into your feed reader of choice. Alternatively, you should be able to enter into the feed reader’s add dialogue and have it pick up my feed automatically. If you don’t use a feed reader, I recommend Feedly, which has grown by leaps and bounds since over a million users fled from Google Reader in May and June.
  2. Follow me on Bloglovin‘, which is the second most common Google Reader successor I’ve seen (after Feedly).
  3. Subscribe via email using the box below or in my sidebar. (They’re the same, just in different locations.) This will send you an email via every time I post. You don’t need to have a account, and it is a double opt-in, unsubscribe anytime kind of deal. Keep in mind, though, that if I make edits to the post after the initial publishing, you won’t have the most current version.

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I don’t use Twitter, and this blog doesn’t have a Facebook page, so those are your options right now. I’m considering Lindsay Loves for Facebook, but I don’t think Twitter is for me. I can’t handle another addiction just yet!

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 42

What I Wore Sunday

It is not even close to Sunday, but I confused my wonderfully perceptive roommate with my caption on Instagram, so here is my promised follow-up. It is, perhaps regrettably, free of comments on any romantic entanglements in my life.


Dress from Target. Shell from Funky Frum. Shoes from Payless.

This week, I continued my focus on details from the previous Sunday. This dress is actually another repeat, from back in May, but since I was out of town that Sunday, this was the perfect opportunity to give it another go.

Here’s the previous look again, from May 26:

Dress from Target, camisole from Old Navy, shoes from Payless.

Dress from Target, camisole from Old Navy, shoes from Payless.

I swapped out the black camisole for a gray shell. I don’t own black sandals, so I had to go with my black ballet flats. I dressed it up with the little blue flower earrings I’ve had for at least ten years, the ribbon clip I bought when I was having an unpretty day, and a turquoise and hematite necklace I got in Belize at the Mayan ruins at Altun-ha. I felt like I turned a simple dress into something spectacular. And, as I commented on Instagram, this would make a good date outfit if the opportunity arose.

I didn’t prepare for Mass as well this time, and I could tell the difference. I used my early afternoon to help a friend pack for her upcoming move, so I was at least in community and doing an act of service, but I will be allocating my Sunday time more wisely in the future. Then I’ll have the perfect frame of mind to go with my outfit, and both will be the best I can offer to God.

Wandering Through Worldviews (Review: “Starting at the End”)


What binoculars are you using to view the world?
(photo by Matti Mattila at flickr)

Living in a Catholic bubble can be nice, but I like to pop my head outside and take a look around every now and then. In the context of Austin CNM, that means reading books by non-Catholics or without explicit religious themes for this Catholic book review column. Sometimes that leads me to gems like Mere Christianity and pleasant surprises like Bound Together. But even when I select a book that doesn’t ignite that spark, I always find something to learn. Starting at the End: Worldview, God’s Word, and Your Future, by Brad Alles, is another non-Catholic book choice.

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

Booking Through Thursday: It’s Personal


Do you have a preference between “person” in the books you read? Do you prefer third-person to first-person? Or don’t you care? Why?

I don’t usually have a preference between first and third person. I do like the occasional second-person book, though, like If on a winter’s night a traveler (without the racy parts). I like that Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are written in third-person limited omniscience, because we could get the hidden moments without the main character as well as getting into the protagonist’s head.

I’m more likely to notice tense in a book than person. Commenting further on The Hunger Games, I realized after about a third of the book that it was in present tense. That worked well for a story where death lay on every page. Present tense is tricky to work with, but when you can pull it off, it’s glorious.

And now I really hope that next week’s BTT is not about tense!

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