Monthly Archives: September, 2014

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.

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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.

What I Wore Sunday: There, I Fixed It!

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I have been waiting all summer to wear this dress, guys! I bought it last winter to potentially wear to my company party or my church group Christmas party, but it didn’t work for either of those. I finally wore it only to realize that it was just a teensy bit too short for my long legs. After one round with full-length tights, I declared it a wash until I could find some suitable leggings.

It took me until this week to find those leggings. I do most of my clothes shopping at Target and Old Navy, and both of those stores seemed to only have packaged leggings. That wasn’t going to work because, the last time I tried some on, they were too tight and awkwardly short. I have that problem with pants and pant-like items; since my legs are so long, regular lengths are just short enough to make me look like I’m a teenager having a growth spurt. So I needed them to be deliberately cropped and sold on a hanger so I could try them on.

Thanks to the Cartwheel app and an after-work trip to Target, I fixed this dress! I know Cartwheel plus my Target credit card means they’re tracking everything I buy. I am not rich or paranoid enough to care.

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Dress: Xhilaration (Target)
Cardigan: Old Navy
Belt: Target
Leggings: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Earrings: Charming Charlie

I got home during golden hour, so here’s a car selfie to go with my blurry full-lengths.

This outfit is a combination of many looks. I almost never wear this sweater to church, but I wear it to work all the time. Well, I wear it when it’s cool enough. I was a little warm today, but this dress doesn’t have sleeves, so it was going to get at least a bolero jacket regardless. I have been expanding my collection of colorful skinny belts, and those are the same earrings I wore a few weeks ago with one of my birthday statement necklaces. And I wear those shoes all the time.

I lectored today, so I chose this outfit partly as a means of fashion evangelization. You can look stylish and modest at the same time! Is it terrible that I’m really looking forward to my next opportunity to wear it?

We had Fr. Associate Pastor again tonight. I don’t think I’m getting a very good impression of our new pastor because I never see him: I don’t get to figure him out, and I feel kind of abandoned. More than twice in ten weeks would be nice. Anyway, Fr. Pastor mentioned in his homily that we teach the Sign of the Cross to children as their first prayer, we begin our Christian lives being signed by the cross at our baptism, and we are marked with the cross as we are prepared for burial. The cross permeates our whole lives, and for Christians, it is a sign of life, not death. That stuck with me, and only partially because I want to have children to teach to sign themselves someday.

Back to green vestments until All Souls Day (which is on a Sunday this year, too—hooray!)

What did you wear this Sunday? Check out other Sunday styles at Fine Linen and Purple.

Booking Through Thursday: Your Recommendation

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Well, hello there, Thursday. Let’s talk about books.

If a friend asks you to recommend a really good book—good writing, good characters, good story—but with no other qualifications, what would you recommend?

Those are qualifications.

Sometimes people ask me for recommendations, since they know that I write a book review column. I always make them narrow the selection, though. If they want an easy book about Christianity in general, I usually recommend Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. If they want a good fiction novel, my latest recommendations are The End of the Affair (which I never thought I would like) and The Man Who Was Thursday (which was trippy but awesome).

Of course, I always recommend Harry Potter, but most people who know me know that’s coming!

I do miss reading for fun, though. One of the main reasons I switched my Austin CNM column to book reviews once a month is that I wasn’t having fun reading the books I was reviewing. I had to fix that. I do get to choose my own books, though. You don’t get that perk with every review gig.

What have you read lately that’s good?

Check out other answers at Booking Through Thursday.

I Saw “Fading West” for Free, and It Was Awesome: A Review

Sometimes being patient and poor has its perks.

Switchfoot is my favorite band. I fell in love with them in high school, when I saw A Walk to Remember (mostly for Mandy Moore) and discovered the band. They had a prominent role in the soundtrack. I was hooked. It seems fitting to be writing this reflection today, after I’ve now watched a film I was drawn to by my love for the band. It’s a complete circle.

Just a couple of years ago, Switchfoot announced their plan to write a new album and simultaneously film a documentary while on a surfing world tour. It was ambitious, and the results are incredible. I’ve been listening to the album, Fading West, since its release. It has the lighthearted, hopeful surfer vibe that gets to the heart of the band, which is a deep breath in after the intense and piercing scream out of Vice Verses. Don’t get me wrong; I liked Vice Verses a lot. I was just rocking out to it in my car a few weeks ago. It was heavy, though. Fading West may be a reference to the sunset, but it is full of light.

I had the film on my Movies to Watch list since it premiered. I wasn’t able to make it out for the Fading West tour, during which the movie was shown before a live concert. It would be hard to top my previous concert experiences, but I think they could have done it! I don’t have much money these days, though, so I held tight for a nice iTunes giftcard, room in my budget for Netflix, or another lucky break. I got it today!

When I was scrolling away through my Facebook news feed a few days ago, I caught this delightful post:

So I tossed that sucker on my to-do list, and I found myself sitting here this evening, enjoying dinner over 90 minutes of awesomeness.

I had seen the film described as a cross between a tour documentary and Endless Summer, the classic world tour surfing movie. That is exactly what was portrayed. I was pleasantly surprised, though, by how real everything felt. These men are thirty-something surfers from San Diego who are in a rock band. They’re dads and husbands, and they get to share their musical talents and inspiration with us through song. And, as it turns out, they both are and know some great surfers. From the obvious heartbreak as Jon suddenly rushed home to be with his family to the sheer joy of visiting new countries and trying new waves, the events of the film made me feel like I was along for the ride with five guys who know how to have a good time and to never lose hope.

The film itself was beautiful. I like soundtracks in general, but it’s something special to listen to a soundtrack that is not only (a) composed and performed by the film stars and (b) inspired by the events of the film as they happened but also (c) composed specifically for this cinematic experience. “Immersive” barely even begins to cover it.

I could not have picked a better favorite band, they could not have made a better film, and I am so glad to be along for the ride.

What I Wore Sunday: Fitted and Fancy

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Last night got a little crazy since I threw a party Saturday night and had not quite recovered. We had money-counting, which took only two hours (up from the previous month’s two and a half), and then I had Chipotle, so I was too busy being full and tired to post. I’m making up for it tonight!

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Dress: hand-me-down
Bolero jacket: Target
Shoes: Payless
Toenails: Wet ‘n Wild in Red Red
Earrings: high school graduation pearls
Necklace: holy medals

Maybe this dress is a hand-me-down; maybe it’s vintage. I wore it for Fancy Pants Sunday back in March, but this seemed like a good day to wear it again. I was having a thin day, and this is a very fitted dress. You should see me get into it (in a non-scandalous way)! I look like a hermit crab fighting to get into a small shell. I made it into the dress, though, and I even managed to climb in and out of my friend’s Jeep modestly and mostly gracefully in this outfit.

Since the dress was the focal point, I kept everything else simple. I wanted to show off my nail polish, and I don’t own black sandals (just flip-flops), so I tied into the off-white flowers with pure white wedges. To help balance the color, I wore my black bolero jacket instead of the white one, and I went minimal with jewelry, too. I was very satisfied with this outfit, and I got a few compliments on it to boot.

We had one of our deacons preach the homily at Mass. (Still no sign of our pastor, who now clearly doesn’t celebrate Mass in the evening. I feel like our church dad doesn’t want to spend time with us.) Deacon Former Doctor spoke about our responsibility to call others to repentance and the mercy of God, despite their sins and ours. He started his homily with a schmaltzy “surprise, the homeless man was Jesus!” type story, but then he reminded us of the evils of abortion—by name. That perked me up. He told a story of his medical appointment, when he was a doctor, with a young woman who told him she wanted to end her pregnancy. He spent four times as much time with her as usual, and she left with much to think about, but she told him she eventually went through with him. That still weighs on him. Deacon Former Doctor’s homily made me think about the missed opportunities I’ve had, the times when I should have identified myself as a Christian, the times when I’ve given bad advice. Like that young woman, I have much to think about.

What did Sunday’s readings make you think about? Check out other reflections and outfits at Fine Linen and Purple.

Booking Through Thursday: School Discoveries

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I missed last week due to laziness and losing track of time, but I’m back on it this week.

We all had to read lots of different things in school, some of which we liked, some of which we didn’t. Are there any authors that you’ve grown to love because you were introduced to them in your English Lit class? On the contrary, are there any you hate because you were forced to read them? Did you ever go back to try them again?

I had to read The Catcher in the Rye three times in school. I still loathe that book.

The first time I read it was in middle school, seventh grade, I think. (I had the same English teacher for seventh and eighth grade, so I get those years mixed up in my memory all the time.) I didn’t understand it and was scandalized by the profanity, the running away, the drinking, and the presence of a prostitute. Poor little Lindsay!

The second time I read it was in my junior year of high school. I understood it more that time, but I still didn’t like it. The next year, I remember doing a group presentation with my boyfriend at the time, a mutual friend of ours, and perhaps someone else. I was a counselor running a group therapy session, and we had written the script so that each of my participants was a different recognizable literary character. We made one sound like Holden Caulfield. That was tricky because none of us were disaffected 50’s New York prep school boys.

The third time I read it was in college, in my adolescent literature class. I almost enjoyed it because I understood it the best, but my dislike was deep-seated at that point.

On the positive side, I’m not sure I would have ever read Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Giver if not for school, and I loved those, so there’s that.

Required reading can be a good thing! Do you agree?

Check out other answers at Booking Through Thursday.

tl;dr September 2014

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I have not posted much this month. As I said in my (belated) 7QT yesterday, I am working on posting more often. This is an example of such a post. (It helps that this is supposed to be short anyway.)

  • I filled in at accounts payable for two weeks in addition to doing my regular job, and I will never do that again.
  • My brother (who is on his college football team) got redshirted. He’s bummed, but I am optimistic. Since he’s smart enough to get a degree without football, he can work on the degree first and focus on football later. Win-win!
  • My birthday was better than I expected.
  • I’m still single.
  • My Psalms Bible study ended, but since I missed two weeks for happy hour, I arranged to catch up on my own.
  • I found a new hairstylist. I love her!
  • My church young adult group is disbanding. More on that later.

My last tl;dr was just a few weeks ago, so that’s what’s really new. How about you?

Check out more tl;dr’s at Call Her Happy.

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