Monthly Archives: January, 2015

7 Quick Takes on Not Getting Hit By a Car, My Credit Report, Or Ignorance

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— 1 —

My neighbor almost ran me over yesterday.

We have central mail delivery units in my neighborhood: those big banks of mailboxes instead of the kind that go on your curb or on the house. Mine is pretty close to my house, so I usually park in my driveway and walk down there to get the mail. There’s a small street to cross, and there isn’t much traffic, but I live on the main vein into the neighborhood, so I always keep my eyes peeled for cars that aren’t expecting pedestrians. As my mother always says, if you step off the curb in front of a car doing 80 because “you have the right of way,” it’s your own fault that you get hit.

This wasn’t my fault, though.

It was dark when I got home yesterday, but the rain had slowed to a sprinkle, so I took my chances and went for the mail. My next-door neighbor (who I’ve met in the daytime and like just fine) was going for his mail, too, walking about ten seconds ahead of me. My across-the-street neighbor had pulled over next to the mailboxes, on the wrong side of the street, to get his mail, so he was climbing back into his pickup truck just as I set out. I kept an eye on the truck. I always stay vigilant. Maybe the other car didn’t signal, or you had the right of way, but if you get hit, your car’s going in the shop, too.

And if you get mowed down on foot, you’ll be in the hospital.

The truck-driving neighbor got back into his truck, and I saw his reverse lights come on. I thought, “Is he seriously going to back his truck all the way to his house?” The truck started moving, so, yes. I kept my eyes on him. He was going way too fast: too fast for a neighborhood street, too fast for after dark, and too fast in reverse. I had already started to cross the street at the corner when he started backing up, and my fast mental physics made me realize that, since he probably wasn’t looking, he was probably going to hit me.

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I drew a picture for you visual-spatial types. Click for full size.

I picked up my pace and half-speed-walked, half-skipped onto the curb. The truck driver, still in reverse, whipped around the corner backwards and stopped on a dime. I could hear the music from his truck, so it’s possible that his window was open, but I decided not to turn around. I heard him pull toward his house, this time forwards and (coincidentally?) on the right side of the street. I just kept walking.

After I got my mail, I went back to my house.

— 2 —

Stories like that make me so angry, even when they don’t happen to me. It only takes a moment or an inch for a near-miss to become a news story. What if I hadn’t looked half a block down the street I wasn’t crossing? What if I expected him to follow traffic laws? What if I had been walking a tiny bit slower (which is possible, because I walk pretty fast)? What if I hadn’t picked up my pace enough? What if I had been a child?

It’s a sad state when I have to guard myself that much against the foolish actions of other people. And now I really don’t like that neighbor.

— 3 —

Today is the last day to vote (hopefully for me) in the Sheenazing Awards! Click the photo of Venerable Fulton Sheen below for Bonnie’s blog post, which includes a link to the ballot and a list of other fantastic bloggers. I apologize now for the bloat in your preferred RSS reader and/or email inbox.

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— 4 —

If you’re into personal finance at all, now is a great time to pull a free copy of your credit report. The federal government requires all three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to provide you with one free copy of your credit report each year. Each agency takes requests separately, though, so you can adopt my strategy and get one now, one in May, and one in October, or you can get all three right now.

The site to use is AnnualCreditReport.com. There are other sites with similar names that are not operated by the federal government or not free. This one is legit. You will have to provide your SSN and answer a few tough questions about your credit history. That makes sure it’s you. They’re so detailed that I actually had to look up the answer to one of the questions.

Also note that a credit report and a credit score are two different things. Your report shows all your credit cards (open and closed), all your loans (open and closed), mortgages, hard inquiries, etc. If anything is missing or incorrect, you have the right to contact the credit reporting agency to fix it. Your score, on the other hand, is a magical, mysterious number that I am almost convinced is produced out of thin air by dragons. (Can you tell I’m enjoying having fantasy back in my life?) If you have any tips on keeping track of that for free, I’m all ears.

— 5 —

When I went to request my credit report, I was so glad to see that AnnualCreditReport.com was finally redesigned. I planned last fall to start requesting my credit report quarterly. I wasn’t planning on getting any new credit, so I figured I could wait. I did go visit the site, though, and it was so sad. The design was stuck in 2005. It did not look authentic at all, but it was.

It is long past time to acknowledge that good website design is essential for 21st century business, and as with most things, if you want the good stuff, you will have to pay accordingly. Just do it.

— 6 —

I finally took down my Christmas tree and mini-Nativity scene on the 13th. Part of my delay was a desire to keep the Christmas spirit alive through the whole liturgical season. Part was laziness. Part was having a fake tree. (Would we have the Annual Christmas Tree Fight if fake trees didn’t exist?)

I’m torn over my cards, though. I don’t use the top of that bookshelf for much. It makes me feel so happy and loved to still have them up, although it is annoying to walk by too fast and have several topple over in the backdraft.

Maybe I need a prayer ritual like the Whitaker Family’s. It seems such a shame to go back to my boring, bare bookshelf (well, it has knickknacks), but Christmas is definitely over. Lent is less than one month away. Can I use them for Lent somehow? Any ideas?

— 7 —

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Today is my favorite day of 9 Days for Life so far. The intercession is “for an end to the use of the death penalty in our country.” I have half a mind to make a sign for the March for Life tomorrow that says, “Criminals have human dignity and the right to life, too. Please don’t kill them, Governor Abbot!” I have never been a fan of rally signs, though. You always get tired of them before it’s over. I’ll think about it.

I also enjoyed today’s act of reparation. I chose to use “Read about a Church teaching you don’t understand in the Catechism” as my motivation to read The Battle of Prayer, which Fr. Mike Schmitz recommended in his homily seven years ago but I heard in the podcast archives last week. It was enlightening. In such a short space, it covers spiritual drought, distraction, acedia (laziness), and our inclination to ask for a response to our petitions but not to our praise or thanksgiving. It’s good stuff.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

I Pick My Own Required Reading

Booking Through Thursday seems to be having a bit of a hiccup these past few weeks, but Thursday is always about books here at Lindsay Loves, so a bookish post you shall receive.

This month’s NaBloPoMo is full of prompts about habits. There are some gems there. Coincidentally, last Thursday’s prompt was about books.

If you had to read the same book year after year after year, what would it be?

One of the reasons I struggle with some of the BTT prompts is that they ask for your favorite book about X or your favorite X genre of book. My favorites cluster heavily around YA dystopia and Catholicism/Christianity, so I have to write about the same books all the time. If not for my Goodreads account, I might not even realize how narrow my book choices have become since I started reviewing at Austin CNM (and since I finished school, where a semester’s worth of reading is always on a single theme). This prompt is delightfully open-ended.

I’m going to turn the requirement into an opportunity, though. Going through my “off-site shelf” made me realize how much I’ve missed fantasy. Most of the books I saved from Goodwill were fantasy novels. My mom gave me a Harry Potter calendar for Christmas this year. I hung it above my desk at work, so I get a reminder of my Harry Potter love five days a week. And since I finally finished watching my way through Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu, I switched to Merlin, so I get to see magic and knights and such all the time. I forgot how much I love fantasy.

My erudite side wants to say that I’d read To Kill a Mockingbird every year if I could, because meditating on the human spirit like that is good for everyone. (If you’re only going to write one book, it had better be an incredible one.) My Catholic side clearly wants to say it would be the Bible, but I have yet to make it through after eight solid years now. All the way every year is a ridiculous goal to set for myself.

But my book-loving heart says Harry Potter. It has been far too long since I have made my way through the series. Life as a cord-cutter deprives me even of Harry Potter weekends on ABC Family. I miss Harry Potter, and I want those stories back in my life, so if I had to re-read something every year, it would be all seven books, in order, in a row. It wouldn’t be an obligation, though. It would be a joyous opportunity.

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Not Alone Series: Children and Babies

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Do you have children in your life? What is your relationship with them like? Do you have godchildren, and how do you form a relationship with them? Does having children in (or not in) your day-to-day life make you feel happy, wistful, or wary (of having your own someday)?

I suggested this week’s prompt! The two-minute rule served me well: I had an idea in response to Jen’s call for prompts and wrote it on Facebook right away, and now I’m NAS famous! (That’s a good kind of famous, if you couldn’t tell.)

After I suggested the prompt, Jen gave it a title when she posted it in the list of upcoming topics. However, she calls babies “babes,” so the topic became “Children and Babes.” I thought it was a typo at first, but then I realized it was intentional. I see babes and think “attractive men,” not babies! Then again, as I pointed out to her, finding the “good-looking grown man” kind of “babe” could be the first step toward getting the infant kind!

That’s enough backstory and exclamation points for now.

I like kids. Many of my friends have had babies in the last few months (They’re all around the country, so either there’s nothing in the water or it is everywhere. I am drowning in chubby baby cheeks on my Facebook wall. It’s glorious. And liking kids, books, and helping people is what initially led me to become a teacher. I don’t teach full-time anymore, but I still have a teacher’s heart.

Loving kids is different when they’re not your kids, though. These days, I don’t even have students, so I don’t spend much time around children at all. I know that’s not good for me, because I hope to have children of my own someday. Borrowing other people’s kids (a.k.a. teaching, babysitting, volunteering, etc.) is a great way to get some practice. I only have Pure Fashion once a month, so I don’t get to know those girls very well, but at least I get some exposure (and, you know, help with the work).

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His baptism day was one of the best days of *my* life, too!

Right now, there’s only one child in my life: my godson, James. He is just over two years old and is growing like a weed. At least I think he is growing like a weed. I haven’t seen him in person in a long, long time, because his mom is in the military, so they move a lot. (My military brat experience was atypical.) I treat him like family, though, sending presents for his birthday and Christmas and praying for him in my intercessions all the time. I would love to spend time with him, but unless the distance or the cost of travel goes way down, prayers and presents will have to substitute for real presence.

As you might guess from the way I phrased the prompt, I have mixed feelings about my current relationship with the children and babies in my life. Friends with kids are different. I love my friends the same, but they have a higher, needier priority than ever before. (It’s not bad that babies need you! They just take a lot of time and energy to raise.) I still spend some one-on-one time with married friends, but it’s not the same. That’s okay. Kids take more energy than spouses, though, and although I accept and support that, it still makes me sad. I am so happy for my friends who have kids, but I miss having the depth of friendship we once did. Sometimes the only way to enrich friendships with parenting friends is to have kids of your own for theirs to play with!

For me, children are all about hope for the future. Their lives are a sign from God that the world should continue. Their presence in the lives of my parenting friends is a great joy. Having any of my own is just a dream.


Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting! Check out other responses on their blogs.

Help Me Find Out If I’m Sheenazing!

That title might make it sound like I want you to watch a movie or read a book and tell me how it is, but that’s not what I’m getting at.

When I got to work on Monday morning, I found one astonishing email in my inbox. (Well, only one was astonishing. I had more than one email in there, of course.) It was from Bonnie Engstrom of A Knotted Life, telling me that I’ve been nominated for a Sheenazing Award!

Thus, my astonishment stemmed from two points. First, I guess I’m so good about guarding my email address that I made it impossible to find, yet my work email was easier to figure out. That’s a little scary. Second, I was nominated for a Sheenazing Award!

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This is the kind of award that I always thought went to Conversion Diary (which is not nominated because Jen won too recently), or to Catholic All Year and Team Whitaker (which I guess must have won three years ago). It’s named after Venerable Fulton Sheen, who (apart from allegedly curing Bonnie Engstrom’s son from stillbirth) was known for using contemporary media to attract people to Catholicism. You can watch his TV show on EWTN or catch clips on YouTube. He was pretty incredible. Those blogs I listed are likewise incredible.

As it turns out, there is a category for Best Underappreciated Blog, and that’s where I was nominated! I’ve been really proud of my blogging over the last year or so, but the idea that three separate people who are not me nominated me is particularly touching. I don’t know who you are, but thank you for reading and for thinking my blog is good enough that it ought to be more appreciated. The nomination alone has made my blogging year. It’s already in my sidebar, see?

After I picked myself up off the floor from the astonishment (and, you know, left work for the day), I saw that my buddies Elizabeth (of Super Swell Times), Kim (of Bear Wrongs Patiently), and Jen (of Jumping in Puddles) were also nominated. Wow! We may not be the big time, but I know how to pick my blog friends. I also spotted Laura of This Felicitous Life, who is not quite one of my besties yet. She is a reader, though, and we are Goodreads friends, so it’s only a matter of time.

I would be ungrateful if I didn’t ask you go to vote. The ballot and rules are here at A Knotted Life, and voting ends Friday, January 23. If nothing else, check out the list of nominees. They are golden!

The Catholic blogosphere is such a great place to be, and it’s a blessing that I can be part of it. Grace and blessings to all the nominees! (Luck is for pagans.)

Feminized, Feminine, or Human? (A Response to Cardinal Burke on the “Catholic Man-Crisis”)

It’s another hot season for high-ranking church officials making comments to the media. You may have heard about Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke’s recent assignment to patron of the Order of Malta. I will refrain from commenting on that because I don’t really know the story. I do know how to read an interview, though, so when a friend invited me to read the interview the cardinal gave to the New Emangelization blog, I approached it with an open yet discerning mind.

Having read the full interview, I think many readers’ instant reactions of shock and anger clouded them to the good that is there.

"Men who abuse women are not true men, but false men who have violated their own manly character by being abusive to women." —Cardinal Burke

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

What I Wore Sunday: Scarf to Skirt

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I had Pure Fashion again today. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to come home before Mass, or what exactly would be involved in Spa Day, so this was my best (fast) effort. (I was running behind again. Gotta fix that.)

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I should have gone with boots.

Earrings and necklace (set): Charming Charlie
Top: Target
Skirt: pashmina
Tights: Target
Shoes: Payless

Yes, that is a long pashmina that I am wearing as a skirt. My friend brought it back from Rome as a gift for being in her wedding, and after a little Googling, I made it into much more than a neck accessory. Check out the pin below for instructions.



After the St. Vincent de Paul Store Volunteer Day in December, the models get pampered at Spa Day in January. We brought together a group of delightful volunteer hair stylists and Mary Kay consultants to bring out the girls’ natural, youthful beauty. We asked them to dress themselves in modern, cute, modest clothing, and our volunteer photographer took head shots and full-length photos for the program (and potential purchasing). All the girls looked gorgeous, and their outfits were fantastic.

It was a long day, though. I knew there was the possibility of getting a turn in hair and makeup and doing head shots, so I dashed out the door in a decent (but not ideal) outfit and tossed my makeup in a bag. At the spa, I spent the first hour and a half serving as second photo assistant. It was much quieter than the spa side, so I wasn’t complaining. When I switched jobs with the other young adult volunteer, some of the models were still waiting for makeup, and the hairstylists were halfway out the door, so I left my hair straight and put on my own makeup. I was so glad I’d packed it! After the models finished their photos, I sat for mine.

I had a bit of an existential crisis, though. When I told the photographer I was next, she asked if I was going to go have my hair and makeup done. At that point, I had my standard just-washed-and-straightened hairstyle and my regular makeup on (as you see in my photos every week). I was as ready as I was going to be. That’s not the first time someone has thought I was not wearing makeup when I was.

But what does that mean? Am I so good at putting on makeup that it looks real natural as opposed to made-up natural, or are they thinking I would look better if I’d just go put some makeup on? Do any other ladies have this kind of cosmetic existential crisis?

I did have the photos done, though. As with every other professional photo shoot I’ve ever been in, the poses that felt completely awkward looked the best. In retrospect, I should have worn the too-loose boots, but I don’t really need pro full-length photos. If the head shot is good, I might be able to update my profile photo for the first time in a year! (I’m very picky about photos of myself.)

After spa fun, I went straight to Mass (something else I was glad I’d planned for). Fr. Pastor showed up again. I was glad to see him, because we usually don’t, but just like on Pure Fashion’s Mall Day, I was so hungry that my low blood sugar made me wish for Fr. Associate Pastor’s shorter homilies.

Fr. Pastor’s homily was good, though, even if it was long. He focused on the first reading, which is one of my favorites. “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” is a great Christian mantra. He spoke about waking up, literally and figuratively, to the voice of God calling out to us in the middle of the night. There was more to it than that, but again, low blood sugar. I need to remember to pack a Kind bar on Pure Fashion days.

How was your Sunday? Did you love today’s readings as much as I did?


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Fine Linen and Purple.

7 Quick Takes on Twitter, Water, and Churchy Things

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— 1 —

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Twitter is the best way to have actual (Internet) contact with actual (Catholic) celebrities? I would have joined sooner.

Look, Fr. Mike Schmitz responded to my dejected tweet about his podcast not working!

Then, when I got my latest review copy from Ave Maria Press, I tweeted about it and got this enthusiastic response from Dawn Eden!

Dawn reached out to me through my blog after I reviewed the original edition of The Thrill of the Chaste. It turns out that she went to school with my old friend Fr. Leo (who I knew before he was a priest). She was my initial connection to Ave Maria Press, and I’ve had a great relationship with the publisher and the author since.

The world is so small.

— 2 —

My mom has a habit of giving us odd gifts at Christmastime. This year, in addition to a flower-print hammer/screwdriver combo, she gave me this unique Zipster Zebra water bottle.

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I forgot to add something for scale. Sorry! It’s about the size of an Arizona Iced Tea… or a Four Loko. It’s sparked some interesting conversations around the office, believe me. The best result, though, is that this bottle alone has helped me drink more water. It’s the opacity. Since I can’t see how much is left, and the double walls add more weight than I’m used to, I often find myself sadly facing an empty bottle. Then I get more water and I’m happy again. Who knew changing my tool was the key to healthy hydration?

— 3 —

I mentioned in the February part of my year in review that my diocese is developing a pastoral plan. After the SurveyMonkey and the listening sessions, they presented to the steering committee. (I’m no fool; I know they have listened but will make all the decisions. I feel the same way about this that I feel about the pastoral survey before last fall’s synod: I’m glad they asked at all!)

I’ve been trying to recap the survey results since they came out in May. The report should be released in about six weeks, so this seems like as good a time as any.

It’s a happy PDF, I must say. The respondents were 20% under age 30, almost 75% have at least one college degree, 87% go to Mass every week, and just over 50% say their faith is the most important thing in their life, all of which is fantastic (and, full disclosure: include me). Priests identify preparing people to witness (i.e. actively evangelize) as something to emphasize. Most of the news is really good news. Good job, Austin!

— 4 —

I was surprised and delighted to see that the pastoral plan survey identified preparing to witness as a potential area of emphasis for parishes. I absolutely agree.

I was in a FOCUS Bible study when I was in undergrad. They didn’t have the apologetics study yet, but we did talk about preparing a witness, a.k.a. giving your testimony. It’s not a common habit among Catholics—although we do love conversion stories—but ask evangelicals for their testimony and brace yourself for the passion!

A testimony/witness is the story of how you became a Christian (or a Catholic in particular), when you met Jesus, or how you came back. The mechanics of preparing a testimony is too much for one Quick Take, but I will say that when I started preparing mine, it not only enriched my faith, it built my confidence. I can explain how I came to faith in less than 30 seconds (the elevator pitch) or less than 5 minutes (the “tell me your story”). I’m still polishing my 30-minute pitch.

Do you have a testimony? If you have an elevator pitch, please share it in the comments!

— 5 —

<a href=”href=”http://9daysforlife.com”>usccb-9daysforlife

Tomorrow (Saturday) begins the Nine Days for Life novena sponsored by the USCCB. Sign up by email, join the Facebook event, or download the app to receive a prayer, reflection, and act of reparation for the days surrounding the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. It’s well-written, actually doable for regular people, and not just anti-abortion (despite what the image says).

That last part is one of my pet peeves about the pro-life movement. We’ve made great strides toward showing love for and tangibly helping women and couples instead of just their babies. Now we need to also remember prisoners in danger of execution; people who are elderly, ill, or have a disability who face coercion to euthanasia; and all people who don’t feel genuinely loved simply because they exist. You shouldn’t have to earn the respect of others to stay alive.

It’s not the March Against Abortion; it’s the March for Life.

— 6 —

I didn’t do much this week, at least not in terms of calendar events. Spirit & Truth started up again on Monday. It was so good to see everyone, to hear them share their blessings, and to be with Jesus.

I went out for social hour afterwards, so I stayed out past my bedtime. That’s a literal bedtime; I have a phone/calendar alarm for it, and it went off when I took out my phone to record paying my check in the YNAB app. Staying up and out so late meant I was drained the next day, so I skipped the bigger happy hour I’d planned to attend.

I waver right on the line between introversion and extroversion. Sometimes my introvert side pops out. My Monday-to-Tuesday shuffle showed that it was out in full force this week. To recover, I stayed in and started watching my way through Merlin on Hulu.

— 7 —

I use my work IT guy to help manage my personal computing life. He emails us to alert us to Microsoft’s Update Tuesday. I use that as the reminder to do my computer maintenance and cleaning at home. I cleared off my computer desktop on impulse tonight, and I feel so free! I only have two icons: the Recycle Bin and the drop converter for PrimoPDF. Ahh.

(I highly recommend PrimoPDF, by the way. It’s free and works like Adobe Acrobat to convert documents to PDF. I use it all the time to “print” from the Internet.)

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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