Monthly Archives: July, 2015

7 Quick Takes on Spanish, Not Checking My Inbox, and Online Discipleship

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— 1 —

Since Apple doesn’t seem to appreciate free Internet radio anymore, my short love affair with their stations is over. I have gone back to my college sweetheart, Pandora. I have not used my account since 2007, but my Switchfoot station was still seeded perfectly. I set up another one with “A Dios le Pido” by Juanes. My college roommate referred to him as “the Latin Justin Timberlake,” and I have been practicing my Spanish with the Bible lately, so that seemed appropriate.

The verdict?

— 2 —

Back in June, I signed up for Stever Robbins’s “Taming Your Tasks and To-Do’s” webinar. It was tricky to watch during my lunch break, especially because it went over time, but I enjoyed it so much that I rewatched the whole thing later to make sure I’d absorbed it all. And I took notes. You can watch the replay, too, at that link, in exchange for your email address. The live discussion window was also archived. Watch for my comments!

Absolutely the best takeway was building a habit of checking my to-do list first. Like many people, I once lived in my inbox. When I was ready for a new task, I would check my Facebook notifications or Gmail and work from there. Bad idea. Now, I check my to-do list first. By focusing on tasks I’ve already identified, clarified, and usually scheduled, I make sure that I’m not just putting out fires all day. I still get to Inbox Zero, and I complete more of the tasks on my list. Win-win!

— 3 —

Participating in the Not Alone Series and putting my blog URL on my Christmas cards has made me highly cognizant of the amount of personal information I share online. I don’t have kids to worry about embarrassing when they’re older. I don’t have a husband who’s involved in my blog-worthy stories. (Or non-blog-worthy stories. It’s the husband part that’s missing. Point of clarification.)

I read a post at No Sidebar about being yourself online, and it underscores my philosophy quite well for a blog I just discovered this month. On the one hand, if I don’t share my heart and my loves (hence the title) with you, I’m not really letting you get to know me at all. On the other hand, there are parts of my life I would never blog about. Some of them have a significant effect on my life and relationships, and if I know you in real life, I’ll tell you about them offline. Here, though, is a vast space. The Internet never forgets.

Blog with discretion, but don’t be afraid to share who you really are.

— 4 —

I had a color-finding appointment with my Mary Kay consultant last Saturday. Since Pure Fashion, I’ve made it a goal to learn to wear makeup like a grown woman. This is a good candidate my One True Red Lipstick. If only I’d had a fancier place to wear it than the grocery store.

— 5 —

I went to Theology on Tap this month mostly to support Cris as a longtime Austin CNM contributor. He and another Chris spoke about digital discipleship. Having been a blogger for over ten years, on Facebook since 2005, and slowly learning how to best use Instagram and Twitter, I was interested in they strategies they would offer about how to live my faith online.

Their main point was that the Christian life is all about relationships: God’s with us, and ours with others who are also beloved by God and hopefully loving God in return. Thus, sometimes our best response to something online is to take it offline. If you don’t know someone well enough to see them in person (or even text them), maybe you don’t know them well enough to “defend the faith” to them or “call them out” on something. At the end of the day, you want everyone to know that even if you disagree with them, you still love them. Christ loves us even when we least deserve it (which is basically always).

— 6 —

That is all that’s on my mind right now, so perhaps there are really only five takes today. This balances out my usual not-so-quick takes, right?

— 7 —

See you next time!


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

tl;dr July 2015

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In retrospect, I definitely should have posted this on Thursday when there was no prompt for Booking Through Thursday. In reality, today is a good day. If my posting frequency and/or length has you overwhelmed, here is the short version of my life and blogging over the past month:

I have trip to see Hairspray at Zilker Park coming up. If the weather continues to be this mild (mid-90’s instead of our usual string of 100’s), hopefully my mood will stay up, too!


Check out other lightning-fast recaps at Call Her Happy.

What I Wore Sunday: Blouses Aren’t Just for Work

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I’m only one day late this week! As I mentioned last week, I have decided to switch into full summer mode. If I’d used my time more wisely, I could have even painted my toenails and worn my cork wedges this week. That will have to wait for August, though, since I’m lectoring the next two Sundays. As for this week, it’s good that I love these flats.

What I Wore Sunday, July 12

Blouse: Target
Skirt: random mall store from ages ago
Shoes: Famous Footwear
Earrings (barely visible): so old I got them in Germany; we moved back in 2001

Facebook has been my demon these last few weeks. Closing the tab on my desktop browser was a good idea, but that pesky little app icon still draws me in like a Siren. I forced myself to focus and thus had some extra time to consider my outfit yesterday. Laundry day was Saturday, so I had all my button-downs available. For some reason, I rarely wear those to church, although I wear them to work all the time. I like the pattern on this one (can you see the almost-grays?), and the sleeves are too short anyway, so it’s perfect for rolling up.

This skirt doesn’t transition to winter, so I needed to get some mileage out of it. I love the kick-length ruffle at the bottom. I don’t love that it is linen. It wrinkles as soon as I look at it. I wasn’t running quite early enough to get a photo before Mass, so just imagine that it’s not wrinkled in the middle there.

Fr. Associate Pastor started his homily with a joke about homilies being too long. This was strange because (a) it didn’t make sense as a joke, and (b) his homilies are always on the short side anyway. His main point was about preaching, though, so at least it was relevant. He identified a common thread in the readings about rejected preaching. In the Old Testament, the king basically evicts Amos for telling him things he doesn’t want to hear, but Amos has to stick with it because God calls him out of a life of shepherding and tree-trimming in order to rouse the people to repentance. St. Paul is rejected everywhere all the time. Jesus gives the apostles instructions to preach wherever they arrive and move on when they are turned away but not to stop preaching. Prophets are rejected widely, but they must still preach the truth. They have been sent by God to bring a message of justice and mercy.

We’re all prophets by virtue of our baptism, of course. Prophets rarely predict the future. They spend most of their time feeling unworthy, calling people to repentance, and being scorned and mocked for their efforts. The political climate feels a lot like that these days, but it’s in our birthright not to give up. So don’t give up. Truth is truth even when everyone denies it.


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

7 Quick Takes on Marriage and Reading Super Old Links

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— 1 —

Even though I wrote about the Humanum colloquium for Austin CNM last fall, right after #Synod14 ended, I didn’t get around to watching the video series until last week. It seemed like the right time.

Wow! I was pleasantly stunned. They are all made with extremely high production value, beautiful cinematography, and with an eye to showing the cultural, religious, and geographical diversity of one man–one woman marriage supporters. Not every cause has a reach that wide. I was thrown a bit by needing to use the subtitles; the spoken languages are English, Spanish, and French. I don’t speak French, but everything else seemed to be translated accurately.

My favorites were Part 4, A Hidden Sweetness: The Power of Marriage Amid Hardship and Part 5, Challenge & Hope for a New Generation. Hope is my favorite virtue. I highly recommend the entire series. Watch the trailer below and learn more at the Humanum website.

— 2 —

I try to stay out of politics most of the time. This is one of those other times. If you’re feeling bummed about the political shift on marriage finally making it to the whole U.S., consider these points:

  • It was inevitable. Civil marriage does not have to be intended for a lifetime or open to children, so the progression of logic means it does not have to be restricted to one man and one woman. That’s not the truth about marriage, but it’s completely consistent with the State’s trajectory.
  • Supreme Court decisions have been overturned in the past. Without Brown vs. Board of Education, we’d still be living under Plessy v. Ferguson, and many of you reading this might not even know me.
  • Roe v. Wade was handed down over forty years ago, and the pro-life protest movement against that has not stopped. Abortion is legal, but plenty of people don’t like that and continue to speak out against it publicly.
  • Scripture warned us that this would happen: “Because zeal for your house consumes me, I am scorned by those who scorn you.” (Psalm 69:9) Also, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10–12)

— 3 —

On to lighter content! As a blogger, teacher, and writer in general, I think a lot about copyright and fair use. Images are critically important to blogging today, but you can’t just display anything you can right-click and download. Teachers have a wider rein, but there are limits. I wouldn’t want my writing to be misused or passed off as someone else’s, but every blogger loves being linked to and quoted. As I watch dance videos, I get frustrated by the ones that have been muted due to copyright claims. That goes as far as having the instructional/educational portions with no music silenced so as to be unusable. There is much to think about.

The grammar-loving part of my heart led me to subscribe to the Chicago Manual of Style’s monthly newsletter answering up-to-the-minute, real-life questions. They also do a style- or writing-related interview each month. This month’s was all about copyright law and what “fair use” actually means. It’s one of the most intelligent, realistic discussions of copyright I’ve ever seen. If you’re a blogger or you’ve ever posted a YouTube video with music you didn’t create yourself, you need to read it.

— 4 —

One of my projects for the year is to resolve my Internet bookmark storage problem. I’m much more likely to just search for something when I need it, but when I find gems (or need to store a link I keep forgetting), I want to have that accessible everywhere. Thus, browser-based bookmarks are a no-go. When Delicious started being passed around from owner to owner, I jumped ship to Google Bookmarks. I don’t use them much, and I already use a ton of Google apps anyway, so it seemed like a solid choice.

After Google Reader’s demise, though, I get wary of using any product that isn’t being actively developed. I switched from Google Tasks to Wunderlist, and that went spectacularly well. (No sarcasm; it was legitimately life-changing.) I was considering Pinboard until they switched to an annual fee. I don’t know if I’m willing to pay annually for something I don’t use very often anyway. We shall see.

— 5 —

In the meantime, I don’t want to bother exporting links I don’t need, or tags that aren’t useful (my technique in the past was pretty scattershot), or dead links. So I made a plan to go through them all systematically.

I bookmarked with Delicious really actively when I was in college and then almost not at all after that. That means I’m sifting through links today that I saved when I was in my teens. Some are bewildering. “Why did I even bookmark that?” is a common mental refrain right now. A lot of them are dead, so that makes weeding easier.

I’ve found more than one link to sites hosted at GeoCities. I had a site at GeoCities way back before Yahoo! bought it; that’s how long I’ve been online, so to speak. GeoCities shut down in 2009, yet I still had links to it. Yikes!

— 6 —

Dance class last night was delightful. I accidentally made eye contact with my instructor when he was looking for a demo partner, so of course he picked me. Rookie mistake! I’m a teacher; I know better. Never make eye contact if you don’t want to be called on. I managed not to get too tangled up, although either I stepped on his foot or I put mine in the wrong place and he stepped on me. There was stepping-on. But no falling—win!

I also noticed that I’m starting to recognize people in my class. I’m pretty recognizable, though, so maybe it’s just me. It is still weird having almost no interaction with the women, but none of them lead, and neither do I. I struck up a decent quick chat before class. Baby steps.

— 7 —

I get a bunch of Notre Dame Alumni Association newsletters, which I skim. One of them this week had an announcement of a research project connecting science and virtue that just won a huge grant. Science gets connected to ethics and philosophy all the time, but virtue is a completely new angle. I’m excited to hear what they come up with!


For more Quick Takes this week, visit A Knotted Life.

“You Were Here Once, Too”: Guest Post at Waltzing in Beauty

Tuesday Talk

Nothing new here today, but do hop over to my lovely friend Christina’s blog. She recently got married and has set up a whole month of marriage-themed posts, called “What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married: Reflections and Advice Celebrating Marriage.” It’s also part of her new co-hosting gig with the Tuesday Talk link-up.

She asked me to contribute from a single lady’s perspective (story of my life), and I opted to mainly share the wisdom of others. The lovely ladies of the Not Alone Series make extensive cameos, as do a few wise words from Verily. I offered my own commentary as well. It’s rather text-heavy for her blog, but what can I say? I’m a word girl.

Here’s a teaser:

I’m not married, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about marriage. As a married woman, you know the most about exactly one marriage: yours. I personally used to do marriage prep (for other couples, not for myself), so I actually know much more than most never-married people. You can still talk to me about your marriage (in a totally appropriate way). I’m still the same listening ear I was after your last first date. Give me hope that what I want is worth waiting for. I’ll help you stick it out when the going gets tough.

Read the rest at Waltzing in Beauty.

What I Wore Sunday: Accidentally Preppy

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I missed having long weekends when I was in ministry. Working on Sundays will do that. Now, I cherish them much more, but they still seem too short. Let’s hope we can all hang on through those five-day weeks until September! In the meantime, I decided to go all-out with the summer clothes for church yesterday.

What I Wore Sunday, July 6

Polo: Aeropostale
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes: Roxy by Quicksilver, from Marshalls

It felt like a light-colored skirt sort of day, so I went with that feeling. I had also finally, finally managed to get ready on schedule, so I had plenty of time to consider my wardrobe instead of grabbing the first workable items. This skirt is super old, so it is greatly faded. It started out as a much brighter blue and green. I love the way it fits, though, so I can’t let it go. It’s just the right length for church, and it is fitted around the hips before it flares out with those nice pleats. I usually wear tops that hit around my hips to help balance out the width, so the skirt works well with almost every shirt I own.

I don’t know if I’ve ever actually worn these shoes to church before. They’re really comfortable. I originally got them to go with my Hipster Pocahontas costume, but I’ve been surprised at how well the neutral color and casual cut goes with other things I wear. As I was headed out the door, I realized how accidentally preppy I looked… but that makes sense. I buy most of my clothes at Old Navy already.

I haven’t been paying quite as much attention, but I think Fr. Pastor has been celebrating our Sunday evening Mass more often. It feels like it. At any rate, he did this week, and I greatly enjoyed his homily. I love any homily that connects the non-Psalm readings into a single theme. They’re designed that way. (I almost faint when I hear the homilist reference the Psalm, too!)

Fr. Pastor said that the overarching message of this week’s readings was to stick to the story. In the first reading, God instructs Ezekiel to stick to the story (the basic prophet’s message of “repent now”), even when people don’t listen. St. Paul reveals that he is sticking to the story (Jesus died and rose to save us) despite the thorn in his side. Jesus himself sticks to the story (he is the Son of God who has come to saves us) even when he can barely perform any miracles in his hometown. The people of Nazareth are sticking to the story that Jesus is nothing special, but they’re not our role models.

He also worked in reminders that the Catholic Church has been sticking to the story about the sanctity of all human life and the truth of marriage even as the rest of the world has incrementally changed its story. Neither of our pastors has been direct, but I’m wise enough to pick up on their indirectness, and I like and appreciate it. Giving a homily can’t be easy. It must be trickier still to balance Scriptural explication, practical applications, and timeliness. Bravo, pastors. Bravo.


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

Running Slowly Up the Ramp (Review: “UnSouled”)

It takes incredible skill to be a master storyteller. After Unwind and even UnWholly, I would have easily put Neal Shusterman on that list. I read UnSouled, though, so I’m withholding final judgment for now. I’m not as encouraged to keep reading, but I’m glad I did. I have to push through to the end, just like Connor, Risa, and Lev.

Spoilers for Unwind and UnSouled ahead.

The story picks up right after UnWholly. After the destruction of the Graveyard and the dramatic execution of Starkey’s stork mutiny, our main characters are scattered once again. Risa has betrayed Proactive Citizenry but made it out alive—and walking. Connor and Lev are on their own, now running from parts pirate Nelson and making their way toward Sonia and toward the whole truth. Starkey and the storks are embarking on a plan to make him a hero no matter what the cost. The politics are heating up in the background, making the unwinding of teenagers seem like a mere prelude to a much bigger scheme. Camus Comprix is finding slow acceptance in the world and discovering who he was really made to be, whether he likes it or not. Before long, their paths once again converge as they head toward the climax of their journeys and the saga.

"It never ceases to amaze [him] how far society will go to protect the children it loves and to discard the ones it doesn't." —Unsouled, by Neal Shusterman

Read the rest (and find out whether I liked it!) at Austin CNM.

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