Monthly Archives: April, 2016

7 Quick Takes on Time Tracking, Spam, and Some Fun Stuff

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

I had another event-filled weekend. I am grateful to have friends that invite me to do things with them, but it makes my inner introvert very tired. (I dance back and forth over the center line on the introvert–extrovert spectrum, and yes, that is a thing.) I did my laundry, went grocery shopping, played cards with friends, went to trivia, attended Mass at a different parish and time than usual, went to a baby shower, and Skyped with Mr. Man. That was a lot for one weekend. I was very tired this week.

— 2 —

It’s long, but this prayer disposition advice from Origen is pretty sweet:

It seems to me that the person who is about to pray should withdraw for a little and prepare himself, and so become more attentive and active for the whole of his prayer. He should cast away all temptation and troubling thoughts and remind himself, so far as he is able, of the Majesty whom he approaches, and that it is impious to approach Him carelessly, sluggishly, and disdainfully; and he should put away all extraneous things.

This is how he should come to prayer: stretching out his soul, as it were, instead of his hands; straining his mind toward God instead of his eyes; raising his governing reason from the ground and standing it before the Lord of all instead of standing. All malice toward any one of those who seem to have wronged him he should put away as far as anyone would wish God to put away His malice toward him, if he had wronged and sinned against many of his neighbours or had done anything whatever he was conscious of being against right reason.

— 3 —

Time tracking went very well. As I learned when I got on a budget, awareness is key. Laura Vanderkam compares it to dieting. Everyone knows that the first step to changing your diet (I don’t think of diets as short-term, temporary things) is to write down everything you eat. The first step to getting on a budget is to write down every penny you spend. Similarly, the first step to using your time better is to write down what you actually do every hour. Knowing that I would have to write down “spent 15 minutes scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter before I got around to making dinner” made me very conscious of limiting that time to 15 minutes. I’ve never thought of 15 minutes as a useful chunk of time to conceptualize, but it totally is!

I also had to face the black-and-white proof that my sleep schedule is ridiculous. I knew that before, but I didn’t have empirical evidence of it. I’m looking forward to doing a complete analysis.

— 4 —

Occasionally, I get overloaded by missed spam comments here on the blog. Thursday, I had about ten in one day! I’m grateful for the tools that allow me to mark them as spam immediately, but man, is that annoying.

A further note on spam: Don’t mark email as spam if you just don’t want it. Someone might actually want to receive that newsletter, and when you mark it as spam, the system learns from that, and it affects everyone. Every email newsletter is required by law to have a way you can unsubscribe from it. It’s usually a link towards the bottom. Use that. For a fast way to remove yourself from email newsletters en masse, search your email archive for the word “unsubscribe.”

— 5 —

I was exhausted after finishing my review of Dawn Eden’s new book for ATX Catholic, to point where I got that tired, caffeine-stretched feeling behind my eyes. It was a serious struggle, but I managed to get in a tiny bit of extra sleep in the days since. It helped. It helped a lot, and I hate that it helped so much. I wanted to get more stuff done in that time, not just sleep through it!

It was probably the influence of tiny amounts of extra sleep combined with the awareness of time tracking that gave me a burst of mid-week productivity. I got a long-deferred item checked off my list (finishing my notes from last fall’s hip-hop WCS workshop and my workshops at Free Day of Dance), and I looked into the new YNAB. I also got some reading done from Pocket. I was really glad I have the systems in place that let me use that time on things I’d already decided I wanted to do.

— 6 —

Oh, and which account favorited that is NBD:

The official Jeopardy! account favorited my tweet!

Just kidding; it’s a BD.

— 7 —

I don’t have a lot to say this week, so go look at this corgi. Bonus points if you find my comment.

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

What I Wore Sunday: Probably Too Warm

What I Wore Sunday, at Fine Linen and Purple

Once again, my outfit did double-duty. I should probably start acquiring items that are more likely to last a whole day.

What I Wore Sunday, April 24

Blouse and skirt: Target
Shoes: Payless
Earrings: old craft fair purchase, only highlighted because Mr. Man requested more photos of my earrings
Ring: purchased from the same craft fair, come to think of it
Flower clip: HEB (my grocery store)

I had a different blouse at first, but then I switched to this one. In retrospect, that was a mistake. It was warm enough out for summer clothes; I should probably switch out my winter clothes for the year. As I was about to dash out the door for Mass, I glanced in the mirror and decided my outfit felt a little blah. I grabbed the flower clip as a little lagniappe, and it wound up being my favorite part of the outfit.

I went to Mass at a different parish than usual and at a much earlier time because I had a baby shower in the afternoon. I had to leave last week’s baptism party early(-ish) to make it to the Mass I usually attend, and I didn’t want to repeat that this week. At this point, I’ve been to enough showers to know that you can never really guess when they’ll be over. If I can alleviate social stress with something as small as early(-ish) Mass attendance, I’ll take it.

Fr. Pastor of That Parish started his homily by sharing that we are inclined to tell stories about great men. Primarily, that’s Jesus Christ. We also tell stories about the great men (and women) who followed that great man, though, such as St. John Paul II. Both men showed the power of bringing glory out of great suffering, and both men proclaimed the truth of the Gospel with love despite enduring suffering. It was pretty motivational, I must say, and balanced out the one million pre-Mass announcements. There were so many that I actually lost focus and stopped paying attention!

After Mass, I caught up with a local friend I hadn’t seen yet this calendar year! So many of my old group of friends married each other, moved away, and had babies that those of us remaining don’t have the same frequency of connection. He had just popped into my head the day before, which was uncanny. That Holy Spirit is such a kidder.

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

Not Alone Series: Favorite Love Stories


What is your favorite love story? How did your favorite real-life couple meet? Which fictional love stories (from books, movies, plays, or songs) make your heart soar? What’s your favorite love story from the Bible?

I do love Jesus, so my favorite “how we met” story is my friend Sabrina’s. A coworker at a Catholic non-profit introduced her to St. Raphael. He happens to be the patron of happy meetings and of single people seeking spouses. She began praying a novena to St. Raphael in late September, leading up the Feast of the Archangels. That week, she met a nice young man at a Catholic young adult happy hour. They talked through more than one happy hour. By the next year’s novena (I think; might have been two years), they were dating, and at the end of the third (fourth?) year of Sabrina’s praying the novena, they got married. I love beautiful, holy love stories: the one between Sabrina and her husband, and the one between Sabrina and St. Raphael!

As far as fiction goes, where life gets un-messy by the last frame or last page, I am a sucker for Pride & Prejudice. I love the book, of course. I inherited the 5-hour BBC film adaptation, which is still the definitive version. I did not hate the Keira Knightley version. I mostly liked it. My college roommate had Bride and Prejudice running on repeat in our apartment. And if you have never seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, set aside some time for the YouTube black hole. It premiered just over four years ago (!), and scenes from it are still rotating as my laptop’s desktop background. It may not be the most chaste thing to have people kissing on my screen basically all day, but I can have one vice, right?

If you didn’t get distracted by that masterpiece, here’s a plug for my favorite Biblical love story: Tobias and Sarah. A perk of Catholicism is that we still have the Book of Tobit. Sabrina’s main angelic man, St. Raphael, appears in this book. The short, romance-oriented version is that young Tobias is sent to a foreign country to find a wife. He decides to marry Sarah, not worrying about her seven previous husbands, who were all killed by a demon on their wedding night. Biblical heroes have no fear. He figures out the way to avert death by demon: to take his wife out of pure love, not out of lust. He leads her in prayer before they go to bed, and they both wake up alive the next morning. And they live happily ever after, Bible-style.

Next week’s topic: Summer Plans

Summer is coming, and this time of year brings with it many outdoor community events and opportunities to volunteer and meet people in our neighborhoods/communities. We have lots of opportunities for self-growth, networking, and for just having fun. What are some of the community events in your area? How do you hope to volunteer or participate in these events? Let’s share ideas!

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Redemption Through Reflection (Review: “Remembering God’s Mercy”)

We all have memories of things we’d rather forget. Some things are embarrassing. Some are painful. Some are traumatic. Dawn Eden is no stranger to the latter, as she revealed in her previous books about chaste love (The Thrill of the Chaste and its recent Catholic edition) and about healing sexual wounds with the help of the saints. Many times, we are tempted to avoid even thinking about terrible things we have experienced. For those who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), just not thinking about it is not an option. Rather than try to avoid these memories, Eden encourages readers to redeem their pain. The One who redeemed our fallen human race can take our painful memories and turn them into opportunities for purification. With some help from St. Ignatius of Loyola, Pope Francis, and a few other heavenly witnesses, Eden offers Remembering God’s Mercy, a rich guide to healing memories and opening ourselves up to the grace of God.


Public domain image from Pixabay.

Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

7 Quick Takes on Clothing Storage, Cord-Cutting, and Talking to Men

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

I had a modest conversion in college—that is to say, I started dressing modestly, not that I had a small conversion instead of a big one. (I had a big one, too.) My style habits weren’t particularly awful, but I didn’t do much to express my faith through my wardrobe. I remember, though, the way boys used to look at me when I wore clothes that were cut too low or too high. I didn’t want that kind of attention anymore. So I stopped dressing like that.

I didn’t get rid of all my clothes, though, and even now, I don’t necessarily refuse to buy immodest clothes. I just figure out a way to make them work. If you flip through my What I Wore Sunday posts, you will notice the abundance of undershirts, tank tops, and sweaters. I don’t just wear them for dimension and color.

Because of this, I especially appreciated a recent post from The Chastity Project about how to hack your wardrobe for modesty. I have a solid foot of closet rod space dedicated to cardigans and bolero jackets, plus a row of undershirts and camisoles in my t-shirt drawer, as evidence of my commitment. It’s not an easy way to live, but I believe it helps me grow in holiness.

— 2 —

Yes, that was a row of shirts. I fold my t-shirts like this guy does:

And then I file them vertically in a drawer. I can see everything I have at once, and I can fit much more into a single drawer. I might not have kids, but I do have organizing tips galore. #notamomblog #stillawesome #thanksPinterest

— 3 —

I have been a cord-cutter for several years now. I watch everything on Hulu, but the episodes aren’t available forever. (That would be a terrible business model.) Hulu helpfully emails me when episodes are set to expire in a week so I can watch while they’re still free.

I took a break from Hulu while most of my shows were on winter hiatus. When they came back, though, the fall episodes started to expire. That was when I realized a side effect of cord-cutting: I have no idea when episodes actually air.

I had to unfollow everything on Facebook so I would stop seeing spoilers, although I am not sure they still count as spoilers after the original air date. I only know when a hiatus starts because episodes stop popping up in my Hulu queue. And I only see a preview of the next episode when I intentionally seek it out. It’s a far cry from the days of split-screen credits showing clips from an “all-new” episode “in two weeks!” I can’t decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It sure makes cliffhangers more dramatic.

Also, is there such a thing as a partially-new TV episode? Would that be a clip show?

— 4 —

I’m still working on this whole Year of Mercy thing. If nothing else, the word “mercy” jumps out at me way more than it used to. I was listening to an episode of the Caritas podcast when I heard a particularly apt differentiation between mercy and justice. “I had to throw myself on the mercy of God,” said Heather Renshaw, “because if I threw myself on the justice of God, I’d be gone.”

— 5 —

It was a pretty quiet week life-wise. I attended the baptism of the first child of some good friends, so my Sunday church outfit did double-duty. It rained a lot. I didn’t hear about any flood deaths this time, but there was flooding, as usual. It’s strange to live in a town that was in a drought for years yet floods severely when it rains. Another pair of friends got engaged.

Mr. Man has asked why I don’t write day-in-the-life posts. I assume he means the kind you’d find on mom blogs. The thing is, when you don’t have kids, there is a lot less going on in your day-to-day. I do plenty; I have a life. I just don’t have Constant Kid Hijinks to report on.

— 6 —

Having a boyfriend, especially a long-distance one, has introduced a challenge I forgot about. An article in Verily this week about how not to lead men on reminded me of that challenge.

I like meeting new people in general. Having friends makes singleness sting less, and you never know who’ll introduce you to the love of your life. (As my friend Malarie says, one man leads to more.) Part of the reason I got a life in the first place was that I wanted to get married. I distinctly remember reading The Thrill of the Chaste (the original edition; my review is here) sitting alone in my apartment. Dawn Eden literally called out her readers for doing that exact thing and said, “Go to a coffee shop and read there. There are no single men in your apartment.” I don’t think that’s a direct quotation, but that’s the gist of it. So I started going out to where single men are, and where single women are, and married people, and really any other humans.

Since I’ve been taken, but at a distance, I still meet new people quite often, and some of them are single men who do not know I have a boyfriend. But I’m no less friendly than I was before. So now, I have to figure out how to balance my natural friendliness, my desire to build community, and my faithfulness to my boyfriend. When you’ve been flirting for a long time, it can be hard to find the line between flirting and friendliness again. A girl can only name-drop her boyfriend so much.

— 7 —

I’m trying time tracking this week. I first heard Laura Vanderkam describe her work on a podcast; I think it was an episode of The Productivity Show. She studied time journals and found that people generally have more time than they think and spend it in different ways than they think they do. She’s written two books about it, and she has a regular column for Verily.

Thanks to GTD, I’ve got a handle on what I’m getting done and what I need to do. It still feels like I don’t have enough time to do it all, though. The solution is to figure out where my time is actually going. I downloaded her template for a time tracking log, put it into Google Drive, and started filling it in. It is sobering to account for every fifteen minutes. (It’s also a little tedious, but I am persnickety anyway.) I will let you know how it goes.

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

What I Wore Sunday: Not Sick of Shepherds

What I Wore Sunday, at Fine Linen and Purple

I usually look at what I wore previous weeks before choosing an outfit for Sunday. I clearly did not do that this week, because I had the same basic color scheme going on. It’s good that I love it.

What I Wore Sunday, April 17

Dress, shirt, skinny belt, and leggings: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Earrings: I think they’re the tiny hearts, but it’s been so long that I actually can’t remember

I wanted to take advantage of the slightly cooler weather and guard against the on-and-off thunderstorms a little bit. I hate going bare-legged when it’s raining. Wiping off your legs after you get to church is the worst. I also really like black, white, and red as a color combo (as evidenced by last week’s outfit). I wore this to my friend Victor’s son’s baptism and party in the early afternoon. Victor commented that black, white, and red is a color scheme evocative of racecars, so it attracts men. I’m pretty sure my man likes everything I wear. He understands that I want compliments or complete failure to notice. Criticisms will be referred to the Department of Not Having It.

We had Fr. Pastor, which meant we got a long, long homily. I was tired after dancing all night and getting up early for the baptism, so I definitely spaced out at least once. He started with a long, long explanation of the significance of sheep and shepherds, including other places in scripture where pastorship is equated with shepherding (Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep and tend his lambs; Peter himself exhorts pastors to watch over their flocks) and where God describes his people as sheep (the parable of the lost sheep). I got a little tired of sheep the way I got tired of fishermen last week.

There was one standout moment, though. He said, “You can reject being called a sheep, but you can’t reject the shepherd.” I thought that was pretty profound. It speaks to our participation in the work of salvation. We can choose not to follow the Lord, not to be numbered among his sheep. We can bristle at being equated with what is, unfortunately, not a smart animal. (“I know my dolphins, and my chimpanzees know me.” Not so much.) We cannot, however, do anything that makes God less our shepherd. We can refuse to be herded, but he’s still going to be shepherding. He’ll be ready to count us among his sheep when we’re ready to join the flock again.

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

Not Alone Series: Readiness


How ready do you think you are for your vocation? Are you ready to be committed to your vocation within the next year, or two years? That means being married (and maybe with a baby), taking religious vows, or telling people you’re not interested in marriage and plan to remain single for life. What do you still need to work on or change about yourself before you’re ready? Have you thought you were ready before? How have you become better prepared over time? Married ladies can chime in, too: how did you know it was the right time to get hitched?

Am I ready for marriage and kids? Maybe.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, that might come as a surprise. I talk about how much I wish I were married already basically all the time. I help host a link-up largely for women in that very situation! But one of the best things about my relationship with Mr. Man is that I’m no longer thinking in the abstract all the time. I have an actual, separate, complex human being in the equation. Real humans don’t work quite the same as theories.

I am glad to have the opportunity to practice some of my future-wife skills, though: budgeting, planning, communication, sticking to commitments. Holding my friends’ babies is fun in and of itself and for practice, God willing. My friend Austyn’s sweet son was clinging to me like a little monkey a few weeks ago. I like to tuck away advice about family (the husband-and-kids kind I don’t have, not the parents-and-siblings kind I do have), so I’m pretty well convinced that you never have enough money and you’re never ready. Based on those qualifications, I am 100% ready. Bring on the man, and bring on the babies!

The two-year timeline I wrote in the prompt is based on some advice I’ve encountered; I can’t remember where, but it was Catholic. (Who else is going to propose having a baby two years into marriage, right?) I went on my first date in high school and hit a severe dry spell after college, so I was never able to apply the advice, which is that you shouldn’t date unless you can see yourself married with a child within two years. If you asked me that today, though—do I feel ready based on those criteria?—I would say yes. Two years is both a long time and no time at all. I’m also getting older, so the baby part is less likely until I hit that post-35 fertility explosion.

I think the qualities I most need to develop before I’m ready for marriage are community and sacrifice. I’ve worked really hard over the years to become a better communicator, and I always keep my promises (despite being naturally indecisive), so I have those going for me. ACE (my grad school program) was essential in building my appreciation for life in community. I miss that a lot. The community I’ve found here in Austin is amazing, and now, so many of those friends have moved on into marriage and family life. It’s harder to stay connected, especially as I age. It’s harder to make new friends when I don’t have motherhood as a shared bond. I also find that, since I’ve been on my own for so long, it’s hard to find ways to genuinely and consistently sacrifice for the people I care about. Love demands sacrifice. I should probably get to work on that.

These are tough considerations for me. It’s definitely something I’m still thinking through. How about you, single friends? What do you need to work on before you become Mr.-and-Mrs.?

Next week’s topic: Favorite Love Stories

What is your favorite love story? How did your favorite real-life couple meet? Which fictional love stories (from books, movies, plays, or songs) make your heart soar? What’s your favorite love story from the Bible?

We’ll be back here at Lindsay Loves next week.

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