Monthly Archives: February, 2017

Sunday Style: With Another Cameo By Mr. Man

Whew! I had a whirlwind couple of weeks and weekends. My saving grace is that, thanks to GTD, I’ve gotten into a rhythm of reviewing and looking forward through my life so that (ideally) nothing slips through the cracks. Thus, I remembered to take my outfit photos even though I’ve been missing the link-up like that was my plan all along.

So here’s a little catch-up.

February 19

Sunday Style for February 19

Top and skirt: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: Target
Earrings: Charming Charlie

I did a little outfit experimenting this week. I wear the top half of this outfit to work all the time. The skirt is too fancy for work, though, so I don’t think I’ve ever thought to put these pieces together for church before. It worked fine.

Fr. Pastor started his homily by identifying the theme of the day’s readings as avoiding revenge, because taking an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is not allowed anymore, and it shouldn’t have been allowed at all. I struggle with that particular angle because that makes it sound as though the OT laws allowing eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth justice were wrong. But those laws came from God. Is God’s law wrong?

The better explanation I’ve heard is that “an eye for an eye” was supposed to be a limiting factor. Without that law, if someone put out your eye, you could kill them in retribution. “An eye for an eye” leveled the playing field from the brutality that would ensue otherwise.

Under the new covenant, which Jesus is describing, the limiting factor of just “an eye for an eye” is now raised to better fit the law of love. Now, if someone puts your eye out, you can’t take out their eye anymore. You can’t take anything. Now, you have to give even more than what was taken from you.

Now, the old law allowing someone to strike you on just one cheek is passing away. Now, you have to rise above by turning the other cheek and letting them hit that one, too—which is against the old law. Jesus is raising the stakes for the new and eternal covenant, and he insists that we rise to the challenge.

Back to Fr. Pastor. He also told an odd story about a plane that was crashing due to the passengers’ squabbling along political lines. (I know; I don’t get it either). Finally finding a uniting factor (not wanting to die), they ask the priest on board to pray for them. He tells them to take up the collection first. I think the collection part was probably supposed to be the punchline, but no one even chuckled. And it was an especially awkward story because we real people were just about to gather the collection.

Overall, I found myself very reflective over the “holy” and “perfect” commands in the readings. Those are bold charges, but we also heard in the psalm that God is kind and merciful as we struggle to be ever more holy and perfect. That is comforting.

February 26

Sunday Style for February 26

Me and Mr. Man outside of St. Patrick Cathedral in Ft. Worth.

Dress and leggings: Target
Sweater and shoes: Old Navy
Earrings: Charming Charlie
Necklace: holy medals
Mass buddy: Mr. Man

On Friday, it was so hot that I genuinely considered turning on the A/C in my house. I think it reached 90! The Texas wildflowers have sprouted! So I was quite miffed that the weekend got cool and windy. I was headed out of town, so I couldn’t just dress based on the current weather fifteen minutes before I walked out the door.

I’ve learned not to rely on the weather to be the same from morning to afternoon, let alone over the weekend, so I had to choose outfit items that I could modify in case of sudden warmth or chill. My leggings are cotton, so they breathe well enough to keep me from overheating if it’s technically too warm for them (whereas tights don’t work like that). My sweater sleeves can be rolled up in a pinch. As it was, I ended up needing to not only wear a coat but also zip it up.

But I was happy in general, because I got to see Mr. Man again, this time in Ft. Worth. We went to St. Patrick Cathedral downtown, which is a beautiful church with one of the best cantors I’ve heard in a long time (and my parish in Austin has really good cantors).

The priest’s message was to not fear anxiety or let it keep us from trusting in God. Now that I think about it, anxiety is a kind of fear, so that’s definitely counterproductive. There is enough actual fear to deal with without manufacturing it ourselves.

It reminded me of my approach to my work. I am a paper-pusher. My job requires me to be just one cog in a big machine. I stick to spinning my own belts, so to speak, as quickly and efficiently as I can without rushing or making a ton of mistakes. I don’t worry about whether the other cogs are spinning their belts fast enough or what might be coming up on my belt. I have plenty of belt to spin as I go along.

If only I could apply that attitude to the rest of my life!

He also highlighted that the first reading has one of the few female images of God, as a mother comforting her child, whom she could never forget. Through all three readings, we are called to trust that God is watching out for us despite what happens, even when it seems like he might have forgotten about us, and that causes us to worry. This does not, however, mean that our lives will be worry-free. No guarantees there.

Musically, we sang “I heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” which is one of my favorites, for the procession, and then we had something with same tune for the recession. It was unusual. I can’t decide whether I liked that bookending.

I definitely enjoyed the use of Eucharistic Prayer IV. Ever since I started studying covenant theology, that prayer has been blown wide open. Eucharistic Prayer I is sometimes required, but when it’s not, priests usually use II or III because they are much shorter. So IV is never required, and thus it is always a gift to hear it. It’s my favorite. And so is my Mass buddy.

For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Sunday Style: Summer in February

It felt like summer last weekend! I don’t care how many fellow Austinites try to tell me that the weather always has dramatic swings; it has never been this warm at this time of year in the seven years I’ve lived here. It is obviously the end of the world.

Sunday Style for February 12

Dress: Marshall’s
Top: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Earrings: gift
Necklace: holy medals

I’m delighted that this dress is a little bit roomy since I started losing weight through dance. I never stopped wearing it in the interim, but it got rather tight. It’s one of my favorites.

Oh, and for weather reference, yesterday morning never rose above 50. The heat kicked back on last night, and it was in the mid-40s this morning. On Saturday, it was so warm that I wore shorts to do my chores and errands. Shorts! In February! I used to live on a tropical island practically on the equator; this is not that island.

Deacon G started his homily with a brief summary of Gospel’s main points: Jesus came to fulfill the law, marriage is permanent, and even anger violates the law of love.

He told a story about a time when his actual brother (not just Scripture’s figurative “brother”) tried to embarrass him and his family but had to abandon the trick at the last moment. When Deacon G found out, he didn’t speak to his brother for several years. The anger felt justified, but really it just hurt him instead of his brother.

Jesus tells us to seek forgiveness before we approach the altar, he concluded, because we can’t ask rightly God to forgive us when we refuse to forgive others.

Fr. Associate Pastor has a good enough command of English pronunciation to celebrate Mass, but he doesn’t usually stray far from the pre-written prayers. I was, therefore, very encouraged by the special scolding he gave us before the final blessing. It took effort to say!

The topic? Being on time for Mass. There is a clock at the back of the church, so he easily sees when people arrive up to 20 minutes late. In the congregation’s defense, Mass always starts 5 minutes late due to all the announcements, and the people who most needed the scolding had also left early. I took it as a good reminder to continue to be on time for church things even when other people generally turn up late. I’m in charge of me, and I’m only in charge of me.

For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Booking Through Thursday: Required Reading

This is a blast from the past! BTT started up again recently, but the topics were pretty lackluster. This one, however, is quite interesting.

What books have you been required to read that you ended up loving?

Like many young women do, I adore Pride and Prejudice. I had never even seen an adaptation before it was assigned for our summer reading before senior year Brit Lit, so I checked out a copy from the library. Then I got hooked, so I went to the bookstore to buy my own paperback.

Let’s take a moment to mourn the process of going to the bookstore to purchase actual books. My book churn rate decreased dramatically when I started college, and then I was a reviewer for years, so I could probably list my last ten physical book purchases from memory.

P&P was a big deal. I even took notes in it! Yes, they were just brackets, written in pencil, but it took a while before I got comfortable writing in books. It also took a while before I started reading books that were complex enough to require extensive marginalia. (I’m looking at you, Orthodoxy.)

I’ve also greatly enjoyed:

And some nonfiction books I think should count because we were basically assigned the whole thing:

What assigned reading have you enjoyed?

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Sunday Style: Let’s Wear Lace!

This was an interesting church week. I walked out of church unclear about this Gospel and got two much clearer answers from a total of three sources.

Here’s what I wore:

Sunday Style for February 5

"Mary, mother of Jesus, be a mother to me now."

Top: Target
Skirt: Marshall’s
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: My Daily Grace at Etsy

We no longer have even extended seasons here; they now change day by day. Forty-degree swings within a single day are becoming common this year. I decided to go for almost-bare legs and wear this skirt. Can you see the lace panels? That’s my favorite feature, although it makes the skirt hard to wash. I generally don’t wear lace because I find it itchy, but the lining solves that problem here.

I went to church hoping to hear mostly about the Gospel. I have never understood the “salt of the Earth” part—ever. “He’s a real good guy; salt of the Earth kind of folks.” What? After all my years of churchgoing, I get the point, and I get the “light of the world” part, but I’ve never been able to wrap my head around that particular metaphor.

Mass started with the lector reading a letter from our bishop regarding the president’s executive order on immigration. Was it a good letter? Yes. Was it surprising at all? No. Was it way too long to be read before Mass, especially considering that “read this at Mass” instructions are often ignored? Oh, yes. And then we got the regular too-long group of announcements before Mass could finally begin, ten minutes late.

Fr. Pastor started his homily with the story of St. Blaise. It was not his feast day. He continued on to talk about enjoying the Super Bowl regardless of who wins, not letting your team’s loss get you down, applauding everyone’s effort, etc. That is a good lesson. Then, he described the plans for our parish’s milestone anniversary. That’s nice, but it didn’t have anything to do with the readings. I started struggling at that point.

Finally, he got around to talking about Jesus, but it was so buried that, when I was taking notes after Mass, I couldn’t actually remember what he said! He concluded with a message about Catholic Schools Week (we got one last week, too), followed by a blessing of extraordinary ministers.

Oof. With the delayed start, we had been at Mass for exactly an hour (I checked my watch because I was tired) when we got to the Sign of Peace. We still had to do Communion! If I was restless, anyone who brought little kids was probably ready to run out the door!

Mass ended without a recession. Instead, the priest and deacon started blessing throats individually as we were singing. It was awkward. I opted out, tired from all the extra cruft we’d already had.

But Jesus came, and after weeks of deciding to abstain because I have a lingering cough that I’m pretty sure is just allergies, I received the Blood of Christ again. Mr. Man, Bishop Robert Barron, and Fr. Mike Schmitz helped me understand the salt thing. So all is well.

For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Sunday Style: I Only Wear It Like This

Michael has a point. I am at church every Wednesday for Bible study, and it’s an excellent way to stay in a churchy mood between Sundays. Our Protestant and evangelical brethren figured that out a long time ago. So, even though I probably could squeeze in this post on Sundays, I will stick to publishing them mid- and late-week.

Sunday Style for January 29

Dress and blouse: Old Navy
Shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: holy medals
Earrings: Charming Charlie

We haven’t had quite the same intense weather swings as last week, but I still have to wear a coat on my drive to work and roll down the window on my way home. We’re keeping Austin weird.

This outfit is also an anomaly. I love the way this sheath dress fits, but it’s ponte knit, so it’s too heavy to wear when it’s warm. (I tried once.) I keep this blouse specifically to wear like this with this dress. The sleeves are too short, so I have to roll them up, and the fit is too tight with all the buttons done, but look at it! It’s an exception to my otherwise remixable wardrobe.

We had Msgr. Old Pastor for Mass again. He started by saying there are over 90 beatitudes in the Bible, including the Ten Commandments, but I have no idea what that means because he neglected to define “beatitude.” I only remember those details because it was so strange!

He did, however, make one awesome comment. To be “poor in spirit,” he said, is to “recognize your utter dependence on God.” He said he was quoting someone but didn’t say who. That definitely helps my understanding of what poverty of spirit means. It makes sense. We can only really connect with God when we realize how hopelessly lost we are without him. It’s when we think we can save ourselves that we lose the way.

He ended his homily with the story of Dr. Tom Dooley‘s humanitarian work in Asia. It was a nice story, but I couldn’t connect it to anything else he said.

Bringing this post full circle, my Bible study is covering salvation history, and after 17 weeks in the Old Testament, we finally started the New Testament this week. So I saw the Beatitudes again. Thanks, Holy Spirit.

For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Currently: February 2017

Currently at Lindsay Loves

I saw an excellent meme on Facebook that described my feelings about January: “I’m starting my year over in February. January was a free trial month.”

Here’s what I am currently…

Packing: My new YETI bottle for tea at work. My company gives us a logo-branded item as a Christmas gift each year. The committee that’s in charge of recommending what to get has latched onto the YETI brand of coolers. They’re also made in Austin; Austinites love local stuff. This year, we all got YETI Rambler bottles. I was reluctant to use mine at first because it’s all metal and has a screw-on lid (as opposed to the sippy kind), but I tried it anyway. Wow! I’m amazed at how well it holds heat, even with the lid just placed on (to facilitate the aforementioned sipping).

I’ve even had to change the way I drink my tea. I used to use a normal travel mug (last year’s gift). I would leave the lid off at first, to let it cool to a drinkable temperature, because I detest scalded taste buds. Then, I drank at a casual pace until the tea started to get cold, at which point I semi-chugged the rest. I was usually done by about 10:30 a.m., leaving me time to drink water before lunch. (Yes, I have an extremely detailed workday hydration plan. If you know me, that is not surprising.) But the YETI doesn’t let my tea cool off once that lid’s on, so I have to keep an eye on the clock to make sure I drink it before lunch. Even after two hours, my tea is still hot enough to fog up my glasses!

This is not a sponsored post, but if you have the chance, get a YETI.

Jonesing: For pico de gallo. I’m always looking for ways to get more vegetables into my diet without requiring more brainpower than I really want to spend on food. My most recent solution is to go for the pico. When I get a salad at my favorite Mexican restaurant before Bible study each week, I dump some complimentary pico on it. It adds a great kick. I also started buying a snack-size container of pico to go with the quesadilla or two I eat each week. (#Texas) It’s not a ton of tomato, but it’s more than zero. Gotta start somewhere.

Texting: About the same amount as usual, which is not a lot. I am right in that generational sweet spot between T9 texting (when you had to press the physical “7” button on your phone four times to type the letter “S” once) and unlimited texting on smartphones with autocorrect. So I’ve never been a big texter. I also don’t feel the obligation to respond to texts immediately (or emails, for that matter). Make the machines work for you, I say!

Reading: All the things, always. Now that I am no longer reviewing regularly for ATX Catholic, I’m back to reading on my own schedule. Somehow, I let my Pocket get alarmingly full, so I need to clear that out. I reached my goal of reading four non-religious nonfiction books last year, but I forgot to read much fiction, so I’m trying to rebalance that. Not needing to read for my column should help. Any recommendations? I like productivity, personal finance, Christian/Catholic interest, and YA.

Hearting: Mr. Man, same as last year. We’ve been dating for kind of a long time at this point. We’ve been through a lot and have learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and our relationship. We still have so much left to learn and know! I much prefer adult romantic relationships to the younger kind, though. They come with different life baggage (like the need to pay bills in addition to funding dating), but we’re not still waiting for huge life changes like moving out or getting a job.

Recapping: January

  • I made no resolutions, so I kept them all!
  • I went to the Texas Rally for Life.
  • I survived the glaucoma test when I went for my annual eye exam.

So what’s new with you? What are you jonesing for currently?

Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. This month’s guest co-host is Erin of Teal and Polka Dots. Won’t you join us?

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