Monday, February 28, 2011

I love 1st graders! Week 16

I have been traveling for about two weeks at this point and I'm sorry to say I'm a little strapped for inspiration on this next post will explain some of that.

The major theme tonight was:

Greatest Commandment: 
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and love your neighbors as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)

As members of God's community, God's people we should treat everyone we meet with Love.

The thing that jumped out at me tonight was the major learning difference in first graders and tenth graders. I spent this weekend as a chaperon at a confirmation retreat for a local Catholic Church.

At one point tonight we made a chart of the talents that God gave us. We learned that we can use these talents to help and better others, like when we use our math skills to help someone who has questions. The chart was on the chalk board and the kids were bouncing to answer.

This weekend, because social norm ruled the cool factor, there was little bouncing. Sometimes it was like pulling teeth to get an answer out of these kids. I adored the weekend overall, but this stark difference in 9 years of school was loud tonight.

Conveniently, as I was reminded of this discrepancy in attitudes, I was also charged with teaching the first graders a valuable, pertinent lesson: Love everyone, even if they sit there, pretending to be grumpy. Love everyone, even if they are too cool to sing during praise and worship sessions. Love everyone, even if they are jumping up and down to answer your questions, though you've told them four times to sit on his or her bottom and wait patiently.

Simple? Yep. Not easy, but simple.

Friday, February 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 17

Click here to read the original post at

"Boys will be boys."

Personally, I think this is the worst phrase in the English language. It makes me want to say it with an annoyed voice with my finger turning my nose up to look like a pig snout, "Boys will be boyyyyyys."

Girls will be girls isn't a phrase because girls are expected to be ladies. Gentle ladies who don't tread on toes. I don't want to tread on toes, but why do we give boys the excuses that are tethered to this phrase?

Men and women are different. This is not a feminist rant. It's a rant because the phrase immediately recalls the social teaching that males are basically expected to lose their virginity before they are married because "boys will be boys." It also gives little boys an excuse to be terrors because "boys will be boys." NO! They should be human beings, children of God, brothers in Christ. They shouldn't get this kind of excuse.


I have been on more airplanes than I know. I love the subtleties of traveling like the cheap thinness of the printed boarding pass, the efforts to make miserable airport workers smile, and the attempt to speed my way through airport security like a pro.

But I still panic inside during take-off.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee...

Do you notice that whenever a TV show or movie features an unexpected pregnancy, the writers RARELY plot that the mother has an abortion? No, I don't think it's evidence of more pro-life writers making their way through Hollywood. These writers are only going for drama and a new life opens new responsibilities for their characters.

With the exception of Private Practice, which apparently makes pro-abortion (I'll go so far as to say anti-life because of euthanasia themes) episodes very frequently, TV shows tend to keep the babies. Even pro-choice, super-feminist Miranda chose life for her unexpected baby on Sex in the City.

Remember that these writers consider the alternative: "Can I write in an abortion without losing some of my audience?" or "If I write in an abortion, how will it affect my character?"

Even if the writer is pro-choice, he or she knows the reality is the character won't emerge from the clinic unscathed. Any bending to the pro-life movement (showing signs of depression, breast cancer, or emotional health issues) will be admitting too much.

Liesl, you'll love this (or you'll already know about it...). Jason Evert joined substitute host Patrick Madrid on Catholic Answers on Valentine's Day to talk about the book he and his wife wrote, How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul. I mentioned last week that I ordered this book and that I'd soon review it.

Their talk was very affirming (both of my book purchase and my faith in the need for more Theology of the Body in our society). You can listen to it here.

If you don't know about it already, visit their website, You can buy the hardback book for $24.95 today, or you can wait and buy an $80 case of 40 books (yep, $2/book) and give them out at will! What a great evangelism tool!

We need a word for...

Screenshot of a YouTube video
The successful delusion when you have convinced yourself you might actually meet a favorite music band. In my case: Boyce Avenue. To further the delusion, I'm sending them Rosary Army-style bracelets.

Someone, please slap me in the face.

I went to Las Vegas for work this week (yes, for work) and I have a lot of reasons to be grateful:
* I lost a total of $13, but I made up for it by ordering a couple free drinks.
(I don't own the rights)
* I have a spectacular boss and work team. We really are a work family.
* We stayed at the Venetian. Super swankified and well-rested, heck yes.
* Though I'm sure many of the women (and men) probably thought I looked like a librarian, I felt pretty darn classy. I tried my best to hold to Rebecca at Modestia's standards, but I know my fashion sense fell short. Modesty, however, stuck with me. Thanks, Rebecca!
* Patrick Madrid's book, 150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know, was a fantastic read on the trip to Vegas.
* Mass at the airport might be my new favorite location for Mass (excluding Vatican City) because it is so intimate and the community feels so specifically strong.
* Though my plane home was canceled because of a mechanical error, the good people of United put me on a plane a few hours late, put me in a really nice hotel (for 3 hours) and then flew me home at the crack of dawn. I'm also grateful for a bed to sleep in tonight at my new bedtime (6:45pm).

One more reason to be grateful:

Whatever whim that God sent through my heart/mind a few months ago that manifested itself into this blog has been grand a blessing on my life. I have met so many beautiful people through it, though I have not actually "met" them (yet). You know who you are.

If you want to make me even happier to be in this blog world, making new friends, email me. :D Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: 150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know

A few weeks ago I mentioned Patrick Madrid's book, 150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know (Servant Books, 2008), in a post detailing the species and diameter of wood wedged in my eye.
My webcam took this... pretty rough, eh?

The short version of this review: Madrid does an excellent job of placing 150 verses of Sacred Scripture in front of you and simply explaining the meaning and significance of the verses. He moves from Old to New Testament in each chapter, lest we forget the importance of our Jewish roots. Simply put, this book makes you hunger for reading the Bible more often.

The long review would be an extensive look at Scared Scripture itself, because, after all, that is what he's sharing. It is not a work of apologetics meant to defend the Faith but a small abridged Bible with commentary.

Madrid explicitly states in the introduction that A) he had a hard time leaving out some verses and B) this book only "scratches the surface" of what is available in Sacred Scripture. Catholics hear Scripture every time we celebrate the Mass, but most of us don't spend a lot of time reading the Bible on our own (guilty). We should try to change this.

Catholics have the advantage of hearing consistent teachings, as preserved by the Church and passed on from Jesus and His apostles. This means we can go to a Catholic Church in any state or country and hear the same Gospel and readings along with the teachings of the Catechism (presuming it is in a language we can understand).

This doesn't mean "that's it." That is not your only responsibility: there is a lot to be discovered (or rediscovered) in Jesus Christ in your life. How else can you pass on the passion for His Love than to learn more about it?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Google poetry: Gak squish

Simcha Fischer is hysterical. So funny, I am not going to defile the hilarity with an exclamation point. You'll just have to figure it out for yourself.

Every once in a while she gathers all the search engine entries that bring people to her blog and creates a poem. I'm a copy-cat. I hope you enjoy it:

Gak squish
god bless the man that can hold his own
hairy tush
alladin cartoon sex pics
fat dude
fat dude
fat dude

dan eldon journey
meet me in st louis spring

disney world aladdin stuff
"richmond accent" ugly
fat guy in bathing suit

The Jeweler's Shop
stupid kid laugh
dan eldon book pages

taj mahal prayer
white zombie eye sense
you're welcome in 6 languages
KAROL WOJTYLA The Jeweler's Shop
anne of green gables movie gilbert
priest with the eucharist
sign of the cross

one hundred years of solitude and the holy trinity

fat man in the bathtub
fat man in the bathtub

visual diaries
robin williams genie
fat computer guy

eye has not seen
dan eldon
dan eldon
dan eldon

startling the day arranged
dan eldon travel journal
church collecting candy for easter

robin williams as the genie in aladdin
magic eye taj mahal
fat computer guy

(I do not own the rights)

Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 16

Click here to read the original post at


Last week I told you about Patty and Phil who are looking to adopt and are printing their advertisements in many Virginia and university newspapers. Thank you, faithful readers, for clicking on the link to their website.

The attention provoked Patty, of Patty and Phil, to email me. In our exchange, it became even more clear how driven and called this couple is to adopt a new member of their practicing Catholic family (what are the odds?!). If you're new to this blog, check out Patty and Phil.

Even if you are not currently pregnant or in the situation that so many young women are in at this time, visiting the website will drive more traffic and may introduce this couple to the woman who can make their expanding family hopes come true.

You're reading this for a reason, so take it a step further and click.
Their daughter helped decorate the website!

My mom emailed this to me this week:

"Perhaps we, at times, see God as a kind of rival. Perhaps we too are blind to His signs, deaf to His words, because we believe that He puts limitations on our lives and does not allow us to dispose of our existence as we wish. When we see God in this way we end up feeling dissatisfied and discontented, because we do not allow ourselves to be guided by the One Who is the foundation of all things, We must remove all idea of rivalry from our minds and hearts, the idea that giving space to God is a limit to the self. We must open ourselves to the certainty that God is omnipotent love which takes away nothing, which threatens nothing. Quite the contrary, He is the only One capable of offering us the chance to live a full life and to experience true joy." 
-Homily, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Vatican Basilica, 6 Jan 2011

Last Friday, my mom and I went to a fundraiser for the Catholic, all-girls school alma mater we share (I'm a third generation alumnae, whoop whoop!). It was fun and I enjoyed getting dressed up. I saw a lot of people I knew and met more that my mom grew up with in Catholic Richmond (it's a very small world and I'm related to half of it, making dating difficult).

There was a photo booth with a professional photographer snap*snap*snapping away. When he set up the picture (he put my mom on a little stool, I'm not that short), I thought he was going to make us do the classic prom picture with my back to my mom... thank goodness, he had more sense than that. 

Look at my beautiful mom! Yes, we got the "you could be sisters!" comment.

If this was 1951, I would probably be a female failure. Good thing it's not 1951... because I'm not a cook. I'd like to get better (and not because I'm a woman. Because I'm someone who eats food) and I love the idea of being creative with food. A GUY told me about a book, Ratios, that teaches you the basics of flavor combination and the chemistry behind cooking.

In our Monday CCD class, I told the kids that Jesus was arrested and one boy said, "No He wasn't!" I proceeded to tell him, essentially, "Yes, huh." 

I told them why He was arrested and that the people who arrested Him hurt Him and then hung Him on the cross. The one girl who is the source of MANY of my post catalysts says, "But that's really mean. Why did they do that?" It was the cutest, sweetest little thing I've ever seen. She was so concerned for Jesus and how unfairly He was treated. 

Basically, I told her that the people didn't believe Him and they didn't like what He was saying and she said, again, "But that's so mean. Just because they didn't like what He was saying?" 

This girl asks the best questions that bring up a lot of thoughts. Just because they didn't like what He was saying, they killed Him. And He went through with it. 

"We love because he first loved us." -1 John 4:19

I don't own the rights.
I bought Jason and Christalina Evert's new book, How to Find Your Soulmate, and I'll soon write a review. I trust these co-writers of my Theology of the Body textbook will do justice to the teachings of the Church. I'm interested in doing God's will, no matter what that is...

However, I'm very excited to hear the Evert's explanation of how women called to marriage can transcend this secular world and find who God knows is best for them.

After a Twitter conversation with the lovely Julie Robison on Wednesday, I determined for the 2,546,541st time in my life that I over think things routinely.

I talked to my wise sister, Christine, who told me to pray the Hail Holy Queen every time I'm starting to over think. "It is less familiar, so it will be less automatic than the Hail Mary," she said.

It will also be good to use an already existing prayer for these moments. Otherwise, my prayers sound more like, "MARY, WHAT THE HECK?! Help me!"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Theology of the Body, Week 5

Truth and freedom: this is the chapter I should turn to every time someone says, "You teach Theology of the What? Isn't that just a bunch of rules? Wouldn't you rather be free?"

I'm often tempted to write these TOB posts from a slightly secular perspective so as not to turn off any non-theist readers. If you will just bear with me, push through the little cartoon flags labeled "annoying" that pop up, it will be five to ten minutes of your life. The words won't bite.

We often confuse independence with freedom. We were created for freedom, true freedom that we get to choose because of the gift of free will. "It is for FREEDOM that Christ set you free." Galatians 5:1


Does freedom mean no rules? Are we free if we throw off every rule we can recall, ignore any guilt that creeps in (because it is just a result of a conservative society anyway, right?), ignore how often we lie to keep up the lifestyle we want to live, and call ourselves "liberated?"

If you believe in God or if you do not, I guarantee those guilt pangs crop up occasionally, faint as they may be. Maybe it happens when you change the bedsheets, maybe when you realize you saw that rushed trip to the store for condoms as an "emergency," or maybe it's when you finally have to sleep alone one night after several nights with your significant other or several insignificant others.

"Freedom is not the ability to do anything we want. Rather, freedom is the ability to live responsibly the truth of our relationships with God and with others." - JP2

I often hear the argument, "Wow, that's great. You're waiting for marriage, I admire that. I just don't believe it's right for me." Right for you versus right for me?

Okay, so if I walk up to you and slap you in the face for no reason and say, "It felt right to me," how does that argument hold up? If I hired a guy to come into your house while you're sitting at the breakfast table with a bowl of Frosted Flakes to tie you up and steal your flatscreen... it felt right to me, so you shouldn't have a problem with it. How is that argument sounding right now?

Objective truth exists. Sometimes it feels inconvenient to us, so we "change the rules" or throw them off all together.

In a speech he gave to college men, the Venerable John Paul II said:

"I feel that I must make God's Truth and will fit into my perspective, and my concern is whether or not they are convenient for me. If it is convenient or helpful to me, well and good, but if not, I refuse it and leave. There is the temptation to place myself above Christ, especially when he asks something of me. Maybe this temptation to follow our own inclinations and wishes to place ourselves beyond Christ is found particularly in the field of sexual morality because it is here that Christ makes demands on men."

It is so true that our society more often applies relative moralism to sexual topics than to anything like racism, murder, theft, etc. It extends to abortion, which abortion supporters say is not murder, perhaps because the baby in question is a result of a sexual act.

Deep in our hearts, there is a standard that sends out red flags and guilt. We try to ignore it because we worry following it is going to confine us or make us un-free.

The way to freedom is by desiring to do what is good. Your actions must line up with what is true in your heart. Your hearts must desire the good so the rest of our lives can be about doing what is good.

If freedom comes from desiring what is good and choosing it, happiness comes from those who do not need "the rules." Choose God above all else and your actions will lead you to happiness and freedom.

There is a reason you feel good after you help someone. When you use your free will to do what is good, you have tasted freedom. Attempt to release the internal constraints (selfishness, lust, pride, etc) that keep you from doing what is good. Train yourself in freedom.


Either you will control your passions or your passions will control you. Many of you may have heard the song that came out before I even knew what sex was, "Bad Touch" by Bloodhound Gang:

"You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals / So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel."

Uh, do I have to comment on that?

If you're upset while reading this post, if you're thinking "but it would be so hard not to have sex so that can't be right," if you're wondering why someone like me who is sitting on her high horse thinks they can tell you that you're stuffing down the guilt... ask yourself why it's upsetting you. Why does it bother you to read this post?

Is sacrifice worth it if freedom is the goal? Any fear we feel when thinking about controlling our passions may be a sign that our hearts are seeking true freedom.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I love 1st graders! Week 15

You know what happens to elementary school students on ValenTIME's Day? They eat a lot of sugar.

It was Halloween part II, but they were still very manageable. This week's topic was "God's family and my family," so we got to hear a lot of interesting comparisons:

* We all Love each other.
* We all go to church on Sunday.
* Mary and Joseph don't eat spaghetti anymore, but I do.
* Jesus doesn't wear shoes in heaven, but moms make you wear them.

The most jarring part about the lesson was learning our "faith words," matrimony and marriage. As I was reading out the simple sentences explaining that matrimony is what a man and a woman enter into when they love each other and want to commit to be together for the rest of their lives... I knew I was reading to a room half-filled with the products of divorce.
I don't own the rights

The statistics were better than I'd hoped, but I think three out of ten had divorced parents and they are still at the age that sharing this is just a fact. The emotional tire marks have been left, but I don't think they have processed them consciously yet.

Immediately I reverted to my semi-childish and certainly simplistic confusion about divorce. I understand that there are abusive situations and those are tough. I do not presume to understand divorce from a first-hand perspective.

HOWEVER, there have to be moments while a couple is dating or is engaged when the hesitant thoughts or red flags perk up, suggesting it is not right. "I am not really willing to commit to this person, for better or for worse."

As a puritan, I firmly believe sex plays a big role in keeping people on the path to marriage when it's not the right path for the couple. I also know that many people don't trust that they can find someone for whom they would not be settling. People do not want to be alone.

So they take a leap that was never meant for them. And now their kids are in my classroom and I have to teach them about this holy sacrament through a vocabulary word and a definition.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Manage your mannerisms

If this is your first post you've found on this blog, WELCOME! Please enjoy and consider subscribing to the RSS feed for more!

Middle school is God's preview for purgatory, in my humble opinion. Unless He meant it to be a taste of Hell, in which case: good job, God. It did the trick, I never want to go there.

During my time in Hell, I observed and people-watched so thoroughly that I created in my  mind a PhD dissertation outlining "How to Look Cool." I knew how "the popular kids" got to their thrones, I understood why it worked for them but not everyone, and I would attempt to implement some subtleties in my own life to stay under par and above water.

Pre-teen Elizabeth avoided subscribing to the big "popularizers" like boasting really low cut shirts, wearing expensive clothes, treating people poorly, and throwing myself at guys (the voices of whom, let's recall, were still changing). However, I would intentionally walk pigeon-toed.
(I don't own the rights)

I have no clue why, don't ask me, but this was a common trait among the popular girls: cute running sneakers, jeans, and a slightly deformed stride. I adopted it blindly.

It became a habit that I still have to correct consciously. Eleven-year-old Elizabeth fell so hard for the middle school message stating a self-conscious, cutesy way of walking would make her more valuable that her mark remains thirteen years later.

This mannerism sprung from a negative mindset, but everyday we can watch ourselves carryout helpful habits sprung from positive or necessary mindsets.

Those who have driven a manual car while sitting at a red light know that, with experience, the driver comes to know the exact moment to lift his or her foot off the clutch. You must teach yourself to pay attention, almost subconsciously, to the engine's queues and you adjust immediately.

Much like middle school, the first twenty hours behind the wheel of a stick-shift car tests your patience and knocks you down several pegs. These cars are meant to build humility sand castles around your wimpy "driving skills." Respect the clutch or the world will know what you've done.

We learn through our mistakes. In the manual car, no one can teach you to "know" the perfect time to shift; after some practice, your habits take over. In the decade following middle school, I looked down at my daily reminder of the futility of basing my happiness on how "the popular kids" see me.

Keep it smiley (I don't own the rights)
Make making good habits a habit. The simplest but most fruitful guideline is "Am I Loving if I do this?"

If I get angry at this telemarketer and take it out on her, am I Loving? If I decide I need to teach a lesson to the white BMW who cut me off, am I Loving? When my younger sibling is annoying me by acting exactly as I did when I was his or her age and I just want to squash it out of them, would that be Loving? If I change myself just to appear cooler to the mob of popularity on the other side of the lockers, am I Loving?

We are called to treat all as Christ would. This includes ourselves.

We encounter "Hell" in middle school, develop new wisdom and talents in everyday life, stumble over reasons to be eternally happy, and crash into reasons to feel inconsolably sad constantly over the course of a lifetime.

Keep one constant among all of the variables: make good habits that stick around when you most need to use them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 15

Click here to read the original post at
I'm proud to say that on Tuesday, someone from Halifax, Nova Scotia landed on my blog by searching for Gilbert Blythe.

I'm befuddled to report that someone else landed on my "A hairy tortoise?" post by searching for "hairy tush." Tsk, tsk, people.

(I don't own the rights)
This is 2011. I've been wearing glasses since 2004. I think it's about time I shovel out the cash for an alternative, so I'm getting contacts! I considered ordering some specialty contacts that blend in with the white of one's eye, excepting the pupil.

That would attract some attention.

I don't own the rights, God does.

On that subject, all optometrists should be as good looking as mine. You come in with fuzzy vision and POOF he fixes it and you're looking at a wonderful example of God's creation. 

And, if they can help it, they should also be as funny.

If you're in Richmond and need an optometrist, consider Dr. Josh Shows with Precision EyeCare. The mundane chore of going to the eye doctor can be a fun hour!

"As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you conduct yourselves as worthy of the God who calls you into His kingdom and glory." 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

Adoption is a beautiful practice in our society. I cannot imagine the pain and frustration of trying and being unable to bear children. However, through the discernment and goodness of others, those who cannot physically get pregnant can become loving parents.

I don't know Patty or Phil, but I've seen their advertisement in several Virginia local and university newspapers. They seem like very nice people when I read their blog, but as I don't really know them, I am not endorsing them.

However, if there are any pregnant women or friends/family of pregnant women reading this blog, hello! Right now you may be in the tough position of being unmarried or unsure about the future of the baby. Please consider couples like Patty and Phil. There are hundreds of worthy couples nearby who want nothing more than to welcome your child into their home and family.

How many people can say they have spoken with one of their favorite authors? With gratitude, I had the opportunity to interview Rick Bragg for an article last summer. His writing is poignant, tight, and transcending and his speech is similar.

I was nervous and in awe throughout the entire conversation, tickled by his country Alabama accent. Yes, that nightmare came true: I said something ridiculous and stupid. He was good about it and I made it out alive.

For those with an e-reader, attack this website and download one of his books, All Over But the Shoutin.' For those without an e-reader, here it is on Amazon.

Homeboy McCoy one-upped me on my own blog. It's okay, I've recovered.

On my snigglets post (thanks, Jim!), the Punk To Monk writer suggested we create a word for "a male bff often mistaken for gay because he's in religious formation." Four minutes later, he had the answer: holysexual.

Here's to all my holysexual brothers: thanks for being who you are.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You're welcome, English language

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America: the land of the free and the home of the inventor.

I do not support killing the English language with text lingo ("r u goin 2 da mall l8r? lol.") or with "abrevs," (fab, totes, etc) as my Canadian friends call them.

But I do like making up new words and phrases (Ex: Ennui-versary). My dad is the genius behind most of the definitions below, as he is always saying, "We need a word for..." If these new words stick, they could be a wonderful birth in the language. If they don't, at least Google will find them on here.

(I don't own the rights, but I did make up these words...)
 We need a word for:
  • Benedict Arnoldyougoingtosignthat? - a disloyal pro player who switches teams to the hated, dreaded enemy.
    • EX: Boggs, Damon, and Favre are famous Benedict Arnoldyougoingtosignthats? who played the traitors' game of capture the flag with fans' hearts.
  • Condisweat- the very watery liquid which first comes out of a ketchup and mustard bottle on a hot day.
    • EX: "Tommy, don't forget to shake the ketchup. Your father is afraid of condisweat because of his soggipaniphobia."
  • Creeptronic Period - the era in which cyber-stalking, otherwise known as "MyFaceStalking," is socially acceptable and common.
    • EX: It was in the Creeptronic Period that man started losing retinas and more sleep than ever before.
  • Digiveil - the moment one says, "Hello?" when answering a phone with caller ID, which told one who called.
    • EX: Since the late-nineties, Edith has upheld the digiveil, pretending she doesn't know what the caller ID already told her.
  • Deliveranc-hnozzola - the moment one can breathe again after having a cold or flu.
    • EX: Finally, Jim thought, deliveranc-hnozzola after 72 hours of sneezing. 
  • Dess-nial- the mindset when a waiter asks "Will there be dessert?"; everyone in the crowd thinks, "Darn, right," but says aloud, "No, I probably shouldn't." Bonus for a commenter who invents a name for the good soul who orders it with six spoons!
    • EX: It was their first date and she was in dess-nial, but that Death By Chocolate cake sounded delectable.
  • Gray-dar - the ability to notice when someone is dying his or her hair, covering the gray.
    • EX: My gray-dar goes off whenever I meet a 65-year-old raven-haired beauty.
  • Jublianthusiasm - the phenomenon of one noticing one's parents are still hopelessly in Love and entertained by one another. 
    • EX: The jublianthusiasm was palpable when my mom burst into laughter because of something my dad said.
  • Melanchaudio - the feeling that overwhelms one when one hears a song that reminds one of a bad time, of an ex-significant other, or of some memory that puts a gray cloud over one's head.
    • EX: Sally's melanchaudio was particularly strong the night of the Michael Bolton concert.
  • Misconscription - a joke, idea, or thought that doesn't translate well in writing without a lot of explanation.
    • EX: In the first few conversations with his new friend, Jake thought Adam was a mean jerk, but it turned out much of Adam's humor became misconscription when they were instant messaging.
  • Mortigait shuffle - the action of running for a few steps while looking back at the area where one tripped over nothing, when many might be watching.
    • EX: The man engaged in a little mortigait shuffle to fool the other people on the street. That microscopic crack was a doozy.
    • ObliviPAX - the thoughts that escape you so quickly that you KNOW you're never going to remember them so you make peace with it.
      • EX: I have at least one obliviPAX per day and I'm okay with that. They must not be important.
    • Obnoxygen - when the general atmosphere of a room is an unhealthy combination of annoyance and impatience. (This one comes from my good friend's dad!)
      • EX: "I have to get out of here. I'm allergic to the obnoxygen in this room right now."
    • Phone Tennis- that uncomfortable 120 seconds when both parties say goodbye on the phone but cannot seem to hang up.
      • EX: Mary was a champion Phone Tennis player, confusing the person on the other end of the phone and costing her more minutes on her cell phone plan. 
    • Redundanecdotes - stories heard a million times before, which are recognizable before the fifth word is spoken.
      • EX: The 17-year-old Anne politely smiled as her grandfather told her another redundanecdote at the family reunion.
    • Renter's block - the phenomenon where one can never think of a movie to see when one is standing in the store (or at the redbox, or with the Wii-mote on Netflix).
      • EX: Margaret rarely rents movies because she gets renter's block before she even enters the store.
    • Resplanitory - a message that needs no reply.
      • EX: "Carl, 'I'll see you in five minutes' is a resplanitory. No need to waste a text with 'K.' I am going to see you in five minutes!"
    • Revertigo Melanchaudio - the depression which envelopes one when a song popular in high school or college days plays on the elevator Musak station (the idea for this one is from my dad and I stole "revertigo" from How I Met Your Mother).
      • EX: Revertigo Melanchaudio set in when Harold heard the chorus of a watered down version of "Fat Man in the Bathtub" play between the 20th and 32nd floors in the elevator. 
    • Rude-duet - when one is talking to someone on the phone and it is quite apparent that the other person is also on the computer or watching TV.
      • EX: "I'm listening," Samantha said. "So you heard me tell you I'm going to the hospital because I have heart burn from the live parrot I ate for lunch? You're rude-dueting me."
    • Soggipaniphobia - the fear of bread that sat in soup too long. This phobia can also apply to a day old sub sandwich, the tomatoes and lettuce of which have moistened the roll.
      • EX: Elizabeth has severe soggipaniphobia and therefore keeps bread and liquids totally separate. (taken from real life)
    • T-ninerpreter - one with the ability to decipher T9 or auto-correct foul ups in a text received.
      • EX: "What? I can't read this: 'G an three me ugh,'" said Sydney. "Oh, he said, 'I am tired of this' and forgot to type the last letter," said Patrick.

        Monday, February 7, 2011

        I love 1st graders! Week 14

        You're either in tears, celebrating, or indifferent about the results of last night's game. I'm not going to reveal my stance... but what a cool segue that the first thing Greenbay's Greg Jennings said at the end of the game was "Glory be to God!"

        I noticed his prayerful kneeling at the end of each touchdown, which was such a cool affirmation about the lives of some of these players. AND his end of game comment glorifying God brings us right to tonight's lesson! We learned the Glory Be!

        The lessons in this book are less than exciting, to say the least. My co-teacher is brilliant and comes up with fun routines. Today I looked up the American Sign Language words for the Glory Be... what an adventure that was:

        Glory be to the Father
        to the Son,
        and to the Holy Spirit,
        as it was in the beginning,
        is now, and will be forever.

        I don't usually get to share helpful things with moms readers, but this is really fun! This one is for Spence Ohana who also teaches CCD. Maybe you can use this!

        The kids BLEW ME AWAY with how fast they picked it up and they seemed to enjoy it! They were so quick, they could return to their seats and start filling out "kindness coupon books" that my friend and co-teacher made.

        "This coupon is good for one hug."

        "I will help you with the dishes."

        "I will help my mom make her bed."

        Several munchkins said they would make dinner... let's hope mom and dad avoid using that coupon. Ovens are tricky.

        A superb weekly reminder is that these kids really retain what they learn and what we discuss. They ask questions and genuinely want to know answers.

        "...but Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" (Matthew 19:14)

        It makes more sense to me each week.

        Friday, February 4, 2011

        7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 14

        Click here to read the original post at
        That was a fast week! We need more weeks like this: quick, happy, and peppered with 60 degree days... oh, my condolences to everyone not living in Central Virginia. That looks like one heck of a storm.

        My brain is an alphabet soup of ADHD, made worse by my music habits. If there's a song or band I like, I wear them out. I listen to a playlist filled with twenty songs over and over and over until I'm sick of it and then I move on.
        (Screen shot from his website, I don't own the rights)

        A few artists have captured my hearing heart and I never get sick of them. This week I inducted Phil Wickham into that high Hall of Fame. Congratulations, sir! I could listen to you forever!

        Bonus points that you're a Christian singer that doesn't sound lame! Alright!

        What are you doing this summer? Me? I'm watching two of my dearest friends marry their lovely fianc├ęs!

        YOU could go to SPAIN! Yes, World Youth Day is this summer in Madrid. Here's the English website outlining everything you'd need to know.

        Go join a GAJILLION young people who are flocking to Madrid this summer to see Pope Benedict XVI. Witness the beauty of the young members of Christ's Church together in one city!

        Have you met Sr. Lisa? I haven't, but we are both Tweeple who like tweeting about God.

        She is the coolest and most social media-savvy nun I have ever seen! On top of that, she writes beautifully on her blog, nunspeak.

        If you're wondering about a religious vocation, there's no need to be afraid. Hop onto her blog and just absorb. She's a gentle woman who is on fire for her faith and vocation. This grouping, in particular, is worth reading, right now. No, really, go do it. Now.

        (I don't own the rights)
        This one is for seniors in college and recent graduates. Is God calling you to a year of formation? 

        I think God is calling all of us to a long period of formation, but you may have the opportunity (and the call) to spend an intense year getting to know Him and those who may most need His guidance: teens.

        Prayerfully discern and consider applying to work as a missionary with Life Teen at one of their camps. Here is the information, take a minute and see if this is a step God may be calling you to take.

        I'm a week behind in my training, but I'm going to run in the Richmond Ukrop's 10k on April 2. I haven't started panicking... yet.

        How convenient that the lovely Lisa Schmidt at The Practicing Catholic wrote about her very impressive completion of a 20k race last year! As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to the gym. I promise...

        The article explains how she hit several rough patches, including the tragic loss of her father, but persevered with this verse in mind: “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1)

        If you've been reading my blog for a few weeks, you may remember my Emil Daddy, my wonderful aunt, and the other pile of poo my family has faced. PU.

        Well, now my Gramma needs prayers... I'm beginning to wonder: Is there ever a time period of life when you're not looking over your shoulder or organizing insurance/hospital/other confusing paper work?

        Even if the answer is "No, sorry. This is how it is," I'm grateful to know there is a balance of GOOD accompanying all the bad. Praise Him that the ultimate goal is good, too!

        Wednesday, February 2, 2011


        "Say hello to my little friend."

        Apparently Quentin Tarantino created Kill Bill to comment on how violence-focused our society has become. You could have fooled me, it seemed to raise the bar and make us more desensitized to gore, machine guns, and sensational death with symphony music in the background.

        However, the violent culture is nothing compared to the sexual culture. This claim has been made for centuries and it will continue to be used for centuries more: kids these days are more promiscuous and know more about sex than any other generation. Back in my day... yada, yada, yada.

        Humor me and remind yourself of the last time you saw a TV show or movie where the first kiss didn't immediately lead to the bedroom. Or the couch, if it was more than one room's walk to the bed.

        My favorite Canadian TV show, Being Erica, disappointed me when two women friends exclaimed that sleeping in the same bed, but not having sex was "taking it extremely slow." There was a scoff and a pair of rolling eyes thrown in there. We get the picture, she was a puritan for keeping her pants on.

        Sex and passion in TV shows like Grey's Anatomy look like the two characters are as famished for Love as the kids in the Christian Children's fund commercials with flies buzzing around their heads are famished for rice. They're addicted to the other person, they must have them right now.

        In this country, we've resigned to the fact that we're all fat. We shame the fat people, put them on reality weight loss shows, and make them the butt of jokes (yes, we've made that easy joke many times). This has become a free space for ridicule...
        (I don't own the rights)

        If a 400 pound guy were to attack a hamburger with the kind of inertia that Dr. McSweaty and Dr. Doe Eyes come at each other in a moment of passion, he would have ketchup on his shirt, a mouth full of meat and cheese, and an audience rippling with laughter. It would be hilarious.

        I'm picturing Will Ferrel as the 400 pound guy. You would go see that movie, wouldn't you?

        Why do we get to make fun of the fat guy? "Because they should go on a reality show and get control of their waistline and eating habits."

        Why does valuing temperance end there? Shouldn't we extend it to sex? It seems like we're rationing our moments of seriousness instead of rationing moments of spontaneously indulging passion.

        When you watch a movie like "It Happened One Night," where the man and woman characters separated their room with a "Wall of Jericho" layer of fabric for modesty's sake, it is appalling to realize we've come to the decade of Grey's Anatomy, Sex and the City, and passionate moments that inevitably lead to "just sex."

        All this ranting and I have no solution for you. All I can hope is that people will see the emptiness and realize the true freedom in looking at their counterparts with respect and a desire to know them without the lustful use of their bodies. Call me a puritan, I dare you.

        Tuesday, February 1, 2011

        I love 1st graders! Week 13

        Whew! That was a long time to go without the unconditional love of the shortest people in my life. Oops, make that the second-shortest (see #4).

        A month and a half, a whole liturgical season, and one sick week later, the kiddos were back in the classroom and we were back in business learning about how much God Loves us!

        I'm not a mom, so any moms reading this will think, "Yes, they tend to do that." What do they do? They ask pertinent questions way above their supposed understanding. God is laughing at us adults, thinking we know more than these kids. We don't.

        When we were talking about the Trinity, "Fahhther, Son and Hol-lee Speer-eet," one girl quietly raised her hand and said, "I don't understand."

        Today, we were talking about the Mass and she said, "Why do we do it? Why do we go to Mass?"
        Did I mention I love these kids? It's a simple question with a lifelong answer.

        So, why do you go to Mass? Is it to get the Eucharist? That is certainly the greatest possible gift and we are not worthy, but God has said the Word and we are healed.

        Is it to see your friends? Community is certainly important. Is it to make new friends?

        Is it because your priest gives awesome, fulfilling homilies? Do you go despite your priest's homilies?

        Why do you go?

        The same wise friend I quote most of the time I'm explaining something profound shared with me a metaphor he recently heard: the Mass is like a big balloon launcher. You enter the room, God pulls back the sling shot. You hear the readings and the homily, God tugs it back farther. Jesus enters and offers himself to us in the form of the Eucharist, God inserts a big ol' water balloon in the sling shot, pulling back farther.

        The priest tells us to "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord." WAPPO. There we go, armed with the Eucharist and our community to serve God and spread His word.

        I love that. Whatever you do, do not bring a balloon launcher to Mass. They won't like it. Just "get launched."
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