Friday, April 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 26

Click here to read the original post at


I am well-rested and unaware of any weddings going on in British cities.

My aunt got an invitation for a DVR viewing of the Royal Wedding, hats and gloves preferred.

I can't help but spend some energy praying that these two young monarchs make it. We don't need another public divorce discrediting the institution of marriage.


I know 1/3 of the people in this video titled, "We Got a Pope" (based on the song "I'm on a boat" -- which I've never heard of). Please enjoy:


Hat tip to Sarah, Jackie and Kassie.

I've raved about Sr. Lisa before, but here I go again. Hop over to her order's blog page to see her write up of a speech she made to young women at a retreat.

It seems many people (cough, cough, Bright Maidens included) are recognizing the void we have in our Church for reaching out to young women. Young women, if they learn and foster self-respect, can make a big impact on this world. They can hold men accountable and use their compassion to better the world. True girl power!

Speaking of the Bright Maidens!
Remember to write your own post that matches the prompt, "Why Mary?" for this Tuesday, May 3. You can go anywhere with this prompt, the only rules are you need to post it to the Bright Maidens' Facebook page, keep it clean, and link back to the Bright Maidens page in your post.

How cool does he look?
I will be going to my very first NASCAR race this weekend. I have some idea of what I can expect, but I'm more excited about the things I will see that will surprise me. 

Of course, I will have my handy notebook with me (I carry a notepad and a pen with me wherever I go. Seriously, everywhere) and I will take copious notes.

My date likes Jeff Gordon so the stubborn in me wants to cheer for Jimmie Johnson.

Now the most important issue: What should I wear?


I have been known by the following names:

Liz I.E.

and most recently, E.

Thank you, Julie and Trista! My poor little 5-year-old self should have thought of this the first time I tried to write my nine-letter name.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This is what non-tweeters are missing. Sarah, Jackie and Kassie started this hilarious trend for "trad" pick-up lines. If you're a traditional ("trad") person, or if you just want to see what being a "trad" is all about, check out these hilarious snippets.

UPDATE: Read Sarah's explanation of the catalyst for #TradPickUpLines, including the first few:

  • Would you like to glorify God through traditional gender roles with me?
  • Excuse me, I think you have the rib I'm missing. Would you like to help me promote the culture of life?
  • You were created to be my helpmeet. Let's subdue the earth together 
  • Let's raise a quiver full of traditionalist culture warriors. 
  • Would you like to break the bread that you baked with me?
  • Would you like to not practice NFP with me? 
  • Let's change your headcovering from white to black.(Married women wear black mantillas.)

They're in chronological order (with two exceptions, which I have numbered in the order in which you should read them) with the most recent at the top:

FireofThyLove: You look like the kind of girl who understands her luteal phases #tradpickuplines

badgercatholic: The : Top 10 Trad Pickup Lines - #TradPickupLines

gludlam: You smell as nice as incense at the traditional Latin Mass. #TradPickupLines

MCardaronella: You have the cutest little curl in your tongue when you receive communion. #TradPickupLines

gludlam: The white of your mantilla really compliments your blue eyes. #TradPickupLines

jrpascucci: Do you have a deep Marian devotion? 'Cause you've got me thinking of marryin' you. #tradpickuplines

Deacontom: Last 1: I think I might become a deacon; I won't be able to get married. Would you just talk to me for a while? #tradpickuplines

MCardaronella:You have the cutest little curl in your tongue when you receive communion. #TradPickupLines

gludlam: The white of your mantilla really compliments your blue eyes. #TradPickupLines

jrpascucci: Do you have a deep Marian devotion? 'Cause you've got me thinking of marryin' you. #tradpickuplines

Deacontom: Last 1: I think I might become a deacon; I won't be able to get married. Would you just talk to me for a while? #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: May I meet your father? I'd like to share with him my immaculate intention for you. #tradpickuplines

jrpascucci: Hey. I'm discerning marriage. Would you like to join me? #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: I like to take an annual pilgrimage to the city of Trent, you should join me some time. #tradpickuplines

badgercatholic:  Achoo! Sorry, i must be allergic to liturgical sensibility! #tradpickuplines

badgercatholic: Even if I was the last man on Earth after the Three Days of Darkness? #tradpickuplines

vitaconsecrata: Blessed are you among women! #tradpickuplines

badgercatholic: Is it hot in here! Did I die while committing a liturgical abuse, or is that just you? #tradpickuplines

CallAllWitness: Can you turn around so we can talk facing the same direction? What!? Yes, I AM aware Vatican II didn't say it like that! #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: Come on over here, let me see if I can't enkindle in you the FireofMyLove #tradpickuplines

DfendUsInBattle: I know a guy who can get me a great deal on 15-passenger vans. #TradPickUpLines

cathrynspry: You're like a solemnity in Lent. #TradPickupLines

VitaCatholic: You do know that parental control over courtship is a Calvinist heresy, right? #TradPickupLines

badgercatholic: Is it hot in here! Did I die while committing a liturgical abuse, or is that just you? #tradpickuplines

badgercatholic: Hey good lookin’, do you like cookin’? #TradPickupLines

badgercatholic: I'm a regular Don Juan ........of Austria! #TradPickupLines

FireofThyLove: You look like the kind of girl who understands her luteal phases #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: You and I could start our own movement. We'll call it sspxoxo #tradpickuplines

badgercatholic: What are the chances of a guy like me meeting your father to to discuss our engagement? #TradPickupLines

badgercatholic: I looked up the word PULCHER in the latin-english dictionary today, and your picture was shown. #TradPickupLines

badgercatholic: What say we enjoy some active participation? #TradPickupLines

vaticanspy: Let's plant a domestic church together. Don't worry - I'll make all the decisions. You can just cook. #TradPickupLines

CatholicMarie: I love #tradpickuplines but they're hard to think of...need some ideas? Check out these and cite them :)

samthomeczek: What's that Rick Astley song? "Never Gonna Give You Up" (for Lent). #TradPickupLines (h/t to @chrismjay)

redcactusflower: "How many patron saints would you give your kids? I like the sound of Ambrose Joseph Athanasius Patrick Mary John." #TradPickupLines

samthomeczek: Let's go on an Agnus Dei-te. #TradPickupLines (h/t to @chrismjay)

samthomeczek: I'd like to indulge in you. #TradPickupLines (h/t to @chrismjay)

Nicole_Fisher73: You are certainly a Glorious Mystery! Would you like to play ring around the rosary? #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: Let's read Matthew 19:6 together. In front of witnesses. @USCCB #Tradpickuplines

Joel_Schmidt: Look, I know you're not interested me personally, but how about some Redemptive Suffering? #TradPickupLines

vaticanspy: "I see you're a convert. I'm more than willing to lead through mystagogy." #TradPickupLines

CatholicMarie: @EHillgrove What lovely scapular brown eyes you have! #tradpickuplines

VitaCatholic: Pope Pius X said "Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven" but you look like a close second! #tradpickuplines

vitaconsecrata: do you want to come Home with me? i'll introduce you to my Father and Mother and Brother - they love you. #tradpickuplines

vitaconsecrata: you and i, are two of a kind. it's like we came from the same rib or something. #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: I love the way you pronounce those Latin dipthongs #tradpickuplines

rebeccamodestia: I've also been told I have "nice childbearing hips." #tradpickuplines

churchmankirk: Clamor meum ad te veniat, ad mulierem quae letificat juventutem meam. (My cry goes out to you, to the woman who brings joy to my youth) #TradPickupLines

EHillgrove: Our chaperone suggested we watch Fireproof tonight and she says we can watch it in the same room this time. #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: I want to homeschool your children. #tradpickuplines

punktomonk: Wanna see my Roman Missile? #tradpickuplines

Deacontom: One more: "I think I've got a vocation to become a monk. Do you have time to share your vision of the future?" #tradPickuplines

Deacontom: Could I meet your significant other and tell him what a blessed guy he is? #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: My father should meet your father and get this underway. #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: My heart burns like the Sacred Heart when I see you in your ankle-length dress. #tradpickuplines

redcactusflower: My awesome 3rd date w/ The Beau: "Let's go to Sunday Mass then take photos of old headstones in a churchyard." #TradPickupLines

VitaCatholic: Would you like to meet to discuss any prohibitory impediments to a sacramental marriage? #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: Excuse me, is this seat vacant? #tradpickuplines

Opinionatedcath: So want to go to the "Glory and Praise" book burning #tradpickuplines

Opinionatedcath: Let me read to you Malachi Martin all night long #tradpickuplines

sullijo: Are you tired? Because you've been processing through my mind all night. #TradPickupLines

3liSays: I'd like to have my penance migrated into your hand holding mine. #TradPickupLines

Joel_Schmidt: So, uh, I have an extra ticket to the pipe organ recital... #tradpickuplines

marcpuck: In Crucis Via cum mihi ages? #tradpickuplines

3liSays: It was all about Dies Irae until you walked in wearing a mantilla like that #TradPickupLines

FrCharles: Baby you help me relax like a second Confiteor #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: If you're not the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, let me be anathema #tradpickuplines

3liSays: Ugh, this is a Novus Boredo, Why don't we go study St. Thomas and the Tantum Ergo in Latin after this? #TradPickupLines

FrCharles: Quid facis post missam? #tradpickuplines

Nicole_Fisher73: You can be my deacon and I will be your pulpit. #tradpickuplines

vaticanspy: "How would you like to be the mother of the next TRUE pope?" #TradPickupLines

FireofThyLove: Girl, your cor is loquitoring to my cor #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: Give me a moment to face East, 'cause I've just seen an angel #tradpickuplines

FrCharles: Can I borrow your nail polish to put on the ends of my missal ribbons to keep them from fraying? #tradpickuplines

sullijo: Wanna come back to my place and see my collection of first-class relics? #TradPickupLines

Opinionatedcath: If only Annibale Bugnini had met you there would be no Vatican II #TradPickupLines

1. MCardaronella: Your eyes are the most lovely shade of denim! #tradpickuplines

2. EHillgrove: @MCardaronella Hahahaha they go well with your french braid and plaid dress. #tradpickuplines

rebeccamodestia: Some guy said to me: "So, do you come here to confession often?" at a Cath singles conference. True story. #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: I put my net on the other side of the boat and there you were #tradpickuplines

alisongriz: "just answering Christ's command to be a fisher of men". #TradPickupLines

redcactusflower: This actually happened to me at WYD 2002: "Sorry, can't hang out, but here's a Knights of Columbus rosary." #TradPickupLines

EHillgrove: You can borrow my first class relic any day #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: and with YOUR spirt #tradpickuplines

FireofThyLove: @EHillgrove Girl you're so fine, if I were pope I'd make your birthday a Double of the I Class #tradpickuplines

1. EHillgrove: I can't wait to hold your hand during the Our Father. #tradpickuplines

2. VitaCatholic: @EHillgrove Don't fall for that one! Real Trads don't hold hands during the Our Father!!! #tradpickuplines

3. EHillgrove: @VitaCatholic True. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: I'm glad that the only veil you take is the mantilla. #tradpickuplines

MCardaronella: I couldn't help but notice you're wearing a white mantilla, are you free for adoration tonight? #tradpickuplines

churchmankirk: There are six days left of the Easter Octave. Let's celebrate with some Solemnity ;-) #TradPickupLines

EHillgrove: I love how you smell like incense. It's like everyday is a Holy Day of Obligation. #tradpickuplines

ensucorazon: I'm going to Eucharistic Adoration. Would you like to join me? #Tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: You remind my of my mom's patron saint. #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: Oops, you got some holy water on your cheek. Let me get that for you. #tradpickuplines

EHillgrove: Night prayer is going to be epic with you by my side. I like the way you read the antiphons. #Tradpickuplines

briansmith31681: Wanna do dinner & a homily? #TradPickupLines

Nicole_Fisher73: The 11th Commandment is for me to honor thy body. #tradpickuplines

Opinionatedcath: Let me be your your only male altar server #TradPickupLines

samthomeczek: I could quote Ecclesiastes to you all day. #TradPickupLines

samthomeczek: Didn't I see you at the PP vigil the other day? #TradPickupLines

samthomeczek: Would you like to get together for coffee and discernment? #TradPickupLines

johncounter10er: I saw that you wear a t-shirt when you swim; so your brown scapular doesen't float away, am I right? #TradPickupLines #iRetire

RCGuerilla: seeing you has made me rethink my vocation #TradPickupLines.

EHillgrove: I thank St. Raphael for bringing us together #Tradpickuplines

vaticanspy: "How would you like to be the mother of the next TRUE pope?" #TradPickupLines

johncounter10er: Wanna play a game? List your "top-five" favorite Ecumenical Councils... none of which can rhyme with "Attican Shoe"! #TradPickupLines

churchmankirk: Your father's a deacon? Creating you was definitely a Christ-like service to the Church. #TradPickupLines

alisongriz: "what's a nicely veiled girl like you doing at a folk mass like this?" #TradPickupLines.

Trivs: You have the key to my heart, can I have the key to your chastity belt? #tradpickuplines

churchmankirk: After seeing you in that dress, today is gonna be on my calendar as an Obligatory Memorial. #TradPickupLines

churchmankirk: How might I contact your father about asking permission to court you? #TradPickupLines

Nicole_Fisher73: You had me at Hallelujah. #tradpickuplines

churchmankirk: Do you have a brother who's a priest? ... I may need Extreme Unction if you keep making my heart beat like this! #TradPickupLines

johncounter10er: I saw you slip that note in my lunch today! How spontaneous!! You know I only usually read things with an imprimatur! #TradPickupLines

EHillgrove: My first language is love, my second language is Latin #Tradpickuplines

churchmankirk: "You smell divine... Like Somalian Frankincense." #TradPickupLines

EHillgrove: Your father's horses would look great in my barn. #dowry #Tradpickuplines (now I'm just going back in time)

EHillgrove: Wanna come to my father's house, make me dinner, and watch Glenn Beck in different rooms? #TradPickupLines

EHillgrove: That rosary brings out the color of your eyes. #TradPickupLines

johncounter10er: "I saw you at mass the other day; you weren't wearing a veil. I always knew you were one of those rebellious types" #TradPickupLines

redcactusflower Ok Twitter #Catholics, give me your best #TradPickupLines. "You'd look beautiful driving a big van full of homeschooled kids."

redcactusflower: "Girl, you don't need that Ave Maria Singles subscription" #TradPickupLines

I love 1st graders! Week 22

A little late...

This week the kids finally learned why we do the Sign of the Cross and fold our hands when we pray! It occurred to me, once again, that my friend and I are making an impact on the memories of these kids.

It's a little bizarre to think that when they're explaining the Sign of the Cross to someone else later in life, they might use the techniques we taught them!

The biggest event of the class had nothing to do with the reverence packed into the Sign of the Cross or kneeling at Mass...

When we were sitting on the floor, per usual, I saw a little movement out of the corner of my eye. A GIGANTIC brown, fuzzy spider scurried next to my leg and started running toward one of the girls.

I had a little scratchiness in my throat for a few minutes after that, so it's safe to assume I screamed.

This is his cousin, George.
All I remember is shooting up and grabbing the hands of the girl to stand up as fast as possible. When she got to her feet, her flip-flop crushed the 1.5 inch diameter intruder.

I jumped on it again for good measure before I scooped it up and flushed that bad boy down the toilet, shaking with the hibbie-jibbies the whole way. Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck.

The girl slayed the dragon! Our knightess in shining armor!

The kids handled it really well. The immediate, mini-diaspora that happened right when we discovered the spider didn't distract them for very long, but no one sat on the floor anymore that day.

One of the girls, not the dragon-slayer, told me, "I think you gave the spider a heart attack with your loud scream."

Perhaps, but he started it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 25

Click here to read the original post at


This week is my six month anniversary blogging. You don't have to try to make me feel silly for saying that, I feel silly enough. However I just realized that I started blogging right before I did my first 7QT.

The older blog posts on my blog were on my jewelry website; I cheated and transferred them over...

I have learned so much from all of you and I've come to call many of you friends!


YOUR TURN! Read here about how to share your perspective with the Bright Maidens and the rest of the blogosphere.

My cousin was supposed to be in Greece last week when she had to be rushed to the emergency room with acute pancreatitis. She was in the ICU for days and is still recovering in the hospital.
Baby power! (Yes, this is me)
If she had not flown home to be with my grandmother in her last days, she would have been in a European hospital, with no family, speaking English while everything else would be Greek to her, quite literally.

Praise God and His timing! Thanks, Gramma, for your prayers on that one!

Happy Good Friday!! Growing up, my parents were (and are) very reverent about the sanctity of Easter. I remember the Easter bunny coming to the house, but I also remember "the talk" when I was 5 or 6 wherein they revealed that they were "the Easter bunny."
The Easter bunny isn't THIS bad... but close.
They told us that they wanted us to know the real celebration of Easter, so I never believed in Peter Cottontail's cousin. How do you feel about the Easter bunny and using Easter as a Christian teaching moment with your children?

I'm going to let you in a secret. Mark Zuckerberg would slip on a pile of his millions if he knew I was revealing this to you...

The new Facebook photo format prevents you from sending a URL of individual pictures to others, right? Wrong!!

In that new photobooth-style format for photos, go to the desired picture. Right click (ctrl click for my fellow Mac-nerds) and "View Page Source." "Search" in that jumbled mess of html for ".jpg." The SECOND one it finds will be the picture you want! The first one is a thumbnail of your profile picture.
Muhahaha Zuckerberg, you cannot fool ME!

Speaking of Facebook, I just realized that one of my "Activities" is "Catholic." I Catholic here, I Catholic there, I suppose I do Catholic everywhere.

One of the videos we watched when I was going through my First Communion was about a little boy who wanted to learn to cook a Braided Easter Egg Bread recipe from his grandmother. Sadly, she passed away suddenly before he learned. The anger overtook him and he started to get mad at God for taking away his confidant, teacher, grandmother, and friend.

This story popped into my head this week because this is the first Easter I will be without my great aunt (who was really more of a grandmother), my grandfather, and my grandmother. This is a new period of my life and it came suddenly and without warning.

The little boy in the video discovered that the Communion of Saints and the memories of her connected them for eternity. He and his father (the son of the deceased grandmother) found the Braided Bread recipe and baked it in time for Easter.

My family is my Braided Bread. 

The biggest lesson I've learned in the last nine months is that nothing is more important than loving and showing that love to everyone around us. Don't waste your time. Do it now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bright Maidens: Your turn!

I'm sorry for my absence lately. I was concentrating on my family around the time my grandmother died and I was across the country to watch my oldest friend (she's not that old, just 24) get married!

I'll get back on schedule next week. Plus, y'all are going to be busy with Easter so you won't be around to read it anyway!

As I mentioned in last Friday's post, it's your turn to help Bright Maidens fill the Google bucket. The more passionate voices we have out there, the better. Everyone is welcome to participate, as long as you are civil and polite.

Here's the deal:

*After Lent is over, we will switch to a bimonthly, Tuesday posting schedule.
*We'll alert you about topic in the week before on our blogs and/or on Facebook.
*You write your own take on that topic, borrowing our lovely Bright Maidens image, if you please, and link back to our Facebook page or blogs.
*Post the link to YOUR post on our Facebook page, in a comment on one of the three Bright Maidens' links.

You get exposure, we spread the messages further, and, by the grace of God, we can reach the hearts that are searching!

We will not be posting a TBM post on April 26. The next post will be May 3 and we will keep you in the loop before then!

Thank you! I can't wait to read your contributions!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Young Woman at the Well

Week Seven: Why we chose Catholicism

"Young Woman at the Well" by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

This is the seventh post of a blog post series called "Bright Maidens." We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We're here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

During His travels, Jesus came to Samaria and sat by the stone wall of a simple well. He asked a woman there for a drink, which was confusing for the woman because of the tension between their nationalities.

Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water" (John 4: 10).

He proceeded to show her how much He knew about her, though she thought Him to be a stranger. God revealed Jesus as the Messiah to this flawed, yet attentive woman.

Jesus came to me in this way many times in my life, but I was inattentive and failed to draw Him a drink.

I grew up a cradle Catholic in a home full of people who went to Mass, challenged me to ask questions, and who stressed the need for a relationship with God. I was elected “Class Chaplain” all four years at my Catholic high school and my knowledge of Bible stories was above average (or so I thought).
(I don't own the rights)

As it tends to do, life got busy. My child-like faith needed more maintenance and I started going through the motions of faith.

I recalled the Younglife, Protestant kids I knew in high school and how lit up they acted in their faith. I also recalled the few, yet loud, hypocrites who didn’t act like Christians, especially when they were damning me for idolatry, following the Pope, worshiping Mary, etc.

That memory made me cling tight to my Catholic roots and avoid those who asked questions about my faith that I couldn’t answer. My closest friends were those I met through the campus ministry in which I was involved in college, but I wouldn't allow God to light my heart on fire.

In college, I transferred before my junior year, shaking my routine. Many times in my life I have encountered varying levels of depression and this shift to a bigger school and a new routine hit me hard.

My prayer life was more of a nightly whine session. I never once asked, “God, what do YOU want me to do?”

To my delight, a journalism training organization offered me an internship for my last semester of college in Washington, D.C. The binds of depression loosened during that semester as I met countless new acquaintances.

My D.C. home was a large dorm full of international students and professionals. Sadly, this meant it was full of several types of religious apathy. We partied, we discussed politics, and we enjoyed friendships based on a love of cultures as well as a shallow foundation of worldliness. I left D.C. with the friendships of those from several countries, whom I love to this day.

But I was still thirsting.

Next stop: Chicago

My next internship was that summer under the umbrella of an libertarian-leaning education organization and it sent me to Chicago.

The Chicago summer surprised this Virginia gal with its beauty (albeit chilly beauty that hovered around 70 degrees most days), the little I saw of it. My rented Evanston apartment was a forty minute commuter train ride away from my office packed with libertarians.

Libertarianism philosophy values self above all others and holds that a selfish rule of thumb supposedly serves others in the end. There is a slim chance escaping the black cloud of selfishness when it hangs in the office air you breathe.

It’s also tough to avoid the pressing questions from atheists, as the libertarian world is high in their number. The influence of a few atheists in the office had a deep impact on my summer. Their persistence and my lack of bravery in combatting their questions of faith steered me back to a dark place.
(I don't own the rights)

I was in a strange city, commuting ninety minutes a day instead of socializing, surrounding myself with bad influences, and concentrating my conversations on selfishness and politics. I was the devil’s playground, complete with a dry, thirsty sandbox.

I started to wonder about the very existence of God for the first time in my life. I started to doubt it. I was doubting Him.

Deep in depression, by the grace of God, another question washed over me: Had I been duped? What about my two decades of belief? Was I finally un-stupid?

My resounding answer was, “No!” yet the doubt remained.

I was not an idiot my whole life prior to that summer. I had not been duped and neither were my parents, Godparents, or grandparents. All of the most loving, best people I knew were Christians, most Catholics.

I decided I needed to reclaim myself and my faith.

My fasting week

Crucifix? Check. Scapular? Check. Earphones plugged into Christian music? Check. Pretending to be tired and sick so as to avoid unnecessary conversation at my internship? Check.

My cleansing week was an attempt to bombard myself with Christian media and reconnect with the prayer I had begun to doubt. Push, push, push, I was going to give it a full week if it killed me. Something told me not to surrender.

On Thursday night of that week, I was watching Fireproof as part of my Christian-stuffing.

All of a sudden, at a mundane part of the movie, the Holy Spirit moved something in me.
“Jesus is waiting for me,” I thought.

(I don't own the rights)
All He needed was for me to make the decision to let Him bear me. I needed to give up my path and give myself to Him.

Before the third millisecond of this thought process, I was clinging to my scapular, laying in the fetal position, and heaving through wet sobs.

Relinquish control. Give of myself to the One who was patient and excitedly waiting for me.

I reduced/advanced myself to the state of a child once more. I was a helpless rag-doll in Jesus’ arms, giving up my controlling greed and letting Him take my weight while I sobbed in gratitude.

This quenched my thirst and lit me on fire to learn more about my relationship with the Holy Trinity.

Inter-faith relationship

The Holy Trinity continued to teach me about myself and about our relationship. I began to feel more fulfilled than ever and I could finally consider myself “on fire.” Within a year, I recognized this passion for Christ in a man and it attracted me.

My ex is a Baptist, though I didn’t realize this until we were already dating. His devotion to Jesus moved me to spend more time reading the Bible. He was committed to abstinence before marriage, as well, so I felt lucky to know him.

We got in more than one “discussion,” at high volumes about the differences between our faiths. We challenged each other and our relationship required me to research and learn about Catholicism thoroughly.

Introducing the major issues: His mother and his father were not pleased with their son dating a Catholic and they let me know (deja vu, verbatim from the mouths of the Younglife kids). We began to recognize the irrevocable issues, so we started allowing chastity to fly out the window, with the subconscious hopes that a physical relationship would help hold us together.

We maintained our major boundary, but we definitely allowed our physical relationship to dominate. God made it very clear to me that this was no longer a relationship that served Him or His mission. It was my longest serious relationship and the decision to break up was the easiest I've ever made.

I began to heal again, stronger than ever, and surrounded myself with the newly researched Catholic teachings and strong Catholic friends.

The passion I discovered as a result of that relationship is for studying the Theology of the Body because it weaves itself so tightly into the understanding of Jesus’ example of true Love and Christian teaching. Theology of the Body is the perfect scope into the beauty and completeness of the Church and it was the sealing agent on my journey back Home to Rome.

Every moment of this journey cast me as the woman turning the pump, or hoisting the rope attached to the container of water from the well. Though I didn't always do His will and I tread very close to where the devil wanted me, God still guided me to the side of that well.

God guided me to Him through the mediums of mistakes, doubts, and obedience.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hola, New Mexico

Please excuse the cop-out... but I have to sum up New Mexico in pictures... cell phone pictures, at that. What was the #1 bummer of my trip out west? Having a beautiful, expensive Canon Rebel SLR camera and leaving it at home.

Because taxes are due tomorrow and I might do a more fun (funner-er?) write up about my time in the Land of Enchantment, how's aboooot if'n I chuck these pictures up here and open it up for a caption contest?

Include the number and a caption for the corresponding photo for the grand prize of making me and other readers smile!

1 -- White Sands, NM

2 -- More White Sands

3 -- I think you know this Lady.

4 -- On the way to Cloudcroft, NM

5 -- This was a scary, skinny road in a mountain range...

6 -- More scary, skinny road photos.

7 -- Gettin' mah hurrr did.

8 -- I wanted to take that lady home with me.

9 -- The git'up.

10 -- I could not have loved my up-do more.

11 -- I have no idea where this is...

12 -- 36 hours after she did my hair...

13 -- Please have fun with this one.
I don't want to post pictures of the bride or other people because they didn't sign a waiver... that would be rude. I'm sorry to post so many of me, but I just couldn't get enough of what that woman did with my hair.

When I sat down in that chair, I said, "I'd like this and this. Don't bother curling it because my hair has never held a curl longer than an hour." She had the last laugh because here we are a full 36 hours after she did my hair and I could be in a toddler pageant with these bouncy ringlets.

Overall, my mom and I had a beautiful week and met a lot of beautiful, wonderful people. I got to see my oldest friend marry the love of her life surrounded by people who love her.

We've come a long way from the days of buzzing around the soccer field, following the ball like seven-year-old bees to a flower. This week was one, long defining moment in my life that told me: "Hey, you're a grown up now. These are the new teaching moments in your life. Listen up!"

I look forward to reading your captions!

Friday, April 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 24

Thank you for your prayers last week! My Gramma passed away on Sunday.

One of my cousins was in Europe for the semester and I am so grateful that we had the means to fly her home in time to see my Gramma before she passed. I can already feel the bond tightening a little between our families.
My favorite picture of her.

I definitely know my way around a funeral home now and the most distinctive observation I can make is how much good pours out of situations like this. When there is sorrow and a thirsting need for love, people step up.

It is beautiful to look in the refrigerator and count the number of people who loved us with their ovens, or to stand at the funeral and watch friends who interrupted their days to comfort you at the wake or funeral.

I woke up early on Sunday morning with no prompt. Yet, as I stared at the ceiling, I knew she was "one in that number" of saints in heaven. I could feel it.

I doubt Rome will ever canonize her, but I can safely say she was the holiest and most incredible woman I've ever known. It's my job to insert her -isms and her habits into my own life.

I wrote about her in our first Bright Maidens week.

As you read this, I am in New Mexico preparing to be a good bridesmaid and aide for my best friend from middle school. This is a spunky, beautiful woman with a lot of spice, so I'm sure the wedding will be very joyous!

I am not sunburned anymore.

The Bright Maidens had a great week! We were featured by the Pulp.It, the National Catholic Register, and New Advent -- thank you all!

Trista, Julie and Elizabeth (I?) are very happy to announce that we have picked our final post topic... for the Lenten season. We're even happier to announce that we will be continuing the Bright Maidens series on a bi-monthly basis and we want you to join us!

First things first, our topic this Tuesday will be "why we chose Catholicism."All of us are cradle Catholics, but everyone has a conversion story. We're going to tell ours.

Secondly, we will not be posting on April 26, but we will be posting on May 3. We'll announce the topic and the date for our future posts on the FACEBOOK PAGE. It is important you "like" us if you want to participate because you will need to post a link to YOUR posts there.

Let's say our first communal topic is: Our favorite ice cream and of which book in the Bible it reminds us.... You write your post before the correct Tuesday (after seeing the announcement on the Facebook page) and post the link to our wall! Easy Peasey. If you any questions, email me.

I had to miss my 1st grade religious education class this week because of my Gramma's wake.

1. Two beautiful friends joined me at the wake along with a host of wonderful people celebrating my grandmother's life. 2. We still went to our weekly burger and beer night where... 3. My friend and co-teacher handed me a stack of folded yellow construction paper.

The little boy who looks like Rolfe (if you don't know which Rolfe... oy vey) had asked her if the class could make some cards for me to tell me how "sarey" they are that my "grandmuther did" (died).

It was the CUTEST present I have ever received and I'm bummed I can't share it with you because I'm not in Virginia... sometime soon.

My beautiful mother accompanied me on this trip to New Mexico. We landed in Roswell (in a plane and I have yet to see an alien). Enjoy this building painted near the McDonald's:


And we drove to another town a few hours away. What a completely different climate and progression of scenery!


Have you met Kendra? She's new, soon-to-be-married, and an avid Twitter conversationalist.

Hop over to her blog and read her first in a series about a childhood staple: Disney Princesses.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cut to the Chaste

Week Six: Sex Before Marriage

"Cut to the Chaste" by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

This is the sixth post of a blog post series called "Bright Maidens." We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We're here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

The Big Rule: no sex before marriage. It's a concept that seems pretty simple when you forget that rules are often useless to the flawed human race without reasoning and understanding supporting them.
(I don't own the rights)

My mom "conditioned" my sisters and me from the tender age of three to follow this big abstinence rule. As I mentioned in my review of Jason and Crystalina's newest book, my mom sat her daughters in front of the 1954 musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and drove home the point that men and women sleep separately until they get married.

I intend to buy the Blu-ray version of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and convert it to hologramray or whatever technology comes next until I have my own children. Learning that men and women sleep separately until marriage when I was still eating glue and drawing incomprehensible crayon artwork on the floor was immeasurably helpful in my life.

This is especially accurate considering life outside of my home tried to make fun of the values that my parents instilled. The TVs played music when the characters finally got together, suggesting there was actual magic shooting back and forth between those kisses. Now we harbor little doubt that the next step these characters take will lead to the bedroom.

The commercials started to use innuendo and now we have public displays of American embarrassment in shows like Teen Mom and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

My mother got to me early and drove home the Big Rule before the media had a chance to get me, but it was really my peers I had to worry about. The media plague got to many of my classmates before it affected me (thanks mom and dad, for banning shows like "The Simpsons").  These peers' influence, sarcasm, and general attitude about topics such as sex and romantic love started acting like a marinade on me.

Society's lessons about how to be "normal" finally got to me and all of the champion avoidance efforts I could muster were no match for an attack from all sides.

Happily, my parents used anatomical names instead of cutesy names, they were always available to talk, unembarrassed, and transparent when we had questions. We had comfortable talks about sex instead of ones that made you want to crawl into a ball and be absorbed by the carpet.

The supposedly liberated media can't claim to be unembarrassed like my parents. Movies or TV shows with any sexual innuendo carry a hint of embarrassment, wrongdoing, or "shoulda, woulda, coulda" when the sexual relationship doesn't pan out as the characters anticipate.
You knew I had to add Grey's Anatomy (I don't own rights)

What is missing? Where is the freedom?

I was brought up to mutter commentary like, "Well, maybe you shouldn't have had sex," whenever the characters broke down in tears after a break up. I followed the rule to a T. No sex until marriage, at all costs.

Then came high school where my friends and classmates started drinking and having sex, making me feel like I was far better than most and that I didn't want to judge these people for their decisions.

My solution was to continue my non-drinking, non-sexual ways and decide that my decision was my decision alone. It mattered not what they did -- sometimes this attitude led to my encouragement of behavior I would never consider, softening my perception of the wrongs I was opposed to my entire life.

Then came college and the "normal" college lifestyle I knew so well from the movies and TV shows. The fun happens at parties: the end. Therefore, go to parties and do fun things like drink, flirt with the opposite sex, and make-out with complete strangers while the smell of Natty Light and Axe hangs in the air.

Cut to the Chaste

The mantra went: I wasn't having sex, my outfits were classier than those girls, I wasn't getting wasted every weekend, and I only had the stranger encounters a few times.

But was I still the three-year-old sitting Indian style in front of the musicals and wholesome movies I would watch as a child? The "bloom" had been rubbed off because I was advancing away from that simple, innocent life, edging as close as possible to sin, and treading through Sin Candyland "for fun."

I started dating and with that comes smooching.

It's risky to think we can go at full speed in a passionate make out session with petting and expect to put on the breaks every time. In fact, it's just plain mean to yourself and to your partner to get hot and heavy with the expectation that you're going to stop before sex "happens."

Sex doesn't just happen, choices are made and then adults consent (except in the obvious cases of rape). One of these choice checkpoint is kissing and it's up to the individual to know when we start to lie to our body saying, "Hey, we're going to have sex with this person before we get off the couch," when we have no intention to advance that far.

Sexuality isn't one size fits all. Sex isn't dirty or evil either. It's supposed to be a beautiful foreshadowing of the union with God in heaven.
(I don't own the rights)

God is supposed to be involved, much like He is supposed to be involved in relationships leading to marriage and involved in the marriage itself. Sacrament is the key word we're searching for.

We can blame society until our faces turn blue because it pushes a subtle (and not-so-subtle) agenda on us. However, I don't think we can be satisfied with this one Big Rule.

We need to understand why we're choosing differently than the characters in Friends. We need to understand why making out with everything with a heartbeat devalues our perception of what should be a tender moment. We need to date with purpose instead of treating the people of the opposite sex as truck stops on the way to the destination.

Ladies, we need to know we're dressing modestly so we know that the men in our lives are there because they see something revealed within us instead of something revealed by our blouses. Gentlemen, you need to know you're half of the equation and your conviction needs to be steadfast and consistent, even if you're dating someone with a less than pure past.

Chastity means learning and respecting all of the reasons we were created. Love your spouse before you meet them and prevent yourself from making the mistakes that don't easily leave your memory.

I've written letters to my future husband at many points in my transition back to chastity. They explain that I already love him and that I'm excited to share the fruits of my chaste labors in our marriage. I think these fruits will show themselves in our relationship before marriage, on our wedding night, and in our public married life.

A fruit basket from Me, to Me, stocked by God. I bet it tastes like freedom.

Friday, April 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 23

Click here to read the original post at

I wrote most of these quick takes before I learned that my Gramma had taken at turn for the worst. I don't blame God for wanting her to join Him, she's an awesome, holy woman. Please keep my family in your prayers.


We know about the Holocaust, we know about the genocides in Rwanda and the Sudan... but we don't always put them on par with abortion. Hop over to Liesl's blog, Spiritual Workout, and read her article about the Holocaust of the 20th and 21st centuries.


(I don't own the rights)
I will soon write about the second biggest conversion of my life: the movement toward country music.

I know many readers just lost respect for me. For good measure, let's separate the sheep from the goats: I love NSYNC, too. I would go to a Justin Timberlake concert tomorrow. I'm also starting to dislike Taylor Swift.

Still there? To my delight, I just learned that DARIUS RUCKER is coming to Richmond in July. I will be there, Mr. Rucker, worry not.


After one tweet I tweeted last week, I now have three Magic Hat brand Twitter accounts following me... how do I feel about that? Stupendous! Beer is delicious!

Homebrewing sounds like a lot of fun. I'm not a great cook, but I can make beer, right? My sister found a store that has homebrew supplies and I may just have to start a new hobby... #mmmbeer.


Jason Evert came to Richmond last Saturday and dropped some knowledge on our fair city. When I arrived at his first speaking engagement, I was the first one. A little eager, I'd say.

I saw him in the distance and it was like I was looking at a celebrity. This man and his wife have had a profound impact on me in the last year, I'm very grateful to them. That is what I was thinking when I introduced myself with shaking hands and a clenched vocal chord...
Buy the book here!

He was very kind and funny! I gave him a copy of my review of How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul and enjoyed THE HECK out of his talk!

There were a lot more boys there than I expected, especially considering the talk was the same time as the VCU vs. Butler game (Go Rams). I know Mr. Evert planted lots of thoughts in the teens' minds because he still plants them in mine!

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by the Everts' website, You can watch videos, listen to talks, and read questions and answers.


In 1615, when Galileo Galilei sat before the Church's powers that be, he sung a little-known verse:

The Catholic Knight (Google found him for me) wrote an explanation of the Church's sentencing of Galileo.


Thank you for participating in the discussion this week! To clarify, we intended to pick one, pressing issue, not point out every issue in the Church. I happen to think the one I picked spawns a lot of the other issues, but of course I'd say that... it's my blog.

Does it feel like I talk about sex a lot? That's possible... I teach a Theology of the Body class.

I'm going to talk about it again on Tuesday for our #BrightMaidens topic, "Sex before marriage." I'm going to try to spice it up for y'all, since you already know where I stand on it (hint: no, thank you).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Judgment's shadow

Fair people, I need your input, if you please.


The New American Bible (Catholic) reads, "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you," (Matthew 7:1-2).

(I don't own the rights)
I take issue with how this verse is wielded like a weapon.

Some throw up their hands and say "Judge lest ye not be judged," often, in a way that judges his or her accuser. "You're judging me and therefore you are breaking a big rule. Nanny, nanny, boo boo."

My question: are judgement and judging a person are two different things?

When someone berates my faith or person, am I not judging when I refute their arguments? Don't I have to judge in order to construct my response?

In my obviously-not-so-humble opinion, I think the "judgement" referred to in Matthew 7 is really the kind of judgment that assumes one knows the extent of God's mercy.

When one judges someone's ultimate place, heaven or hell (I'd say purgatory, but I don't want anyone to launch into a conniption), as if they know where we end up based on whatever philosophy they believe, I think they step into God's shoes, breaking the law.

YOUR TURN! Tell me what you think about the concept and word, "judgement."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Half measures

Week Five: Issues with the Church

"Half measures" by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

This is the fifth post of a blog post series called "Bright Maidens." We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We're here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

Oooo scandalous. The Bright Maidens are going to share their issues with the Catholic Church! If you were hoping for a crew of young women calling for female priests, contraception (if this is you're guess, please read this), or a revolt on the Holy See, you will be disappointed.

Though we have some eyes to roll and some heads to shake at the several times in Church history, we contend that Christ founded the Catholic Church and the Holy Spirit has been her unfettering guide. We're the Bright Maidens because we're not what the secular world expects of young women who grew up in the Catholic Church.

(I don't own the rights)
What does growing up in the Church require? 

Is this the right question to ask? Many parents run down the concrete answers to this question like it's a honey-do checklist. Baptism, religious education, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, *ding* Catholic microwave says you're done!

Rather than determining how to bring their families closer to God, they go through the motions. Perhaps these parents don't understand the teachings or they disagree with them, but they want to give their children structure and checklists. I'm sure some worry about suffering the all-consuming condemnation from their own parents or in-laws if they neglect the checklist.

It would be a smaller travesty if their apathy and unwillingness to research and ask questions about the faith only affected their children. However, these parents are mixed in with all parents and assigned to elementary, middle, and high school religious education classrooms.

The parish plops a little "Ask Me Anything" button on their chest and identifies them as the authority in the classroom of eager children following their Holy Spirit-guided noses. Apathetic teachers, volunteers, or parishioners teach children by example and those who answer questions incorrectly misinform entire generations.

Until about three years ago, I thought my faith was just for me. I was meant to bundle up, tie a polar bear coat around it, and pray quietly in an igloo, holding my knees to my chest.
(I don't own the rights)

Saying "Praise God" when I felt the urge would brand me a Protestant Jesus freak. Rebutting an insult on the faith with anything more involved than, "It's okay that you believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. We're both right to us," would be over the top and somehow non-Catholic.

Somewhere along the way, Catholics started keeping the zeal for Christ to themselves. The darkness in that cave seems to dissolve any zeal left over from childhood.

We forgot it needs to be in the light and breathe. We're called to bring it to light and pass it around. In forgetting this, we created more of the apathetic parents who teach their practices.

Queue the battle drums call for more involved grassroots efforts in our parishes! We need to make sure kids know this is what it means to be Catholic.

Many parents are busy and can say they have too much taking up their time to learn the answers to the questions they never asked.
"In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked, lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men... All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics. Oh! if I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries. And this reproach can be levelled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries." --Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908
Take the time. Catch yourself on FIRE so you can show the Church's children how to be on FIRE for Jesus. We make up the Church He founded!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I love 1st graders! Week 21

About what do you pray? What do you say when you talk to God? Do you only talk to Him when you're sad or angry? Or do you let Him in on the fun when you're happy?

This is a sampling of what our kids said:

This girl is the sweetest

That last one says "Casey and Elizabeth"... us!

This boy wanted to pray for pie, pizza, God, bugs, gold and games.

We went outside in the gorgeous 80 degree (about 27 C) evening to observe the things for which we are grateful.

Besides some ants-in-the-pants issues with one of the kids, it was a good class with a lot of discussion about why we thank God. The "innocence of a child" came to fruition in these sharing sessions.

This innocence became even more prevalent when we read the Passion story from the children's Bible. We learned about Judas and how he betrayed Jesus, even though he was his friend. The class clairvoyant made yet another poignant statement, "I can't believe he would do that to Jesus when he was His friend."

Choking back a severe case of the "Awwww"s, I agreed and told her about the pharisee's reward to Judas for his betrayal.

"I would rather have Jesus than 30 pieces of silver," she said.

Of course, Jesus needed to die so our sins could be forgiven, but we all choose the silver over Jesus on a regular basis.

Abortion is choosing the silver (the life you once foresaw for yourself, which this baby threatens). Taking the job that combats your ethical or moral conscious is choosing the silver. Yelling at or physically abusing someone is choosing the silver. Skipping Mass to go to a concert, to go to a movie, or to sleep in is choosing the silver.

"I would rather have Jesus than 30 pieces of silver," she said. Thirty pieces of silver seems pretty trivial compared to the great banquet.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What does the K stand for?

Oh man, y'all. I rediscovered something about myself: I'm not a runner. Yesterday was the annual Richmond Monument Avenue 10k, which turned out to be a huge deal.

There were costumes (two people running in a huge Picasso painting rendition with face cut outs, vikings, Barbie and Ken still in the boxes, etc.), people cheering, music bands, lots of pitter-pattering feet, and plenty of cowbells.

Please enjoy the mind photos I captured during the longest run I've done:

* VCWhoooo? If you haven't heard of VCU at this point, please lift upwards on the boulder covering your little cave. Push the rock to the side and come to the light. Unfortunately, the Cinderella story ended last night against Butler. However, there is more of the story to unfold. VCU basketball coach Shaka Smart will get offers from a number of elite basketball schools and every single tree along the 6.2 mile run bore a yellow sign printed with: I would be so impressed with Coach Smart if he stayed with the team that brought him to the Final Four, but I understand if he takes the money and elite status. However, the morale boost that would follow Shaka deciding to stick with VCU would undoubtedly propel them back into the successful spotlight.

* The coolest VCU shirt I saw yesterday:


* There are some UGLY calve tattoos in this world. For most of the run, I was within a few paces of one man with two circular tattoos centered in the back of his calves. Half of my drive to keep my pace came from my curiosity about those tattoos and what they were portraying. I saw another person with a calve tattoo that looked like Michael Jackson in a black dress holding a tennis racket above his head like he was about to SHAZAAM with a wicked backhand. I don't understand.

* An hour before I was supposed to start the race, my cousin, a friend and I saw the first heats speed by. Speed. These people were sprinting. This was a collection of pure muscle and determination running in a pack. I'm impressed, you genetic champions.
The calm before the storm.

* A half an hour before my start time I caught a glimpse of my kindergarten crush. I had it bad for this kid in my five-year-old heart and it turns out I had good taste because he was in one of the first heats and finished the 6.2 miles within thirty minutes.

* During the first mile, I passed a man holding one of the signs channeling Westboro Baptist Church condemning "idolators" and others. I saw that first condemnation and decided to stop reading his hateful sign. If he wants to claim to be a Christian but act in an unloving way, I hope he realizes how un-Christian he really is.

* I ran most of the race with my cousin and friend and her good nature prevented her from telling me how much I was holding her back. At the fourth mile, I finally convinced her to leave me and she kicked butt on those last two miles!

Old school Shuffle
* Mile five was the longest mile on record. I started praying the rosary to give me strength, but I couldn't even concentrate enough to complete three Hail Marys. Longest mile ever.

* How do people run without iPods? I don't know, but I am grateful for my 18th birthday present, my iPod Shuffle. This old school gem started my race with Carbon Leaf and ended it with Darius Rucker. Not a bad transition.

* After the race, I went into the cathedral and spent some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. That made the whole thing worth it and I actually had a few tears in my eyes when I left the cathedral.

In conclusion, in my humble opinion, I don't think a runner's high exists. Some people are so talented at running, they claim this exists. Whatever you say.

All I know is that it took me ten minutes to get up the stairs today. Give me a swimming pool any day of the week.
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