Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 66



(In case you missed it, here’s what went down here this week: How A Dominican Nuns Prays, How I Pray, Yarn Along, Daybook).


We’re supposed to get more snow on Sunday into Monday. Oh what joy, what rapture! It’s not like what Massachusetts and the rest of NE got, but any snow here is cause for everyone to be all SNOWPOCALYPSE! It’s not that we’re not used to snow. Because we are. Winter in Ohio usually means snow. I think with the 24 hour news cycle, people tend to freak out about it more because we know  about it farther in advance. (Does that make sense?) So we’ll see how this affects Sunday CCD!


 So since it’s winter and that means staying in the house, there’s been a lot of house improvement going on. I’ve been organizing papers and either tossing or filing them, and I’m thinking of ways to place things I use on a daily basis. Right now, those things tend to end up on my kitchen table. Well that’s not the best look, aesthetically or practically, because I also use that as a work space sometimes. So I need to find ways of placing things like my Bibles, my household binders, and things like that, so that the items are accessible but not stacked up on the table! So I’m looking into options in that department.


Some organizational things I like (and no, I don’t get any kickbacks for this, I just love these things): Emily Ley’s Home Base Binder, and I love her magazine boxes, which I use in the Book Room/Official Office. I also love her Simplified Planner, but alas she’s sold out for this year, so no linkage to that. But it’s awesome! Her 2016 ones come out in the summer/fall.


My taxes are done and my refund is coming–Praise Jesus. 🙂 I’m really glad my taxes are easy to do, because I’m math-impaired like that.


Today I’m working on February’s Power Sheets. Guys, if you have goals to set and things you want to do, do yourself a favor and get some more of these when they’re back in stock in March. You will love them. I promise. They are so helpful to me.


The Super Bowl is this weekend. I really don’t care because I don’t like either of these teams. Give me more hockey!

Yarn Along No. 15

OK so. Gotta admit, not a lot of knitting happening this week. I know, you’re all disappointed. I’m sorry. So I’m trying to get back on the knitting schedule so you have (hopefully) a finished project to see next Wednesday! 🙂 So alas, no photo this week, but go here for a photo of what I’m doing. 🙂

I’m reading Benedict XVI’s Prayer (about done with that, will finish today!), and I’m about to start Our Mutual Friend, because I’m trying to make my way through most of Dickens. And I’m re-reading Lara Casey’s Make It Happen.

How a Lay Dominican (that’s me) prays!

Since we’ve had a Dominican Friar and a Dominican Nun (also known as the first and second orders of the Dominican order, respectively),  tells us how they pray, it’s time to get the third order in here.

Me. 🙂

So anyway, this is how I pray, and I’m using the same questions put to these fine people. Enjoy.

Romans verse

Who are you? 

At the most basic level, I’m a child of God, whom He created with a purpose for some unknown plan of my life. He knows the plan, I don’t, and sometime I’m OK with that. Sometimes I want a burning bush. 🙂

At a more prosaic level, I’m a daughter, writer, actress, singer, first grade CCD teacher, cousin, niece, granddaughter, and sister.

What is your vocation?

My vocation is to the Third Order Dominicans–Lay Dominicans, as we’re called now. We are part of the Dominican family but we are “in the world”, in that we’re not cloistered like the nuns, and we don’t wear habits or live in community, like the nuns and friars do. We have regular work-a-day lives but it’s colored by our specific call to praise, to bless, to preach (one of the order’s mottos) and to spread the Truth of Christ and His Church throughout the world.

What is your prayer routine for an average day? 

My day starts are various times–right now I’m writing full-time, so I don’t have a time I have to get up. When I get up I have my coffee and say lauds and then have time for lectio divina, which I’ve recently started in earnest. I find that I have to do it after lauds or it doesn’t get done.

At 3:00, I pray the Divine Mercy chaplet and the Office of Reading. Around 5:00, I pray Vespers and say my rosary, if I haven’t said it earlier in the day. Before bed I usually have at least 15 minutes of spiritual reading/mental prayer, and I’ll say compline if I can. As a Lay Dominican, I’m asked to say at least morning and evening prayer (lauds and vespers), pray the rosary daily, and go to daily Mass when I can. If I go to daily Mass, it’s usually the 11:45 at my Dominican-run parish.

How well do you achieve it, and how do you handle those moments when you don’t? 

Since unlike Br. Humber or Sister Mary Catharine, I don’t live in community and have a life that is governed by a horarium, it can be difficult, especially vespers, since that’s right around dinner time. If I’m going out (like I am this evening, to a hockey game), and circumstances dictate that I can’t say vespers at the regular time, I try to say it when I get home. Yesterday, for example, I had an early morning doctor appointment, so I missed being able to say lauds. Since I’m not bound by pain of sin to say the office, like priests are, if I miss it’s not a huge deal. I just get back to my normal routine the next day (or as soon as I can. There are times when I’ve been hospitalized and unable to say my breviary because I wasn’t quite with it. 🙂 ). On most days, I manage this fairly well.

Do you have a devotion that is particularly important to you or effective? 

The rosary, and we’re going to talk bout that more below. I’m also a huge fan of the Divine Mercy chaplet, and the Liturgy of the Hours. In fact, wanting to pray the Liturgy of the Hours regularly is what led me to the Lay Dominicans!

Do you have a place, habit, or way of praying?

I generally pray while sitting in a corner of my couch, next to a small end table that has a candle with Our Lady of Guadalupe on it, and a statue of Our Lady of the Smile. My rosary beads and some devotional books are also on this table. I pray lectio at my kitchen table so I have room to spread out my Bibles and my notebook.

Do you use any tools or sacramentals?

My rosary, of course. Lots of books–breviary, the Ignatius Study Bible New Testament, and the C.S. Lewis Bible, which I adore. I also like to use a pamphlet of rosary devotions, or the Magnificat Rosary book.

What is your relationship with the Rosary? 

I love it. I’ve always loved it. I always have one on me–usually a few, actually. It’s my favorite way to pray. I love how many layers there are to it; there’s always something new to think about. It’s my go-to intercessory prayer. When people are on my prayer list, that means they get a decade of the rosary.

Are there any books or spiritual works that are important to your devotional life? 

There are a few I regularly go back to: Mother Mary Francis’ Come, Lord Jesus (a book of Advent meditations), Fr. Richard Neuhaus’ Death on a Friday Afternoon for Lent, and Be Holy, by Fr. Thomas Morrow, is amazing.

What is your most recent spiritual or devotional reading?

Right now I’m reading Benedict XVI’s General Audiences: Prayer. And I’m just about to finish those. Next up will be a book by Cardinal Wuerl that, incidentally, Brother Humbert got me for Christmas. 🙂

Are there saints or other figures who inspire your prayer life or act as patrons?

St. Therese of Lisieux was my confirmation saint, and I have a strong devotion to her. St. Catharine of Alexandria, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Dominic (of course), and St. Catherine of Siena are also some of my favorite patrons. Since I sing, St. Gregory and St. Cecilia are often called upon. I also love the story of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and pray to her frequently. My Dominican patron is Blessed Lucy of Narni, and yes, she is most likely the influence for both “Narnia” and Lucy Pevensie, which makes me happy, and may have been an influencing factor in me choosing her. Also St. Genesius of Rome, the patron saint of actors!

Have you had any unusual or even miraculous experiences as the result of your prayer life?

Negative. That’s OK though! 🙂

How a Cloistered Dominican prays: Sister Mary Catherine!

I was fortunate enough to meet Sr. Mary Catherine (and most of the other Summits nuns!) when I was discerning if I had a vocation to their wonderful life in Summit, NJ. Obviously, I didn’t, or I wouldn’t be writing here (ha!), but the deep Dominican spirituality and joy I found there continues to echo.

Like last week’s post, Sr. Mary Catherine discusses how she prays. To round this out, I think I have to write about how a Third Order (or Lay) Dominican prays. Then we’ll have the whole series! 🙂

Daybook No. 88


Outside my window/health stuff::

Lots of wet, wet snow. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and Dad drove me. It took us almost an hour to go 12 miles. Sigh. But we made it on time and in tact, so that was good. (Dad gets a wee bit overprotective about me and snow. I love him for it.) Anyway, my PFTs are up two points, so that’s a good thing. We’re happy about that. Most of the visit was spent talking about the switch from my current insurance to the new insurance and how I may be without insurance for a period during this transition, which makes us slightly nervous, because MEDS. Like, Meds I need to Keep The Lungs Happy. Sigh. But we’ll work it out. I can get the meds….somewhere. I think. I hope!  There’s getting them and then there’s paying for them. Two separate things. But we’re working on it. Yes. We are.


Jeans, SmartWool socks (I LOVE these things), and a turquoise/teal sweater with a cute little bow details. I try to look cute but also utilitarian for clinic, because you have to take off clothes for the X-ray, and if they want anything else, you want to be fairly comfortable but presentable. (Sometimes I’ve had bronchs when I’ve been all prettied up for work, and those always suck, because you’re in nice clothes that then get all wrinkly because you have to take them off and put them in a bad. Sigh.)


Re-reading Lara Casey’s Make it Happen, and just about done with Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer .


Still working on the cowl and bookmarks. Yay! 🙂 And adding new sections to the BOOK.

Around the house::
The tree is finally down! I vacuumed the section of the rug that was under it but good, let me tell you. I have to do some more loads of dishes, because you know, I cooked last night, and that means more dishes than my dishwasher can handle.

Meals for the week::

Um, right now, I’ve got nothing. I had chicken piccata with roasted fennel last night, and that was good. Tonight might just be quick two bean chili. I need to make my list and go shopping tonight or tomorrow.

In the CD player::

The Original Broadway Cast of Parade. The best show I have ever done, period.

Final scene of Parade (I'm in the blue pinafore in the center).

Final scene of Parade (I’m in the blue pinafore in the center).

Bible reading::

I’m reading the letters of St. Peter this week and probably next week, and then it’s a study of Esther.

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 65



Happy Friday again, y’all!

Here’s a quick wrap-up of some of this week’s posts, in case you missed them: Daybook, Yarn Along, The Open Guitar Case, Contemplation, How a Dominican Friar Prays (who happens to be one of my BFFs).


There was also this special post. I am so happy. Editing this manuscript went pretty well, except for some parts that made me think why did I write this DRECK?! But that’s what editing is for….getting out all the crap. There are some entire sections that need to be seriously trashed and re-written, and the prospect there is sort of daunting. But first I’m working on adding a more solid ending, which was one of the big problems in the first go-round. One thing at a time, right? But for January, my goal was to just edit the firs two parts of the book, not the whole thing. So I am lightyears ahead there!


Quick Oscar movie posts: I saw Gone Girl and How to Train Your Dragon 2Gone Girl has one nomination (best actress for Rosamund Pike, who plays Amy), and How to Train Your Dragon 2 is nominated for Best Animated Feature.

I wasn’t really impressed with Pike in Gone Girl. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a good actress, but I don’t think she was quite as creepy as the role requires her to be. I’m also not sure if that’s a fault of the writing/medium. In the book, she’s just so creepy. In the movie she’s borderline creepy. Also, the movie doesn’t do as good of a job fleshing out Amy and Nick’s before.” I know, movies are different than books, but in this case it just didn’t translate well. And with the competition in the best actress category, I don’t think Pike will win.

As far as HTTYD2, I thought it was very well done, just as good as its predecessor. Gorgeous animation, great story. I’d need to see more of this category to predict, however.


If you’re looking for a great Lenten e-retreat, as it were, ladies, I give you this:


I did this last year, and it was amazing. Please consider gifting this to yourself. It’s amazing.


And yes, Lent. It’s coming soon, peeps. It’s early this year. May I direct you to my Lent series? 🙂


And to round this out, some Christmas pics:

Me and my cousin Paige (who, incidentally, also asked me to be her Confirmation sponsor.)

Me and my cousin Paige (who, incidentally, also asked me to be her Confirmation sponsor.)


My cousin Kelly, and another cousin, Justin. These guys kill me.

My cousin Kelly, and another cousin, Justin. These guys kill me.

1,000+ changes later….


That’s right–more than 1,000 changes later….

I have edited the first manuscript copy of THE BOOK.

And I’m adding pages.

I can’t believe I made more than 1,000 changes, but….since it’s track changes, some of those are things like fixing spelling errors and spacing issues, but most of them are actual word changes. Real editing not just clean-up and formatting.

So now it’s on to writing more chapters (because an ending was one of my big initial issues with the m/s)!

agnes yay

Yarn Along No. 14

Yarn Along No. 14

So today’s yarn along features–the cowl! Again! 🙂

Length of the cowl before yesterday's knitting.

Length of the cowl before yesterday’s knitting.

I actually think I might be nearing the end of it. I bought four balls of this yarn during a yarn sale in 2013, and I wasn’t sure how many I’d need for this project, but I think as I near the end of this ball (the second), I’ll be done with the cowl! Right now it would  fit pretty well around my neck, but I’m not sure about getting it over my head in one piece.


The pink yarn is for another bookmark. Yes, I know. The macaron sampler kit from Knitpicks has 10 balls of yarn, and I’ve made about four bookmarks so far. So six to go. I like doing these with fingering yarn because it’s a good way to get the feel for the yarn and see how each ball knits up. (Plus, I always need bookmarks!) It’s also great practice for my garter stitch, which I now have much confidence in. 🙂 (I got the macaron sampler kit, and the Harmony needles you see in the ball, as a Christmas gift.)

As far as reading, I’ve started Alexander McCall Smith’s Trains and Lovers: A Novel, and I’m almost done with Benedict XVI’s Prayer. I’m also diving into Apollo’s Angels: A History of Balletwhich I’ve had for awhile, and re-reading The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, which is here under the pink yarn. Whew!

(Also, the little bit of yarn you see on the cowl that’s sticking out a bit? That’s where I joined the balls of yarn. That part will be woven in as part of my finishing.)

Today’s Contemplation: No Ordinary People

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner–no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament, your neighbor is the holiest thing presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat– the glorifier and the glorified, Glory himself, is truly hidden.

–CS Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

The Open Guitar Case

You may have noticed the new widget on the sidebar–the “open guitar case”, as I’ve titled it. Basically I stole the idea that if you like a street performer’s work, you toss change/bills into the open guitar case they usually have in front of them (or coffee can or whatever).

I’m dedicating myself almost completely to my writing–here on the blog and on the big projects (editing the memoir and crafting the book proposal; novels and short story writing). So if you enjoy what you read here, and you want more of it, would you ponder tossing in some pennies to the case?

For my part, I will try my best to give you posts and material that is well-written and hopefully interesting to you. I assume you’re reading because you like something here. (Or you’re my family and you’re doing it because you’re family. Hi, Dad!)

There is absolutely no obligation to do so. I’m not going to charge anyone for reading because that’s just not how I roll. I don’t even have cool things to give people who donate, except lots of gratitude (and you get prayers!). Maybe at some point.

The money will go toward helping with medical expenses (I’m not cheap to keep alive), and the occasional bag of coffee and a book. (Can coffee be a medical expense? Maybe, right?)


(PS: I’m also in the process of attempting to make one of my short stories an e-book. So that’s also coming over the horizon.)

Also, I want to give you what you want to read about. So hit me up in the comments with likes and dislikes.