Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's Coming...

I know that most of us aren't ready for this discussion, but we can’t go on ignoring the elephant in the room.

Not really sure how you could ignore this cute wittle itty bitty baby ewephant!
Wook at him pwaying wif the baby birds!
What you can ignore is how annoying it was to type that baby waby voice. Please never again.
Lent begins in two weeks.

I know, I know! We’re in denial.

We just took down the Christmas decor! we all say!

We also enjoy using the royal 'we'” we all also say!

But we need to bring it up because I need your help. Here cometh my plea.

One of the things I do for Lent is listen only to Christian music. In the car. Working out. While I bake. When I should be attempting to get out of bed in the morning. Those kinds of things.

This means I give up my guilty pleasures that include but are not limited to: Yellowcard and Maroon 5 and Sara B and TSwizzle Dawg and Key-$-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaa-ha-ha-ha-ha and all that rap music I listen to on a daily basis. I’ve gained a lot spiritually from doing this in the past (which I then sometimes tend to lose when I pick up the Queen of Emotional Chastity’s music again [TSwizzle, in case you were confuzzled {I think I lost my parenthesis}]).

As much as I love my Christian mix of Audrey Assad (you should click on each one of these here, do it!), Matt Maher (well hello look at that, there's more), MercyMe (how can I come up with more words for you to click), Relient K (make them up laaaa deeee daaaa because I clearly love Relient K), Switchfoot (running out of words wooooooo weeeeeee), and even a dash of Chris Tomlin (and by "dash", I mostly just mean this one on repeat), it gets old after - oh... a week. And we all know all too well that Lent lasts for six looooooooooooong weeks. We know. Royally and collectively.

By the way, if you actually clicked and listened to all those music links... well, you win the coveted award for "Liesl's Favorite Person of the Day!" And now that you all have your eyes on the prize, I hear you all say...

Anyway, so I’m asking for your help. I need song recommendations! Songs that are great for morning car rides or getting pumped up for a workout or waking up in the morning or diving deeper into prayer. I need some great Christian music to listen to during Lent and beyond!

If my playlist of choice helps you understand a bit of what I like, steer that-a way. I can be kind of picky when it comes to music, especially Christian music. I like good and complex-ish lyrics (i.e. I look for a bit more than “God, You are so awesome!!!!!!”), intricate harmonies, and cool instrumental things happening in the background. I don’t usually listen to most of the “Praise and Worship” music out there, so Christian radio is usually a no-go for me.

I’m even willing to allow songs on my playlist that remind me of God or make me want to pray, even if they aren’t actually about God (or are they secretly about God, hmmmmmm...?).

Example: We Found Love by Rihanna
Counter-Example: State of Grace by Taylor Swift (I'm kind of in a relationship with this song right now... buuuuuuut, contrary to what the title suggests, this song is not about the state of your soul if you plan on receiving communion, or how awesome your life is after you go to confession. I know! I was shocked too!)

So, sendeth forth your ideas. Please make sure that your email address is linked to your comment (here’s how to do it) in case I need to follow up with you... which would happen if a) I love your suggestion and want more or b) I hate your suggestion and want to heckle you every day.

In exchange, I’m offering a little prize. Yes, before you ask, it is more than the coveted award of "Liesl's Favorite Person of the Day!", although I think that should be enough incentive...

If one of the songs that you suggest becomes my #1 favorite song of this Lenten season, then I will send you a box of personally made by me baked goods. Yummity yum yum. To be kind of scientific, I will go by the number of plays a song gets on my iPod (fair, right?). And if a song that I picked is the most listened to... well, then I will bake myself some chocolate deliciousness... after Easter.

Let the games begin. And may the iPod odds be ever in your favor.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Everybody Loves Pockets Edition

Yes, you read that right.


I don't know about you all, but I love skirts with pockets. Love them. Maybe even agape love them.


Whoever took the pocket out of skirts was seriously disturbed. Like whoever said that orange is the new pink.

Because what lady doesn't need a pocket? I mean, I might need to carry a dainty hankie to wipe the tears from eyes because the homily was so beautiful, or a tissue because I have the sniffles, or a bag of Cheerios in case the baby in front of me is just too darn cute and loudly distracting, or some chapstick in case there's a handsome lad sitting next to me and I want to give him the Judas version of the sign of peace.

(Definitely kidding with that last one, winkity wink.) 

You just never know when you'll need a pocket!!!!

So I thought this skirt was cute when I found it at the thrift store, and then when I saw that it had pockets?!

Sold. To the lady in the second row. She's an 8, she's a 9, she's a 10, I know.

The pockets in all their beauty!
The whole ensemble, awkward poses and all.
Oh, you want to know more than just about the pockets? Alright, then...
Hair - courtesy of my mother's genetic code and old lady bun
Blouse - Fashion Bug, via Unique Thrift Store, a steal with the tags still on it for $2
Skirt with POCKETS - Ann Taylor, via Unique Thrift Store, another steal for $3
Tights - Merona, via Target
Boots - Bare Traps, via DSW, which were not a steal, but good boots come at a price.

Rocking the purple today, just for all you Fine Linen and Purple ladies. You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

40 Years of "Choice"?

I originally posted this one year ago today. I have a new post planned for the March for Life on Friday, but as today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I think it's important to ask ourselves, "What kind of 'choices' are we celebrating today?" Today, and every day, we need to remember the 55 million children who have never had the chance to make their own choices, who never had the chance to live, because of the 'choices' our society has made.

Hosted by Jill Stanek

Unfortunately, evil has been present in our world since the Lucifer and his angels chose to turn away from God, and it will be present until the end of the world.

Because we have been given free will, we will always have the option to choose evil over good.

That doesn't mean evil is ever the right choice.

Society choosing evil over what is right has led to wars, genocides, the spreading of disease and famine, and a general stomping on the little guy all over the world.

No matter how you try to spin it, abortion is evil to the core. The Devil likes to disguise evil in appealing forms, but let's face it - abortion really isn't a very good disguise.

Just because we can choose evil doesn't mean we should. We have been given a choice so that we can choose to do the right thing. 

So I ask, what does "pro-choice" actually mean? Is it promoting choosing good over evil, or is it just another disguise that the Devil hides behind?

I am for choice... the right choice. I choose to always fight for life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Don't Wait for the Wedding

It happened one Friday night.

The anticipation had been building for awhile, at least for me. I couldn't ignore the hunger any more. It felt like I had been waiting an eternity, and I just couldn't hold off any longer.

Screw waiting for the wedding!!! I thought.

So I gave in to the urge.

Wait, wait, wait... you all know what I'm talking about, right?

Be honest - how many of you are thinking that this post is about - are the kids out of the room? no? ok, I'll spell it instead - s-e-x?

I know my most read post is about porn, but c'mon y'all! Getchyour mind out of the gutter!

...I'm talking about my brand new KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

My precious.
I know. It's beautiful. It's alright if you tear up. I totally did.

Let me backtrack a bit...

I'm sure many of you know that I love to bake. Partly because I love sugar and partly because it's one of those ways that I show people that I care. Like really care.

Some of you also might know that this KitchenAid stand mixer is a baker's dream. Like heaven. On your countertop. You can make an entire batch of cookies at once!!!!!

So, it probably comes at no surprise that I've always wanted a KitchenAid stand mixer for my very own. I have great memories making batches of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with my family growing up, and ever since I became an adult, my wrist has always longed for the relief of not having to mix cookie batter with a hand mixer.

But something has always been holding me back, and that something is the idea of waiting for the wedding.

KitchenAid stand mixers do not come cheap. This one runs for a retail price of $299.99, and that's the cheapest one! So, while I've always wanted one, I've never taken the leap to buying one.

It's soooo expensive! I think.

Can I really justify spending that kind of money on something for just me? I wonder.

Because only married people
use kitchen appliances.
This is the kind of thing you put on your wedding registry, is the thought that always cinched the "Not gonna give in and buy it" mindset.

You see, for years, I've been living with the idea that there are things that I would want - things that I would use - but I haven't bought them for myself because they are the kinds of things that you register for when you get engaged.

The kinds of things that your girlfriends all chip in to buy you for your bridal shower.

Or that really expensive item that your dad's co-worker has shipped to your parents' house before the wedding all gift-wrapped in special Macy's ribbons and bows.

Or the gift that your great Aunt Ruth (who had a beard... and it felt weird...) splurges on for you because you are her favoritest great niece in the whole wide world.

It's one of those expensive gifts like nice crystal or china that you wait to buy so you can put something on your wedding registry... and if you buy it before the man comes along, then what are you supposed to register for?!

Waiting for the wedding was holding me back. It was keeping me from living my dreams... my baker's dream, that is.

And then it happened. Everything just lined up too perfectly. It's like it was God's will! All KitchenAid appliances went on sale at Kohl's. Then they had a special Ebates deal on top of that. Then there was the extra 30% off. Then there was the Kohl's cash. Then there was the mail-in rebate. You get the idea. When it all came down to it, the final price was going to be down from $299.99 to under $100. I even had some muscle who carried it to my apartment and set it up for me! How could I say not give in?

Obviously, I have a hard time saying "No!" to any great deal, but it was more than that. It was finally time for me. It was a change in my mindset.

I'm done waiting for the wedding. I have a life that's worth living now, not just someday when I get married. 

So, it did happen that one Friday night, where I didn't wait for the wedding. I had some chivalrous muscle come over to carry it up from the lobby for me, pull it out of the box, and place it ever so gently on the countertop.

It was a beautiful moment. It was everything I had hoped it would be. And it was mine. A gift for myself.

And then we made mashed potatoes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Exciting Debut Edition

Well, the weather here has been... interesting. It fogged over last night and hasn't cleared since. With this lovely fog has come an even lovelier dewy drizzle everywhere.

What does this have to do with what I wore to Mass, you say?

Well, it means me putting on a skirt and heels was not going to happen today. Helloooooooo pantalones!

But this is an exciting debut.

I bought my very first pair of skinny pants!

I know. I am pretty shocked too. I've always thought that the skinny cut was for... well, skinny people! but I thought I would give them a try and I don't think they look too bad! I decided to go all out too. They are dark purple cords (I went with a dark color as darker colors are more slimming to the figure) and they have a light paisley pattern on them.

So I need you all to be honest. And by honest, I mean lie in the comments and then privately e-mail me your honesty if you think I should never ever ever EVAH!!!! wear the skinny pants again. Because that's how Jesus would do it.

Channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn.
In poor lighting. Sorry.
Close up of the print... which is still bad lighting.

More deets:

White v-neck sweater: Old Navy (clearance for $7)
Green scarf: Old Navy (on sale for $10)
Elle patterned skinny cords: Kohl's (originally $48, on clearance for $10, plus 30% off = $7 pants!)
Purple flats: Macy's (clearance $19)

Random thoughts from Mass:

- Who is not ready for the Christmas decorations to come down off the altar yet? This girl!
- I went to Mass at the parish where I teach catechism today, and the woman in front of me turned around and said I sing so beautifully and I should be in the choir. Aw shucks!
- I just really love simple music at Mass sometimes. Just a guitar and husband and wife duo led the music, and it was really beautiful.
- Does anyone else have a major problem focusing their thoughts on the actual Mass during Mass? Sometimes I feel like my mind is everywhere but what's actually happening. Thoughts for how to squash the wandering mind?
- Jesus is baptized! Holla! (That's how you say "Hallelujah!" in half the number of syllables) Even though Jesus did not need baptism whatsoever, I think it's awesome that he chose to "debut" himself to the community through baptism, just as we are all debuted to the Christian community at our baptisms!
- Did y'all know that Lent starts in one month?!? Yes, that's right. I'm already starting to ween myself off of chocolate.

Trot on over to Fine Linen and Purple to gander at all the other lovelies.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Even One Step

"If there's even one step we can take to save another child 
then truly we have an obligation to try." - President Barack Obama, 2012

How about half a million people, each taking thousands of steps? 

Are you listening, Mr. President?

March for Life. 

January 25, 2013.

I'll be there. Will you?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Designer Dress Edition

So I realized while choosing my post for the month of December for the New Evangelists Monthly that my posting lately has been a bit skewed... three posts were about clothes, one was a quick takes (that also mentioned clothes), one was a wonderful guest post from Mary, one was a compilation of quotations that I didn't actually have to do anything to write... and one was a bunch of pictures about how I see Jesus in a Rihanna song.

So I think maybe my new year's resolution should be to write about something of substance - you know, with actual words - perhaps at least once a month?

Glad I'm starting off on the right foot.

I actually went to Mass at the Saturday vigil, but calling this post "What I Wore Saturday Night Which Is Really Sunday in the Eyes of the Church" was too long.

Más details:
Dress - Elie Tahari designer dress (he was on Project Runway a couple of weeks ago!) originally priced at $200 that I got on clearance at TJMaxx for $10
Black tank - Sonoma from Kohl's (because modest is hottest, of course)
Black tights - Merona from Tarjeta
Black boots - Bare Traps from DSW (and probably the only thing I paid full price for in this ensemble)

I felt it was time to whip out my crazy print dress once again. Because I love it but sometimes feel like it's crazier than me (I know, that means really crazy, right?) so I have to be in the right mood to rock it.

I think the print could be best described as a leopard that fell into vats of red, pink, purple, and orange dye.

Mass details:
I once again sat in the old lady section, although there were some old men there this time, too! Moving up in the world.

The priest gave a great homily on the Epiphany, tying in the gifts the Magi brought to what it said about Christ, and teaching us that if we follow the light (of the star) as the Magi did, we too can encounter Christ!

Be sure to check out everyone else's party attire at Fine Linen and Purple!

Happy Feast of the Epiphany! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Single Life: Right vs. Good (Being Single Series)

I was extremely excited when Amanda agreed to write a guest post, because I couldn't wait to hear from the perspective of another single single lady! She definitely went above and beyond, and I especially relate to cringing at the idea of being good at being single. This post is so packed full of goodness, you just might have to read it a few times... which is totally what I did too!


Alright, here is the God’s honest truth: whenever I’m asked to write, or speak, or I feel God calling me to talk about the single life I cringe a little. Sometimes, I cringe a lot. Why is He calling me to write about this or speak about it? Does He think I’m an expert at it? I don’t want to be an expert on the single life! If I somehow became an expert on the single life or got really good at being single, there would be a very real danger of me wanting to stay single and happy forever. Besides, why would I want to change my way of life if I became an expert at being single? God calls us to relationship, both romantic and non-romantic in nature. Does that mean you are a failure if you aren’t in a romantic relationship? Not for a second. It means that God is preparing your heart for the exact purpose He created you for.

Suffice it to say that I get it. Being single isn’t always easy. Some days (especially around the holidays) it can be difficult, lonely, and tiring. More than once I’ve found myself asking God why I’m single and why He has called me here. I can clearly remember asking God that question when I was in college. The conversation between me and God went something like this…
Me: God. I’m in the prime of my youth. I’m in college. I’m even at a Catholic college. Where are all the good guys? Why am I not dating anyone? Why won’t you send me a boyfriend? I want someone to love. I demand someone to love and someone who will love me. Get on it.
Sounds like a pretty one-sided conversation, right? I wish I could say that I gave God a chance to answer. I did, for about five seconds, but when His answer was anything different than what I was asking for (which it was) then I stopped listening. When I stopped listening, I started trying to make things happen for myself. I went out. I partied. I hung out with the not-so-Catholic-boys (and I do mean boys). In the end, I was nowhere near where I wanted to be. I was settling for cheap imitations of love, and deep, deep, deep down, I knew it.

Eventually, I turned back to God and opened my ears and my heart to hear His answer, “Not yet my child, not yet.”

Did that answer break my heart? Not at all. I knew I wasn’t ready.

Since then I’ve been in exactly two serious relationships. Neither of them was perfect and they both ended in heartbreak. With the last relationship, I became so convinced that we were going to get married that I stopped praying about it. I stopped praying about the relationship, instead I only ever prayed for the relationship. There is a difference, and that is a lesson I’ve taken to heart. Since that relationship ended I’ve learned to pray both for and about a relationship before I enter into and once I’m in it. If I feel that He isn’t calling me somewhere then I don’t go there, period. I know that it only leads to heartache.

Today, His answer is still the same, “Not yet my child, not yet.” His answer isn’t a flat-out no, it is a simple but loving “not yet.” I’ve learned to wait on Him, to wait for His lead. By learning to wait for Him, I’m learning to love Him more deeply. By loving Him, who is Love, I learn how to love. I’ve also committed myself to a few things:

Prayer. This takes many different forms. I’ve committed myself to being a prayer warrior for my future husband. I offer up Rosaries for him, Mass for him, and my daily struggles. Whenever I feel lonely or wish he would just show up already, I offer a prayer for him. I write to him. I pray for him specifically and intentionally. I pray for his purity, for his heart, for his openness to the Lord, I pray for him to imitate Jesus and St. Joseph. I can’t tell you how strong I feel as a woman to be able to pray for my future husband now.

More prayer. When my last serious relationship ended I decided that I had to stop being lazy in my spiritual life. I had to stop waiting on a man to be the spiritual leader in my life because the truth is that I already have a Man in my life who is the greatest spiritual leader I could hope for. I decided to go to daily Mass twice a week. Then it was three times a week. Then four. Then five. For months now I’ve been going to Mass every day of the week, with the occasional exception of Saturdays. It keeps me close to His heart, close to Love, grounded and focused on my purpose in life: to serve Him, receive His love and share it with the world.

I find comfort and strength in Jesus. It sounds cheesy and cliché, but it couldn’t be truer. I do my best to fall more deeply in love with Him, and in so doing, I pray that He would soften my heart and teach me to love as He loves: unconditionally and without reserve, regardless of whether I’m single or not.

“Let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.” – St. Augustine


Amanda is a single, Catholic woman who lives out in Denver, CO. She works as a youth minister, blogs over at worthy of Agape, writes for Ignitum Today and The Papist, oh, and she wrote a book (which she should hear about any day now...)! If she manages to find any free time, she likes to hike, explore the mountains, play golf, and plan out her Sunday attire so she can show the world what she wore on Sunday! She also wants to come clean with everyone, and admit that she doesn't eat green foods except cucumbers, pickles, honeydew, and kiwi. Someone brought green jello to the party? Nope, she will not be having any of that! (Don't worry, I'll bit the bullet and eat the green jello...) Can't get enough of Amanda? Check out her other writings, and come back for more guest posts coming soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Recap: Music Edition

Here's to 2012 through the ears of my most played songs!

This past year was spent...

...wandering in and out and all over the spiritual desert...

...finally finding a job with some help from my favorite saintly beau, feeling like I'm where I'm supposed to be, and having a great work schedule where I can still enjoy those days where all I want to do is just have a pajama day...

... healing from the rejections of life with a dash of prayer, humor, TSwizzle, and sarcasm...

... some fruitful experiences leading a couple of retreats for young adults...

... trying to better prepare myself for the lad...

... and whether we've already met or if we're still wandering around looking for each other, just stop putzing around and call me, maybe?
(I had to fit in the bestest song of 2012 somehow!)

... having way.too.much.FUN...

alright... maybe not that kind of fun!

... and being reminded over and over again that even in the struggles and sufferings present in life, that I am still known intimately, loved deeply, and so blessed by God!

Here's to 2013!

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