Monthly Archives: March 2011

Link Love and a Request

Hello friends,

Just a quick post with some links for things you should check out. I’ve got a few post ideas rattlin’ around in the old tinker, but until then, here are some posts well worth reading!

As Lent Wears On by Calah

The Culture War going on over at Little Catholic Bubble (over 200 comments and going strong!)

Battling for Purity and the Souls of Our Youth at Catholic Phoenix

Is the World Getting Worse? by Simcha

And now for the request:

Father John Hollowell is an awesome priest in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis (where I live!). He teaches theology at one of the local high schools, and has posted videos of his classes on YouTube and his blog, On this Rock.

One of the classes he taught was on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Apparently some people who don’t like the Church have taken it on themselves to trash Fr. Hollowell both on YouTube and his blog. They have written comments that are not just attacking Church teaching, but attacking Fr. Hollowell personally and all priests by extension.

If you have a few minutes, please go check out his blog, and if you can, leave him a supportive comment. He is such a blessing to our Archdiocese, and I hate so see such a good man personally attacked for teaching the truth of our sexuality. Thanks!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

10 Things about Atticus and I

on my birfday 2011

Betty Beguiles has this great little thing going on today; Ten things about you and your sweetie!

Here goes:


Atticus and I met for the first time at church. After Mass, on the steps of Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. The first thing we ever did together was pray a decade of the rosary.



Then we had brunch. We both adore brunch. In fact, we love breakfast so much we usually eat it for dinner about once a week or so. We also love to try different brunch places. We bonded over greek omlettes and french toast on challah bread.



We were both history majors in college. Yeah, that explains a lot, right?



We love the Zoo. When we lived in Chicago we were five blocks from the Lincoln Park Zoo and used to go there all the time. Now we have a membership at the Indy Zoo and cannot wait to take Maggie!



Our song is “All I Want is You” by U2.



We cook together. A lot. Atticus really likes to cook (and he’s good at it!), and I like to cook, so together, we make some mean meals. His lasagna and omlettes are particularly delicious.



The Notre Dame campus will always hold a special place in my heart because we had our first kiss there, and many many special memories since then.



Before I met Atticus, I basically thought lawyers were scum. My favorite joke was:

“What do you call 10,000 lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?”

A good start.😉

Then I met Atticus, and needed a new favorite joke.



We have ridiculous silly nicknames for each other. Of course I won’t tell you what they are.



My heart came alive when I met him. He is the most honest, caring, loyal man I’ve ever met. He is my rock.

Dear Maggie

You are three months old. I can hardly believe it. I remember so vividly the moment you came into the world and I got to hold you and look into your sweet face. It feels as though it were a million years ago, and yesterday. I met you on December 28th, and I have been getting to know you ever since.

In the last few weeks, your little personality has started to come out more. Every morning when you wake up and make your little squeaks to let me know you’re up, I look into your face. You never fail to look up at me and smile, as if to say, “Good morning mommy! What adventures are we going to have today?”

You smile so many times each day, and it makes me happy every single time. When I’m overwhelmed, or sad, or exasperated, your smile reminds me of the truth of our love for each other. I love being your mom.

You take such delight in your toys, especially your baby gym. You stare with fixed determination at your purple elephant and your colorful rings.

You try so hard to grab those rings, and you are getting better and better at getting them. It makes me wonder what else you will accomplish when you set your mind to it. Your focus when you play reminds me of your daddy, and how hard he works to take care of us.

You love your giraffe rattle, and grab it with a smile. You smile when I read you Mother Goose rhymes from your book.

But you have a serious side as well. Especially when you’re studying mommy or daddy’s face as we talk to you. You are more than just a pretty face.

The first three months of your life has been such an adventure for your daddy and I. Our family has grown, and you are the joy of our lives. I can’t wait to see what the next three months will bring!


7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 120)

So I watch a lot of TV. I watched some before Maggie was born, and then, since she was born in the dead of winter, I watched A LOT during the first two months of her life. You might be wondering what this has to do with quick takes, so let me end your suspense and tell you what: today’s quick takes is composed of the 7 best TV shows of all time, in my humble opinion.

*** 7 ***

Veronica Mars

I actually found this show accidentally. I was looking for something to watch on Netflix, since I finished all six seasons of Desperate Housewives in about four weeks (I told you!). Netflix suggested I might like Veronica Mars. So I decided to check her out.

This show is so entertaining. Veronica Mars is a bad-ass high school student who is out to solve the mystery of who murdered her best friend. She’s like Nancy Drew, only about 1000% times cooler. I wanted to be Veronica Mars in high school. The only thing that really bums me out about this show is that there are only 3 seasons, and it was obviously canceled after they made the season three finale, because the show has no closure at all. It just. ends. Sad.

*** 6 ***


I have liked Jeopardy since I was a baby. No lie. Apparently when I was 1, I loved the theme song for jeopardy, and I would toddle into the living room every night when it came on. Yeah, my parents knew they were in for trouble then.

I am about the least competitive person alive, but I will kick your butt at jeopardy. No, I will. Someday I’m going to go on the show and win a boatload of money for the family.

*** 5 ***

Gilmore Girls

Oh man. This is the only show that I own every season of. I actually bought it twice. I slowly compiled the whole series in Chicago, and then when our apartment got broken into, they stole them all. Of course, my life was incomplete without the Lorelai’s witty verbal reparte, so I had to replace it.

What can I say? I have a thing for shows about smart, sassy girls who kick butt. Also, the pop culture references in this show make my inner nerd feel all warm and fuzzy.

*** 4 ***

The Wonder Years

Does anyone else remember this show? I was obsessed with it in sixth grade. My best friend at the time, MJ, and I used to watch it together all the time. It’s the story of Kevin Arnold (the middle kid) and his family and friends in the late 60’s. It’s such a great family drama and coming of age story. It’s narrated by an adult Kevin remembering his life during his teen years.

The real bummer is that it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere to watch. You can’t even buy it on dvd. I don’t know what the deal is, but it’s a shame.

*** 3 ***

The West Wing

1. I love Martin Sheen. (Poor man has the craziest son alive.)

2. I wish Jed Bartlett could have been president for real.

3. This is the one of only two TV shows I’ve watched, where I have never felt the time watching the show was wasted. I learned a lot, and I thought even more. Every episode has something to think about. So good.

*** 2 ***


I have watched a lot of TV. LOST is, hands down, my favorite television show ever. No episode of this show was wasted (except maybe that one about Nikki and Paulo?). If you’ve never watched it, please give it a try.

And with that said,

*** 1 ***

LOST is numbers 2 and 1, because its that good.

If you don’t believe me, you can read my posts about LOST here, and here. Go on, read them! Then go watch the best TV show ever.

What are your favorite TV shows?

A Love Story — Part 1

“And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfillment.”   –TS Eliot

This is a love story. An often painful, sometimes messy, always grace-filled love story. To tell the journey of my faith, it must begin this way. Dostoyevsky wrote, “Beauty will save the world.” My story is one of a beautiful love that, when all seemed lost, saved my life.

The summer I was seven, my mother finally died. It was a long time coming. She had been in the hospital for over a year. Every Saturday I would climb into the car with my grandparents for the long drive to visit her. We would sit in a hospital room that stank of disinfectant and fear and make small talk. I would tell my mom about my school, maybe read her a story or hear one read. I would give her something I made in art class. I don’t really remember, but I’d like to think I did those things. I’d like to think her suffering was made a little less by my presence.

My mother was no stranger to hospitals. Eight years before I was born, her kidney disease was discovered. She was pregnant, and partway through her pregnancy, she got dangerously ill. The doctors discovered that her kidneys were not functioning. Her baby, my half-brother, was delivered early and died a few days later. My mother nearly died as well. It was while she was in the hospital that she began thinking of becoming Catholic. There was a priest there who answered some of her questions. Without knowing all the details because she is not here to share them with me (how I wish she were!), she decided to become Catholic and completed RCIA.

A few years later she met my father and they were married in the Church. My father was a cradle Catholic, though he certainly didn’t live his faith in any meaningful way. I was their only child, as my mother only had one working kidney; one pregnancy had been risky enough for her.

By the time I started kindergarten, my parents were separated because of my father’s substance abuse problems. Mom and I moved in with her parents, my Nannie and Pop. Around the same time, Mom got sick again and needed another transplant. She had one; there were complications. Thus began the year of Saturday car rides and hospital visits. It was pretty clear that if she didn’t make it, my father would not be fit to take care of me, and I would stay with my grandparents. Before she died, my mother made a request of them. Although they were not Catholic, she asked them to make sure I would be raised in the Church. They respected her wishes without question. Of all the things for which I owe them gratitude, this gift is chief among them.

I received all of the Sacraments. They came to all the parents meetings, met all of my ccd requirements. They made sure I made it to Mass with neighbors who were Catholic.

This is probably no shock, but I was enamored of Mary. I loved the statues and windows which depicted her beauty so exquisitely. I didn’t quite understand that she was my spiritual mother, but in my little soul I longed for her serene smile to comfort me.

As a child I attended Mass; somewhat reluctantly as I got into my teen years. I always went to Sunday school, and really liked it. I didn’t receive the best formation, but it certainly wasn’t bad either. All of my teachers really were faithful, if not always ready with answers for my many and varied questions.

I learned the basics; the prayers, the sacraments, the Bible. What I didn’t learn then, or for a long time afterward, was that I could carry my scarred and broken heart into the arms of a God who knows the true meaning of suffering. What I couldn’t even begin to understand as a sad, broken, abandoned girl was that there was a Father who loved me enough to suffer with me and give me peace, by holding nothing of Himself back from me.

I was a sad, lonely teen and young adult. I desperately craved love and affection, and as many, many girls do every day, sought real love in the arms of boys who were incapable of giving, only taking. Each time my heart was broken, I would crawl back to God, licking my wounds, begging for another chance. I had rejected His love again, for the promises of the world, and was let down time after time. I wanted to believe that His love was enough, but I lacked trust in God’s goodness.

After all, how could a good and loving God let my mother die and my father abandon me? Isn’t that the question we all have to ultimately wrestle with: Why do bad things happen to good people?

I didn’t know, and the lack of answers made me angry. I was so angry that I stopped going to Mass when I went to college, despite being at a very Catholic college. I was also angry because I had been reading a lot of feminist writing, and believing their (misunderstood and misleading) words about the Church and women. As an angry young woman who had been hurt by men, I found it easy to believe the feminist rhetoric.

Through my first couple of years of college, I continued to feel both angry at, yet drawn to, the Church. I still believed that the Catholic Church was the place where Jesus was most fully present, in the Eucharist. This made my flirtation with other denominations feel silly and forced. As time went by, and I returned to the campus chapel late at night to pour my sorrow out at the feet of Jesus after each heartbreak, I knew I had to make a choice: Either be Catholic, and live it, or to walk away altogether. There could be no halfway.

Still I rebelled. Like a petulant child in the arms of an ever-patient parent, I pushed away while simultaneously grasping. In my mind, I knew the truth of the Church, and God’s love, and a life of virtue. In my heart, I wasn’t ready for radical acceptance. I wasn’t ready to let God love me, and to let go of my past mistakes. Like the prodigal son and so many others, I let fear of being rejected keep me from seeking forgiveness. Like the prodigal son, God loved this prodigal daughter enough to run out when I was “a long way away” and meet me where I was.

I wish I could say that after this revelation just before my senior year of college, that I turned over a new leaf. It would be more apt to say that I sprouted a new blossom. A place that was dead inside slowly came to life. However,  the rest of the tree was still standing, and there was so much pruning left to do.

Then I moved to Chicago and all hell broke loose. No, really. Stay tuned for part two; that’s where it really gets good. If I can say that. I think I can.

This, That, and the Other

I thought I’d share some random photos of Maggie from the last few weeks. Here goes:

What’s my motivation?

Oh yeah, Aunt Karen is coming to visit!

happiest baby on the block


Bring on the summer!

And since I never posted pictures of Maggie’s room, here are a few.

Yes, our theme is disney princess

The castle is one big sticker.

we got the dresser second hand and painted it!

And yes, that is a Disney alphabet poster. I couldn’t resist.


yes, she already has a library.

There you have it, the baby girl’s room.


And, to complete this totally random post, totally randomly: I am fighting off a sickness and lost my voice today. When I talk, I sound like how you’d imagine her to sound.

I tried talking to my baby today, and she looked at me like, “Why does my mommy sound like a chain-smoking retiree from Boca Raton?” Poor Maggie.

Taking a Stand

I am a big time wimp. Even as a child, I was terribly afraid of things. Like snakes, and heights, and roller coasters. You know how it’s every kid’s dream to go to the amusement park and ride every roller coaster eight times? I sat on a bench with everyone’s bags and read a book. I couldn’t have been happier.

I hoped with age my wimpiness would subside, but really, it hasn’t. However, rather than physical locations, animals, or thrill rides, what I am really a wimp about these days is making a stand.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I am pro-life. I talk about pro-life issues from time to time here. I even wrote once about my conversion from pro-choice to pro-life.

Even with my writing about pro-life issues here, I am still a wimp.

There is an abortion facility 3 blocks from my house. I have never been there to pray. In fact, despite participating in several 40 Days for Life vigils here in town, I have only prayed at abortion facilities a handful of times. I know I should be going there to pray, yet whenever I think of it, I get a huge knot in my stomach. It’s not so much about fearing what people might say/shout at me. We live in a state and city that is more pro-life than most large cities, so really, I’ve only had nasty things yelled at me a few times while praying. Also, whenever someone driving by has said something vulgar, or done something offensive (I’ve seen more than one middle finger!) I don’t take it personally. I just pray for them, that whatever they have seen or done that makes them that angry and hate-filled, that God will be with them and give them peace. It’s not about me when I’m praying out there.

No, it’s not the fear of what others will say that makes me shy away from prayer at abortion facilities. It’s what goes on there. This is a place where people die. I could only hazard a guess as to how many abortions are performed each week 3 blocks from my house, but it’s probably safe to say at least a dozen. At least 12 people are killed each week 3 blocks north of my house, and I’m going about my day, none the wiser. Except I am wiser. I know exactly what’s going on there. And I’m completely paralyzed.

Every time I think, “I should go pray at 1201 N. Arlington this week”, I immediately think, “What good will it do?”.  It won’t stop abortions from happening. It won’t save a baby’s life. All it will do is depress me. Of course, you know Lucifer is feeding me all these lines, just waiting for me to fall for them hook, line, and sinker. Like a wimp, I always do.

It’s not only the not praying thing. Actually, I don’t think all people who are pro-life are called to pray at the facilities. Especially not on killing days. The evil is just palpable. For me, it’s that I feel God is calling me to pray there during this season of life, and I am not doing it, because I am a coward.

There are other ways I fail to make a stand. I have friends and family members who are not pro-life, and who probably think us using NFP is about as crazy as possible. Rather than engage them and try to show them the truth of why we live like we do, I just prefer not to talk about it, because God-forbid we ever have a conflict. Now, if someone were to ask me about 40 days for life, or why I’m pro-life, or why we don’t use contraception, I would love to talk about it. But no one ever does, and so I am content to keep all of this truth to myself, because what could be worse than possibly making someone uncomfortable?

And it’s not just abortion either. I have very strong convictions about a lot of things, yet I mostly keep them to myself (or only discuss them with other like-minded friends, which thank God, I seem to have a lot of).

For instance, I’ve only written about capital punishment, and immigration, and the environment, a handful of times, yet these are things I am strongly convicted about. And war? Oh war. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. I’d like nothing more than to someday get arrested for trying in some way to dismantle our nation’s bloated military-industrial complex. Perhaps make the evening news as the mother of five, grandmother of 15, who gets arrested for taking a hammer to a war plane? It’s good to have goals.

I digress, but the point I’m trying to make is that I’m a big coward, and God is really calling me out on it this Lent. Mostly, He’s doing it in the form of that abortion facility three blocks away, and the tug I feel in my heart as I think of those being killed there. When I look at the sweet, innocent face of my sleeping baby, I can’t help but realize that I have to model for her the virtues I would like her to cultivate, and as painful as it might be, that will definitely involve taking a stand.

But I’ll never ride roller coasters.



Best Things About Lent

*** 6 ***

Free Stuff!

You know, the ashes, the palms, etc. All the “cultural” Catholics come out of the woodwork for the Masses when they give stuff away. And then sit in my pew. You know, it seems like all of those big days are during Lent. Coincidence, I think not.

*** 5 ***

Coming up with creative meatless Friday meals. Oh, who am I kidding? Most years, we just end up eating pizza, spaghetti, tuna noodle casserole, and eggs. In that order. I doubt this year will be any exception.

*** 4 ***

PS. Don’t be alarmed friends. The last time I saw 110 on a scale I was standing on, I was in 5th grade. No, seriously.

The weight loss that usually accompanies giving up sweets for the duration. You know, those 3.5 pounds that are regained by nightfall on Easter Sunday after I dove head first into my basket full of chocolate, only coming up for air in order to drink more wine.

*** 3 ***

These guys:




Their feasts are two days apart, and always in March; Lent is in March 99% of the time, so, Sts. Patrick and Joseph are part of Lent.

You tell me, what’s better than getting to celebrate one of the most hard-working, hard-drinking, fun cultures on Earth by eating my weight in potatoes and washing it down with whiskey? I’ll tell you what.

Getting to celebrate the *most* fun culture on the Earth two days later by eating my weight in pasta and washing it down with wine. (St. Joseph is the patron of Italy, in case you didn’t know!)

And this year, their feasts fall on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. This means I can fast and do stations of the cross in between, thereby not completely forgetting the spirit of Lent amongst the wonderful feasting.

*** 2 ***

Spiritual reading. I always mean to read a lot of spiritual books during the year, but I usually can only get through a few, what with my addiction to Netflix busy schedule. Lent is a great time for me to do more reading, because I can usually be duped into completing a book over the 40 days. This year I haven’t actually chosen a book, but I am going to read through one of the Gospels (I’m thinking Matthew). I’m also thinking I should get started.


*** 1 ***

Last but certainly not least, Holy Week. On Palm Sunday I wake up with a spring in my step, because my favorite week of the liturgical year is upon us.

I love everything about Holy Week. Last year we did our own seder supper to honor the Jewish roots of our faith, before going to Holy Thursday Mass. I would love to go to an actual Seder, hosted by people who actually know what they are doing.

The washing of the feet, the priest prostrating himself before the altar on Good Friday, the lighting of the Paschal candle at the Easter Vigil; these are such beautiful, and holy symbols of our Church. Don’t even get my started on the baptisms and confirmations that happen at the Easter Vigil. It is my favorite Mass of the whole year.

Now, before you go chastising me, saying, “Well, Holy Week isn’t actually part of Lent”, let me just cut you off now and say, I don’t care. It’s my favorite time of the year, and it comes immediately after Lent. So there.


What are your favorite things about Lent?



Welcome to the Family

Since today is Ash Wednesday, it seems like a good day to introduce to you all the newest addition to God’s Church, Miss Margaret “Maggie” Gianna Babbs.

with our priest and Maggie's godparents, Elizabeth and Jamie

welcome to the family Maggie!

I wonder if babies can get ashes? Anyone know?

She’s Got Style


Last week, Betty was asking readers over at Faith and Family Live about their personal “style icons”. She revealed that her icon is the beautiful Grace Kelly.

I love the idea of a style icon, (so much I decided to do my own post!) and I’ve tried to have one over the years, yet somehow I never felt completely right about “imitating” the style of someone else. However, as I’ve grown up a bit in the last few years, I realized that having a style icon is not just copying the style of someone else, but finding someone (or several someones) whose sense of style matches what yours is/what you would like it to be, and to put together something that is still uniquely you. Having a style icon, or style idea, gives focus when shopping for clothing. It helps avoid impulse purchases of things that really aren’t “you”, but are a great sale or something you might wish was “you.”

The importance of having a style icon/idea has become so clear to me, especially in light of being a new mom. I don’t have a lot of time to spend going from store to store shopping and trying on a million different pieces to find what I like and what flatters. Knowing what kind of clothes fit with my style, lets me know what stores to spend my time in.

In case you hadn’t guessed it yet, my style icon is Audrey Hepburn. I’m sure a lot of women would say that, and I think that’s because Audrey is, was, and always will be an essentially beautiful woman.

It wasn’t just about her style, her clothing. Whether she was in pants or a dress, spending time with orphans in Africa as a UNICEF representative or covered in diamonds, she was always feminine. I think a lot of women are drawn to that. We want to know, “How can I be feminine while I’m washing the dishes, or going to the zoo with my kids, or running to the store?” Audrey Hepburn’s style is appealing because its just as applicable for casual settings as it is for dazzling parties (because, let’s face it, most of us are not going to all that many dazzling parties!). She wasn’t just beautiful, she was natural.

There are about five million books on style out there (an amazon search confirms this), but I think a great way to start thinking about what your style might be, is to just flip through some magazines or websites that have different kinds of clothing.

If you have a style icon, who is it? If you don’t have an icon per se, is there an idea that guides your personal style?


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