7QTF: Praise and Prayers

7_quick_takes_sm1Linking up with Jennifer and the rest!


Praise for: Alex at Ever Ancient. Her post on making out is excellent food for thought.

Kissing is one of those lines I think every young chaste person wonders about. There is no hard and fast rule because occasion of sin, sin of scandal, etc. can look different within each relationship, because they are dependent on the individuals involved. Now, I’ve read the forum postings; I’m aware there will be challenges in figuring out an intimate relationship if you’ve had no prior experience or different experiences. And I think that’s a big reason most chaste-striving couples might fall or rationalize or justify the line they want to toe: they’re afraid of how hard it will be to negotiate challenges in such a sensitive area once they’ve entered a commitment they can’t renege on. But that’s the way wrong attitude. If you and your future spouse develop a God’s grace-filled attitude toward intimacy, the challenges will hopefully be fun!


Praise for: Amanda at Worthy of Agape. Amanda is a great new talent in the world of spiritual writing—especially for young women. She and her fiancé are about to enter the holy sacrament of marriage! Congratulations and many blessings. May God’s grace ever fill your union.


Praise for: Marcus and Diane Guavera. This wonderful couple has started a new ministry for young adults—Thirsting for Truth. I got lost in their blog posts one afternoon. Many great things to say about chastity and living out the faith.


Prayer request: for the two young widows (Sept. and April) and new mamas whose husbands’ lives were taken from them. [ETA: And my cousin, who lost her husband to a heart attack. He was 56. They have four children.


Prayer request: for a friend’s young husband who has cancer.


Prayer request: For Meriam Ibrahim, who has been sentenced to death for professing Christianity. Her baby girl and toddler son are reportedly children of an American citizen, meaning they too, are American citizens. And these little ones are in a third world jail with their mom because the State Department slacked on her spousal visa. #BringBackOurKids.


Book: It’s May! That means it’s National Celiac Awareness Month! Part of Gloria Jean’s story is to reconcile the notion of the theology of the body—that she can learn about God from her body—when her body can’t even receive God (in the form of bread).

This week Lisa Hendey so awesomely is giving me a guest post over at CatholicMom.com. Go read up on the ways that moving forward we can support our brothers and sisters who have the disease, as well as a call to action for those writerly types who can provide fresh, current information, links, recipes, etc.


7QTF: Catholic Date Ideas

7_quick_takes_sm1Linking up with Jennifer and the others!


Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast.

(Let the men do the cooking!)


This is a Google image, not Mr. Sweet.


Volunteering at with Catholic college’s alumni group to package meals for the homeless.

(Co-workers in the vineyard.)



Ordination Mass.

(Definitely puts attending those umpteenth weddings in perspective.)


My favorite part.


Living Rosary.

(The couple that prays together…you know the rest.)



Touring a beautiful Shrine.

(What do you want to do first: the Stations around the pretty pond or light a candle in the chapel?)



And of course, attending Mass.

(Ohmigosh. Hold hands during the Our Father? And how do we do the sign of the peace?)



Book: It’s May! That means it’s National Celiac Awareness Month! Part of Gloria Jean’s story is to reconcile the notion of the theology of the body—that she can learn about God from her body—when her body can’t even receive God (in the form of bread).

Obviously, dates involving food could be tricky to navigate for people with severe Celiac and want to avoid cross contamination. Gloria Jean worries about this, but when she’s older and on real dates (spoilers for the moms– of course I have this 14-year-old realize one-on-ones are inappropriate), she’ll have more and more options. A handy dandy list.


7QTF: Thank goodness for…


“Your gender is against our religion”: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/03/15/comment/coucil-of-islamic-ideology-declares-womens-existence-anti-islamic/

Thank goodness for Saint John Paul II for not only affirming, but celebrating women’s integral part of the Catholic faith.


“You young people must be crassly pandered to in order to get you to vote”: Actually, I’m not going to link to the video it is THAT terrible. Suffice to say a certain parliamentary “Rock the Vote” style ad used a Adult Swim-at-a-bacchanal-style cartoon to get young people to vote and care about things like “climate regulation, agricultural subsidies, and chemicals in toys.” Um, Unnamed Nation, I think government bodies do a lot more that young people really should care about, and you’ll win more of them when you aren’t being as disgusting as possible in the name of humor.

Thank goodness they had the sense to pull the ad, and for Saint John XXIII, who had real wit about him.


“We don’t know what ‘oppression’ means”: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/05/14/take-for-harvard-black-mass-coming-this-fall/vurWnQHV0jQaQX8B07HgDL/story.html.  Look at the top of the page; this is not the opinion section, nut “News.” Now look at the tone. RAWR. I do not understand how signing petitions, voicing our perceptions about the event and why we believe it should be canceled, and hosting prayer services are “oppressive”.  It was unreasonably burdensome or severe to ask you to not denigrate the faith of fellow students under the guise of “education”? Let me tell you what oppression is:  it’s being dragged by force out of a public building; it’s being arrested and put into jail for a speech; it’s being afraid to worship because for three Sundays in a row someone’s bombed churches in your region, all because you believe in something different. And I could write a whole other treatise on how this piece is shoddy journalism. At no point has anyone actually asked the right questions to get answers from the Club like: “This is what will go down. This is how we’re not mocking another belief system. No, of course there won’t be a nude woman on the stage; here are the paragraphs explaining the bits we’re re-enacting and why we don’t think it’s anti-Catholic.” Anchoress, can you please ask?

Thank goodness for Boston Catholics. Jesus walked in some of the most liberal neighborhoods in the nation and it was standing room only just to be in His presence.




Oh, and speaking of the black Mass, that’s the title of the big biopic about Whitey Bulger, to start filming in Cambridge later this season. *slow clap* Way to go, guys. I only get to hear the name of an offensive practice for now until the movie has been out a few weeks. Awesome.


The season finale of Castle. Terrible, terrible writing.


Another article so disappointing I can’t even link to it profiles the lead star in the “teen” soap Reign. Chock full of quotes about how portraying licentousness is empowering for teen girls, it…I can’t even…

Thank goodness for Catholic understanding of dignity of the human person.


Book: It’s May! That means it’s National Celiac Awareness Month! Part of Gloria Jean’s story is to reconcile the notion of the theology of the body—that she can learn about God from her body—when her body can’t even receive God (in the form of bread).

One of the big challenges people with Celiac face is dealing with those who have no idea, nor care to know, what the disease is and how important it is for people with the condition to avoid it.

Says one chef blogger: “I’m infuriated that anyone is eating a gluten-free diet and doesn’t know what gluten is. It makes our lives more difficult, those of us who truly have to avoid gluten. Just doing it because it’s a fad, and you think it’s a weight-loss diet, makes you seem pretty foolish. But more importantly than that, when you ask for a gluten-free meal at a restaurant, then decide to have the cookie at the end anyway, you make wait staff and cooks across America doubt those of us who need to avoid that little bit of cross-contamination.” (Gluten Free Girl).

Which is why it’s really unfortunate that Jimmy Fallon turned it into a bit, pretending that a show writer was a chef with a serious gluten allergy and proceeded to shove a pie in his face: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIlOWdF_GmU.

And Jimmy Kimmel did one of those “man-on-the-street” bits to point out that people who go gluten-free simply because it’s a fad diet don’t actually know what gluten is or what it does: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/06/gluten-free-people-have-no-idea-what-gluten-is_n_5273980.html. His sign off? “Maybe gluten doesn’t exist.”

Thank goodness for people like Joan, who are studied the condition for her degree and bringing awareness to it.  🙂

7QTF: Questions for You!

7_quick_takes_sm1Also check out the link-up at Jennifer’s!


Here’s niece C., bearing Jesus! She quite happily wore her older sister’s dress. So proud.


What are some lovely stories from your First Communions?


My godson gets Confirmed next year. Who are some saints I can point him to read up on this summer? Short, but cool stories, are the best bet for this 13-year-old.


I’m thinking about writing a piece on marriage discernment. When, how, why did you know your spouse was the one to enter into a life-long sacrament with?


Prayer request: A “cultural” group affiliated with a Satanic temple group intends on holding a Black Mass re-enactment at Harvard on Monday, May 12, at 8:30 pm. Though they avow that they’re not going to use a host anyone would consider consecrated, it is still vastly offensive to pick this one particular as representative of “religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture.” The other events by this culture group include a Shinto tea ceremony (presumably done according to form, not mocking the ritual), a Shaker exhibition (presumably done according to form, not satirizing the believers), and Buddhist meditation (presumably not using hate words as chant). Why the very thing that denigrates our religion and faith, which they purport they are not doing, was chosen over you know, an actual Mass, I have no idea.

Lord, forgive them, they know not what they do.

Can you please pray that this event doesn’t happen, and if it does, for the souls of those would engage in such a practice?


I wrote a review of Something Other God Than God.

There. There’s the mention. Now what would I do with a banana suit beyond Halloween?


 What should I get for my mother 1400 miles away and days late?



Book: It’s May! That means it’s National Celiac Awareness Month! Part of Gloria Jean’s story is to reconcile the notion of the theology of the body—that she can learn about God from her body—when her body can’t even receive God (in the form of bread).

This past Sunday’s Gospel is referenced in the book. Gloria Jean is asked by her priest, Fr. Mazi, to meditate on the passage in which the risen Jesus is made known to the disciples in “the breaking of the bread.” But as a teen who can receive only the wine, Gloria Jean struggles: “Well, that’s just perfect. There was no ‘made known to them in the pouring of the wine,’ now was there? I mean, the Host is so familiar. I’m not sure anything else will ever seem like Communion to me. The bright red hymnal catches my eye. Don’t most of the Communion songs refer to ‘wheat’ and the ‘bread of Life?’ Yup. Not a whole lot about the ‘wine of life.’

Here’s a good pastoral note on the issue from a priest who recognizes the potential spiritual challenge for people with this condition: http://www.hprweb.com/2013/06/celiac-disease-and-holy-communion-a-medical-and-spiritual-dilemma/

He does reference the lyric: “Our blessing cup is a Communion with the blood of Christ,” which is taken from Scripture.

Do any of you musically inclined folks know of any other “wine songs”?

7QTF: Communion Season!

7_quick_takes_sm1Head to Jen‘s for more!

Headed home for a very special weekend! Niece C. is receiving the Eucharist for the first time and Mr. Sweet is meeting my siblings!


Prayer request: For my youngest niece and her class and all the kiddoes making the sacrament of their First Holy Communion. May they always have their hearts beat for the living God, and like little C., readily pronounce Jesus as better than Santa.*


*True story. About four years ago, one Thanksgiving, her eldest brother (9 at the time), announces to the table the discussion question for the evening: “Who’s better—Santa or Jesus?” C. is the first to answer, and chirps, “Jesus!”


Another true story. Her older sister, M., who was just months shy of making her First Communion, comes back to the pew with her mama after she goes and gets her Celiac-friendly Eucharist before we can even leave for the line, tells me, “Britt…I saw GOD.”*


*I choose to believe it was solid catechesis about the True Presence, and not you know, a 7-year-old’s conflating priest with God. Well, actually…that counts too. But I’m sure she wasn’t taught that. 😛


Mr. Sweet and I were at a church that celebrated its’ second-graders’ First Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday Mass*, and before it all started, I was waiting in line for the ladies’ with a Mom and her daughter in her white dress and another woman behind me. So naturally we talk. (“Don’t let her go to the bathroom with her. Secrets come out in there.”)

Woman tells me about this one little girl she knew who wore an $800 gown from Vera Wang for her sacrament. Um. Even the fact that this was a second wear after donning it to be the flower girl in a rich friend/family member’s wedding doesn’t make it less nutty. $800. For a little girl’s dress!


Is it just me, or wouldn’t this be lovely as a wedding dress? Probably costs as much.

I should have told her my story. Prior to the Mass, us girls were in a holding room (classroom), looking at each other’s shoes. (Starts young, I tell ya.). “Where’d you get yours?” “Ooh, those are cute.” “Yours are so pretty!” About five of us: “Payless.” “Payless!” “Payless.” 🙂


*I really like that the reception of this sacrament is done in the context of Sunday Mass, as it cuts down on the abuses listed below. I get that Catholic schools have different considerations–50+ kids in a class with all their immediate families—but really, these pseudo-wedding-day, secular pomp and circumstance celebrations can take away the sacramental reality for the child.

Abuses. All true stories from a Catholic school AP and a parish DRE.

–         Spending more than $500 on a dress.

–         Talking with all the other moms about how much you spent.

–         Spending money on professional hair styling.

–         Blatantly defying the no-make-up rule.

–         Arriving to church in a limo.

Yes, I do realize I am not even 30 and childless and shouldn’t be complaining about this issue. But I don’t care Now get off my lawn. 😛


Book: It’s May! That means it’s National Celiac Awareness Month! Part of Gloria Jean’s story is to reconcile the notion of the theology of the body—that she can learn about God from her body—when her body can’t even receive God (in the form of bread). Aside from a couple nonfiction picture books, this reality of a gluten-free-life for kids and teens isn’t really dealt with in fiction. Further, there’s very few resources that take into account how this affects Catholics (Eucharist in the form of bread must contain a certain percentage of wheat in order to be valid matter). So here are some links:

Catholic Celiac Society

A Word from the USCCB

A Blog Chronicle

Low-Gluten Hosts



7QTF: Lady Catholic Stuff


Linking up with Jen, whose book just shipped yesterday!, and the rest!


It’s so wonderful to be Catholic. Not only do we get 12 days of Christmas, we get an Octave of Easter (and, actually, 40 more till Pentecost!). Plus, if we want décor or candy, everything’s now on sale because the rest of the world thinks such joyous events are only a day. So glad I know the truth—they’re a whole season!


Awesome analogy for explaining why modesty or chastity that has nothing to do with a spouse (the whole “you are a gift to be unwrapped by only your husband!” tripe):

“We could say the body is the monstrance of the soul, and the soul is the Eucharist of the. The purpose of the monstrance is to display and enhance the beauty of the Eucharist.

Likewise, the purpose of the body is to display and enhance the beauty of the soul. They don’t compete with each other. They complete each other to bring out their shared beauty and brilliance.” (Katrina Zeno, Every Woman’s Journey)


Another pearl of awesomeness from Katrina’s book is her light introduction to the wisdom of Saint Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). We all are likely familiar with the usual construct of vocation: primary (union with God), secondary (religious life, married, or neither), and tertiary (What we do on Earth: job, hobbies, etc). But Saint Edith Stein wrote about our universal vocation (what we share with others), or vocation according to gender (every man is called to be a father of sorts, every woman, a mother), and individual, one that is uniquely ours. To me, this construct alleviates the pangs of discernment when viewed largely as “what vows do I take? and when?”


Though this post inspired a great debate in the combox, I actually quite love what Simcha wrote here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher/2014/04/23/yes-we-still-need-feminism/

I do want the word reclaimed to what it should mean: that femininity—uterus and all—is respected; that our equality is in our dignity first and foremost, as well as in our citizenship; and that opportunities not relevant to physiology or gender should be available to men and women. (I think I’ve gotten over the crushing realization as a teen that no, women could not enter the Tour de France; our legs aren’t built that way).


A friend posted on social media this week asking what Catholic women thought about veils. I replied that in my current understanding, outside of the Extraordinary Form, it was a practice of preference, or as another blogger I’d read deemed it, a calling. And I could not for rhyme nor reason tell you why I don’t nor why I don’t try it out.


But it is very pretty.


So for those who do, please comment below about why you and particular, and if okay, to use your comments (but not name or anything) to my friend. I am not looking for a debate or judgments, but sincere explanations about why you’ve chosen to wear it.


Prayer request: For the person on my social media feed who wrote “Happy Zombie Day…er, I mean Easter.” This individual is married to a baptized (but not practicing) Catholic, and would never dream of insulting a person with SSA or making a jokey comment about the observances in other faith traditions. May God give this person a change of heart to include us Christians in it, too.


Book: This weekend we celebrate the canonization of Pope John Paul II. This saint greatly inspired Gloria Jean’s story. Not only did I try to imbue the text with wisps of the theology of the body and I outright name check Love and Responsibility, having read the new translation [link] while revising my own book. Plus, Gloria Jean’s older brother, J.P., three guesses as to what that stands for.


7QTF: Catholic Potpurri for $1000, Alex


Join Jen and the others!


Trigger warning: baby in NICU. Spoiler alert: Very happy ending.

Isn’t God the creator awesome? And human life—no matter how young—just incredible, right?


Cassian, a saint’s name(!), is apparently one of 12 baby names that could have a huge break out in popularity soon.

Hmmm…St. Cassian of Imola was the Bishop of Brescia and a schoolmaster, martyred by the Roman Emperor. His students stabbed him to death with the stylus. And then we have St. Cassian of Tangiers, who was a court stenographer, martyred because he admitted his Christianity when the Roman court issued the death penalty against the accused.

Great name, but I wonder how a son would feel about these stories of his patron…


Today is actually the feast day of another martyr, Saint Stanislaus. Say that five times fast. St. Stanislaus (which also sounds like Santa Claus) was a bishop in Krakow who called out the king for sexual immorality. The king then goes and kills the bishop during Mass in what sounds like a scene from those Saw movies.

The extra fun bit of fun for the 13-year-old boy in your life is that after the bishop’s remains were thrown into the pool outside, they miraculously became corporeal again, under the guard of four eagles.


What? What? That’s right, just re-building a saint.


I was at a training last week to get certified as a speaker for a program that empowers teens to make healthy, chaste, life choices. It was faith-based, but a more ecumenical Christianity approach. But the leader said she was brought to her knees by the writings of none other than our very dear almost-Saint John Paul II. And then all my non-Catholic classmates were just in awe of the instruction on the meaning of marriage, which was actually quite Catholic sounding. Point for the universality and point for the natural law.


Jean Lafrance thinks we can pray wrong (what spiritual writer doesn’t think that?!?).

“If you do not return to the same text in Scripture or in spiritual writers, you will never know how to pray well. You will be like a tourist who wants to see everything and who does not take the time to contemplate, that is to look with love and admiration, at what he sees. Do not be a spiritual glutton.” (Pray to Your Father in Secret, Editions Paulines, 1987)

Huh. Fasting from spiritual tourism. Never woulda thought.


Spotlight on Current Catholic: Sarah Swafford. Mrs. Swafford is the founder of Emotional Virtue Ministries., which aims to empower young adults to align our hearts so that we are free to love authentically. One of her talks that I’d LOVE to hear is “Emotional Chastity – Love, Emotions, Taylor Swift, Mental Stalking & Mr. Right.”

(She also very generously provided a lovely endorsement of my book. Thank you!!)



I get a little Romans-esque!

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rm 12:1)

Gloria Jean: “The Eucharist is Jesus’s body given up for all of us, right? And we’re supposed to be thankful that he’s made this sacrifice. Miss Tompkins said we’re meant to sacrifice too. Maybe [Celiac] disease is like a built-in system for sacrifice, and it’s up to me to figure out how to make it worthwhile.”

And here’s the endorsement:

“It is so refreshing to find a novel that resonates with the life and
heart of a 21st-century teen! Faith, virtue, and love are cleverly
woven into the everyday struggles and victories of life. I’m excited
to add Ten Commandments for Kissing Gloria Jean to the list of books I
can wholeheartedly recommend!” – Sarah Swafford, Emotional Virtue

7QTF: General Musings

7_quick_takes_sm1Join Jen and the others!


Read a line about modesty that really got my goat: “women, who have a greater need to mollify aggressive male sensuality…”

Okay, maybe women have a greater physical need (as in protection from advances of stronger men), but I would argue that men have the greatest need (read: spiritual) to mollify their own aggression FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR SOULS.


Now, I am not saying women do not have a spiritual need to dress modestly (they do—to accord themselves with their God-given dignity), but seriously. If we are going to say that humans are more than just animals acting on instinct, then we cannot, cannot keep acting as if men have no control over their own hormones, and that women bear the most responsibility. No. Men have souls and opportunities for formation and seeking the True and the Good. They should know how not to look with lust. (I could write a whole essay on the distinction between a man looking at what is before his eyes and feeling nothing and man looking and actively lusting. It is possible. Women do it all the time. And aren’t we equal in dignity?)




There is a weird tuning fork hum in my office. I don’t think it’s the computer, as the woman in the office next to mine hears it too. Driving me bananas!


Prayer request: For the middle schoolers I met Monday and will see again next week.


Book 1: If you’ll indulge me (what…there’s like three feasts during this week!) here is the first of two book bits. One, the lovely Sr. Kim at Pauline Books and Media designed this incredible landing page for me: https://pauline.leadpages.net/ten-commandments-for-kissing-gloria-jean/

It explains the book and a video of yours truly!


Book 2:

Another great review!:

Posted here:




Thanks to Patti!

7QTF: The F is for “Fails”

7_quick_takes_sm1Don’t forget to join Jen and the others!

So I have failed with some writing goals. But I’m picking my pen back up!


I almost completed the 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge. But that Sunday I helped a friend move, went to Mass, met another friend for dinner, and just completely checked out during the Oscars. And the Saturday post was nothing special. Can we count Parts 2 and 3 of last Thursday as rounding out my 7?


And I forgot to do a 7QTF last week.


And at least two weeks went by without a What We’re Reading Wednesday. Ugh. I’ve been reading!


BUT I think I will do the 30K for Christ, if the CWG hosts it again.



And maybe this: https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in

2014 Participant - Twitter Header 1



  Special prayer request for a sweet baby girl born a month too early.



Thanks to all who saw my NAS post on Tuesday and prayed for me. The TV taping for The Gist went awesomely! It will air in the Fall—stay tuned for exact dates!


7 in 7: Late Randomness

I AM NOT LATE! There is a 6th post for the 7 in 7!!!! And unlike the rest of the previous posts, this one is purely crafted on the day it will post…in like 2 minutes.

Today was really fun: Oscar Animated Shorts, sledding, a delicious pastry, and q-t with Mr. Sweet.

But none of that should be an excuse. Discipline can be really hard for me. I might be making a decision soon that requires me to be disciplined 100% of the time. This month could be really interesting–book events, a birthday, snow (OF COURSE), so it will be a really good test for me.

Ugh. I hate tests.