7QT 36: Blue mascara, new curtains, and Wilson's island


We've got that Friday feeling over here at the Langr house. This weekend, family is coming into town to celebrate birthdays, we're getting dinner with my parents, and there's an alpaca show in town. Let's just say it's going to be wild.

But before I try to convince Joseph that we really do need to go to the alpaca show (they're so fluffy!!), let's take a quick look at the adventures we had over the past week. 

1. It's blue da ba dee da ba daa

I haven't had a new tube of mascara since before Joseph and I got married. So this past weekend while we were at Walmart, I picked up some. I was pumped to use it Monday morning, but when I opened the package up, I discovered that it was bright blue. While I have read fantastic articles about how surprisingly subtle blue mascara can be, I promptly returned it and picked up a boring black mascara instead.

Maybe one day I'll be a little more exciting with my makeup routine, but Monday was not that day. For now, blue is not the color of all that I wear. 


2. Can I get a refund? 

Last week, Joseph and I organized all of our tax information for our CPA. Monday we dropped it off at her office and I found out that my excel spreadsheets were incredibly organized. For someone who stumbles blindly through excel with a husband proficient in the program as my guide, I was so excited. If you're in the KC area and are looking for a great CPA to help with this year's tax season, I can't recommend Meghan enough! 

But I won't feel like I'm free from taxes for too long. As someone who is self-employed, quarterly taxes will be upon us in April. Oh well, that's adulthood for you. 


3. Final curtain call


Our guest bedroom has been in need of some curtains since we moved in. We don't spend too much time in there, but when we have guests, we quickly remember how we still haven't put curtains on the wall. That all changed Monday night, though. We went to Walmart and picked up a curtain rod and these gorgeous, six piece curtains. The package said that all four curtain panels could fit on one rod. The package lied.

For the life of us, we couldn't figure out how they got the curtains to look the way they did on the package without a double curtain rod. No amount of Google searching or YouTube browsing pulled up any results. So either everyone else figured out how to assemble the curtains with no issues, or they used a double curtain rod and didn't say anything. 

In the end, we just nailed the sheer curtains to the wall. It works. Now at least our guests who stay in the room can have a little privacy. 


4. Raising the bar


One piece of furniture that I was so excited to get put together when we moved was the coffee bar. It's been a great addition to our living room. But we wanted a few hooks to hang towels and mugs on above the coffee counter. So, Monday (officially home improvement night at the Langrs) we hung up a bar from IKEA. It's a perfect addition! 


5. Reading the Bible in . . . a year

I've realized recently how, even though I've been a Catholic for almost a quarter of a century, I don't know my Bible too well. There's no time like the present! So I printed out a copy of Meg Hunter-Kilmer's Bible in a year plan and tucked it into the front cover of my Bible.

I love starting my morning with thirty minutes of His word. I'm only on day ten, but I'm loving digging deeper into the words of Christ. 


6. Only a few more days 'til the 10K

New set of earbuds (that sound actually come through)? Check. Armband so that I'm not tucking my phone into my waistband? Check. Jitters? Check - but I've heard that pre-run jitters can turn into an adrenaline rush, so I've decided to embrace them. 

Please keep me in your prayers Sunday morning at 9:00 am! I'm running with prayer intentions written on the back of my running bib. If there's a prayer intention you'd like me to carry on my run, let me know in the comments (or e-mail me!) and I'll be sure to pray for you during the 6.2 miles. 


7. Wilson's island of freedom


Wilson doesn't like non-carpeted floors. It's an irrational fear given that his entire cage is made of hard plastic. So, because his cage sits in the living room on a wooden floor, we let him run around in our guest bedroom to stretch out. This past weekend we bought a rug from IKEA ($20 for this beauty, can you believe it?) and Wilson was ecstatic. He can jump out from his cage onto his rug of freedom and roam around without having to leave the living room.

Maybe one day he'll overcome his fear of hard floors. He has gotten pretty close to the end of the rug and even touched the hardwood floor with his nose. Baby steps, Wilson. Baby steps. 


7 QT 35: Alto, Cilantro, and Bananas


It's Friday!! This week, Joseph and I have been compiling all of our tax information so we can send it off to the woman who is preparing our taxes. Last night we crossed the final step off of our to-do list, so that means it is time to celebrate. But before we relax, here's a look at the adventures in the Langr household this past week: 


1. How low can I go?

Since I can remember, I've had an alto voice - and I've loved it. Tuesday at the bookstore, a customer came in with earbuds in and did some reading before making a purchase. When he came up to the counter to pay for his book, I asked him if he'd found everything okay. He did a double take and commented that I had a much deeper voice than he expected to hear from someone like me. 

Thank you? I guess? That's the first time I've heard that one. 

Are you an alto, too? You'll love this hilarious song about the sometimes inconveniences of having a lower voice.   


2. Our bed sheets are now "Pre-Vatican II"

I have a habit of writing reminders on my wrists and hands - if I write them on sticky-notes or in my phone, I either lose the sticky note or forget to look at my phone notes. This past weekend, I needed to remember to ask a priest about a question about something in Catholic Church history pre-1960s, so I wrote the prompt "pre-vatican II" on my hand. 

Then that night, when I went to bed, the ink from my note on my hand transferred onto our bed sheets - which are now proudly stamped "pre-vatican II". 

The good thing is, Joseph got me a great gift for Valentine's day - wrist notes! So I've gotten them out of my desk drawer and am going to start wearing them on a regular basis so our sheets don't get even more decorated with grocery lists, phone numbers, and the other random things I write on my arms. 

wrist notes.jpg

3. Podcast listening for your weekend

Are you taking a road trip this weekend? Turning on some music or podcasts to listen to while you get a jump start on Spring cleaning? Just need some good podcasts to add to your que? Here's my top three picks for the week:

- "Who is Jordan Peterson"  One of our friends mentioned Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist whose been making waves lately for his commentary on our culture. Bishop Barron and Brandon Vogt talk about Peterson in their latest episode. If you, like me, had never heard of Peterson before, this is a great introduction to his work. 

- "Lent Through the Eyes of Peter" Joe Heschmeyer and I are continuing our Lenten series with an episode discussing Peter. He's a stubborn fisherman who overestimates his own strength (and we think gets a pretty bad rap). Take a listen to learn about how Peter tries to create his own personal Jesus, and how we can avoid falling into the same trap.

- "A Letter to the Woman With a Cluttered Closet" Mary Elizabeth Sperry, author of the new book Making Room for God joins me on Letters to Women this week. We talk about how Spring cleaning doesn't have to be awful, and how Catholics are called to declutter their interior life and exterior homes, too. I learned so much from Mary Elizabeth's story! 


4. Julia Child wouldn't approve of my kitchen plants

When someone asked Julia Child if she would ever eat cilantro, she replied: "Never. I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor". Well, Julia, you'll have to get through me if you want to throw my cilantro on the floor. Because those tiny little seeds I planted a week ago? THEY'VE SPROUTED, FRIENDS.

That's right. I have four little tiny cilantro sprouts peeking up through the soil. I planted six seeds, so I don't know where the other two went. But four of them are growing strong! 


5. I'm taking Italian coffee breaks these days

Italy is on Joseph and I's to-visit list within the first five years of our marriage. We're slowly saving back for that trip. But that gives me plenty of time to learn some Italian in the meantime. A friend tipped me off to "Coffee Break Italian" on Spotify. It's a series of short podcasts taught by an Italian native speaker and a Scottish host, working on brushing up his Italian. It's great -so far my pronunciation is awful. But, as the Italians say, "Sbagliando simpara" - by making mistakes we learn. 

Okay, I've listened to one episode so far. But I'm working on it! It'll be totally worth it if I can order my coffee in Italian when we go over there to visit someday. 


6. Pre-run jitters

The 10K I've been training for since last fall is in 9 days. Gulp. I've run the full run distance before and my run time continues to improve, but if I'm being honest, I'm pretty nervous. Any tips from the veteran runners out there on what I can do during this last week to calm down and enjoy my time running? 


7. Wilson goes bananas

We've been eating a lot of bananas during Lent (click here to read more about our simple meals). But this week, our bananas were ripening faster than we could eat them. So Wednesday we asked Wilson to help us eat up our fruit before it went bad - and he went bananas. The little guy definitely has a sweet tooth, so he only got a nibble of banana. But let's just say that we found another food that works as a great incentive for Wilson and we were able to finish our bananas before they spoiled. I'd call that a win-win. 

4 Facts Every Woman Should Know about Fertility Awareness


March is National Women's History month, so this month Old Fashioned Girl is taking a close look at a hot-button topic when it comes to women's health - our fertility. 

Learning more about your fertility and charting your cycle is a big decision - but what you learned in health class back in high school probably didn't give you enough information. And to make it tougher on us, all of the options we have as women to be more aware of our fertility aren't even mentioned in our yearly visit to the OBGYN. 

When women were asked about whether they'd want to know more about their fertility, 60% of women said they'd like to learn more, or expressed a desire to learn. If tracking your fertility is brand new to you, here are four facts about Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) that you need to know before making a decision about birth control that will affect your health in a big way. 


1. It isn't the rhythm method

If you mention fertility awareness based methods when people ask you about birth control, you may get a few funny looks. Some may comment that FABMs are only for women with picture perfect cycles. Others will think back to grandma's "calendar method" - a method that believed that women ovulate on the 14th day after their period starts. 

The "14th day" mentality comes from the myth that all women have 28 day cycles and will ovulate at the half-way mark. But the truth is that very few women will ovulate on the 14th day. Ovulation days will vary largely from woman to woman - and, as a woman who charts, I'll be the first to say that this day varies month to month in my cycles. FABMs look at a window of possible fertility that could occur in a range of days in your cycle. 

There's much more involved then circling a day on the calendar when it comes to becoming more aware of your fertility. 


2. FABM methods are effective (and a lot of resources lie about the numbers)

FABMs get a bad rap when it comes to numbers and statistics. For instance, theSkimm is talking a lot about fertility and pregnancy this month. Here's what they had to say about FAMBs

"Fertility awareness methods...going au naturel. Women use different methods to track their cycle to figure out when they’re ovulating. They’ll either use another form of birth control or avoid having sex when they ovulate. Women track it by taking their temperature or following a calendar, but it works best if women use more than one method. It can be anywhere between 76-88% effective. But not many women use this option – about 1% who use birth control."

Don't get me wrong - I love theSkimm and getting informed about the news for the day while I sip my morning cup of coffee. But the numbers they're stating aren't quite right when it comes to the effectiveness of FABMs. But if you look at the Center for Disease Control's statistics, they'll tell you that women using FABMs have a 24% failure rate when it comes to avoiding pregnancy. 

So just what are we to believe when it comes to numbers and fertility awareness methods? 

When the CDC looks at the effectiveness of FABMs, they count in the calendar rhythm method as a FABM - and that method isn't a modern FABM.  When you look at methods for charting your fertility like the Billings Ovulation Method, Creighton (which I use), and Sympto-Thermal methods, you'll find a plethora of research and evidence to prove that modern FABM effectiveness ranges from 95.2% - 99.6% effective. 

Three different types of FABMs were examined by the Osteopathic Family Physician Journal in 2013. Here's what they found: 

  • Sympto-thermal Method: pregnancy rate with perfect use 0.4%, with typical use 1.6%
  • Marquette Method: pregnancy rate with perfect use 0%, with typical use 6.8%
  • Billings Ovulation Method®: pregnancy rate with perfect use 1.1%, with typical use 10.5%

“Even with typical use," Dr. Marguerite Duane told Verily Magazine, "the effectiveness rates of FABMs are comparable to most commonly used forms of birth control, with unintended pregnancy ranging from 2-14%.”

Want to see some change in the way the CDC reports those numbers? Find out more about a petition asking the CDC to report accurate numbers when it comes to FABMs. 

3. Fertility awareness isn't just for married women (or couples wanting to conceive) 

You don't have to have a ring on your finger to benefit from charting your cycle and being aware of your fertility. Too often we put our fertility into a box and say we'll worry about it when we are ready to walk up the aisle. But, as women, our fertility is an important part of our health regardless of our vocational state. It doesn't matter if you're a single lady (cue Beyonce), dating, engaged or married - each stage of life deserves a holistic approach to self-care and fertility health.

In fact, I'd argue that charting your cycle as a single woman is one of the best self-care practices you can treat yourself to

You may feel awkward at a NFP method introduction class as a single woman, so check to see if there are instruction events for just singles, or if a fertility instructor would be available to meet one-on-one with you to discuss your fertility and different methods you can use to start charting. In the Kansas City area, I've seen some great events specifically for single women and charting their cycles!


4. Being aware about your fertility is empowering at any stage of your life

While some birth control options include foreign objects and chemicals, FABMs provide a way for women to be aware of their body in a holistic, natural way. Our bodies give us specific signals to let us know that we're fertile, and an awareness of those signals helps you learn more about the woman God created you to be - He designed your fertility, after all! 

Not only do FABMs help you recognize when you're fertile, they can also help you accurately know when your period is due. If you, like me, carry the cross of incredibly painful periods and all the cramps that come with them, knowing your body and when to expect your period to start can be incredibly empowering. Because I use the Creighton model to chart, I know exactly when I need to start up an aspirin cocktail for tackling the uncomfortable cramps that start with a period. This kind of medication is much more effective than taking the Pill everyday and risking all the side effects that come with that. 

This 10 Minute Trick is Saving My Life Right Now


Spring is finally in the air. Granted, I live in Kansas, so it could be snowing tomorrow, let's be honest. But last weekend there were hints of beautiful spring time. Saturday, Joseph left our windows open all day and I didn't need a coat until late Sunday night.  

But April showers bring May spring cleaning (that's how that rhyme goes, right?). 

Cleaning the house anytime, spring or not, can be a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be. I was blessed with a chance to sit down with Mary Elizabeth Sperry, author of Making Room for God: Decluttering and the Spiritual LifeDuring our conversation, she shared a tip with me that's been making a huge difference in the way I approach cleaning - or any other task on my to-do list that I'm not looking forward to!

"When I cleaned my office, I set a timer for 10 minutes everyday. I had to clean for that 10 minutes. I couldn't end early - until the last day when I was actually finished there were 6 minutes left on the timer but there was nothing left to clean. That was okay. But I had to use that 10 minutes and I could only use that 10 minutes. When the timer went off, I had to finish what I was working on, then move on. In two weeks, my office was spectacular." 

Let me tell you something - if you read that and thought "10 minutes is not even enough time to find my vacuum cleaner, let alone tackle a task that I'm not looking forward to." But 10 minutes adds up. 

I tried this trick out with our bathroom. Besides laundry, cleaning the tub and toilet are my least favorite chores around the house. So I set a ten minute timer - and put my phone in the other room. I was shocked that by the time the timer went off, I had cleaned everything in the bathroom - including the floor. 

"Use small bits of time well. There are a lot of things you can do that just take small bits of time," Mary Elizabeth shared. "It's amazing the things you can do in the little bits of time. And a piece of that is putting your devices away. If I don't open my phone when I wake up in the morning, I buy myself 25 to 30 minutes every morning." 

Mary Elizabeth's timer trick is how I'm going to tackle Spring cleaning this year. Yes, there will be a little bit more than 10 minutes on the timer. Because of my work schedule, I don't really have a full day that I can just block off for cleaning. But I'll set that timer for a certain amount of time every day and when the timer goes off, I'll be done with it. 

Mary elizabeth.png

Mary Elizabeth joins me on Letters to Women for A Letter to the Woman With a Messy Closet. You can listen to her episode this Thursday! Find it on iTunes, Google Play, or right here on Old Fashioned Girl. Can't wait to dig into Mary Elizabeth's thoughts on de-cluttering and our interior life? Pick up a copy of her book, Making Room for God, today! 

7 QT 34: Kitchen herb gardens, road trips, and campus center dogs


This Friday, I'm patting myself on the back for getting the trash out to the curb just in time before the trash truck came by. But before we clock out of work and celebrate the weekend, here's a quick look back on what's new with the Langrs this week: 

1. A growing green thumb

I haven't killed our orchid yet, so when Joseph and I were at Menards this week, we picked up two little plant growing kits. It's always been a dream of ours to have a little spice garden for the kitchen, so we started out with basil and cilantro. 


So far, I've flooded them while trying to water them, and knocked Basil over when reaching for the dish soap. They're resilient little buddies, though, so I'm confident in seeing little green sprouts peeking up in about three weeks - I'll keep you updated. 

2. Fulfilling our Olympic dreams

Since we spent so much time watching the Olympic ice-skaters over the past few weeks, Joseph and I were pumped when some of the women from my small group invited us along to go ice-skating. Let me rephrase that - I was pumped about the idea of ice-skating, but since I haven't actually been on the ice since my freshman year of high school, I didn't have high expectations for myself. No triple axles or lutz jumps for this girl.

But I'm pleased to report that I only fell down once - and it was for the sake of avoiding a collision with an ice-skating little. For little kids just learning how to skate, the ice rink gave them little walkers, so they could have something sturdy to hold on to. But the result was little kids wandering around the ice like baby horses just learning how to walk. They were adorable - but unpredictable. 

I may not have conquered skating backward, but I did get pretty speedy around the rink. It gave me a whole new appreciation for ice-skaters! 

3. Mid-week road trip

Wednesday, Joseph and I drove about four hours out to Hays, America, where I gave a talk at their Catholic Campus Center. I talked about four things I wish I would have known before I discerned my vocation. 


It was so good to see people who I haven't seen in 3 years, meet new friends, and have some great heart-to-hearts with students striving towards sainthood. 


The campus center at Fort Hays was recently named the most hipster campus center, and I quickly found out why. 


Check out what was posted on their fridge - I'm loving it. 


Unfortunately, Cappy (short for Captain Kirk, of course) had not been praised the heck enough, since he had a minor accident inside during our time there. It's okay, Cappy, keep striving.  

4. The holy grail of soda

This week I happened across the holy grail of soda - caffeine free Dr. Pepper. Well, one can. And, well, it was because I took it. From a pile of 3 dozen cans. In the apartment complex breeze-way of a friend. Because she said they'd been sitting there for a week and no one had claimed them. It's okay, I'm going to confession again before Lent is done. 

Are you thoroughly unimpressed with my excitement because caffeine free Dr. Pepper makes a regular appearance in your local grocery store? Let's chat- I'd love to find out where you find this rare gem of soda cans and how I can get my hands on more. 

5. The Catholic Podcast!

Small CP logo.png

We counted down all last week 'til the launch of The Catholic Podcast and we're live now! Check out our new website and find us on iTunes and Google Play. It's been so beautiful watching people's reactions to listening to the show - I'd love to know what you think! 

Want to know more about the new podcast? Here's an article I wrote earlier this week about the launch! 

6. Linus, Cletus, Clement. . . 

 Have you ever found yourself at Mass, listening the the Eucharist prayer when the priest starts saying the names of saints? You know some of them – Saint Joseph, Saint Peter, Saint Paul. But then there are some who you’ve never heard of – Cyprian? Linus? Wasn’t he Charlie Brown’s friend?

I recently wrote a piece on Epic Pew: "Do You Know the Saints Mentioned in the Roman Canon?" I'm going to be on Mater Dei Radio's Coffee and Donuts morning show talking about the article and why it's important to know about our Heavenly family! If you live in Oregon, keep an ear out! If you don't live in Oregon, don't worry. I'll be sharing the link to listen on my Facebook page

7. Wilson's new big boy water bottle


When we adopted Wilson, we realized that we didn't have a large, rabbit sized water-bottle. But we did have a water bottle for him - a guinea pig sized one.

So in an early celebration of his adoption anniversary, we bought him a big rabbit water bottle. He's loving it (and we're loving that we haven't had to refill it since getting it on Monday). 

Introducing The Catholic Podcast!

Small CP logo.png

Today is the day! Joe Heschmeyer and I have been excitedly counting down the days 'til the launch of The Catholic Podcast and the day is here. Here's a quick introduction to the podcast and answers to some questions and thoughts that may be on your mind: 

What is The Catholic Podcast?

The Catholic Podcast is podcast by Joe Heschmeyer (Shameless Popery, School of Faith) and I. We'll be covering all things Catholic: Theology, spirituality, Catholic family life, and the state of the Catholic Church today. New episodes released every Monday!

Where can I find The Catholic Podcast?

We've created an entirely new website for The Catholic Podcast - cathpod.com. On the website, you'll be able to find out more about Joe and I, as well as dig into the show notes from each episode. You can listen to all the episodes on our website. If you're an apple person, we've got the episodes in iTunes. If you're like me and you listen to your podcast on Google Play, we're there, too!

You don't get creativity points on the name . . . 

We brainstormed on our name and asked readers on Facebook if they had suggestions and there were some great, creative ideas for the title!

We decided on "The Catholic Podcast" intentionally though - we want to become one of the places that people turn who are just beginning to explore Catholicism . . . the kind of people who might just search “Catholic podcast,” because they don’t know where to turn. There are a lot of bad corners on the Internet with ugly distortions of Catholicism, and we want to offer them something true, good, and beautiful. We want to help people see the beauty of friendship with Jesus Christ, and the good of intentional friendships that lead others to Christ. 


What are the episodes like?

Here's a break down of each episode so far!

  1. "The State of Things" - For every 1 Catholic who enters the Catholic Church, 6 people leave. In our first episode, Joe and I talk about why that is, and what we can do about it. 
  2. "Lent Through the Eyes of Mary" - While almost all of the apostles flee, Mary stands at the foot of the cross. Why? Because she's a warrior . . . but a warrior of weakness. 
  3. "Lent Through the Eyes of Judas" - It's helpful to see what not to do when it comes to our relationship with Christ. What can we learn from Judas, who betrayed the Son of God with a kiss? 

I'm loving our Lenten series, where we spend time looking at the Passion through the vantage point of different characters of the Bible - that will be a seven part series, continuing through Easter. 

How can I keep in touch with The Catholic Podcast?

Check out our Facebook page, where you'll find behind the scenes pictures and updates! Like and follow the page to stay in touch with us. 

Have an idea for a podcast episode, a guest you'd love to see on the show, or some feedback after listening to the episodes? Leave a comment here, or contact us via the Facebook page and we'll be in touch!

What do listeners think?

We sent our episodes out for a sneak peek listen last week - here's what people had to say! 

  • "Chloe and Joe are an absolute pleasure! Smart and humorous - it's delightful Catholic media" Shaun McAfee, on The Catholic Podcast. Shaun is the founder of Epic Pew and the author of Reform Yourself: How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter Reformation
  • "The Catholic Podcast is a great find in the Catholic media world flooded with options. It's informative, entertaining and beautifully calm (which is such a huge blessing given the typical intensity we hear in our earbuds these days). Give it a listen and thank me later!" Tommy Tighe, co-host of The Catholic Hipster Podcast and author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook
  • "Chloe and Joe have been two of my favorite Catholic writers for some time. However, the Kansas Highway Patrol frowns upon me reading blog posts while driving. That is why I am so excited about this podcast. A little bit of Chloe, and a little bit of Joe, spewing their wisdom through the airwaves. Sometimes I listen to podcasts to be entertained - but other times because I truly desire to learn. I can promise you these two have the intelligence and ability to speak to you that which is beautifully true about the Catholic faith." Father Gale Hammerschmidt, pastor of Saint Isidore's Catholic Student Center at Kansas State University. 

We're so excited to share this podcast with you! Thank you for listening! 


7QT 33: Thunder ice, cabin fever, and curry chicken


It's Friday! This weekend I'm working at the bookstore, my little sister is staying the night, we may be hitting the local ice rink to try and attain our Olympic dreams (because, once again, the only sport that's been on at night is. . . ice-skating - much to Joseph's annoyance).

But before we head to church for stations of the cross, here's the adventures in the Langr household over the past week! 


1. Thunder ice is a thing - even the National Weather Service says so

Despite it being February, Kansas City has yet to get a good snow storm. Sure, we've had a couple of inches here and there, but I'm still waiting for a snow-fort-building, hot chocolate kind of day. There's still plenty of winter left, though!

But this week the cracking booms of thunder, flashes of lightning and the sound of ice hitting our windows filled the air. That's right - it was a thunder ice storm. Before this week, I didn't know that such a weather phenomena existed. 

If you look outside our window, it looks like there's a little bit of snow on the ground. But it's ice. All ice. Which has made for some interesting ventures out to my car for work this week - I mean, our yard has basically turned into an ice rink. I feel like I'm qualifying for the Olympics ever time I leave the house. On the bright side, I'm sure it's been entertaining for my neighbors to watch. 


2. Canceled plans on top of canceled plans

Thanks to the ice-storm that blew in, we've had to cancel so many plans this week, it's been crazy. Our weekly women's small group meeting and Catholic Beer Club are just a few of the events that have scooted around on the calendar thanks to the ice. Which, on one hand, has given me tons of free time to catch up on writing assignments. On the other hand, it's lead to . . .


3. Cabin fever  

Before I worked at the bookstore, I worked full time as a freelancer and editor from home. Yes, I changed out my pajamas, but hey, I got to make unlimited coffee and chat with Wilson all day. Because talking to your rabbit turns out to be weird, I had to get in some human contact. So I would go to coffee shops and the library, so I never really got cabin fever from working at home. 

But I didn't go into the bookstore Tuesday because of weather, and, since I hate driving in the ice, that meant I was home for almost three days straight. Needless to say, I got a little stir-crazy. I did, however, adventure out on Wednesday because my library books were due and there's no way that I'm breaking my no-fees streak. 

In other work from home news, Joseph tipped me off to this article from Life Hacker - which recommends working from the bar instead of coffee shops. I mean, less crowded and you can get a Guinness? Sounds like a win-win to me. I'll be storing that idea away for a rainy (not icy) day. 


4. Old fashioned planners


I'm living up to my blog name - I invested in a paper planner for 2018. And by invested, I mean I strolled around HomeGoods and picked up a $4 planner on clearance. It turns I'm a little behind the times in buying a planner for the year, but hey, they still had some choices. 

If you want to read more about how the planner is making me more intentional with my time (and helping me get rid of a bad habit of procrastination!) you can check out this article I wrote early this week


. What's for dinner? Oh, chicken and curry

This year for Lent, Joseph and I have decided to adopt a simple meal plan. I mean, we both love good food, but food takes a lot of prep time in the evenings - especially on the nights we both have to work. So we decided to pick one meal for each meal of the day during Lent, and use the time we're saving to say evening prayer together and read a Lenten devotional from Bishop Barron. Here's what our meal plan looks like:

Breakfast - oatmeal (and coffee of course)
Lunch - sandwiches, fruit, yogurt  
Dinner - curry chicken on rice with a vegetable

Don't get me wrong - I really like chicken and curry. And there are so many kinds of curry out there that we get a good range of flavors. But it feels like we've been eating chicken and curry for way longer than a week and half, which has given me a lot of opportunities to thank God for how easy it is for us to get access to food, which is not the case for a lot of people around the world. 

Sunday came around last week and we went to Quick Trip after Mass to get food from their rollie cooker and it. was. fantastic. I never thought I'd appreciate rollie food hot-dogs, but I've been proved wrong. 


6. This Sunday is donut Sunday

Nothing says "Sundays aren't a day in Lent" like donut Sunday at our parish. I love watching little kids pick their donut and then be told by parents that they're not allowed into the car until they finish that chocolate glazed. Given the mess that I make when I eat, Joseph probably thinks the same thing about me getting back in the car with my hands covered in donut crumbs.


7. Countdown . . . three days!

 The Catholic Podcast launches on February 26th, which is right around the corner! Joe Heschmeyer and I are releasing the first three episodes, and we'll be continuing our Lenten series next week. Here's a sneak peek for episode one: 




An Old Fashioned Defense of the Paper Planner

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you choose to shop through my link


Our smart phones are, well, smart. They contain everything you need to plan and organize your schedule. But, as the old fashioned girl that I am, I'm living up to my blog name and relying on the good ol' paper planner this year. 

Joseph and I both use Google calendars to coordinate our schedules. When we were engaged, it was great to be able to view both of our schedules at once. But now that we plan our schedules in person together, I was ready to switch back to the paper planners I loved during college. 

In a world full of technology, it may seem backward to go back to paper planners - but here are the benefits I've seen in the past few days of getting back into the swing of using a paper planner: 



I love having my schedule laid out, but the calendar app on my phone can become a little bit more complicated than I like. 

For example, I love scheduling my weekly meeting with my women's small group. But since I know where everyone lives, why do I still put in the address of where we're meeting every time I plug the meeting into my phone calendar? Now I just write "Sisterhood" - and keep the rest of the details in my head. 

My paper planner is simple and uncomplicated (or, as simple and uncomplicated as I want it to be). I love the ability to customize how I write things thanks to an old fashioned pen. 


My paper planner helps me remember much more than dates

Yes, I use my planner to write out my work schedule and times for coffee dates. But I also use it to write out quick to-do lists, which has been a life-saver. No more loose sticky notes floating around my work desk! 

I can also jot in what novenas I'm praying as a daily reminder to say prayers. Physically jotting down my prayer time in the morning has also been a great reminder to treat my morning time with God just like I would treat an important appointment I wrote down in my planner. 


I've found that my planner encourages intentionality

My paper planner doesn't ding to remind me that I have a meeting in 30 minutes. It actually doesn't make any sounds at all (that is, except when I drop it down the stairs accidentally). 

I don't have to turn on the blue light for my paper planner after 8:00 pm so it doesn't cause eye-strain. It never runs out of battery. And, it also has encouraged intentionality. When someone asks me if I'm busy next week, I have no excuse to say "Well, let me get back with you". Instead, I have a physical reminder of my schedule sitting in my bag. 

I know exactly when my schedule starts to get crowded, and having a planner has helped me be more conscience of what I do throughout the day. I also am less easily distracted when I go to put something in my planner. Because it has one purpose, I don't get distracted in my messages and e-mails on the way to confirm an appointment. 


A few of my favorites . . . 

Now, this isn't to say that I've ditched my digital calendar. I still pull it up to check our family calendar. But I love having the paper planner as my go-to during the day.

Are you intrigued? Want to join me in this old fashioned revolution? Here are a few of my favorite planners from around the web. 


1. Blessed is She planner

Blessed is She has created the ultimate Catholic woman's dream planner. It's a 12 month planner that's designed by Erica of Be a Heart designs. Unfortunately, this planner was a little bit out of my price range - and to add another wrench to my plans, it's out of stock. But I wanted to include it in this list so we can all bookmark it for a Christmas gift this year. 

What I love: I'm a big fan of the little touches. So the fact that this planner comes in full color and uses Liturgical colors throughout the year made me smile. And if pockets on dresses are the best thing ever, pockets in planners come in at a close second. I loved the double sided pocket in this planner- perfect for storing odds and ends! 


2. The Chaos Coordinator planner

We all have chaos we need to coordinate - and that's exactly where this planner comes in. The planner is 7.5" x 9.25", so a great portable size. It's printed on gorgeous, bright paper and the cover has a matte finish. 

You're going to want to take a look inside (and you'll love the price tag on this planner if you're shopping on a budget). 

What I love: First, that name. 100 points for honesty. But I also loved how this planner lets you see your schedule a week at a time thanks to their two-page spread design. 


3. The Catholic Through The Year planner

If you're looking for a comprehensive Catholic planner, look no further than this liturgical day book. It includes a great section on prayer, quotes from the saints, references from the Catechism and a list of common prayers. It was created using the Roman Missal as a liturgical guide. It doesn't get more Catholic than that. 

You're going to want to check out the spiritual sketch section of this planner. 

What I love: We all want a gorgeous Catholic planner, but our budget sometimes refuses. I loved how this unique planner can be purchased as a PDF for under $10, or printed for just $30. Bonus? Shipping is always free. 

4. The Panda planner

The Panda Planner uses undated 3 month, 3 sections, so it covers monthly, weekly, and daily organization. If you love bonus gifts, this planner is for you. When you purchase the Panda Planner, you get access to 7 free e-books and a mini video course that helps you get organized. Topics covered include procrastination, getting in shape, and getting rid of anxiety. 

You're going to want to check out the gratitude journal part of this planner. 

What I love: This planner was created with a scientific approach to productivity and happiness. It also helps you tackle procrastination thanks to their goal setting section. And who can resist a cute panda? 


5. Faith and Fabric Design's Catholic planner for women

Unlike all of the other planners on this list, this planner by Faith and Fabric is customizable in print just for you. There are nine different areas that are personalized just to your liking. 

You're going to want to see how you can customize a planner exactly to your needs. 

Fabric and Faith talks about the custom designs that they've created in the past: "For the faith-filled woman who has a busy life, full-time job, and active involvement in her community. She opted for a traditional setup, where each of the seven customizable planner headers reflect the seven days of the week. She is striving to pray the rosary each night before bed, so uses the tracker bubbles to help her reach her goal." 

What I love: I love the authenticity and customization ability of this planner. It often seems like an impossible task to find the perfect planner. But Fabric and Faith does a beautiful job of designing a planner exactly the way you like it. 


6. Katie Daisy planner

I'm a sucker for some good floral patterns and hand lettering. So you can bet that this Katie Daisy planner caught my eye while scrolling through Amazon. There's a reason this planner is the #1 best seller in art calendars. 

If you think the inside of this planner is gorgeous, you'll want to check out the cute cover

What I love: You get your moneys-worth of planner with Katie Daisy. The planner runs August through December, so you get 17 months. I also loved how the planner uses wired-O binding - no more bending your planner so that it will stay open while you plan out your day. 


7. TJ Maxx and HomeGoods

Nope, it's not a specific planner recommendation. But if you're a lover of beautiful things and gorgeous covers of planners, stop by your nearest TJ Maxx or HomeGoods store. There you'll find a great selection.


As a bonus, since it's already almost March, they're almost guaranteed to be on clearance. I picked up this beauty for a mere $4.00.  I love the magnetic clasp that keeps the planner closed in my purse. 


What I love: You can't beat the selection. You'll find everything from daily to monthly calendars at your local TJ Maxx. And, while you're there, you can pick up a cute floral top and a towel for your kitchen. What more could you need? 


Are you an old-fashioned paper planner lover? Or do you prefer the new-fangled digital way? *

Still Deciding What to Give up for Lent?



"There are ways of being crucified that do not involve rough wood or heavy nails, but a love beyond our capacity to love, which means a love that has been given to us by God." -Catherine Doherty

Lent is here in full swing, so the question "what are you giving up for Lent?" may be inevitable in your Catholic conversations. Deciding what you will give up (or take on!) for Lent is a hard decision. How can you grow close to God? What can you give up in order to grow deeper in your relationship with Him?

I've been guilty of not putting a lot of thought into my Lenten sacrifices. But in the past year, I've known the depths of suffering and sacrifice more than I thought possible. Our son, Marion, passed away in a miscarriage last March - right in the middle of Lent. Instead of surprising our family at Easter with news of a little on the way, we planned Marion's memorial Mass. That year, Lent and Holy Week took on a whole new meaning. 

In the week leading up to the miscarriage, our doctor had warned us that we may lose our son. So we told friends and family about Marion and our pregnancy. Hundreds of friends had gathered around us. What a better time for a miracle, God, than the weeks leading up to the celebration of your own son's defeat over death? But a week later, we were at the hospital, the nurses telling us that our sweet boy was gone. 

The week we returned to Mass after losing Marion, in what seemed like a cruel twist, the Gospel was from John - the story of Lazarus. Lazarus lay in the tomb, he had died four days before. Christ journeys to the tomb. Martha runs out to meet the Lord and says: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

We had just spent weeks begging God for my son's life - if He would have answered, Marion wouldn't have died. Why Lazarus and not Marion? Why were Martha's prayers answered, not mine? Then it came time for the homily, and, as if the words were meant specifically for my heart, our priest challenged us and asked us what we were giving up for Lent that year. 

He talked about how it could be our default to give up things we love - coffee, food, time relaxing. But instead of giving up something that we enjoyed, he challenged us with something much more heart-wrenching and challenging. He asked us to give God back the one area of our life where God has disappointed us the most. 

So that Lent, I gave Marion back to God. Then, slowly, I gave God the one area that I didn't want to trust with Him - my family. My fertility. The plans I had for Joseph and my life together. That Lent, I gave God back the area of my life where He had disappointed me the most. 

Marion's death wasn't because God didn't hear our prayers, or a mistake because God didn't make it to our hospital bed in time. God didn't forget us, or ignore us during our time of loss. He cried alongside us, knowing exactly what the heart feels like when it loses a child. Then, after crying with us, He reminded us of the Resurrection to come on Easter morning.

I don't know where you're at with your Lenten sacrifice, or how your Lent is going. Perhaps you chose this year's sacrifice. Maybe your Lent chose you this year. Wherever you are in this Lenten desert, I want to take a few minutes and challenge you, just like I was challenged last year in the midst of the hardest Lent of my life.

What area do you withhold from God because you're afraid that, if you give it over to Him in surrender, He'll disappoint you? 

Are you fiercely clinging to your family planning because your heart has been shredded by loss? Are you hesitant to give Him your vocation because you're worried what His answer will be? What area of your life have you sworn to never let go because thinking of what God could do in that area makes your heart ache? 

That's what He's calling you to give back to Him this Lent. Will you?

Want to dig deeper into the word of God this Lent? Try Above All, a Lenten journal from Take Up and Read. Find out more by clicking on the picture of the journal below: 



7QT 32: VaLENTines and Olympic Motivation


It's Friday - and the first Friday in Lent! We're excited for our first Stations of the Cross at our parish this week. And, let's be honest, as a person with a fear of fish, I'm very pumped for the mass depletion of the fish population thanks to Catholics this liturgical season. 

Before we take that first bite of fried fish though, let's take a look back at the adventures at the Langr household this week:


1. Living in Love

Joseph and I were one of the presenting couples on a Living in Love retreat this past weekend. We had an incredible experience, and it was great to connect with old friends and meet new ones, as well! If you're interested in taking a weekend for a fantastic marriage retreat, here's a link to check out the dates for the upcoming retreats.

Not a retreat in your area, but still want to find out more about Living in Love? You're in luck! Lent is a great time to grow closer to Jesus through the sacraments. Why not take this Lent to focus on your marriage? Every Day in Love gives you practical skills and powerful insights to live out your vocation with the joy that God wants for you. The Every Day in Love package includes four at-home dates with streaming videos and workbooks. You can do all 4 or try one at a time! It also includes a Facebook group of other couples to support you (Every Day in Love LENT 2018 on Facebook). 

Interested in finding out more? Just scroll down to the bottom of this page for more! Joseph and I can't recommend Living in Love enough. 

2. Celebrating Fat Tuesday

There's nothing like celebrating Fat Tuesday with a potluck! We invited some friends over on Tuesday for chili potluck. As good Kansans, we ate our fill of cinnamon rolls as well. It was a great way to celebrate! 


3. Would you be my VaLENTine?

Valentines day was a conundrum to Catholics this year - Ash Wednesday and Valentine's day on the same day led to some interesting card writing ideas. Here's my favorite:

Violets are Blue
Roses are Red
Here are some ashes
One day you'll be dead. 
Thanks for saying yes to me 'til death to us part! Happy VaLENTines!

All joking aside, Lent starting on Valentine's day is a great reminder about focusing on your marriage. Here's an article I wrote for Aleteia this week with some practical ideas for using this Lent to improve your marriage. 

Now just wait 'til Easter - when April Fool's Day and Easter fall on the same day! 


4. Athletes more fit than me

Despite having our TV in the basement, our antennae picks up the Olympic signal so well. We've ended a couple of nights this week by watching the Olympics. My favorite sport to watch is ice-skating. Joseph's favorite sport to watch is anything beside ice-skating. The sport that has been on every time we've turned on the TV is . . . ice-skating. I'd call that a win. 

Have you ever wondered what happens to some of our favorite athletes after they retire from the Olympics? Me too! This week, I wrote an article for Epic Pew about 4 Catholic Olympians you should keep your eye on - one of them became a religious sister! 

What's been your favorite sport to watch? 


5. 10K, here I come! 

Last week, I got on a treadmill and decided to see if I could run the whole 10K distance. The run is in the middle of March, which is coming up much sooner than I though. I was able to knock out the run in 1 hour, 12 minutes. I never thought I'd be able to run so far - I almost broke down in the gym in tears of joy. No judgement, right, Planet Fitness? 

I'm gearing up for my practice run on Saturday, where I'm going back down to a 4 mile run. It's going to be a little chilly Saturday morning, so I may find myself back at the gym. Now I just need to coordinate my running with watching the speed skating Olympic competition. Nothing like watching people move faster than me to motivate me to improve my run time! 


6. The library and I need to coordinate better . . . 

I get a lot of great book recommendations from friends and e-mail lists, but I always read a book from the library before buying it (just to make sure I'll want it). The great thing is, the library here in Kansas City has a fantastic selection. The bad thing is, the books I want to read mostly haven't been published yet. So I get on a waiting list, and six months later, the book I requested comes in. 

The problem is, I don't remember why I requested some of them. Or I completely forget about the book and don't remember why I want to read it. I mean, 743 people are waiting for me to finish this book so they can get their hands on it, so it must be good, but I don't know why I was on the waiting list in the first place. 

To make matters worse, I think I must have been on a book-requesting binge about six months ago, because I had 6 books become available at the same time at the library. Of course it was after I wandered through the library the day before and picked up a few books I wanted to read. Oh well, I'll get back to those books after the other 700+ people read them. Maybe by then I'll remember why I wanted them in the first place. 


7. Coming soon to a podcast near you

For those of us who are friends on Facebook, this may be old news to you - but a friend of mine, Joe Heschmeyer of Shameless Popery, and I are starting a new podcast. We're discussing everything from theology to Catholic family life and everything in-between. We're still coordinating the tech side of things, but I'll let you know as soon as the first episodes hit iTunes. Until then, please keep this latest adventure in your prayers!

The Everyday Catholic's Guide to Eucharistic Adoration

The first time I went to Eucharistic Adoration was when I was littler than I can remember. My family had an Adoration hour at our church, and mom would bring all the littles. I could have cared less about Jesus in the Eucharist. I was more into the cheerios and coloring books mom had brought to keep us occupied for the hour.

It wasn't until I was in high school that I started to become present during Adoration (no cheerios, no coloring books). During a retreat my senior year of high school, I remember seeing Christ for the first time in Adoration as He truly was - present, under the appearance of bread, waiting for me. 

After I came back from the retreat, I wanted the same exact experience over and over again. So I hightailed it to my nearest adoration chapel and begin to pray. I lasted a good 2 minutes before I was glancing at the clock and wondering how on earth time was passing so slowly. Everyone else who was in the chapel seemed to be peaceful, and thoroughly enjoying their time with Christ. I, on the other hand, was antsy and anxious for the hour to pass. Why wasn't this Adoration hour like the one that I experienced on retreat?

In college, I signed up for an Adoration hour at my campus center. I begin asking God for the desire to spend undivided time with Him. And slowly, over the course of my freshman year, I begin to look forward to my Adoration hour. It was an hour of quiet silence, a chance to focus on the thing that matters the most in this life - an intimate relationship with Christ.

Now, Joseph and I have an adoration hour together on a weekday evening. Sometimes I sit peacefully and just gaze at Christ in the Eucharist. Sometimes my heart is restless and I'm ready to go to home and go to bed. But each time, I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunity to sit with Our Lord and pray. 

Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.
— Saint Pope John Paul II

Sometimes, it can be intimidating to go to Eucharistic Adoration. It's not necessarily because we fear encountering Jesus, but instead because we're not sure what to do for such a long time of prayer. Is it okay to bring a book, read the Bible, journal, or pray a rosary during Adoration? Or do we have to sit, staring straight at the monstrance, not moving or making even the tiniest sound?  

While visiting Christ in the Eucharist, there are a variety of options when it comes to prayer and meditation. How do you start?  Here are five quick tips to praying in Eucharistic Adoration: 

1. Be patient with yourself

There have been many an adoration hour where I will sit down from prayer and glance at the clock, sure that at least thirty minutes have passed - only to find out that I've only been in adoration for five minutes. I'll beat myself up about it, angry that I can't spend five minutes with the Lord without looking at my watch. "Have patience with all things, but first with yourself," Saint Francis de Sales once wrote. 

If adoration is a struggle, focus on the beauty. True, it has only been five minutes in adoration, but you're here with Christ. There is no scripted, perfect way to spend time in adoration. In fact, my favorite story about Eucharistic adoration comes from a story that Saint John Vianney told.  He went into the chapel one day and and someone came up and asked him what he did all day in adoration.  "Nothing," he replied, "I just look at Him and He looks at me."  

Grow in friendship with the Lord - you don't have to say anything, you don't have to make sure you're "doing" adoration correctly. Instead, experience the joy of being with someone who wants to have a deep, intimate, friendship with you.


2. Adore Him

Well, it is called Eucharistic Adoration, so this seems like an obvious one. But how do you go about adoring God? 

We adore God when we worship Him in His Real Presence in the Eucharist. You can come for as long or short as you wish, but while you are there you can simply tell God how amazing He is. This can be done through mental prayer, journaling, or just sitting in His presence and being in awe of who He is. 

You can focus on the mysteries of the rosary, the Passion of Christ, or a particular Scripture verse. But whatever way you pray, Adoration is an incredible time to be in the presence of God. 

3. Practice silence

I'm just one chapter into Cardinal Sarah's The Power of Silence - Against the Dictatorship of Noise, but I would place a bet that it will be my book of the year - the one I learn the most from in this season of my life. I loved this quote that I read in adoration last night. Cardinal Sarah writes: "There is no place on earth where God is more present than in the human heart. This heart truly is God’s abode, the temple of silence. . .The Father waits for his children in their own hearts." 

The world we live in is so busy and loud - noise comes at us from every corner. Our car radios, alerts from our phone, and the background noise from the television fill our days with constant noise. Eucharistic adoration is a beautiful time to sit in silence with our Lord and spend time with Him, free from distraction.  


4. Come into His presence with thanksgiving

Translated from Greek, the word Eucharisteo means thanksgiving. It's all Greek to me, but Christian write Ann Voskamp explains it beautifully, writing: "The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy."

We find deep, true joy at the table of the Eucharist. The Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith as Catholics, is a call for thanksgiving. What better time to give thanks to the Lord for what He has done in our lives than while looking at Him in the gift of the Eucharist? You can thank Him for the big things in life, like a job interview that went well, or a great friendship. But you can also thank Him for the littlest gifts He's given you that day - how the sun shone on your drive to work, or how beautiful a cup of coffee tasted after a long night up with the littles. Nothing small goes unnoticed by God - He keeps track of even the smallest of sparrows.


5. Bring a book with you

I used to avoid bringing books into adoration because I thought they distracted me from quality time with God. But when I was in college I read what Saint Jerome wrote about the use of spiritual books. He said, "When we pray we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us." And Jerome is not the only saint to recommend bringing a book with you into your holy hour.  "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls," Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote. 


One of the books I've been bringing to adoration lately is 100 Holy Hours for WomenOriginally written as a religious sister's guide for daily adoration, it contains an amazing collection of beautiful and profound spiritual insights into the mystery of the Eucharist. Each meditation is a few pages long and focuses on one Bible verse. It begins by delving into the verse, and then finishes with a personal examination and prayer, with questions that encourage me to take a closer look at my interior life.



7QT 31: Freezer burnt cake and judgement free gyms


 It's Friday! For us, that meant sleeping in, dashing outside to take out the trash, and breathing a sigh of relief that the trash truck hadn't been here yet. Thank goodness for the weekend! Before we settle into our second cup of coffee, here's a quick look at the Langr adventures from this week! 


1. You can now find Letters to Women on Breadbox Media!


Not only can you find my podcast, Letters to Women, on iTunes and Google Play, but now you'll also be able to find it on Breadbox Media! Breadbox Media is a Catholic initiative to gather great Catholic podcasts into one list so that you can find them easier. There are some real gems of podcasts - including Catholic Answers! - who host their show on the site, so I'm excited! My archive isn't quite up there yet, but give it a few days and you can browse the archives and support a great Catholic organization at the same time! 


2. Authenticity demands that I buy a webcam

I was incredibly blessed to sit down and chat with Liz and Janine, the women behind the film Speaking to Sparrows, this week. You're going to love their podcast episode that comes out next week - "A Letter to the Woman Who Thinks She Isn't Enough". 

Because I don't have a webcam on our home computer, the little photo of me that pops up during a Skype or Google Hangouts call (instead of my face) is a picture of a latte from my favorite coffee shop back in Topeka. I mean, does that even surprise you at this point? Liz and Janine joked that they would refer to me as "coffee" during our interview, and it would take them a while to get used to sharing their story with a latte.

Gosh dangit, my podcast is all about being authentic and honest. Since I, in fact, do not resemble a latte (although I do probably bleed coffee), authenticity demands that I buy a webcam. So, if you have any recommendations for a great webcam - or a spare webcam taking up dust in your house - let me know! 


3. I can't hear you. . .

If we were to sit down and chat about life over a cup of coffee today, you'd have to lean in to hear me. I've lost my voice - which is humbling and probably good for me. When I laugh, it sounds like a sick, bleeting sheep. 

Hopefully my voice comes back by Wednesday, when I record two podcasts! Either that, or you'll have to listen to me whispering questions to the women on the show and my sheep bleet laughter - that's authentic, right? 


4. Judgement free gyms

After moving into a duplex (and away from our gym at the old apartment complex), we decided to join a gym this week. We wanted to wait 'til February to avoid the New Year's resolution rush. We went with Planet Fitness because, well, it's $10 a month. Wednesday night, we stopped in to get a quick tour and make sure that's what we really wanted. 

I had to stop myself from cracking up as we were told that Planet Fitness is a non-judgement gym. Judgement isn't a bad thing! They judged that we were new customers when we walked in with jeans on instead of workout clothes. They judged that we didn't need the premium membership when I noted I wouldn't be needing to use their tanning beds. Please judge my poor form when I'm lifting weights and help me out, or I'll never get better at lifting!

My favorite part of Planet Fitness is their "lunk alarm." It's siren that is supposed to go off whenever someone grunts too loudly or drops a heavy weight on the floor. Um, judgement much? Oh well. I'm just ready to have a place to run when it's cold outside. 


5. A slow leak

I love my car, I really do. But this week it's pulled several bratty moves and is getting on my bad side. Monday it had a slow leak in it's passenger side tire and then I also discovered a crack on my windshield last Thursday. Come on, Matrix, get it together! The crack probably started out as tiny and fixable, a little baby crack. But, because my windshield was so dirty with the salt and snow, I didn't notice it until it was bigger than a dollar bill - which is, of course, too big to fix.

The windshield issue probably could have been avoided if I kept my windshield clean, but let's not dwell on the could-have-been. The good news is my tire is fixed! And my windshield hasn't shattered, so we're looking on the bright side. 


6. Where we discover cake isn't meant to be eaten after a year


After our wedding last year, we saved a little bit of wedding cake and froze it. We figured we'd pull it out on our one year anniversary and enjoy the memories. Because we forgot to pack it with us to take to Saint Louis (I knew I was forgetting something!), we decided to try it last night.

The memories it could have brought back were halted by the taste of severely freezer burnt cake. It turns out cake isn't meant to be frozen for a year. We should have just ate it the week after our wedding. Oh well, we'll just make a cake this week and enjoy that one. 

If you're getting married soon, don't freeze your cake. Just enjoy it while it's good. If you've recently frozen your wedding cake, pull it out! Enjoy it while you can!! 


7. Wilson snuggles


Wilson is still afraid of hard wood floors, but that means I still get to snuggle with him. He only lets me hold him when I'm able to pick him up from his cage. After I flip him over onto his back (it's how rabbits nurse when they're little), he's as cool as a cucumber. Last night I'm pretty sure he was asleep in my arms. What a cutie (except when he started to poop on me. Oh well, you win some, you loose some. 

What was your highlight of the week? Let me know in the comments! Have a great weekend, friends! 

Chapter Chats - Above All Lenten Journal

Even though it feels like we just put away our Christmas decorations, Lent is right around the corner. After a joyous preparation for the coming of Christ as a little baby in the manger, we are getting ready to enter into a season of penance. We're preparing our hearts to see our Savior betrayed, beaten, condemned, scourged, nailed, and risen. 

With so many incredible Lenten journals out there to choose from, it can be a hard decision to pick which one to read and write! Different devotionals offer various ways to deepen you walk with Christ throughout the season of Lent. What a blessing to have choices between incredible resources!

I've prepared with the Blessed is She journals before, and have loved every minute of them. Last year, I prepared for Advent with Rooted in Hope. The reason I've returned to Take Up and Read is because I love the planning aspect of the journal. I often get sucked into to-do lists and accomplishments. But Take Up and Read journals encourage me to stop my hurried pace and abide with Christ. 

How? How will the tired soul living in the woman in the middle of winter gray be energized by the beginning of a season of penance? How will she find hope and new energy in the hard work of repenting? She will pray - more.
— Elizabeth Foss

This year, I'm excited to start diving into Above All, a Lent journal from Take Up and Read. This Lenten journal includes daily Scripture passages, devotions, beautiful space to journal, and (my absolute favorite!) space to organize your day with Christ at the center. It encourages time spent with Lectio Divina throughout the day, and provides space to offer forgiveness to those who hurt us. 

So just what's inside Above All? Here's a sneak peek into the journal! 



Each day of reflection begins with prayer. I loved the prayer written to start of Ash Wednesday: "Jesus, I want to know Your voice. Please instill in me a desire for Your Word. Make me want to spend time with you." What a beautiful prayer - I love praying for the desire to pray and spend time with Our Lord! 


Part of the daily reflection includes Scripture readings. They're set in context with historical notes to deepen your understanding of God's word. After the passage, more Scripture is recommended if you wanted to dig deeper into the theme offered for the day. 

I'm not the best at memorizing Scripture, and admittingly rely on Google (and Alexa) too much. So the fact that Above All encourages readers to memorize Colossians 3:12-17 was a huge draw for me. Memorization is aided with seven beautiful calligraphy pages! 


I love reflecting on Scripture with the amazing women who contributed to this journal. You'll find reflections from Carly Buckholz, Micaela Darr, Emily DeArdo, Elizabeth Foss, Ana Hahn,  Mary Lenaburg, Allison McGinley, Laurel Muff, Heather Renshaw, Kathryn Whitaker, and Kate Wicker. 

Without a doubt, each reflection has always met me exactly where I'm at. These women come alongside you on your walk through the liturgical season of Lent and encourage you on your path to Christ. They always write exactly what I needed to hear - God definitely speaks through the words of these women. 

Lectio Divina


Following the lead of Father Benedict, Above All focuses on being drawn into Scripture. Each day includes digging into the meaning of Scripture and how it applies to our lives. First, the passage is read, then mediation and contemplation follows. New to Lectio Divina? Above All beautifully walks you through, step by step. 


Each day ends with two questions - How will I make my life a gift for others in charity? What does God want me to do today?

Then, you go through three steps of repentance, seeking forgiveness, and giving thanks. Each day examines a different area of the interior life and leads an in depth, Lent-long examination of conscience. 


I loved the beautiful watercolor picture of the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas. Recognize the work? You may know the artist, Christie Peters, from Every Sacred Sunday! 

Find out more about Every Sacred Sunday in my interview with Kassie Manning, "A Letter to the Woman Who is Bored at Mass"

Profits from the sale of Above All are donated to Adore Ministries in Houston, Texas to provide ongoing hurricane relief. I'm eagerly counting down the days for Lent to start so that I can start reading Above All. When Easter Sunday comes, I want to be able to shout Alleluia! and mean it. 

Old Fashioned Girl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

4 Things to Keep in Mind When You Have to Make a Car Purchase

This is a sponsored post


The last few months of 2017 were full of exciting (and, let's be honest, expensive) purchases in the Langr household. In December, we moved from our first apartment into a duplex. That meant buying a new couch along with a washer and dryer set. Only a few weeks later, Joseph was in a car accident (no one got hurt!). So that meant that we went on the hunt for a new car. Buying a new-to-us car was fun and exciting, but it also was something that we put a lot of thought and research into. 

If you asked me last year if I knew a lot about cars, I'd laugh. I mean, you're talking about the girl who drove around the first year of owning her car thinking there wasn't any air conditioning (it turns out, you have to press the AC button to make the air cold). I told people who sat in the backseat that their door was broken (it was just the child lock). Since those days, I've learned quite a bit about cars - thanks to Joseph's knowledge and some handy Youtube videos that explain things in layman terms. I even am confident in my oil changing skills - which is literally something I never thought I would say. 

Here are four things to keep in mind if you have to make a used car purchase soon! 


1. Do your research

If you're like me, you spend hours doing google searches before making a big purchase. I spent quite a bit of time researching what brand of jeans I wanted, so why wouldn't I put the same amount of time (or more!) into researching what car to buy. Since pre-owned cars are usually out of their warranty window and have quite a few miles on them, it's even more important to spend time reading up on common problems and reliability scores. 

That may sound like a daunting task - but resources like Consumer Reports, Cars.com, and Long Term Quality Index have pages and pages of information and data. They'll help you figure out what cars are worth putting down some cash for - and which ones you'll want to avoid like the plague. 


2. Don't dismiss private sellers over dealers

Buying a car from a dealer is incredibly convenientInstead of clicking through Craiglist pages, you can stroll around the parking lot and see the selection. But just because a car is in dealer lot, that doesn't mean they're any higher quality than a car you could buy from a private seller. You'll save a little bit of money by buying from someone you know (or someone online). After all, Dan from your local Craiglist page isn't having to make a profit off his car the same way the guy at the dealership does. Most of the time, private sellers just want to get a car off of their hands and get fair market value for what they're offering. 

Granted, you need to be smart when shopping online for cars. If you're responding to a Craiglist ad, keep an eye open for scams. Meet in a public place to look at the vehicle and take someone with you when you go check it out. 


3. Stick to your budget

We set a budget and stuck to it when we went looking for a car to replace the one that was totaled in the accident. Don't get me wrong - it was tempting to bump up our budget. We wanted to spend under $6,000 and buy a car that had great gas mileage, a little room to grow, and something we could park it in our garage . . . oooh, look at that Mazda Miata! No matter what your inner race-car driver says, stick to something that's logical and practical for what you need. Unless what you are looking for is a race car, and in that case, more power to ya. 

We ended up finding an 2006 Prius that I love. Joseph is still undecided and doesn't like the label of a 'Prius driver' but maybe it'll grow on him? It gets amazing gas mileage, we can pull it in our garage, it doesn't make any weird noises, and the hatch back is fantastic. Because of some bargaining with the private seller who was trying to get rid of it, we ended up spending less than our budget. Then we went to get tags and pay taxes and, well, there went that money. But that's life, right? 


4. Take it for a test drive

You wouldn't buy clothes without trying them on (well, okay, I've done that before - but it's always turned out badly!), so don't buy a car without test driving it first. You're wanting to listen for any funky sounds, shudders, or quirks. Then check under the hood to see what shape the engine is in. You're going to want to look at the color of brake fluid and coolant. How are the belts and hoses? 

If you're asking "Cars have belts? I thought those were just for pants?" don't worry. I'm also have a ton to learn about cars. If you're not married to someone who knows cars like Joseph does, don't be afraid to ask a friend to come along for a ride and give their opinion. 

7 QT 30: Saint Louis, sloths, and high heights


It's Friday! That means we're one day closer to the weekend. We're looking forward to having a friend come in from out of town this weekend! But before we head off to the airport to pick him up, here's a quick look at what happened last week with the Langrs: 

1. Our IKEA airbnb

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary last Sunday. We decided to take a long weekend trip to Saint Louis to celebrate together. We planned out our weekend and booked our airbnb. Friends, if you've ever wondered what it would be like to live in one of those display houses they set up at IKEA, just stay in this airbnb. It was beautiful. Without exaggerating, I wandered around pointing out things to Joseph and saying "this is so cute!" for the first ten minutes after we checked in. Don't believe me? Check it out: 



2. It turns out I'm kind of afraid of high heights

We spent most of our first day in Saint Louis at City Museum. 'Museum' is kind of a misnomer, it's more of a giant playground. Which was totally fine with us! I was totally fine with exploring the inside of the museum, then we decided to go outside. Look at this place! Although it's really neat (and there are tons of slides!), it is also really really high up. There may have been quite a few times where I told Joseph "Nope! Not going up there!" So despite my love of mountains, my heart still beats pretty fast when I'm suspended in the air on a wire playground. Who knew? 

Also, I woke up the next morning looking like I'd been in a street fight. It turns out I bruise easily and my knees had not liked the adventure at City Museum. 

3. Lazy sloths, oh, how you frustrate me

We wandered all over the Saint Louis zoo on our second day of our miniature vacation. I was keeping my fingers crossed that they would have a sloth (easily my favorite animal). Good news - they did! Bad news - it was being its typical sloth self and was hiding in its hanging bucket. So I got to see it's little hand peaking out of a hole. I guess I could have waited around all day to see if it would climb out, but I think it would take a good couple of days for it to move to somplace more visible. I'll be back, sloth! 


See its two little claws? Sigh. One day I'll see one of these animals in person. One day. Until then, Youtube videos will have to suffice. 

4. At least the penguins were out and about . . . 


If you love penguins as much as I love sloths, you need to go to the St. Louis zoo. They easily have one of the best penguin exhibits I've ever seen (out of the two I've seen. But still). 


5. It's not everyday you get kicked out of a cathedral

We were able to attend Saturday night vigil Mass at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis. Holy smokes, how beautiful is this place? Over 83,000 square feet of mosaic artwork. So many beautiful scenes and some of my favorite saints were on the ceiling. Their Mass program invited us to "stay after Mass and explore our mosaics and art", so we did. After Mass we went to explore and found their side chapel. We knelt down to pray and were just getting ready to check out the next hall when the security guard looked into the chapel. "Are you ready to leave yet?" he asked. It turns out that they close up shop after the vigil Mass. So, of course, we had to come back Monday and check out the rest of the church (and their museum downstairs!). But now we can add that we've been kicked out of a cathedral to our list of fun facts about us. 

6. Julia Child would be so proud of us

We decided to go to a French restaurant for our fancy anniversary dinner. If you're in the area of St. Louis, I'd highly recommend Vin de Set. We got to the restaurant, sat down and got to know our waiter a little. He brought us out a glass of champagne when he found out we were celebrating. I had the duck confit - oh my stars. I have to learn to cook French food. Joseph ate gold tile fish. Then we split an amazing crust-less cheesecake slathered in caramel and apples. 

After we finished our meal, our waiter brought us out a little note card in an envelope. We opened it in the elevator and found an anniversary card signed by their entire staff! How cute are they? 


7. Wilson meets a new friend


When we were getting things ready to go for our weekend trip, we realized we had completely forgotten about having someone stop by and check on Wilson. We're such bad rabbit parents, sometimes. Thankfully a friend that I met at Bible study was available to swing by the house and feed Wilson during the weekend. She even sent us a picture of him to let us know he was doing just fine. A huge shout out to Sally for bunny-sitting this weekend!

In other Wilson news, I've finally watched Castaway (for the first time!) and fully understand Wilson's namesake. 

Here's Why I'm Not a Hopeless Romantic


Some (okay, all) of my favorite movies are romantic comedies. I love siting around with the women in my life over a cup of coffee, and having heart-to-heart conversations about their lives and relationships. If you were to 'friend' me on Facebook, your feed would soon be full of all the relationship articles I post. YouTube suggests that I watch wedding videos, engagement stories, and promposals. Pinterest literally only suggests wedding items to me anymore (even though I got married almost a year ago!). 

And don't even get me started on Disney movies. Growing up, I'd spent my summers catching up on all the Disney movies that had come out over the year. I even have a Disney soul sister - Anna from Frozen. I love how she jumps head first into love.

I can't help it . . . I love love. 

There have been many times where I've been labeled a 'hopeless romantic'. Everyone from my mom to my friends in college would point out how I love a good love story. I'll admit it - I have an old fashioned heart that believes in timeless, pure love. I love breakfast in bed, deep conversations, mountain views that take your breath away, and hikes in the snow followed by (what else?) more coffee. In a world of 280 Twitter characters, I prefer 3 page love letters. 

But I'm not a hopeless romantic. 

What is love without hope? Hope is the virtue by which we on earth desire the goodness and beauty of Heaven and eternal life. We are called place all of our trust, every ounce of it, in the fact that God is a good father. That He's going to show up. That He's going to keep his promises. In the book of Hebrews, Scripture reminds us of this, telling us to "hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful". 

Hope is the virtue that keeps our hearts from sinking into discouragement. Hope sustains us in the dark times, and it opens up our hearts in expectation and receptivity to the beauty of eternity and the knowledge that God does have a plan. 

Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.
— Saint Teresa of Avila

I'm not a hopeless romantic because I'm a hope-filled romantic. Authentic love in our relationships with ourselves, those around us, and (most importantly!) God isn't something that's unrealistic or ridiculous. We can never have too much hope in God's love for us and His plan for our lives.

God, whose very essence is love, is the original romantic. He delights in showing His love to us. We can't let our busy, noisy lives lead us to be unaware that we're constantly being pursued by Him. 

We're made by love, for love. Romance is written on our hearts, stamped into our DNA. We're all called to be hope-filled romantics. 

God loves us each day - even in our messiest moments. He loved us from the cross, splayed out on wooden beams and burdened with every sin ever committed. Paul tells us in Romans, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

I don't know about you, but that's better than any romantic comedy I've ever watched.

7 QT 29: Wedding bells, running outside, and library returns

We're so close to the weekend, we can almost taste it! But before you bundle up and head outside, let's take a few minutes to look back on the week! 

1. Winter weddings (and reception pictures, of course)

I sang at a wedding last weekend for some friends from college. The wedding was beautiful and it was so good to sing again. We were able to sing from the choir loft - which I love. While we were in the loft, we happened upon this gem of a sign, and couldn't resist to kick our reception pictures off a litte early. 


Here are a few of the other pictures from the reception (these spoons look like they're real silverware but they're actually plastic. It's a magical world we're living in, friends)!


These doors politely were requested to keep shut. But they were open, so an obvious random photo opportunity.  


2. Every Sacred Sunday

Last year, Joseph and I heard about the Every Sacred Sunday Mass journal on Kickstarter. Now, the journal has become a way that we prepare our hearts for Mass on the weekend. It was a huge dream of mine to sit down with Kassie Manning and Christie Peters, the creators of the journal. Sunday night my dream came true, and Kassie and I's conversation is in this week's podcast - 'A Letter to the Woman Who Is Bored at Mass". Give it a listen and check out the Mass journal here

3. But this gorgeous running weather, though


After weeks of negative degree wind chill, Wednesday was a gorgeous 50 degrees. 50 degrees! That's basically summer. I didn't even wear a coat. So I threw on my running shoes to knock out a four mile run. But what I loved even more than the run was the chance to see other people out doing the same thing. And smiling. And waving. And saying hello. Most of them also owned gorgeous, fluffy dogs. My heart was so full. 

I thought to myself, "This is amazing! I should do this every day I'm off work! I should do this at least three times a week!" 

Then we had freezing rain the next day. Welcome to Kansas. 

4. A book to add to your winter reading list


Wind chills, negative temperatures, and ice on the streets making you want to stay inside? Me too, friends. Me too. Even though the weather has left quite a bit to be desired lately, it's given me a lot of time to knock some books of my reading list.

One of the books I've loved reading is The Marian Option by Dr. Carrie Gress. In the book, she write about how Marian devotion is the answer to a lot of the problems the world is in right now. Find a copy at your local library, Catholic bookstore, or online. And then listen to Dr. Gress talk about her book and how Marian devotion helps her live out the feminine genius in our episode of Letters to Women in February! I'm pumped. 

5. I'm not a library fugitive

Speaking of books and libraries, let's have a heart-to-heart about borrowing books and late fees. I'm not the best at remembering when to return books. I may or may not have had my library card in my hometown revoked because I forgot to return a book (answer: I did). So when we moved to Kansas City last year, I promised myself I would take full advantage of my clean library-borrowing slate and not forget to return what I borrowed. 

IT HAS BEEN A YEAR AND I AM NOT A KC LIBRARY FUGITIVE. I have returned every. single. thing. that I've borrowed and (gasp!) sometimes earlier than the due date. Let's see if I can keep this track record in the 2018 year. I have high hopes! 

6. But where to put you?

This winter, I'm reading the Harry Potter series for the first time in my life. I've had the books on my to-read list for a while, and everything has settled down enough for me to spend some time getting to know Harry Potter. Or at least, know him better than the Harry Potter puppets video. Because you know I watched that twelve times on repeat already. 

I'm currently reading the chapter about the sorting hat, and couldn't help but think of the connection between Hogwarts houses and personality type tests. Then, I listened to this episode about exactly that on NPR's Hidden Brain. So good - if you have some extra time during your commute and want to listen, you can find it here

7. Brunch is always a good idea

I love starting my morning with the Blessed Is She daily devotional. Tomorrow morning I'm headed to a Blessed is She brunch and I'm so excited! I'm bringing coffee, of course. I mean, what else would I bring? 


Have a wonderful weekend! 


A Lesson on Mistakes from the Three Kings

I've always been slightly obsessed with perfection. In college, I would stay awake until the early morning, perfecting an essay. At home, I love when I can cross every. single. thing. off of my check list. But sometimes my perfectionism gets out of hand. Sometimes I love "perfection" so much that I become afraid of mistakes. 

At church last weekend, I was reminded that the Epiphany was full of mistakes. Three men left their homeland, embarking on a journey that may have cost them their lives. They navigate by the stars, and finally end up in Jerusalem - but that's not where Christ is. Confused, they ask for directions from an impostor-king who wants to kill the baby they're searching for - literally the last possible person they should have asked for directions from. 

Can you imagine them, in King Herod's palace? They're surrounded by chief priests and teachers of the law - men who've spent their whole life studying prophesies that tell of the coming Messiah. They listen to the prophesies, hearing:

"But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, 
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; 
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel."

The priests and teachers know exactly where Christ is. But they aren't looking for Him. They're in Jerusalem, serving a false king, even though they know the true King of Kings is in Bethlehem. They're frozen in fear, stuck in their comfort zones.

The wise men are the ones who find Christ. They worship Him, bringing Him gifts, but also bringing Him their story of mistakes and failures. 

While I strive to be like the wise-men, aware of my mistakes but still striving towards Christ, I sometimes fall short. I know that I've been in the shoes of the chief priests and teachers. Sometimes I'm so afraid of moving a step closer to Christ in my spiritual life because I'm afraid I'll fall. I'm afraid I'll fail. It's then that I need to remind myself that epiphanies are often full of mistakes. The road to sainthood is often walked by those who stumble. 

As Catholics, we embrace the fact that we are made in the image of likeness of God - but that doesn't make us perfect. The older I've gotten, the more I've realized what a messy human I am. I let people down. I hurt those I love the most. I drag myself to confession because I've hurt the one who loves me the most. 

Pope Benedict XVI said, "Holiness does not consist in not making mistakes or never sinning. Holiness grows with capacity for conversion, repentance, willingness to begin again, and above all with the capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness." 

Our mess doesn't mean that we're not meant to worship Christ in Heaven. Our mistakes don't mean that sainthood isn't possible. But instead, as Christians, we're called to acknowledge our mistakes, and bring them to God. To have patience with ourselves, and to realize that we are more than the sum of our mistakes.  And to rejoice over the fact that epiphanies are often full of mistakes.