21 March 2017

Do As You Did At First

This song has been coming up again and again in prayer lately.

I think a lot of us can relate to those first few weeks or months after we met Jesus. It's (a little tiny bit) like when the shy girl in school finally realizes that the hot shot football player is pursuing her. Jesus comes to meet us so much quicker than we are willing to turn to Him, and those first few months of consolation are so sweet.

Have a listen!

St. Joseph, pray for us!

05 March 2017

The Feast Before the Fast

Happy Lent!

Before we get into all that is Lent, here's a little recap of how I celebrated Mardi Gras, just in case you missed my snapchat story.

Obviously, pretending that snapchat is my very own cooking show is my specialty. Steps 5 and 6 are missing because they're videos and I'm technologically challenged.

When I delivered a King Cake to one of my friends, she asked if there was a baby in it. I said "of course!" And she pointed to her belly and said, "there is a baby in here too!!" It was such an awesome surprise!! 4 of my friends from my parish are pregnant! God is so good!

St. Monica, pray for us!

22 February 2017

Learning to Live in the Moment

I have failed in a lot of my February Resolutions. But I am resolved to do better in March... because, Lent.

The only hit up the gym 6 times so far this month (not going to make it to 12...) and I have been eating well above the recommended daily dose of chicken nuggets.

BUT! I did reconnect with more than 3 people. So, winning. I went to dinner with a new friend twice, called an old friend to catch up, and hung out with some of the college bests this past weekend.

I loved adding the "reconnect" piece to my resolutions for this month. There are many things that I can do on any given day, and for as much as I crave community, it's silly how rarely I reach out. I want to get better!

A few months ago, my spiritual director told me that I needed to learn to live in the moment. I'm sure at some point I prayed for the grace to be able to do that, and I'm sure he's probably been praying for that for me too, because good grief, did God show up in a big way. It's had a bit of a different impact than I expected. My whole life I've been looking forward to the next thing. When I run out of next things to look forward to, I freak out about my vocation or some other equally uncontrollable variable.

Over the past few months, I've felt life slow way down before my eyes. In general, I'm focusing on myself: my laundry gets done, my sheets get washed every two weeks, my ceiling fan gets dusted, I grocery shop and cook, I read, I go to the gym! I pray and I go to Mass a couple times per week. I'm making new friends. I'm doing well at work and keeping on top of things. Things are calm and peaceful. In addition to all of this, I don't feel busy at all. I haven't stopped being busy since I started middle school. It's all so weird.

When I was talking to my spiritual director about this quiet time I'm in the middle of right now, he said it sounded like God was inviting me to work on myself like a project and to become more self aware. I don't even know how to go about tackling the mess that is my soul, except for to start with the things exteriorly that I can control. Well.. I consider the controllables controlled. Now it's time to trudge onward into the depths, I suppose! Pray for me!

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!

02 February 2017

O Gloriosa Virginum

Today is the Feast of the Purification of Mary, when Simeon told her that her own heart would be pierced by a sword.

O glorious Virgin, ever blest, sublime among the stars above,
Who gavest nurture from Thy breast to God, with pure maternal love.
What man hath lost through sinful Eve, the Blossom sprung from thee restores;
Thou to the sorrowing here beneath hast opened Heaven's eternal doors.
O Gate, through which hath passed the King, O Hall, whence Light shone through the gloom!
The ransomed nations praise and sing the Offspring of Thy Virgin womb.
All honor, laud, and glory be, O Jesus, Virgin-born, to Thee:
All glory, as is ever meet, to Father and to Paraclete.

Here's a great choral version:

Happy Feast Day! 

31 January 2017

Just in the Nick of Time

Update on January Goals:

Go running ten times. Check. Just went for the tenth time about two hours ago.
Spend 8 hours in Adoration. FAIL. Majorly. I only spent about 3 hours in Adoration all month. But I went to Mass 12 times. I want to do better.
Write in this blog two more times. Check, check.
Drink one gallon of water per day and eat clean for 20 days. Check. I took before and after pictures to see if I could tell a difference in my skin after drinking a gallon of water per day for 20 days, and I can't. But I know it's good for me, so I want to keep going.
Do something that makes me uncomfortable. Check, times two. I both accepted and extended lunch invitations that made me uncomfortable. Also I had some friends over for dinner, which didn't make me uncomfortable except that I made them a questionable recipe for Whole30 Chili which they said they liked. Note to self: don't make your friends be your recipe guinea pigs.
Pray a novena. Check. I'm on day 7 of a novena which ends on the Feast of the Purification of Mary.

Update on me:

Nothing huge has been happening in prayer or otherwise.

The most exciting thing in my life is that my mom got two new puppies and I.AM.OBSESSED.

They're the cutest.

Here are some pictures:

Cricket is the black one, she's super outgoing and rambunctious and TROUBLE.
Trixie is the brown one and she's shy and sweet as can be. And a chicken.

I love them.

And because you're all dying to know:

February Goals
Gym x 12
Finish 3 books
Reconnect with 3 friends
Prepare for Lent

Mary, Pure of Heart, pray for us!

18 January 2017

Mary, Crusher of the Serpent

Hey Hey!!!

I am in a generally very happy mood this week for a few reasons. None of them have to do with my job.

One is that I'm probably still riding that FOCUS Conference mini high. I've looked over my notes from the conference and replayed a few of the talks in my mind, and gotten some great little nuggets.

Fr. Mike Schmitz spoke to the Alumni about the importance of prayer in evangelization. Dr. J. Reyes gave a breakout on how to evangelize a parish. Both of them KILLED it and provided so much wisdom.

I'm still unpacking. (Not physically, I'm too neurotic for that. Think: Monica from friends.)

Another reason for my happy mood is that I've been doing a lot of speaking this week. I gave a workshop on evangelization on Saturday, gave the talk at both high school and middle school youth groups this week, and I'm speaking on discipleship at a Confirmation Retreat this weekend.

Speaking at these events gives me SO.MUCH.LIFE. It is so invigorating and exciting and encouraging for me to hear the feedback afterwards.

On the way home tonight I was thinking about how prideful I am because of how encouraged I feel. After thinking about it more, I'm not sure if it's only pride though. It's prideful to expect to be asked and prideful to expect thanks and praise for the talk. But is it prideful to be excited to be asked to speak? Is it prideful to be excited that someone got something out of what I said? I know my pride is always lying CLOSE to the surface of most of my thoughts, and I like to be recognized when I do something well. Also, I know that ultimately these talks are given by the Holy Spirit, who has no need of me to deliver them. But I'm thankful when He let's me! I'll have to pray more about it.

Since you're my accountability partner, blog, here's how I've been doing on my January goals:

Go running ten times.
          I've gone 4 times so far and I'm planning on going tomorrow. I'll have to step it up next week.
Spend eight hours in Adoration.
          FAIL. But I have been to Mass 9 times, which is more than I usually get to go in a month.
Write in this blog two more times.
          Ding ding ding!
Drink one gallon of water per day and eat clean for 20 days.
          I'm 10 days in so far. Haven't stopped peeing once. You're welcome.
Do something that makes me uncomfortable.
          Still working on this one.
Pray a Novena.
          I'm going to pray a Novena for the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady, starting Tuesday.  

So there you have it!

Mary, pure and lowly, pray for me!

01 January 2017

Mary, Queen of my Heart

Merry Christmas!!!! And Happy New Year!

I'll tell you all about my New Year's Resolutions after I tell you this story. 

The past month or so, I've been having an internal debate with myself. 

Side one:
For about the last 2 years I've been fully committed to my parish. 
I lead a 12th grade girls small group. (I have lead 8th and 9th previously.)
I lead a young adult woman's Bible Study. 
I go to the same Mass whenever possible and I sit in the same pew. 
I have made friends there, and I know the people who sit near me in Mass.
The location is conveniently between my office and my apartment. 
I think this parish and the friends I have made there are the perfect "village" that it takes to raise children. Sometimes when I go over to friends' houses and see all their kids playing together, I think about how awesome it would be to raise babies with all of them. The problem is, I'm just not there yet. 

Side two: 
My parish is in the suburbs. 
There are many young adults there, but they are all married, and most have kids. 
I feel like I need to meet people my age to make more friends and to expand my evangelization opportunities/scope.
There are zero single men there. (Think: same number of dinosaurs roaming earth, not "there's nothing to wear in my closet.")

So this leaves a dilemma which I've been doing mostly thinking and a little praying about. (Me of little faith.)

If I get a new job (which I can do within the next six months if I want), I wouldn't need to live where we live now, and we could move closer to downtown where all the "cool" young adult stuff happens. 

Cut to the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. 

It was a pretty normal Mass, I had some other things on my mind and was praying about something different. 

After Mass, a family I hardly know invited me over for lunch tomorrow. After exchanging contact info and making plans, I was on my way out of the Church when another couple stopped me and asked if I wanted to get dinner next week.
Part of the problem isn't solved (there still aren't any single men), but I'm just so surprised that people went out of their way to invite me to things. It feels like I'm always the one doing the inviting (and the one getting stood up, if you remember my post from a few months ago.) It was so affirming to have someone reach out to me. I'm encouraged to keep inviting, because I'm reminded how powerful a personal invitation can be. And I'll keep praying about it further, but I'm really thinking God wants me at this parish. 

Now for the resolutions!
(I'm only making monthly resolutions, as I can't handle a whole year at a time.)

January, 2017
Go running ten times.
Spend eight hours in Adoration. Learn to worship God for His sake and not for mine. 
Write in this blog two more times.
Drink one gallon of water per day and eat clean for 20 days. 
Do something that makes me uncomfortable. 
Pray a novena. 

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for me!