27 November 2013

Much Ado

I had a good day today. But now I want to rant. And this is my blog so I'm going to do it.

I hate Thanksgiving.

There, I said it. I feel much better.

I hate any time people make a big deal over something that is or should be ordinary. What is possibly so great about a random Thursday in November that we have to spend days preparing and hours cooking a meal so large it could feed a family four times over, and then sit around all day eating? I just don't understand. It doesn't help that I don't like Thanksgiving food. I'd rather have steak and a baked potato.

This year, I signed up to work overtime so that I could have an excuse to avoid the mayhem, but I was too late and all the spots were filled. Dammit.

I did watch Pocahontas this week with the 4 year old roommate, that kinda got me in the spirit. Love me some land-stealing, smallpox-blanket-giving pilgrims. Like I need another reminder of the crimes of my ancestors.

Also, while I'm on the subject of ranting. I want to rant about how selfish I've been lately. From not wanting to give up my time, to not wanting to give up my friends (as you can see in the last few posts of mine), I'm getting pretttttty selfish. And let me tell you, it's ugly. I'm working on it. (Probably not as hard as I should be, but I am.)

As I was in rehearsal for the LifeTeen Mass this week, I kept thinking of ways I could be martyred. (It was bad.) After the 2 hour rehearsal was over, the director said "okay, see y'all on Saturday at 6" and I thought "Psyche! See you on Sunday morning." Not an ice cube's chance in Hell I'm missing part of the Iron Bowl. The whole rehearsal I kept thinking about how I was doing this for Jesus. But I did it with such a bad attitude in my head that I don't think it brings Him any glory. I haven't got that "suffering with joy" thing down yet, sorry St. Pete.

Martyrdom seems like a great idea because I know that way I'd get to Heaven. Flannery O once said that she could never be a saint, but she thought she could be martyred if they did it quick. I think I've posted that quote in this blog before actually, but I'm still right there with her. Sometimes I think that's the only way I'll make it to Heaven.

Anyways, my ideal Thanksgiving looks like this, this year:
Wake up late
Eat a normal meal
Lay around in sweats
Watch football
Check out the good deals online
Go shopping for some work clothes and shoes

And here's what I'll actually be doing:
Huge meal at 1
Movies at 4
Probably no shopping
Probably no football
Probably no sweatpants


Mary, Queen of Thanksgiving, Pray for me.

24 November 2013

A Selfish Goodbye

Lately I've been posting a lot about work. For those of you who find that boring, please accept my apologies. I really enjoy my work and I think that because I spend the vast majority of my time doing it, I naturally feel inclined to talk about it. This week I've been realizing that because I've been spending so much time at work or talking about work or thinking about work, I've let my interior life slip a little. As a sanguine it's my terrible tendency to be shallow, surfacy, if you will. I'm going to make a point to write more about things that are more meaningful.

Last week, I was in Alabama. It was the best! I flew to Birmingham on Saturday morning to witness the beginning of a beautiful marriage between two friends. Father Victor, one of my favorite priests (who currently serves in Auburn), celebrated the wedding Mass. One of my favorite lines from his very eloquent and relevant homily was when he said that the reason that God has allowed Ginny and Eric to come together as man and wife is because He knows that the two of them together would have the best possible chance of making it to Heaven. Love that.

It was also great to see old friends, and to be with my fellow Tigers to watch the amazing Hail Mary play that won the Auburn vs. Georgia game. On Sunday I went to Auburn and spent a few days there with my sweet former roommates Kathlene and Katie. I got to see all the people I wanted to see, and do all of the things I wanted to do, and it was just fantastic.

Kathlene is preparing to join a convent in Steubenville, Ohio, on December 8th. When she first told me,  I was so excited for her. Essentially, it's like one of my dearest friends is getting engaged. That's sort of what it's like when you enter a convent. You are engaged to Jesus, preparing for a life long marriage to Him. It's a HUGE sacrifice. The whole week we talked about it a lot, but that didn't prepare me for how hard it was to say goodbye to her. I am so proud of her sacrifice, and I really can't believe how brave she is. For a while my roommates and I have thought she might have a religious vocation, but thinking about it and actually doing it are very different things. And she's doing it! She's the real deal! I'm so proud of her! She's going to be so holy! She's giving up the little things like her cell phone, her facebook, her car, her music, etc., and big things like her family and her friends. All for Jesus. Her order is contemplative, so they spend a lot of time in prayer. Praise God.

I've told a few of my friends about her and the first thing they all say is something about celibacy. As she and I were talking though, we sorta came to the conclusion that out of all the things she's giving up, that is one of the easier things. Can't miss something you've never had, right? I've had friends who have joined convents before, but not friends who I am this close with, so I didn't feel it as much.

Anyways, I'm going on and on about how I feel about the situation. Which is exactly what I was doing the whole week I was in Auburn, and especially when we said goodbye. I'm selfish. Really, really selfish.

The bottom line is, she's making an incredible sacrifice for Jesus, and I want to keep her from Him, all for myself. I had to stop myself several times from asking "are you SUREEEEE you want to do this?" When we were saying goodbye, it felt almost like one of my best friends was dying. But isn't that what Jesus calls us to do? She's dying to herself so that He can make her new and He can have her all to Himself. And let me tell you, He's getting a good one.

KG, if you're reading this, I love you, and I'm so proud of you, and you inspire me and I will miss you so much. God is so good for giving you to me for as long as He has, and I know that your FIAT will bring so much glory to Him.

St. Augustine, pray for us!

23 November 2013

Investment Solutions, Day One

Today was my first official day of my new job. It was supposed to be on Monday but I took some time off to go to Alabama (more on that in my next post). All of my colleagues who got promoted with me started Monday so they are all a few days ahead of me, which means I have to work extra hard to make up for it. Sales is a numbers game.

So let me tell you how day one started. Last night, there was some bad weather in DFW so my flight in was delayed + my suitcase was lost! This morning around 7:30 I received a phone call saying that they found my bag and that it would be here between 8 and 12! This was extremely good news because all of my slacks were in my bag. I went back to sleep and hoped for the best. I was supposed to be at work at 10, so I figured that if my bag was here by 9:30 I could make it to work no problem. By 9:00 I started to get worried that it wasn't going to be there, so I called and confirmed that it would, in fact, be there closer to noon.

So, I emailed in to work and took some sick hours until 12. Long story short, bag didn't show up till 1, but I went to work at 12 anyways and told the driver to just leave it on the porch, and my roommate would get it. And, like I mentioned, I had no slacks, and it was a whopping 40 degrees outside and sleeting. So I was bare legged, freezing, and late for my first day.

The first few hours I was at work were a mess. I was all over the place, trying to get my thoughts organized and talk to clients in an organized manner when I hadn't looked over any of my material in a whole week. No amount of training could have prepared me, I don't think. Our training was good, don't get me wrong, but this is the type of job that you can (mostly) only learn by experience. I had a meeting from 3-5 and when I got back to my desk afterwards, things started to get a little better. I was supposed to leave at 6:30, and right before that I helped a client with a 360k transfer of assets, so that was really encouraging. Then, my boss asked me if I wanted to stay late because one of my teammates wanted to leave early. I was tired and wanted to go home but I knew I needed the practice and I wanted to ride that 360k encouragement.

It was a great decision on my part. I got to know some of my teammates and work on some "best practices" with them. I also got another 270k transfer of assets and some smaller ones  of 30k and 10k and 3k. Now in this job, 650k in one day is nothing to write home about, but for a first day, I'm pretty proud of myself. My official goal is 4.76 million a month but my stretch goal as set by our director is over 6 million a month. Either way, over 10% on the first day makes me a happy camper.

I forgot what it felt like to be on this side of the learning curve though. So far in my career, everything has just been building on what I already knew. Now, this job requires me to tear down some of the things I've learned and relearn them in a different way. It is a challenge, but I get so excited just thinking about how many opportunities I have to get better every day. One thing that is really cool about this job is that no one, even the people who have done it for years, can say that they've "mastered" it. There is always something new to learn, always a way to find more opportunities to help our clients.

Half of the day today I just kept thinking about how terrible I am at this job. And that's true. But there's only one way to go from rock bottom! I'll be back at it again tomorrow!

09 November 2013

Need an Escape Route

The past two weeks, I've been in training for my new job. I.AM.LOVING.IT.

I know for sure that I made a good decision for my career and for our clients. Even though it's a sales role where I'm responsible for over 4.76 million in new assets each month, the most important part of the role is making sure that my clients are set up for success in retirement. I love that I get to help people save and invest so that they can retire the way they want, and so that they can plan for financial obligations that may come up.

The first week I was in training, I made it to Mass twice during the week, which rarely happens. It was amazing. I just felt so much more freedom. It's crazy how we can become slaves to our own ideas of what's real.

This week I've been catching up with friends after work. I had dinner with one of my best friends from high school who was in town on Tuesday, on Wednesday I caught up with the people from my New Hire class at work, and on Friday I went to happy hour with everyone who got promoted with me. It's been busy and crazy and fun.

On Wednesday, I was meeting people after work at 6:00. I got off work early (around 4:45) so I had some time to kill. I figured I'd stop at the Church for a bit to pray, I knew Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament would be going on at the Church closest to the place I was meeting people. How convenient! I got there a little after 5:00 and went into the chapel to pray. I was just talking to Jesus about how I didn't know what was next or what He wanted me to do, where He wanted me to go, etc. and I felt like He was just telling me to be patient and wait. A few minutes into my prayer, I felt a tap on the shoulder and a lady was asking me to come and chat with her for a minute. I had met this lady once or twice, and had seen her around. She introduced herself to me and said, "I know you sing, and I know you praise the Lord. Will you please sing with us for the new LifeTeen Mass during Advent." I racked my brain for an excuse but could come up with nothing. Before I knew it I had a CD of the music and a book of the sheet music. I told her I'd see her next Wednesday for practice and went back to the chapel. As I knelt down I repeated the words of Blessed Mother Theresa: "Jesus, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few."

I was so mad! I was praying, "Jesus, are you serious!?!  I came to see you for a quick prayer and I got roped into LifeTeen of all things, for the whole of Advent?!" I could not believe it.  Not only are the songs ones that I cringe at when I hear in the Mass, but also I will be chained to one Church and Mass time for all of Advent. Now before you shake your head at me and call me a liturgical snob, hear me out. The Church I've been going to recently is just full of beauty: Latin Mass Parts, amazing homilies, a Communion Rail, and the most beautiful altar that makes me feel like I'm at the gates of Heaven. It is unreal. I was SO looking forward to hearing their Latin Schola during Advent. But apparently the Lord had different plans for me. Obviously, it was an answer to a prayer... I just haven't quite figured out how or why. Pray that I keep an open mind and that the Lord uses me for His Glory during Advent.

St. Cecelia, pray for us.

07 November 2013

All the Difference

This poem has been in my thoughts lately. Enjoy.

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.