29 September 2014

I'm back... I think!

 Sorry for the emotional posts lately. Update on Bella, she's moving a lot better and doesn't seem to be in constant pain, which is awesome!! Pray that it is God's will to keep her in our lives a little longer! (Virtues, Dominions, and Powers, pray for Bella!)

As for your regularly scheduled blog post (with your regularly scheduled parenthesis):

I'm not sure what it is.... maybe the Fall ish weather that we've kinda been having. (Highs are still in the low 90s most days but I leave at the crack of dawn and it's in the 70s, so... yeah.) Maybe it's the renewed focus I've had on prayer. (Thank you, St. Therese and St. Faustina.) Maybe it's the fact that I'm working days now, finally in the swing of this morning thing (still not exactly happy at 7 am, but you get it) and ESPECIALLY in the swing of having free afternoons and evenings. Maybe it's because I had today off and I have 5 of the next 12 Mondays off!

Whatever it is, I feel like I'm back to my old self.  (And my old self is thinking about getting these glasses. What do you think?)

Sometimes I really miss working nights. I loved not having to wake up early. But the truth is that working nights is just really not conducive for routine, normalcy, or a social life. It took me some time to get used to my new job after I switched to days. Now I feel like I have the hang of it and although it's considerably more difficult than my last job, I think I should be fine.

When it comes to my job, I need to focus on being extremely productive at work when I'm there, and then letting it go when I leave. This job is what I call the hazing job at Fidelity, it's the middle between entry and higher level and I have an asset retention component in my score card, which most other departments don't. Because of how difficult it is, the opportunities open up a lot for promotions from here if I can do well. So I just need to keep my head down and crush it for the next 8 months so that I can get promoted.

Lately I've been much more productive than usual. I painted some art for over our entertainment center. It's not great but it adds some color that we need and it's better than what we had before.

I hung up some curtains in my living room (only lived here six months...) and I hung up a clock in my room. 

Next up on the project list is going to be my best project yet, I hope. I should have it finished next weekend so stay tuned. Also up soon is my (almost) finished 30 Before 30 list. 

The ultimate way that I know I'm getting back to my old self? Today I bought a notebook for list making. I haven't hand written a list in about 18 months.. but that all changed today! Praise God!

St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, pray for us! 

27 September 2014

The Art of the Pursuit

This week in Mass I was thinking about how interesting it is that our churches are full of faithful little old ladies. I would be willing to bet that if you had to take the demographics of the average daily Mass at any Catholic church in the U.S. (and maybe the whole world), you'd find an average age of 60 and about a 4:1 ratio of women to men.


Well, for one, most daily Masses are early in the morning when it's unrealistic for people in the working world to make it. Secondly, men die before women, on average, so maybe after these women's husbands die they just spend all their time with the Lord. Hm, could be. But I think there's something else too.

Look at demographics among FOCUS Missionaries and the size and success of Bible Studies, and even their national conferences. Women outnumber men by far.

I think it has to do with the way that the Lord pursues us. Men are built to be the pursuer, rather than the pursuee. (That's a word now.) So for a man, it's got to be difficult to be receptive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to allow himself to be loved and pursued by God. On the other hand, for women, the Lord's pursuit of our hearts is all that we long for. It's the perfect fulfillment of our deepest desires to have someone yearn for us, chase us, tell us we're loved and worth loving.

Recently I've been asked a few times why I don't date. (Until then I didn't realize that I "don't date" I just thought I happened to not be going on dates... I didn't know it had become a thing that people noticed.) The answer to that question makes me sound like a snob, but it is honest: I "don't date" because I haven't been asked out by anyone who is worth dating. I'm very decisive so I know a lot about what I'm looking for. Since working at Fidelity I've been asked out a few times, but I'm just not interested. It's nothing against the individuals, it's just that they don't know anything about me, but I know enough about them. You might be thinking: Brittany, you're being too hard on these people. You should at least go out with them once, dating is meant to be for getting to know each other. I get that, and previously I might have argued that every man deserves a first date. A girl I know actually told me that I'm never going to get married or date or be happy if I don't lower my standards. But I'm not going to waste my time or his when I know it would never work out. I want someone to know me before dating me. I'm a handful and I want someone to at least have a glimpse into what they're getting themselves into before asking me out.

I think very highly of myself and lowering my standards is just not an option. I don't need someone to be perfect, I don't need someone who has a certain hair color or job or 5 year plan or anything. I just need someone who is faithful to the Lord and open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And someone who is willing to go out on a limb to pursue me the way that my heart desires to be pursued. I'm worth it!

St. Joseph, pray for us. Little Flower, pray for us.

25 September 2014

My Broken Heart

Today I found out that we are going to have to put my dog down soon and my heart is just hurting so bad. She's only 7 years old but she's got a slipped disc in her spine and all of the cartilage in her hips has deteriorated. My mom doesn't want to see her in pain, and the surgery (that would attempt to fix her) is just really expensive. And she's a dog, so we have to be realistic and reasonable.

Part of the reason why I'm so upset about the whole situation is because she's so young. Part of the reason is because she and my mom just love each other so much. In a less emotional state I might tell you that dogs can't love because they don't have souls and they only act based on instinct. But today I will argue with you that they can and they do love.

I brought Bella home when she was just a baby puppy. She cried the whole first night because I tried to keep her in a crate. I couldn't handle the crying so I let her sleep in my bed and in the middle of the night if she needed to go outside she would wake me up with her little wet nose. It was the summer before my senior year of high school. The reason I got her was because I knew that while I was away at college, my other dog Angel would probably die, and I didn't want my mom to be alone. My mom was PISSED, and my Angel wasn't too happy either. Eventually we all kinda got used to having her around and Angel taught her how to be a good dog.

Angel made it all the way until the last month of my senior year of college.  I came home for Thanksgiving and although she was old and started to go blind and was in pain, she put on a show for me and acted like the dog she'd always been. I knew I'd be back in a few weeks so when I said goodbye to her, I did so in a rush because she was fine and I thought for sure she'd make it so that we could have one last Christmas together. When I left she stopped eating and she died a few days later.

Thankfully, my mom had Bella to keep her mind preoccupied. Losing Angel was hard, but Bella's rambunctiousness and demand for tennis balls kept my mom busy. Now when Bella goes my mom will come home to an empty house. She thinks it will be fine but it's so hard for me as her only daughter to think of her alone all the time. Especially now when I feel alone so much, even though I'm surrounded by people all the time.

On top of all that, me being so emotional about this is making me realize how little emotion I put into my life. Nothing really makes me happy, and usually nothing really makes me sad. I'm on autopilot, and that scares the shit out of me.

Time is so cruel. It is the only thing that God has made that we haven't managed to screw up somehow, but it does terrible things to us. Young couples grow old and become separated by death or disease; little babies become raging teenagers. But it's all for a reason, and it all works for our good, even though we can't see it or feel it. The passing of time reminds us of the goodness in being still in the arms of the Lord outside of time. But while we're here, when we can only see the short term, let me tell you, it really sucks.

Jesus, please let Belly and Angel into Heaven with us.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

24 September 2014

Choosing Jesus

Today I was reading in the Catechism a paragraph which talked about how we're made to live in community. Societies are built for the good of man, and it is not only his privilege but also his duty to participate.

Prior to reading that, I'd been praying about how sometimes I feel alone. I have absolutely zero accountability. No one knows if I go to Mass, if I pray, if I live my life according to the Gospel. The thought is both freeing and terrifying. The freedom comes in my freedom to choose. It is in the times when love wins and I choose Jesus that I am closest to Him. Later I read in the Catechism that governments should look to the way God governs us (by giving us that freedom to choose) and govern accordingly.

The hard part is this: No one knows what I'm doing at any given moment of the day. Sure, my colleagues will wonder where I am if I don't show up. My roommate might question where I was if I come home in the middle of the night. My mom would call if she hadn't heard from me in a few days. But I'm not a part of a team or a group or a family that would ever know if I'd blown off my morals altogether. One of the best parts about living in a small town (Aubs) is that if you're usually a daily Mass goer, and you go a few days without making it, someone will generally inquire about where you've been. Isn't that what community is all about? It's sad that parishes are so big now (pray for vocations!) that people can come and go without ever being noticed. I've been going to St. Ann's off and on for over six months now, including going to their young adult praise and worship night, and I've never met a single parishioner. Sure, some of that is my fault. I was, in fact, a professional evangelist... you'd think I could shake a few hands. But it's not that easy when you're alone. Even someone who is as outgoing as I am needs a home base to come back to: a team, a group of some sort, a family.

I think the Lord is more delighted when I go visit Him now than He was when it was in my job description. Of course back then I went because I wanted to, not only because I "had" to, but it certainly was a lot easier to wake up knowing I had a scheduled hour of silence with Him before I had to talk to anyone else. And that if I didn't get out of bed I had some teammates who would ask about why I wasn't there. And if I didn't come home in time for night prayer with my roommates, my chai would get cold and they would wait to start until I was there. Life in general and especially life with Jesus was much easier then.

Even though I don't make it to the Church every day, and sometimes I might go from Sunday to Sunday without a sacrament, I hope that the sacrifice of the time it takes and also the inconvenience of random and infrequent Mass times when I can make it will be a pleasing offer to the Lord. What is done in the dark (or in my case, in a crowded room full of strangers who don't know me) will be made known in the light before God.

St. Padre Pio, pray for us.

15 September 2014

My Best Friends' Weddings

In the past few years I've been to roughly ten weddings. Exactly zero were in the state in which I live.

I've used a lot of (precious) vacation time and spent quite a bit of money traveling, buying gifts, etc.

So why?

A lot of my colleagues say things like "man, you go to a lot of weddings" or "wouldn't you rather spend your vacation time on an actual vacation" or "aren't all of your friends married yet?"

My answers? Yes, no, and not quite!

My friends' weddings are different. My friends know what they are getting themselves into. They know that love is not a feeling, it is an objective decision to choose the good of their spouse day in and day out until death.

The most amazing thing about my friends' weddings is that they have waited patiently (some, not so patiently) to make sure that the sexual union stays where it belongs: inside marriage. That is HUGE! It's countercultural and it goes against everything that the world tells them. I am so proud and thankful and in awe of their commitment and sacrifice.

A wedding is the beginning of a lot of things: a Vocation, an eternal life dependent on another person, the merging of two emotional, physical, financial, spiritual, etc. lives. But it is also the end: the end of a wait for all of those things, and the end of the wait for the fulfillment of the desires of two yearning hearts.

Two people come together freely and without reservation to pledge themselves to one another.

And that is something to be celebrated.

Side note: If you're one half of any of the ten marriages I've been to recently, don't think I won't expect you to return the favor when (if?) the time comes for me to tie the knot.... even if you have to drag your ass to Texas... or anywhere else. ;)

St. Joseph, pray for us!