29 October 2014

The Project You've All Been Waiting For


I've mentioned this before but I'm pretty much talking to myself here anyways so I'm going to say it again: I am very good at thinking up what I want... but sometimes, what I want either a) doesn't exist or b) is out of my price range. So that leads to me (usually) poorly executing on some project that doesn't turn out how I wanted.

This is NOT that story! 

A few weeks months ago (July ish...) I had an idea. I knew I wanted horizontally striped curtains but I couldn't find any I liked. Then I had a bright idea to use a drop cloth canvas (Walmart, $9) to make them! I bought the drop cloth and promptly forgot about my idea and so left my poor window naked. Two weeks ago or so I finally started the project. 

First I tried to tape straight lines. This was no small task. 

Then came the painting. Canvas is absurdly absorbant... it took almost two quarts of paint to get these stripes dark enough. (A lot also ended up on the driveway.... go figure... it's porous. #sorrymom).

Then there was the third monumental task of hanging them up. I had two curtain rods which I thought could combine to form one big one for my big window... apparently I was wrong. But I used duct tape and you can't even tell. You may call it trashy, I just call it resourceful. Besides, you can't even tell. 

I'm so proud of myself because they actually turned out just how I pictured them. Another cool thing is that if I ever decide to hang these in my living room, all I have to do is paint the light blue stripe an olive-y green color and they'll still go! 

Canvas Drop Cloth, $9
Two Quarts of Paint, $20
Curtain Rings, $14
Having the curtains you pictured in your mind, priceless!

You may be thinking, "Brittany, your room looks just like your blog layout." Yes, that's because I like blue and I like my blog layout so yes. It wasn't planned but that is how it is.

You also may be thinking, "What are those red things hanging on the wall." Yes, they are the pieces of paper that come in the frames. My next project is my saint wall. I've already got a few started (thanks KG, and my teammate from Auburn, Michael!). Soon those frames will be filled with the likes of St. Peter, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Therese, and St. Faustina. #boom

St. Jude, patron of lost causes, pray for us.

27 October 2014

Anti-social Media

So, a colleague of mine "borrowed" my phone in the first week of October and set up a hotspot so he could back up his phone on the cloud and used all my data for the month.

Annoying, yes. But also a blessing in disguise.

I had no access to the internet unless I was at home. (Of course I have internet at work, but only for finance-y things.) I also couldn't receive some text messages if they were sent from an iPhone until I was on my wi-fi.

Interestingly enough, I also have had my best month yet in my new job. By October 15th I was already almost at 30% of my quarterly goal. My boss basically pulled me aside and told me that if I keep performing like this for the next five months (until the end of Q1), he will help me find whatever job I want next. (This is VERY good news for my plans to move to Denver.)

Since I'm back in full on list-making mode, I have realized that there are still a lot of things I want to get accomplished in my day to day life. Some of them are things that will help me get to various things on my 30 Before 30 list, some of them are just things I've been needing to do for a while but haven't gotten around to.

Also, we are now inside the six month mark to the CFP, so studying for that is going to have to ramp up big time starting in about two weeks. It's good timing though. I'm really getting into the swing of things in my new job and I don't feel the need to work quite as much overtime. Also, as we get towards the holidays, business slows down considerably. Even so, I have a feeling I may have to take a few month hiatus from social media. (Good thing I don't consider my little bloglette to be social media... even though I suppose it is.)

Back to work though, has anyone noticed how lazy most Americans are? Of course I'm including myself but it's really astounding when you stop to think about it. Before you can obtain any given job, you're put through an interview or series of interviews to make sure you're a good candidate for the job and that the company is a good fit for you. From what I've seen there are two main components (maybe three) to how successful you will be. The first is natural ability. Some people are naturally more gifted in certain areas than others. The second is just good old hard work. It's amazing the things you can do, even if you lack natural skill, if you just work at something hard enough put in even an ounce of effort more than the bare minimum. (The third is having a good attitude, I think.)

I've worked at my company for 20 months. I've been promoted three times. The people on my team (which is the most tenured team in the department) out-tenure (is that a word?) me by an average of 4-5 years. (Not at the company... IN THE DEPARTMENT.) I constantly get asked what I'm doing that is making me so much better than they are or at least than they were when they first started. I just want to be honest and say look, I just work when I'm at work, that's the bottom line. No one in college ever tells you that if you just work while you're at work once you're in the real world, you're going to go far. Especially if you do it with a smile on your face. I do have a natural knack for what I'm doing and I'm thankful for that. But the natural ability doesn't mean that I have more conversations with my clients and win more business. Hard work gives me more opportunities to "swing the bat" and the more times you swing, the more you hit. End of story.

Thank you Jesus for a job that I'm good at and that gives me opportunities to eventually do what I love.

22 October 2014

To the One Who is Given Much

To my sweet, loving, holy, Saint Pope John Paul II, happy feast day. I love you.

To all the rest of you:

When I asked for some advice about how to encounter the spiritual procrastinator, I think this is what you were all going to tell me:

(Taken from today's Gospel, from St. Luke)

That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

How perfectly fitting. Thanks for your wise words.

Father was preaching about how no one in today's world could feign ignorance before God. For Catholics who are unaware of the teachings of our faith, there is no excuse. He said that the person responsible for forming your conscience and the person responsible for teaching you the faith is you. The Church supplies (ecclesia supplet) and supplements, but does not supplant one's own responsibilities.

How can God be perfectly merciful and perfectly just at the same time?! My mind cannot understand this side of Heaven, but I hope to know eventually. I love the mercies of God, but the ENTJ in me loves the God of fire and brimstone too. All things to all people!

Come Holy Spirit!

20 October 2014

Righteous Anger

Today I was reading in the Catechism about how the laws of God (in this case, it was referring to the Natural Law or Natural Order) are immutable and eternal. Thanks be to God for that!

I was thinking over a few recent events:

The mayor of Houston is requiring all pastors and priests to submit their sermons and homilies to someone she appointed to make sure that no one is speaking out against homosexuality.

A man was fined $150,000 for discrimination for refusing to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple.

Wendy Davis is running for Governor of Texas and, while I don't think she'll win, would probably build a Planned Parenthood on every corner if she does win.

The threat of an ebola epidemic causes chaos, my diocese stops serving the Precious Blood at Mass and requires the faithful to receive the Lord in their hands.

Hillsong United, a popular Christian band, is coming out with a movie. In the preview a line says "they have changed the world, but the world hasn't changed them." As irony would have it, all this is after they recently announced that they are not standing behind the Biblical definition of Marriage any longer.

Someone I know told me that if they found out they were going to die soon, they'd start going to church. I asked if they thought it would be too late to which they responded, "no, that's the best part about my religion... it's never too late. Besides, I don't really do anything bad... except... (list of all the things this person thinks they do that are "bad".) It's fine though. I can do what I want now and don't have to follow any rules and then later I'll just start going to church and it'll be all good." (Someone please help me think of an appropriate response to this line of thinking, I encounter it all the time.)

God's mercy is ever ancient, ever new.

How much do you have to love someone to love their eternal soul more than you love their present happiness? More than their desires? More than their physical urges, their need to feel supported, their desire for acceptance?

I think the answer is a whole hell of a lot.

The Church is the only place on earth where I am loved even though I am a sinner, not because of it. That is an important distinction. Society loves the sinner, this is true. But society loves the sinner because the sinner makes it feel better about its own sinfulness. The Church loves the sinner because when the sin is washed away, She sees Jesus.

People have always had disordered desires. I can't help but wonder why now? Why now do we choose this issue to live and die by? What is going on in the world that we are so freaking concerned about two men or two women becoming legally bound to one another? How can we not see that homosexual acts are explicitly contrary to natural law? Why are we so blind?

If natural law is written on the heart of every man, what are we doing to erase it?

I can't help but think of Sodom and Gomorrah. If NOTHING else, why aren't we scared that God will do something like this to our entire country? Has the Holy Spirit withheld the seventh of His gifts which is Fear of the Lord? Do we think that the God of the New Testament is just a big softie?

On another note, I saw the movie "A Good Lie" this weekend. It was phenomenal, I highly recommend it. It really showed me that I have more important things to worry about.

I also realized in Mass that I used to be so much better at discernment. Even little things like when some line of thinking which seemed harmless was contrary to the teachings of the Church, or when certain things were appropriate in certain situations. I think my conscience is slightly dulled. Pray for me!

Saint Pope John Paul II, pray for us!

06 October 2014

You Could Do A Lot Worse

Last week my roommate was gone for 8 days. It.was.awesome.

The best part about it was that on the day she left, I cleaned the entire apartment and it stayed that way for over a week. #success

I am an extrovert through and through. I don't love coming home to an empty house. I think I've written this here before but sometimes in college if I got home and no one was there I would immediately leave and go find someone to hang out with.

This past week alllllllllmost makes me want to live alone when I move to Denver. Almost.

Within 3 days of her getting back, both sides of the sink and two counters were full of dirty dishes, the pantry and laundry rooms were in utter disarray, and the fridge was filled yet again with random boxes of leftovers and half full jars of who knows what.

The problem with a messy kitchen is that I can't won't cook in it. The thought of cooking in a messy kitchen stresses me out and I don't care enough to spend an hour to clean up her mess so that I can cook dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast. (I've tried to just clean up after her and not say anything but I get resentful and angry because she doesn't notice or care and it just gets messy again.)

Tonight when I got home she was making something and after she finished I initiated some cleaning by putting some of the clean dishes away. She followed suit and we cleaned the kitchen together. It was good!
Right as we were about to finish up she put this flimsy plastic cutting board behind the faucet of the sink against the back splash. I grabbed it and went to put it away and she said it was fine where it was. I  said that it was in the way and looked bad there so I put it away in the cabinet where it belongs. She came back with a snarky comment (this is not unusual for her) about how I needed everything to look like a hotel. I mentioned that it didn't need to look like a hotel, I just wanted everything to be in its place. To which she responded, "Yep, which is why I will never live with anyone again."

So here's my passive aggressive note to my passive aggressive roommate who doesn't read this blog:

You could do a lot worse.

To the patron saint of me becoming holy enough to refrain from posting posts like this in the future, pray for me.... and I'll pray for you... because you've got a lot of work to do.

05 October 2014

Thirty Before Thirty

Here is the official list. I tried to make it so that some of the things can be accomplished sooner rather than later. I've already deleted some things and added different ones so I reserve the right to edit the list, for good reason.

The list also has to be broken down into pre-student loan payoff and post due to some of these things being pretty spendy. We'll see!

In no particular order:

Take a rail trip of Europe
Pay off student loans
*Run a 10k
Make a quilt/learn to sew
Learn to golf
*Get my CFP
Grow an herb/vegetable garden
Buy a house
Go skydiving
See a show on Broadway/NYC in the fall or early winter
Go on a mission trip to Africa
Fall in Love
Apply to be on Big Brother (I'm obsessed... no shame)
*Learn to drive a stick shift
Read 10 "classic" novels
Take an art class
See the Northern Lights
*Develop a skin care regimen/work out routine
Save $1000 and blow it in one day shopping
Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
Have a relaxing day at the spa with facials and mud baths
Do something for someone who can't repay me
*Read the whole Bible/Catechism (100 pages left in the CCC!)
Ski a black diamond
Build something useful
Swim in a waterfall
*Write something everyday for a month
Do something spontaneous and life changing
Start riding again
Discern my vocation

There's mine, what is on yours? I'll post every year around my birthday with updates of what I've done. I'm going to try to do 5-6 per year. The ones with stars are the ones I want to do while I'm 25.

St. Peter, pray for me.