29 September 2015

Back on the Grid

After a few months of being internetless, I'm back folks.

It's kinda bittersweet to tell the truth. I had four channels and no internet except on my phone for... almost six months? I used a lot of phone data during that time, but for the most part, I was pretty productive.

In that time I completed my month long journey to becoming a #scratchpaperpoet. I spent a lot of time on the phone with friends. I even picked up cross stitching again. I'm officially into grandma hobbies and proud of it.

God has been taking me on a crazy ride lately. I feel like he's teaching me how to be pursued, which is something I'm not that familiar with. Over the past few years since I moved home after FOCUS, I've had ups and downs with prayer, but in 3 years I haven't had a regular prayer schedule or a desire to go to Mass. I think I just kept looking for someone to invest in me, or a group of friends to fill me up. I didn't realize that the first place to start if I wanted to be filled was to empty myself. Now I'm leading two small groups, 8th grade girls on Wednesday and 9th grade girls on Sunday. I knew I'd need to be holy if I was going to lead them, so starting this summer, I've been pretty regularly attending Wednesday Mass and praying for a while before Mass when I can. Slowly, my heart has been more and more opened to Jesus and He has been steadfast. He's probably been doing the same things all along I just never took the time to notice. It's been such a sweet period of consolation for me. Of course I'm still distracted in prayer and during Mass sometimes, but when I get to the church and see Jesus my heart just sighs and I feel like everything is right. I've also had a much more intense desire to know the Holy Spirit and see how he works in my life than I ever have before. Plus, I'm reading Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium, which is amazing, I feel like he's speaking directly to me, and his heart for the poor is rubbing off on me. How can I call myself a real Christian if I don't love Jesus in the poor in my backyard?

In case I'm ever reading this blog when I'm stuck in the doldrums of desolation and I can't feel Jesus:
God is real. He makes Himself known to you in the deepest desires of your heart. Even if you can't feel Him or don't trust that He has a good plan for you, keep being faithful to the Sacraments, especially the Mass and Reconciliation. He has gone to the ends of the earth with your name on His lips and He holds you into existence in every moment. He is perfectly just and perfectly merciful. He loves you immensely even though you are a terrible sinner. He knows you better than you know yourself, and He loves you and wants to hold you close to Him. He will do anything to direct your gaze towards Himself. Keep praying, even when it's difficult. Suffering can be redemptive if you offer it to the One who suffered for your soul.

In your charity, please pray for my girls! They have to put up with me asking them questions all school year long to try to get them to self realize that they need Jesus!

Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, pray for us.

22 September 2015

The Sinful Woman

A dark storm, she cries. She wets Jesus’ feet with her tears. She “rains,” it reads; in the original Greek Brecho. She rains, she’s this brecho that breaks. 

She’s this full rain, falling. 

She’s this heart-water let loose. 

Him so pure and his feet so dirty. Her so filthy and Him  her only purity.

Will anyone was his feet with their love?

And that woman, she has no pitcher but she has passion—the kind no Pharisee could ever understand, and she has no water but she has her heart.

She pours it out. She pours it out

And with no towel but tresses, no hand cloth but her hair, she does the unthinkable, the scorned and the disgraced.

When all Jewish women were required to keep their hair done up, lest they be seen as shameful and loose, she lets her locks down.

Rabbis, men of the law, said that if a woman loosed her hair in public, let her hair flow mingled down, it was grounds for divorce. Grounds to be shamed and sent away.

But there is a love far greater than the law. 

That Luke woman, she lets her hair loose, lets her love loose, and she looks loose and there are always Michals who will scorn David’s dancing before the ark.

But Jesus? He lets her kiss Him.

It seems shocking, appalling, too intimate, and this kataphileo, these kisses, this is the same word of the father kissing the prodigal son, a symbolic picture of God embracing, the father falling on the neck of his child and kissing, and doesn’t the whole realm of earth need to be seized with a power of a great affection, “for we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” (Eph. 5:30)

Ann Voskamp

06 September 2015

Travels, Crafts, and More!

Happy Football Season, little bloggles. War Eagle! I'm missing Auburn something fierce right now... and it's still 3 more months until my next trip. BUT I'm going to see my Tigers play in November here in Big Tex.

For some reason I woke up yesterday expecting it to be cool outside. I even got up and made some fudge! I was legitimately confused when I walked outside and it was 99*. Better luck next time.

Like you know, I've done a bit more traveling than is usual for me over the last 3 weeks. I had plans to stop in Kansas City on my way to Illinois for Kelly's wedding but God had better plans, so I ended up in St. Louis. I'd never been to the Cathedral there and I had to hold back tears for the first 20 minutes I was in there. It is so beautiful.

Pictures can't even do it justice.

Then the next week I was in Salt Lake, here are a couple pics from that trip. Highlight: we got to go to Park City, where the Olympics were held. Even though there wasn't any snow on the ground, it was so awesome to feel that cool, crisp air.

Salt flats and the Great Salt Lake from the plane
The Capital of Utah, view from our office in SLC

Since I got back I've been crafting up a storm. Partly because I'm bored, partly because I'm decorating my new cubicle at work. (Maybe buying a Keurig for your cubicle is overboard, but I don't care.) I'm even going back to my grandma roots with the cross stitching.
This was before I finished, it now has a quote from "America the Beautiful" written in the white stripes.
This is hanging on twine now in my office. 
This is a joke, of course. Probably only funny to a financial planner. I'm going to frame it for my desk.

Also, after getting back from SLC, I went on a retreat with the Core Team from my Parish. I gave a talk on discipleship, and it was so fun. I love talking about Jesus. High school students are a tough crowd, I felt myself concerned about whether they liked me, which is a rare sentiment for me. It's going to be an interesting year. I finished the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible Timeline, which I'm excited about. Now to start all over again! Also, I picked up a copy of Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium, so I'm pumped to start reading that as well.

Also, I'm starting another Certification. Call me a glutton for punishment. After the CFP, the CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) only requires 3 more classes, and no comprehensive final exam.... So I figure that I may as well while I'm still in "study mode."

For some really interesting thoughts on Modesty, check out this post. My friend Ross puts into words things I've been thinking about over the past week especially. I love how he comments that immodesty's goals are more realistically accomplished by modesty. It's so true. Similarly related: I have some friends who date a lot, and it seems like they meet losers after losers. That's what you get when you meet guys on Tinder... what kind of men do you expect to meet from a website that is based solely off of a superficial swipe of the finger? It's a paradox. Women want attention, so they dress immodestly to get it, but the attention they get is cheapened by the way they got it. One woman I know commented, "I can't respect someone who would date me based only on this." What's the point?!!

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

Bl. Mother Teresa, pray for us.