02 December 2017

A Year with Luke

This year in prayer I have been praying with the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles.

My spiritual director recommended I pray lectio divina with Luke's Gospel at the beginning of the year. I told him about my tendency to read scripture and not pray with it, as well as my anxiety about all the ways I could be praying but was failing. I think it was his way of saying, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things, but there is only need of one thing." 

Anyways, what a year it's been. 

I spent A LOT of time on the first few chapters- Elizabeth stands out to me as the most relatable woman in all of the New Testament. I've loved her exclamation to Mary for many years-- "Blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled." (To which Maria responded with the Magnificat!) But this year I prayed with how she herself was receptive to Our Lord. She was old and barren and longed for a baby for years and years, and when she conceived, she said "So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before men." At that moment, she realized that time has and always will be in God's hands. He had a plan for her, and even though it looked crazy or shameful/disgraceful to the world, for her, it was perfect. And John, the forerunner of the Lord, came into being, in time, by her cooperation with God's will. 

In a discipleship group that I lead, we had a discussion last week about Natural Family Planning. I can't imagine it because I have no experience of marriage, but some of the women in that group seem to be rethinking what it means to have God in control of their fertility. Several women were unaware that there ought to be a grave reason to postpone pregnancy (come on, NFP instructors!). The result: they have essentially used NFP as "Catholic Birth Control" for years... some over a decade. The idea of having a baby now, when their children are in high school, is terrifying. One woman in the group mentioned that, a few years ago, she and her husband realized that they might be using NFP in a way that was gravely sinful, and decided to be more intentional about their discernment. Now their teenagers have a 3 year old brother, and a baby saint in Heaven to pray for their family. She said that when they found out they were pregnant this past summer, she was scared. She thought about their retirement savings, their kids who would be in college soon, etc., but a few days after the shock wore off, she was so excited. When they lost the baby, she would have given anything to still be pregnant. I AM IN AWE of her witness and openness to life, and her willingness to give up control of how she thinks her life should go. 

One of my friends who has 5 children said that giving God control of her fertility has been one of the hardest parts of the Christian life for her. 

These women amaze me in the same way that Saint Elizabeth amazes me. Complete trust in God's providence, his timing, and his will. 

Later on in the year, I spent time in the parables, trying to glean some wisdom- none of which is coming to mind at the moment. 

A few other highlights:
I love the way Jesus loves 3 people in particular: Peter, John the Beloved, and Dismas, the Good Thief. I think I could spend the rest of my life praying about this and never be finished. 

One of my favorite Bible verses is in Luke 19. Jesus is coming into Jerusalem and the people are laying out cloaks for his ass to walk on and saying "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord." The pharisees aren't loving it and tell Jesus to rebuke his disciples. Jesus says "If they keep silent, the rocks will cry out."

I finished Luke at the end of October and I'm now in Acts 4(ish.... I keep going back because I haven't gotten everything I need from Luke 3 yet, I think.) I LOVE how bold Peter is in proclaiming the Gospel. "How can we but speak of what we have seen and heard?" Basically Peter is thinking, if I don't proclaim Jesus, these rocks are going to do it for me! 

What have you been praying with this year? 

St. Elizabeth, pray for us! 


16 October 2017

Well, I'm 28

I have been for over a month.

My birthday was uneventful, which is about a million times better than last year, so I'll take it.

And seeing as my faithful reader/bestie Allie has asked for it, and I know all of you lurkers are chomping at the bit for it as well, I'm going to give you a #30b430 update.

Digging deep (to 2014) for the list (although you know I have it in about 3 other places where lists are kept in my life), crossed off with explanations in parentheses.

Take a rail trip of Europe
(Decided not to go the rail route re: strikes, but visited France, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Italy, and Switzerland in August of 2016)

Pay off student loans 
(no explanation necessary, so damn proud of myself for this one... all in spent $130,000 on college)

Run a 10k

Make a quilt/learn to sew
(I'm working on this one... I should be finished soon... quilting is fun and challenging!)

Learn to golf
(took lessons in summer of 2016)

Get my CFP
(got my CLU as well, as of October 1 of this year)

Grow an herb/vegetable garden
(so fun to make herb butter and cook with my fresh herbs!)

Buy a house

Go skydiving

See a show on Broadway/NYC in the fall or early winter
(Laura and I saw Anastasia on Broadway a few weeks ago and it was amazing)

Go on a mission trip to Africa

Fall in Love

Apply to be on Big Brother

Learn to drive a stick shift
(Susan gave me a ~1 hour lesson and then I learned the hard way in Paris when our rental car was a stick.. and we had no GPS... thank you KG for reading the signs to me and not murdering me <3)

Read 10 "classic" novels
(Instead of 10 novels, I made an American Literature syllabus that I've been working through... I'm in the mid 19th century right now, about half way through Moby Dick)

Take an art class
(took a watercolor class at the Dallas Creative Art Center on St. Therese's Feast Day this year!)

See the Northern Lights

Develop a skin care regimen/work out routine
(this one is kinda self explanatory... just because it's "developed" doesn't mean it happens that regularly,  as witnessed by the mascara on my pillowcase.)

Save $1000 and blow it in one day shopping

Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
(there's a whole post about this trip in May or June of 16)

Have a relaxing day at the spa with facials and mud baths
(unfortunately mud baths were not involved, but Allie and I got facials and massages at an amazing spa and I want to go back every single day)

Do something for someone who can't repay me

Read the whole Bible/Catechism
(finished this one a few years ago... I'm on my second round through the CCC right now... sooo good!)

Ski a black diamond

Build something useful
(see last post)

Swim in a waterfall
(sooooo... at Turner Falls they didn't let us swim directly under the falls because of rocks, and at Hamilton Pool Preserve, it was more of a trickle than a waterfall BUT I went to Niagara Falls and took the boat tour into the mist and so between these three waterfall events of the last six months, I'm checking this off... and it's my list so I get to do that.)

Write something everyday for a month
(anyone remember the #scratchpaperpoet project?)

Do something spontaneous and life changing

Start riding again

Discern my vocation


So there you have it. Sixteen down, fourteen to go. And less than two years to do it, so I better get to work!

Elisabeth and Felix, pray for us!

22 August 2017

Build Something Useful

Hellooooooo blog!

One of the things on my #30b430 list is to build something useful. Initially I wanted it to be vague to keep my options open. Over the last year or so, I've really been thinking that I'd like to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to help build a house (very useful for someone who needs a home.)

I kept checking the volunteer schedule and things just weren't working out, mostly because it seems like they have more help than they need! (Great problem to have!)

I still want to volunteer with them, and I hope I will get the chance soon, but in the mean time, it was back to the literal drawing board to figure out how to fulfill this bucket list item.


Soooooooo...... I want to show you what I was up to this weekend:










Now, I don't know how useful a headboard actually is. BUT I did build this for $90 and it would have cost at least $200 if I'd bought it from a store, and saving money is v v useful if you ask me.

I feel super accomplished, and I think it looks great. And of course now I want to build a lot more things. (Can anyone say farmhouse table?) Hopefully I marry someone with some tools and some skills.

Anyways, what do you think? Is this a cop out? Do you think it's useful? What would you have done?

St. Anne, pray for us!
Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us! 

09 August 2017

Avoiding Studying

I'm procrastinating as usual when I have something "school" related that I should be doing.

Next Wednesday, I take my final exam to become a Chartered Life Underwriter. The course is basically insurance for business owners and it is so freaking boring I can barely keep my eyes open when I read it. I've read 6 out of 13 chapters and I'm pretty sure I'm just going to do the study guides and wing it. Fingers crossed that it works... I'm not even sure what score I need to pass.

This past week I went to Raleigh for my first and best boss (Katie O)'s wedding. It was beautiful, and so great to be with some favorites.

In the past 20 months, every single one of my teammates from Auburn has gotten married, one has also had a baby, and another has a baby on the way. Life is crazy.

I've been spending a lot of my time developing curriculum and planning for the upcoming school year. I am officially the new Coordinator of Discipleship Group Ministry at my Parish and I want to do it right. I am working specifically with the core team of adult women who are discipling our high school women. As of now, we have one discipleship group of women per grade from 8th to 12th, each led by two adults. I am trying to model for the leaders what their weekly/biweekly discipleship groups ought to look like, and I feel both completely inadequate and in awe that God would want to use me in this way.

The first place I started was with goals/objectives. By the time our teens leave discipleship to go off to college, I want them to be able to:
-Preach the Kerygma
-Give a testimony
-Pray with Scripture
-Articulate why it's important to attend Mass on Sunday
-Discuss the path of discipleship (encounter, grow, serve/win, build, send)
-Understand the habits of a healthy Christian community (fellowship, discipleship, worship, ministry, mission)
-Discern appropriately (especially when it comes to Vocations)
-Invest in their peers in a strategic/intentional way

Obviously, this list does not include things like learning apologetics, Theology of the Body, Salvation History, etc., but these things happen in a broader context in our parish, so there are opportunities for them to get that knowledge-- my main focus is on turning the vision outward and making world changers.

What do you think? What would you add or subtract?

Saint Edith Stein, pray for us!

12 June 2017

Getting Stuff Done

Happy Monday!!!

This weekend I checked TWO things off of my #30b430 list!


Allie and Michael came in town for a wedding, so we booked it up to Oklahoma to swim in a waterfall! We met Joel and Mary Jo and went to Turner Falls. We had a picnic and explored the area, swimming in the spring fed creek downstream from the waterfall. It was great!


Then this morning Allie and I had a spa day. We got facials and massages and WHY ON EARTH have I waited 27 years to get a massage?! This place had the slippers and the robes and the mimosas and the dimmed lights and it was the height of relaxation. I cannot wait to go back. 


On Saturday morning I made Huevos Rancheros... my signature breakfast for my friends of the gluten intolerant variety, haha. They are pretty.



Check out the yield from my garden!!
I'm going to make some homemade pesto this week!


I hope you had a great weekend!

Elisabeth and Felix, pray for us!





31 May 2017

Thankful

I love the Feast of the Visitation.

I have so often, in tears of joy and consolation, echoed to Jesus the words of Elizabeth, "how could it be that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?"

And I've prayed many times for the grace to be like Mary when Elizabeth tells her, "Blessed is she, who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled."
(I'm not there yet. (Not even close.))

Today was an even better Visitation that usual because my sweet friends Aaron and Lauren had their son baptized.
Welcome to the Family of God, the Church, Conrad Joseph!! You are SO LOVED!

Our crew at church has two little girls due this summer and two baby boys due this fall, so this is the first of many for this year, praise be to God!!!

Both of our baby boys due in the Fall will be welcomed by their beautiful big sisters and parents who I sat behind in Mass today. The girls were so cute during Mass, telling each other when to be quiet and reading through the hymnals. It was hysterical.

Week after week, I know all of my sweet friends are distracted during Mass by their squirmy little ones, but I can't help but be SO thankful that God has blessed our community with the gifts of their children, and the sacrifices they make to raise them in the Faith.


Jesus, help us to be the men and women who believe that the words you've spoken to us would be fulfilled!

Maria, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us!
Saint Elizabeth, pray for us!

23 May 2017

Boring

My blog is boring.

And I don't have anything to say.

So here's a song to listen to:


Come today, there's no reason to wait!

Maria, pray for us!

14 May 2017

Christ Is Risen!

Happy Easter! Resurrexit sicut dixit!!

I was a pretty big failure during Lent as usual, just proving even further that I need Jesus, especially in the little things.

To end a crappy Lent, I was blessed with an AMAZING Easter in Colorado with my sweets, Allie and Michael and KG. Allie is my home making inspiration, check out some of these meals we had:






They are just the best! 


Also, I finally finished my herb garden! (Thanks for the tips, Ross!)

Here are a few pics of the process:







I found this wire rack in my mom's garage! 


Wouldn't be complete without the garden markers.


The finished product!

So far, I've made rosemary focaccia and garlic chive butter with my herbs, which turned out excellent! I think next up will be homemade pesto. 

I've been baking a ton this Spring, it's just so fun! I made homemade pretzels and a honey challah bread with cinnamon sugar butter.




St. Isidore, pray for us!

Saints Francisco and Jacinta, pray for us!

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!