Puzzle pieces

Life seems like a puzzle; at times, the pieces fall into place so easily…sometimes they need a little adjusting…and sometimes the pieces just don’t seem to match anywhere. In the past few years, I have experienced the pieces not seeming to match anywhere, and no amount of adjusting made a difference. Right now I am amazed at how well things are falling into place.

Today I got the financial aid award letter from John Paul the Great Catholic University. I am very grateful for how much I am getting. Now I move into the next step of applying for loans – please pray that things go well and that I can find low interest rates.

Does anyone have any advice on searching for cell phone plans? I use the phone very, very little – but if I am going to be moving out, I will need something. And I am going to want to talk to my family sometime. Any suggestions on phone companies, deciding how many minutes, etc. would be greatly appreciated. 🙂 Something else for me to research…

This week has been busy! In a nutshell: Sunday I needed to get up for 7:30am Holy Mass, because I worked. When I got home, I talked with my family for awhile – it was fun! On Monday I worked, and then came home for a little while, packed quickly, and left for Schoenstatt. The high school girls camp started at 7pm , and I stayed through Tuesday night…Tuesday was a very long day, I got home about 11:15pm. Yesterday I went to the Mass and youth breakfast, worked, and then watched David all night – thankfully I was able to get a few things done. Today I worked, and cleaned the kitchen (I’m almost done :p ).

Despite the apparent business of the days, I have had many blessings and time for prayer. While out at Schoenstatt, I was able to spend more than three hours in the Shrine, and much of that was alone. Peaceful quiet to pray, reflect, sing, and just sit in the Presence of God…it was wonderful. I have also had many opportunities for good conversations with friends.

One of these days I will get around to posting more than just (boring) updates of my life…. I promise!

To-Day (from “My Prayer-Book”)
Lord, for tomorrow and its needs
I do not pray;
Keep me, my God, from stain of sin
Just for to-day.
Let me both diligently work
And duly pray;
Let me be kind in word and deed
Just for to-day.
Let me be slow to do my will,
Prompt to obey;
Help me to mortify my flesh
Just for to-day.
Let me no wrong or idle word,
Unthinking, say;
Set Thou a seal upon my lips,
Just for to-day.

Let me in season, Lord, be grave,
In season, gay;
Let me be faithful to Thy grace
Just for to-day.
And if to-day my tide of life
Should ebb away,
Give me Thy sacraments divine,
Sweet Lord, to-day.
In purgatory’s cleansing fires
Brief be my stay;
O bid me, if to-day I die,
Go home to-day.

So, for to-morrow and its needs,
I do not pray;
But keep me, guide me, love me, Lord.
Just for to-day.

Sputtering thoughts

The past week has contained a few surprises and changes of plans. To a normally not-so-spontanious girl, that can be very different. :p The results have been quite pleasant for the most part. 

Tuesday night I made the decision to go to get up on Wednesday morning for Holy Mass and breakfast afterwards with some of the young adults from our parish. There ended up being four of us…it was fun! I have not had a consistant opportunity to “hang out” with people my age, and so I am excited about the possibility for the summer. 🙂

Wednesday morning, I also sent in the financial aid application to JP Catholic. Finally. Hopefully they will get back to me very soon. Now the only college item requiring my immediate attention is the student agreement form. Thursday I took my car in to be looked at, it turns out that I need to take it to a transmission shop, and the tires needed to be replaced….thank goodness I have a Dad. A Dad that knows more about tires than 1) that they are made of rubber, and 2) that there are a bazillion different kinds. And a Dad that is kind enough to take my car to get the tires replaced while I am at work. 😀

Last night I went to a women’s discernment group with a girl from our church. At the group, there was Eucharistic Adoration, a tele-conference call with one of the Sisters of Life – it was enjoyable to hear her give her vocation story! -, and some discussion. The group was pretty good, but more than that I enjoyed the 45 minute drive to and from Madison – it gave us the opportunity to get to know each other a little better, and discovering some similarities is encouraging towards building a friendship.

Today the reality of being a Child of God struck me. Yes, I theoretically knew it to be so; but to actually be granted the grace to understand it as a reality is …well… striking. I read the quote: “Your child is first of all God’s child; when you look at him in his sweetest moments and are moved to tenderness, you are not alone; God is watching him with the intent, absorbed love of a Father. He is around and above and below the child; He is in his heart. He is the apple of God’s eye.” (Caryll Houselander) It is so strange how God chooses to raise the dignity of a person by just loving them. When they have been raised by God, who are we to pull them down? Take a few moments to just think of people you love (or even just acquaintences!) as being a Child of God. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

My bed is calling me. The clock is pushing my eyelids shut. And as I need to get up to get ready for Holy Mass in less than 6.5 hours, I think I had better listen to my bed…and so ends this post.

God bless and Mary keep you all!

Reflections in the garden

This morning I decided to weed the flower garden (if you can call it that) that we have between our driveways. It never gets kept up, and grass and weeds take over the majority of the time. I do not particularly like gardening, and I am not any good at it, either. I had to call my 10 year old brother over to tell me what were flowers, that needed to be left alone! My memories of gardening are: “Get 3 rows of peas weeded before 10am or you are not getting lunch!” (Done by 10am, because that is when it started getting very hot, and my parents did care about us enough to not want us to get dehydrated. 🙂 )And by rows of peas, I don’t mean measly rows. They seemed to be as long as eternity, at times. Ever since I was little, I have equated gardening with weeding.

It is a lovely day, probably the most conducive to gardening as I have ever seen. The temperature is pleasant, with a breeze; the sun is shining but not blazing hot; and the ground is damp from the rain last night. My time in the garden was spent not only pulling weeds – but singing, having a few conversations, making sure I knew where the kids were, and…thinking.

Our souls are a garden of grace. How often out of neglect we let them be taken over by weeds and grass! Sometimes the weeds go by unnoticed until they are larger; sometimes we just don’t take the time to pull them out. Once we do get around to noticing them, they have often grown roots that are difficult to eliminate. Some hurt more to pull out – like thistles and dandelions. Some come out easily, but with the roots tangled in the soil – like grass. Some appear to be flowers, but are really not. Weeds are always easier to pull out on damp soil; perhaps this is why we need not only the sun of joy, but the rain of suffering in our souls.

When ever I am down on my knees weeding,  I think I am actually getting a lot done. Just look at that pile grow! Then I stand up….and sigh. There is always so much more to go… This reminds me of my spiritual strivings – I think I am really getting somewhere…and then I get a glimpse of what my brokenness and how much further there is to go before I attain perfection.

So I turn to our heavenly Gardener: does He ever get tired of weeding? Tired of coaxing the small flowers of virtue to blossom forth? I do not think so – because He has in mind the vision of the beautiful garden we will become. He sees not only the dirt, weeds, and bugs; but He sees and loves the flowers that are hidden in the tall grass.

I know that our Blessed Mother helps in the garden of my soul, too. How happy it must make Jesus, when she can bring Him a bouquet from my heart! The little flowers that He loves are gathered to bring Him joy…what a happy thought. 😀

“Do thy part well; mind what thou art about; labor faithfully in My vineyard, I will be thy reward.” – Imitation of Christ, Bk. III, chap. 47

Invitation to trust

This past week has been one of emotional ups and downs … I do not think I have posted anything about going to college yet, except as a “special intention” – so I will try to explain a little.

Earlier this spring, I received the link to the website of a new school that started out in San Diego, CA: John Paul the Great Catholic University. I watched their video and it piqued my interest; my Mom immediately got excited and thought I would really like it there. I am often slow in getting started on things, particularly when they take effort that I am not used to…it took me a long time to decide to apply, longer to fill out the application, and even longer to complete the application with letters of recommendation. I finally sent in the final envelope last Monday (June 4th); on Friday evening (June 8th), I received a telephone call that I was accepted to the University! Since then, I have been excited about the opportunity as well as stressing myself out over financing. As a result of being stressed out (self imposed for not trusting God enough, I think…) the essays for a scholarship and financial aid have been more difficult to write. I finally have one done, hopefully the other will come together soon.

I think this is a great opportunity for me – in many ways, a dream come true. The fear part comes in primarily because of the cost. Any debt at all is unnerving to me, and the idea of taking on the amount of debt necessary to go to this school is sickening. But…I have been thinking a lot about it this past week, and it seems like God is using this to send me an invitation to greater trust in Him. One of my greatest fears is being dependant on others; I want to be the one to help, not the one that needs help. The arguments in my heart have been somewhat like this: “Trust!” “Don’t be ridiculous. You know you can’t afford it; do you want to be tied to debt for the rest of your life?” “Trust!” “You haven’t managed to save much at all for college yet, how are you going to pay it off if you fail to graduate?” “Trust!” ” *sigh* ” Rationally, it does not seem like that big of a dilemma, but emotionally it is a struggle.

College is the main reason that I have been trying to get more hours at work, and searching for a second job. The economy in this area is terrible – and sometimes it seems like anyone in the entire world must have more experience than I do in anything. This week I was anticipating actually getting 40 hours – but then I was sent home early on Thursday. It is so frustrating…

If I truely trusted God, I think it would have been easier to view being sent home early on Thursday as a blessing. I am so fickle … I am both thankful and disappointed. I was thankful for the break, because I miss being at home and with my siblings – and I spent the afternoon running in the water with them. We had a blast! 😀 I made their day, which makes me happy. 🙂

Last evening I opened up my Imitation of Christ, and the words jumped out at me: “All disquiet of heart and distraction of the senses arise from inordinate love and vain fear.” It is amazing how sometimes God speaks through a written word…sometimes He speaks through a conversation…sometimes He speaks through our heart…sometimes He just speaks through His Presence. God sends me so many “love notes” through Schoenstatt, my family, my friends, creation; I only wish to love Him in a fraction of that perfection, in the way He wishes.

“Whoever serves others selflessly is on the way to true royalty … “ – Fr. Joseph Kentenich

Pray for me, that I may be more ordered and God-pleasing in my love; that I may learn true selflessness; and that I can accept the great invitation to radically trust with joy.

Dreams and fears

Why is it that everything I do seems to have two views? One view is the dream, the ideal; the other is the fear, and (often overly) “practical”. I can personally tell which dominates at any given moment, and I can often feel them contend within me. It makes decisions quite difficult…I want to make decisions based on faith and reason, not only on emotions; but do not want to dismiss the emotions that God sends me. Please pray for me.

Today is the great Feast of Corpus Christi! The Feast that the Church gives us to celebrate the Eucharist in an extra special way…a feast to remind us of the GREATNESS of the Sacrifice that is daily on our altars. St. Pio said “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass.” How very little we are able to comprehend that…

A full week is ahead of me. I must write several things, in addition to working and searching for a second job. Hopefully I can motivate myself to get some cleaning and organizing done around home as well….I do not think I have much driving to do – a welcome break!

As much as I would like to write something more thoughtful, I just can’t. So…until then:

“Obedience unites us so closely to God that in a way transforms us into Him, so that we have no other will but His. If obedience is lacking even prayer cannot be pleasing to God.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

God bless and Mary keep you all.

The merry-go-round of life

It is June sixth already, and no posts from June! Shame on me! But, I guess that is what happens when I get busy running to and fro. So…what have I been up to?

Last Wednesday I was commissioned to make my siblings “disappear” from our house for the afternoon, so I managed to pack them in the van and we went to a local park. We had fun on the swings and other equipment, and right about the time that they all started getting bored, some angels in disguise appeared on the scene: two men with metal detectors searching for coins. Apparently it was incredibly intriguing to watch…the kids followed them around for over two hours, even after Mom called and said that we could return. I took the opportunity to write, pray, take pictures, and walk.

That same Wednesday night, I went to the preview for the new show (“The Odd Couple”) at the dinner theatre where I work. I was a little disappointed, because supposedly it is a hilarious play…but I must just not understand or appreciate the modern humor. I have only heard good reviews from the customers, so I guess that is good for business – but it is practically impossible for me to pretend to be excited over something that I am not, so I am going to avoid talking about the show as much as I can. LOL

Thursday was a crazy day, both at work and home. I spent tons of time on the phone (I greatly dislike talking on the telephone), which was draining – but I got the necessary accomplished. Friday was a busy as well, with work and then a meeting at Schoenstatt. Saturday I worked…Sunday was choir, and then a quiet afternoon at home. Quiet, rainy afternoons are perfect for napping and conversations…but of course, not at the same time. 🙂

Monday was a very peaceful day. I worked by myself all day and so was able to do a lot of thinking; the evening was spent writing e-mails. Yesterday was exhausting. I got up at 6am to get everything ready for the day, before going to work at 8:00. At noon I left work, on to take my Grandma shopping. After an afternoon of shopping, I stayed for supper…and then off to another meeting at Schoenstatt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stop at the Shrine before the meeting, and after, it was locked. 😦 That was disappointing…kind of like going home, only to find the house locked and with no key. All in all, I drove almost 200 miles yesterday, spending about 5.5 hours in the car…

Besides working for 7 hours, today I have been at home. It is amazing how many things all of a sudden seem to need doing, when you are gone a couple of days! This past week, my relative disorganization has been bothering me, so I had to get all my papers organized. I should really do the same with my computer files, but that will probably get procrastinated on for another long while. I have gotten several things finished up today – but somehow my to-do list isn’t shrinking much. Hopefully it will be quite chipped away by the end of the week. Tomorrow is another long day away from home…another drive up to Schoenstatt, but this time I will probably get some “home” (Shrine) time. 😀 Yay!

I guess I am best off to bed. I really wish that I had the mental (and physical) energy to write a thought provoking post, but my brain is starting to drift into lala land, and my eyelids have weights that are getting in the way. God bless and our Blessed Mother keep you all.

“The things that we love tell us what we are.” ~St. Thomas Aquinas