Always changing

My apologies if the site looks strange in the near future. I am trying to change it to look a little more interesting / inviting / personalized; I don’t know if I will succeed or not, but I am going to try. I wish I knew html to create my own look…rather than trying make a generic format look more like me.

Today I am working on the huge project of labeling picture files. Hopefully I will get several done and copied to CD’s, so that I can erase the files off my computer. I have found that procrastinating has not made it any less work…now I have 3+ months of photograph files staring me in the face.

And I came across this quote from St. Vincent Ferrer, that I think will prove an invaluable reminder to me as I begin the next chapter of my life:
               “Do you wish to study to your advantage? Let devotion accompany all your studies. Consult God more than your books. Ask Him to make you understand what you read. Never begin or end your study except by prayer. Science is a gift of God. Do not consider it merely the work of your own mind and effort.”

Now please excuse me while I take a break from the computer, and go find something to laugh about. 😀

Summer days

… I always heard the term “lazy summer days”, but it seems that I am usually busier in summer than most of the other times of the year! Or perhaps it just seems like I am doing more because I feel lazy when it gets hot. Right now I am bored with plenty of things to do.

I like to observe people from the “window” of the temperaments – including myself. I have a few choleric tendencies, which manifest themselves in the most annoying manner at times. In particular, my mind gets set on a certain thing, and I want it done. Now. No matter how much I reason with myself, I cannot get my mind to rest! It continuously tells me I need to find a creative way to finish ___. Even when there is nothing I can do – I am waiting on paperwork, some one else’s action, time, etc. (I have been pre-approved for a loan and am waiting on the final paperwork, and have applied to get back on my Dad’s health insurance.) I laugh and tell myself to quit being so ridiculous. Patience…patience…patience.

I will purchase the airline tickets to San Diego either tonight or tomorrow. It is still (only!) eight weeks away, but I found tickets on sale for much less than I expected and even hoped! I am quite happy about that. Eight weeks seems like a frighteningly short amount of time…especially when you can’t snap your fingers and have everything ready. I keep thinking that once all the financing and health insurance is worked out, I will be able to breathe easily again – but knowing myself, I will start to worry more about finding a job, learning to study again, diciplining myself, etc. Instead, I must look back and marvel at how everything has worked out so far and trust that it will continue to do so. And if everything falls through and doesn’t work out? I will be quite disappointed, but will try to pick up with a smile – knowing that everything that God allows He will turn out for the best. 🙂

If I think about it, this has been a wild ride of a year. In March, any plans for attending college were non-existant. After visiting my sister at the beginning of February, I was seriously thinking about moving up to North Dakota, job searching both here and there. I had a couple of jobs and interviews that sounded promising, and all fell through with no apparent reason…I thank God, though, for slammed doors – because it makes His will clear to me for the time being.

In the beginning of April, someone sent me a list of “homeschool friendly colleges”. I have been looking at/for Catholic colleges for at least 5 years, and so most I had come across. All except one – John Paul the Great Catholic University. Being the curious person that I am, I read pretty much their whole website, which piqued my interest enough to request more information. It took me awhile to fill out the application and get letters of recommendation sent; but then everything started going very quickly. I sent in the paperwork on Monday…Friday evening I got a phone call that I was accepted to the University! I filled out the financial aid application and wrote the essays…I was awarded about half of tuition in financial aid. I sent in the housing application…hopefully soon I will hear back from them. Four months ago, I had an entirely different view of the way my immediate future was going to go. I guess that just proves that I have to take life one step at a time and not think too much about what is coming next – because I may have absolutely no idea.

Prayer requests: 1) Thank you for your prayers for my family. Please continue them…we need all the help we can get in this house.  2) Please pray for Jeff (someone I know from our parish choir) and his family. His mother (Kate) just died suddenly, and his Dad is very ill with alzhiemers. Pray for her soul, and all the family who mourn.  3) For Stephanie, a girl that my older sister met online – she was raped and is 10 weeks pregnant. She has decided to keep the baby but is having a very difficult time with morning sickness and is getting much unwanted pressure to abort.

I have been very long-winded tonight. I hope you enjoy reading about my crazy life. 😀 And now I am off to do some reading and list making. God bless and Mary keep you all!

Please pray

Please pray for my family right now. I do not wish to go into details at this time, but the devil is definately trying to capture souls…and sometimes I fear he is winning.

Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt…pray for us…show us your power.

Time keeps marching on

There is so much to do! Every time I am able to cross something off of my to do list, I think of something else that needs to be done or another place to go. I guess it is a good thing that I don’t think of everything all at once. In particular I want everything that pertains to college, done – so that the only thing I have to think about is packing. I need to change my attitude and stop thinking that I can “get ahead”, and instead work on taking one day at a time. 🙂

Yesterday I was home alone for most of the day. I was able to get many things accomplished! Before 9am, I had made 6 or 8 phone calls. (I dislike using the phone.) At about 2:45pm, my Mom and the 4 younger kids got home, and after that I couldn’t do much – Christopher talked and talked, and Mary and David clung to me after not seeing me in a week. Last night I took my grandparents (and Christopher) out for dinner, which was fun! I had not seen them for more than a month. Also, last week I found out that I am going to be getting my great-Grandma’s nativity set that I painted several years ago! I can’t wait to see it again. 😀

Thank you for joining me in the St. Joseph Novena…it appears that the health insurance is working out, but I am not going to be totally at ease until it is settled. Which might be September. On another note, I completed the application for a loan last night, so now I just have to wait for papers to come in the mail to sign! That is one thing that I am glad is done. Slowly but surely, it is coming together.

I enjoyed my week off of work! It was nice to be out at Schoenstatt again. I had many good conversations and much prayer time – in addition to catching up on sleep! It felt strange being older than all the other counselors though. I just have to remember that the youth is a transitional branch, and I am on the “older” side of the youth. Please pray for our youth and all those who work for the formation of our youth.

An excerpt from the book (Everyday Sanctity, by M. A. Nailis) I just finished reading:

         We must carefully avoid fostering in ourselves any desire for particular loves — for example, for a love which does not seem to fit in with one’s particular state of life and therefore is not willed by God.
        Bishop Camus made a compilation of the teaching of the Holy Doctor of the Church, St. Frances de Sales, on this point:
“One must hate love, unless it is a love in and for God, for:

  1. The risk is great that human friendship (no matter how permissible and noble it may be at the start), may degenerate into a danger to be feared, particularly between persons of different sex.
  2. To wish to be loved, other than by God, is a sort of theft in which we really steal a part of those hearts by whom we wish to be loved from God. And in any case they cannot love God worthily, since He is infinitely greater than our hearts.
  3. It means an injury to God’s jealousy since He will not tolerate any rival or competitor in our hearts. His love must be all or nothing; He wants to be king or nothing at all.
  4. It is great vanity to believe that one may, through one’s own merits, claim a right to the love of another.

       ” ‘O, how unfortunate are those,’ says the saint, ‘who have nothing attractive or worthy of love, for they are sure that the love which is given them is of the most perfect kind because it is rooted in God.’
       “To love somebody next to God without directing this love to God — even though it is not against one of God’s commandments — means to diminish the love which we owe to God who wishes to be loved with our entire heart.
       “O God, take us away from this world, or take this world away from us! Tear our hearts free from the world, or tear the world away from our hearts! All that is not God is nothing! ‘For what do we desire on earth or in heaven, save You, O God’ (Ps 71, 15).”

May God bless and Mary keep you!

Thoughts…lessons…life

A few everyday things that make me happy (in no particular order):

-watching someone’s face light up into a smile when I smile at them
-little kids running to me with outstreched arms
-conversations with family and friends
-offering up my heart more totally in trust
-sitting in the Shrine at Schoenstatt, or “spiritually visiting” the Shrine
-laughter
-sunshine and thunderstorms
-dreams
-writing and reading

With so many reasons to be joyful, why do I allow myself to dwell on what I don’t have? God has taken perfect care of me for my whole life, why can’t I trust that He can handle the rest of it too?

Has anyone ever had a little child that wanted to “help” carry something? Their strength is limited, and so it makes the burden more awkward at times…and yet, they must help. The recognition of their desire to feel needed and loved is so great that we can’t help but give them the pleasure of letting them “assist”. And then, as they get older, sometimes they think they can do it by themselves. Slowly you let go of your side of the burden, ready to quickly pick up the slack; the realization that it is more than their little hands can handle makes them all the more willing to receive help again. Then it continues. As they grow older, stronger, and more capable, you allow them to take more of the burden.

In a way, I think this is how I see my life. I am the little child that wants to “help” in the great act of bringing all people to salvation. Sometimes through my weaknesses, I am sure that I make it more awkward for others to fulfill their part; and yet, I must help. And God has granted me so much pleasure in seeing the little ways in which I can assist…sometimes, I even think that I am really doing great things. I think that I can do so much more, I plan my life to go the way that I see “perfect” and most influential. I think that I can effectively bring people to God through my own way of thinking, my own narrow striving, my own exemplary life. And then God allows me to feel the heaviness of the cares of the world; the heaviness of distrust; the heaviness of self-dependence. I must let go and allow Him to pick up the slack…and yet strive to grow in my capability to share the suffering of the Cross and thus, the salvation of souls.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I feel like I have gotten very little done this past week. It went fast and was seemingly busy, but kind of in the “running in a circle” way. I am going to work on my strivings of productivity. I am trying to root out the things that distract me from using my time and talents to the best of my ability; I need to improve my self denial now, so that I don’t have to deal with as much of a lazy and procrastinating mind while learning the ropes at school.

I don’t know if the coming week will be stressful and tiring, peaceful and tiring, or peaceful and restful. Tomorrow and Saturday I work; tomorrow night I am going to a Holy Mass with Archbishop Dolan at Schoenstatt; Saturday I am going to a graduation party; Sunday I am going to Schoenstatt, and then staying there until Thursday night to help out with the girls camp. Before I leave on Saturday I will need to have all my laundry done and everything ready to go. It will also be good practice of detachment to be away from the computer and college preparations for so long, lol.

Please pray for a few special intentions. And please pray that someday I may become a saint. All is lost with the loss of God…

“You know the way for me, you know the time; into your hands, I trustingly place mine. Your plan is perfect, born of perfect love. You know the way for me, that is enough.”

St. Joseph, pray for me…

Today I received more paperwork to fill out and send in for college. And it dawned on me tonight that there might be a few complications as regards health insurance, and the form has to be back before August 1st. I am doing a novena to St. Joseph (my confirmation patron) that everything works out … if you would be so kind as to join me, I would greatly appreciate it. May God bless and Mary keep you!

St. Joseph, patron of all who serve God in simplicity of heart and steadfast devotion, ask the Lord to fill my heart with the fire of his love. Awaken within me the virtues of integrity, simplicity, reverence, and gentleness, so that I may radiate God’s love to those around me. Intercede for me in my time of particular need and obtain for me the favor I ask (that health insurance and financing work out quickly). Blessed Joseph, be my protector in life and my consoler at the moment of death. Amen.

Wow.

Today I decided to go through “my boxes”, which contain schoolwork, photographs, notes from trips, journals, etc – anything I want to keep. All these specific events are from before I was 14, and the past six years have been even fuller – if that is possible. What a full life I have had!

The first items I came across were the judging forms from our debate tournament (2000): the main critiques were that I spoke too softly, made too little eye contact, and was shy in asking questions in cross examination. Organization and pursuasiveness were my strong points. Very typically me… Something that I found interesting was that when debating teams that I remember being the most intimidated by (they were known for being “the best teams”), I received better scores than when debating other teams that I wasn’t so “scared” of. However, when my partner and I made it to the semi-finals (something I was completely not expecting and was terribly nervous when it got announced) I did not do so well. I guess when I can anticipate being afraid of something, I rise to the occasion; when it is totally unexpected, I flounder. Somehow we still made it to third place…

Then I found some papers and awards from 4-H. I did not realize how many projects I had taken to the County Fair – and how many of my chickens I named. Mr. Plump, Plumfield, Fluffy, Muffy, Buffy, Austria, Lorpie, and Silvery were just a few. Poultry (chickens) was my absolute favorite project all of the years I was in 4-H. If we had not moved, I probably would have become even more involved with showing chickens in shows other than our County Fair; in addition to taking on more leadership positions with the poultry project. I also participated in many of our 4-H talent shows, both club and County competitions. I don’t remember doing so well in many of them! I found it funny that the times that I sang, all separate years, at least one of the judges told me that I had a “lovely, sweet voice” … the exact wording at completely different times and with different judges. One judge also said that she would be the first to buy my first cd, LOL! If I ever get around to doing making one I’ll have to remember that. :-p

A moment of fame was when I was 10. I won a poultry essay contest put on by the State Fair by writing an essay on “What I have learned by raising poultry”. I remember being quite excited that I won…I got to go to the State Fair to read my essay and receive my prizes (a pair of chickens, nice show cages, an incubator, the “American Standard of Perfection”, some feed, and a few other things). I vaguely remember being interviewed at home by the Racine Journal Times – and I remember that I thought it was very funny that they quoted me by my last name. The closing comment on the newspaper article is amusing to look back on: (about going to the State Fair to read my essay) “it was neat, but I was so nervous that I was shaking.”

And I read some of my old journal entries. I enjoy reading about my good days and bad, joys and sorrows, strivings and frustrations…many times remembering when I wrote; sometimes laughing at my silliness; and noticing how I grew and struggled.

Everyone has a story. Each person is so special, with their own personality, experiences, memories…and all of them so intertwined with other people’s stories, all as part of God’s great plan. It is so fun and interesting to not only study the lives of people in history, but also to take time to find joy in our own story. Savoring the experiences that God sends us so that we realize how blessed we are, as well as learning from our own lives. I feel so extremely blessed when I look on my life as a whole: my family, everything that I have had the grace to do, all the talents that I have been graced with, all the experiences that have guided me along in my search for ultimate happiness – which can only be found in God’s special plan for my life, that He will continue to unfold to me one step at a time. 

 You all may not enjoy all the silly little moments that I share, but I find joy remembering the happiness God has sent me; and savoring it through writing. It is my song, my story, my life.

“Glory be joyfully given to the Father; through Christ with Mary, highly praised; in the Holy Spirit, full of splendor; in the Universe, now and in all eternity. Amen.”