God’s Will

My greatest passion is to do the will of God and become a saint; it has been the driving force in my life for many years. It is a passion innate in my nature and is stronger than all else, for which am very thankful. Perfection will come with many sacrifices. Yet when you have an overwhelming desire for unity with Christ, the pain of the sacrifices seems to diminish.

Learning to love the will of God and become even more passionate for Him has been a challenge. It is necessary to transparently view everything as coming from the Father out of love, trusting that it is for my greatest good – even when I do not understand. It is necessary to allow my love for our Creator to be just as creative as a love for another person. It is necessary to apply my entire heart, mind, and soul to loving so that I do not hesitate at the cross that is necessary for the resurrection.

Each decision of each day defines both how you live and strengthens the will for future decisions. In my life, modesty is one such decision. When I was about 10 years old, my parents decided that all the girls in my family were going to wear skirts. I was very upset and did not want to accept their decision. Friends began to question why I wore skirts all the time, and it was uncomfortable for me to say that I was forced to – so I began to find reasons for myself. I learned that modesty is not only about clothing, but rather, a disposition. I came to understand that even if I disagreed with my parents original decision, they had the authority to expect a modest disposition from me. As the years have gone by, my sense of modesty has deepened; and my expression of that modesty has adapted. In retrospect, I realize that God used that circumstance to get my attention and reveal His will to me in a larger way. I hold higher standards for myself than others, but it remains a constant struggle to avoid becoming desensitized and living lower standards than I believe God expects of me.

Sometimes things happen that I have no control over, and then the challenge lays in believing that nothing can happen without God’s permission – and all will turn out for a greater good. Family hardships, illness, uncertainty, and loneliness have all been a part of my life; and yet I am learning to love them because they are all part His unique plan for me.

Although there are many sacrifices in discerning the will of God, there is so much beauty to be enjoyed. Whether it is the stars in the sky, the greenness of the trees, the shimmering sun on the river, the glory of the sunrise, or the shadows of the sunset, God smiles through nature. The brush of the wind is like a hug that wraps around me…the warm sunbeam, a kiss upon my cheek. The laughter and cry of a little child is the music of love. The simple, daily happenings of life bring so much more joy when viewed as the gift from God that they are.

Understanding God’s will for my life transforms life itself; there is a happiness in knowing that everything is in the hand of God. Nothing is certain in the future; but as long as I give my all, I can count on the overflowing blessings in the midst of the interminglement of sorrow and perfect joy.

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A short update

Here I am in San Diego! It has been enjoyable so far. The weather has been pretty nice, and there are no bugs! None, at least, that fly around and suck your blood. 🙂 I am slowly getting to know people and putting faces with names. The weekend has been pretty full, but it has been restful also… We arrived on Saturday, and after checking in to my apartment and doing a little shopping, there was a welcoming at the campus and then an informal dinner with the students and families. Sunday I went to Mass, breakfast & shopping with my Dad, and then unpacked a little more before going to the student Mass. Sunday evening there was a gathering at “The Perch”, which is one of the common rooms. It was a nice time sharing faith and fun! It is so neat to be around other youth who are happy and excited about their Catholic Faith, and have the common striving for holiness. I think that that alone could put you on a spiritual high for quite awhile, lol.

 I have had a lot of time for thinking on the trip over here. I sat awake most of the time on the bus, looking at the stars…and then I was able to watch the land roll by beneath us for much of the flight (except when my neck got sore)…and I just sat and marveled at the perfection and vastness of creation. I am so happy that I am me, that I have the life and memories that I have, and that God holds the plan for my life. It will be an unending adventure, I am sure.

Yesterday we went to Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Little Italy in downtown San Diego. It is a beautiful church, with art depicting the mysteries of the rosary covering the walls and in the stained glass windows! It is true beauty, which inspires prayerfulness… Then we went to a park to eat lunch, and then off to the San Diego zoo. It was pretty fun, and I enjoyed taking pictures of the animals as well as the plants. Unfortunately, my batteries were going dead, and so I couldn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked. After the zoo, we went to the beach for a bonfire. There were, again, many good conversations. It was pretty, and a good place to just walk and sing. The new picture on my title bar was taken last night. 🙂

Classes start tomorrow. I am excited, so that I can “get into the swing of things” and start studying…and then I think that my days will have a pleasant pattern to them. We shall see.

God bless and Mary keep you all!

What will this day be like?

I wonder. What will my future be?

I am finally packed (with the exception of the clothes I am wearing and my night prayer books). It took a lot more effort than I thought. I did not realize that I was able to put so much in a small room…and still have room to sleep! My 16 yr old brother will be getting my room, and so I had to pack away everything that I am not taking, into storage. And now the room stands empty, except for a bookshelf and a few empty hat boxes that I wish I could put somewhere, but will probably get thrown away.

 Tomorrow morning at 2:45am my Dad and I will leave our house, to make it on the bus. That is a little earlier than I like, but I’ll live. Our flight doesn’t leave until 10am, but we are flying out of the airport that is 2.5+ hours from our house. This past week has been very busy, so hopefully I will be tired enough to sleep on the bus and plane. 😀

I have such a mix of emotions…as I expected, I guess. It is so very strange to think that tomorrow this time, I will be in a very different State, to live. Does San Diego have autumn, or just perpetual autumn temperatures? I suppose I will find out. But God has blessed me this week with the beginning of the show of leaves. I have also been blessed to see stars brightly shining (the stars are more beautiful in the country than in the city; I will miss them!)…watching the sun rise…watching the sun set…having a foggy morning…having sunshine and strong wind. There is a thunderstorm forcasted for tonight, hopefully it comes ~ then I will be sure that God is spoiling me with His beautiful creation.

My little sister (Mary, 8) is finally resigned that I am going. Now she is excited because she will get two letters in the mail! Tonight I must say goodbye to my family – I am both excited/happy and sad. I will not have to put up with sibling conflicts on a daily basis anymore; I will have more independance; I will have more quiet time; and last but not least, have a greater opportunity of learning. But I will not have the rowdy parties at a moments notice with the inside jokes and constant puns…the midnight talks with my Mom…the frequent discussions on culture, America, politics (among other topics) with my Dad…the silly antics and affection of my little brother…my petite little sister to cuddle…and so on. Since some of my brothers won’t talk on the phone or computer, I probably won’t talk to them until Christmas. 😦 I guess it will give me time to write down my memories. 🙂

This morning at Holy Mass, one of the ladies (Carol) asked me to pray for her brother, who just found out that he has prostate cancer. Please pray for him (Paul), as well as her and their family.

One last request for tonight – please pray that everything goes well at the airport and with our flights. As much as I like traveling, I am always nervous that I will forget some regulation and not get past security. :-p Thank you!

I trust your might, your kindness, Mother dear; I do believe that you are always near. Schoenstatt’s great queen, O Mother Mild; I blindly trust in you and in your child.

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.”

In my own little corner

I feel like I am neglecting my blog…part of the reason for that is because there are so many ideas swimming around my head, that I can hardly decide what to write about first! But lest you think that I dropped off of the face of the blogging world, I shall write about the goings-on in my little corner of the earth.

After the flurry of fair and my sister visiting, there were some things to catch up on here at home. E-mails to respond to, shopping, laundry, and packing away to be done – as well as cleaning and cooking for a party before I leave. Last Sunday I sung with our parish choir for the last time, and gave back my folder of music. I hope that there is a choir for me to join wherever I go in life…there is just something about choral warmups and music that makes one feel at home. 🙂

Sunday afternoon was my party, and the weather was beautiful! About 30 people came, I had a good time talking to everyone. I was only disappointed that I could not be in more places than one at once, so that I could have talked to everyone more.

This past week was full of work, packing, visiting, and goodbye’s. Sometimes life seems like a dream, and I keep wondering when I will wake up. My heart doesn’t seem to comprehend that I actually will not be going back to work this week, that I will not be able to visit the Shrine or Schoenstatt Center for a few months, that I will not be seeing the same people from day to day. In some ways, I hope that time goes fast and December will be here as quickly as the summer was over; however, more than that, I hope that it will slow down so that I can savor everyday life in all its changes.

I have a strange sense of freedom this week. No work, and no staying away from home! One day I will be visiting my grandparents, and I am planning on going out to Schoenstatt one last time before I leave; but other than that, I will pretty much be home. I have not had that kind of time off in probably 5 years! No wonder it seems surreal.

Thank you for your prayers for the beginning of the school year! So far, most of my siblings have been cooperative and happier than most of the past year. 😀 We are now praying that it lasts…

At the beginning of the post, I mentioned many ideas that I have for writing. I have many ideas for articles, as well as trying to write an outline so that eventually I can write a book of memories. The other day, I decided to just start writing a running list of things that I remember – and within 10 minutes, I had about 1.5 notebook pages full. Hopefully I can write down the majority of my memories, if for nothing else than enjoyment of future generations. It is a project that will take me a looooong time. 🙂

And thus ends my update. Soon I hope to write an article… I’ll see how quickly I get all my packing and preparations done. Until then, may God bless and Mary keep you all!

“Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” –
Phil. 2:6-11

9/11

On the anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, please remember to keep the souls of the victims in your prayers. Remember the strong patriotism, as our country turned to God in the days afterward…before hearts hardened and we tried to figure things out ourselves. I am proud to be an American, and pray that God may continue to bless us amidst all of our faults. 9/11 is a tragedy we will never forget, a scourge for our country; and yet behind the cross of the tragedy we must remember our constant dependance on God and our need for other people.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. God bless America!

County Fair and Visiting

The days are so long and short at the same time. I feel like I am not getting much of anything done, but the days are so full of doing things that I lose track of what happened when…

This weekend was busy. Saturday I did a lot of reading – I finished Love and Responsibility (finally!), another little booklet, and read Left to Tell. I was not intending to read as much as I did, but got so engrossed in the book that I had a hard time putting it down. :-p I also helped my Dad a little with canning tomatos – I am not sure how many I did, but overall about 63 quarts were completed. At about 11:00pm on Saturday night, my older sister (Katherine) and her boyfriend (Ryan) arrived from North Dakota. My parents and I stayed up and talked with them until almost 1am.

Sunday I went to Holy Mass, came home and ate lunch, then went to a meeting at Schoenstatt. The girls surprised me with a few games and cake after the meeting to say “goodbye”. It was fun, but it seems so strange that I will not be seeing them much in the next couple of years. 😦 Then I went to the County Fair. It took me awhile to find any of my family on the grounds! I eventually did, and spent some time looking around the exhibits, taking some pictures, talking to my family and grandparents, and went to part of the Phil Vassar concert with my grandparents, Katherine & Ryan. We talked a lot after the concert, and by the time we got home it was almost midnight! Here are some pictures from the fair – the pictures from Sunday start at picture 53.

On Monday I didn’t have to be up at any certain time, so I didn’t set my alarm. I was shocked that I slept until 9:05am – it is rare for me to sleep much past 8am, even when I am tired. I did a few odds and ends things, but the most that I really accomplished was visiting. A funny incident during the afternoon was when we were talking about the way that we think some people might die (because of health problems, etc.). David asked what we were talking about, and I said, “we are talking about dying. How do you want to die?” To which he promptly responded: “I want to dye you PINK!”

Yesterday I worked, read, and visited. My brother came over for a few hours, and it was great to have our whole family together again. We all laughed and talked for 2+ hours without any arguments at all…it was so nice. 😀

Today Katherine & Ryan left, so I said goodbye before work. I went shoe shopping after work – and I found a pair of shoes for much cheaper than I was expecting. God is blessing me with many unexpected ways to save money! Also, today David dropped a bowl full of fruit on his toe, turning it black under the nail. Tonight it hurt so bad he was crying, so I let some of the blood out by using a needle (so that the pressure would go down). He informed me that I would be a good doctor, so apparently it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. I am sure it will continue to hurt a little, but I am happy that I can make it “feel better”. LOL … I guess it is a motherly sort of satisfaction. 🙂

Please pray for my Mom – tomorrow she was going to start school for the year (5 of my siblings are homeschooled), and she isn’t feeling well. Please say that the school year gets off to a good start. Please also pray for a few special intentions. Thank you!

There is so much to think about, so much to be thankful for, so much to learn; and I wish I could write about everything. I feel like Pa Kettle when I say “I’ll get around to doing that, one of these days…” I am so busy enjoying living life, that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to write about it – but I guess I am fine with that. God has blessed me with many moments, and somedays I record some. The greatest gift, though, is having the chance to live them; and I intend to do that to the best of my ability.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Phillipians 4:8