Update / 2009

It was good to go home. Good to have the little kids clamoring to sit by me, have piles of snow out the window, talks with my Mom and Dad, visiting with other family… It is a little strange going home, because I have been there so little in the past 15 months and everything goes on without me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This break I think I spent more time on the phone than I have in the same period my entire life…it is amazing how you will change when you miss someone. 🙂 I also picked up a cold for the past week that I was there–I think I am just about over it now.

I usually write a post on New Years, but this year didn’t really feel like it or know what to say. I found out the extent of the situation that I asked for prayers for the day before; all I can say is please keep praying for my family. For a long time.

Yesterday Daniel and I went walking/hiking. It is a really nice and pretty area that is only 2 miles away from the apartments! We will go back many times, I am sure. Now there is both Mirimar Lake and Rancho Penasquitos Canyon where we can go to get away from the constant noise of people and the city. I always liked walking, and am learning how much I enjoy hiking. Although I get nervous when there are stones in mud on a steep incline, the view from higher up is worth it. Pictures cannot do it justice.

Today classes start again. It is really weird to have afternoon classes without any morning classes–I haven’t had this schedule in quite a while, and it is the first time to have multiple days that this is the case. I was not sure if I like it or not, because while it is nice to have the morning to do homework, adoration and other things, I am more likely to have a hard time staying awake in class. Perhaps if I run or do jumping jacks before class I will be okay…

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

2008 was an interesting year. I frequently looked back on my resolution and worked on it, but it often seemed like I failed. I guess I will just have to keep trying. It was a long, full, hard, happy year. Although many things stayed the same, even more changed and I think I have grown and matured because of it. Perhaps despite my daily struggles, I may become a lady someday.

In 2009 I hope to become more childlike. I want to see the wonder of life around me, trust that everything is in the Father’s Hands, uplift those with whom I come in contact with a smile, and live each day with a mature carefreeness that bespeaks the unshakeable trust that a joyful woman united to Christ should have. I want to fulfill every day by completing my duties and living in the moment.

On a less important level, I want to become better at cooking so as to have more variety in meals I can serve. I want to brush up on some of my sewing skills. I want to regularly walk and work out (though not for purposes of losing weight!). There are many more things I can think of that I would like to do, but are not practical to list as they will never get done. So I will end.

May God bless and Mary keep you all!

Advertisements

Understanding

Happy Thanksgiving! It seems so strange to say that; I am sitting in apartment all alone, with a few windows open, wearing a short sleeved shirt and in bare feet. Quite different from the chilly days bustling about helping with cleaning and cooking that I have been used to…but I am content. I feel like I am in a time warp, in a different world. Sometimes life in its entirety seems surreal, as though everything that happens is a dream and soon I will wake up and end up in different circumstances. It is quite a strange feeling.

However, in this dream there are many things to be thankful for. First and foremost, for God. For His love for me; for His Blessed Mother. For our Faith; for the Cross and the Resurrection, the sorrow and the glory, the surety and uncertainty in His plan of creation. Then there are all the things that everyone is thankful for: life, family, friends, food, housing, talents, blessings, and so on.

This morning on the walk to Holy Mass, as I was talking with one of the other students, I realized something that I have been striving for that has disturbed peace in my soul. What is it? Understanding. I have an obsession to understand everything, and it drives me crazy when I “don’t know”. We are called to know, love, and serve God; never have we been told to understand Him and His plan. Rather, as we get to know Him, in faith we love; and in love, we are moved to service. As we travel on this path of faith and love, we are slowly given a greater understanding, but only insofar as it will give glory Him. Sometimes we just have to be a child, and listen to the parent’s “because I said so.”

Pray for me, as I try to let go and have the humility to recognize that God did not give me all the talents in the world. Rather, He wishes that I use the ones that I do have to the best of my ability, and He will take care of the rest.

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.”

Living the simple life

A few nights ago, I was chatting with a friend…we were exchanging pleasantries, and I was sharing bits of my day. I was taken by surprise by the comment “I wish I had your life.” I guess it appears that I have very few problems, and that I just enjoy the simple joys of life. I am sure I do not have nearly as many cares as most people, but I thought about it long and hard: why am I able to have such a simple life, with as many problems as I really do have?…I think the answer to that, is just that you have to give your problems to God. There have been so many times that I have just said, “I can’t deal with it anymore…take it! Take it, or whack me upside the head to know what to do with it!” Have you ever heard the phrase “Let go…let God”? But it takes a lot of practice to learn to really trust. In the beginning it will probably feel like you are adding to your problems, by trying to remember to offer it up! This is where you must persevere with all your strength and then some. If you are serious about living a life of simplicity, you must pray with all your might that God gives you the sufficent strength.

In a humorous way, I like to say that God must not like dealing with our problems…because as soon as we truely offer them up, they seem to diminish! They turn from a problem into a circumstance. Instead of feeling as though the world depended on ourselves, we recognize Who it really depends on. We still know that we must pick up our cross and follow Jesus – but in picking up our cross and following, our “task is easy, and our burden light.” Jesus never said that our burden would disappear, but that it would become “light”. This is what I call the “mystery of the interminglement of joy and sorrow”…it is the process of the perfection of our love in our journey to Love. In reality, to simplify life means to “just” give everything back to God and allow Him to act in our lives.

Enough of the theoretical: how do I apply this to my life practically? One way is with my SDO. In Schoenstatt, we have a “tool” for our self education called the “Spiritual Schedule” or the “Spiritual Daily Order” (SDO). It is a simple graph that helps to keep track of resolutions toward our goal of sanctity. There is usually one resolution that you specifically focus on a certain point against your primary fault/weakness, and the rest are resolutions of “maintenance”. For example, in the beginning it might be effective to focus on praying your morning and evening prayers everyday; after you have conquered this point to an extent, you can include it in your SDO, to be sure that you do not all of a sudden forget about them. It does not necessarily have to be strictly spiritual strivings – include things that are necessary for daily balance. In some of my SDO’s I have included taking a daily walk, playing with my siblings, doing chores cheerfully, etc. At the end of the day, simply make a mark by each resolution to denote whether you have been sucessful in completing it “for today”. Perseverance is required to keep up with this as well, but it pays off. 😉 Be cautious, especially if you are just beginning, not to over-do on your resolutions: sanctity is a life long task, and you won’t be perfect overnight. Be radical, but not ridiculous. 🙂 No one (to my knowledge) has achieved perfection in a day so far, so why should you expect it of yourself?Another thing that I have learned, is that the more of your senses that you can use to offer something up, the more effective that offering is going to be. We are humans: called to love God with our entire body, mind, and soul. Everything must be united! An example: when I had problems with a member of the management where I worked at one point, I prayed and prayed to let go of the hurt caused…but not until I honestly looked at the situation and wrote a letter to God telling Him what bothered me, and asking Him to change things if it was His Will, that I was really able to let go. Write a letter, poem, song…draw a picture…perhaps burn whatever. Engage your senses in the offering! Make it as real and tangible as possible. Offer it to Christ and the Blessed Mother. Definitavely.

A Schoenstatt saying: “Nothing without you, nothing without us!”

And always remember: “Work as though everything depended on you, pray as though everything depended on God!” Holiness is a long, everyday path…towards a heavenly goal.