Friday, December 31, 2010

Good-bye 2010 And Hello 2011!!!! Bring it on, Baby!

Here it is again... another New Year's Eve. Another evening filled with hope for what may come in the next year. Another night when most everyone sets out on some new resolution to better themselves. Another night....

This year I do not seem as excited as I normally am about the new year. I took a look at the resolutions I made this time a year ago, and felt like a failure seeing as how I did not finish any of those things I set out to do. I set out with every good intention to follow through, and I know I did pretty well for awhile, but somewhere through the year I must have forgotten I made them. So... what does that lead me to do this year? Make more resolutions that may seem far-fetched at the end of the year? No... I do not like that idea at all. So instead here is what I am going to do....

1.) I promise myself that I will make it to Mass at least three times a week...
2.) I promise to make it to confession AT LEAST once a month. No putting it off, because really that is just being lazy.
3.) I promise to keep in better touch with my great friends who no longer live so close by to me.
4.) I promise to try and uplift those around me through little things... maybe little notes, or random uplifting quotes... little things that make them realize how precious they are and how much I love them.
5.) I promise to be more selective about the things I watch on television...
6.) I promise to work-out at least five days a week for thirty minutes. unless I am on vacation where I cannot find a decent place to work-out. This seems to be much more attainable for me than the everyday one I made last year.

Even though I just said I was not totally excited about the New Year I have to take that back because there are a few things I am incredibly excited about.... Moving into my own apartment with my sister, graduating, the Matt Maher concert, retreats I will get to help out with, and also the d.c. March for Life trip I will be going on in just a few weeks. :) Who knows what else will be happening in this new year, but here's to whatever craziness that may ensue. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!! Bottom's up! (But also stay safe. :) )

Thursday, December 30, 2010

God Can Speak Through Anything... Even Texting.

The past few months, or maybe more like the past year or so has been a tough one for my family. The kind that can wear a person down sometimes. Monday night I had a real heart-to-heart with God about some of these things and other things I have had to deal with. I could not go to sleep ( probably due to the fact that I made Monday my lazy day and did pretty much absolutely nothing, but watch tv. Heck, I didn't actually change out of my p.j.'s till six p.m. because I had to run to the grocery store to grab some ingredients for dinner... yeah, I was lazy) so instead I just had a long conversation with God. The only reason I am even telling my readers this is because of what happened to me yesterday.

I had just pulled-up into my drive-way after a long drive down from Carmel, In.. I was in the middle of texting my friend, who I had just visited, to let him know I arrived home safely when I received this text message..."Life is hard, but a strong person knows how to keep their life in order. Even with tears in their eyes, they still manage to say 'I'm ok' with a smile. God is good. Change is coming. God saw your sadness and said hard times are over." It happened to be one of the random forwards people send so I had to press reply to figure out the number of the person that sent it to me. I found this person's number and went through my phone book to see if I could figure out who sent it to me, but apparently I do not have this person in my phone book. I guess in retrospect I could have replied to the text message to ask who it was, but it is a little late for that now. I do not mind either. It may seem silly to some, but to me that was God telling me he heard me when I was talking to Him and it's gonna be ok. I rather like not knowing who sent it to me after all...

"Thirsting For God"

One of the perks for being a teacher is that every year the families are very generous when it comes to giving presents to us teachers. Among the many gift cards I received I was a given one to Barnes and Nobles. I used it to buy a couple of books, one of which happens to be "Thirsting For God" by Mother Teresa. It is a year book filled with prayers, meditations, and anecdotes by none other than Mother Teresa. I thought I would share today's entry on here with all of you...:)

December 30
(The following quotations is taken from the last letter Mother Teresa wrote on the day of her death)

Let our gratitude be our strong resolution to quench the thirst of Jesus by lives of real charity. Love for Jesus in prayer, love for Jesus in you brothers and sisters, love for Jesus in the poorest of the poor. Nothing else."

Monday, December 27, 2010

"We Are Family!"

Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Family. Father gave a wonderful homily about families. God planned out who our families would be from the beginning. He gave them to us. They help lay the foundation of who we are.

Families are amazing! They are the ones that know more than anyone else how to bring us back up when we are down. They are there when we need a shoulder to cry on. They are there for the celebrations in our lives. It is the members of our family who we feel most comfortable being our true selves. It is the main reason we take them for granted...We assume our parents, siblings, and relatives will be there for us no matter what. Through thick and thin. That is why it is so easy to feel the worst betrayal when someone in our family does something that hurts us, yet seems to me so much easier to forgive them because they are family. Like the old saying, "blood is thicker than water." In many ways this is true.

Yes, every family is not perfect. Each family is dysfunctional. Each family has their own share of family secrets that no one other than family is supposed to know about. I think with that being said the ones who are not dysfunctional are probably the really strange ones.
I must say that my family truly is special. We are one of a kind. I am so happy I live so close to not only my immediate family, but also my Aunt, Uncle, and a nice amount of my cousins as well.

This Christmas I spent it with the people I just mentioned. We usually come together on Christmas Eve, but due to some changes we celebrated on Christmas day this year. We have a nice pitch-in dinner and then open gifts together. Us cousins tend to spend a lot of time together playing cards, the family favorite tends to always end up being spoons (which is what we are playing in the few pictures below). Spoons happens to be taken very seriously in this family. There have been years when blood has been drawn by someone's fingernails while in the scramble of grabbing a spoon. I remember one year my brother got pulled out of his chair while fighting for the last spoon on the table. Violent, but so much fun!

I should mention that the craziness in my family is not all caused by the people in it, but also our four-legged pets. You see, my family is in fact very much a dog family. There is no telling how many dogs will show-up at a family function. Usually anywhere up to seven... some little and some not so little. The dog in the first picture is the newest addition to our family. Her name is Peyton, named after none other than Peyton Manning. Yes, my family is also a Colt's family.

As crazy as I find my family at times, I would not want them any other way. They each have a spot in my heart, and I love them dearly!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"My Grown Up Christmas List

This is one of my very favorite Christmas songs.... Especially now as I am no longer a kid anymore. Even though today is the day after Christmas I did not have a chance to get on here and post it earlier with the all the hustle and bustle of my own Christmas celebrations with my family... I hope you enjoy this song too. :)

My Grown Up Christmas List

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
and wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth
(there'd be)

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown up christmas list
This is my only life long wish
This is my grown up christmas list

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Around The World

This past month it has been Christmas crazy at work. It is the most fun month for us teachers to plan. This year I decided to put some geography into my Christmas lesson plans. We talked about how Catholics/Christians celebrate Christmas around the world. We also talked about how the guy we call Santa Clause here is known by different names in other countries. It was so much fun! I would pull the world globe out and show the kids which country we would talk about that day. Throughout this month I have been really happy to hear them still saying the names of different countries... Venezuela, Ghana, Japan, France, Mexico, England, Russia, so forth and so on. They will still come up to me to hear why St. Nick is called St. Nick. Why Grandfather Frost got his name. The parents would come up to me and tell me how their child talked about Christmas in the different countries sound like fun. I felt like taking a risk with these two themes because they are a little bit more advanced than for 2 and 3 year old kids, but they rose to the challenge! The parents would come up to me and tell me how their child talked about Christmas in the different countries sound like fun.

Since I decided to teach these types of things I had to do my own research because I was curious myself. I found that the most interesting country to learn about was Japan. Apparently in Japan they do not exchange lots of gifts. They may give a few, but not a whole lot. Instead they focus on Jesus and helping out those in need. They spend their Christmas day helping at homeless shelters and food kitchens, things like that. I wonder how America would change if we focused on others instead of "what I want." It was refreshing to learn about that.

In France the Catholics fast all day long on Christmas Eve. Everyone attends Midnight Mass, and after that they go home and have a big dinner and party with close friends and family. It is interesting to me to know how different they welcome Christmas. It almost makes me want to try fasting on Christmas Eve... Keyword there is almost. I have never been that great with fasting....

Mexico sounds like a fun party. After Midnight Mass certain families choose to be "host" homes while others go around a visit each house...Kind of like how we go trick-or-treating here for halloween. As the guests go door to door there are special songs that are sung between those inside the house and those waiting to enter. They do this till early in the morning. It sounds like a huge party to me.

Since it is Summer at this time of year for Ghana they tend to do most of their festivities outside. They focus more on nativity scenes and before Midnight Mass begins there are Christmas pageants. On Christmas day there usually are barbecues and pitch-in meals, like 4th of July for us. During the night they celebrate with fireworks.

In Venezuela it is also Summer on Christmas. There they have lots of church services they attend throughout Christmas Eve. Their day tends to start of with bells ringing and firecrackers being set off. They go to nine different prayer services and they end with Midnight Mass. After Mass they all share a huge dinner feast together as a parish.

These are just a few of the countries I learned about. They all sound like a lot of fun to me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chrismas Movies Are The Best :)

Now that it is the week before Christmas it is time to pull out my favorite Christmas movies..."It's A Wonderful Life," "White Christmas," Home Alone movies, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "The Santa Clause," "The Muppet Christmas Carol," "The Preacher's Wife," "How The Grinch Stole Christmas," "Miracle on 34th Street, and "Little Women" are all on the "to watch" list.

There are such great messages in the classic Christmas movies... I wish the majority of the mainstream movies are still like that today, but sadly they are not.

Here are a few of the more memorable quotes from these movies....

"Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence."
~It's A Wonderful Life~

"I know I don't deserve a Christmas, even if I did do a good deed. I don't want any presents. Instead, I want to take back every mean thing I ever said to my family. Even if they don't take back the things they said to me. I don't care. I love all of them... Including Buzz. I know it isn't possible to see them all. Could I just see my mother? I'll never want another thing as long as I live if I can just see my mother. I know I won't see her tonight, but promise me I can see her again. Sometime. Any time. Even if it's just once and only for a couple minutes. I just need to tell her I'm sorry."
~Home Alone 2~

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
~A Charlie Brown Christmas~

"Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing."
~The Santa Clause~

"It's all right, children. Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it. "
~A Muppet Christmas Carol~

"Just because you can't see the air doesn't keep you from breathing. And just because you can't see God doesn't keep you from believing."
~The Preacher's Wife~

"I'm glad he took our presents. You can't hurt Christmas, Mr. Mayor, beacuse it isn't about the... the gifts or the contest or the fancy lights. That's what Cindy's been trying to tell everyone... and me. I don't need anything more for Christmas than this right here: my family."
~How The Grinch Stole Christmas~

"Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles."
~Miracle on 34th Street~

"If God wants me with Him, there is none who will stop Him. I don't mind."
~Little Women~

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Living In Denial... Finals Week? What Is This Finals Week You Speak Of????

This week my town has been a winter wonder land. It started on Monday and then really hit last night. It was a nice surprise to wake-up and find out I had a snow day. The weather has kind of helped when it has come to our finals week, but my friends and I have still found random ways to post-pone our studying even with all the snow on the ground. Saturday ice skating... Monday evening we had pancakes where we ended up making snow people out of butter because we did not want to study... Tuesday, hanging-out with my sister for her 21st birthday...Wednesday some of us played out in the snow after our adoration time and made snow angels... and today we made a ginger bread house. Still finding time for studying, but putting it off as much as possible. It is strange to me how all college students seem to find the most creative things to do while procrastinating on studying. Strange, but fun too.

Procrastinating... I know there is a quote that says, "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday." Well if that's the case than I must be an expert at it! Why is it that procrastination comes so easily. Because it is a part of laziness... I don't really think about that so much as something that is a sin, but if I think of it in that way it is sort of. I mean Laziness is part of sloth which is one of the seven deadly sins. Now I am not saying that procrastination in itself is a deadly sin... just when we put things off that we need to do spiritually... Here is a little something that I read which made me think about how even though we all can lead busy lives, we can all still be lazy when it comes to our spiritual growth...

Most people think of sloth as laziness, not doing much of anything, but just sitting around doing nothing. Many people stay busy most of the time but don't do the things they should, putting them off for later. They may be staying busy so they have an excuse.
Sloth (or acedia) is a kind of spiritual laziness (as opposed to mere physical fatigue or depression). It means not making it a priority to do what we should, or change what we should in ourselves. Some people might call it apathy, which means a lack of feeling.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Some Of My Favorite 2010 Memories Caught On Film

These are a few photos from this past year off of facebook... This brought back some great memories...

From top to bottom and left to right....

1.) My K20 small group in our meeting room. I grew very fond of that room. My small group was the BEST!!!
2.) My nephew's baptism... when I became a "godmommy." :)
3.) Two of my kid's from my daycare over the Summer. Love them!
4.) Part of my K20 small group... at pancakes night for spring finals week. Miss them!
5.) Me and some of my favorite girls!
6.)Rascal Flatts concert!!! :)
7.) 4th of July with my family... waiting for the parade.
8.) Me and my sister. :)
9.) Me and two of my favorite guys at my birthday dinner! Good times!!!
10.) St. Paul's camp-out in the Spring semester.
11.) 4th of July with the little guy... waiting for the fireworks to begin.
12.) Me and Chuck Wicks.. Enough said. (those of you who have never heard of him should check out his song 'Stealing Cinderella')
13.) Confirmation I retreat just a few months ago. Good times.
14.) Thanksgiving with the family
15.) The group of people at my birthday dinner. I have some of the BEST friends in the world. :) I am a lucky girl.
16.) Two more of my favorite guy friends that I hang-out with all the time at St. Paul's.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" :)

Tonight I must say I finally feel as though Christmas is right around the corner... This week-end my dad, sister, nephew, and I went to pick-out our live Christmas tree. It is a family tradition we have had... to always have a live one. We usually go to the same place every year to get it too. Normally we drive out and walk around till we find the perfect one and then flag down someone to come and cut it down. This year was a little different because it was raining when we went to pick it out, so instead we chose one of the pre-cut ones in the barn. The tree farm always hands out free hot cider and hot chocolate for everyone as a thanks for buying from them.
Every year when it comes to decorating the tree I somehow end up being the one who helps my dad put the christmas lights on it. He gets very picky about his lights and I suppose that is why no one else likes to help him. He is a perfectionist and it is funny for me to watch him get all flustered... "Teresa, don't step on those lights!" "Teresa, what happened to the string of lights I just had. Why are they now all red and white!!!" "Teresa, are the lights synchronized. They have to be synchronized or it just is not going to work." The usual saying every year. It would not be the same without them though.
We then all have fun with the whole family decorating the tree. Every year my dad makes us all handmade wooden ornaments as part of our christmas stocking stuffers. I have one from every year since '89. They are precious to me. That is what the top picture is of... one of the ones my daddy made me.
After all is said and done we then have a toast with egg nog. Now I am not a huge fan of egg nog, but I will always partake in our family tradition. :)
Now that the Nativity scene is out in our front yard, and the house smells of pine because our Christmas tree is all nice and pretty I can honestly say "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." For me anyway. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life Does Not Revolve Around Me

Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day ("who really ought to get a job") is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day That of all the gifts you give us Lord, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity.

Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Working for God on earth doesn't pay much......but His retirement plan is out of this world.

I received this prayer from a friend of mine on facebook. It really does put things into perspective. It is interesting to me how quick we can be with people while waiting in traffic and such. We live in such a fast-paced world and I know I need to remind myself that life should not revolve around me and should not be paced to just my own needs. Everyone has their own problems and issues... just because I want things to go faster or slower does not mean that everyone else cares. In the grand scheme of things I really should take the time to say a quick prayer for the person who is annoying me by moving like a turtle or speeding like a demon. I know that might help me keep my own cool too.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Poem About Antioch 2010

We were called together
To somewhat "get away"
From our stresses and burdens
We are here today
To get to know God
And deepen our love.
A not so long distance relationship
With the man above.
I thank you for what you have done
and what you will do.
I'm glad you came to Antioch.
I'm glad to have known you!
~Andrew Brinkman~

The above poem was written to me by one of the retreatants and I thought I would share. It is really a nice poem. :) Gotta love it!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"My Year In Facebook Status" 2010

My First Communion :)

The above picture is of my first communion class. I stole it from my friend's blog. I am the fifth kid from the right in the front row.

Looking at this picture really makes me realize that God will place people into your life at the best times. My really good friend, whom I stole this photo from, ended up receiving three of the sacraments together; First Communion, First Reconciliation, and Confirmation. Funny thing about this is the fact that we did not know each other at all throughout those years. I mean I remember seeing him around during Confirmation classes, but not at all from the other two sacraments. It was not until we were both in college that we met on a retreat and really got to know each other. I just find it a bit interesting to think about, myself. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm "Alive Again!"

This past week-end I spent with an amazing group of high schoolers leading a high school retreat... Antioch 2010, "Alive Again." I have worked on four of these Antioch retreat now, and I have to say I think we finally got it right this time. This team of leaders had each attended many deep and life changing retreats, whereas in the past not everyone had... it makes a huge difference when the leaders all have the common goal of wanting to make a powerful retreat experience. It was a very special week-end.

Within the team I also believe we each ended up giving the most perfect talk topics for us to reach these kids on a deeper level than before. I gave the one on "homecoming," otherwise known as the confession talk. I must admit all these years I have kind of known I should give this talk, but this one has always scared me. I opened up more deeply than I have ever really wanted to for a group of mostly strangers. It was an incredibly humbling experience for me and to be honest everything that came out of my mouth I know was from God. I fought the talk, and I ended up winning. I know that because one of the kids came up to me after my talk and told me that she had made up her mind before the retreat that she was not going to go to confession, but then after hearing my talk she changed her mind... I talked about my own "homecoming" story. I focused on how as we go to a doctor when we are physically ill we should go to a priest for confession to help our soul get well... Just like a doctor needs to have all of our medical history to best know how to help us get better the priest needs to know everything to give us the spiritual medicine and advice to help us get better... How it is time to take a good look at ourselves because every single person has something that we want to keep hidden and are ashamed about, but to really be touched and heal and really come closer to God it is time to come clean about those things in a safe environment. How waiting in line thinking about what we will tell is ten times more terrifying than actually saying it in the confessional. It is the most worthwhile thing they can do for themselves on this retreat... There was way more than that, but to be honest I do not remember everything that came out of my mouth.

Other than the team members helping make this retreat amazing I have to hand it to the kids themselves. They rose to the occasion... all the challenges we put to them they did. As a small group leader my favorite part is watching how the kids come in the first day versus how they leave on the last day. The change is amazing. A good third of the retreatants came because they were offered some confirmation service hours by helping out cleaning after meals and preparing meals and being in charge of the ice breakers. These kids obviously came just because they thought it would be an easy way to get most of their hours out of the way. They had no idea what they were walking into. A few of them were in my small group and the transformation from not really into this to completely all in was awesome. They let themselves be open-minded and open to God which is the true key for a retreat to work.

I am truly in awe with the whole week-end. God is really amazing. Knowing I was a part of that makes it even more meaningful for me. The whole group came out of this week-end feeling "Alive Again!" It is a retreat I know I will never forget. Thank-you for all who did pray as I asked. I am more grateful than you could know. Praise be God!!!! :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time To Try And Show God's Love

As I have mentioned very briefly in the first paragraph, quite a bit of my attention this week has been focused on my family. A lot of different things have happened and it all just makes me sad. Tonight as I sat here I looked over at the little quote for the day calendar and this it what it said...

"God knows about the family. He invented it. God designs and intends the family to reflect His love. Your family may be fractured. You can begin a restoration process in your family by showing God's love."

I needed to read that. It hit me in a strong way. "Showing God's Love." A friend of mine wrote a post last night on acts of love. Charity is something I do need to work on. Even though I am frustrated in a lot of ways with some members of my family I know enough to know they will not respond to a lecture. So I am going to do something a little different. Instead I am going to show God's love by being more charitable towards them. It is not going to be easy, but I think it should be done. It is small, but it is a start.

"When I act as charity bids, I have this feeling that it is Jesus who is acting in me; the closer my union with him, the greater my love for all the sisters without distinction"
~St. Therese of Lisieux~

Just A Little Side-Tracked Lately

I must admit, I am usually on top of my game when it comes to scheduling and not forgetting things I have scheduled. This week, however, I have somehow messed up a number of things. I know why I have had my mind on other things, but that is still no excuse when it comes to missing meetings and such. My mind has been going from work, to school, to more family issues than usual, to hanging-out with friends, the retreat on my mind, my talk that I will be giving. It is a lot to think about that it is no wonder I forgot about a confirmation facilitator meeting I had tonight, which I am very sad I missed considering it was going to be focused our Confirmation II retreat that I am helping with. Not really one I needed to miss.

Tonight I was praying with the Antioch retreat team for the week-end to go smoothly. We prayed a rosary together. After that we talked a lot about last minute details that needed to be smoothed over. It was a productive time. I am pretty confident this will be a great week-end. I hope that I am right about that.

So my lesson learned for tonight... Always check my calendar before saying I am free for a spontaneous get-together.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So Much To Do...And So Little Time

This week has been my spiritual preparation week for the Antioch retreat I am doing. As a spiritual bouquet for the two dozen retreatants who will be attending I have decided to do a number of things. I started my week off with fasting. Not at all an easy endeavor, but so far I have been doing great. Though I must say my stomach has been growling now off and on for three hours. Not at all a fun feeling, but I am very strong-willed and stubborn. Once I decide to do something I will do it no matter what. I also made it to confession this week to prepare myself even more to help lead the high schoolers closer to God. I spent my Holy hour with Jesus in Eucharistic adoration and prayed about this retreat among many other things in my life that I need to give to God. Tomorrow evening along with the many other last minute things I MUST get done in preparation for this upcoming week-end, the team and I are meeting together to pray about the retreat for about a half hour or so.

There is so much I have to do left to leave for this retreat with a free mind. I have to get some laundry done, clean up my room, polish off my retreat talk out-line. I need to remember to print off directions to the retreat center. I also need to do my work-out, because I won't have much free time for that at all on the week-end. Obviously I have to pack for the trip. That has to be done. Add in work all day for the next two days and there is not that much time to get everything done...with sleep included that is. The only reason I am typing this last paragraph out is because it is to help remind me of what I need to do.

Those of you who happen upon this post within this week I would appreciate prayers for this retreat week-end to go smoothly. The more prayers the better! Thanks very much. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Everyone Has A Role To Play In Life....

Today is the feast of St. Andrew. I have always liked this apostle. He did not really like being in the spot light too much, unlike his older brother, St. Peter. St. Andrew did have some pretty big roles he played in the Gospels. He introduced Peter to Jesus. He also was the one who found the boy with the fish when Jesus fed the hungry crowd. I like St. Andrew because he is a lot like me. He did not need to be the main leader, the one who received all the attention. He was there to help, but did not want to be in charge. I feel the same way. I do not mind hopping on board with things such as retreat leadership teams, teaching confirmation, Bible studies, and even with my own job when I am part of the group. If someone were to ask me to actually be in charge of putting the leadership teams together or be the director of my daycare, I would refuse. I am sure I could do it, but all the pressure that comes with that role adds to much stress to my already hectic life. Each role is equally important in life, and St. Andrew helps remind me that sometimes it can be those who stay in the back ground that deserve some recognition just as the main spokesperson does.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Defending Love

"When you defend the one you love from accusations and misunderstandings, you're being loyal. You know what God has done for you, but have you defended Him when others accuse Him?"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wait.... Tomorrow Is Monday???

Well the turkey was cut, the dinner was eaten, and fellowship was shared. This week-end is finally coming to an end.

The house is pretty quiet now because my family has all gone back to their homes. Everything is pretty much back to normal. My family and I are sitting here with the Colt's game on tv. Normally I would be right there with them watching it, but after last week's incredibly heartbreaking loss I am not really wanting to deal with watching them lose another one. I know, I am not being the most loyal fan, but I am ok with that tonight.

I did have a lot of fun with my family. My favorite night with everyone was Friday evening. All us younger cousins went together in a group to our comedy club here in town. Now, I must admit I was not quite sure what kind of comedian I was going to see. I was actually worried he might not be so funny, but I am very happy I was wrong. He was incredibly humorous, and the comedy club was not such a bad place to go to. If there is another comedian like him who comes around I will happily go listen to that person. After the show those of us over twenty-one went to have a couple of drinks at Nick's. It was a nice time there joking around and enjoying eachother's company. We soon decided we wanted to go somewhere to dance, but sadly all the bars with dancing all had their dancing rooms closed off. After going to three different ones and watching one random girl taken out of a bar on a stretcher we all called it a night. I realized that night why I do not really go "barhopping" anymore. It can be very frustrating at times. I much prefer going to a chill place and have a few drinks with friends. I do not need to be out all night. I guess it means I am starting to get old.

I have learned a lot about my family this week-end more than ever before. Lots of different things came out, and there are lots of things to pray about. I am happy to have gotten to spend this week-end with them. I love them all dearly and am very blessed that God gave them to me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I Am Most Thankful For

Since I may not have the chance to blog once my family arrives than I figured I would do one more tonight before I go to bed. There are many things I am grateful for... Here is a list. :)

I am thankful for:

The family God gave me,
The friends God put into my life,
a country where I am free to not hide my Catholic pride.
I am thankful for the roof over my head,
the clothes on my back, and the food and clean water to fill my belly.
I am thankful to be able to work at a job where I look forward to going to everyday.
I am thankful for the love of music my parents have instilled in me.
I am thankful for electricity so that I am able to blog and watch tv and keep warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot.
I am thankful for the many good memories I have had in my life, luckily so far they far outweigh the sad ones. :)
I am thankful for times when someone makes me laugh when I would rather cry and calm me down when I have been so angry that I might act without thinking.
I am thankful for so many more things. If I wrote them all here it would be an incredibly long list...


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Calm Before The Storm

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Ever since I can remember we always have had dinner with my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. I am blessed to have family that live so close by so that I do have the fond memories of Thanksgiving dinner. For the majority of my life I had my Aunt and Uncle and cousins live in the house right across the street from me. I grew up with my cousins. They are all younger than me, but we played together constantly that they are more than cousins...They became like brothers and sisters.

Every Thanksgiving my Uncle has almost always been in charge of cooking the turkey. Us kids have enjoyed being involved with helping the "older cousins" with making he appetizers and desserts. The family recipes of stuffing, green bean casserole, and the ever curious cranberries... mostly canned. Never been that sure of cranberries... We tended to sometimes make hash brown casserole or mashed potatoes and gravy. DELICIOUS!!! Then of course the many different choices for desserts... pumpkin pies, cherry pies, apple pies, cheese cake, cookies, banana pudding, chocolate cream pie... You name it we probably had it. It was a elementary school kid's dream because no one ever really watched how much sugar we would inhale.

Before dinner us kids always were running around and driving everyone crazy, which as I have gotten older still happens with the younger kids. We always used our imaginations to figure out fun things to do while we waited for dinner time. My dad would go around with his video camera and filmed the chaos that was going on. Before dinner ALL of us would have to go around and tell each other what we were thankful for then we would pray. Once the turkey was carved it was a free-for-all. Everyone kinda going for it. Pure mayhem. After dinner we pull out the karaoke machine and belt out whatever music we have for it. The adults pull out a bottle of wine while cleaning the kitchen in preparation for phase two of the night while the guys sit around the tv watching football... Once it is time for dessert everyone fills their plate with a little bit of everything, which ends up being a HUGE plateful of sugar. Once stuffed till we cannot move we go onto our game part of the day. Sometimes crazy games of spoons where someone tends to come out a little injured, or family feud, or scattergories, tripoly....We play until late and the kids can't keep their eyes open.

This year, life will be a little crazy for my family. I like to think of tonight as the "calm before the storm." With Thanksgiving this Thursday for the next few days we are going to be busy preparing for it like no other. This year will be a very large thanksgiving dinner for my family since there will be about thirty of us coming together for dinner. Six of our family members/friends are coming from Tennessee and Georgia to join us and they will be staying at my parent's house. This means there will be ten of us here at my home for my nice five-day week-end. It will be a nice time from work, but I would not consider it a relaxing break. More like a very busy family/fun kind of week-end. As of now My parents and brother and I are offering our beds for our guests while we sleep on the couches/guest bed down stairs.... Not gonna lie, I am kinda gonna miss my bed, but luckily our couches are pretty comfy and since I am so short they are not at all that uncomfortable to sleep on.

So as much as I know this Thanksgiving is going to be a little like a tornado, I would not have it any other way. My family is the BEST!!!!!

Feeling Just A Little Frustrated...

There are times when I feel defeated while trying to help the youth at my parish. Just yesterday was our Eucharistic Adoration night for the high schoolers. We had announcements for it at Mass, in the confirmation classes, and even in our small groups. With all the publicity about this first big night it was pretty hard for us when NO high schoolers attended. We had two grad students come and join us along with an older woman, but not who we were hoping to see. It is times like that when I feel the most frustrated. I have heard from these kids time and time again how they want to do more with the youth group, and yet when it comes down to it they don't show. It was hard for all of us college students to take time out of our hectic schedules to plan this and carry it out. It felt like wasted time. Not actually being in adoration, but the planning of it. I know that this is pretty much a self-pity blog, but I am really frustrated. Hopefully when we plan our next event there will be some sort of turn-out. I just gotta keep praying because in the back of my mind I know that God will help get the kids that need it the most there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Parents Let Public Vote About Whether They Should Keep Their Child Or Abort...

This just makes me sick to my stomach.... This story made the news tonight. I am appalled about this. The fact that they won't even think about adoption as another option is the most selfish thing I have heard, and yet people here in America have had abortions over giving up their child for adoption more than I care to think about. Their reasoning is just selfish..."If I am not going to have this baby, no one else is going to take care of it either." It is depressing to watch this happen.... This is another reason why we must keep praying and fighting for an end to abortion.

Couple Creates Web Site Poll: Should We Have an Abortion?

A Minneapolis couple is struggling with the decision of whether or not to have an abortion. But instead of deciding for themselves on what is right, they set up a Web site to let the public vote on this life-altering decision.

Pete and Alisha Arnold said they launched because they are "unsure" if they want to have their first child.

Alisha is now 17 weeks pregnant and people have until December 7 to cast their vote. That's two days before the 20-week cut-off line for a legal abortion in Minnesota.

The couple said the vote will "influence their decision heavily." The latest results show an overwhelming 78% voting to keep the baby, with 22% voting for an abortion with more than 16,000 votes tallied.

Alisha writes on her blog:

I'm not convinced that I want to change the status quo. I feel that as I age I've actually gotten more selfish and set in my ways. I'm afraid that I will eventually regret starting a family and 'settling down.' I fear that the constant pressure to be the perfect wife and mother while maintaining a full-time job will eventually cause my brain to implode and lead to a nervous breakdown.

They say their poll is uniquely American, writing:

Voting is such an integral part of the American identity. We vote on everything from the best singer on American Idol to who the next leader of the free world will be. Wouldn't it be nice to voice your opinion and have it actually make a difference in the real world? Why not vote on whether to continue or abort an actual pregnancy?

The couple is denying claims that this is some sort of a pro-life publicity stunt. They told Gawker, "We are taking this very seriously. It's definitely not a pro-life campaign, we believe in a woman's right to choose.

One visitor to the site posted a comment that perhaps said it best:

If you're dumb enough to let random strangers on the internet decide the fate of your family, then you are certainly not mature enough to be parents. You need professional help.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My favorite Devotions

So a friend of mine tagged me to do this quite awhile ago. I am just now getting to it....

So, here are my personal favorite devotions...


Eucharistic Adoration

Stations of the Cross (during Lent)

Saint of the Day :)

The Angelus

And now I am supposed to tag three friends to tell about theirs... Enjoy!

Suzanne's Shorelines

The Long Journey Into Light

Just A Small Town Girl...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not So Surprised That It Starts Early

Recently our daycare received a large donation of books. The majority of the books that were given to us were Christian. Not a bad thing to have, although I really wish they were Catholic/Christian. A girl cannot be too picky when it comes to free books for my class... That is until I run into one book in particular that tries to teach anti-Catholic teachings. That is what this book in particular does. This book is supposed to be a nice Christmas story for children. It pretty much is about Mary, the Blessed Mother, sharing with her "granddaughter" about the night of Jesus' birth. It reads as though it is a fact that Jesus had a brother named James (who is the father of this girl in the book), which us Catholics know is not true.

I really should not be surprised that there are children's books out there that are worded and crafted so well, but are so not right. After reading the first page and realized what this author was trying to achieve with the beautiful pictures and nice storyline I did not finish reading it out loud. After finding such anti-Catholic doctrine in the story I spent some time going through the other books to make sure there were no more mishaps as this particular one.

So just F.Y.I., if someone suggests this book to you as a good gift to a child do not buy it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Did I Mention I Am A "Retreat Junkie?" Well I Am. :)

As I mentioned in my last post I have had a busy day. After confirmation classes a portion of us college students who are helping out with the youth group this year got together to brainstorm ideas on a retreat we will be holding for the kids. It will be a three-day week-end retreat that will be held in February. I have a feeling that there will be some good things that will come out of this, that is if we get kids to actually come. We are planning on sending fliers home with the parents as well as the kids in hopes that with the parents knowing about it then they will be more apt to send encourage their children to go. Hopefully with their help we will have a nice sized group. I am not sure exactly what will all be going on in this retreat except for the important things... Mass, Eucharistic adoration, and confession. I know a lot of community building will be happening on this retreat as well.

After this meeting I came home and began working on the talk that I will be giving on another retreat which will happen on the first week-end of Dec. My talk is all about confession. I know what I will talk about in my head. It is the actual organization of it all that I am struggling with at the moment... That and knowing that what I will talk about is not going to be easy at all for me to tell. It will be incredibly personal, but I hope that it will help change some of the kids and bring them closer to God.

I have had a hard time deciding on which two songs I will be using for my talk. In fact just now four different ones have gone through my head. I feel that the two below are going to be the most effective...most meaningful

Empty And Beautiful
Matt Maher

My past won't stop haunting me
In this prison there's a fight between
Who I am and who I used to be

This thorn in my side is a grace
For because of it the flesh and blood of God
Was offered in my place, my place

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Where did my best friends go?
In my defense they disappeared
Just like Your friends did to You, oh Lord

But You were there, You gave me strength
So this little one might come to know
The glory of Your name, Your name

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Awaiting, set apart like incense to Your heart
A libation I'm pouring out
Empty and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Savior, You kept the faith in me

Rascal Flatts

Yeah yeah yeah..

So, so you made a lot of mistakes
Walked down the road a little sideways
Cracked a brick when you hit the wall
Yeah, you've had a pocket full of regrets
Pull you down faster than a sunset
Hey, it happens to us all

When the cold hard rain just won't quit
And you can't see your way out of it

You find your faith has been lost and shaken
You take back what's been taken
Get on your knees and dig down deep
You can do what you think is impossible
Keep on believing, don't give in
It'll come and make you whole again
It always will, it always does
Love is unstoppable

Love, it can weather any storm
Bring you back to being born again
oh, it's a helping hand when you need it most
A lighthouse shinning on the coast
That never goes dim

When your heart is full of doubt
And you think that there's no way out

You find your faith has been lost and shaken
You take back what's been taken
Get on your knees and dig down deep
You can do what you think is impossible
Keep on believing, don't give in
It'll come and make you whole again
It always will, it always does
Love is unstoppable

Like a river keeps on rolling
Like the north wind blowing
Don't it feel good knowing

You find your faith has been lost and shaken
You take back what's been taken
Get on your knees and dig down deep
You can do what you think is impossible
Keep on believing, don't give in
It'll come and make you whole again
It always will, it always does
Love is unstoppable

Love is unstoppable
So you made a lot of mistakes
Walked down the road a little sideways
Love, love is unstoppable

Moral Choice Making

Today has been a very busy day for me. Confirmation class was today. The topic was "Moral Choice Making." The speaker was incredible, as usual. I have heard him speak a number of times now, and still it does not get old. He talked about how people seem to think of morals and ethics as the same thing, but they really are not the same thing at all. In his talk he left the kids with three things to try and do from now on.

1. Always form and listen to your good conscience.
2. Choose wonderful teachers/mentors
3. Keep good friends

In my small group today we mostly focused on the first of the three things. To always form and listen to your good conscience. This always so tricky for me, and apparently for the rest of my small group. We have no problem realizing what is morally right, but listening to our conscience and following what it is telling us to do is another story. I mentioned Matthew Kelley and how whenever he speaks he always says, "What will help make you become the better version of yourself?" I said that maybe if we think of our choices in life more as what will really make us better than it might be easier to follow our conscience more than just wanting to have "fun." Not everything that is "fun" is really going to help us become better people.

I really enjoy my small group. We have had a lot of great discussions in the short time we have together. They have surprised me so much in the way they are growing deeper in their faith. I have learned a lot from them, and hopefully I have been a positive enough role model for them as well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Striving For Sainthood Through Little Ways

The other night I was hanging out with my friends and we began discussing how we are all called to be saints. We then bounced around different ideas on how we can work on making Catholics have a positive rap here in my liberal college town. So, here is the list we came up with...

Remember to smile. Everyone enjoys seeing a happy friendly face.
Listen patiently when someone needs to talk... after listening, instead of forcing advice on a person offer to pray together about what the other person needed to talk about. Bring problems to God.
No matter where we go to eat remember to always pray... and when we make the sign of the cross before and after make sure it is not a quick gesture, but a proud one.
Volunteer helping out at the local community kitchen or homeless shelter
whenever we meet someone to always think in our heads "you are worthy of being loved." By thinking this hopefully it will help us remember the other person is also loved by God.
Invite a friend to Mass
Always strive to learn more about our faith so that when people do come to us with a question we can be prepared. At the same time there is no way we can know everything there is to our faith. Part of being Catholic is knowing that we don't know everything, but we want to learn as well. It is a lifelong learning process.
Try not to gossip. this is a hard one, but the more we avoid talking about people behind their backs the more people will begin to respect us.
Dress modestly, but in a confident manner.
Be polite and courteous.
Be proud to do things like the Eucharistic Procession...
Enjoy wearing catholic t-shirts, or retreat t-shirts.
When in a group of friends who want to do things that are anti-catholic try to suggest to them in a friendly manner something else to do. If they don't want to go along with you, that's fine. Just politely say you are not interested in that and excuse yourself from their plans.
Remember to be a role model for those who you never know are looking up to you. Do not do something that you would regret seeing a younger person, or peer do.

These are just a few of the points we thought up. I wish I could tell you I remember them all, but I don't. We talked about a LOT of different ways.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Letter Writing

Ever since reading the very long quote that is below this post I have spent a lot of time contemplating on it. Words are powerful. Words are also scary. Words are a necessity. They are what we learn to make sure each other's needs are heard and being met. The hardest part of using words for me is figuring out which ones I need to say and which ones I should just keep to myself. It is a guessing game for me in so many ways. I always worry about what will happen after everything has been laid out in front of a person... all the cards out on the table. The waiting period between telling someone something and receiving their reaction back is the most excruciating time period I can put myself through. I imagine so many scenarios, and usually they tend to be the worst ways the reaction will play out. I tend to do that as a defense mechanism, so mentally I have prepared for the worst so if it does end up being that I will be able to handle it in the best way possible. Then there are times I think I am right in holding those words back, but soon after I tend to regret keeping them to myself.

Usually when I have words I want to say but am really too scared to actually say them I will write the thoughts in letters. In fact I have a nice sized box of unsent letters under my bed. Some days I pull out the box and re-read them and see how much of my thoughts and feeling have changed since I last wrote the letter. If they are still right on then I will send it, but if they are different then I tend to just keep them in the box. I do this because I feel like in a heated moment I may say something that I do not mean at all, but once said I can't take back. I feel that by writing letters and waiting a few weeks or even a month after I have cooled off from the topic at hand I will have a better perspective on what I would want to say to that person. I feel a sense of relief after I write letters. Like a weight has been lifted from my chest.

I must say that writing letters is another favorite way to pray for me to. I have written so many letters to God. I tend to write them while in Adoration, or when I am at home before I go to bed. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night and write them. It may sound a little cheesy to some, but it is a way that I feel closest to God. Maybe you can try it yourself sometime and see how you like it. Who knows, you just might get hooked.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Speak Now!"

"Speak now or forever hold your peace,' the words said by preachers at the end of wedding ceremonies all over the world, right before the vows. It's a last chance for protest, a moment that makes everyone's heart race, and a moment I've always been strangely fascinated by. So many fantasize about bursting into a church, saying what they'd kept inside for years like in the movies. In real life, it rarely ever happens.
Real life is a funny thing, you know. In real life, saying the right thing at the right moment is beyond crucial. So crucial in fact, that most of us start to hesitate for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But lately what I've begun to fear more than that is letting the moment pass without saying anything.
I think most of us fear reaching the end of our life, and looking back regretting the moments we didn't speak up. When we didn't say 'I love you.' When we should've said 'I'm sorry.' When we didn't stand up for ourselves or someone who needed help.
Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together. I hope you use your words for good, because the only words you'll regret more than the ones left unsaid are the ones you use to intentionally hurt someone.
What you say might be too much for some people. Maybe it will come out all wrong and you'll stutter and you'll walk away embarassed, wincing as you play it all back in you head. But I think the words you stop yourself from saying are the ones that will haunt you the longest.
So say it to them. Or say it to yourself in the mirror. Say it in a letter you'll never send or in a book millions might read someday. I think you deserve to look back on your life without a chorus of resounding voices saying 'I could've, but it's loo late now.'
There is a time for silence. There is a time waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it.
I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now."
~Taylor Swift~

This past weekend I was very happy to finally buy the new Taylor Swift cd. I must say I am pleased with the new music she has put out. I still am impressed with how easily she can write such great songs. The above quote is from the booklet inside the cd. Those who own her cd cannot miss the first two pages this was written on. There is a lot of truth that comes through that long quote... Enjoy!

I'm A Fighter, Well Atleast This Past Week-end I Was

I fail with blogging lately. Not that I do not enjoy it, I just have not had much time for it. I got hit pretty hard with strep throat this past Friday, so I spent my day at the doctor and then sleeping... no blogging or anything much else got done that day.

Saturday was our confirmation I retreat (the photo is of our retreat group). I think it went over very well. The kids seemed to enjoy it, which is the most important thing. There was adoration, morning prayer, ice breakers, community building activities. Discussion about why being catholic is the right way to go, prayer life, chastity, and modesty. There was time for watching a quick vocations video. We had confession, and ended it with Mass. That is just a quick recap of the day. If you are interested in reading more about our retreat you can visit my friend, Mike's, blog. He put a lot more detail into his entry on it. I guess I will let him win this time since he was our fearless retreat leader.

Sunday was spent still recovering from being sick, because I pushed myself probably a little harder than I should have. Saturday I came home and felt spent. I hardly spent time on the computer at all. I let myself sleep in a little bit before going to Bible study.

Today I am happy to say I am completely back to my old self. I even did some tae-bo because I felt so lazy after being sick this week-end... not that I was being lazy. I just felt like I was.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Parenting 101

Tonight I got a little taste of what motherhood is like. I was put in charge of my four nephews ages 10, 9, 7, and 9 months old for the night. I immediately went to pick the three older ones up from their after-care program after work. We came to their home where I made us dinner. After that my mother, who was baby-sitting the baby, dropped him off. I then went to work getting him to bed, feeding him a bottle, and rocked him till he fell asleep. Meanwhile making sure the three older ones were getting their homework done and not killing eachother. After the baby went to sleep the rest of us spent a little bit of time watching t.v. together. Then slowly and surely, I got each of them to all tucked into bed all safe and sound. It has been a hectic day, and finally have a bit of alone time before I hit the bed here.
I am actually happy I got the chance to have all four of the boys to myself. It helped me know that even though parenting will be challenging in many ways, at the end of the day when you look at the kids all sleeping like perfect angels it is all worth it in the end. As much as I enjoy not being a parent at the moment, nights like this make me remember how much I do want to become a mother myself....:)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Life is Crazy

I have just realized I have not really blogged once this whole week. I have been one busy girl with hardly any free-time.... So what am I up too?!?!?


9:00 - 5:30: work
6:00 - 7:30: class
7:30 - 8:15: quick dinner with a friend
8:30 - 11:30: colt's game (I know... some may say sad excuse, but those people are not colt's fans...)


8:30 - 8:45: Vote!
9:00 - 5:30: work
5:30 - 6:15: Mass
6:30 - 7:15: Youth group Eucharistic Adoration planning meeting
7:30 - 8:00: work-out
8:00 - ?: Reading Homework


9:00 - 5:30: Work
6:00 - 7:00: Confirmation Facilitator's Meeting
7:30 - 8:00: Dinner with friends
8:00 - 9:00: Eucharistic Adoration (Holy Hour)
9:00 - 10:30: Drop-in/catching up with friends


9:00 - 5:30: Work
5:30 - morning next day: Baby-sitting my four nephews/ catching up on homework after they are asleep


9:00 - 5:30: Work
6:00 - 7:00: Dinner with a Friend
7:15 - ?: Cleaning up my room (must be done)/hanging out with my sister


8:30 - 6:00: Confirmation I retreat
6:00 - ?: NOTHING PLANNED!!! (possibly catch my breath)

So as you can see I will not have too much free time at all the rest of the week. I just wanted to put this up as a reminder to myself of what I have to do. I have a lot! There is just not enough time in the day....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"The Voice Within"

"Yes! My Word, the Scriptures. Read them, study them; store them in your hearts, use them as you use a lamp to guide your footsteps.
But remember, My children, My Word is more even than that. It is the Voice that speaks to your hearts, that inner consciousness that tells of Me.
It is the Voice that speaks to you intimately, personally, in this sacred evening time. It is even more than that. It is I you Lord and Friend.
'And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.' Truly a lamp to your feet, and a light to your path."
Which is why we should read it....:)

It's Halloween Time!

- by Mary Jane Carr

Witches flying past on broomsticks,
Black cats leaping here and there,
White-robed spooks on every corner,
Mournful moaning in the air,

Goblins peering out of windows,
Spirit-things that rap and run-
But don't be scared-it's just October,
Having one last hour of fun!

Why I Don't Want To Follow The Crowd

"The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one in the world has seen before."

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Gone...

For the week-end that is. I will be spending this week-end with an old friend of mine in Ohio. I probably won't have time to blog while there. I do promise a few entries when I return on Sunday though! Please keep me in your prayers, as this is actually the first time I have gone on a road trip without anyone else with me. I know my mom is secretly freaking out about this, so the more people praying should help ease her mind. lol

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Catholic Voting

Last night the topic of discussion for s.l.t.'s "holy" hour was about Catholic voting. It was a very intense subject. There is a funny joke that I thought about last night from "Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin." "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.." This line kept coming to me because this topic became pretty heated last night. Everyone has their own opinions on who to vote for and why. It is tricky trying to decipher who to vote into leadership roles in this country when each of the main parties are both very flawed.

The nights discussion was to remind us where the church stands on voting. There are five non-negotiable issues which the Catholic church says should never be promoted by the law... Voting for a candidate which openly supports either one of these five things is a mortal sin. The five issues are as follows; abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual "marriage. This definitely makes voting for us Catholics very difficult. We have to take great caution when we do cast our votes. After hearing all of this last night it almost makes me not want to vote. It also reminds me that I really have to research each candidate more thoroughly. It is easy to vote for a "pro-life" candidate for me. I would never vote for a pro-choice candidate. After last night though I realized that even if that candidate claims they are against abortion that does not mean they are also against the other four issues the Church stands on.

It is obvious that our nation needs a lot of prayer and real Catholic people in the leadership roles. I know I will be praying and gathering lots of info on the candidates before I go to vote.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's The Possiblity That Excites Me

Tonight I had the pleasure of sitting down for a meeting with an amazing group of people over dinner. Fr. Bill took a group of us college students out to dinner and to talk about how we can help the high school youth group this year. Our parish is in search of a new youth minister, and since we will probably not find one till sometime next year we assembled this group to work together until the youth minister is hired. Usually the youth group is run by college students, so that is nothing too new for the parish. What is different right now is that the group will be much larger than usual, and it is filled with some pretty fun and very Catholic people.

Tonight we all decided that next month we will begin our youth group with a night of Eucharistic Adoration (I personally wanted to add the option of confession too, but that did not go over that well, sadly), pizza, ice breakers, games with prizes, and some sort of sporting event.... There will be notifications sent in the mail directly to the kids along with announcements made at each Mass. AT the next confirmation there will be a mandatory survey for the kids to fill out about what they want in the youth group. With their input hopefully we will have a nice turn-out. I am really feeling excited by the possibility of what the youth group can be. Hopefully it will be a great turn-out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Eucharistic Procession Photos

Just a few photos from the Eucharistic Procession that was held this past Wed. evening.

Road Trip Down to St. Meinrad

Yesterday was a very eventful day. Two friends and I went on a road trip down to St. Meinrad's Monastery where we visited some of our seminarian friends. We made there in a record time of two hours, which I must say I am still proud of myself for. The first activity scheduled for our day was Mass. After that we spent some time catching up with a few of the seminarians over lunch. We enjoyed looking around the main church while our "tour guide," Mike, practiced for a concert he participated in today. He then took us through the Monastery and drove us around the few shrines that around the St. Meinrad. We prayed a rosary together at one of them; the Monte Cassino (the top two photos). After all of that we ended our day there praying evening prayer with the monks. It was a great balance of prayer and fun.

Revelations 1

This year my friends and I are part of another Bible study. This time around we are looking more in-depth at the book of Revelations. Today was our first meeting and we spent a lot of our time going over what the significance of numbers and colors are in this book along with discussing the first chapter.

There is great meaning held behind the numbers and colors. The number 3 stands for a few or a limited time; 4 means fullness; 6 is incomplete; 7 means completeness and perfection; 10 means limited; 12 is also completeness because it is a multiple of 3 and 4; and lastly 1,000 means numbers to large to count. When the color white is mentioned is symbolizes victory; red means blood shed or violence; scarlet means royalty and blood shed; purple just means royalty; black means famine; and pale green is for death.

As we went through the first chapter of Revelations we noticed that there is some important happenings going on. If you look at Daniel 7 you would come across, "I beheld thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days sat: his garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like clean wool: his throne like flames of fire: the wheels of it like a burning fire."
This is important to keep in mind as you look at Revelations 1:13-14, "And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. And his head and his hairs were white, as white wool, and as snow." Our group came to the conclusion that this is another way to show how both God and Jesus are the very same person.

There is a little bit more to this first chapter that we covered, but sadly I do not have the time to go much farther into right now. I am thinking this will be one interesting Bible study.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fighting To Keep Childhood Innocence

This past week it seems as though the majority of the conversations I have held with my friends have all at one point or another focused mainly on sex. What I mean by that is we have discussed how sad it is that the kids nowadays are becoming sexually mature at an early age. Just this evening one of my friends was telling me how an eleven year old she knew of in her hometown had become pregnant. Eleven years old. It completely shocked me. Thinking back to age eleven I was just beginning to kind of notice boys. Sex completely grossed me out. Most of my friends have all agreed with this being how it was for them as well. It seems to me that children are growing up way earlier than they need to.

I became even more curious about how serious this may be down the road for the future of these kids. Apparently in one public middle school they handed out a sex survey which was very detailed. You are welcome to read more about that if you click here. I am very saddened to hear that such a detailed sex survey is being handed to seventh graders. I am not a parent, but I am pretty sure if I was a parent of a child at that school I would be furious. There is a study that has been going on with this age group which you can read about by looking here. Obviously there is a huge factor in this study which I do not agree with, and that is pushing more condoms into Middle schools. I do not think that will fix this issue... In fact that just tells them that having sex that young is ok.

Here are some more facts I have found:

Nearly half (46%) of all 15–19-year-olds in the United States have had sex at least once.

By age 15, only 13% of never-married teens have ever had sex. However, by the time they reach age 19, seven in 10 never-married teens have engaged in sexual intercourse.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia explicitly allow all minors to consent to contraceptive services without a parent's involvement (as of January 2010). Two states (Texas and Utah) require parental consent for contraceptive services in state-funded family planning programs

Of the 18.9 million new cases of STIs each year, 9.1 million (48%) occur among 15–24-year-olds.

Although 15–24-year-olds represent only one-quarter of the sexually active population, they account for nearly half of all new STIs each year

Each year, almost 750,000 women aged 15–19 become pregnant.

Ten percent of all U.S. births are to teens

1 out of 5 people will have an std withing the next few years.

These are only a few statistics and if I had more time tonight to really look for more I would. This is enough for me to read and know something is not working right when it comes to our kids.

Sometimes I wish I was born in a different century when everyone cared strongly about their reputations and how other people viewed them. Sex was supposed to be for marriage, as it should be today. All I can keep doing is working on being the best role model I can for the kids I am around. I want to be held accountable because I do know I have quite a few people who do look up to me. With lots of prayer and focus on my goal I am pretty sure I will not go wrong. I know, that is much easier said than done.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Something Extraordinary

If you were a bystander on third street in my hometown, you would have witnessed something extraordinary... A Eucharistic Procession. It is not something that happens everyday and I am sure it was a sight to see for those people who had no idea was was coming at them.

It was a gorgeous fall evening for this beautiful and sacred procession. The night sky was clear and the whether was perfect. The air smelled of incense around us as the altar servers carried it with us. It was simply perfect.

I was part of the ninety or so people who made up our group. We prayed the rosary and the divine mercy chaplet. We also sang church hymns in between each decade of the prayers. It is a special connection between a group when we all know that what we are doing is important. It is bringing Christ out to others. It is about bringing the heart of our faith and putting it out there for all to see. Yes, there were a few who yelled out some not so nice things to us, but the majority of the people we crossed paths with were very respectful of us. We passed a few fraternity houses and the frat boys would come out and just stand and stare. When they were handed a card about what they were they would take it with interest. It was a memorable evening.

I do not have pictures right now of this event, but you can expect me to put some up as soon as I possibly can.