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 www.birthornot.com 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....