Friday, April 20, 2012

These are rockin' blogs

My friend Francine nominated my blog for an award, so I decided to return the favor.

Check out these sweet blogs (with 200 followers or less-- what, are people crazy?):

Francine @ Beautiful, Sweet Life (Her sister Justine was my roommate-- and is one of my besty friends-- so sometimes I got to talk to Francine's baby on skype, thankfully now she has a blog about her fam. All I can say is lol.)

Emily @ Just Weird Enough (the only thing better than reading the stories on Emily's blog is having her tell them to you in person. Her sister Grace is like the Godfather of Catholic blogs because if she links your post on her blog, you automatically get a million visits)

Jenny @ Mama Needs Coffee (she's my sister and is super brilliant and witty concerning all things Catholic & counter-cultural, so, you know, that's a lot to live up to)

Lizzie @ Do You Live in a Rock? (she's also my sister and is really funny and crafty, also hard to live up to)

Cool girl @ Life in the Gap (umm, I don't actually know her name and feel like a total creeper, but we must have some common blog buddies b/c I somehow found her blog about being single and Catholic and really love it. We should be real life friends some day).

the rules:

a. choose 5 up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers to give the award to (Opps, did I cheat by linking multiple blogs in one entry?)
b. show your thanks to the blogger who awarded you by linking back to them
c. post the award on your blog
d. list the blogs you gave the award to by linking on your site. Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know you awarded them. (Nah, they'll figure it out)
e. list 5 random facts about yourself. (there's already enough weird stuff about me on here. No need to know more at this time.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta suck it up

After attending the world's most depressing Theology on Tap the other evening, I was going to write a post about how there is empirical evidence that right now really is a crappy time to be a single lady in search of a good man.

It would have sounded something like, "Waaah, wah wah. It's society's fault I'm single," or, "Boo hoo, I have so many problems," or even, "Noo, now I have to adopt cats and raise them as my family."

Then I realized that I probably wouldn't even be my friend after reading such a shameless display of self-pity.

But concern for social acceptance aside, I realized I really was thinking like a self-centered little snot.

You see, life is never just sunshine and lollipops (or a perpetual honeymoon as I imagine married life to be). It is work, no matter what one's marital status is. Yes, it is often filled with great joy, but right alongside that is pain and suffering.

Yesterday, as I was thinking out my pity party post, a friend of mine found out his friend's father passed away just a few months before his son was to be ordained a priest.

And there I was, trying to come up with witty ways of using cultural woes to explain away my marital status. (Please insert lengthy eye-roll here)

So, yes, it is hard to be a Catholic single woman in such a secular culture. And yes, it does often seem like men who share my values and morals don't exist (or are already taken or are not interested). But, at the same time, it's always going to be hard to be a Catholic anything in this world. Priest, Nun, Parent, Spouse, you name it.

You see, as Christians, we are not made to find prefect ease and comfort on this earth (I mean, I still want to just spend my life sitting by the pool drinking wine while listening to a live orchestra play Beethoven, but Heaven will infinitely more awesome even than that).

We know that this life is fleeting and just a preparation for eternity. We are given this time to fight and  prepare ourselves for Heaven. And God gives us the opportunity to do that everyday of our lives, with whatever he puts in front of us.

As Papa B said, "The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness."

You said it, Papa B.

So, on the one hand, I could just give up and give in to our culture's dating standards. It would be much quicker and easier to find someone for sure.

On the other hand, I could suck it up and just enjoy being single while it lasts, knowing all the while that I'm saying no to instant gratification now for the sake of a deeper and more lasting joy later.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guilty Catholics like me love Divine Mercy

Here's the thing with Catholic guilt: it really is useful when applied properly.

Now, I know any non-Catholics reading this must be thinking, "Right, like it's healthy for people to be guilted into believing in God. That's why there's so many ex-Catholics!"

Well, my brother or sister in Christ; you are absolutely correct.

In my experience, when I first began to take my faith more seriously, it was first out of guilt. I was at a great Catholic school and always had the opportunity to receive the sacraments, go to adoration, pray the rosary, study scripture or whatever else my little pious heart could desire.

Only, I didn't want to do it out of love for God; I usually felt compelled to do these things out of concern for how other students would see me and what God would think if I neglected to take advantage of the plentiful opportunities that campus gave me to spend time with Him.

I would go to mass not because I wanted to necessarily, but more because I wanted to look holy or I was afraid God would somehow not love me as much as I didn't.

"Aha!" You skeptics will say, "See? You are guilted into being a Catholic! You're trying to earn your salvation through liturgy and Marian devotion!"

Again, you are entirely correct. But you know what? That's not the Church's fault. It's entirely my own.

You see, the way I saw my relationship with God is a sign of my own disordered view of  how I related to Him and other people. Often times, due to lack of self esteem (or whatever, I'm still trying to figure it out myself) I'd try to earn people's love because I was sure there was no way they cold possibly just love me for me. I mean, it didn't make sense. How could our Savior die for me with no strings attached? It just seemed too simple.

Well, the more I allowed myself to ask that question, the more I realized that it really is that simple.
Of course God thirsts for our hearts and longs for us to be in union with Him, but He redeemed us regardless of what we do.

Now, I know what this sounds like: I've been saved and that's that! Well, yes and no. Obviously, God died for every soul, but it's up to us to reject or accept His love. On a daily basis.

That, I realized, is why I felt guilty. Not because God would no longer love me but because I chose my snooze button over the Eucharist, being the center of attention over keeping my mouth shut and allowing someone else to tell a funny story, a movie before bed over praying with Our Lady.

Obviously God will always love me no matter what, but can I say the same?

That is why I am so grateful for the blessing that is Divine Mercy Sunday.

This is the feast in which God reminds us that He doesn't care what we've done. Yes, we may have rejected Him in the past, but that is not what matters to Him. What matters is if we choose to love Him above all else.

It's a tall order, but He asks no more than what He's willing to do Himself.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

He is Risen!

Alright, so thanks to an oversight in my auto-posting, I look like a heathen because I haven't talked about the most amazing thing to ever happen on God's green earth (and the universe, for that matter): God became man, was beaten and tortured to death by the very people he came to redeem, was sealed in a tomb, descended into hell and then -- wait for it -- He rose from the dead!

(Thankfully, it's still Easter, so I don't look like a total pagan)

Here are a few awesome things that happened to me this Easter (in no particular order):

1. I went to Virginia and visited my sister Lizzie and her lovely family and got to meet my cutie nephew Charlie and hang out with Mikey, the biggest, baddest 2 & 1/2 year old on the block.

2. I got the 12 hour stomach flu and almost passed out during Mass and had to take refuge in the minivan before communion (this is sarcasm, it was not awesome to be sick and not receive the Eucharist on Easter).

3. A very dear friend of mine who has been going through a rough time decided to make some major changes in her life (most of which were/ will be enacted during during Holy Week, Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday annnd the feast of her patron, St. Bernadette. Coincidence? I think not- listen up, kiddos: prayer works).

4. My awesome friends Emily and Emily have been dedicated to celebrating Easter every day this week which has resulted in two nights of me not having to make dinner for myself. And getting to hang out with them!

5. I realized that even though we can be apart for months at a time, I am still a younger sister and act like one (just ask Lizzie why she got pegged in the forehead with a graham cracker).

6. I was introduced to some baby goats by the precocious 7-year-old next door neighbor.

7. I intentionally left my Easter candy in VA because I know I have no shred of self control when it comes to Reese's cups, but immediately regretted the decision as soon as I got back to my apartment and found it chocolate-less.

8. The girl on the plane next to me was reading Catching Fire while I was reading Mockingjay. Even though she didn't say hello back to me when she first sat down, I know we could definitely be friends some day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sometimes people do not know what I'm talking about

I believe it is high time I defined some of the terms I use on this blog so any people actually reading this will actually know what I am referring to. So in absolutely no alphabetical or coherent order here it is:

a Hunky Boy- refers to any young male I happen to take a fancy to at any given time. Due to my track record, it is safe to assume this situation generally ends in tragedy, and not even the interesting, poetic Shakespearean kind of tragedy. More like the anti-climactic, "Oh, he's dating that babe now?" kind of tragedy. Not to be confused with The Hunky Boy, which is the man I am going to marry, but have yet to meet.

babe- a complimentary term referring to a lovely lady. Don't worry, radical feminists, I'm a female so I can use this term without it being derogatory.

footer- (foo-tur) a person in the early stages of childhood who is especially precocious, (ie; my brother Patrick from age 0-9) and thinks he or she rules the world (and is usually right). They are known to wander over to the neighbor's house to knock back a couple root beers with the retired naval officer (whilst their family frantically searches) at age three.

Muriel - a little girl of the footer persuasion who was in the elementary school class I volunteered in during high school. The stories I told my family about her were so awkward and strange that my sister decided to call me by that name whenever I do anything strange or awkward (which is often).

Successful encounters with men- ok, so I stole this from an episode of 30 Rock. For me, it refers to any horribly awkward interaction with a male that I experience. I count this as "successful" because it is a) an encounter with a male (an anomaly in my life) and b) I am using sarcasm to cover up my utter embarrassment or discomfort.

Singlehood- my current status of not being married or in a romantic relationship. This episode, however lonely at times, is not to be spent wallowing in self-pity and gallons of cookies-and-cream ice cream (well, maybe sometimes). It is meant to be spent reveling in the freedom which my situation provides me which I will not be able to do once married. Ie; eating cereal for dinner (no one else to cook for), spending an entire day wandering around Denver (no other schedule to coordinate with), watching chick flicks with no sarcastic commentary (except my own), going to plays, museums, movies, etc. alone (very empowering if you've never done it before and are afraid of it), volunteering, bedecking my apartment with utterly feminine decor (hell yeah, I've got throw pillows and chandelier print lamp shades) and living in joyful expectation of the man (not perpetual adolescent) God has in mind for me.

Hopefully this will give you a little insight into the vocabulary that is generally only used in my interior dialogue.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sometimes I just go with the flow

I didn't want to admit this, but I feel I must. I am passive.

Very passive.

Pretty much up until just a few months ago, my whole life was just planned out and I followed it accordingly.

 Go to grade school, pass grade school. Go to middle school, survive middle school. Go to high school, graduate high school. Go to college, pay for college, graduate college. 

This kind of routine and monotony can be very, very comforting to a phlegmatic melancholic like myself.

However, at the same time, it can be unimaginably debilitating when faced with things like, oh I don't know, life. Imagine living life as someone else tells you until they stop telling you what you need to do. Then what?

Then you live on your parents fold-out couch for 3 (ok, more like 5-- fine, it was actually 6 if you include Christmas, but who would move during Christmas anyway?) months after graduation while working at the same job you've had since your freshman year of college. Then you have a series of emotional breakdowns (about once a month, then becoming more frequent until you move out) because you feel like a failure at life but are at the same time terrified about living on your own and falling flat on your face.

Or at least that's how it was for me.

Then, thankfully, God reassures you of his plan for your welfare by dropping a job that you love in your lap via your sainted brother-in-law.

Wait, you might argue, this job just fell in your lap? How does that help you try to be more assertive with life?

Well, that's what I thought at first too. Then I realized that I just needed to swallow my pride and thank the good Lord for his divine intervention in my life. Yes, I had to admit, I need help in my life and I am not always in control.

And that is a good thing because if I was, I'd probably still be on Mom and Dad's couch.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

A few days before Good Friday of last year, my professor read our class a medical description of the crucifixion of Christ and then let us out of class early to allow time to digest it.

Horrifying doesn't even begin to describe the account. 

Considering the fact that I almost passed out during CPR training because of the repetition of the word "laceration", the imagery of the account did not bode well with me. 

After class, I just sat in front of Blessed Sacrament and tried to understand, How? and Why?


How? His Passion was made possible not by his willpower nor his strength, but by his total and utter love and willingness to submit to his Father's will. For God's will was that man, in spite of his total unworthiness and constant disobedience, should be eternally reunited with the Creator in a way that not even death itself could separate. 

Why? "He loved them unto the end." Wholly. Without reservation. The act that was hinted at during the washing of the feet was consummate at the Cross when God Himself offered his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to the Father as a final and eternal repayment for the wayward sons and daughters of Eden.

The Crucifixion should be described in graphic terms. It is the epitome of a paradox and the height of all human cruelty, the sins of man shouldered by the Son of the Father in the most brutal death ever suffered. 

He suffered the most because He loved the most. Nothing else could have motivated such an act. And now, over 2,000 years later, we are still dealing with the shock and horror of the event.