Friday, May 27, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 2



 
1



This week, I am thankful for the technology that enables the weather man to tell me if there is a tornado coming towards my house. It has been a stressful spring. I feel for all those people in Alabama and Joplin. I can’t imagine what they have faced and are facing. The latest of the many storms that have blown through here let loose a straight line wind that took down part of our tree out front. When that wind hit the house, my husband happened to be leaning against the wall and he felt the wall move. The noise it made was scary as was the helpless feeling that washed over me. And that was only a small glimpse into what the people of Joplin and Alabama experienced. May the love and mercy of God pour into their lives in insurmountable ways.

2

Also this week, I have discovered just how bad the drainage is in the back yard. And I am going to go out here on a limb and conclude that the big giant stone wall that lines our back yard is the culprit. The stone wall belongs to our lovely HOA. We are not on speaking terms with the HOA. I am thinking of calling them and complaining and demanding that they fix it. Or else I am going to move the broken range out of the garage and into the garden. I think it would make a lovely planter.

3

I spent a day off facebook this week. And it was good. I didn’t realize how much anxiety I carry around because I am always on it. It’s like constantly being at lunch in high school. You know, sitting around and thinking of the next cool thing to say, trying to impress your friends, hoping you look good and craving the feedback that you actually do look good. I totally didn’t realize how much of this I bought into. It wasn’t until I was off that I realized what I was doing. It was good to let go of the anxiety. I think I will stay off for a while longer.

4


Well, the old lady back still rules my life. I have spent as much time as six kids will allow me to spend horizontal on the sofa- which wasn’t much by the way. I have not been to the gym. I am going to try to get it feeling better over the long weekend before hitting the treadmill. I probably need to go back to the chiropractor. I don’t want to go back to the chiropractor. Just like I don’t want to go to a doctor. I feel sorry for my children. They will have to deal with a crazy old lady who refuses to visit the doctor for any reason. I may need to increase the amount of money I set aside for their future therapy bills.

5


I am looking forward to spending the long weekend at my parent’s house. They live in Out in the Middle of No Where, Oklahoma. You know- the place just past where Jesus lost his sandals. I love going out there. It is so quiet. The air is fresh. My Mom is there making sure that I sit down and relax. She’s making me blueberry coffee cake. The kids can play outside with little worry. It is a nice change from the suburbs of Dallas. It is nice to be surrounded by what God has made instead of what man has made. It’s just nice. I’m bringing books.

6


A few months ago, our washer and dryer committed suicide. We replaced them with some LG front loaders. One thing that I really like about them is the song it plays. Instead of sounding an annoying buzzer, they play a cute little song. This song is somewhat familiar, but I cannot figure out what it is. And it is driving me crazy! I know it is a real song because it sounds like one of the little songs I taught over and over in beginning band. But I cannot put my finger on it. Now I don’t know what is worse, the song I can’t name or the buzzer.

7


I have to confess that I haven’t been completely faithful in my prayer life this week. I have been sleeping through it because my back feels so good in that bed. When I don’t feel good, I struggle with keeping my quiet time sacred. People who chronically suffer with pain and still remain faithful to their quiet time are superheroes in my book. The few times that I have gotten up and prayed, I have been lamenting over this back issue. I am frustrated that it won’t go away. I am only 33. I should be able to train for a half marathon. But then, when I say that, I feel guilty. There are many others out there with real health problems. I should be thankful for what I have rather than lament for what I don’t have. When do I ask for healing and when do I offer it up?



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So, What's Your Story?

Stories are powerful. We love to hear about other people and their experiences. We are drawn to other’s woes and wonders. We are fascinated with how others deal or fail to deal with life’s curve balls. Our books, movies, T.V. shows, tabloids and plain old coffee shop gossip center around stories. We love to hear them and tell them. They are our intangible possessions. All of our material possessions can be taken away, but we will always have our stories. They are the true stock of our lives and the living legacy that makes up the heritage of our families and societies.


Our Lord knows this about us. He is familiar with our love affair with stories. And that is why He used parables to teach about the love and mercy of God. I recently took a class where we studied how Jesus taught the disciples. And most lessons He taught were born of a parable or story. We seem to get the lesson if it’s interwoven in a good story. It’s one thing for Jesus to tell us to truly repent and we will be forgiven. But it’s another when He tells us the story of the prodigal son. In His story, we have a deeper understanding of the Father’s mercy and love.

As Christians, we love to tell the stories in the bible. We tell them to our children, study them in classes, and hear them proclaimed at Mass. We tear apart their meaning and purpose and try to apply them to our lives. We truly understand that Christ lives in those stories. He reaches out through His stories and touches our hearts. These stories are the heritage we share and legacy that courses through our veins with Christ.

That last part is what I want to touch on. Christ LIVES in us. He is alive in our hearts. He is at work in our lives. And the way He lives through us is in our stories. We have to reach out and share. We have to tell each other how Christ has touched our lives. If we don’t let Him live in our stories, then we don’t let Him live in this world. And this world desperately needs our Lord. We have to be bold and brave. We have to share how our lives are touched, molded and blessed by Christ. That is how Christ is able to shine in this dark world. We are the candles while He is the flame.

This is why I blog. This is why I publish my life all over the internet. Well, the interesting parts at least. I’ve been doing this for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that I could put the words as to why I do it. I do it for Him. He died for me. He bore all my sin on that cross. He makes me an everlasting gift to the Father. Sharing my life in this way is what He asks me to do. So I do it. It’s the least I can do. My obedience is so small and insignificant compared to His love and sacrifice for me. I wish I could do more. But I can’t lose sight of the fact that Jesus is alive, here in this medium through my story and the stories of other obedient and courageous men and women of Christ. This is what it means to be alive in Christ.

I recently shared my conversion story with a new website (http://www.whyimcatholic.com/) which features the conversion and reversion stories of Catholic men and women. On this site, you will find some interesting people with fascinating stories. I encourage you to check it out. And then I encourage you to find your own story. Share it. Allow Christ to reach through your life and touch other hearts. Be alive in Him.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1


Well, I’m going to give this seven takes thing a try. I was inspired by Jennifer Fulwiler’s Seven Quick Takes Friday. But she is a real writer while I just pretend so we will see how this goes. I like the idea because it gets me writing at least once a week. I have fallen of the wagon lately with the written word so, I hope, this will get me close enough to the wagon to jump back on. I apologize for the random nature of these takes. I fear it will be a true reflection of my scatter-brained personality.

2

So, I was outside in the yard the other day cleaning up after the dogs(as in picking up the poop). And I thought to myself, if aliens ever visited our planet, I wonder what they would think of this. I wonder if they would question who the more intelligent life form is. Is it the dog that lies around all day or the human who feeds the dog, cleans up the dog’s poop, is taken for a walk by the dog and seems to cater to the dog’s every need? In our house, it would be hard to tell. But that also got me thinking. What must the aliens think of the God who died for the humans who may or may not even believe in His existence? I guess my cleaning up after the dog is much like what Jesus does for us on a daily basis. He picks up all the crap we make out of our lives and does away with it. All the stickiness in our souls is gone. And yes, I do realize how sad my life is that God has to use this moment to speak to my heart.

3

Since we are on the subject, I have to say I’m impressed with the new Great Value brand toilet paper at Walmart. It can shake a stick at Charmin. I like their paper towels too. They can shake a stick at Bounty. They are both absorbent and strong. And since I use a lot of these products in my line of work, I am happy to discover them at such low-cost and high quality. Yes, how sad that this is the high light of my week.

4


As some of you know, I published my conversion story on www.whyimcatholic.com . You should check out this website. It has some great stories. But get comfortable because some of them are rather long. Anyhow, yesterday, I find an email in my inbox from a news agency in Spain requesting an interview. The journalist is writing an article about my conversion story. Really? I can’t help but think that there are way more interesting stories out there to write about. But, I have to say that it is nice to have the affirmation. Especially since I can brag to my semi-famous husband that I am an international sensation! But, don’t worry, I’m not letting it all go to my head. Besides, I am sure the Holy Spirit will have another experience waiting for me around the corner that will knock me out of the clouds and back on dry ground where I belong.

5

So, my semi-famous Husband worked every night this week. Every. Flippin’. Night! And we are feeling the effects of his absence. My four-year old wandered downstairs this morning and looked at me with his groggy little eyes and asked me where Daddy was. You see, last night he got to see his Daddy for the first time in four days. I had a class so Daddy came and got the children and took them to his 7pm meeting. Ben must have had a great time playing in his office and just being with his Daddy again. Because this morning, when I told him Daddy had already gone to work, he let out a blood curdling scream. I am not looking forward to this summer when Daddy will be gone for weeks at a time. I have a feeling Ben will make his opinions about his Daddy’s absence known loudly and often. Fun times. Fun times.

6

Last week, I broke down and joined a gym. The gym I belonged to for about 7 years went out of business 10 months ago. When they closed, I planned to just run outside. I didn’t need a gym to get exercise. Well, guess how many times I actually ran outside. ZERO. I finally decided that it wasn’t happening and I needed a gym. And it needed to have child care. So, I did it. And I went faithfully for a week. I was really excited because I was running 3 miles in about 33 minutes. I was getting my mojo back. And then, three days ago, I bent over and that familiar old lady back pain shot through my back and into my butt. My type A personality has no time for this! The back has been resting for the past three days. I will hit the treadmill this afternoon. My old lady back is not going to arrest my youthful mojo. I know. Famous last words.

7

I’ve decided to read The Screwtape Letters. I really do not have a lot of reading time, but I decided I need to read this book. I see it referenced in many of the books on theology I have read lately. I know that most people probably read this book in college or something, but somehow I missed out on that experience. There wasn’t much C.S. Lewis on my college reading list which I find perplexing since I went to a Catholic university. I also find it interesting that C.S. Lewis wasn’t Catholic. I wonder what his big hang up was. Maybe one of you can fill me in.

So, there you have it- seven random thoughts that have been rolling around in my head. I have to admit, it was a little therapeutic to get them out and it’s nice to see that wagon in the distance. Hope you have a great weekend.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Fishermen

Today, I watched a little history. I got my popcorn ready and curled up on the sofa. And I turned the DVR to the Beautification of John Paul II. You thought I was going to talk about the royal wedding, didn’t you? Now, don’t get me wrong. I did watch the royal wedding. Kate’s dress was beautiful. And the music was fantastic. But, I believe the Blessed John Paul II upstaged the royal couple. Big time. That was a beautiful couple hours. And the longest Mass ever!


So, after watching all that holiness for so long, you will never guess what I put on next. Have you seen that show Deadliest Catch? You know, the show about the crab fishing in the Bering Sea? I know, it’s like the opposite of the Beautification of John Paul II. They are cursing, and smoking and not behaving in a Godly manner. But for some reason, I kept watching it. And I came to admire these men for their passion, determination, and willingness to throw their hopes and dreams into the sea. These men are gamblers. They are gritty. They are fishermen. I was fascinated.

While watching this show with JPII fresh on my mind, I realized something. Jesus didn’t go to the temple to call his disciples. He went to the boats. He went to the fishermen. Peter and John and many other disciples were fishermen. These were men who put all their hopes and dreams into the sea. They were gritty gamblers who didn’t spend the majority of their time in the temple but on their boats. If they were to hold true to the stereotype personified in the Deadliest Catch, they may not have spent any time in the temple. Perhaps, following the letter of the law was not at the top of their list. Yet, these are the men Jesus called. Can you imagine Peter as a man like Phil or John as a man like Sid? These men have caring hearts but I’m not going to put money on the chance I would see them at Mass on a Sunday or even in prayer on their boats. But these were the type of men Jesus called. Upon these men, Jesus built his Church- the Church that has endured the test of time for 2000 years.

In all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the beautification and canonization of great men and women who lived for Christ, I think we lose something. We hold these people up on a pedestal and by doing so, we think the holy life they walked is a little unobtainable for us. But that is not true. I think that Blessed John Paul II would gladly admit that he is just a fisherman who lived for Christ. We all have our own unique story- our own unique walk with the Lord. We all don’t get on that path to holiness from the same route. We don’t have to be Priests or Nuns or experts on church doctrine. The Lord calls us to the path of holiness regardless of where we are in life. Although most of us will never be beautified or canonized, it doesn’t mean that we weren’t holy enough. It doesn’t mean we won’t get to heaven. Living a holy life is as simple as going when he says, “Come, and follow me.” For the gritty men in those boats 2000 years ago, that meant leaving the boats behind and literally following Jesus. For Blessed John Paul II, that meant a life as a priest and then eventually, the Vicar of Christ. But for you and me, it can mean working with Pro-life or helping out at the Samaritan Inn, or getting involved with that ministry at church that you’ve been drawn to. Just think, if he can establish the Church through some gritty, not-so-pious fishermen, imagine what he can do with you and me.