Friday, December 28, 2012

Quick Takes #5

--- 1 ---

I have a few minutes to spare since I am enjoying my wonderful Christmas break so I thought I would give quick takes another try.  Maybe I will get more than 1 week in a row this time.  I guess we can hope.

--- 2 ---

Just quick story of the power of prayer (even for the small things).  I had already used up a great many hours of my wonderful Christmas break doing research for my dreaded research paper and now I had been siting at my computer looking at a blank word document for about 30 minutes but would not think of any good ways to start this paper.  By this point I had given up trying to find a good way to start the paper and I was willing to take any start to the paper (good or awful) but I had nothing.  I told myself that I was not going to get up until I had at least 2 pages and that was going to be a while since I had nothing and was no where close to having even a single word.  What is there to do?
A quick prayer!
And before I knew it I had a (good) first line and soon I had the whole paper written up.  And now I can really enjoy the break. (I just won't think about all the other work that I have to do.)

--- 3 ---

Christmas is not over.  At midnight on December 25th Christmas songs are taken off the radio, Christmas lights are not turned on any more, trees start coming down, people start wishing you a happy new year instead of a Merry Christmas.  How can we keep Christmas alive in our hearts and in our lives when the rest of the world is done with it?  Spiritual Woman links to a great article with just that advice, 5 Ways to Keep the Christmas Spirit Alive in Your Heart.  Worth a read.

--- 4 ---

For those of you in the northeast, I think we lucked out on Christmas weather.  I woke up to a light snow coming down.  Just enough to make the ground white and snow to be falling but not enough to interfere with all the traveling and visiting that was planned.  (Although some were hoping for enough so that we would be prevented from visiting anyone or even leaving the house.)

--- 5 ---
After all of the Christmas festivities I am home now with a refrigerator full of leftovers.  Each meal is like a warm memory of the holidays.  It is going to be quite a shock when I have to start cooking again.

--- 6 ---

Our Christmas tree is still green (or at least as green as when we got it)!  This is the first year we have managed to keep the tree looking healthy for more than a week.  Hoping it will last through the Epiphany!

--- 7 ---
Quick prayer request, I have to speak to my doctor today, which is something that I am not looking forward to.  It is always quite a struggle.  I would like just a little piece of information without having to wait two months for an appointment just to be told I have to see a specialist and wait another 2 months for an appointment.  I'm getting anxious even thinking about it.

Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Seeing the positive- traffic edition

Earlier this week I had the (un)fortunate opportunity to sit in stand still traffic for over an hour on my way to work.  Given this extra time I got to thinking why I was really lucky to have this opportunity.  Here are my 7 reasons why I should be happy to spend my morning sitting in stand still traffic.

--- 1 ---

I was not in one of the 5 cars or the tracker trailer about a mile ahead that was causing all 3 lanes to be shut down.

--- 2 ---

I was not in the car next to me with the two young children who seemed to be almost as unhappy as their mother.  I'm sure my hour in traffic was much more peaceful than hers.  She really must have some patients.

--- 3 ---

I did not have to go pee.  That would have made for an uncomfortable morning.
Your text here.

--- 4 ---

I work with some awesome people who were able to cover my classes until I arrived.

--- 5 ---

I had enough work in my car to keep me occupied.  (Actually it would have kept me occupied a lot longer)  I was able to get some quizzes graded and would have gotten a lot more done but eventually the traffic started moving again.

--- 6 ---

I was not on my way to the airport.  That would have been a very nerve wracking experience which probably would have ended in rescheduling a flight.

--- 7 ---

It was a beautiful sunny day which I was able to enjoy (if only from my car) since I usually get into work before the sun is really up.

Hope the weekend is just as enjoyable as my Monday morning was.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Could you imagine saying that to your father?!?

Mark 10:35
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 

"Dad, I want you to do whatever I ask you to do."

Could you ever imagine saying that you your father?  I know that I would never think of telling my father that.  I don't even want to imagine what his response would be.

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

But this is exactly what James and John asked of Jesus.  I had to read this line twice to make sure I got it right.  After the first read I assumed that I had read it wrong and it was really Jesus who was telling James and John to do whatever he asks.  That would make more sense.  So I read it again.  I had it right the first time.  James and John were really bossing around Jesus.  I'm really not sure what they were thinking right then.

So, this is something that I wouldn't even think about saying to my earthly father, I am appalled when James and John say it to Jesus but yet I do the same thing to my heavenly father very often without even realizing it.

How often while, I am praying I tell God exactly what I need him to do and exactly how he should solve my problems or other problems of the world.  Do I really do that?  Do I really tell the Lord what to do?  Yeah, I do.  Almost every time that I pray.  It sounds pretty ridiculous when you look at it like that doesn't it?  How could I (just me), tell Him (the maker of creation) what to do?

Instead of telling Him what to do we should be asking him what we should do.  When we pray we should be giving ourselves and our problems to the Lord.  Putting our problems in his hands then listening for what he wants us to do.

This is so hard.  It goes against everything that I want to do.  I want to be in control.  I want to have the power.  I want to fix things.  But that is not the way it is with the Lord.  With him we are not in charge.  We do not tell him what to do, he tells us what to do.

Dear Lord, What do you want me to do?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What is causing you to sin?

Mark 9:43
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.

I know it has taken me a whole week to sit down and write about this but it has been something that I have been thinking about it all week after hearing it in the Gospel and hearing my priest speak about it last Sunday at mass.  
Plenty of the sins that I commit involve my hands (as well as other body parts), but I know that Jesus it not literally telling us to all go out and cut off our hands.  Last week my priest spoke about how we need to cut out the parts of our life and our way of thinking that cause us to sin.  But this is hard.  I really like many of the things that lead me into sin.  I enjoy watching tv.  But many of the tv shows that I watch are not helping me have a pure heart and mind, most of them are pushing me the other way.  So now that I realize this I can make sure I don't let these tv shows influence my behaviors or thoughts, but God couldn't possibly want me to stop watching tv.  That would be to harsh.  I need to relax sometimes.  The sinning is really not that bad.  This is what I say to myself to convince myself I an following God's will.
But then I think back to last weeks gospel.  

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.

This is harsh.  We should be harsh when it comes to sin.  We do have to take drastic measures to avoid sin.  While Jesus is not telling us all to go cut off our hands, I do believe that he is instructing us that it would be better to do something this drastic then to continue to sin.  It would be worth it!  Anything would be worth it to get to spend eternal life with our Lords. 

This got me thinking about how I struggle to avoid sin everyday.  I know it will always be a struggle but are there things that I could do to avoid it.  Yes they may be drastic but they are definitely worth it. 
What are some ways that we could avoid sin?
(something to think long and hard about)
 Dear Lord, Help me to all that I can to avoid sin.  Help to show me what I need to do to avoid sin.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Quick takes #4

Just a few quick thoughts (or takes) from my studying and reading of and about the Lord.

--- 1 ---

Jesus is a teacher.  He was a great teacher.
Maybe this is something for all the teachers beginning the new school year.  Jesus was a teacher.  We may not be teaching the same subject as Jesus or in the same setting but we are still teachers.  How can Jesus' teachings help us become better teachers?

--- 2 ---

Matthew 16: 14
"Who do you say that I am?"
What would we say if Jesus asked us this question today?  Does the way we treat him accuratly reflect the answer that we would say?

--- 3 ---
We come to know our creator through his creation.
I love how seeing the true beauty in nature points us to the true beauty of the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with admiring and becoming inspired by the beauty of nature.  The Lord made it so it must be beautiful.  On the other side that must means  that all of his creation must be beautiful.  This is another interesting point to reflect on.

--- 4 ---

How can we impact culture for the Lord?
I always am hearing about how the culture of our times is impacting and influencing our life's and our decisions.  But we are part of the culture as well.  The culture is made up of all of us.  How can we influence the culture by our lives?

--- 5 ---

For every new thing known about God is a new reason for loving Him.  -Frank Sheed

This is just one of the beautiful reasons to study scripture and Catholic writings. 

--- 6 ---

After reading Thomas's word study of matrimony at Listening for the Shepherd, I came across my own interesting word meaning.
Amateur- from the French for one who loves.
An amateur is not someone who is unskilled but someone who is doing what they love.  This gives it a whole different meaning.

--- 7 ---
Well since it is almost Saturday this seems to be all I have for today.  Have a restful holiday weekend.  Enjoy the last bits of summer.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A thought and a question from Psalm 71

Psalm 71

Verse 5
You are my hope, Lord;
my trust, God, from my youth.

Verse 17
God, you have taught me from my youth;
to this day I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

The Lord has been with us since we were little children, (even before that really).  If we go back to our earliest memory the Lord was still with us, even if we did not realize it.

I grew up Catholic.  I grew up going to mass.  I grew up praying with my family.  I don't really have a time that I first learned about the Lord or first trusted in the Lord.  It is easy for me to understand that the Lord has always known me and cared for me because he was always there in my memory.  The Lord has always been part of my life.  I don't have a time that I first understood that the Lord loved me because I was so young.  

I am very grateful that my parents brought me up knowing about and loving the Lord.  I have found that many of the most devout Catholics and Christians that I know were converts to the faith.  They may not have had this experience as a child.  I would love to read about and hear about the experience of coming to realize that God's love for you is true.  How do you view earlier parts in your life?  Can you now see times when God was working in your life before you realized it?  Please share if you would like.

Just a thought that I had that seemed to lead to more questions then answers, but I guess that's how you learn and grow.

Joining in with Jen today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to The Word and a great opportunity!

So I have been praying and I have been reflecting and I have been posting and sharing these reflections over the past few weeks.  And I have also been posting about my random thoughts.  But these are my own reflections and my own thoughts.  I am missing something.  While personal reflection is great I still feel as if I am missing something. 
Ah ha
The Word
I have been reflecting and praying but I have been missing out on reading the bible.  I have been missing out on reading works of the great theologians of the past and of our time.  I have been missing out on learning from others.  I have been thinking but only about my stuff, what I know.  In order to really learn and grow I need to learn from others.
Jesus, Theologians, You
I do not have all the knowledge.  I do not know it all.
I have so much to grow.
Sometimes in all the self reflection I seem to forget about my true purpose, my true God.

So I am going to spend some time learning:
Learning from scripture.
Learning from books.
Learning from you.
And learning from this great opportunity!

John Paul the Great Catholic University is offering a free online course in the Catholic Faith.  It spans 12 weeks and seems like a great way to learn from the experts (without leaving my couch).  I am going to give it a try.  It starts today but I think the lessons will be up for a while after as well.  Read here for a better description of the course if you are interested.  Looks like a great opportunity. 

I'm going to listen to today's lesson about Jesus tonight.  I'll let you know how it goings.

Joining in with Jen and all the lovely women over there.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quick Takes #4

Open and closed boxes by Rfc1394 - Two images, one of a closed, sealed box, and the other of an open box. There are also 1, 2, 4, 16 and 64 sealed box images in this collection; this image is considered as the 1 sealed box.
Photo Source
Well I'm back to quick takes after a few busy weeks of packing, moving all my belongings 100 miles, a family vacation and then unpacking everything I own.  So here are some of my thoughts from the past few weeks.
--- 1 ---
Why does it take so much longer to pack then to unpack?  It took weeks to pack everything up into boxes and only a little more than a day to unpack it all.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it didn't take that long for me to unpack everything but I still can't figure out why it took that long to pack it all.

--- 2 ---
lamp by klainen - A slightly edited lamp from the previous version made by gustavorezende
Photo Source
All rooms should have at least 1 overhead light that is operated by a light switch by the door.  I came to this conclusion when I came back to my new apartment alone for the first time since dropping off all my stuff at 9 o'clock at night.  It turns out my new apartment has only 4 overhead lights; 2 in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and one in the small hallway connecting the kitchen and the hallway.  This meant that first I had to find my way around piles of boxes and furniture through the living room to get to the kitchen where I finally found a light switch that turned on a light.  Then I realized that neither of the two lamps that we owned were in any of the boxes in the kitchen.  This meant that I had to feel my way through unpacking boxes in the almost completely dark living room.  When I finally found a lamp I realized that I faced yet another challenge, finding an outlet in one of the dark rooms.  My work was successful and my husband came home to a dimly lit apartment and a trip to Target for some more lamps was planed for the next morning.

--- 3 ---

I used the magic eraser cleaning sponge for the first time and I am quite amazed.  I'm not sure quite how it works but it definitely works.  My only guess is that they contain some horribly dangerous chemical.  Either way I was able to get our old apartment a lot cleaner than I though it could ever be (I was also able to get our new apartment pretty clean).

--- 4 ---

As I began to unpack at our new apartment, I realized how many white, empty wall that it had.  I don't know why this wasn't an issue at our old apartment but I really feel like I need to hang something on the walls.  Any inexpensive ideas?  I don't want to spend to much money because I don't know how long we will be here.

--- 5 ---
Photo Source

When driving you should always beware of Uhaul trucks.  They are often driven by people with not experience driving anything larger than a minivan.  They are not professional truck drivers.  Give them space!
--- 6 ---

Having air conditioning is so nice.  That's all I have to say about that.

--- 7 ---
I just love getting to know a new town.  Walking around the streets, visiting the library, even going to the grocery store.  Everything is so exciting.  I don't want this feeling to go away.  I think I'm really going to like this town.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, August 13, 2012

State of Denial

After a big move and a busy vacation with my parents, my 5 younger siblings, and my husband I am back to blogging.  On the drive back to my new apartment (the first bit of quite time I had all week) I thought about something that my mother told me several times that week.  "You are just like your Dad, living in a state of denial."  Most of the time this was in result of our discussions about some of the troubles that my brother is going through.  "A state of denial."  This sounds negative.  This is not the way I see my outlook on life and this is definitely not the way I view my Dad's outlook on life.  It is not a state of denial.  It's something more.  It feels to me more like a state of hope.  Not the kind of hope like when you hope there will be ice cream for desert.  I always tell my students that hoping they are going to pass a test is not going to make them pass the test.  

No, not that kind of hope.  A different kind.  An eternal hope in the Lord.  Living in a state of hope means that you don't overwhelm yourself with worrying, not because you deny that there is a problem, but because you know that it is in the Lord's hands and when we are in the Lord's hands we know we will be taken care of.

So when we as Christians are not filled with worry about those who are struggling or about the problems of the world, it is not because we live in a state of denial but because we live in a state of hope.  

Dear Lord, help us to never give up hope in you.

For some more of my thoughts on hope, check out these posts.

Joining in with Jen today. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick Takes #3 Reading a great book

reading man with glasses by nlyl - A simple picture of a man with glasses reading an orange book.

Here is the other side of last weeks quick takes.  Last week I listed signs that you do not like the book you are trying to read.  After another trip to the library I can bring you a list of signs that you are reading a book that you love.  Happy Reading!

--- 1 ---
  You read the first chapter before you even leave the library.

--- 2 ---
You always read before bed and often end up being awake hours later than you planned on going to sleep.

--- 3 ---
You have the book with you every time you leave the house.  You never know, you might get stuck in traffic, there might be a line at the grocery store or there might be a really long red light.

--- 4 ---
You find yourself thinking about the book all the time.  You just can't get it out of your head so you might as well read it.
staring at a book by johnny_automatic - a cartoon from Drawn at a Venture by Fougasse (1922)

--- 5 ---
You tell everyone you meet about the great book you are reading.  You also show it to them because you are always carrying it around.  (See number 3)

--- 6 ---
 You arrive at doctor appointments 30 minutes early just so you will have time to read in the waiting room.  You are then disappointed when the doctor is ready for you early. 

--- 7 ---
 You have not posted all week because every spare minute was spent reading.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Just another reminder about making the Lord a priority.  

Today was going to be a busy day.  I had a lot of things to do at home, laundry to do, had some shopping that I had to do, wanted to go to the gym and had some phone calls to make.  The phone calls were what I was dreading.  Well really one of the phone calls.  I needed some information from someone.  I needed this information before I could make all the other phone calls.  She was supposed to have gotten me this information by Friday.  But it was Monday and I still didn't have it.  I needed to call her.  I really didn't want to call her.  I figured I would wait until the afternoon and hope that she called before then.

Washing machine - white stroke by liftarn - Converted to SVG from clipart on �PC f�r alla� CD 3-2003.
Photo Source
The morning was quite productive.  I was putting on my shoes to take the laundry downstairs I realized that it was 11:45am.  I had just enough time to put the laundry in the washer and get to daily mass downtown and be back to put the laundry in the dryer.  I wasn't planning on going to daily mass today but the timing worked out perfectly.  But I still had so much to do.  And I still had those phone calls to make.  But the timing was perfect.  So I put the laundry in the washer and jumped in the car to go to mass.  As I walked across the parking lot I silenced my phone as I always do. 

phone, cell
Photo Source
Daily mass was amazing as it always is.  As I parked my car back home I realized that I had not turned my phone back on.  I quickly looked at it and noticed that I had not received the phone call that I was waiting for.  Oh well I guess I was going to have to call her.  I hoped that she had the information that I needed because if she didn't I was going to have a lot more work to do.  Did I mention that I hate calling people on the phone.  I put the laundry in the dryer and walked up stairs.  I looked around for the piece of paper that had her phone number.  As I pulled it out my phone I noticed that it was silently ringing (because I had not turned the ringer back on yet).  I recognized the number, it was the same number that was on the paper that I was holding.  Finally she was calling!  I was so relieved!  Did I mention that I don't like calling people.

I was just as productive throughout the rest of the day.  Got my work done at home, went to the gym, bought the perfect gift, did not get too overwhelmed by the mall and even had time to write this post.

Once again when I put my work, my worries and my fears aside and spent time with the Lord my work, my worries and my fears were made less.

It is at times like these that I remember what a good friend of mine used to say:

"Make time for God, he will make time for everything else."
Dear Lord, Help me to make you a priority.
Have you ever had a similar experience?
Joining in with Jen and the other beautiful women.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Love Like God

Last weekend I was out of town for a wedding.  I got up early Sunday morning after a very later night and found my way to the local Catholic church.  I walked in a few minutes late (as a result of a few wrong turns) and was overtaken by the beauty of the inside of this church building.  But I will write about that later.

Picture Source
Last week they had a visiting missionary priest.  He spoke of his work and the work of his community during the homily.  He was an amazing speaker.  He gave a clear picture of the work that was being done, why it was being done and what the bigger picture was.  When he was done speaking he asked for donations to help support their work.  By this time I was so moved by the stories that he told and the work that was being done that I was more than willing to give a generous donation.

This morning I was back at my parish and we also had a guest priest speaking about his missionary work.  He was not an amazing speaker, he even seemed a little rude at times.  I was not quite sure what work his community did or why he needed our support.  Again when he was done he asked for donations to support the work of his community.  I did not feel quite as generous this time.  I told myself that I already gave last week so I didn't have to give again this week.  I just didn't feel like giving him my money.  

Just after this during the presentation of the gift three words from the song echoed in my head.

Love Like God

Now I can't even remember what song it was or any of the other lyrics.  But these words stayed with me.  

Love Like God

God does not love someone just because they are a powerful speaker.  God does not take his love away from us just because we made a rude remark.  God does not base his love for us on how well we can communicate a point.  God does not love us more when we sound really good.  

If God doesn't why do I?  Why do I decide that the people helped by this priest are not worth my support when the people helped by the priest last week are?  Why am I more generous to the person who sounded better?  Why?

God does not love us for our worth.  His love does not lessen when we do something wrong.  His love is not based on how we look or sound.  He just loves us.

This is how we should love.

Dear Lord, Help me to love all those who I come into contact with this week in the same way that you would love them