Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flabbergasted (a book & my life)!

would link to amazon, but the cover is completely different
and this green car is actually a main character
A while ago a friend recommended for me to read Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston (amazon) so I put it on my library reserve list and waited.  Then a few weeks ago I got the email, picked it up, and started reading.  After a little while, I realized that I had previously read this book, but I couldn't remember the ending and I was stuck on a plane, so I kept going.

It was an interesting read.  The main character, Jay Jarvis, moves to Greenville, SC because he was relocated for work.  He begins attending Church for one reason - to find himself a nice gal.  He finds one, well sort of, and makes a lot of friends as well.  The girl he meets is a missionary who's heart is in South America so it seems like he ends up choosing between money and the girl ... but the ending is so dissatisfying that I remembered why I wasn't a huge fan of it in the past.

But as I was gathering the link from amazon for my post - I saw that it's just Book #1 - and there are two more books following Jay Jarvis and his journey toward missionary life.  Delirious Summer and Lost Rooville and books #2 and #3 respectively!

So I was going to write this pretty scathing review of the book, but now feel like that would be unfair since there is in fact two more installments to continue to follow Jay's journey - maybe he'll start going to Church for God and not just in search of good looking girls.  Maybe not ... maybe he will just abandon this missionary life when he sees that Allie has absolutely no interest in him romantically and he could be more successful if he went back to working in the financial world.

I don't know - but I do know that it's odd to become a full blown missionary while chasing after a girl when no one has had a conversation with you about faith and Jesus and WHY you are a missionary!

I kept thinking about why this book was recommended to me, what did Beth see in the story that led her to me?  She's never made a recommendation before.  Or did the Lord prompt this so that I would consider the life of a missionary.  Don't take this next paragraph as a decision I'm making.  It's just something that came up today at our work retreat that I'm writing down, out loud, to the entire internet.

We did this exercise where you had to choose whether you were a St. Bernard, a Wolf, or a Lion.  I am definitely not the St. Bernard, and don't consider myself a wolf, so I choose Lion - and I was the only one.  It's probably good we don't have too many people who think they are king of the jungle - or in this case Queen of the Church Office, but I was so hesitant to take on that role.  I don't want to be known as the bratty girl who wants to always be in charge and do things her way because she's the queen.  I know that many people see this as an enviable quality and also as a valued quality in the workplace, but I see it as a weakness.  I see it as an inability to let go of control coupled with a tendency to put my nose in places where it doesn't belong - where my opinion is just that - a thought that doesn't need to be expressed.

Then when we looked at our results of the SDI assessment (if you know what that is great, if not - well, I can't explain - it's another Myers Briggs type of personality instrument), I see that I don't test like a lion at all.  I'm very middle of the 'hub' as they say and when I'm stressed I'm more in the category of 'wolf'.  The guy leading the discussion made a comment about my compensating because we lack a 'lion' and additionally it's the position that I've been put in because I'm the Office Manager.

The question is "Is my career suited to my natural tendencies?"  Or should I run off and become a missionary in the jungle of Africa?  Maybe my own Jay Jarvis is there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NAS: When Struggles Come

What ways do you run to implore the Lord's help when you are struggling? Do you always spend time in Adoration? Do you dive into the bible? Automatically go to Confession? Could you be better? And what about those times when things are good and you are joyous? Do you still give the Lord your time?

I was contemplating whether I was going to write this week or not since I'm out of town for work.  I'm visiting at Our Sunday Visitor until Thursday, so today has been filled with lots of traveling, meeting new people, and even an on camera interview!  A pretty exciting day!

Then when we got back from dinner earlier than expected, I figured I would share what I do when I'm struggling...  Great Question!

Ever since I became more involved in my faith the Hail Mary has been my go to prayer in times of need.  So I usually go back there any time I'm struggling with the single life, scared in the middle of the night when I wake up to a startling sound in the dark, anxious at the doctor's office for that appointment, don't know what to say in a tough conversation, get to an intersection that's full of traffic, really need a parking spot, when I can't sleep, and sometimes when I'm just bored.  Sometimes it's the entire Rosary - which I do try to pray daily, but it's usually just a Hail Mary or two or 15, depending on the situation.

There are definitely other forms of prayer that I engage in, but I do have to say that the Rosary is my favorite.  I feel extreme comfort when praying the Rosary and find it a serious delivery of peace and calming.

The other place I run to when I'm struggling with the single life are my friends.  They provide a support system, encouragement, advice, and a lot of the time some cute kiddos and babes for me to love on, squeeze, and get my fix for another week!

Thanks to Morgan for hosting and Jen for always supporting!  See you next week - just a few more weeks until we take a little break for Christmas!!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday ... November 7th

Welcome to November!  I cannot believe we are already in November, time seems to fly by!  I also cannot believe that I've been doing this Office Manager job for almost 2 years now ... we are in month 24.  What will the next two years look like?  More fun times as Office Manager? Or different fun times?  Only the Lord truly knows!

Have you been listening to Serial?  If not, then you should start!  It's the best of NPR, This American Life, crime drama, and the criminal system all in one.  It's hard to describe, but Sara Koenig's reporting is fantastic.  I cannot tell if Adnan killed Hae or not - and if not, who did?  I'm dying to listen to this week's episode, but cannot wait until next week's What's the Deal with Jay?

This week we were discussing Deal Breakers with the NAS gals ... it's been interesting!

So it's November - and it's also Fall!  The last week has been WAY too cold for me, but there have been so many beautiful sunsets!

Last Saturday I celebrated All Saint's Day with a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  I was in attendance and was also the resident photographer/videographer.  Check out my cool video!

click over here for the video if you're reading in a reader

So for the past two weeks (first & second) I've written about how I've been trying to stay away from the grocery store - ie: only buy things that I need.  I still haven't gone - it's been interesting to try to make creative dinners, lunches, and breakfasts.  I think I will be able to make it until next Thursday evening when I get back from Indiana from my trip to visit Our Sunday Visitor.

I was invited to be part of a Customer Advisory Panel with Our Sunday Visitor next week.  I'm pretty excited to see the organization and how things work!  See you on the other side of Indiana!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NAS: Deal Breakers?

We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before (well, I didn't participate then, but the other ladies did), but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

So for this topic, I just read the beginning of Jen's post and am totally going to steal this paragraph and say I completely agree and couldn't have typed it better myself:
I am not going to date just any guy, because I want to date a godly man. I want to share in that together. For me, the biggest thing: sharing in the sacraments together. The Eucharist. Confession. It's a beautiful gift, but to experience those things together with your future hubby is truly incredible (I would imagine). The grace you receive in general is awesome, but also for your relationship?? It can only make it stronger and pointed toward Heaven.
How do I not lose hope that the guy I think exists does in fact actually exist?  Well, because really - there's no other option.  There's no option except, this is the desire that God has placed on my heart, continues to place on my heart, and so it (both marriage and the guy I'm attracted to) must be there.  Otherwise, I guess I'll be a single gal for a long, long time.  

I also get hope from Cindy's theory of The Veil:
Think of The Veil as a simple metaphor:  It is the idea that God places a protective veil over all of us and the purpose of the veil is to hide us from every possible suitor except the one that God intends for us to marry.  I call the person God wants us to marry our ‘holy spouse.’
Thinking this is the only way to continue to hope that a guy for me exists (I'll use a rather than the since I haven't fully prescribed to the fact that there's only one - when I do, I lose some hope - see the comments on this post from earlier this month) especially when the nice guy I met at Church never calls, or the messages on CM randomly stop.

I also keep hope because I meet them, they aren't still single anymore - most of the time they've got beautiful wives and a gaggle of babes.  The thing I don't know is whether they were truly Godly men before they met their wives or if they grew in virtue because they met their wives.  That is the real key.  So if the second is true - then looking for a super Godly man now seems difficult - better to grow in virtue together.  But if they were great before their wife's influence, then better to hold out.

But what are these deal breakers?  If you're looking to fix me up, what should you look for?  Well, I will suffice is to say this - the dream I have of what marriage should look like - what good marriages do look like - what couples who have stayed married appear to be.  

1.  The men lead spiritually.  This does not mean that the women have no spiritual say or ever utter a word that is a difference in opinion of their husbands.  I attend Mass weekly, well, actually daily - and I want my children to be faithful Catholics.  Statistically the best way to get that result is for them to have a father who prays, leads spiritually, is present spiritually, and teaches them.  If the father is not a strong spiritual leader, then it's a coin toss if the kids are.  If the father is a strong spiritual leader, then there's an almost 90% chance that the kids will be.  If my number one job in life is to get my kids to Heaven (well them and my husband), then I want to have the best odds possible.  So setting them up with a strong spiritual leader as a father seems like the only way to do that.

2.  The couple respects one another.  When differences of opinion about anything - as small as where to eat out to as large as education of children or financial issues - inevitably occur, then respect each other enough to listen to all sides and then live with the decision that best suits both spouses.  If there's not respect for one another or each other, then no true marriage can exist or last.

3.  Each spouse is trying to grow in virtue and they encourage each other.  This of course relates to chastity in a dating relationship - where you can figure out who's serious about virtue growth and who's doing it (or in this case not doing it, if you will) just because the other one 'says so'.  This also relates to family planning methods in marriage like NFP or just being open to life (as Haley says at Carrots: Awesome Family Planning).  Our goal is salvation.  The ultimate end of marriage is salvation for both spouses.  We both need to have that goal in mind.  If our desires aren't to "Be a Saint" when this is all said and done, then our marriage will never last.

And at bare minimum that is it - I mean, none of the rest of it matters, I don't think anyway.

Check out Jen's for the other ladies and as always thanks to her and Morgan for hosting!  See you next week!

Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday ... October 31st

Well, today is Halloween - my absolute least favorite holiday.  It has nothing to with the devil, religious reasons, calling it 'all hallow's eve' or any like that.  It's actually because I don't like dressing up or acting like someone I'm not.  I can appreciate what Kendra has as a tradition with her children - super scary, super cool saints and Halloween costumes.  I am also excited to see all of the babies in my life dressed up in super cute costumes - Doug, a puppy, and an old man are in the works for today!

This week I had a chance to put some old pictures from CDs onto my computer and upload them up to my google photos ... check out some of these fun ones!

Mike (now Father) and I in Germany for WYD
more here
Yes, that is JPII!!!  A SAINT!
more from WYD here
There are more, but you'll have to wait a few weeks!

Brenda, over at Triple Braided Life, featured me on Tuesday as a Single Woman Making A Difference.  Pretty fun!

Nervously, I posted the link on Facebook to share ... it felt so scrazy (that's scary and crazy together) - really putting myself out there when I usually try to keep this little blog on the DL.  It went well though, there was an overwhelming positive response and I'm super grateful for them - and for you, my faithful but few readers.

Yesterday I decided to take a little trip back on the Bones wagon to the end of Season 1 when Bones found her mom.  It's so interesting to me to see Emily play Bones 9 years ago and today.  I'm always intrigued by the writing for this show.  Nothing more to say about that - except that Bones is always a great tv choice!!!

Over in our NAS Facebook Group we've been discussing Chivalry, Modesty, Sex, and Discernment over the past month.  We always marvel at all of the great articles that get posted surrounding our topics the same weeks we decide to discuss.  A few of the articles have been really great and definitely work checking out.  Matt Walsh on marriage this week, Thought Catalog's catalog of Chivalry, Relevant Magazine on the Church and Sex Teachings (not RC, btw), FOCUS on relaxing about dating, and so many more - but these are some good ones to read for all.

Also this is just fun!  Watch all the way to the end, it's not about what you think it's about!

Told ya! What a laugh!  (if you're reading in a reader, click here for the video)

As I'm writing these quick takes, I see this is what I wrote last week:
I've been trying to eat the things I have in my home rather than going out to the store to buy new stuff - which is a good economical choice except for the fact that I had to pour Soy Milk into my coffee this morning since I'm out of half-and-half.  Hmm.... I prefer half-and-half and the creaminess that it changes a cup of coffee into!!!  Oh the small sacrifices that I can hardly convince my self to do - how will I ever get to Heaven?!
I still don't have half-and-half, but have managed all week by putting soy milk in my coffee.  Not that I love this - but I think I can make it until at least Saturday - maybe longer without any other groceries, so sacrifices in the morning galore over here at Casa Katie.  Until Saturday at least... no guarantees after that!

That's all for now - hope your October was fantastic and you are looking forward to an amazing November!  Hopefully a warm November!!!  Happy Eve of All Saints!!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NAS: Discernment Challenges & A Fun Surprise!

This is kind of exciting ... about two months ago Beth Anne posted about Brenda over at Triple Braided Life looking for Single Women who are making a difference to interview.  I reached out to her and now this is happening today!!!

Read the entire interview over at Brenda's place and then come back her for some NAS talk about Discernment, which I might look like I know something about but really - that's all smoke and mirrors, I am clueless!

Now that you're back - unless you never left - some stuff about discernment from the Not Alone Series gals (and me)...

We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

Each year that I've taught Confirmation we've discussed vocation (small v on purpose) and our overall purpose in life.  This year we broke down one clear phrase - "Universal Call to Holiness."  They had no idea what that meant, so I broke it down like this:  Universal - means ALL; Call - someone rings you up; and Holiness - this they had some trouble with, so I asked them who was in Heaven.  We agreed that the Angels, the Saints, and God were in Heaven.  I told them how human beings can never be angels, there wasn't anything we could do that would make us into God, and so all that's left are for us to be Saints if we want to get into Heaven.  And we want to get into Heaven - because the alternative is pretty darn HOT!  So I asked them what saints were - they said they were holy.  So using our rudimentary math skills - if Saints are in Heaven and Saints are Holy, then what do we need to be to get into Heaven - you got it - BE HOLY!

So basic vocation for all people is holiness.  If not holiness, then no heaven.  There's no way around it, nothing you can do to change it, and no apologies for being so blunt.  If you aren't striving for holiness, then you don't get into Heaven.

So what is our vocation - holiness.  Am I living out that vocation on a daily basis? Um, let me think - no...  unfortunately.

It's more than that though - HOW do we get to be holy?  Through prayer, a sacramental life, penance and sacrifice.
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. (Matthew 22)
Basically - but it looks different for us all. Do we do this as married people with many children?  No children? Single? Religious Life? Priesthood? Well, for me, I can say I've discerned not the priesthood ... at least one option off the list!

If we have discerned marriage (which I think I have), then how do we make that happen?  It's not like you can order up a husband to lead, serve, and have children with.  I mean, I guess there probably is a service for that - there appears to be an on-line dating site for almost everyone (thanks to Beth Anne for that link).  However, ordering up a guy (not knocking on-line dating - thanks CM for all the great times) isn't how I see this playing out for me.

I also think the longer we wait as single ladies (and probably the gents too, but can't speak for them) the less and less we think this might actually happen.  I know that I think that sometimes, particularly after a great encounter with an amazing guy - and then NOTHING, not a call, not a hello, not a text, not a like on a Facebook post.  Although those things could be something or most likely nothing - it can be disheartening.

So how do I cope?  Wine, Best Friends, Jesus, and Mary.  Having conversations about this struggle, encouraging friends to stick with it - remembering that our vocation is really to strive for holiness and this time is part of that journey.  I don't know if I'm going to be married or single for the rest of my life.  I know that I'd prefer the former rather than the latter.  I also don't know if I'll have children in my lifetime (although I very much want to) - if I don't get married for 10 more years (please no Lord!) then I will probably not have children.

Do I think that is my vocation?  To desire marriage, but be single my whole life?  I don't know - I sure hope not.  I can only hope that I will be strong in my faith, remembering that my ultimate desire is Heaven.  That means I need to be a Saint.  To do that, I need to be Holy.  How I 'be holy' on this earth - as a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter ... only one is for certain - a woman striving for holiness.

Remembering that last one is how I keep my sanity when it's hard being single.  When I go home alone at night to a dark house.  When I've had a rough day at work and need someone to hug me when I walk in the door.  When I make a great meal and want someone to share it with.  When I experience the Lord at Mass and want someone to be joyful with.  Those are the days when it's hard to be single, hard to not be fully living out my vocation to marriage - but those are also the days when I grow most in holiness, fully living out my vocation in the Universal Call to Holiness.

Thanks for reading my ramblings - for some super profound things, check out the rest of the NAS Gals.  Morgan's Hosting, Jen's Hanging out, and the rest of us will be back next week with a discussion about Deal Breakers and Non-Negotiables (was just having this conversation with a friend the other night)!  Have an excellent Tuesday!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday, I mean Sunday ... October 26th

I have spent the entire week recovering from last Saturday's smashing success at World Feast 2014.  It was a LOT of work, but totally worth it!!!  I posted a few great ones on Instagram on Saturday and was 'live posting' on Facebook all day to get people over to our campus ... and it must have worked because we had at least 1,000 people come to the FEAST.  Everyone had a blast, the food was amazing, and so many smiling faces!!!  That's why my Friday takes are on Sunday - either that or extreme laziness ... one or the other!

Oh, and my parents were here to visit last weekend as well - they brought me this:

I had it tuned yesterday morning and am loving being able to play the piano again whenever I want - which I've never really been able to do, but alas, it's nice having a piano in my house - and the ability to play!  Makes it more of a home!

For about a month now I've been doing yoga every morning - sometimes just 10-12 minutes and sometimes almost 45 minutes.  My fitness partner (who I haven't actually seen in weeks) and I stumbled upon this video and liked it - we continued to a few more days, then at home I signed up for her 30 Day Challenge and they send me a new video every day.  I loved it so much, I signed up for her 2014 30 Day Challenge and now mix the two together for some real variety.  It's been a great workout routine for this failed runner - I want to want to be a runner, but I'm just not that into it.  I feel like a failure saying that, but the truth is that I just don't really want to run around ... so I'm replacing it with yoga and no regret!  If you want to get into yoga, Erin Motz is your gal - oh and she just got engaged to "The Frenchman" - such happiness for them both!!!

via her Facebook Page!

I also started watching this show on Hulu last night - and am strangely intrigued - I want to see where they are going to take Jane, her baby, and all the other complicated story lines they've set up in just two chapters.

When I saw the first preview I was very weary - but now after a few episodes, I think this might be something okay - not necessarily that most amazing religious exposition about a position of chastity - but so far it's not been anti-virginity.  So we will see.

I've also been enjoying a few other new shows - the best one being Red Band Society about kids who live in a hospital.  And there are three other romantic shows I've taken an interest in watching: Manhattan Love Story, A to Z, and Marry Me.  We will see if they go anywhere good.

I've been trying to eat the things I have in my home rather than going out to the store to buy new stuff - which is a good economical choice except for the fact that I had to pour Soy Milk into my coffee this morning since I'm out of half-and-half.  Hmm.... I prefer half-and-half and the creaminess that it changes a cup of coffee into!!!  Oh the small sacrifices that I can hardly convince my self to do - how will I ever get to Heaven?!

Speaking of that - I mentioned last week about how I was speaking to the College Students on Wednesday evening about Baptism and the Baptismal Call.  It actually went very well - I was grateful because I was extraordinarily nervous about saying the right thing.  Being semi-inspirational - which it's not really about me, but about the Holy Spirit.  So he worked - at least a little through me.  I hope I was able to get out of the way enough!

That's all for today - see you on Tuesday for the NAS topic of the week - discernment and a little fun announcement about an interview I did around the interwebs!  Happy Sunday!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!