Friday, August 5, 2016

Thoughts after Walking 150,000 steps to see Pope Francis

While I was in Poland for World Youth Day a friend shared this article which I thought was very good, until I read the comments, which (as per usual) infuriated me. This is a really bad habit of mine (reading comments) and I have been thinking about it ever since.

The article is a great piece about the English speaking event on Wednesday evening of World Youth Day at the Touren Arena, renamed "Mercy Center" for the week. The author commented how people came to adoration there to meet Jesus and experience Heaven. I was there, not even inside the building, and had this feeling. I have it whenever I attend World Youth Day - I've been four times now (Toronto, Cologne, Rio, Krakow). This is an amazing gathering of Catholics who are coming for the same reason. We all want to be close to our Holy Father, experience the Church, and meet people like us.

Now, not everyone who goes to WYD is SUPER CATHOLIC, that's true of any church event. Some people go to travel and see the world on a cheap pilgrimage - what many European youth do. Sleeping outside, being wet and sweaty, walking miles every day, being crammed into public transportation, waiting in extremely long lines, sleeping on floors or cots in a school in the middle of a country you don't know. WYD is not a vacation, no one is living like a king - not even the Bishops and Cardinals who are given a lot of extra treatment.

I was prompted to write again about WYD after a talk I had with a pastor today in Memphis. I told him he was speaking with a colleague of mine last week because I was away in Poland for WYD. He said he had lunch with a couple of priests from his diocese that went and they said it was amazing. I was tired, hungry, and sweaty - but it was amazing! This is my general sentiment of the experience most of the time.

The commenters said that he was promoting a purely emotive reality and that WYD is filled with bad liturgy, kids who don't follow church teaching back home, and there isn't a lasting effect.

1. Bad Liturgy - well, there were 2 million people at the Mass on Sunday morning. Not everyone was sitting, standing, and kneeling as they would in a church (although there isn't a building that holds 2 million people, that I know of. The filed was 2 square kilometers. It was also one of the hottest days of our pilgrimage with the sun shining very brightly the entire time. We had to keep our heads covered (men and women alike) to prevent ourselves (as best we could) from passing out. Was it the best? Probably not. Was it valid and licit? Yes. Is that enough? Yes.

2. They don't follow church teaching at home - is there a good reason for this? I don't know. Are we doing enough in our youth programs to help our youth and young adults develop a relationship with Jesus Christ to want to follow His teachings? We do things backwards sometimes. The root of "love the sinner, hate the sin" (which is a phrase I dislike) is that the person comes first. They have inherit dignity because they were created by God, not because of what they do. We need to remember that even the ten commandments weren't given to the Israelites until after they had an experience of the Love of God and they wanted to know how to follow him. We will not will souls by making people follow the rules of a Church they have no connection with. They must first encounter the Lord (the event of WYD) and then learn how to follow him one step at a time.

3. There isn't a lasting effect - just look at the young adult scene in the Archdiocese of Denver and the number of priests who say they attended a WYD, you'll have an answer.

Is WYD an expense for the Church? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Anytime 2 million young people come together to celebrate the Lord, the time is worth it. This is our Church, let's celebrate it!

Friday, July 15, 2016

When People are Complaining about the Life you Want

It's not the first time, and I'm certain it won't be the last. Friends, acquaintances, random strangers on the internet are complaining or claiming something is the end of the world. Well, that happens all the time, probably the reason why Al Gore invented the internet (hahah, just a little political joke there). Then all you can think is "if only my life included just one of those things you don't seem to want..."

When I turned 30 I had some issues with expectations (on my actual BDay). I thought I would be a mother with some cute kiddos by then, or at least a wife. Not that I would be living alone, single, still long-term relationship-less. I had those same issues when I turned 31 this year. So much so I told my friends I didn't want to actually celebrate my birthday - especially not on the day. Which, if you're thinking "that's a bad idea" - then you'd be right. It was really hard the actual day of when the one day of the year when it can be all about me, wasn't. And I was still single, living along, long-term relationship-less, AND newly heartbroken by a jerk - that was rough.

I've got friends turning 30 this year who are freaked out by not being in their twenties any longer for the exact opposite reasons and I'm striving to be compassionate, sympathetic, and supportive. It's hard to do. But it's completely necessary to do.

I have to remember that everyone's concerns and issues in their life is relative to their living situation. I have to know that there are things that I have (gainful employment, job I love, own a home, car paid off, great friends, two parents married to each other) that others done and think that if they did, life would be amazing. But I still complain about my co-workers, my HOA, issues with my car, my parents, etc... AND I expect people to have compassion, be sympathetic, and supportive of me when I'm struggling.

Sometimes we refer to these issues as "first world problems" but I think they might just be "general people problems" and we all need to be less 'complainy' AND more 'compassionate' with our friends. Working on this each and every day!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Am I Inadequate?

This is a question that I ask myself all of the time. It's the default question when I'm asked to "talk" by my manager at work, when there's a guy who I might be interested in, and when a friend doesn't answer a voicemail or a text for a long time. It comes up a lot. It's also the devil's number one button to push. I know that, but I cannot refrain from asking it over and over again.

Just last week my managers asked to have dinner with just me before a big event, and all I could think all afternoon was "what did I do wrong now?" and "how will I recover from this?" It wasn't that at all. It was them offering me a promotion and additional duties at work because they think I'm great at my job.

How can I have such a different view of myself than other people do? Some might say that this is humility, not being boastful and proud about your accomplishments. However, I don't think it's that because if I was being humble, I wouldn't feel so inadequate. I'd recognize the gifts that God has provided to me and embrace them. I don't think I'm doing that.

Two weeks ago I was speaking to someone at work about a concern they were having with management. She said she could talk to me about it because she knows "I don't care what others thing of me" and "I'm super confident in my abilities." Really? That was my response - "you think I'm super confident and don't care what others think of me?" WOW! I wish that was true.

I cannot decide if it's easier or harder to be confident in my position as a remote worker. It can be difficult since I don't see the people that I work with on a regular basis. Only a select few do I see often, and those relationships seem to be something completely different than I thought they were. A recent event changed my opinion of these women and how I relate to them. It's hard when you think one thing is true and something completely different ends up occurring. Like I did something incredibly wrong and am inadequate.

There it is again. It seems to be my default when something goes wrong or is out of place.

There are so many things that bring this thought to the forefront of my mind. Being single - am I not enough for someone? Being 'not a size 6 or even an 8 or a 10' - is my un-ideal body shape holding me back from a relationship, certain activities, or even sales at work? Being boisterous - does this make people not interested in being friends with me? Being a sinner - does that make me inadequate for heavenly blessings?

These are all questions that should be answered with NO. We are more than the sum of our parts, we are more than what society tells us we should be. We are more than our sins. We are beloved creations of God.

Why can't I get that thought to be my default?

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Southern Gal ... After 8 Years

I've been in Charlotte 7 years and 50 weeks now and although I have considered myself a southern girl for a while now today I had a craving for chicken and waffles that would only be satisfied with some southern cooking!

I'm a Southern Girl and there's no going back now!

Here's to an amazing eight years and to many more decades to come!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Sound that Pierces Through the NIght

Yesterday I flew into Charlotte on a 7am flight from Baltimore. It was the 3rd very early morning flight I took this week and I was so tired! So I get home, answer a few emails, make a few calls, and then lie down for a few hours to get some sleep since I was over exhausted. That's when it begins.

A loud, piercing beep! So I check every smoke detector in my house - of which there are 4 in my very small 1200 square foot house. Why so many? I'm really not sure, but apparently the builders of this house were very fire safety conscious.

Less than a year ago, I had replaced 3 of the batteries after a similar situation and thought that the green light indicated "good" so I went to all 4 and looked for the green light. The one I didn't replace last time, in my office with the highest ceiling, is the only one without a green light. So I check with my friend who was coming over already and her tall husband was coming over with her before we went out last night. He was coming so I was going to employ his height in my household need.

Now I get back to my plan to sleep for a bit. I lay down in the living room, but cannot get over the beeping. So I move upstairs to my bedroom, find some ear plugs, and take a nap. I endured the beeping until they arrived at 7pm and then the adventure began to end the beeping.

We found out the detector without the green light not only didn't have a battery, but wasn't connected to the system. All of the batteries were replaced but the beeping persisted. The only ended when we disconnected the one downstairs and removed the battery. So the beeping ended, but the system is now down a detector and hopefully not compromised... Hmm... I'm going to have to call the customer service department and see what can be done.

If you thought that's where this story ended, you would be wrong.

Around 3am, I woke up to use the bathroom and thought I heard a beeping noise. This is what I thought was happening:

I went downstairs to follow the beep and it was the CO detector ... my question is which insane person designed these systems to beep continuously until you do what it wants? Apparently there are some people in this world who can ignore the beeping - my friends who had a smoke detector beeping for almost a week before they replaced the batteries. I was there for less than 5 minutes before I started going crazy!

My other question is why can the batteries in my remote last for years and the smoke detector batteries less than a year and always die in the middle of the night?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Hardest Days to be Single

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately, especially since my grandmother's funeral last month. The times when it's most difficult to be a single person. Many people claim that holidays like Christmas are the most difficult to be single, but I disagree. Christmas, for my family at least, is when everyone is together and we're celebrating time together. We go to visit other family members around town. I typically spend a week or so at home and don't mind the downtime that I don't have to fill with entertaining someone else and finding things for us to do in a small town. Sounds weird, but Christmas isn't my most difficult holiday as a single person.

The most difficult are all of the other days of the year when people have family celebrations. Most of those days friends don't think to invite you over to enjoy dinner or a group event that involves friends. Days like Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day. In my experience, Thanksgiving and Easter are days when I have to decide which friends I'm going to spend time with. But these other days, I'm always searching for things to do and people to be with. I think that couples don't think about their single friends and what we'll do.

This is why I'm considering flying to Chicago for the 4th of July. No one here is going to be in town, so it's almost a waste of a three day weekend to spend at home alone doing nothing. I'm thinking that spending the time with another friend would be a better use of my time and emotional energy.

It's always hard to make a decision like this because it seems so impulsive and can be costly financially. But someone once told me a few years ago when I was making a decision to fly to Denver to see a friend who I hadn't seen in over 5 years. She said, "if you have the money and the time off, why not go?" Basically what are you saving the money for? Why not travel while you can and enjoy the time with friends?!

I think as I get older and make decisions based on more than money - on happiness, I become a better person. So I'm purchasing a flight to visit a friend and enjoy the 4th of July together! Chicago, HERE I COME! See you in less than a month!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Rudest Thing

I have a list of pet peeves a mile long. Anyone who knows me in real life could tell you that the littlest things can bother me. It’s mostly things that other people do that are inefficient and therefore bother me, but some of these are real things. For instance, not driving with your lights on when it’s raining or even foggy. This is one of my biggest driving pet peeves. It’s actually the law. I always think that the police should pull these people over. BUT then a few months ago I was driving and saw a car without its lights on in the rain and was telling them from my car to turn them on and I noticed it was a police officer IN a police car. I guess they don’t pull people over because they, themselves, have no idea that this is the law!!

I don’t consider this driving tick rude though – it’s just ignorant to other drivers and endangering other people’s safety! That’s all.

Today I’m writing about what I believe is the rudest thing one stranger can do to another stranger because it’s happening to me right now. This is my biggest traveling pet peeve and I travel a lot and see crazy stuff all of the time! Going through security is a regular adventure for people who haven’t traveled in a while or are just ignorant and don’t read signs or pay attention to what you are supposed to do. Take off your shoes, pack your liquids in those tiny travel bottles, remove things from your pocket, take off jackets and sweaters and just go through the line quietly and efficiently. In the mornings at the Charlotte airport each security check point is for only one type of traveler. This means that if you are business/first class you go through one point (usually C – although today it was for us regular passengers), Pre-Check (typically B & sometimes D), and steerage (A, which is also the only one open at 4:10am and E – where no one ever goes and they have the most amount of TSA agents available). This morning as I was getting in line for security a couple in front of me wasn’t allowed in C because they were pre-check. The kind agent directed them to D this morning to go through pre-check and then they proceeded to argue with her about how they weren’t. She said, “yes you are – it says so right here on your boarding pass.” That kind of peeves me – and it’s because these people were just GIVEN pre-check, they didn’t even know it, AND they were then not taking advantage of it.

I recently applied for Global Entry Pre-Check to take advantage of these features of the TSA that this couple was trying to avoid. I’m still in review – can.not.wait to hear if I make the cut. I’m hoping this makes the early morning flights I have (three more in the next three weeks).

I can deal with security, even the craziness of boarding which should be done from the back to the front if they want it to be more efficient AND faster as well as avoid people getting hit in the face with my bag as I go down the aisle to my window seat in row 32.

The thing that I cannot stand is the fact that all of us are sitting with mere inches of space in these crazy coach airline seats and the person in front of me has the audacity to recline their seat. I know that they have a right to do so, and the ability to do so. However, the extra two inches that you are reclining STEALS two of the six inches I have back here. I’m cramped trying to use my small surface, drink my six ounces of Dr. Pepper, and now must operate/work/sleep/breath with your seat back right in my face.

The last flight I was on where someone invading my space like this I was behind, arguable, one of the BEST seats on the plane. How do I know it’s the best seat on the plane? I received it a few flights ago. It’s an exit row seat in the back near the window. There’s no seat in front of it and you have the absolute MOST amount of leg room on the plane. You literally have three FEET of leg room, and you need an extra two inches of MY precious space to lean back? Yes, it is your right – but should you?

There are so many times when people should thing of the appropriate response to this question, “I could, but should I?” Probably not. 

Linking up with the other gals at the Not Alone Series since this is definitely ADULTING and how I do it ... not blowing up at other people while traveling, eating at restaurants, etc...