Friday, August 1, 2008

I am Lucky

After much clouds and rainfall today and the past few days, tonight was an exceptionally clear night. As I looked up at the stars (one of my favorite things to do) I was able to see the Milky Way. How lucky I am! It's not too often that I have a chance to see the Milky Way. My luck in this started me thinking about how lucky I really am.

My younger sister and I have always had a rather strained relationship, but my mom was always there to smooth things between us, be our buffer, and to help us both become better. Since my mom's passing, mine and my sister's relationship has eroded very quickly.

All I ever wanted was a sister. When I was tiny and my mom was pregnant, I told my parents that the baby would be a girl because all I wanted was a sister. I did in fact receive a sister, but one who has never shown me much more than disdain and whom I have always had to "compete" with, in some way or another. This is no sob story from me, I have my own faults that did not help better the situation, but it is a background. Recently, while dealing with the decomposing of this relationship, my aunt said to me, "She just doesn't want to be your sister. That's ok, you have to accept that for now." That just spoke volumes to my heart, but for a while now, I've been a little upset by this. All I wanted was a sister, it's not a huge request, and I get someone who could care less about me, what a bum deal!

Staring up at the Milky Way tonight reminded me of how lucky I am. My blood sister may not be interested in being my sister, but I have other people who are. I belong to an amazing women's group at my college and all of those women, both current sisters and graduated sisters, all love me like I am their blood sister. All of those women (total we have over 150, we have approximately 50 current sister) want to be my sister and strive to be the best sisters they can be. They challenge me and stretch me and call me on to be the best sister and woman that I can be. I may not have gotten the one sister I asked for, but I was given 50+ instead!

There are so many other things in my life that go very similarly. Instead of looking at how wrong everything in my life is or at what is lacking, I should start to see what I do have and how all my prayers have been answered, just not in the ways I was initially expecting. The stars are great, but getting the Milky Way tonight was unexpected and awesome. My sister is a great person, even though our relationship is beyond disappointing, but having 50+ is unexpected and more than I could ever have asked for.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One of the funniest things I have read in a while

This article was posted on a blog I frequent every day, Creative Minority Report.
You can read it here
So my mom died this past March and I just have to say that I have been having the toughest time imaginable with it. She is my best friend, and she died suddenly, and my life is so completely different with her gone. It hurts like nothing I've ever experienced before.

Getting that call, going to my uncle's house and seeing the pained look in his eyes, the shock, my muscles just giving out. It was, perhaps, the worst day of my life. But after the initial shock wore off, something greater began to happen. As I called my friends to ask them to pray, all my heart really wanted to do was praise God for His goodness. I praised Him for the gift of my mom, for the time I was allowed to have with her, for His timing, and for the fact that someday I would praise Him with her.

I talked to her the morning that she died. We were talking about some situations in my life and she said, "You know, I've just been praying for you recently, that something great would just happen in your life. It's about time something did." And all I could respond with was, "You know mom, the greatest prayer is the prayer of a mother." Now she prays perfectly and worships perfectly and I know that I have the most amazing of intercessors beseeching the Father for me. God truly does have good timing.

I feel lonely a lot, and sometimes I feel pretty lost, but the one place I go and feel neither of those is mass. Most times I cry when I go to receive Communion, and yeah, it's partly because I miss her so much, but it's mostly for joy. Joy that I am about to be united with my God, the King of the Universe in an intimate way, and that, through my union with Him, I get to be closer to her than I ever have been, simply because she is up there, now united and one with Him.

In some ways, in her death, my mom dragged me with her, right to the foot of the cross, and there she handed me off to my Mother, Mary. Everyone seems to have "their Mary" the Mary they can relate to most or have greatest devotion to. While "my Mary" is Our Lady of Sorrows. She has been for quite some time without me realizing it (the parish my grandmother grew up in is Seven Dolors- Seven Sorrows, in reference to Mary). I finally realized that she wanted to be my Mama after a friend's wedding and since I've been trying to get to know her better and allow her to get to know me. She certainly has been carrying me these past few months. That's the power of a mother's prayer.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mary Had a Little Lamb, and He's Our Way to Go

I was reading the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-42) the other day and the friendship Jesus extended to this woman struck me. How many times do we really consider Jesus our friend and consider all He's done for us? Sometimes, I do not always feel like I am friends with Jesus; I feel distant, separated, unknown. But as I continued to think about the friendship Jesus offers each of us and the friendship He was personally offering me, He helped me to see all that He has done for me and given to me, and I finally saw how much God loves me.

There are certain moments in life when we are struck with a lightning bolt of divine clarity. They are these moments when you know you could not possibly know or think or say or do whatever you have done on your own; you know these things must be from God. In the past five months, I have been extremely blessed with two of these moments where God has revealed the depth of my relationship with Him and His will for me. What the Lord has shown me is that I am to be a saint. Being a saint simply means being totally united to Christ. You do not have to be a religious brother or sister or even a priest. All you must do is so totally be one with the Lord that you are completely you in the most profound way and that there is no longer any difference between you and Jesus; you are one with Him. This sounds huge and impossible! The other day, the Gospel began with the disciples saying to Jesus "This is a hard teaching, who can accept it?" Jesus said to the disciples, and He says to us, you can accept this, you can follow Me. Even though we doubt and falter, Jesus still extends this invitation and His friendship to us.

Now, this is still not easy. We know the rest of the story, Jesus is crucified, and if we are to become one with Him, we must also be crucified. This means that this path to holiness is lined with suffering and hardship. My patroness, St. Therese of Lisiuex said "The way I am following brings me no consolation and yet it gives me all consolations, for it is Jesus who has chosen it and all I want is to please Him alone, yes, Him alone!" This also reminds me of what St. Paul said, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Our flesh does not enjoy or rejoice in suffering and hardship, yet our spirits push forward because we know the only way to heaven is through total union with Christ. This is the path of Christ, the path to Calvary, and He has chosen each of us to walk it, to be united with Him. Therefore, this unconsoling path of suffering and sacrifice is our best and only consolation, for nothing pleases Him more than for each of us to be completely united with Him.

Another great saint and patroness of mine, St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart said, "Without complaint, everything shall I suffer, for in the love of God, nothing have I to fear." This is my motto in life. To suffer without complaint means for our hearts to be completely united to Christ's heart, as He did not once complain through all His beatings, persecutions, and crucifixion. In Christ's love we have nothing to fear, for in suffering with Him, we are one with Him, and there is no darkness in light. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, "The water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life," and Jesus is the living water! Jesus is eternal life! In Him all darkness is conquered, eternal life is given, and there is nothing left to fear.

So the challenge is to accept Christ's invitation, to take Him up on His offer of friendship and eternal life. You do not have to say any formal prayers, just go to Him and talk to Him. Let Him know what is going on in your life and invite Him to be a part of it

Friday, June 27, 2008

Part 4 of 4

"Death 4"

The death of Beloved
is like pre-transition to your own death
Die with her
Live Life newly, as ever-
knocking Death
never vanishes
but you Live more fully

I take the second part

Part 3 of 4

"Death 3"

It's like flying far, far away
-The death of someone loved
everything you could do Can't bring her back
Don't know what to do (because
Everything has changed)
your heart
tries to Beat

Part 2 of 4

"Death 2"

Finding my weakness
Finding my faults
Ripping my heart out through my chest
I stand bleeding, weeping, wounded
I fall down at Your feet

Taking all the me I've ever known
And yanking away from it

Letting go of my gifts
Letting go of my talents
Gouging out my eyes with hot pokers
I stand blinded, shrieking, scorched
I kneel down asking for mercy

Taking all the me I've ever liked
And disassociating myself from it

Giving You my heart
Giving You my soul
Numbing my senses, beyond compare
I stand stripped, calloused, and cold
I bow down seeking Your grace

Taking all the me I've ever had
And unhaltingly presenting it to You

All of me could never be
Without all of You

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Part 1 of 4

"Death 1"

Being created
And being alive.
Standing firm,
Though wind and rain,
Cold and heat.

Peaceful transgression
Folds, curls, sleeps.
Yet temporarily
Forever awaken
In a world of new light

Hope Filled!

The link below is to a blog about an amazing family, their daughter's journey and the faith they received from it. I suggest tissues. We do not give up nor become complacent, but are HOPE FILLED! Let's praise God for another miracle.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Guilt and Sin

The first poem "Endless Nothing" is all about sin and how it consumes us. The second poem "Guilt" is about, if you couldn't guess, guilt. Both of these things destroy our relationship with God.

Sin is a turning away from God. It's like you're standing face-to-face with Him and do a 180. It destroys our relationship with God because you can't get closer to someone you're not facing.

Guilt is a little harder. Guilt is that feeling of sorrow and remorse we feel after doing something dumb and wrong. Everyone should feel remorse for their wrongs. But guilt takes it too far. Guilt says that you are not good enough and should have known better. Guilt is pride masked in remorse and self-destruction. If you believe that you are always not good enough you will never open yourself to the One Who can make you better and Who always thinks you are good enough.

I've been learning a lot about these recently. I have a guilt complex. I always think that I should be better than I am and that everything that goes wrong is my fault. I have a hard time believing I'm good enough. Of course I have someone in my life who knows exactly how to push my buttons and make me feel like crap (who doesn't?). Through a lot of recent coaching and guidance, I've started sticking up for myself and not taking the blame for things that aren't my responsibility. This has come out in a variety of ways- patience, screaming, impatience, crying.

My mom always helped me through these things, always was there to reassure me and to give me the strength to persevere. She passed aways this March. Things have been so much harder with her gone.

I've learned that I can't change my situation or the people around me. I can only be the best me I can be and that's all that's required of me. I have to accept that I cannot change those around me and just accept them for who they are, good and bad. Even if those people hurt me badly. I'm not going to let this person walk all over me, but I don't have to let her words and actions define and consume me. This is my step away from guilt. And I try to step away from sin everyday.

Here's a little prayer that has been helping me overcome the guilt in my life. It's called the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

Something a little different

So I thought I'd try something a little different this time. I'm going to post 2 poems- 1 that I wrote my senior year of high school and then 1 I wrote last week. My next post will be an exposition of them, but I'd really like your feedback.

"Endless Nothing" 12/22/02

Floating constantly
In an endless glow
Tunneling ahead
I see the light grow
Fighting it, I try
So hard to resist
Struggling for survival
I thrust my arm
I must find the light
I cannot let go
Only human,
My strength weakens
And I am consumed.
Instantly, nothingness
Fills me heart and soul
Take me back!
Find me again!
To no avail I scream
Muffled by the silence
My words don't speak
Tunneling ahead
The light still grows
Barely touching me
Piercing my heart
To win me again
But I can't help me now
For now I am nothing
I need set free

"Guilt" 6/6/08

Out of balance
The World can turn on a few simple words
Need to
be perfect
Everything in order
Everyone pleased

Sweat, dissatisfaction
Self-made scapegoat to save the other
Need to
be perfect
Everything calm
Everyone happy

Self-denial and
Doormat to collect the mud of hers
Need to
be perfect
Everything at peace
Everyone at rest

Need to
be perfect
Everyone satisfied
Feelings buried alive
Come like the living dead awake at night

Friday, June 13, 2008

2% for pansies

It seems this has come up quite a few times the past few months, so I thought it was worth posting about. If nothing else, you'll get a kick out of it.

I have a pretty all or nothing personality. I'm either all in or I'm all out; there's not a lot of fence-sitting when I come down to it. This can most blatantly be seen in my choice of milk. I like Skim or I like Whole. None of this 2% for pansies or anything in between. All or none. Recently, my milk choice has come up in conversations, usually revolving around my visit and what I'd prefer (although there have been those rare conversations where milk just comes up). This began the hamster wheels a-turnin' about my personality.

When I deal with issues in my life, I deal with them in one of two ways: I either confront the entire situation or I hide from the whole thing. I don't deal well in parts. In fact, I get really impatient when I deal with things in part or I only get part of the answer or can only do part of something at a time. I want it all now or I don't want any of it!

God has been using this to get me to trust Him. It works well to my advantage and then it normally backfires. I trust Him totally, so long as I can know the entire plan upfront. He's teaching me to totally trust Him with only some of the info. So far so good. Life's crazy like that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


This week I'm in Philadelphia visiting relatives and it has just reaffirmed something that I've been thinking a lot about lately. That is home. What exactly defines home or makes us feel at home? And what about homesickness?

I've lived in the same state, same town, same road, same house, same bedroom my entire life. To any normal person, home would be my house and my family, and for the most part, that has been true in my life. Then I started college and everything began to change.

Until my senior year of college, each semester I lived in a different dorm with different roommates. Then I lived in a house with four girls. This past year I lived in a different house with five different girls. This year I'm living, yet again, in another new house with two new girls. I have not had consistency or stability in my living conditions in 5 years (soon to be a 6th).

I began realizing that home is not in my house or living conditions, it's not even with the people I am living with. So where is home? What is home?

Society likes to tell us that we need elaborate, well-decorated buildings to call home. We need nice home furnishings and a spouse and a couple kids, and the ability to entertain guests. This is all part of the need to fit in and to be comfortable, which feeds materialism or at least a focus only on this world, taking focus off of eternity, our true goal.

Not to be morbid, but someday each of us will die. What happens then? What has everything we have collected into our comfortable lives here come to? This world is passing. While it's nice and good to have material possessions, and good quality ones at that, if we put all our eggs in our basket here, we'll miss out on the forever. We have to invest in our future, which happens to be heaven and eternity with God.

Home is really wherever God is. Home is heaven. And we need to be working towards that everyday. Put your eggs in the basket of eternity, not in the biodegradable basket of here and now.

So this homesickness I've been feeling pretty intensely for the past few years is really my desire to be with God kicking into high gear. Of course I will never feel completely home on this earth, I wasn't made to be here forever! I was made for heaven.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

All in God's Timing....

So I know I said the next post would be "Home" but I lied. That happens every now and again, I'm working on it. In the meantime, you'll have to bear with me.

If you've ever heard the saying "All in God's timing" I'm sure you're about as sick of it as I am. It always seems to be said by people who really have no idea what you're going through or how you must feel and they're just trying to get you off their back because they don't know what else to say.

Here's a good question: Why am I still single? Where is my boyfriend? When is it my turn to be in a relationship? "All in God's timing" I'm continually told. What does that mean anyway? God's outside of time, so how does He have timing? And if He is abiding to our time system, why isn't His time like my time? Maybe His watch just stopped, maybe one of those angels should help Him out.

Now being honest, I know that part of "God's timing" is me trusting that He's got it all under control and learning to be patient. I think I've been pretty patient. It's been almost 5 years since I've been in a relationship, and believe me, I'm not bitter. I guess I'm starting to get impatient with being patient. Funny how that turns out.

Lately, I've had a few brushes with God that have truly shown me how good His timing is. So, I guess for now I will just continue to wait and trust that His timeline is as mapped out as I'm told it is.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Becoming ok with where I am

Think back on your life. I'm sure you can pinpoint a few things you wish you could have done or places you could have gone. Sometimes it's really hard to get over these things. For me, I wish I could have gone to the high school in the next town over.

I went to a Catholic elementary school in the next town over from mine. I spent 9 years with the same basic group of kids, learning, living, and growing up. When 8th grade came around, everyone was concerned with where they would be attending high school. My parents wanted me to go to a Catholic high school, and to some extent, I wanted to, as well, but the nearest Catholic high school was 1 hour in any direction from me. This initially was not a concern to me, but as 8th grade continued on, I realized that I would be leaving all my friends. I also realized that my life had been completely in the next town over- school, dance, piano lessons, plays, friends. Since I was losing everything, I decided I did not want my life to be in another town, I wanted my life to be in my town so I would not be risking anything. Reluctantly, my parents agreed to let me go to our local public high school.

So high school began- I at my public school and my friends at their public school. This really did not deter our friendships (at least the close, real ones), but it did put a strain on them. I always felt like I was missing out on something because I so desperately wanted to be with my friends at their high school. Because I hail from rural PA, even though my friends were only in the next town over, they were in a different school district than me, so I would have needed to come up with some extraordinary reason to switch schools. Oh and I tried.

I tried to talk my parents into moving to the town- that failed (my dad has owned our house since the 70's). I wanted to play soccer, which my school did not yet offer- that also failed. I looked at the curriculum and tried to find things in theirs that I wanted, that would help me advance, that I could not take at my school- that failed. All four years of high school I tried everything I could, but everything I tried failed, and it all came down to the fact that my dad did not want me to go to a big high school (theirs was about 3x the size of mine).

Don't get me wrong, I had a great time at my high school. I made some close friends, was involved with just about every club you can imagine, played sports, involved with music and drama, newspaper and poetry magazine, everything. I was on the high honor roll, held 3 offices, 2 editorships my senior year, and was captain of my soccer team, as well as defensive MVP. I participated in everything, lettered 13 times, was involved heavily with my Church and youth group. I was always doing something, especially hanging out with my friends and going on adventures. Something that haunted me my entire time, though, was an unconscious decision I made my freshman year- I didn't think 4 years was long enough to create the kind of friendships and bonds that I had made in 9 years during elementary school, so I decided I wouldn't really try.

The phrase, "God has a purpose for everything" is tossed around a lot, and it always applies. A lot of good came out of me going to my high school. Recently, I sponsored one of my closest girl friends from high school for her Confirmation. I was also able to participate in so many different things and was not made to choose between them. I knew the names of everyone in my graduating class. So many good things, but part of me still wishes I could have gone to high school with my elementary friends.

The close friends I had in elementary school are still my close friends today. One girl and I have been friends since we were 3 and another and I became best friends at the lunch table when we were 12, bonding over Hanson. What makes it hard is that I am so close to these people, they know everything about me, and I love them so very much that I want to be able to share everything with them, and I was denied sharing 4 years with them that I felt I should be able to share with them. But those friendships are also the strongest today because I didn't go to high school with them. It taught us that friendships transcend school halls and seeing each other every day, something my high school friendships tend to be lacking. We all got exactly what we needed and experienced exactly what we were supposed to experience. And we still are.

I have a few mottos in life, but one my mom taught me by living it: don't miss any opportunities. I may feel like I missed a lot in high school, but really I took an opportunity that was presented to me and got so much more than I could ever have imagined. In 7th grade, one of my close friends moved away and her mom said to us, "Distances don't break up friends, people do" and I whole-heartedly believe that. Although I wish I could have gone to high school with my friends, I am learning that what I got was exactly what I needed and brought me to where I am today. God knows better than I do.

This leads into the next post Home very nicely...

P.S. If there's anything you want me to write on, message me. I'm like a jukebox, I take requests!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Birth and Identity

What are we born for?

Eternal happiness.

God creates us in His image (Genesis 1: 26-27) and because of this, we are destined for eternal happiness. Sometimes this is so easy to forget in our daily lives, in the daily grind, the muck; everything else seems so much bigger. School, work, eating, sleeping, spouses, kids, family, friends, co-workers, volunteering, working out, TV, Internet, cell phones, housework, time to relax. There is so much and sometimes we don't even feel like we have time to do basics like eating and sleeping. And then there are the things we are told will make us happy or we think will make us happy: fame, fortune, a good job, stability, a good marriage, 2.3 children, a nice house, the ability to entertain guests, going on vacations, exotic destinations, a long, healthy life.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more....I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be His people and God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away'" (Revelation 21: 1, 3-4).

God creates us that we might be with Him always and has given us this gift of life that we might learn to come to Him. But this life and this earth shall pass away, nothing here will be eternal except for us and God. We can step out into eternal happiness at any time. I can step out of the muck of my life and into the glory of God at any time. I don't have to just sit here, I can enter the glory.

How do we know God really loves us? How do we know He truly wants this for us? He only directly says He loves us once in the Bible: "Because you are precious in my eyes and glorious, and because I love you" (Isaiah 43:4). God gives everything for us! And then He tells us to love others and He has loved us (John 13: 34). This is the proof. We can know that God loves us through His words in Isaiah, and by the fact that He wants us to follow Him- to love as He loves means to lay down our lives.

Being made in the image and likeness of God means that we are born for eternal happiness, which is God, and we will not fulfilled or satisfied until we rest in Him ("Our hearts are restless, o Lord, until they rest in You" ~St. Augustine). Being made in God's image and likeness also means that we have an identity, and that identity is our belonging to Him. Collectively, we are the sons and daughters of the Most High, of God our loving Father, Brother, and Spouse. Individually, though, we each have a unique, unrepeatable identity. Our names have meanings. For instance, Peter means "rock" and St. Peter was made the rock of the Church, the stronghold on which the Church could be built. Theresa means "harvester", which is someone who gathers the crops, a gatherer of the fruits of the labor, one who brings souls to the Lord. John means "God is gracious". Gracious is graceful, meaning full of grace, and grace is God's love and favor. So John means one to whom God gives his love and favor abundantly. Mary means "sorrowful", "sea of bitterness", and "long awaited child". These can all be seen in the Blessed Virgin Mary, but also in every Mary.

Names reflect part of who we are, they are part of our identity. God loves us each individually to give us a unique identity and way to come to Him, a unique mission. Being born, we are destined for eternal happiness, for God, and our identity shows us our unique path to Him in faith and in love.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


This is the beginning, and as such, I thought it appropriate to tell the purpose of this blog. This blog is nothing more than a chronicling of a life lived in faith. This is a disclosure of thoughts and emotions from a girl who strives to live fully. This is the exposition of Catholic thought and teachings through the meanderings of a girl. This is a drama, a comedy, a tragedy, a life. From this blog, you will gain insight into one life so that you may reflect on your own. You may find answers. You may find questions. But you will find truth. Welcome! And may God bless you.