Archive for September, 2010

September 27, 2010

Catholic Stuff and Fall-ish Things

*Yawn.* It’s 7:57 p.m on a Sunday night, and I’m wishing that it were 5:00 p.m. on a Friday. Always a great way to start the week. I’m tired, and so just a forewarning: this blog post is going to be random and will probably include misspelled words and lazy grammar.

First off, I’ve lived in my new apartment since June now and 1) I still haven’t put a picture up yet 2) I still haven’t put my bed together 3) Still haven’t hung anything on the walls, and 4) Don’t have a pizza cutter anymore. The 4th one is only relevant because I happen to be eating pizza right now, and just noticed that I’m missing a key utensil. Apparently I haven’t eaten pizza here since June. Okay then.

Secondly, I just remembered that I have to get up at 6:45 a.m. tomorrow morning to teach. I’m in denial.

Thirdly, there are several things I don’t understand in life. One of them is ipads. Why? Just buy a mac or use your iphone. Another one of them is why whenever you take an afternoon nap you always wake up with a headache and are even more tired than your pre-nap stage.

Moving on to more important things. Like attempting to stay in shape. I’m currently on day four of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, except that I have actually only done days one and two. Nice. Can I just childishly vent for a moment here? It really annoys me when runners tell other people that once you start running, you will learn to love it. WHATever. I don’t. Another annoying thing: I kind of assume that whenever you are working out you get this urge to eat healthily. I don’t. Instead, I crave things like pizza and hamburgers and sweet potato fries.

Moving on to actual important things. I helped chaperone a large youth retreat this weekend, and, as always, I had a great time. Seeing teens alive in their faith is a beautiful thing. I got hours of adoration in, and on top of that I got to hang out with some of my favorite people over the weekend. Very lovely. One of the speakers for the event was this amazing woman – Gina Loehr. She is definitely fast becoming one of my favorite Catholic authors/speakers. First of all, she lives on a 60o acre dairy farm in WI. Immediate like. Second of all, she’s from Cincinnati! I just found out that she even had the same job as me on the West Side of Cincinnati. Another immediate like. Anyway, she gave several fantastic talks on holiness and what it means to live an authentic Christian life. She’s funny, enthusiastic, holy, and an authentically feminine woman. Beautiful. Her books are amazing! I have two of them, Choosing Beauty and The Four Teresas. Highly, highly recommend them both.

You know what else was great about this weekend? It finally turned fall. It’s chilly outside and it smells nice. Mmmmhmmm. I bought ingredients to make Caramel Apple Cider from the store today. Ohhhh YES.

On that note…….

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September 16, 2010

This…never ceases to want to make me strive higher.

“It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness, he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fulness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.” ~ John Paul II

September 16, 2010

Wednesday Night Ramblings

First things first: caffeine. This would be a necessity in life. Today it was coffee from Sidewinder in Northside. Now it’s Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. I might add at this point, that I am becoming somewhat slightly concerned that I cannot function or be motivated to do anything without some sort of caffeine. It’s not a particularly pleasant thought. Somebody give me a lecture about the “badness” (yes, I am aware that “badness” is not a word) of diet drinks. It might not do any good, but feel free to do it anyway.

In other news, I have a new computer! Very exciting. I got a Macbook Pro, and I am quite in love with it. I am also broke, but hey, you can’t win them all I suppose.

I have no idea what it’s like in Kansas City right now, but here the weather just won’t make up its mind. Can I just complain for a moment that I very much dislike waking up in the morning and being cold, and then going to bed at night being hot? Doesn’t the weather know that a person can’t pack three different outfits to wear in one day?

I love fall. I really can’t wait for it to be sweatshirt weather. I have also fallen in love with leather slouch boots and am determined to get some this year. I have also fallen in love (over the years) with Pumpkin Spice Lattes and am really looking forward to having them on a regular basis again. I hear that Caribou Coffee has something wonderful called a “Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha”? Um. I might have to investigate this….

Anyway. I’m off to adoration and then to drink some wine. I love being Catholic.

September 14, 2010

Blogorama

Today was blog day. Every once in a while at work I have one of “those” days in which I: a) don’t feel like being productive; b) am exhausted; c) actually really don’t have any office work to do; or d) all of the above. Today was “d” day, or, in other words, “blog day.” This the time when I catch up on the Catholic news of the world. My finds today?

My first pick: “Welcome to the Culture,” which is about modern love. This gets my top vote for multiple reasons, one of them being that it was written by my lovely and intelligent roommate. A glimpse: “Clearly, seeing three young adults content without a date, without an overflowing wallet and without apparent concern for any of this was shocking.The confidence of an identity rooted in being a child of God and the knowledge that love is a true commitment to will the good of the other, not an elusive feeling to chase, were just as surprising to this woman as her newfound “love” was to us.  The bonfire encounter was a clash of cultures and identities.  Our answer to the question, “Who am I?” can be glimpsed in our decisions, attitudes and desires.”

Second place: Jennifer Fulwiler of http://www.conversiondiary.com  speaks on her conversion from atheism to Catholicism. It’s good.

Thirdly: this article on the Extraordinary vs. Ordinary Mass. I like it because so often the two are pitted against each other, and Monsignor Pope points out (charitably) that both are wonderful for their own reasons.

And lastly: This has a great photo and caption. Anything that’s titled “My Chocolate Heart” has to be worth reading. There’s some good info about the new contraceptive/abortifacient pill, ellaOne, in there as well.

Also, in case you were wondering, Black Walnut ice cream and the new M&M pretzels are both not worth trying. Just so you know.

September 12, 2010

A Beautiful Thought….

“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and LOVE.
It is there for each and every one of us.”

~ St. Therese of Lisieux

September 11, 2010

Just in case you wanted to know.

So, it’s that time of year here in the chastity education department at the pregnancy center. The time of year when we start packing up our ridiculous suitcases with all sorts of chastity education materials, including, but not limited to: play-doh, wigs, Cincinnati Reds baseball hats, fake baby models, paper hearts, duct tape, spit cups, and last (but most certainly not least) –  jolly ranchers. This is also the time of year when I start to peruse the magazine isles in grocery stores on the lookout for clothing ads with cute chicks dressed modestly….and a few “I wanna be hot” chicks who are dressed, ummmm,  shally we say, not-so modestly. All of this has a point, I promise.

Yesterday I happened to be in Wal-Mart checking out the latest issues of Cosmo and Seventeen when a gentleman employee approached me and remarked (no doubt from taking a glance into my shopping cart) that I seemed to enjoy magazines. He meant it as an innocent conversation starter, but I’m pretty sure I turned a couple different shades of red, or at least pink, to be caught flipping through a magazine whose title screams “Bad Girl Sex” on the front of it. Nice.

At this point, I started to just laugh a little and move away towards the checkout isle, but he kept persisting in a non-flirtatious way by handing me magazines that he thought I would enjoy – Glamour, Allure, and Self etc. Finally, after a lot of nodding, smiling and just wishing I could get out of this awkward situation, I couldn’t take it anymore and I casually dropped that I worked with teenagers in schools and so I needed to get the scoop on the latest trends as part of my job. He looked at me curiously and said, “Really? What exactly do you do?” So I gave it to him with a smile on my face – telling him that I worked in chastity and abstinence education, and that fighting the influence that the media can have on teenagers was really important. The man gave me a very interesting look, and replied, “Well, they certainly need what you do,” and began to tell me stories of friends or relatives that had been affected by  bad relationships, abuse, or divorce.

Most of the time, when a random person asks me about my job, I tell them that I work for a “pregnancy center” without getting into what I really do. But sometimes I wonder why I just don’t say it. Somebody needs to know that somewhere there is a battle going on to fight the influence of Cosmo and Seventeen. I have a perfect excuse to bring it up. I should do it more often. Just a thought.

September 5, 2010

THE Best Blueberry Muffins

I knew that it was only a matter of time before I started blogging about food, and sure enough – it’s the second day in a row.

Today I made my third ever trip into Skyline Chili in Cincinnati, and I was once again reminded of what good food is NOT. Okay, just kidding. To be fair, the only time I’ve ever actually eaten Skyline was the first trip….and that was 14 months ago. Obviously, it was that good. Needless to say, my dreams are not filled with visions of Skyline. But you know what they ARE filled with? These Blueberry Muffins:

These fabulous creations come from America’s Test Kitchen, one of my all-time favorite Saturday morning cooking shows. My Mom and I are somewhat obsessed with ATK. We both have all of their magazines, most of their cookbooks, and even the DVD episodes for each season – which I still watch, even here in Cincy. It saves me from the sadness of not having TV in my apartment.

Anyhow, my roommate and I had a beautiful Saturday morning drinking coffee, talking some theology, and making these amazing blueberry muffins. I don’t think that I’ve ever made blueberry muffins that actually could taste semi bakery-ish, but this is the closest I’ve ever came. What makes these muffins so fabulously different would be the fact that you actually cook blueberries and sugar down in a saucepan….and then swirl that mixture into the already-studded blueberry muffin batter before baking. And then you top them with lemon sugar. It’s kind of like heaven. Happy Saturday.

September 3, 2010

Some things just make the world go round…

Can I just say how fabulous good coffee can be? Especially something as good as Coconut coffee. Yes. I promise that I won’t blame you if you just made a face at the computer screen and thought, “That girl is out of her mind. What the heck is Coconut coffee and who the heck drinks that?” Because that’s exactly what my coworker just did.

But, I must say that this coffee is amazing. Coffee Please is amazing. For those of you who have never been introduced to Coffee Please, let me just say that it only happens to be the best place to get black coffee in Cincinnati. Now, when I want something special (and expensive), like a White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha, then I’m heading to Starbucks or Caribou. No question. However, on those days when I just want straight caffeine I go to Coffee Please and indulge in some kind of marvelous coffee like “Southern Pecan” or “Cinnamon Swirl.” Coffee can motivate me to do a variety of things….my end of the year statistics included. So. Back to it.

September 3, 2010

“Father, Forgive Me for I am Frustrated…”

In case you wanted to know, today was one of those days. It was one of those days when I woke up in time to actually enjoy getting ready in the morning – one of those mornings when I have time to do important things like shave, blow-dry my hair, and eat breakfast.  And the cherry on the sundae: I left for work 20 minutes early so I could have some time to get a cup of coffee, check my email, and get a headstart on my workday.  It was a good morning.

Until I got in my car. And remembered that somehow purple-ish paint-looking stuff had managed to find its way all over my new, white Civic yesterday while it was sitting in the parking lot at work. Boo.

My first thought was, “God is testing me. I have a choice in this moment. I can choose to be annoyed or I can choose to accept, not think about it, and move on. I can do this, after all didn’t I just post something on my own blog the other day about taking the frustrating, day-to-day moments in life with character?” Sure, God, I can do that.

And things were going well, for about three minutes, until I discovered that traffic was awful. For those of you who know me well, then you might know that sitting in traffic is for me is purgatory on earth. Especially when I have my own carefully laid out plans for the day and I’m ready to start them. It took me over 45 minutes to get work, and instead of getting there 20 minutes early I got there 20 minutes late.

To make things 1000 times better, I remembered that today is THE DAY. The day in which I get to stare into an Excel spreadsheet all day long tediously typing in student and parent evaluation statistics from every single school that I taught in last year. Does that not sound fabulously exciting to you? I. Hate. Excel.

And, I should probably add that when I am frustrated I am not the nicest of people. It was in the midst of all this jumbled mess of decimal points and confusion that I noticed that my coworker actually had decided to take his work into another room and do it. I wonder why.

The only thing that can remotely remedy a day like this for me (and to keep my office staff from killing me) is Mass. So, after being at work for a whole two hours, I headed downtown for noon Mass. Again, I intentionally left early and accidently arrived late, pulling into a metered space. This is my favorite part of the day: I’m sitting in my car searching for my prayer book when I happen to notice that there is a cop on the other side of my car writing me a $70 parking ticket for the expired meter WHILE I AM SITTING IN MY CAR. Yep.

Now, it just so happens that I have my daily meditation to do after Mass. My meditations and daily resolutions are written by Legionary priests – not me -thank God, probably because He knows that my own chosen meditations and resolutions for myself would be lame and spritually un-fruitful. And that’s true. It’s been a difficult summer for me, and so many times these past few months, whenever I’ve gotten discouraged, whenever I am having a hard week, whenever I am a colossal emotional train wreck, and whenever I need to stretch my heart in a new direction – God is right there. And so I look forward to my daily meditation.

However, as Fr. Corapi once stated so eloquently: “God is not above kicking your ass.” My add-on: “Especially when you’re in a ticked off mood.” So I happen to skip down the page and see my resolution for the day: “I will work on being a good and positive motivator today.” *Pause.*My first thought: “Oh, COME ON, God, how dare you give me a resolution about something that I actually need to work on today. Really?”

I backed up and read the meditation. “Christ’s first tasks are usually not that hard for us to execute: simply material compliance and a little generosity. But if we let Him ride with us long enough, He will eventually ask for something that demands faith and may go against our reason or personal comfort.”My second thought was a little more rational – a Bible verse that has been one of my favorites since my senior year in college: “Simon, son of John, do you love me….Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young you fastened your own belt and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:17-19)

Where you do not wish to go. Sometimes, all God wants of you is just to follow Him and to trust Him. Every day. It seems to me that I never have a bad day except when I’ve already had a bad week. And that is probably precisely the way He wants it. Because it is exactly in those moments  when I do have a choice: am I am going to choose to trust Him and follow Him in the big AND the little things in life, especially when it is the hardest to do so?Especially the times where you have no idea what he wants for your life? Even when your plans are not His plans? Especially in the days where you have an opportunity to bring joy into someone’s life but you just don’t feel like it? Or maybe you just hurt. What do you do? One of my college professors once told me, “Choosing to follow Christ is not nearly as hard as continually choosing to follow Christ.” Every day. Totus Tuus.