2015, What Do You Have in Store?

For the last couple of years I’ve set new year goals for myself. My goals for 2014 are here if you care to take a look. But I’d rather not dwell on that shamefully unaccomplished list. Instead, I’m going to look forward. This semester has been, well, Hell. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much stress and anxiety as I’ve felt over the last 4 months. But this semester, and this year, have also been good. I’ve learned a lot especially about education and people with disabilities, taught in an elementary school classroom, switched my major to English, learned a lot about myself, lived in Indianapolis this summer, and made great memories with wonderful people.

This year, I’m going to keep my goals simple. I realized that having a long list can be overwhelming. Usually I can’t remember half of them anyway. Also, part way through the year some of the more specific ones tend to be abandoned. So for the more specific goals, the short-term ones, and the ones that arise later on in the year, I’ll make monthly goals. For my yearly goals though, this year I’m going to focus on things that are close to my heart, things I’ve wanted and been working on for a while.

1) Write
I love writing and I want to write more. Ideally I’d like to write something everyday–a blog post, a scene of fiction. I know it probably won’t happen and it would take a while before I get into any kind of habit. But I want to write more and embrace this passion.

2) Pray
I want to work on my relationship with God and being a better person. Daily mental prayer is the plan.

3) Be/Go/Do Something or Somewhere New
I don’t know what this is going to entail. But I have done some fun new things this year and I’ve loved it. So I want to keep going. I’m taking ballet next semester, I might be doing some traveling over the summer. We’ll see.

 

Adventure

This last year, I had a word for the year: joy. And while I hadn’t planned to pick a word for this year, something struck me at Mass today. Adventure. God has led me on a wild adventure this last year and my whole life really. This new year is another step. But I think it’s going to be a big one. Regardless of what happens, life is an adventure. I want to live it and see what this new year brings.

On the Home Front: The March for Life 2014

Yesterday was the March for Life.

On Monday, I watched over 400 of my fellow students here at Benedictine College load into 8 buses. For part of the process, I stood on a balcony overlooking the crowd. It was a frenzy of excitement below. It took about an hour to get everyone organized, the busses loaded, and get people their warm hats, itineraries, and sack lunches. There was also a prayer led by the abbot and a blessing of all the Marchers. When they weren’t praying, music–everything from “Some Nights” to “The Circle of Life”–blasted through a sound system. I helped where I could, but mostly wandered between different vantage points watching the scene, jealous.

I wanted to go on the March. So many of my friends were going, traveling more than 24 hours to DC on those buses. Despite my initial skepticism, our pro-life club had met their goal and signed up enough people for 8 buses. Almost a quarter of the student body was going, along with professors, staff, and monks & priests from the abbey. But I wasn’t going.

I was lucky enough to be able to go last year. But this year I stayed back. And I was a little bummed. Then I saw a friend’s post on Facebook saying that those of us on the “home front” would be praying for those on the March (or something to that effect).

And we did. We had a 24 hour period of Eucharistic Adoration and I’m sure many people here sent up a prayer or two for their friends and classmates who were gone. Professors, in my experience, were mostly understanding and allowing of students being gone on the March. I’m proud of everyone who missed classes and took time away to go to DC and show the government what we believe. And I’m proud of everyone who took part in the adoration or in some other way prayed for those who were gone.

We need both action and prayer. Without prayer our actions are flat and meaningless. St. Benedict has a phrase “ora et labora”, prayer and work. Both individuals and groups need action and prayer combined. This is something that’s been brought up in my work with Campus Ministry this year. And reaffirmed this week with the March for Life.

I think, at different times we’re called to different things. Perhaps this year you were called to go on the March. Or perhaps you were called to stay back and pray. Either way, you were supporting the pro-life movement. And I hope that those who marched also prayed and that those who prayed will also being acting and working for the pro-life cause.

My Goals for 2014

It’s a new year! For me, that means it’s time to set new goals. Yesterday I reviewed my 2013 goals. Now it’s time to decide what I want to do in 2014.

Those listed below will be goals for the whole year. Here’s hoping this will be a great year for all of us!

2014 Goals

1) A Year of Blogging Well
If you’ve been following my blog you’ll have heard of this blogging challenge I’ve given myself for 2014. It involves writing 100 posts during the year, including more pictures, and generally giving this blog some attention.

2) Give Time to God in Prayer Every Day
This might be adoration, rosary, the liturgy of the hours, or just meditation/journaling. The important thing is making a commitment to this. Every. Day. It should be a time for me to lay everything at His feet and just remember that He is the most important thing.

3) Budget–even if it kills me 
I don’t like playing the guessing game of “how much is there now?” when I log into my bank account. I need to keep track of my expenses. More importantly though, I need to be thrifty as I save up for a car (eventually).

4) Be Computer-Free One Day a Week
I can still watch movies on netflix and check my texts. I’m not talking about going completely offline. But I think it’s important for me, and perhaps many of us, to get away from the distraction and pointless noise of computers–and especially the internet. This will be Saturdays for now.

5) READ
Since I went off to college it’s been difficult to read. Most evenings I spend doing homework, watching TV occasionally, and/or who am I kidding mostly (you guessed it) on the computer. I have a list as long of my arm of books I’d like to read. It’s time I got down to it. I miss the days when I would check out 5 books from the library every 2 weeks.

6) Make Time for Other Hobbies
I’d like to crochet again (my roommate and I have been talking about it). I miss drawing too. I love to draw. It would be nice to once in a while spend a lazy Sunday afternoon doing something fun and constructive.

7) Make Exercise a Regular Part of My Life
I know this won’t happen right away. I also know it probably won’t happen at all over breaks. But at least while I’m at school it would be nice to get some exercise. That might mean a workout video or just going swing dancing Sunday night. I could also go to the pool on campus or use the tennis court right next to my dorm (after it warms up a bit)

8) Commit to a Weekly Cleaning Time for My Dorm Room
In general, I just want my life to be more organized and clean-cut. Keeping my dorm room clean should hopefully help de-clutter my life too. It should also help me to not feel like a fail of a roommate. I’m fairly good about not leaving stuff on the floor for my roommate. Instead, my mess stays on my desk (and that area), inside my closet, and under my bed. I’d like to keep these areas tidy. Hence, a once-a-week cleaning time.

In addition to these year-long goals, I’ll also be posting goals for each month. Then I’ll review them at the end of the month when I set the following month’s goals. Some of my monthly goals may reflect or even duplicate my year-long goals, others may be completely unrelated. Before I finish here, I want to list my monthly goals for January too.

January Goals

1) After I get back to school, clean up my room in preparation for this new semester

2) Figure out my schedule in a typical week of this semester (including exercise, reading time, homework time, weekly cleaning etc)

3) Write 8 blog posts

4) Come up with a budgeting plan

In addition, I want to keep up with/work on my new year’s goals: praying every day, no computer on Saturdays, etc

So there you have it, my new goals including 8 things for me to do in 2014. These goals will take diligence. It’s going to be a challenging year but a good one. If I succeed I will have cause to be proud of the person I become. Hopefully, putting these goals down in writing and publishing them here will encourage me to accomplish them. I’ll also be posting them on the wall in my room when I get back to school.

I’d love to here about your New Year’s resolutions or goals. Leave a comment below!

I Think I Want a Chapel Veil…

I’ve been something of a traditionalist for a while. I mean in high school I raised my hands and listened to praise and worship music as much as the next girl whose youth minister graduated from Franciscan. But my traditionalist ways have been a part of me for a long time. Still these ways generally only extend so far as the occasional Latin Mass (but only within the last few years). And they certainly don’t include chapel veils.

Well, not yet.

No offense to anyone who wears them, but frankly I don’t get chapel veils. Ok sure, there’s the passage in the Bible about women covering their heads before God and so forth…but, honestly these veils we wear today seem more like adornments than coverings: a pretty thing with rose-patterned lace to put on your head. I admit my perception is probably skewed and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of projecting my own jealousy. But even setting that aside…what’s the point exactly of the veil?

Since being home I’ve gone to two Latin Masses including the Midnight Mass at my home parish which was a high Latin Mass this year. Additionally I’m falling in love with the liturgy of the hours. I’ve just been caught up in a wave of devout sentiment. By extension, my interest in veiling has resurfaced.

And how was I going to feel as it came time to go to midnight Mass but as if I needed a chapel veil? I felt a little better once I saw there were other women there without them. But in that moment, even when I didn’t understand them, I wanted one. Most likely this is simply because I didn’t want to be the odd one out. Even my mom and 15 year old sister had something on their heads. But…yesterday I found an etsy shop of chapel veils and was, well, browsing. I decided I wanted one that fell on my shoulders instead of always being tied back, and I also saw that they were a little expensive, but you know some weren’t so bad. And, yeah, I maybe got a little caught up. *guilty smile*The Veil

So, this whole rant is simply to say…maybe my mind is/has been slowly changing. As I think of the women I personally know who wear veils and a particular blog post about one woman’s foray into veil-wearing I can’t help feeling interested. I’m not up for it right now. I’m not convinced about veil-wearing. And yet…

There’s something about veils that attracts me to them. I can’t necessarily identify it because any attempt to do so my mind refutes with a counterexample. I’d say it’s humble but I struggle to reconcile that with the beautiful appearance of a veil. I’d say it helps people be less distracted but I feel as though I’d always be adjusting it.

I guess the only real solution would be to try a veil. As I said, though, I’m not there yet. Maybe it’s a phase, maybe I am just caught up in sentiment. But it’s not completely ridiculous to think that I might at some point start wearing a veil…at least to Latin Mass. 😉

Discernment: Just Trust!

A few weeks ago, Sr. Joseph Andrew with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist came for a visit to campus. She and I had a great conversation about my discernment story. She also shared her perspective on discernment and vocations during a women’s social night. Then, later that week, I had a great time in adoration where my lectio divina led me back to this same topic of trusting God when it comes to discernment.

We tend to think, myself included, that our vocation is a puzzle we must solve or a mystery to unravel. God is leaving us clues and if we’re not very, very careful we’ll miss one and thereby miss our vocation. But when you step back for a second, Sister’s perspective makes a lot more sense than this notion of discernment as a scavenger hunt.

She emphasized the importance of trusting God. This makes sense to me, because after all, He’s not trying to trick us. God doesn’t sit up in Heaven and think up elaborate wild goose chases for discerning individuals (at least I don’t think He does).

God loves us. He wants us to get to Heaven. Isn’t that why He designed our vocations in the first place? They are meant to glorify Him and help us on the path to holiness. We just need to trust that if we are following Him and seeking His will, He will show us where we are meant to be. In His time, and in His way. God wouldn’t hide your vocation from you. 

Now, of course, discernment is important. We have to put in some work. But if we’re constantly wondering if this or that was a sign or we’re stressing about what exactly our vocation is all the time…then I would think that that is not from God. Isn’t peace one of the fruits of the spirit? (Galatians 5:22).

So the long and short of it is: don’t freak out about discernment. Trust God.

7 Quick Takes Vol. 24

— 1 —

Well, I forgot to do my Quick Takes last Friday…and that was actually a pretty full week. For one, it was the one year anniversary of this blog. And, Saturday night, I got to babysit and even rock their 5 month old to sleep. He was a sweet baby! there other kids were great, though they were asleep almost the whole time.

— 2 —

I have so many blogging ideas in my head! I had a lovely realization about vocations this week after a conversation with a sister who was visiting campus, I also want to write about halloween, and my favorite posts from the last year. Hopefully I’ll get to one of those, at least, this weekend.

— 3 —

Next weekend is Fall Break! I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now. It’ll be great to just relax and have some down time. I’m going with a friend of mien from Iowa. We’re going to go shopping, she’s going to show me Costco (I’ve never been to one because they aren’t by my house), and just enjoy the mini vacation.

— 4 —

This weekend is Homecoming! We had the parade and dorm decoration judging today. Tomorrow is the traditional bed races, the football game, Saturday Vigil Mass, and the homecoming dance. I didn’t care for last year’s dance very much but this year it’s a 50’s themed sock hop. There’s going to be swing dancing and our swing club helped pick the music. So that should be fun.

— 5 —

What does the fox say? Is anyone else mildly disturbed by this music video? At first I was weirded out, then I was concerned (it just wouldn’t sit right with me), now I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s just a silly video? Thoughts??

— 6 —

We have wi-fi! The wi-fi in our suite has been terrible. I mentioned this to my dad and being the wonderful and technologically literate person that he is (he’s a computer programmer he kinda knows his stuff) he offered to send an access point. When it arrived, I on the other hand, was pretty clueless. I tend to think of myself as fairly tech savvy. But maybe I’m not. But that’s why I’ve got my dad and my brothers to call up and say “help! I don’t know what I’m doing!”
Anyways, it’s great to have full-functioning wi-fi. We can even get netflix on the wii. And yeah, we may have overdone it on the TV watching tonight. But hey! We are in college after all!

— 7 —

A friend mentioned Totus Tuus to me today. We were talking about summer internships and I mentioned wanting something in my diocese that was related to education. Totus Tuus was something she had done and enjoyed. She described the program to me: working with kids, teaching them about the faith, traveling around the diocese, being part of a team, praying constantly, discerning your vocation. So yeah…I’m going to have to look into that. 🙂 One thing that does concern me is the salary. It’s not a whole lot and I do need to be saving up. We’ll see what happens. Anyone out there ever been on a Totus Tuus team???

 

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!

2013 Goals: September Review/October Goals

Here we are once again! Time to see how the last month’s goals went and set out my new goals for this upcoming month.

September Review

1) Use my budget

Hm… I did realize a flaw in my itemized budget. It requires me to keep every receipt and categorize every item adding tax as I enter it into my budget spreadsheet. Yeah. Don’t really want to do that. But I did enter some of my receipts so I’m going to count this as fairly good.

2) Be consistent about checking my temperature

The only way to say this is…FAIL.

3) Get organized 

I am less overwhelmed now but there’s a reason for that. Things have calmed down and I dropped that class. I now have some routines with my job as a test proctor on campus and my ministry position. Classes are more manageable and homework isn’t much of a worry.

4) Have a better prayer life

Yeah…I go to adoration and do lectio divina there once a week. I have Bible Study now too with FOCUS and we do lectio there as well. I’ve started praying before I send my reminder emails to people signed up for adoration. But I’m still don’t feel I’m praying as much as I should (ideally I’d like to spend 20-30 minutes a day in prayer) so I’m counting this as a fail.

5) Take care of myself

I did better at this and this month will have specific goals to get me on track, so this was successful.

Overall, not too good. Most of these I made it by the skin of my teeth or simply because external factors aligned. I put almost no effort into my goals this last month. I’m hoping to do better in October.

October Goals

1) Keep to my bedtime

I’m starting a new bedtime routine. I go to bed at 11pm and have lights out at 11:30pm. Tonight however, I’m not keeping to that.

2) Eat breakfast every day

I have developed a bad habit of getting up too late to eat breakfast. I need to stop it.

3) Pray every day

Again, praying. Ideally, I’d like to pray every day. Perhaps 20 minutes of lectio.

4) Use my budget

I need to figure out how to work that. I guess I could categorize everything on my receipt. The goal is to

5) Draw

My roommate and I have been meaning to draw with charcoal. She’s seen some of the work I’ve done with it and wants to try too. So it would be nice to do this some weekend this month.

I guess we’ll see how these go. Check back in next month to see how I did!

7 Quick Takes Vol. 22

— 1 —

Another week that flew by! It’s been another quick week. Somethings I did in the last 7 days include writing a letter in Spanish, and completing a bulletin for this Sunday (I do that every week though). And now it’s the weekend!!!

— 2 —

I also got to teach a mini lesson this week to 2 other students in my math for elementary teachers class. The others talked about the roman and egyptian number systems while I explained the Babylonian number system (pretty poorly I might add).  I’m glad though that I’m getting this experience before I go out into the real world of teaching. Now I know.

— 3 —

I’ve also been working my campus job, which involves mostly doing homework and watching people take tests. It’s a fairly chill job but the responsibility of it was pressed upon me. After all, we have to make sure no one is cheating.

— 4 —

Speaking of responsibility…yeah. I’ve been fairly irresponsible lately. I don’t care as much about keeping on top of all my reading for my classes as I did last year. I’ve been forgetful. I’ve slept in (I always do that though). It’s just not been good. I wonder if it’s because I’m on ministry and use that as an excuse. But I think I’m just lazy.

— 5 —

My prayer life is something I’ve been working on (kind of). It’s not as good as I would like and I’m having trouble making myself pray. But when I do it’s great. I do lectio divina in adoration and it’s perfect for me. God speaks to me in that time and I feel His comfort. I think that’s His way of encouraging me to pray more. Hopefully it works.

— 6 —

Benedictine’s Oktoberfest is tonight! I know when people say Oktoberfest we usually think of beer but that is not what this is about. We do pretzels and bavarian potato salad and cake and I think bratwursts, so, German food. Different dorms do different foods and you go around and eat what you like. Last year there were also games: 3-legged races and such.

— 7 —

I have a headache. Sad but true. I’ve had it all day. It’s one of those weird pressure headaches. I might be coming down with a cold. Actually, I’m pretty sure I have one. I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow and get some much needed rest.

The weekend is here! Time for fun, friends, and sleep.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!

2013 Goals: August Review/September Goals

It’s September already! This month just flew past! And I honestly haven’t blogged for quite a bit of it. But it’s been a hectic few weeks. Anyways, it is time to review my goals for the last month and make another set of goals for this month.

August Review

1) Spend no more than 1 hour on the internet each day (Sundays excluded) browsing blogs/news/Facebook newsfeed

I actually kind of forgot about this goal. But I’m just going to pass myself on this one. I’ve probably been better about wasting time online, especially since for the last few weeks I haven’t had much time to waste!

Since I did…I don’t have to cut myself off from “fun” internet for 3 days

2) Write letter to my futures self

Fail. Complete and utter.
Since I didn’t… I don’t get that ice cream I promised myself  😦

3) Do the stuff i should before I head off to school

This is mostly a pass. I paid my tuition bill, helped my brother with the essays he needed to write before the beginning of the school year, packed, and made a road trip playlist.
(No consequence)

4) Take an awesome road trip with my roomie out to school, also see beautiful Colorado

Yes I did. And while I was in Colorado I climbed a mountain 🙂

PROOF
PROOF

Since I did…I got to enjoy that 😉

5) Survive and thrive!

I’ve survived quite a bit this month: 4 days of VBS with my 2nd and 3rd graders, packing and flying to Colorado, climbing a mountain, driving to Kansas with my roommate, a 2 day retreat with campus ministry, a week of training after that, making 2 bulletins, writing various Mass petitions, flying back home for a funeral, the start of classes, a new dorm room….yeah it’ been a bit crazy.

Since I did all that…I’m supposed to get to relax and hang with my friends resting in the knowledge of all I’ve made it through. Well, tonight I had dinner with some of my suite mates and after played apples to apples.

Now onto my goals for this month.

September Goals 

1) Use my budget

I’m starting my budget this month. I have set amounts for different categories of purchases. Hopefully this will help me to watch my spending, especially until I find a job on campus this semester/year.

2) Be consistent about checking my temperature

Because I’m charting with my new thermometer I need to take my temperature every morning when I wake up. This month I had a straight week where I didn’t temp at all. I should be better about that.

3) Get organized 

We started classes on Wednesday and so far I’ve been behind and confused. Also, I haven’t been blogging for a while. I need to get scheduled and organized with my life.

4) Have  better prayer life

Maybe go to Mass every day or say a rosary. Just something to reconnect with God especially in the midst of 18 credit hours, ministry work, home work and possibly work work.

5) Take care of myself

I sometimes sacrifice important things like enough sleep and square meals (or a meal completely) to get stuff done. This is not ok.

I decided I wouldn’t have consequences and rewards this month. I wasn’t coming up with good ones anyways. All right, we’ll see how I do this month. Wish me luck! I’ll see you all next month to see how these go!

2013 Goals: June Review/July Goals

Well, another month has come and gone and the year is half over. (Doesn’t it feel like it just started??) Anyways now it’s time to take a look back at the past month, the goals I had, and how I did and to look forward and plan 5 new goals for July.

My 5 goals for June:

1)Say at least one decade of the rosary every day
Um, I guess I really didn’t do too good at this. I got maybe 10 days out of the month. But overall, I think my prayer life is improving.

2)Finish “How to Find Your Soulmate” and at least one other book–and write reviews for both
Yes and no. I finished Soulmate and you can read my review/reflection here. Bus I haven’t finished my second book. I did start “Rediscovering Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly but I haven’t gotten very far yet.

3)Make a decision about Spanish next semester
This took a back burner as the month went on. I think I am going to take Spanish though. It will be good for me, if I become a teacher and I’ve always wanted to learn.

4)Apply to more jobs, and get at least one interview (hopefully)
I did one better. I found a job and have been working at the cafe for over 2 weeks. You can read more about how I got the job here and about the awkward intersection between faith and my coworkers here.

5)Refresh my math skills (or lack thereof) in prep for my math for teachers class in the Fall
This one is a big no. I haven’t even cracked the book this month. Although, come to think of it, I have been doing math at work…so does that count?

BONUS) Write that letter to my future self
Yeah, no.

Okay, so in all seriousness I didn’t do too good this month. Hopefully I can apply myself more in the weeks ahead. There’s still a number of things that I meant to do this summer that I haven’t gotten around to. And for me, summer ends in just over 6 weeks. So July, it’s you and me and we are going to do this. 🙂

July goals:

1)Work on the following for school: Spanish and math

2)Write essays for application to education department 

3)Get my driving permit

4)Finish “Rediscovering Catholicism” and one other book. Write reviews for both.

5)Write that letter!!

So there we have it. Hopefully I can do better this month than last. It looks like a few of these will require diligence and consistency. Some scheduling is probably in order to help keep me on top of the school-related assignments and possible the reading. Only, I know I don’t stick to schedules without consequences looming over me or rewards being held out like a proverbial carrot. So, this month, I’m going to add a reward or consequence to each goal.

1)Work on the following for school: Spanish and math
If I do…
and get far enough, I get to spend a lazy day wearing comfy clothes, enjoying myself, and relaxing

2)Write essays for application to education department
If I don’t…I can’t go on Twitter for a week or until I’m done writing the essays (whichever comes first)

3)Get my driving permit
If I don’t…(through my own fault) I must tell the whole long blog post on why I can’t drive yet (I’m pretty sure I’m going to get it though).

4)Finish “Rediscovering Catholicism” and one other book (probably the book on St. Kateri). Write reviews for both.
If I do…I get to read the “Freedom Writers Diary” (which I’m looking forward to) next in my Summer Reading.

5)Write that letter!
If I don’t…I can’t eat  chocolate for a week (ouch!)

So there we are. 5 goals. 2 rewards. 3 consequences. 1 month.