Wednesday, September 23, 2009


In June, I decided I would start wearing a veil. This decision came after a lot of thought and random exposures to it. Wearing it to Mass for the first time was a bit nerve-wrecking. I kept thinking, “do I look really weird right now? I wonder if people are saying to themselves, ‘who does she think she is, I just saw her yesterday without that on. Why is she wearing one now?’”. The first few times I wore it, I was very aware of my veil for almost the entire Mass.

But I stayed with it, and it has become a lot more normal for me. So much so that one day, when I didn’t have it (although I carry it around with me everywhere now) it was distracting to me to not have it on.

I’m still a bit cautious of it though, because I do worry what people are thinking when they see me with it on (I think of my sister’s reaction when she saw that I carried it around in my purse). Maybe family is always a bit harsher.

I have a few reasons so far for why I will continue to wear a veil. The first being that St. Paul tells women to cover their hair (1Cor 11:5). I won’t go much into that because you can see for yourself what it says. Secondly is Mary. It is true that all women want to be like Mary. She is the definition of a woman and she is God’s favored one. A depiction of Mary would be incomplete if it didn’t include a veil. She wore it out of obedience and love for God (and also because it was a custom to do so). Likewise, wearing a veil is a constant reminder that I should be obedient to God. And not only am I obedient but am submissive. This word scares a lot of people, but I think it is a beautiful word. It reminds me of my place. I am a woman, under my (future) husband and under God. It is very humbling.

The veil also provides me a way to express myself that men cannot and few women choose to do so. To me, the veil shows that women are very important, and they are not on display as to be a pleasure for just anyone to see. We are so beautiful and should be covered in order to protect this beauty and mystery that God has placed in us. This is a section from a informational sheet that came with my veil:
Now one reason for the use of veils is wrapped up in the mystery of a woman’s femininity which can bear children. At the moment of conception, when God creates a soul and it joins its body in the womb of its mother, God’s creative hands work within her, and since whatever God touches becomes scared, we veil it. And since a woman’s hair is her glory (1 Cor. 11:15), we veil what is her dignity.

After the initial feelings of potential public criticism, I have gained so much from wearing the veil. Putting it on before entering the presence of Jesus helps prepare me for the encounter. It also helps me focus more on him (sometimes quite literally by blocking my peripheral vision). I’ve also gotten a lot of good comments on it or people asking where I got it or something like that. One of my friends has even started wearing hers again because now she won’t be the only one.

By saying all of this I mean in no way to judge those who don’t wear one. I don’t think of them differently and I’m certainly not trying to get everyone to wear one. The veil is something that shouldn’t distract others but instead help them focus more on Mass. I would just like my fellow women to know how awesome it feels to receive Christ into a veiled sanctuary.

Peace and love!

Over in Iraq...

The deployment has seemed to level out. Things are becoming normal, and my mom has found a routine. A long, boring, same every single day routine, but a routine. One way the people keep from going crazy in the midst of a 12-14 hour workday, is candy, shopping and throwing. People, as a way to get a break, go visit others and grab some candy along the way. I figure, the better candy you have, the more friends too. Candy is the one food item that isn’t readily available there (my mom eats VERY well), so I make sure to send her lots of candy. She also tells me that there are these tables set up where people put unwanted items, from care packages or something like that, for anyone to take. People walk around and go “shopping”. My mom says you can find anything you can think of on those tables. And the last tactic of enduring boredom is just throw things across the cubicles. Beenie babies, nerf balls, rubber bands, all sorts of things go flying. I’m also stocking my mom up in that category as well!

My mom’s deployment has brought a lot of unforeseen opportunities. For example, in the little bit of free time she has, she devotes a lot of it to going to a bible study. It is lead by another solider there, one, I’m guessing, who is really into the subject. The theme of the bible study is salvation history. I think it’s great that every time we talk, she tells me about where they are in the study and how interesting it is. Last I heard, they finished Exodus. I guess her biggest struggle is being able to read the chapters before they meet (as she normally falls asleep right away at night, HAHA!)

She also told me about a special Mass that she was able to attend. The bishop of Basra came in for a visit and celebrated the Mass in the Chaldean Rite spoken in Aramaic. My mom, knowing that I’m interested in the Latin Mass, couldn’t stop talking about it and she had a lot of questions. But I, of course, hardly know anything. I’ve never even heard of this before. But either way, it was interesting hearing her explain the order of Mass (which, she said it seemed, is only slightly different than the Roman Rite). The Church always has something new to learn!

Sadly, they don’t have enough priests to have one at every base so they have a Mass (instead of a prayer service) every 3-4 weeks or so. She also keeps busy with yoga (which makes me laugh at the thought of) and concerts they have almost every week (if the weather is good enough for the band to come in). She even got to make an appearance on tv September 11th, when the Minnesota Vikings played (she is a part of the Minnesota National guard unit), even though she had to wake up at 2am her time. I hope to watch the video of that soon.

It makes me happy to know that she is doing well and is growing in her faith (in Iraq of all places).

Peace and love!

Monday, September 21, 2009


I’m realizing lately that I should stop being so dramatic. Yes, I have problems and troubles in my life, but they are no where near the struggles of others. I have been so blessed in my life it’s hard to remember that others are praying for their very lives. Just hearing my friends talk about their childhoods or reading about an acquaintance’s very hard time in their life right now, not only makes me thankful for what I have been given, but also embarrassed for the fact I thought I had it rough.

I never know how to respond. Do I try to give advice after I listen to what they have to say? What advice could I give? I can only relate through general feelings of loss, frustration, despair. For the most part, I’ve never had to confront what they are confronting. I think most times, advice isn't needed.

Father Michael, a priest from Uganda who has visited Auburn and who I’ve talked about before, sent an email to the parish recently. As some are aware, the situation in Uganda, especially recently, is tragic. Father Michael told us how he was caught in the middle of a raid and witnessed army men shooting anyone at the wrong place at the wrong time. Please pray for his safety. Please pray for the people there. Please pray that he and the others in the church stay strong and a beacon of hope for everyone in the country.

The line he closed his email with:
The little we can do for Him must be done.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Warning: Opening your mind may cause death

What does it mean to be open-minded? I hear it all the time. “You disagree with me because you aren’t being open-minded”.

So being open-minded means never disagreeing with anyone? I thought that was called a pushover. And anyway, you can’t agree with everyone, because you would be contradicting yourself somewhere.

No, being open-minded is not agreeing with someone who accuses you of being close-minded.

I think being open-minded is just that, opening your mind. However, we aren’t opening our mind for the sake of opening it. We are opening it to find the truth. That is what we seek, everyday, in every part of our life. Education teaches us truth, or processes to find it and analyze it. Newspapers are supposed to spread truth to the people. Detectives figure out the truth by looking at clues and examining evidence. We react negatively when someone lies to us, or we find out that something we thought was true really isn’t (aka scandals).We are on a constant search for truth. I feel, at least in part, we all are open-minded. Being open-minded is the only way to find truth.

But when someone accuses someone of being close-minded, what is that person really saying? They are saying that the person is not listening or understanding what that person regards as truth. Disagreeing with someone does not make that person close-minded.

As an open-minded person, one should be willing to listen and try to understand where the person or view is coming from. This does not mean you have to end up agreeing with it. And anyway, if you are comfortable enough with your beliefs and really understand why you believe somethings, hearing opposing views shouldn’t worry you. They should, in fact, strengthen why you believe what you do.

I'm tired of hearing people (in very high political positions) talk about how people need to be open minded because he wants people to agree with him. I think those who want others to be open-minded should practice doing just that themselves.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Great Ashley

I’m writing this post in honor of my roommate, Ashley Lynn Kovaleski. Upon discovering I have a blog, she immediately asked if I write about her. So I will.

Fact number one:
The first time Ashley farted in front of someone, her mother literally applauded her.

Fact number two:
Ashley likes songs, karaoke style. Tonight, her choice was the great 80’s classic, “Let’s get Physical”. It was a great rendition.

Fact number three:
Ashley knows what malapropism is. She learned it at her high school.

Fact number four:
Ashley gets hungry often in the middle of the night. But that doesn't mean she's actually awake.

Fact number five:
Ashley has a phobia of whips. Don’t ask.

Fact number six:
My life is great!

Monday, September 7, 2009

I miss you

I find myself missing a lot of people, and recently, those I am very close to. You get used to someone being in your life, and when that gets disrupted, for whatever reason, something isn’t right. You miss them. I think missing someone means they were special to you, and without them, you just can’t be the same.

Is it the knowledge that you can’t be with them? Or is it a sudden feeling of separation that makes me uncomfortable, which turns into “missing”?

Our culture says that it’s completely normal and even expected to miss those close to us. The knowledge that someone misses us also creates emotions that few other circumstances can do. By saying you miss someone, it implies that something is wrong and only that person’s presence can fix it. I admit my favorite letters to read at field training were the ones that went into great detail about just how much I was missed.

What is the point of missing someone anyway? It hardly does anything to change the situation. It kind of makes both persons involved feel wanted but at the same time helpless. It’s kind of messed up…

But I wonder, is missing someone a sign you don’t trust God? Or maybe I’m looking into it too much. Maybe we are supposed to miss people because it shows us how good God was to give us those people.

There are different levels in missing someone too. Physical separation is the most obvious, but I also find myself missing moments I’ve had with people. Such as having a great conversation and feeling really close to them. If we become to busy (or some other reason) and don’t have those same encounters anymore, I miss it. Then, there is the greatest level of “missing”: when someone you love has died. This is easily the hardest for me.

The death of my grandpa has had a great impact on me. When my grandma was in her final days, my grandpa never left her side. He would stay up with her all night, holding her hand, talking to her. Because of her stokes, she couldn’t speak anymore, so he spoke for her, recounting memories and telling her life story. They were married for 59 years and they saw the world together. He only cried when she was still alive. Once she was gone, he packed up her things, wanting to give most of them to me and my sister, and set up funeral arrangements. I’m sure he missed her, but he seemed to be ok with it.

When she died it wasn’t as hard as it is now. I didn’t have a real reason to be sad. She lived a great life, and most of all she had a husband that loved her to the very end. After she died, he was so strong. I couldn’t be sad if he didn’t seem to be. But when he fell sick and slowly reached the point where he couldn‘t recover, there wasn’t anyone by his side. Sure, my uncle and aunt would come and visit him a few times a week, but he didn’t have someone the way she did. I think about that a lot.

It is still hard to think of him as gone. I shouldn’t be so sad, I shouldn’t miss him so much. He is probably in heaven and is perfectly happy right now. So why do I miss him so much? Why do I miss anyone?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Let me hit ya’ with ‘em


If I never had to call anyone again, I would be more than ok with that! Phone calls are so awkward, especially when you have to hang up. Even if it’s someone you know really well. “Ok, well, I’m going to go. Ok, talk to you later, I’ll see you soon. Have a good night, Bye. Good bye.” I want to leave the conversation on a good note, but the end always ruins it!! Phones suck!


Auburn football has returned. It’s nice to see all the alumni come back with their cute children and tasty food!


Why is it when people are drinking, all they talk about is drinking? I don’t mind alcohol, but being around people who are drinking is BORING! “Last weekend I had some beers with so and so”. “Oh, she doesn’t drink.” “I like Coors light better than Miller lite” “This one time, my friend got wasted and…”. I hope when I turn 21 I can come up with a bit more interesting topics of conversation.


Did you know it is illegal to brew your own beer in Alabama? That means I know quite a few persons doing unlawful things... Oh, the responsibility!


Disclaimer: These lists may not be every week, and I can’t promise 6 thoughts, because I may not be able to think of six things. And I don’t really like the number six.


Labor day is tomorrow! Sleep and no classes= great day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Kindness and honesty

Do you remember the saying, I asked God for patience and he gave me opportunities to be patient instead (or something to that effect)? Yeah, today was just one obvious opportunity after another. My problem isn’t patience (or at least it’s not at the moment), but sharing my faith. Once upon not so long ago, I had so few conversations about religion (let alone my religion) that people didn’t even know I was Catholic. It just never came up, ever. Perhaps it’s because I’ve moved to Alabama, and I’m sure it’s because I have since completely surrounded myself with all things Catholic, but I find myself in random religious discussions all the time. It happens with (of course) my Catholic friends, most of my other friends, and even complete strangers. But I still feel like I miss opportunities all the time. Remaining silent, when I know I should speak, bringing it up when others are dancing around a topic. It’s something I’ve really been trying to work on. I’ve pledged to not pass up any more opportunities that present themselves.

Today was a pretty obvious opportunity. I was supposed to go swimming at 10am, but when I called to find out the open hours, I learned that we couldn’t go swimming until 11. This left me in my apartment for an hour essentially just waiting. Just then, I heard a knock on the door. It was the man who was going to fix our refrigerator. It had been leaking for a few days. He quickly diagnosed the problem as ice build up, which meant he would have to melt all the ice that had frozen in the drain. He was going to be here for the next 45 minutes or so.

He started light conversation by asking where everyone in the apartment was from. Never actually thinking about this before, I realized that all my roommates are from different states. He asked how we knew each other and I said we met at church. Thus, finding out we’re Catholic. The conversation led to military life, college life, then back to faith. And as he heated water and scraped out chunks of ice, he told me his entire story. About how lost he was in high school and really searching in college. About the people he meet that influenced his life and the directions they led him. He told me he decided he couldn’t be a Christian if he was hypocritical in his beliefs and actions, and that he wanted to give up because he felt he couldn’t truly follow Christ. After going through details of where his life led him, he ended up pentecostal (although he said he belongs to an independent church and not the pentecostal church). He told me the exact time and day that he was saved.

We didn’t debate really, which I don’t think I could really do with a total stranger, but I feel as though I did share my faith with him. I’m getting better at having normal conversations about these things, but I need to improve. One thing he said, that I really wish I would have responded to better, is that he wanted to go back to the teachings of Jesus. He didn’t want anything added or taken away from it, no traditions, just follow what Jesus taught.

I thought of what I should have said later (and I will share as an attempt to redeem myself). Traditions should be looked at to make sure they have merit, but to do away with them just because they are traditions is wrong. Traditions always have a lot of meaning, most of which points us to things we may not understand. But through performing the traditions, they help us know and bring us to believe what the meaning points to. Jesus himself participated in traditions, such as the Passover Seder, but he also did away with traditions if they lost their true meaning. We should strive to do the same.

So anyway, that’s just one of the encounters I’ve had today. Other lessons: If you are simply kind to someone, by smiling and wishing them a great day, or by giving a ride home, it can impact them more than just the act itself. It really caught me off guard.