Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memories

It’s reaching towards the end of the semester, the year, and my college experience. My childhood, if not already long gone, is definitely heading towards a definitive close. I know how I get around this time of year (all sappy and sad). It’s the period of waiting, preparing, and yet also remembering. What better way to wait than remember right?

I still think back to the summer before my senior year of high school. I went to New Zealand and Australia. But when I think about that trip I don’t think of all the places we saw or things we did (although they were very exciting), I think about the night I went swimming at a resort in Australia on one of the last nights of the trip. Maybe it’s because I love the night, or swimming, or feeling so right that night. Or maybe it was a combination. But when I think back to my short floating session, I can’t help but remember the only other person in the pool that night. A boy who was also on our trip, although I had hardly talked to him before then. Our travel group was big and he was a part of a different group of friends. But there he was, alone, in the pool.

The pool was beautiful. It was wide with long lanes that lead to a cutoff that overlooked a lake. At the right spot, it looked like the pool water was hovering above the lake. On the far side of the lake was a magnificent tree with a single spotlight which mirrored it on the motionless water. The stars were unbelievable and the pool was colored so blue it seemed as if I was swimming in the sky. I swam over to this boy. It was just too perfect to keep all to myself. But he wasn’t interested in conversation. He told me politely enough that he was working on improving his swimming. So up and down he went, slowly, but surely. So I continued to float, staring into the stars.

Less than two weeks after we returned to North Carolina, this boy was dead. He was hit by lightening which induced a coma. He died soon after from pneumonia. I attended his memorial service, the first I had ever been to. What I remember, and still feel, is peace. Peace that night and peace at his service. It’s hard to think about a life, all the hopes and dreams, history, beliefs of a person and come to some logical conclusion other than this is what God willed. This boy had a full life. I had the privilege to glimpse it.

What I remember tonight is how wonderful and mysterious God is. I know every encounter I have is the plan of God and I hope to allow these experiences to touch my heart, even if its in anger or fear. He makes things right. I just have to hold on through the painful and joyous lessons alike.

God bless you this Advent!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Sunday!

Today is the fifth Sunday of easter and St. Rita's feast day! Have wonderful day! It is beautiful here!

St. Rita, pray for us!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Names and Heresies

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Or so goes the famous line of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I won’t pretend to know much about this line or the play either (don’t worry, I know the gist of it), but that line has always bothered me. It seems in blatant contradiction to another famous line:

Therefore God has highly exulted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

That at the NAME of Jesus… and nothing else. That name is powerful. The idea of names, especially in Judaism and Christianity, is very important. Your name was who you were. Not a representation, symbol or identifying sound, but precisely who you are. This is why it was such a big deal for God to change your name. It meant you were completely different now. Who you are has changed: your name has changed. Just thinking about it, I can come up with many other examples. In the Old Testament, the name of God was only spoken once a year by the priest because it was that powerful. The Vatican also just declared in 2005 that Yahweh not be spoken or pronounced in any liturgical celebrations. Have you noticed some song lyrics have changed? Also, the idea of having a “good name”, and trying to uphold that.

Names mean something. They certainly aren’t arbitrary. Obviously the name of God means something, but what about human-given names? Do they mean anything? I suppose one could make the argument that anything given by God is sacred, but something given by humans may not be. I mean, some people name their children things like Petal Blossom Rainbow and Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo (and yes, these girls are all siblings!). What about those names? What if you don’t like your name, or it doesn’t seem to quite fit who you are?

I’d still have to think these names are very important and isn’t just a name among other names. It is you! That is your name! We learned in the Gospel this past Sunday that the shepherd calls his own sheep by name. If that name could be replaced with the same effect, do you think Jesus would do that instead? Well, it can’t because that name means a whole lot. You recognize that name, and you follow the one who calls it. Before you are even baptized the Church asks the parents what name is given to the child. From the beginning, our name is what calls us to God.

One more thing (since I feel I’m on a roll) when you get to heaven, God will give you a name that only He will call you and only you know. How ridiculously awesome is that? If that doesn’t show the power behind a name I don’t know what will.

And while I was thinking more about this, I realized too how ideas such as whether names are important or not impact how we think about other things. Specifically in regards to Truths about God. I think that is why the Church has always been such a strong fighter against heresies. We must think about God rightly if we are to have a solid faith in Him. Some great saints spent their lives fighting heresies. They could have been helping the poor or something instead. Why supposedly waste all that time and energy on correcting a silly idea? Because ideas matter A LOT! A simple idea will affect how you think about other things, and will also usually affect your actions as well. And if you have the wrong idea about God (aka, a heresy), wow, will that lead you to some awful places.

It may seem useless to most people why the Church is so adamantly opposed to ordaining women (not to mention not even having the ability to do so). But this matters a lot. It affects how we see Christ, how He relates to us, gives Himself to us, and how we respond to that love. A simple idea will have massive consequences. Just look at what the idea of a woman’s choice has gotten us. The culture of death is everywhere, and it all started from an idea.

So, in conclusion (because I think I’ve gone on way too long after so long a silence), names are freaking awesome and the Church rocks and will fight heresies to the death. And that’s the Church and God I want to serve! Have a blessed day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour comtempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Examples and Answers

It’s been said that when we are born we are blank slates. We learn from everything around us: the environment, culture, family, friends, food, language, everything. From the moment of birth we are being shaped by what is around us and what we experience. Of course there are also things that make us who we are that do not come from outside sources of the world, but for the most part, we look to others to gather how we should act, react, and think about things. For example, we learn so much from our parents. We even sometimes adopt their characteristics and quirky behaviors. Role models also provide us with something to aspire to, with something we can relate to, but also know we are lacking.

Today however, I realized that this can only go so far. Looking and learning from examples can only get me to a point. Examples are just that: they aren’t answers. Neither answers to my life or my situation.

So where to go where the example ends? I’m not content to just see what happens, to just pick a way and go. I know how limited and ignorant and frail I am. And even if I tried that, it would be hardly bearable with each uncertain decision made on a whim (even if I convinced myself I’ve thought it out). No, that won’t do.

Where the example ends is where God precisely picks up. To where my reasoning becomes tangled and shallow is where God will show me the way. He will whisper each next move and I’ll know that is my turn. We can’t rely on examples because we are all different. Each and every person has had a completely unique life. They each have a completely unique soul. Looking at examples are great to learn the human condition, but it can’t tell much about my future. But God knows my future and exactly what I’ll need.

So as I enter all new territory for me, I realize that I’ve been in uncharted lands all my life. God has directed me, given me examples, and also unique answers. As I move on to places (both physical and abstract) with fewer and fewer applicable examples, I won’t worry, because examples weren’t truly important to begin with. God is with me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Show me what I'm looking for

I found this video on my computer today. I was practically obsessed with this song about two years ago, and in the spirit of my last post, wanted to share it. It's such a beautiful prayer and one that God is definitely answering.

video
Show Me What I'm Looking For- Carolina Liar

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Desires of the Heart

I have no idea what I need. (Or want, really)

I think I’ve really missed the boat on this one. Somehow I’ve never quite realized that all my prayers to “give me whatever I need” and “let your will be done” were really just a cover up for the fact I have no clue what either of those things are.

A priest told me to persistently and boldly ask for the desires of my heart, and in those desires lies God’s will for my life. So I had to ask myself, what are those desires? And……I didn’t get far.

I don’t know.

It’s not that I don’t ask God for things. I do all the time! I ask for strength almost every moment of the day. I ask my guardian angel to carry me when I’m running. I even asked to grow taller (and it worked!). But to ask for the desires of my heart? I have never done that because I don’t even know what those are.

After this struck me (which was like finding out Santa doesn’t exist) I tried to start somewhere. The result was a very short list of things I always find immense satisfaction in. They are pretty vague, and I wouldn’t classify them as “desires”. But that’s it. That’s all I got.

Maybe I’ve always been like this. I remember having to write an essay in 7th grade on a goal or accomplishment we wanted to achieve in life, and I wrote mine on being happy. I guess I’ve never been much for particulars.

But we should know ourselves. I want to ask for the desires of my heart. God put them there, and I should find out what that is. But here I am, still “unknown”. I suppose I’ll do what I always do and ask God to take care of it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My 2 cents...

...on the remarks of our President Monday. My comments in red.

Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. If speaking of abortion, it can never be said it protects women’s health. In fact, it destroys it. In every way, especially reproductively and psychologically, not to mention the future risk of cancer. Abortion protects nothing of women.

I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. I would love to see a list of these programs. I would also be interested in seeing if “supporting pregnant women and mothers” was more than referrals to “safe” abortion clinics and access to even more contraception. Also what is healthy about a relationship that seeks to destroy the fruits of it?

And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams. If we really want to commit ourselves to women’s rights that equal men's, abortion can be in no way a part of that. Even suggesting that abortion is part of the answer (if not the main solution) suggests that the only way women can be equal to men is that they become men. As a woman, I am appalled by this and in no way wish to be a man. If anything, men should wish to be equal to us. WOMEN BRING LIFE! I would be jealous…

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shadow Angels

Night falls down
My mind turns to you
Sweet one who only God knows
You speak to me
Giggle softly
Tell me your dreams
The great plan God wrote
Love swept you away
An ugly kind of love
One who searched for
Things unreachable
Beautiful soul whisper in my ear
Tell me of heaven
Your true home
Let your kind heart think of me tonight
Shadows looming near
That I may meet you one day
And finally see your face

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Life (updates)

Even though it’s late, Happy 2011!! Just when I was charging through last year, a new one comes along just to keep things interesting! Things have been crazy, as usual, but I didn’t want to forget about this old blog here. I have so many ideas for this thing, and yet they never seem to actually happen. Maybe when I graduate… But in the mean time, here’s some of what I’ve been up to:

I finished last semester really well, worked like a madman, had a lot of quality time with friends, then met up with my family in Miami to board a cruise! We went to the island of Roatan in Honduras, Belize City, Costa Maya then stopped in Key West on Christmas. It was a wonderful vacation full of family time (we even won a game show), adventure (we climbed to the top of an ancient Mayan temple) and a midnight Christmas Mass! After the cruise we traveled around Florida and went to this super awesome park where we saw hundreds of manatees and a whole slew of other exotic wildlife! We even saw a mother alligator with five baby alligators chilling on her head, all sunning themselves! It was one of the coolest things!

Lamanai Mayan site- We climbed all the way up this temple!


We are college football NATIONAL CHAMPS!! Talk about an exciting return to Auburn! Not only did we get the first two days of school cancelled for weather, but we also got to cheer on our Tigers to an undefeated season! What an unbelievable year! My friends watched the game at the Catholic student center and it was madness! It was so much fun and afterwards we ran- literally ran- to Toomer’s corner to witness the celebration. I even brought a roll of toilet paper! Definitely a night to remember! The city left the paper up for 5 days, and it was beautiful! Then, because of all the travel delays everyone had getting back after the game, we practically did nothing in our classes last week! WAR EAGLE times a trillion!

I was able to travel to central Alabama this past Sunday to meet up with my fellow missionaries and share about Uganda with their church. It was so good to see everyone again. They are all really inspiring people. I remember getting back and having experienced all these things, both fun and hard, but not quite knowing how to let others adequately know. I think I just get in a mode of accepting the fact most people in my life will not really understand what I’m trying to convey to them. But this Sunday, when I met back up with my team, none of that applied. They were all there and had all seen and done what I had done. We have similar stirrings in our hearts and even if everyone else may not really know, we know. It was so nice to just be there. We all had a big lunch with all the family and friends and special guests afterwards. I hope we can do something like that again. I also hope to start attempting to write about the mission trip, which is something I’ve been subconsciously avoiding. Probably because there is so much I want to say.

Yesterday I traveled to Montgomery for the Inauguration of Governor Bentley. The company I work for are the primary photographers for all the inaugural events, and I helped photograph people with Gov. Bentley at the public party at the baseball stadium and then at the Inauguaral Ball. I never would have thought that when I took this job I would be working at events like these. It was very neat but very hard on my feet. The poor things take so much abuse from me.

And I guess that catches me up to today. God has worked countless ways in my life and in the lives of those I know these past few months. One example is my whole career situation. For anyone who read my post on all that (and I’ve since deleted it), you may have gleaned how much attention I had given it. Well this past week, I received an email informing me that I am too short to qualify for that job and they won’t be able to submit my packet. In all honesty, I was very happy to hear that. Not because I didn’t want to be an RPA pilot, but because it is so obvious that God stepped in and showed me where to go. This career field is so new that they haven’t even sorted through all the qualifications for it yet. They pretty much just copied and pasted the pilot qualifications (I’ve known that I am too short to be a pilot) into the RPA field. Most likely by this time next year, they will update the qualifications (which height won’t play a real factor in). God really watches out for me. This is just another example of how He has shown me exactly where to go and when. Whatever I end up doing in the Air Force (which I’ll find out in about 2 months!) I KNOW that that is exactly what I’m meant to do.

So happy new year! I hope this year can live up to last year! It looks like it’s already off to a great start!