Little Home Update

May is the month of Mary and, according to my husband, it will also be the month for home projects.

Mary and Jesus painting in our bedroom

We have a couple things we need to fix on the inside (including the door frame after the break-in…) but I did want to show what we’ve done on the outside!

I planted herbs and flowers in window boxes and in pots by the front door (since the front yard is tiny) and I’m proud to say they haven’t died.  Yet :)

I also scooped up a little table and chairs at Marshall’s for pretty cheap.  Only thing was, they were bright blue.

So we painted them brown and they’re now chillin’ on the balcony with the flowers and basil sprouts.

Our sweet little home!  And yup, we just discovered that those are jasmine bushes growing around the gate.  The look so pretty in the spring!

Resume of the first Pope

Our Church bulletin had this interesting piece in it this past week that described what Peter’s, the first Pope, resume would have looked like if he had tried to “apply” for the job.  Of course, there never was an application, as he was hand-picked by Christ to lead us, so this is pretty comical.  It hit me so hard, I wanted to share it here.  This was written by a priest in our Diocese, Fr. Dat (Father ALL Dat as we like to call him) who’s involved in vocations and other young adult ministry.  This is just an excerpt:

Name: Simon; nickname “Peter”

Education and Experience: Heavy labor fisherman (Mat 4:18)

Virtues: “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Lk 5:8)

Faith: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mat 13:31)

Spiritual Depth: “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings!” (Mat 16:23)

Prayer Life: “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Mat 26:40)

Loyalty: “Amen, I say to you before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” (Mat 26:34); “I do not know the man [Jesus]” (Mat 26:74)

It was this man with such a humanly terrible resume that Jesus called, renamed him Peter and chose him as the Rock upon which Christ builds his Church.  It was to Peter that the Resurrected Christ said: “Feed my sheep!” and placed him as the first Pope of the Church.  Why?  Because, as Saint Paul said in 2 Cor 12:9, in human weakness, God’s grace shines ever more brightly.

Remember that at the end of his life, Peter heroically witnessed to Christ by dying upside down on the cross.  From the moment of denying Jesus 3 times to his courageous martyrdom years later was an amazing story of God’s grace, transforming and molding Peter from a coward to saint, ready to die for Christ…

So for those who are discerning God’s call to priestly and religious life or the call to serve in some capacity in your parishes, remember that “God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called!” Despite our life resume, if we are ready to let go of our nets, our fears, our unworthiness, then we will see how the Masterful Creator, who formed the beautiful universe out of nothingness, begins to make wonders out of who we are as children of God.

So why did this hit me so hard this past week?  Fr. Dat directs this at those discerning, but if you consider discernment as a continual process of all decisions in our lives, I believe the lessons here can be applied to all those trying to follow Christ at any time.  I’ve been feeling so down on myself lately for how I’m handling my cross, my burdens, right now.  I can’t tell what’s having a worse effect, the sadness I feel about not getting what I want or how bad I feel about my reactions to the situation.  I’d like to think I’m handling it well, but the truth is, I’m not.  At all.  In my moments of weakness, I cry like a little kid, upset that I’m not getting my way.  I compare myself to others.  I’m mad at God.  I loose faith.  I feel hopeless.  It’s flat out ridiculous.  And then I feel even worse for behaving so inappropriately.  And then the cycle continues.  Of course everything is cyclical and eventually I calm down and pull myself out of it, but oh, how I’d love to be able to just pick up this cross and keep trucking with complete faith.  Like my husband, who is so often my faith role model.

I am a perfectionist.  I hate that word (because that implies fault – ha! imagine that!), but I know I am so hard on myself.  And I’m (very extremely) prideful.  That combination makes it hard to admit when I’m wrong.  I’ve written before about how my initial conversion to Catholicism was spurred by a full-out, God smack-down realization (for lack of better words) that I alone don’t know what’s best in this world, let alone what’s best for myself. It should be no surprise that it’s a lesson I’ll have to be reminded of over and over again in my life.  I’m pretty stubborn.

I’m just glad God has the patience and graces to work with me, as only He knows what I’m capable of.  Even when we doubt ourselves and our ability to walk our paths.  I’ve never felt so thankful in my life.

And now, back to your regular scheduled programming…

What’s up!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted!  I was gone for a long lent, which included a good break from things in general that helped me gain some much needed perspective.  At Easter Vigil our priest challenged us to maintain some of our what we gave up during Lent, during the rest of the year as well.  After all, there was probably a reason we gave it up to begin with.  So after giving up blogs, FaceBook, and meat for lent,  I have modified some of my internet behavior and we’re doing the meatless Fridays all the time now (which, I discovered, is highly recommended as Friday is penance day anyway, although you can also choose to give up something else – CC 1250-1251.  Was I the only newish Catholic that didn’t know this??).    Anyway, with lent being so fruitful, why not try to maintain some of that?

Those 40 days were action packed, including a house break-in (on Ash-Wednesday eve of all days!), a new-(ish) car, my Grandma’s birthday, lots ‘o peace and prayer (which I’m still working on maintaining), AND, most excitingly, a finished proposal paper and presentation, which means I’m officially one step closer to being a Dr.  :)

One of the other exciting things I organized during lent was a talk at our school by the wonderful Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute.  Ever since the Student Conference last year (woah…see a little cameo in those videos there? We’re famous!), I’ve kept in touch with Jennifer and the Ruth Institute, let them know about what I’ve been doing with what I learned (such as contributing to an article in the National Catholic Register!).  When I found out she was going to be in town for another event, I quickly invited her up to come talk at my school as well! And she was generous enough to accept :)

We had a great turnout to a talk entitled “Smart Sex:  Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up Culture”, the same title as her book, (over 80 people showed up!) and were able to start a good discussion on campus about how to start thinking about how to orient your dating/love life before marriage to help build the foundation for a better marriage later on.  You would be surprised how much of her talk sounds like it would be common sense, but its just not taught that way.  I was stoked to see other students as excited about this message as I am!  Who knows where it will take us!

Anyway, I’m back to post more frequently now.  If there is anyone left who still reads this!