Sunday, February 28, 2010

Living a Mystery

In my recent blogpost with my alter-blogger-ego as a popmusic blogger, I noted the trend towards all things 90s. It's true, friends. The 90s are now VINTAGE. College students were born in the 90s and didn't live through the flannel fashion and angsty Alanis music like we did, and so they are BRINGING IT BACK.

I recently went on a "retail therapy" shopping (mini- only 1 pair of boots and 2 dresses ON SALE, mind you!) spree with my popblogger in crime and I had to notice all the RUFFLED shirts that were everywhere. Not quite the peasant shirt from 90210 days, but the sight of the ruffles definitely indicated to me, I am perhaps starting to re-live a decade that did indeed start, 20 years ago.

I couldn't find a pic of a peasant blouse from the 90's perse (but you KNOW Andrea Zuckerman wore one, okay?) and can we talk about Brenda (Shannen Dougherty)'s outfit here? I'm pretty sure both my friend and I were trying on the fitted dress over leggings yesterday. (Which leads me to question: Is it okay to do the trend if you've already done it the first time around?! You can get back to me on that one..)

I'm reading for one of my classes about Mystery and this seems to be a very "acceptable" topic (to continue tying in our Lenten theme ) and thinking about the 90s...what song comes to mind when hearing the word: Mystery??

If you answered anything Wilson Philips or Expose or Soundgarden, you get points, but you are wrong.

Sarah McLaughlin, of course! (OH! And I also went to karaoke yesterday to celebrate a friend's birthday, and in TRUE karaoke fashion, there was "that woman" who picked the most awesomely bad/ironic song she could possibly sing and managed to not hit ONE of the notes at all. This woman for us last night sang McLaughlin's "Angel". Oh, yeah. Picturing it, are you? Best part about it was, she sat for the entire song and sang from her booth. She was just that. good.)

(Here's a friend and I giving karaoke a go. We sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart", in case you were wondering).

Anywho, "Building a Mystery"...

In that song, Sarah references many religions and talks about how a man uses them to "hold on" and "hold it in". That he "chooses carefully" and "feeds off his fears". He's building his own mystery.

The readings I'm doing for school describe mystery, of course, as something we can't hold onto or create, and that they are actually a gift from God. Mystery is a way that He reveals His love to us, in fact.

I know these thoughts are all linked with my recent reflections, but how often do we try to 'build our own mystery' rather than live the one we've been given?

The articles I've been reading speak about how we struggle so much as a Church with the symbols of our liturgy because we try to define them or figure them out. Symbols are meant to simply invite us into the mystery of our Church and of God- not figure anything out.

Something I'm struggling with right now, of course, is living this mystery God has given me. I'm just putting together pieces of the puzzle as they come along, and while that's all fine, I would LOVE to see at least SOME of the puzzle in plainview.

The early Church fathers, when teaching newcomers to the faith about the mysteries of the church, would have them take part in parts of the Mass and the liturgy (like we do now for RCIA candidates) first so that they could experience and reflect on the mysteries for themselves. Then do the explainin' later. I guess the part I'm having trouble with right now is just taking in the experience, rather than trying to assess everything, and/or waiting for someone to EXPLAIN it to me.

The way we teach the faith most often now is the latter- we try to explain rather than leave people open to mystery and personal experience. As a youth minister, it was a struggle because kids do have so many questions and want answers. But sometimes it teaches them more just to admit to them we don't have all the answers and, well, that's part of the beauty, the plan.

Easier said than done, of course. I myself want answers and am not always satisfied with the mystery.

I'll leave you with this quote from one of the early Church fathers today:

"Indeed it is better for the light of the mysteries themselves to have inundated you as a surprise than it would have been for us to have given an explanation beforehand" - St. Ambrose

And also, a blast from the past with a quote from the book I was obsessed with last year: Abandonment to Divine Providence: "The more obscure the mystery to us, the more light it contains in itself."

Here's to not building our own mysteries, but living the ones we were given as gift.

I know sometimes I want to go to Jesus and say, "um, thanks for the gift, but you really shouldn't have." OR "how 'bout I get one in a different size or color?" OR "How 'bout some Cliff's notes, perhaps?"

But as we media majors like to throw around from Marshall McLuhan: "the medium is the message" and the medium of mystery is gift.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting for Glee...

...literally and figuratively ;) But in the meantime I will blog and pray for charity! Hey oh!


"It's like I been awakened..." I kept singing this little line from Beyonce's Halo this weekend on retreat (and of course, when I actually literally would sing this out-loud to my friend Christine, she appropriately responded with the Glee mashup version.

(And, yes, I recognize that clip was taken from a Spanish website. It's what came up when I googled "Glee mashup". It adds character, no? si? ;)

So I was praying this morning and the line again popped into my head. I just went to find the full lyrics to the song to see if the rest of the words had meaning. Sho 'nuff!!! They really could be something we sing to God ( sidenote comments are in parenthesis and italics ;)

"Remember those walls I built
Well, baby they're tumbling down
And they didn't even put up a fight
They didn't even make up a sound

I found a way to let you in
But I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo ( haha-literally!)
I got my angel now (okay, maybe too much literal there)

It's like I've been awakened
Every rule I had you breakin' (Jesus is radical like that!)
It's the risk that I'm takin'
I ain't never gonna shut you out

Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo (again, the literal image is cheezy)
You know you're my saving grace (#truthbomb!)

You're everything I need and more
It's written all over your face (or the face of others? Body of Christ? what what!)
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won't fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo

Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
You're the only one that I want
Think I'm addicted to your light (better Jesus than the alternatives, eh?)

I swore I'd never fall again
But this don't even feel like falling
Gravity can't forget
To pull me back to the ground again (ok, this could need some existential analysis here. We want to be with Him but are on earth for now? Maybe?)

Feels like I've been awakened...(and repeat chorus)

Kind of good right?

So I've been talking about being glad to get my "groove" back in analyzing and making connections again. Well, I made yet ANOTHER connection today in prayer to something my spiritual director had talked to me about maybe, oh, a few months back.

Remember when I was praying for patience? And then discovered that was a bad idea? And the answer was to pray for charity?

How much sense does it make (and maybe I've said this already) that charity and love are what make the time in between more bearable? So if we are (as I said a couple posts ago) "loving the fear out of our lives", doesn't the love replace the tendency toward fear and impatience?

And isn't analyzing the signs of God around us a way for us to recognize and experience His LOVE for us??? Huh, huh?? Isn't it?? ;)

Crazy. It just seemed to click today that, 'yes! I DO need to be just focusing on love and charity in these in between times' and that, in turn, gives me patience! I'm not looking at the fear or the frustration anymore because I'm focusing on the love in that moment. The "signs" of love that God is giving me. And His Halo. Okay, not really. But still...

GAH! "Hit me like a ray of sun"... indeed.


Monday, February 22, 2010

A Return to the Routine

So perhaps here is the blogpost I should've written yesterday that may be more applicable to all ;) A little more 'user-friendly', perhaps. You all are all too kind to indulge me.

okay, so today is the first day after, oh, probably a good two-three weeks that I am back in a routine. Daily Mass, a little prayer time, 9-5 in the office, and then my weekly evening commitments. I know most of us have a love/hate relationship with routines. They are such Catch-22s. We need them to keep us sane, but then they can also dangerously drive us into ruts if we aren't careful. And thereby, then, slowly make us INsane. Truth?

I know when I returned from the convent, I really missed my routine that I had developed there. But while I was there, I was also going crazy because of the lack of spontaneity in my life. It's all about balance people.

So I had finally set into a good prayer routine here (after about a year or so...better late than never?? ;) and then in one full swoop, the snow took it away. But it ended up being a good way to shake us up, reflect, and perhaps add a new spin or perspective to the routine.

Retreat always does this too. We go away so we can come back refreshed and with new perspective on our everyday. Done and done. ;)

So I definitely felt renewed with my routine and (silent!) drive to work today. I was meditating on the OTHER part of the retreat that struck me. Along with our authentic self and our realization of our (figurative ;) nakedness, Feduccia brought a little Thomas Merton (backslash Teresa of Avila, backslash St. Paul!) to the table with the message: "God Alone Suffices".

Thinking about our spiritual routines, it usually takes a stirring before we get settled into one. Like, the beginning of Lent or Ash Wednesday can knock us into a routine, but also maybe a cute boy at daily Mass or a priest whose homilies we really like (just saying, it happens ;) these things may draw us into a routine...

...but what keeps us there?

It HAS to be God alone.

Tying this into the thoughts about our authentic selves and the fear of what God might be calling us to DO- even without those outer layers of self, what we do for a living, our vocation in life- God alone is what has to keep us centered and grounded.

Today is the Feast of the Chair of Peter. The Gospel when celebrating Peter is usually the "Who do You Say that I am" passage because it is here that Jesus instates Peter as the Rock of the Church. However, today, thinking about call and our need for confidence in God I noticed: Peter first proclaims Jesus as the Son of God before he gets his 'call'.

Peter had to acknowledge his ultimate faith and belief in God before God told him what to do next (and even after Jesus tells him what to do, he doesn't really leave much guideline! Pretty sure Peter was shooting blanks there for a while..."er, how does this papacy thing work??" Right. ;)

All the spiritual guides or saints that I have been drawn to in the past years- Therese of Lisiuex, Mother Teresa, John of the Cross, St. Paul- they had this confidence in God first and foremost. Regardless of what the Lord was calling them to do. If He was calling them to do something great- they moved. But even if not (and more often not!) they were happy and satisfied with just confidence in knowing His Love for them alone.

I think I've pretty much said these things in one way or another all year- it has to be God alone. We have to live in the present. We can't take a step without being rooted in Him, and He has to be what always draws us back, regardless of circumstance.

Thanks for reading and indulging me again ;) Happy Lent!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pics from my rich Richmond weekend: My girl Christine caught me reflecting under a big tree (proof of how BIG God is and how small I am ;), my small group girls on retreat, Brian's (almost!) a deacon, and...

yes. I couldn't even give up tweeting a retreat. BUSTED.

Richness in Richmond

As a Catholic- especially one that lived in a convent for a period of time- I have people reference movies like "The Sound of Music" and "Sister Act" to me ALOT. Truth is, I totally geek out over those movies. Especially because of the MUSIC. Especially Sister Act 2. Lauryn Hill + choreography in 1990s "Cross-Color" attire= HUGE WIN. It's one of those movies I have to sit down and watch everytime its on. #truthbomb.

This morning, a quote Whoopi's character says to Lauryn's popped into my head: "If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about is singing, then you are meant to be a singer, girl!" usual, I'll get there ;)

This weekend, as I mentioned last post, was my retreat to Richmond with some fellow youth ministry friends from both the Arlington and Richmond dioceses. (You will note, I am neither a youth worker currently nor a member of either diocese, but they are good to me, what can I say! ;) I wrote on Ash Wednesday about what constitutes an "acceptable time" and I carried part of that theme with me this weekend. It was certain- regardless of whatever else is going on in my life- that the timing of this retreat was more than acceptable!

I mean, my very dear friend from NET was getting ordained a deacon the very same weekend about 15 minutes away! What is more indicative of God's perfect timing than that?!!

God has been slowly revealing to me this past year more of the good work going on the Catholic youth ministry/music/evanglization world. Ironically, though, He is revealing this while I am not currently 'technically' working in ministry. I know I've mentioned what a blessing it is to start being connected with some of these people whose work I admire and wonder if I myself might be able to do. It's just the truth.

Robert Feduccia from Spirit and Song led us in our reflection throughout the weekend. He touched on many topics, but stayed mostly in the vaccinity of Genesis with the Fall of Adam and Eve and the results of that in our lives. Mainly, the concept of the realization of their nakedness and that causing shame and fear in our lives which keeps us from our true, authentic selves.

This topic could not have been any more perfect. A no more acceptable theme for an acceptable time.

I know I've written alot lately about the 'Snowpacolypse' and my 'Snowfamily' and the stirrings that started to happen over the past two-three weeks. As cheesy as it sounds, while the world around us was being frozen over, parts of me started to get a little thawed (aww...yeah. That was a little cheesy ;). Having talks with friends who meet me in my vulnerability, recognize my gifts- has started to bring to the surface these thoughts of the 'authentic self' we were called to reflect on at retreat.

I got much out of the silent prayer time, much that I am still sifting through (you would think hours in the car without radio would've given me some clarity, but no. Still a lot of static going on up there in muh brain). But one thing I can also say that is coming to the surface is my analytical side and an ability to read the deeper meanings and signs around me. I had shut that part off for whatever reason for a while. Perhaps due to time, perhaps due to fear of what messages God may send me. Afterall, the last time I was analyzing signs from God in my life, I was going in and out of a convent. Justified?? ;)

God has also placed friends, as I mentioned, who appreciate this analytical side of me. It is a vulnerable thing to share and sometimes gets me into trouble ;) But it is one thing I have re-discovered and I believe is part of my authentic self.
It gives me much joy to name some of the fears and start to make connections in my life again!

To kind of tie this up and wrap it all together (I'm sorry this blog seems to be more for me than you the readers at this point in time. My bad. I hope you can still get something out of it!) I want to say a little about the beautiful Mass for my friend that was said today as he was ordained a deacon.

Brian was my team leader on NET and I have been blessed to remain close with him after the road. He is definitely one of those people that I know goes deep and allows himself to be open to all the stirrings of the Lord. I admire His openness and vulnerability.

The Mass was so moving because of this. Because of what Brian brought and we all brought to it. The priest that said the homily explained what the ordination to deaconate meant for the man being ordained and for the Church so beautifully. He equated the vow of celibacy Brian was taking today to laying down his life like Christ did for the Church (I must admit, I think I caught myself shaking my head when father was talking about the life-long celibacy thing ;) How intense a sacrifice!

This was just proof to me that there IS hope in the Church. There are good men giving their whole selves, whole lives for the Church today. God is still alive in the Church and particularly in these rich, rich Sacraments of vocation like Holy Orders and Matrimony.

Alright, I said I was going to tie all this up. I started with that Whoopi quote because I thought it would tie together what I wanted to say. During the Mass today, I pulled out my pen and began to write down thoughts about this weekend. And then I recalled that Sister Act quote. So many times, the first thing I want to do after thinking or witnessing something, is I want to write it out, write it down. Our authentic selves are SO much more than what we DO, though.

That is to say, even if I'm "meant to be writer" (though that was a nice thought to acknowledge ;), our authentic selves go beyond just what we are called to DO. Which is something, I think, that we also can be afraid of.

We can be afraid of what God will ask us to DO once and if we are totally open with Him.

But if we are true to our authentic selves- which is a gift of love from Jesus- why should we be afraid of wherever or whatever He asks us to do?

"Perfect Love casts out Fear". Someone on retreat put it this way: "If only we could love the fear out of our lives". True dat! Love ourselves, love others, Love God. (Not in that order of course ;).

If we are true to that REAL, authentic love, we have nothing to fear.

Now is the acceptable time ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Now the Acceptable Time?

"Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." - 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

I don't know about you, but time seems to be one of the common hang-ups between me, God, and my friends lately. Our culture is SO instantaneous for one. We want everything right now. Also, society tells us we should have a timeline for everything. That there is an "acceptable time" to have kids, get married, stay in a job. But we all know that what society deems acceptable is not what we should live our lives by.

So I've been wondering lately, "what is God's acceptable time??". What does HE deem as an "acceptable" amount of time to be in a job, to be single, to discover vocation. I like to think God doesn't put a time-line on these things, but rather gives us what we need when we need it.

This concept of acceptable time is going to be a good thing for me to start off reflecting with during Lent, since it does seem to be an issue I struggle with. There's also the Gospel for today that begs us not to talk about our fasts in public or go around like hypocrites telling everyone how great we are for fasting.

But here I go... Imma gonna tell you how I'm fasting this Lent ;)

There's accountability in that, right?

Well, how 'bout this. I'm doing a couple things: trying to round out the tri-fecta of "prayer, fasting, and almsgiving". Doing something by praying in a certain way, Offering up something(s) as a sacrifice, and cutting out something(s). (are the latter two the same? Perhaps. But I know what I mean in my mind. I think offering is almsgiving and cutting out is fasting...right?)

One thing I know I need in order to better figure out this acceptable-time-deal with God is to cut out some of the NOISE in my life. I have found I am not as good of a listener as I used to be- with God and with others. But particularly with God. God doesn't have Twitter, and this is unfortunate. It would be SO much easier if he did and He could give me a play-by-play update.

I have my Twitter feeds (I flirted with the thought of giving that up like I did Facebook last year, but my "tweeps" revolted ;), my text messages, my email, my ipod...I never thought I would be that girl after I left the convent. Now I can't believe I didn't have a cell phone when I was a postulant. How did I manage??

So I know it's doable to be without the noise- I did it before, and I can do it again. And hopefully, it's what God wants. I'm not going to be listening to music in the car (and as GOD would have it, I sat in an hour and a half of traffic this morning. Just to tempt me, no doubt! Turns out, I spent that "silence" swearing at crazy drivers, so I'm going to have to work on using that silence well ;) and I'm also- instead of abandoning my tweeps altogether- just curbing my connectedness slightly and not having all my updates sent to my phone. I know that sounds major-lame, but I really do think it will keep me focused on God and give me more opportunities to listen to Him rather than the chatter around me.

So Lenten goal? Eliminate Noise in my life to contemplate the Acceptable Time.

And I'm sooo grateful because I am going on a retreat this weekend to kick off Lent! I know, I know- I just went on a retreat. I didn't think I'd need one yet either. But with the snow came much "white noise", if you will, and it turns out now IS the acceptable time to retreat.

God is good! Happy Lent!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My roommate made these for our Valentine's Day party last year...still appropriate ;)

The Obligatory Valentine's Day Post

It is a well known fact that my roommates and I have seen more than our fair share of weddings these past few years. As one of my roommates was getting ready this morning to attend yet another one, we were commenting (okay, rather, sarcastically mocking) the choice to get married the day before Valentine's Day. My roommate is in a relationship and I was asking her if she felt like it was putting a damper on her romantic weekend. Instead, she responded: "I'm more ticked that they are ruining my President's Day (aka long weekend)".

Ah, yes. That's how we roll around these parts these days.

Not that we aren't saps for a good wedding. During the Mass, I always contemplate the readings and the vows and unite my prayers with the couple. I am always happy for them. I don't let my cynicism slip into the Rite (I save that for the reception ;)

So Valentine's Day has kind of become the same cynical opportunity. I'd like to think that even if I was in a romantic relationship, I would still recognize the commerciality, Hallmark monopoly of it. It's not like the commerciality of Christmas- a holiday that still has HUGE religious importance. I'm sure St. Valentine was a cool dude, but...I also don't think he will feel neglected if I sit at home watching Arrested Development DVDs instead of singing hymns or something.

This year, though, Valentine's Day does fall on a Sunday, so there is a higher significance attached. I am going to have to get off my butt and get to Mass ;) Curious as to what Jesus might be telling me this Valentine's, I looked ahead at tomorrow's readings. I was DELIGHTED to find that they are rather cynical and twisted themselves (well, maybe cynical isn't the right word. BUt lovey-dovey, chocolately gooey, they are not ;)

Jeremiah 17:5-8 "Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
but stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth."

haha- YES! This is what I'm talking about. I like LAVA WASTE and CURSED-ness on my Valentine's Day ;)

But all kidding aside, I was relieved to read this reading that assures us that- as cheezy at seems- Jesus really is our ultimate valentine (I know, I know...I vomited a little in my mouth as I wrote that. Not because of Jesus, but because of the cheeze factor. I'm getting soft...). This reading is a single girl's assurance that only Jesus can truly satisfy. We have to trust in Him before we can trust in anyone else.

The Gospel is the Beatitudes which are beautiful for their paradox. It's not the straightforward John 3:16 where Jesus straight up says He loves us. It's the ol', blessed are those who are PERSECUTED. Blessed are those who MOURN. The kingdom of God is hard! Not all "rainbows and butterflies" to steal from a Maroon 5 song.

I was- if you can believe it- actually hoping for some readings a little more sweet and sugary (I have, afterall, started to acknowledge how adorable BABY PANDAS are. GETTING SOFT, I tell you!) And this isn't to say Jesus doesn't work this way. He obviously does woo us and knows the best way to love us. But the valentine's day cycnic in me appreciated the TRUE challenge of love presented to us in the readings this weekend. Love is TRUST. Love is challenge. Love is paradox. And I am thankful to Jesus for this reminder.

It's almost like Jesus is TRYING to keep me tough... I don't know how I feel about this. I'm still going to be eating chocolates regardless. You can count on that.


Monday, February 8, 2010

What About Your Friends??

I don't know about you, but mine are pretty awesome.
Most of you probably have heard about the #snowpacolypse (to use a Twitter-ism) that hit DC and apparently is coming back for more tomorrow. I know that I've bragged in the past about being from a place that can endure snow and it being no big thing for a couple feet of snow to fall. Well, this time, the snow has left me "Speechless" a la Lady Gaga (LOVE THAT SONG).

Once again, I faced the storm with friends. This time, I was the trap-ee (? I blame Twitter for my made up words) and was "stuck" with a few friends at someone else's house. It was kind of a planned isolation. We knew the storm was coming. But I don't think any of us were truly prepared for the amount of snow and the number of hours we were trapped together.

72+ hours, people!!

But I wouldn't have had it any other way. For one, my house actually lost power and heat while I was trapped, but our friends' place had it the whole weekend. AND the friend who was hosting us really thought about food and took really good care to make sure we were all well-fed and taken care of the whole weekend.

We joked about taking "snowwives"- in case this truly was the apocalypse (clearly, it was just an excuse for the guys to tease us)- and becoming an isolated commune of sorts, but as someone who has lived community a time or two, I was really impressed in how we each took on our own roles and tried to anticipate one another's needs. (Now, no doubt, if we would've been stuck there any longer we might have killed each other, but for three days, we ROCKED that community living ;)

When you are stuck in a house for 72+ hours with people, you have a conversation or two, and one of our conversations throughout was about the book "The Five Love Languages". I myself haven't read the book, but I found it interesting to hear what the five professed love languages are and how each one of my friends applied different examples of each.

Apparently, the five ways to express love as proclaimed in this book are: gift-giving, acts of service, verbal affirmation, affection, and spending quality time. We definitely saw a little bit of each this weekend, and it did give me hope for the work God is doing in all of our lives.

My friends also sure do know how to have a dance party :)

I didn't make it to Mass this weekend, but I wish I had, especially reflecting on this week's readings. The first reading was incredibly convicting: ("For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips.." How did Isaiah know I watched Jersey Shore all weekend??!)

And the Gospel is another message of hope. I try again to place myself in the scene as Jesus gets into Peter's boat. Just thinking about how you feel when someone you love comes to pick you up to take you someplace (a #snowparty, perhaps? ;) or how I would feel if Jesus came to spend quality time with me (Quality time is one of my love languages, I've decided, btw...)

And doesn't Jesus speak all the love languages? With the whole "gift-giving" example of Jesus over-flowing the apostles' nets with fish... Such a beautiful gift. Jesus is spending time with his apostles in the boat, with the people, and exceeding the apostles' reward for their labor- all to prove His love.

Love you all! Pray for us in DC- we are supposed to get more snow tomorrow. I just don't know how that is possible in any way. It's a little freaky the whole rationing food, living with bare necessity thing...but also good for community building, I suppose :)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

If the Golden Girls had Twitter... AMAZING would that be? I'd "follow" them for sure!

Media Moment

Blame it on the Grammys. Blame it on the Snow. Blame it on the al-al-al-coho...


For whatever reason, I have been blogging and Tweeting (using Twitter) like it's my JOB lately. And it kind of is. I do use and monitor both for the organization i work for too. So call it an occupational hazard :) But I've been realizing lately (and the Media Studies geek and me wonders why) that I have formed closer relationships with friends who read my blog, twitter feeds, and/or gchat with me on a regular basis.

Now, I was friends with these folks before all this social network business began, and I certainly have plenty of best buds who are TERRIBLE at even email! ;) But I am making the case that social networks- when used somewhat regularly- bring people closer together and add an extra level to that friendship. There is almost an added trust there because we connect with them on certain issues, have common interests already AND then they care enough to read about our thoughts regularly ;)

Hopefully, your friends in 'real life' match your values and interests and challenge you in real life too! I know my friends that also use Twitter and read this blog alot, we meet up often and chat on the phone frequently too. I think that person-to-person connection is SO important (and honestly why I fear internet dating a bit. Is it the same when you MEET through these means of communication? idk. I'm open to hearing arguments for and against.)

As in everything, there needs to be a balance. And I'm just trying to keep myself in check. I was just wondering if I was being bias because of the instant gratification I receive when someone "comments" or texts or "tweets" me right away. Certainly one of the great things about relationships IS a knowledge that a person is ALWAYS there for you. But I will argue, social networks- when used in a healthy way- CAN offer you that extra connection and bring people together in a real, not just artificial/surreal way ;)

I think of all my friends who have found a connection to people through blogs or internet dating (maybe I AM talking myself into this internet dating as I speak...but who am I kidding? I ain't got extra bucks for ANYTHING these days. Just happy hour ;) and they are good people who have healthy relationships. And I have friends who read this regularly and it honors me to have people think what I have to say has value. Or even better, that they AGREE! (Though I am CERTAINLY open to friendly banter now and again. In fact, I enjoy it ;)

But I am certainly aware of the danger in developing relationships SOLELY online. I think we can also read TOO much into someone's emotions online if we don't know them in person too. Also, there is the reality that some people create personas online and are very different in real life (I can barely figure myself out, let alone an alter-ego! Doesn't that take so much ENERGY?!) Which brings me, too, to think that we can't just be tied to our phones and computers. We need to be sure to give attention to people when we are with them in person and not let our Tweets or gchats get in the way (guilty, guilty! Keep me accountable people! I don't want to be that girl!)

Anyhoodles, thanks for indulging me in my justifying of my overuse of modern media ;) HA! And for reading, of course. Thoughts?

Oh! And Happy Feast of St. Blaise ;) WHERE WAS MY FEAST DAY UPDATE, huh?? ;)

Who is St. Blaise, you ask? You know, the patron of sore throats guy....

Seriously, "Thank you for being a friend"- Golden Girls style ;)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"And I'm here... remind you..." that Beyonce had one of the best 90s covers of the night.

Check Up on It!

Ah, another subject post heading from my girl, B(eynonce;) Girlfriend rocked it at the Grammys and even pulled out some old school Alanis in her performance (ahem- it was the year of pretending we are in a different decade at that Awards Show this year, apparently. But that is a different post for a different blog which I have actually already written on my popblog when my friend Laura and I attempting live blogging during the Grammys! Also another post for another time: that whole experience! Who knew blogging could be so exhausting??)


What may we be, you ask, checking up on as it were today?

Well, it's the Feast of the Presentation for one! Yeah, that totally snuck up on me too. Whoops! I need like a birthday alarm or a Facebook reminder for Feast Days...can some of you techies work on that for me?

As I was stumbling across some Twitter feeds (LOVE the Twitter. It's kind of a problem) I saw some reflections for this feast. A brief one from Our Sunday Visitor got me thinking because they took the angle of Perseverance.

Now I don't know if you know this, you may not- but perseverance is my middle name people. Oh yes. I may go kicking and screaming, but I persevere, gosh darn it!

Which begs the question- is it perseverance if you are whiny about it? Hmmm...I think we should ask St. Paul that one. He was the king of perseverance and not that he was whiny so much, but he definitely was aware of his faults and made that known. He acknowledged that he had 'thorns' and that he 'did the things he did not want to do' but still wanted to 'run the race' as I have posted as my theme for this blog. (And my LIFE, people. I'll tell you what- it's a race. And I don't run much- especially now on account of the disc- but I pick it up to a jog now and again.)

Anyways, anyways...captain distraction today. I apologize.

The Presentation. Perseverance. "How do they go together, Our Sunday Visitor?", I wondered.

Then I thought of the scene of the Presentation. You've got Mary and Joseph taking the Baby Jesus to the temple. So they are there. You got Simeon and Anna who have been waiting a lonnnnnggggg time to see Jesus.

Okay, so now I'm starting to get it.

Simeon waited faithfully for the promise of the Messiah to be filled. So did Anna. And God rewarded them- albeit YEARS later- by allowing them to be present at this important moment in the Holy Family's life. Okay, so they were definitely... perservant? Not a word. But you know what I mean.

And then there's Mary. She in this passage (Luke 2:22-40, btw) gets the message from Simeon, who re-tweets it from God (see what I did there? ;) that her heart will be pierced by a sword. And so we know that Mary's life will, too, be one of heartache and require perseverance. Probably also could've called it when the Angel Gabriel made his announcement to her.

And of course, Joseph. My friends and I learned on our retreat this past Jan. that he HAD to be patient and compassionate and faithful and trusting with God's plan. And he was the most human of that trio so you know he was persevering for sure!

So I suppose the messages are "good things come to those who wait" a la Simeon and Anna and we are in good company in having to persevere with Mary and Joseph. Of course Christ Himself kept HIS eyes on the Father and His love for us always kept Him going. :)

All of this makes me ask: What kept Simeon and Anna going? What keeps ME going and persevering? What makes me think things are going to be worth the wait?

Maybe the example here that God keeps His promises....just in His own time.

Happy Feast! And let me know if you find one of those Feast Day reminder/timer things. I need at LEAST a few days notice ;)