Friday, July 10, 2015

I Love Summer: An Answer to Prayer!

Oh, man. There is nothing like summer for a teacher. People wanna hate as you start posting those Facebook countdowns: "last day of school!" "summer vacation!" And you start posting pics of you by the pool or on your summer European tour (Ahem).

And I get it. Non-teachers work really hard, too. But we spend more time with people's kids than probably their parents do, and all I can say is some people's kids are not the angels they think that they are!

This Spring in particular, I was getting really burnt out at my school. This is the end of my fifth year there (hard to believe!). I can remember praying so hard about five years ago to find a new job and the Lord led me to this school and to teaching.

Well, as I mentioned, this Spring was particularly hard for me at school and I started praying once again for the Lord and the Holy Spirit to move. They took a little longer than I would've liked, but after a couple of novenas to the Holy Spirit and St. Paul, I finally got the answer and the movement that I was praying for.

After five years at the high school and 15 + years (on and off) in DC, I am moving to a place that I have come to really love: Richmond, VA!

I used this image five years ago when I quit my previous job to start teaching...still appropriate today!

When I started my discernment this past Spring about what I wanted to do and what move I wanted to make, I had lots to take into consideration: did I still want to teach? Did I want to go back into media? Did I want to go back into parish work? Do I want to stay in DC or go somewhere else?

It came down to: yes, I am still called to teach right now. And I really wanted a new start, but somewhere that I knew that I would have a community. I have developed a really fantastic community of friends in RVA over the past couple of years and when it came down to it, I wanted to be down there.

I have been fortunate enough to have become pretty darn good at discerning, if I do say so myself. Entering a convent in your 20s will do that to you. You learn alot about yourself and how to listen to what is God, what is you, and what is neither. This decision to move to Richmond really was a group effort: Me, God, St. Francis and St. Paul!

I was praying the novena to St. Paul at the end of June (leading up to his feast day with St. Peter on June 29th). And as I was last year, I was finishing up this novena while on a trip to Europe :)

Last year, I finished the novena while in Prague where we met and hung out with our tour guide, appropriately named Paul!

Paul is the guy with the snazzy suspenders in the middle here...

This year, I finished the novena in Assisi (hence, the discernment help from St. Francis):

The view from St. Clare's Basilica in Assisi. She helped me too....

As I was praying in the Basilica of St. Francis ( a little walk from the Basilica of St. Clare. I think it's so perfect that they are buried within walking distance of each other!), I meditated on Francis' message from the Lord: "Rebuild my Church." It is the message that our current Holy Father has adopted and one of the reasons he took the name Francis. In St. Francis' case, he thought that this message meant building an actual Church. He later found that it meant that he needed to restructure and re-inspire the Church as a community of believers.

I took that message to heart and I really believe that one of the ways that the Lord wants me to "rebuild his Church" is through teaching the youth of our Church, as I have been doing for the past several years. Pretty much my entire career.

I will, however, be making a transition from high school to 6th grade when I make the move down the Richmond this year! Lord, help me!! And I know that He will.

So that is the movement going on in my life right now. I am grateful for the answer to prayer and I am so grateful for our trip to Italy and the time off this summer!

I'm spending the rest of my summer looking for places to live down in RVA and working part-time at the winery that I began working at this winter. It's so far been a great balance of relaxation and keeping myself busy.

How I spent my 4th of July weekend....pouring Virginia wine!

I could go on and on about our trip to Italy, but all I will say right now is that it was amazing. Italy is everything that people say about it and we got to see a lot of it. The beautiful buildings and waterways in Venice, the amazing art and architecture in Florence, the serenity and simplicity of Assisi, and the history and culture of Rome. Here are just some highlights:

 Approaching Venice with our water taxi...
 Gondola rides in Venice!
 By far the most interesting pizza that I had...mussels IN my pizza!
 selfie in Bell Tower next to Duomo in Florence!
St Peter's in Vatican City!

I will leave you with some thoughts on the readings this week. Now that I am back in the States and working just part-time (instead of every day like I've done the past 2 years as a nanny...what was I thinking?? Working full time in the SUMMER?! :) I have had time, as I said, to relax, discern, pack, and pray.

The first readings this week have been from Genesis: the story of Jacob and Joseph. In particularly, their journeys and travels: Jacob fleeing from Esau and having his "ladder" dream, his return to see Esau and having his "wrestling with God" dream, Joseph's brothers journeying to Egypt during the famine, and today's reading of Jacob taking his family to Egypt to be reunited with Joseph.

These stories are all very familiar to me because they are the stories that I taught my freshmen 10 times over the course of 5 years. Both Jacob and Joseph are dreamers. Jacob was a little more devious than Joseph, but God rewarded him all the same. Today's story in particular really required Jacob to trust God. He had to uproot his family and take them to a foreign land (a land which would later come to enslave the people of Israel) which couldn't have been easy. (I mean that literally. Jacob had children by four different women. That's a lot of baggage to take with you!)

But the key elements to each of their journeys were trust and faith. And that is what I am taking with me as I make my journey to a new job, new location. I am grateful that the Lord answered my prayers and that it was, as I said, a team effort.

Excited for the journey! Hope that you all are having a blessed summer.