Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Julia in July

So, um, yeah. That whole last blogpost about rest? I didn't really get any in July.

But July was still awesome. And I will try to make up for all of the rest I didn't get (in the last 2-3 weeks especially) starting now.

To recap: I went to LA for the 4th of July and spent time with friends that I have spent many 4ths with (and also several New Year's Eves...apparently we like to celebrate holidays that have lots of sparkly things and public explosions together...)

My 4th of July fellas...
When I posted on Facebook that I'd be in LA for a week, I had two friends from two separate volunteer ministries that I'd been involved with contact me and want to get together. Both friends I hadn't seen in probably 8 years or so. One I met when I was in Guatemala before senior year in college and one I met during my year with NET:

 Maggie and I re-connecting...both Catholic school high school teachers now!
Araceli and I representing for our NET small group 8 years later

Both these ladies are ones I totally admire and have a lot in common with. I was stunned but so grateful that they would want to meet up and hang out with me several years later. God works in mysterious but awesome ways! It was so cool that I got to serve with both of these ladies in different capacities for the Church and we are all still doing work for the Church several years later.

After a week of fun visits, the guys told me they would be coming to the East Coast for a wedding and that I should join them. And who am I to say "NO" to a wedding? So, that same week I returned to DC I found myself hanging with my CA friends again this time in Philly, Philly...

which meant I got to re-connect with ANOTHER one of my favorites who lives in Philly:

LC and I post-wedding!

After catching up with my girl LC and saying goodbye to the guys (for reals this time) it was off to visit my fam in Ohio.

I spent a lot of time with my nephew which was good for several reasons 1.) I feel like a terrible aunt for not being around much 2.) he's actually at the age where he has a little personality now and likes to play and have fun!

my nephew and I playing with my Iphone...he doesn't seem sure about it, which is fair...

I spent about 4 days in OH and didn't even get a full day before I arrived back in DC after my trip and packed up for the annual Diocesan Workcamp.

In the past, I've really looked forward to this special week, but this year I think all of my travels had caught up with me. I was tired from the start and had lower energy than usual. I had originally started helping at these camps as a way to stay involved in the Diocese as well as youth ministry since I was in the Archdiocese of DC and working for a non-profit when I moved back 4 years ago. Since teaching keeps me doing youth ministry with the Diocese full time now, I had to kind of assess: "what am I doing here?" Does God really want me here this week? Of course, God revealed that I was meant to be at the camp, but it was a challenge for me this year. A good challenge, and it was good to re-evaluate motives and open myself up to the Holy Spirit to try and hear what He might be saying to me that week..

The Program Team at camp wearing plaid for our friend Ronnel that passed away this year...

But now I'm home! And finally ready to rest! It's a little less than three weeks until teachers go back and get ready for our students who return the following week. I plan on spending these last weeks of summer finishing up some directed research with a professor and working on my tan by a pool :) Oh, and my parents are coming for a visit for a few days since they haven't been to DC in a year or so...

Spending time in prayer is also definitely on my agenda for the next couple weeks. The week at Workcamp did shake me up a little and made me take notice to the Holy Spirit again (remember when I couldn't get enough a couple summers ago? Oh, and hey! This entry involves an LA trip, too! Coincidence?) and I'm trying to listen to where the Spirit is leading in my life 'cause I think (I know!) He is doing something!

I'm grateful for the many friends I've been able to interact with this summer. Some old, some new, and some REALLY old ones I hadn't seen in a while :) God is good and the Spirit is moving...

Hope you all are having a blessed summer. I've got several prayer requests these days, so if you could, keep my intentions in your prayers...you guys are the best :) We are united in prayer,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Rest a While

One of my friends posted on Facebook today: "2012 is halfway over." To which I commented: "Shut your face."

It's July! Whaaa??

Thank God that it is summer and I finally have some time to rest and reflect since this year is speeding by! (though in reality, I haven't really chosen to do much of either yet :-/)

Summer came in with a vengeance. You may remember the great heat debacle of 2011 in which my old "jinger house" had none. Well, this past weekend, DC experienced the opposite of the widespread winter power outage, and succumbed to a terrible thunderstorm which left hundreds of thousands of us powerless in 105+ degree heat.

Much like the winter of a year or so ago, my new roommates and I looked at each other (when we realized we were out of power) and then said "see ya!" and went to find shelter (and AC) our separate ways.

This will now be tied into my topic of "rest." ( I know this is a terrible thesis statement, but...)

Today's Gospel from Matthew is one that includes some of Jesus' perplexing puzzle-speak:

"When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
"Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."

Foxes and birds and whhaa? Come again? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

But yesterday, as I sought shelter and a decent wi-fi connection (#firstworldproblems) I was also like a bird without a nest or whatever.

Enter one of my fabulous friends who came through for me and offered me to stay at her air-conditioned place complete with WORKING FRIDGE (to chill our Chardonnay! Teachers drink alot when not in school, y'all...)

So when I read the Gospel reading for today I thought of how our loved ones- people who truly love us- offer us "places of rest" when needed. Whether this be physically as was the case for me the other day, or metaphorically when we are stressed and need a mental break- people who love us offer us a "place to rest."

One of the ways we can interpret this Gospel passage- in light of what I've just indicated about love and rest- is that Christ wants to "rest" in OUR love. He wants the place to "rest his head" to be within US.

Love and rest. I think they go together. And I'm down for some of both!

I met with my spiritual director this week (after some coercion into doing manual labor, but that is neither here nor there...) and he also helped me focus on this idea of love and rest. He decided I didn't need any kind of tasks or any particular devotions at this time in my life (AMEN!). But just time to pray about having confidence in God's love for me just as is. Where I am. Right now.

And where I am is kind of all over the place this month (going to LA tomorrow!) but all the more reason to just rest in love and prayer.

Hope you are able to rest some this summer! Stay cool! (and not in that yearbook "stay sweet/cool" kind of way. You know what I mean...)