Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Swing Dancing: New Moves all the Time!

Happy Feast of St. Matthew!!!!
Life is very rockin' awesome over here--abundantly blessed to the max!! I just finished reviewing Latin homework (I have class soon--LOVE Latin class!!), and am currently in my Catholic Gansta mode (dancing in my chair all gansta-like, listening to my Catholic rap/hip hop), and decided to write a few scattered and random thoughts....

Every Sunday, many students gather for good ol' swing dancing! Despite the fact that it is extremely difficult to get a partner (the woman:man ratio is 3:1), Sunday nights are so much fun!!! Well, this past Sunday, I was dancing with an awesome brother in Christ, and as we were dancing and figuring out moves--different dips and spins and that kind of thing (and as I was trying--unsuccessfully--not to be klutzy) he said something very interesting/thought provoking:
"There aren't missteps, there are new moves."

In life we do make missteps. Sin obviously plays a large role in all of our lives; constantly, we are struggling to reject Satan and grow closer to God. In this great dance of life, we try to follow God's leads, to move with Him. But we stumble. We fall. We sin. We reject His leads. But what does God do? Does He just keep on dancing, leaving us there on the dance floor, abandoning us?

Honestly, we make mistakes. We act stupid, and act like we know better than God. We don't follow His will. And God gives each of us a free will, so He lets us make stupid mistakes sometimes. He either permits things, or He ordains that they happen! So God permits that we do something against His will, or that something happens to us that was not in His original plan. Does He just say "Oh, too bad-have fun with life while I just leave you there!" Nope! What does God do? He creates new moves! He brings GOOD out of the evil situations that happen; He utilizes all events in His crazy awesome plans!

God creates new moves; we must realize when we have acted against God's will, and we must THROW ourselves back into His arms! We need to trust God with everything, so that we may follow the new moves that He pulls us into during the Great Dance of Life! Heck, today's saint, Matthew, is a PERFECT example! The guy was a TAX COLLECTOR! He cheated people, did not follow God, etc. And God threw a new move out at him. Matthew trusted, and He let God pull him into a new move, a new way of life.

Today, you will slip up and events will happen that may not be the most desireable. Whatever happens, remember: God is not abandoning you on the dance floor; He is preparing to pull you into new moves, to continually bring you closer to Him!

My friends, as God directs you and pulls you into new moves in this great dance, always trust Him and move with the Spirit!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Present is Where it's At!!!

My day started out with oversleeping my alarm clock.

I had gotten to bed at 11:40 p.m. the night before, (which is early for a college student) because Saturday mornings, I travel to Pittsburgh to pray at abortion clinics. And it starts out with 6 a.m. Mass on campus. Well....I overslept my alarm, but my guardian angel woke me up at 6:55 a.m. Knowing the nearly hour-long daily Masses at FUS, I knew that the S4L were leaving. My first thought was "babies!" So I climbed out of bed, threw on clothes (didn't even bother with a jacket or legwarmers) and RAN to Christ the King Chapel. Well, there were 10ish other Students for Life there, and they weren't sure if they would even be able to hitch a ride to Pittsburgh (they continually run out of seats because so many students come!!). So I went to the Portiuncula, and prayed for a couple hours. I heard tonight that there were 3 probable saves that happened!! Yahoo!!

The next thing that happened was very strange....So I basically heard God tell me--in my heart--that I needed to get my homework, and eat breakfast at the Caf, and work on homework. Well, I discovered that I had a good bit of homework, so I was like "okay, God. Whatever You say. Even though I usually don't eat breakfast. But whatever. I'm going to the Caf."

Well, I go to the Caf, and saw a bunch of awesome people--including a friend who I haven't really talked to in about three weeks!! So I got to talk to him for a while, which was fantastic! Then, I worked on homework (Yay, Latin!!!) in the JC Williams (student center). And I heard God basically nudge me, saying "Check your e-mail." So I was like "Okay, God, whatever. I'll do it." So I checked my e-mail. To find an urgent e-mail, about a mandatory meeting that was scheduled for SATURDAY AFTERNOON FROM 1-3!!! So I was/still am grateful that God nudged me to check my e-mail. Well, I went to Low Mass (we have it three times a month), and made it to my meeting afterwards (I'm a part-time actor in a senior thesis film). Then, I chilled out with some girls in Tommy for a little bit, and ran back to Christ the King Chapel...BECAUSE, at Low Mass, Fr. Gregory invited everyone to a Baptism in the EXTRAORDINARY FORM at 2:30!! I don't know the family (their last name was Weigel, so maybe they're related to the author?), but I still went. OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!! I love Baptisms in the Extraordinary Form. SOOOOO epic!!!! Go to one sometime, you will not regret it!

Well, then I went back to Tommy for a little bit, told some girlie friends about the epicness of the Baptism, and went to Lord's Day. Yes, I did it. I went to Lord's Day with the "Loud, Red Crowd" aka "Sacrifice of Love." AH!!! It was like the essence of myself, personified in 25 women!!! I LOVED it!!! Sooooo awesome!!!! After dinner (which I had with "Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit"--I love those girls!!), myself, Cyrene, and Elizabeth all threw grass at each other and started singing the "Sound of Music" songs at the top of our lungs, on a sidewalk on campus. And then we made our way towards the Italian festival in the Piazza, still singing. We made it through the S of M, and I sang a Fiddler on the Roof song (they had never seen it!); and we sang Phantom of the Opera! And then we went to the Italian festival and ate Tiramisu and Canoli (spelling??), which were awesome! And there was a live Italian band, and my friend Matt started swing dancing with me, and he definitely dropped me during a dip. And he went down, too. Hahaha!! See, the piazza is not level, the ground slopes up and down...So we got a bit off balance. But it's all good!!

Then, I left for a girlie movie night in Tommy. A couple girlfriends and I watched "The Princess Bride," (and with the six of us, we downed a 2 pound bag of carrots); and continued with "Ever After." Not too long into the movie, I got a call from one of my other friends. She and I needed to discuss some shenanigans with another mutual friend of ours. So she came up, and I called our friend. And he didn't answer, so I left a ridiculously obnoxious message :) And then Kristen tried to call him, and he didn't answer. So Kristen gets this awesome idea that we're going to run over to his dorm to find him! (Note: It is probably a little after 11 p.m. Kristen looks fabulous, as always. Me....I was watching movies, so I'm wearing my Panda pants, with a pajama top, Feast Day Hat, and I have a blue blanket wrapped around me. And I'm hugging a pillow to my chest.) And we go running to Trinity. A random guy lets us in, 'cause the Trinity guys are awesome like that, and we sit, waiting for Daniel to come to the dorm or call us. So we're sitting on a couch, so that our backs are to the window. All of a sudden, I hear a noise behind me, and see my classmate, Ryan, in the window! I freaked out completely, and fell on the floor. I almost died laughing! Oh gosh.....good times in Trinity!

Well, soon after that, Kristen and I decided that we would go out to the JC and 1. See Daniel if he was there, and 2. See if we could have some stuff for our future kitchen adventures (plasticware, that kinda thing). But, on our way, we ran into 3 guys we know, as well as a girl we got to meet! And we were all just hanging out, having fun, and trading crazy/random stories. Until they all decide to go to bed, and Kristen and I see that we have 12 minutes to go to the JC, 'cause it closes at 1 a.m.! So we go RUNNING to the JC, get our stuff, take it back to Trinity, and head to Tommy. After hanging out with my roomie for a bit, Kristen left, and I settled down to do homework.

So, this is a completely random sequence of events, and I don't even's late, and I need to sleep. But I won't be able to sleep until I dump everything out. So that's what I just did! Thanks for bearing with me!! Morals of the day:
1. Live in the Present Moment. Honestly, God worked EVERYTHING out today (except hanging out with Daniel, who disappeared like a ninja....)
2. Twins are awesome. Seriously. Daniel and I have known each other for 1-1/2 weeks or so, and we've already discovered that we are twins. Like, we are sooo much alike, its ridiculous. But awesome!!
3. Crazy fantastic friends are fabulous! Especially when they have random movie nights, or when they propose going on wild-goose chases around campus in the middle of the night.
4. Running around campus in pajamas and a blanket and pillow is the way to be. Sooo comfy, and all the guys who gave me hugs commented on my awesome pillow and blanket :)
5. Trust in God. When I couldn't make it to the abortion clinic, I had to try and trust God, that everything would work out, and that He would take my day for His best wishes. In the end, it WAS NOT God's will that I go to Pittsburgh today. If I would've gone to Pittsburgh:
a. I wouldn't of gone to the Low Mass. So I wouldn't of heard about the Baptism, so I wouldn't of gone!
b. I wouldn't of gotten my last minute, urgent e-mail about the mandatory meeting!
c. I woudn't of gotten to hang out with my friend who I haven't talked to in 3ish weeks
d. I probably wouldn't of gotten as much homework done

Those are just a few indicators that God truly works in the Present Moment. Even when we oversleep our alarm clocks, He works it all out for the best! And even when good friends don't answer their phones--which results in a 3 hour quest/adventure in the middle of the night--it all works out for the best!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Want to be a Dandelion!

Grace and blessings to all of you!
So, the time has finally come: it is time for me to face reality, and do the homework that I have successfully evaded for two whole days! But wait--before I do homework, I figure that I must get my recent thoughts out on paper--well, internet--so that I can focus on my homework for a little while. And that is my justification for postponing my homework for just a little bit longer...

Yesterday, I went to the 6 a.m. Mass, and afterwards traveled with 120 other students to Pittsburgh, PA. We prayed in front of 2 abortion clinics that are right by each other. It was powerful; we were not all together--us students made small groups of 10-15 people each, and we clustered together in small circles on the sidewalks, praying intensely for somewhere around 3 hours. Our fearless (and pretty awesome) leader, Victor, gave some really good reflections at the end of our time there: 1. We are there, WITH the babies as they die. We want those children to know that they ARE loved, and that they are not alone! 2. At the clinic, we are standing at Calvary with Mary and John, witnessing the death of innocence.

Afterwards, a bunch of us in Students for Life went to the house of 2 senior girls and ate burgers and chilled out for the afternoon! Then I went back to campus, and went to a Lord's Day celebration (each household has a Lord's Day, in which the group goes over the Gospel reading for Sunday), and went to dinner. And I ate a ton of sugar, since I was running on 4 1/2 to 5 hours of sleep--with no nap! :) Then I chilled out with awesome people, went to an Anime Club dance party, and finished up the night with an epic/deep conversation with a couple good friends! And it is on this conversation that I will write....I actually have been meaning to write about this topic for a while, but I have never gotten around to it. But, since the topic came up last night (though I somewhat brought it up) I figure that now is a good time.

I was having epic conversations with my friend Daniel, and we were joined by Kristen--sitting in the awesome tall chairs behind the JC at midnight, just talking about life. And I posed Daniel with a question: "If you were a flower, what flower would you be?"
His response?
"A dandelion."
I majorly freaked out.
Seriously, that is the exact SAME answer that I would give! Actually, at the Rosa Mystica Lord's Day a couple weeks ago, we were given that very question, and I gave the same response as Daniel. So last night, for a few minutes, Daniel and I started talking about the epicness of the dandelion. And I wish to go on my little dandelion tangent, because I can! :)

I first began a bigtime fan of the dandelion in my sophomore year of high school. One day, in science class, I had some free time at the end of the hour. And so I wrote...and I wrote about the dandelion. I started developing my thoughts. Honestly, the dandelion is such a powerful tool that God used to communicate! So here are some of my thoughts:

  • The dandelion is considered a weed. Gardeners and homeowners alike try to eradicate all dandelions out of the garden or front yard. Dandelions are detested by many people. They are trampled underfoot. We must be humble, we must be seen as nothing. In order to achieve holiness, we must make ourselves little, to glorify God! Sirach 3:18 "Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God."
  • Dandelions are very difficult to get rid of. The more people try to weed them out, the more they spread and reproduce. The more that we are detested by the world, the more vitalized we should be in seeking holiness. If we are seriously striving for holiness, we will be attacked by the devil. Those attacks should encourage us to be more intense in our prayer and humility. Sirach 2:5 "For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation."
  • Dandelions are a beautiful, joyful yellow color! They brighten creation, they bring joy to the landscape! And then (I credit this next part to Daniel) think about young children. Young children will pick dandelion bouquets to give to their mothers. And these dandelion bouquets bring such immense joy and love to both the mother and her child! Dandelions spread joy and love! By immersing ourselves in humility and love, God will grant us a share in His incredible joy! This joy will then spread to those around us. We will embrace the world with love for God! Proverbs 15:30 "A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones."
  • Here's my favorite part....In order to spread its seeds far in wide, to grow more beautiful, joyful dandelions, the dandelion must DIE TO ITSELF AS IT IS KNOWN and change its beautiful, joyous yellow bloom into a seed head. John 15:13 "No one has greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."
I love dandelions!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Have a Nothing Box!!!

Tonight, as I was sitting on the Piazza with some friends, the "nothing box" came up. For those of you who have never heard of this phenomena, let me explain. I once heard some guy-priest, psychologist, parent--someone! Explain how men's brains can typically work. Men have little boxes inside their brains, to organize their thoughts and priorities. In addition to the various boxes, each man has a nothing box. Why? So that he can retreat into this "nothing box" and simply...exist. Think about....nothing!

Well, I was explaining to someone how--as women, whose minds are always reeling everywhere--it is important to just BE sometimes. To go into God's presence, and just sit there, and BE.

To which she replied: "So God is our nothing box!"

I found this statement of hers quite awesome, and very thought-provoking. The nothing box: the place where we retreat to, to exist-to be still. To become vulnerable, to just anticipate whatever may come. In this way, we become refreshed and recharged from our many duties throughout the day.

And GOD is our nothing box! We go to God, and we just exist. We sit in His Love. We gaze at His beauty. But we do not need to worry about thinking through craziness of life; no, we simply need to be STILL! St. Teresa of Avila once said that "“The important thing in mental prayer, is not to think much but to love much.” Go, sit in God's presence. Do not worry about saying a lot of prayers; written prayers are wonderful, and I encourage all of you to pray them--but set aside extra time to just be. Just be in the presence of LOVE! He will refresh you, and recharge you as you journey onto the battlefield of life.
Each day, set aside some time--even if it is simply 5 minutes--and use the nothing box. Retreat into the Heart of God, and let Him love you! No words necessary; just love.
May the grace and peace of Christ flood your soul!