Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A G.K. Chesterton Passage That's Been on My Mind

"We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong. In these current fashions, it is not really a question of religion allowing us liberty; but (at the best) of liberty allowing us a religion. These people merely take the modern mood, with much in it that is amiable and much that is anarchical and much that is merely dull and obvious, and then require any creed to be cut down to fit that mood. But the mood would exist even without the creed. They say that they want a religion to be social, when they would be social without any religion. They say they want a religion to be practical, when they would be practical without any religion. They say they want religion acceptable to science, when they would accept the science even if they did not accept the religion. They say they want a religion like this because they are like this already. They say they want it, when they mean that they could do without it.

"It is a very different matter when a religion*, in the real sense of a binding thing, binds men to their morality when it is not identical with their mood. It is very different when some of the saints preached social reconciliation to fierce and raging factions who could hardly bear the sight of each others' faces. It was a very different thing when charity was preached to pagans who did not really believe in it; just as it is a very different thing now, when chastity is preached to new pagans who do not believe in it."



*Some say "religion" comes from root words referring to "binding together".

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lessons from the Kitchen

1) If it involves some sort of "pastry", maybe I shouldn't try it. Unless it's pie crust. I can do pie crust. Hmm... pie sounds good. Oh, sorry. Got distracted!

2) Also, if it says to refrigerate dough for "at least an hour", it probably doesn't mean 33 hours.

3) Yeah, that's all I got. I see more frozen meals in my future. The good news is that it tasted better than it looked! (That's not saying much. I should take pictures. But I won't.) Still not fantastic. But edible.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hiking

I was accused this week of being a hiking fanatic. I don't remember my exact response, but it had to be something eloquent like, "Yeah. So?"

There's no point in trying to deny it or qualify it somehow. It's true. I'm a little nuts about hiking. When I am up on a mountain, I don't know how much time is passing. Nor do I really care. It's a whole different world out there for me. Usually the sun is shining. The smell of pine, the scrape of feet on the gravelly trail, the sound of the wind, the birds, and the bugs.

When I'm out there, it doesn't really matter what's going on in my life. That will wait until I come back down the mountain. Normally I don't really like to sweat. There I don't mind the sweat, even the back sweat from a back pack. I just don't care. I almost like the fine layer of dust on my feet and legs. I know that sounds gross, but it means that I'm a part of it somehow. (I also can't wait to get it off when I get home, so don't worry about me becoming like PigPen out here.)

Sometimes I think through things as I hike. Sometimes my mind is a little on the blank side. It may be the only place in this world that I'm not overanalyzing something. It's a place where I just am.

Sometimes when I hike, I try to notice all the details, both the sweeping vistas, and the little things like the colors of the flowers and the shape of the plants, the sound of a stream. Other times, I like to try to let it all blur together a little. I try to ignore the individual parts so that I can try to absorb the whole on some level.

Am I obsessed? Umm, probably at least a little bit.

Will this blog continue to have unending posts about hiking? Yes. Hope it's not too boring for you!

Am I currently working on the most fantastic farmer's tan ever? Ohh, yeah.

Do I care? Not particularly.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Following Jesus

The Gospel today spoke of leaving father and mother to follow Jesus. No excuses. Need to bury your father? Let the dead bury their dead. The priest spoke of an African priest that he had met. This African priest was from Rwanda, but went to seminary in Uganda. This was around 1994 when there was a lot of unrest in Rwanda. The day he was ordained, he was given the news that his village had been attacked and his father was thought to be among the dead. He immediately traveled the several hours that it took. To make a long story short, the first Mass that he said was the Mass of Christian burial for his father.

This man, this priest, did not let this slow him down in terms of following Christ and proclaiming the Gospel. It is not to say that he didn't grieve. I'm sure he did. But he had one priority and one focus: to follow Christ, and to lead others to follow Christ as well.

I have a lot of excuses.

They have no weight.

I'd like to say that this is something that I will remember and carry with me for a long time.

I'll be lucky if I remember it this entire week.

If you think of it, pray for this priest as he continues to minister and serve, and to follow Christ.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Characters I've Worked With

It's pretty well known that I couldn't handle the transfer that I was supposed to make before I decided to pack it all in and move far, far away. (Well, it's far to me. Probably not so much for a world traveler.) Anyway, there were some things I objected to about the clinic I was supposed to work in, but my coworkers were not a part of the problem. I'd worked in that clinic before and they were a riot. In fact, they cracked me up so much that I had to take a camera in one day. I forgot about these pictures until the other day, but now that I've found them again, I want to share.

Because they did this after my coworker had numerous issues with the copier (this was the copier that sounded like the smoke monster):



Wasn't it nice of them to help?

And this was another little thing that was sitting around. I never did hear the story behind it, but it made me laugh to myself every time I saw it:



I don't read Stephen King, but I bet that's not what he had in mind when he was thinking of a murderous, rabid dog...

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Not Fair

Yesterday I had a moment where I became a person that I didn't like: the bitter person. I hate that person, and I hate that I let myself wander down that road, even for a little while.

Sometimes I just hate being alone, and I get so tired of it. I hate that "everyone"* else has someone to go home to, and I have an empty apartment. I think that overall moving has gone exceptionally well, but moving also really highlights this whole aspect of my life.

And so I had my moment yesterday of being in a funk. Of looking around and crying out "It's not fair!" with all the passion of a 3-year-old that was denied a piece of candy. Also like a 3-year-old, I was tired and so I was less rational and able to deal with it.

Besides going to bed to get some much needed sleep, the only thing that I could think about that helped was to think of a verse a good friend brought up in speaking of her struggles:

"I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten." Joel 2:25

*In calmer, more sane moments, I realize that there are a lot of lonely people out there. I also realize that just because someone else has everything I want (husband, children, all that) doesn't mean that their lives are wonderful and perfect all the time. We all have struggles. I know there are people that envy my freedom as a single person, too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Next 10.1 Miles (11 to 20.1)

Normally I don't feel the need to break things down into tenths of a mile. Let's just say that on this hike, I earned every foot so I am NOT rounding down to 10! A word of warning, this is a long post, but lots of pictures so that helps.

The day started innocently enough. I planned to do one hike that was just under 5 miles round trip. I thought depending on how I felt after that, I might do another short, easy hike. The day started early. I'm a morning person, and I love being up when the day is fresh and new, when there is a soft morning light, while the birds are singing and the bugs haven't started buzzing yet... and before all the crazies tourists are out in full force. (I'm kind of a tourist, too, but unlike some of these people, I've seen a mountain before. And deer. For crying out loud, the way they park to take pictures of the animals, you'd think they'd found a unicorn! Sorry, tangent...)

Rocky Mountain National Park was the destination. It's one of my favorite places ever, so even though it's quite a drive from here, expect a lot of hikes from there in the months to come. The hike of choice was Mill's Lake. I love that lake, and I love the view of Glacier Gorge. I'd been wanting to hike it again for several years now, so it was an obvious pick for my first trip out there this summer.

One of the best parts of the hike is that there is a lot of stuff to see on the way up. Less than a mile from the trailhead, there's Alberta Falls:



I wish you could hear the sound of the falls! It is loud and in charge.

Then there are several open areas that allow a person to really get a good view. Then you go over the river:





And through the woods (this actually wasn't quite as much forest as a lot of the trail, but this is a better pic than just trees all around):



When you start walking over the slab of rock, you know you're close:



When you see this, you're really close:



When you see this, you're there:



Don't forget to look into the lake while you're there:



I love how clear the water is!

Mill's Lake is one of my favorites. It really needs a better name, because a lake that beautiful should have a beautiful name. But whatever. The problem is that it seemed like I had barely begun to hike. I wasn't ready to be done, so I decided to continue down the trail. Just past Mill's Lake, there is a little marshy area, followed by Jewel Lake:



Jewel has similar views, but it is not as crowded as Mill's. The views are also a little harder to get to.

If you keep going past that, you can go up to Black Lake. I knew Black Lake was a strenuous hike, and I knew that it was a couple of miles past Mill's Lake. I didn't think about 2.5+ more miles one way led to 5 more miles round trip. I knew it, of course, but I didn't put the cold hard numbers together in my head. Most of this hike is in a heavily forested area. The trail is narrow, but the nice part is that you only share it with real hikers. It's narrow, and it definitely gets a little rocky:



You can't forget that you're not the only one up there:



(My best guess is bighorn sheep tracks.)

But what I really didn't think about was this:



Good old snow fields. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I realize now that I don't have any pictures of the worst of the snow fields. Probably because I was too busy trying not to punch through the snow or slide down the hill into the stream. Don't worry, it wasn't too deep or scary at that point. Just cold. The day itself was warm enough I wouldn't have been worried about hypothermia, just a severe case of discomfort.

I took this picture when I thought I was getting close-ish:



"Close-ish" would be one word to describe it. "Far" might be a little more accurate. Actual distance wasn't too bad, but that dang snow makes it so much harder.

Now this was getting close:



It was also worth taking a moment to turn around and see where I'd been:



(That last row of rocks is part of the trail.)

And then I was there:




(It was really hard getting a good picture of the whole lake at once; this doesn't really do it justice.)

After that hike I needed sustenance, so I broke out the food and water. Then I thought I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned around to see a leaf blowing in the wind. I laughed at myself, but I still turned quickly when I thought I saw movement again. This time this guy came all the way out to see what I might have dropped:



(He's a yellow-bellied marmot, and he's about the size of a cat.)

It's crazy to have it be so warm when you start, and then get so cold when you get there that there's still ice. The wind was chilly. I know you can't see temperature, but if you look at the ripples on the lake, you can almost feel it:



Needless to say, when I finally got back down- after 10 miles of hiking-, there was no going on any other hikes. Part of the reason that the snow kicks butt so bad is that I had to dig in my heels to get a hold on the way down. That led to some not fun strain on the old knees (I'm not old, but my knees think they are sometimes). I had planned to try to get out the next day, too, but decided to sleep instead. Next week, though. Next week there will be more, and I can't wait! I'm getting more adjusted to the altitude, so more and more hikes are calling my name.

Monday, June 21, 2010

People That Annoy and Bemuse

One morning this week, I got up to take a shower. Normal protocol. I turned on the water to warm up and quickly finished brushing my teeth. Oddly, the bathroom was filling up with steam very quickly. I stuck my hand in the shower and confirm that it was scalding hot, so I turned it down a little. No change. So I turned it down a lot. No change. Then I turned that sucker every which way, trying to get the temperature to regulate with no luck whatsoever. Given that I needed to go to work soon and I needed to clean up, I finally gave up and ran a bath. Then I threw in enough ice to keep from burning myself and got cleaned up that way. I called and left a message from maintenance. When I returned home I found a completed work order form with the message: "Knob tightened. Turn left for cold water. -W"

Are. You. Serious??

I know I'm a blonde sometimes, but do you really think that I needed help figuring that part out?! Maybe I should have been able to figure out how to tighten the knob, but do you honestly think I didn't TRY turning the knob to the left? Come on!! W and I are not on the best of terms right at this moment. But don't tell W that. I don't want him mad the next time I need help.

The other people were fellow hikers. Okay, not really. If you bring an iPod and blare music at what is supposed to be a peaceful mountain lake, then you are not a real hiker! What is the point of going on a hike and getting away from everything if you bring that noise with you? Listen to the birds and the running water! If you don't like birds and waterfalls, don't go hiking!

As to the person that bemused me, well, I started to write about that here, but then realized that that exchange leads to a whole post of it's own, so more on that later.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One Year Ago

Yesterday I went on a hike. Anyone shocked? No? Well, pictures to come. But the point for the moment is that while I was up there, I kept running into places in the trail where I couldn't quite tell where to go. Some places was because the trail was still hidden under the snow. All I had to do was follow the footsteps of those that had gone before me, but sometimes the trail went in two different directions. Other times, you thought you could tell where the trail was headed, but when you came up to it, you realized you could no longer keep going that way. A boulder or a tree or a drop off was in the way. When I would stop and look around, I realized that there was a place to go, it just wasn't the way that I thought it was.

Kind of like life. One year ago today, I was with a friend of mine and at this time last year, we were all dressed up and getting ready for her wedding ceremony to start in a few minutes. I was out here, in this very town, never dreaming that a year later I would be here again, but this time sitting at my apartment, trying to decide if I had enough time to go hike before meeting with another friend. My life definitely zigged when I thought it would zag. (Actually, I guess I didn't really expect it to do either!)

It reminds me yet again that you never know what's going to happen. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, sometimes it's just different. It reminds me again that if there's something that I want to do, I need to make definite plans to do it. It's not okay to just say "We should do x sometime." You actually need to make the plans to do it. Otherwise it may never happen. I've never regretted doing that. Like the time that my sisters and I said that we really wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. A year ago, right after my friend's wedding, we left on a road trip to do just that. The picture on my header is one of the pictures from that trip. Some other favorite pictures from that road trip:









Of course, it doesn't need to be as dramatic as a road trip. Sometimes dinner with someone you haven't seen in a while is just as good. You never know when someone might up and move 700 miles away.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Q: What Do Weather, Smoke Alarms and Birds Have in Common?

A: They're all on crack.

At least around here they are. I've been told that the weather around here is very changeable. Some of the transplants seem a little miffed by it. A lot of the natives seem proud of it. Changeable is one word for it. Bipolar is another. I have seen near record highs. I have been frozen out by the low, low temps and my stubborn refusal to turn on the heat in the middle of June. I have seen sun, gentle mists, torrential downpours, and hail.

The birds are another whole story. Some sparrows have built a nest right over my patio door. They never shut up. Never. I don't usually hear them in the middle of the night, but my mom said they kept her awake from 3 am on the night that she stayed out here. I do hear them early, early in the morning and late at night. There are also some swallows that like to dive bomb the place.

Then there's my smoke detector. One morning I was just finishing up my shower, when the smoke detector starts going off. I'm standing there, dripping wet, trying to figure out what to do. I didn't see or smell anything out of place so I just wanted it to shut up. After only a few minutes of me staring at it in consternation, it stopped. I breathed a sigh of relief, because my ceilings are high, and I didn't think I had anything that would allow me to reach it to take care of the battery.

And then it started again. And then it stopped again. It's been silent ever since, but I would really like to know what its deal was!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Need Some Help

Okay, so here's a little virtual tour of my apartment.

There's the living area:



Here's the dining area:



This is toward the kitchen:



(Note: If you couldn't tell, all three of these pictures were taken from almost the same spot; I just turned around)

My absolute favorite feature of the apartment (if you know me on facebook, there's a pic from the balcony):



I don't need help with any of these. Yes, I know the living area could use a couch. And the dining area also seems to lack a little something... But I know what those need. It's just a matter of getting them someday.

What I need help with is this:



The Dead Space.

It's a little too big to be a closet, a little too small to be a room. There are lights, but no electric outlets. It's a hallway to nowhere. Granted, I could use it as a storage space. I'll probably end up just piling stuff in there. But where's the fun in that? Does anyone have any ideas of something fun to do with the Dead Space?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How can I try to explain how I'm feeling? It's one of those intense emotional kind of things that causes physical pain. That's not fun. I want to pray or offer it up, but barely feel like I can right now. At the same time, I feel kind of exultant. I don't fully understand it, but I know that God has heard the cry of my heart, and I know He cares. Those words are so inadequate, I feel like I should erase them because they don't do justice to any kind of an explanation.

First of all, don't get me wrong. I'm starting to love it here. How could it be otherwise? I was tired of driving all over the place. Now work, the grocery store, the bank, a church, and entertainment are all within less than a ten minute drive. My job itself is challenging, but I think it's really going to help me grow as a physical therapist, and everyone there is extremely welcoming and friendly. I still can't believe that I not only got a job out here, but it's kind of a dream job. It has features I didn't know I would like, or even thought existed. But I love it. Oh, yeah. And starting next week, I have my 4 day work week. I didn't even have to ask! I already have a couple of friends in the area. One of them is really close, and it's been so great to see her and be able to hang out so easily. And, of course, the mountains. Have I mentioned that I love the mountains?

All of this to say that I still think that this is exactly where I should be right now. I don't regret any of it. But even while I am coming to enjoy more and more of this place, I still miss home. I miss my friends more than I can say. I want to call, but I haven't been able to in the last couple of days. I have lame excuses of other errands or whatnot that I am running at the time, but that's not it. I think it's more because I don't really have anything to say. And ultimately, I would rather not be calling them at all anyway. What I really, really want is to hang out with them. Even if we're not doing anything. Even if we are just watching the kids be amazing and funny. It just feels too far away to know that that can't happen easily. And that makes me feel like there is a part of me that is missing, so how will I ever be able to fully settle here?

So I get through it by avoidance.* Thank you, Netflix! I am totally hooked on Prison Break right now, and I can watch it online without having to wait for it to be mailed to me. It has me on the edge of my seat, even though I know what's going to happen in the long run. There are certainly themes that I hate (it is about prisoners and they are not moral people). But it's well-written, and I really like a lot of the characters. The thing that I like the most? The brothers that have each other's back no matter what. Maybe it's just because I'm feeling kind of alone out here, but that, more than anything else, has sucked me into this show.

So in summary:
-Love it out here.
-Miss friends and family more than I can say.
-Singleness stinks, especially when you've just moved.
-God's got my back.


*I'm rather good at that particular coping strategy. Maybe too good. When does that become a problem? Just wondering. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The First Ten

I was going to show you some photos of the first eight miles I hiked this summer, but I sneaked in a little two miler today, so now it'll be ten.

The pics from the first hike might be my very favorite. Here I was all disturbed by the fact that there was no sun and I would be walking through the mist, but seriously. It was gorgeous. Also, there was a fox.










On the next hike, the falls were gorgeous. I didn't get too many pictures, partly because I was too busy trying to breathe. I've got a lot of excuses, but I should really face the fact that I need to get in better shape!



Today was just a pretty little hike, and here's a view from it:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The First Eight

I'm a fan of weekends, can we keep this one for a little while longer? Only I would like some sun to go with it. Because I'm picky like that. This weekend, besides internet, I got Netflix (this could become a serious time drain, but at least it's cheaper than cable!), I got to go to Mass* finally (it had been a whole week in between; much too long), and of course, I got onto the trails. Have I mentioned that I love hiking?

When I am looking at my goal of 100 miles of hiking this summer, I'm only counting the first time that I'm on a particular trail. I will count round trip numbers, but there are several trails close by that I could easily end up doing a number of times this summer, and I won't count them every time, because what's the fun in that?

Anyway, yesterday was 3 miles and today was 5. Eight down, 92 to go. Yesterday, as I mentioned, was misty, but not too bad overall. I started the wrong direction at first, but that was okay because it meant that I got to see a fox that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. Once I got going on the right trail, I really enjoyed it. There were quite a few flowers and the wild rose buds with the mist condensation on them were AMAZING. That's all I have to say about that.

Today was a hike to a falls. It kind of kicked my rear in spots. I'm going with the fact that it was kind of humid, and that I'm still not quite used to the altitude. By next week, those excuses will be gone, and I will be left with only my inferior level of fitness to blame. Still, the falls were beautiful. I do have a few pictures to share, but my camera cord did not make it out here, so I can't post them until I make a CD of the pictures.

I'm excited for next weekend. I don't know for sure where I'll be hiking, but I do plan to hike. I may be meeting up with some people, so it will depend on that. I may also try out that hiking club I mentioned. It looks like there are a couple of opportunities there as well. We shall see, but for now I'm going to bed. For some reason I'm tired! Imagine that.


*The priest was newly ordained and looked like he was only 18! He looked like he should have been serving Mass, not saying it. I love young priests and their passion for the Eucharist. Btw, he looked a lot like of cousin of mine that I really think should be a priest, so if you could pray for God's will on that, that would be fantastic!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Only a Week...

It feels like so much longer than a week ago that I moved. But that's really all it's been. Less than a week, actually. This time last week I was still cleaning out my old apartment. So strange! It feels like two or three weeks. Earlier this week, I got really upset that nothing was familiar, that I couldn't drive anywhere without getting lost, that I still didn't have internet, and so on. It made me question my whole decision. I knew I was being ridiculous and needed to just give it time, but sometimes logic doesn't work too hot when you feel like that. Until I realized that I hadn't even been in possession of my new apartment for 72 hours. Then I was fine with giving it some more time! Somehow it felt more like a week or two rather than less than 3 days.

Friday I turned a little corner. I got my last box unpacked, and found 2 whole new places without getting lost. I also talked to people from home without losing it when I hung up the phone. Progress! Then today I got the internet, so I'm a happy person! Even better (maybe not better, but also good) I got to go on a little hike nearby. The weather has not been super fantastic, so the clouds and mists and fog obscured some of the view, but it made me have to look closer at the smaller things, like the flowers and the differences in the colors with that lighting as compared to full sunlight. I really think that it will be a whole new hike when the sun is out. Anyway, getting outside with the smell of pine (one of my very favorite parts about the mountains), and hiking by the sound of rushing water made the whole world a better place. (More on that later.)

I still miss home, of course, and I still have a long ways to go before it feels more natural and less surreal to be out here, but it's better. Now if I can just find some daily Mass and maybe some Adoration somewhere...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Moved

Well, I made it out here. I still don't have internet in my apartment, but there is a "business center" I can use for all my important blogging business. The only problem is that I can't really concentrate in a semi-public area like this. And for some reason other people typing is really distracting (I guess if I get married someday, he's not allowed to have a computer??).

Anyway, it is gorgeous here. So far, so good. But it's all new and unfamiliar and therefore makes me want to return to the comfortable and familiar. Back to my routine. I don't really want that, but thank goodness it's not an option, because there are times... Really, though, I'm okay with feeling that way. I expect it. It's a natural part of moving, and it will pass.

Can I just say how humbled and blessed I feel to have such amazing friends? I can't go on too much about it, because I will cry, and this is a business center. But seriously! Thank you so much to everyone who helped pack me up, sent me emails and texts and called to see how I was doing, moved me in, helped me get settled, have been praying for me and everything else! Thank you! You are all amazing!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. Now my landlord and I are really fighting. I came home last night to find that my apartment stinks. They had to do a refrigerator repair, and I'm assuming that the smell is related to that somehow. Even though it kind of smells like stogeys, but my landlord doesn't do that. Still, gross!

2. Speaking of my landlord, I still haven't figured out what to tell him about the grape juice stains. The truth- that I spilled a glass of grape juice- doesn't seem to quite be enough. I still can't figure out how it got on the ceiling and two walls 10 feet apart. I don't really expect him to understand!

3. Tomorrow is day 1 of 3 for moving day. Tomorrow we pack, Sunday we drive, and Monday I move in. I don't start work until Wednesday, so that leaves one free day to let the hiking begin. Clearly there are other things I could be doing on Tuesday, but my mom will still be there and she wants to hike, too.

4. Yesterday I did a bunch of address changes, signed up for a hiking group, and talked to my friend out there. She told me that there was an ENDOW group starting up soon, and asked if I wanted to go with her. Yes, please!

5. Last night was my last Bible study with the girls. I held babies and hung out with them, and pretended that it was just another week of many that I would be hanging out with them. It actually worked pretty well at the time, but it's not working so well this morning...

6. It's seriously time for me to move. Not only are we getting perilously close to the point that one more goodbye is going to send me over the edge and make me never leave, but also my pants are getting tight. You see, I have eaten out a lot in the last few weeks. All that eating with friends before I go, I don't regret any of that weight. However, I have also been self-medicating for the stress with pudding cups and other chocolate and stuff. I'm not going to be too upset with myself for that, either, but it's not near as worth it as the extra food with friends. See, this is why I need to start hiking on Tuesday... or maybe we can get moved in quickly enough Monday that we can take advantage of some of the hikes that are going to be literally in my new backyard.

7. Have a wonderful weekend!

For more Quick Takes, head over to ConversionDiary!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thoughts from Adoration

It's shocking to me that I was able to pay attention to anything in Adoration last night*, but there were several cool things from last night that I wanted to share.

For one, I have almost felt guilty about moving, especially at first. God has given me so many great gifts here that I felt like I was turning my back on these gifts. Not only that, but when He started pouring down all kinds of crazy answers and blessings associated with this move, I felt completely unworthy. Last night, I realized that I am completely undeserving. His gifts are not a sign of my relative worthiness, but are rather a sign of the abundance and unrestrained nature of His love.

Then, I'm finishing up TOB, Explained by Christopher West, and he shared a couple of quotes about prayer that I'm going to share with you.

The first is from the CCC:

"The vital and personal relationship with the living and true God... is prayer." Prayer is where we "let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to Him as an offering to be purified and transformed." (PP 2558 and 2711)

The other is from Papa JPII:

"The great mystical tradition of the Church... shows how prayer can progress, as a genuine dialogue of love, to the point of rendering the person wholly possessed by the divine Beloved, vibrating at the Spirit's touch, resting filially within the Father's heart. This is... a journey totally sustained by grace, which nonetheless demands an intense spiritual commitment and is no stranger to intense purifications. But it leads, in various possible ways, to the ineffable joy experienced by the mystics as 'nuptial union'." (Novo Millenio Inuente, 33)

*The reason that I say this is that moving makes me a little absentminded and distracted. For instance, this morning I started to brush my teeth... Only to realize that it was the second toothbrushing of the morning. I think. I went ahead and brushed them anyway, because I couldn't really remember.