Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Idols

I have learned a lot of lessons in the last 15 years of being single.  Some should have been obvious, but I'm slow, y'all.  Very slow.  I've heard the wisdom over and over.  I've even said a lot of smart sounding things about it myself.  But hearing it and saying it is not the same as living it.  The only way I've actually learned anything is by doing the wrong thing over and over again until it finally dawns on me there's another way.

You know what I just started to realize in the last few days? That there are a lot of things that I have been putting before God.  It was shocking to me!  I would have denied it if asked. I don't put other things before God.  There are many commandments that I need to work on, but I'm good on the first one!  Or so I thought.

Here is at least a partial list of things that have caused me extra grief because I had them before God on the priority list:

-Control. I'm okay with being somewhat flexible with my plan, but the main bullet points have to be checked off or it's not okay.

-My ideas of how to serve God.  I feel called to serve God as a wife and mother.  I see a lot of beauty in that vocation.  Therefore, I should serve Him in that way, right?  It's for God so He HAS to say yes, right?! (That was rhetorical, but the answer is no, no He doesn't.)

-Consolations. God! If You actually loved me, You'd take away this pain by fulfilling my vocation or taking it away, or at the VERY least help me through it! Of course what I actually meant was that He should help me feel better.  He absolutely has helped me through it, but He certainly let me feel it sometimes.

-Knowledge. Fine, God! I'll go where You want, but exactly where is this going and how long will it take to get there and how much work will it be and how should I prepare and what should I do.  Don't let me feel stuck because I don't know what's next.

You know what's fascinating to me?  By valuing those things more than I valued God, I obviously also valued those things more than I valued other people.  It makes so much sense, but I am so slow!  People are important to me, but they also take a back burner to some of these things that I have thought that I needed.

Some of those things were things that I thought were just a necessary part of following God.  But they aren't because they are not, themselves, God.  Serving God is a good and necessary thing, but I need to be willing to do so in whatever big or small ways that He calls me to.  If all I want is to serve Him, then it shouldn't matter if I am single or married. Same goes for serving others. I will never turn down any consolations that God would like to send my way, but they are not God, either.  If I am seeking them, I am not seeking God.

Really, I think it all comes down to control, though.  Which means that I want to be in the driver's seat more than I want God there.  I am placing myself above Him.  And that's a crappy order for my priorities.

I'm not trying to say that I've done it all wrong or that I wasn't trying to put God first.  I was trying, but didn't realize how much I was failing.  And I think He blessed my trying by helping me get it all straightened around.  (Okay, by taking another step in the right direction.  This is clearly a LONG process for me.) It led to me seeing the last few years in a little different light.



It took me this long to realize that I was seeking fulfillment in things other than Him.  That when those "things" that I sought were withheld from me, I felt it was horribly unjust, but if I hadn't been broken, how long would it have taken me to figure out that I valued those particular things more than I valued God?




In other words, I said,
"I will go after my lovers,
 who give me my bread and my water, 
my wool and my flax, 
my oil and my drink."

But my Beloved said,
"Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns; 
I will build a wall against her,
 so that she cannot find her paths.  
She shall pursue her lovers, but not overtake them; 
and she shall seek them, 
but shall not find them.
 Then she shall say, 'I will go 
and return to my first husband,
 for it was better with me then than now.' 
And she did not know
 that it was I who gave her 
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
 and who lavished upon her silver 
and gold which they used for Ba'al. 
Therefore I will take back 
my grain in its time, 
my wine in its season; 
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
 which were to cover her nakedness."

And He may have allowed these things I needed to all be withheld from me, but not for my destruction, but in order to bring about something better. In everything I have sought I have found nothing, but in the end, He says:

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And in that day, you will call me 'My husband'. 
I will betroth you to me forever; 
I will betroth you to me in righteousness and justice,
in steadfast love, and in mercy.
I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.

(Words from Hosea 2. Questionable use of the words in this context is from me. Funky formatting issues ALLLL Blogger.)

Because you deserve something pretty to look at if you made it that far!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Today

I really liked the 7 posts in 7 days challenge that everyone was doing last week.  Lots of new material for me to read! As you can see, I really stepped up to the post and managed 0 posts in 7 days.  Wait...  Now that I think about it, there was one whole post. Wow, I was on fire last week!  Smoking!

Not to worry.  There are enough posts in my head and in drafts that it's quite possible that I will afflict bless you with a post a day for a couple of days.  Two to three days, people.  Max. (Most likely, I don't plan these things especially well, so it could be more, or this might be all you hear from me this week.)

Anyway, given that I have been writing and deleting more so than writing and actually publishing, I wanted to throw out this quick post for today.  I read something Friday that I loved, so I thought I would share it.  It was part of an interview with Walker Percy, asking him how, in this enlightened day and age where there were so many alternative beliefs, that he still believes all that the Catholic Church teaches and proposes for belief. Mr. Percy just says, "What else is there?"

Interviewer: I don't understand.  Would you exclude, for example, scientific humanism as a rational and honorable alternative?

WP: Yes.

Interviewer: Why?

WP: It's not good enough.

Interviewer: Why not?

WP: This life is too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer "Scientific humanism."  That won't do. A poor show.  Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and infinite delight, i.e., God.  In fact I demand it.  I refuse to settle for anything less.  I don't see why anyone should settle for less than Jacob, who actually grabbed aholt of God and would not let go until God identified himself and blessed him.*


Yep.  Good stuff. I love that his answers are so short and simple, but once he explains it's fantastic.  In case you were interested, he is a Catholic convert, and he and his wife were apparently subfertile.  They did adopt one daughter and gave birth to another.

And now, just because, here's a picture to prove I have had some success in the last couple of weeks in the columbine hunt.

Yes, it's true that I have been absolutely completely spoiled with hiking in the last few weeks.


*From this July's edition of the Magnificat (Vol. 15, No. 5), the July 26th meditation.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Recent NFP Conversation

Perfect timing! Katie says she is sure we were planning our NFP posts for this week, but I was not, because I was oblivious.  However, there is a post about that very topic (sort of, in a round about way) I've been wanting to write, so I thought I would get on it. But head over there for the actual planned posts people had!

A couple of weeks ago, I was out hiking with a friend of mine.  We completely agree on the fact that we love mountains, and we can endlessly exclaim over flowers together, but there is no secret that we disagree on other issues.  It came up that she feels that if two men or two women should want to "get married" in a Catholic Church, they should be allowed to, and not be "discriminated against".  Whereas, while I don't want to discriminate against anyone, I also believe that marriage is not something that we can define as whatever we want it to be.  Therefore, it is not a matter of whether I think it should be allowed, but a matter of whether I think it is possible.  Hence the quotation marks.  It's not that I am trying to be disrespectful, but rather that I think that "gay marriage" is not something that is possible.

Which, of course, made absolutely no sense to her whatsoever.  Why would it?  In our current culture and belief about sex, we have made it about whatever two individuals want to do.  "Open marriage", polygamy, cohabitation, whatever.  The whole, if it works for you, go for it.  Because sex is divorced from procreation, what difference does any of it make.

I told her that for me, it all comes back to contraception.  If contraception is perfectly fine, then gay marriage is not only possible but should be welcomed with open arms.  If, on the other hand, sex is about both procreation AND unity, then "gay marriage" is not possible, no matter how much we may wish it to be otherwise.

"But what if there's a family that shouldn't have children at a certain point in their lives? If they are responsible and use contraception, are they going against what the Catholic Church is teaching?"

Yes, yes they are.  But there's this thing, and it's called NFP, and you chart your cycle so you know when you should avoid having sex.  I could see the "rhythm method" wheels turning, and immediately thanked God that I chart as a single person (that and so that I can maybe figure out the weirdness that is my cycle right now... but that's a WHOLE different post).  So I told her that I chart and why, and I could tell her with confidence that I was not fertile that day because I was still pre-ovulation.  I know she wasn't quite sure what to think of that, but being able to specifically tell her where I was in my cycle showed her that I knew what I was talking about on a whole different level other than based on when my last period was.

I'm sure you can figure out the next question (because it's where everyone goes right after either "contraception is the only option" and/or "that's not effective" where "that" is NFP, but they mean the rhythm method).

"But how is NFP any different than contraception then, if you are still using it to avoid having a baby?"

Argh!  It seems so completely different to me that I have a very difficult time answering this question.  I don't know where to start, because it seems so obvious, how do I even answer?  And yet it must not be obvious, because a lot of people have this question.

I honestly don't remember how I answered.  But what I wish I could say is, if it's exactly the same, and NFP has positive health benefits, and hormonal birth control can be detrimental to health, then why isn't everyone aware of and using NFP?  Oh, that's right.  Because it's NOT the same.  Because with one, you have sex whenever (and if you're not married, with whomever) you feel like it.  With the other, you have to avoid sex, at least at certain times.  Yes, that's the negative side of it, but I don't know how else to explain it to people.

Anyway, I wish there was some awesome way to finish up this post.  On the one hand, I think she still finds me a little nuts.  On the other hand, she was willing to listen to me, and she could see how my belief has been beneficial to me on several levels, so it wasn't a total waste of a conversation.  And thank you to all of the married couples who have been willing to share your stories!  One thing that I tried to explain in the difference is as much as I could about some of what you have shared about the difference in your marriage between when you used contraception vs. when you didn't.  I tried to make sure that I didn't paint too rosy a picture, because I like being honest, but the honest truth is that there is something greater in all of this than just using contraception and calling it a day.

A photo from said hike, so yeah.  We were discussing NFP with these kinds of surroundings.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Yoke

Thursday, the Gospel was about where Jesus says "my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Kind of seems to contradict "take up your cross and follow me", eh?  But the priest was telling us that "easy" might be better translated as "fits well".  That when yokes were made back in the day, that they had to be particularly fitted to each individual animal so that it would lay right and not cause bruising and rubbing.  And that typically the animals were yoked together, two at a time.

What I took away from that is that the burden can actually be a lot of hard work, but SO much easier when working with God, rather than against Him, realizing that He is carrying the other part of that load.  In my life, that has meant accepting that being single will still bring a certain amount of pain as long as it lasts, but if I accept that pain and say that it's okay as long as He works in my life, works through me however He needs to, then it's not nearly as agonizing as it has been in the past (which isn't to say there haven't been some moments in the last few weeks...)

My favorite part is the part about it "fitting well".  I had one backpack last year that I loved (because it was a really pretty color) but the way it was made did not fit me well at all.  I tried to do a long hike in it one day, and it gave me back spasms.  I had to get a different one.  The one that I have now is amazing.  The color, meh.  But it fits so well that I often say that it carries itself.  Really, with a lighter load, it's so comfortable that I barely notice.  Even with a full load for backpacking, though it doesn't carry itself, it's very doable when it's packed right.  In thinking of that, "my yoke is easy and my burden light" makes more sense to me.*

More wildflowers, because wildflowers are awesome!


~~~~~~

*Just a quick note to say that that's where I am right now. My thoughts and prayers are with a number of people that I know, either personally, or a little more remotely that are currently at a stage where there is no such thing as "light burdens" or "easy yokes", because they are dealing with crosses that currently have them face down in the dirt under a weight they can't lift.  If that is you today, know that I am praying for you!

Friday, July 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)
1) Well, I may not being the most successful with my stated goals of 3 posts per week in July with only one link up, but neither am I horribly far off the mark.  Oh, well.  The real point was to post consistently this month, and I think I have at least managed that and we're halfway in!

2) This week feels a little less awful than last week, but I am still not hitting the right work/life balance. Work feels a little all consuming, and I hate that.  I did get a chance to go for a walk with E. from Lavished with Lemons (but I can't link you up since it's a private blog now).  That was fantastic, because there are unfortunately far too few people in where I live that get where I'm coming from, but she does.  Poor thing, she reads my blog and often has to hear the same things again in person! My brain was fried and I may not have been the best company, but it was needed for me, so I hope she didn't mind too much!

3) I went to Whole Paycheck Whole Foods this week.  I normally avoid the lure of the bright colors and tasty but ridiculously expensive artisan food.  But I went.  Partly because I get ashamed of showing my face buying the same things over and over at the little local grocery store I go to.  Seriously, I'm in there every 2-3 days and get the same things over and over again.  Anyway, WF has fun things that I can't get every day, and I didn't make it out of the produce section before I knew the bill really was going to feel like my whole paycheck. Good thing it's so far away from me so that it doesn't happen. (The premade sushi that I got? Totally worth it!)

4)  I'm the most musically illiterate person that you will ever meet.  Usually I stick with Christian music, because there are some songs there that I really like.  And then there are the songs that really deserve all of the complaints that Christian music ever gets.  But this take really isn't about that.  I was listening to a national station, and all of a sudden I heard them talking about NFP!  I was surprised, but it was great to hear.  Maybe it won't just be the Catholics anymore.

5) This week, I had the strangest thing happen.  There was 67% humidity, and I commented how nice that was.  I never thought I would say such a crazy thing, unless I was comparing it to 90% humidity, but another summer of ridiculous fires throughout the West has made me learn to appreciate and be grateful for different things.

6) Does anyone else use gmail?  I hate, hate, hate the new changes that they've made by separating things into different inboxes.  It's an inbox, let incoming mail come to one place!  It's stupid and now I have to check 3 different tabs to see whatever new mail I've gotten.  It's stupid.  Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan and that it's stupid?

7) In effort not to crash my computer, I have STILL not uploaded my photos from last week.  But I like to end with photos, so here's an old one.

Columbines two weeks in a row.  Why not?
Have a fantastic weekend and head over to Jen's for more QT's!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Light of Faith

"Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey."

Well, I'm thinking you should all recognize the quote by now. But I can't get enough of it.  There have been times when I have been living this whole singleness thing badly, but I would get upset with myself for the wrong things.  Why couldn't I trust enough to make all of the darkness go away?  If my troubles aren't righting themselves, am I doing something wrong, not praying enough, something like that? I would try to peer into the darkness and see if I could find my way out.

But that can't be faith.  Not real faith.  Because then there would be no answer for the parent who has lost a child, for the person who is facing a traumatic and life changing illness or injury, for the person with terminal illness, for the person who life was forever changed or ended by violent crime, for the couple who will never be able to have the children that they have always longed for, and for so many others.  In many ways, these trials can change over time, but they never go away. Some of us face trials that may some day come to an end, or may always be the case for the duration of this life.  I could meet someone tomorrow... Or never.  And real faith has to be able to address all the situations that everyone goes through, big or small, lasting a lifetime or a minute.

The faith that we need, that we seek, will not make all of our problems disappear, like the sun chasing away the shadows in the morning.  It is enough.  It shines enough of our way to let us see where to take the next step.  It does not let us see everything that's coming.  Which, if you think about it, is much easier to deal with rather than trying to look too far ahead and getting overwhelmed.  I know when I'm hiking, if I can see how far I have to go, I sometimes want to give up and turn around.  But if all I can see is the section that I'm currently on, I'm able to deal with it and often surprised because it's not as bad as I expected it to be.

Faith does not fix our problems.  It gives us enough help to find our way in the midst of them.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blood, Glitter, and WIWS

What I Wore Sunday linkup
Linking up again with the lovely ladies at FLAP.  

As always, another random day here, when all you wanted (presumably) was to see what I wore Sunday.  (And if you weren't interested in that, then what the heck are you doing here??) No worries, I do have another fine, headless picture featuring that aspect of things along with my other rambles.

The beauty of doing this link up today is that I actually already had a photo of today's outfit from something else.  So, it is what I wore to church today, but the photo is not from today.  The i.d. band thing is not from today, and today my toenails were a lovely shade of au naturale (because I'm lazy like that).  But I did wear the shirt, skirt and- because I apparently hate my feet- the shoes.
It seems that I am about ready to walk away. Who knows.  
I am sad that you can't see the detail of the shirt, and particularly the bow in the front.  I don't think it's as dorky as a butt bow, but I never can tell.  Since I like it, I go with it. The shirt is from New York and Company, and the skirt is from Anne Taylor Loft.  No surprise there, since my clothes come from either those two stores or REI.  And that's about it.

(Side note: I finally found out what "REI" stands for!  Due to their generous return policy, we often refer to them as "Return Every Item", but I knew that couldn't be it.  Recreational Equipment, Inc.  It's kind of disappointing.)

The shoes, oh, the shoes!  I don't remember where they came from.  I had to buy them for a wedding, and I think they are fantastic.  Which is why I wore them, because even I can't resist the occasional lure of the heels and the color.  But my poor feet!  It really isn't fair to ask them to hike 12.5 miles one day and then wear heels the next.  Even to something like church, where a lot of the wear comes while sitting.  I'm pretty sure I could feel the bunion forming on my left foot.

My other favorite part of the photo is my arms.  We can blame lighting for some of the issues, but that two tone look is really fairly accurate.  I may have left the Midwest, but I can still rock the farmer's tan with the best of them!

Okay, if you came for the outfit, there it is.  Now let's move on and I can tell you alllll about how my thumb came to be covered in blood and glitter courtesy of a Christmas ornament on July 14th. I blame Sarah. (No, really I blame me, and I credit Sarah with reminding me of something important.) Not that the story's that exciting, but when has that ever stopped me before?

Here's the thing.  You may have heard, but the West has had a wildfire or two this year and last year.  Because of the way that people like to have homes in the mountains and amongst the trees, this is leading to more and more losses of homes.  This year, we had horrible fires in Arizona (that killed 19 firefighters), Black Forest (taking out nearly 500 homes) and southwestern Colorado (that threatened entire towns; small towns, but towns). Those are some of the biggest ones.  There have been lot of other ones as well.

This has led me to think about where I live and the possibility of a fire.  And... It could happen.  On the one hand, most of my stuff is just stuff.  Does it really matter?  Like my couch in this photo from the other day. I like it, but it would not break my heart to lose it.  I don't own my appliances.  And so forth.

On the other hand, it would really be horrible to lose it all.  People sometimes have to evacuate with minimal notice and no guarantee that they'll have a home to come back to.  Looking around my house, I started to contemplate what I absolutely could not live without. I could live without most of it, to be honest.  But in order to be prepared, I have started packing a "go box".  If that's all that I have time to grab, I'll get it.  It has some of the important papers and my baby book, as well as some originals of old photos from my grandparents'.  I've been slowly adding a few other things whenever I think of something.

For instance, one day someone mentioned that they had a lot of Christmas decorations, and they were going to go through them and put the most important ones in a separate box (because I am far from the only one looking at these possibilities).  I laughed and said that my decorations weren't worth the trouble.  But then I realized that I had a few postcards from the early 1900's from distant relations that were basically Christmas cards from the time.  And I have some ornaments given to me by people that are small and maybe not that big of a deal, but if I had to start from mostly scratch a couple familiar ones at Christmas would be welcome.

I've been thinking of getting those out for a while, but it wasn't until Sarah mentioned some recipes of her grandma's that I realized that I also wanted to put in some recipes that my grandma wrote out for me  years ago.  She died in 2008, and I definitely want not only the recipes themselves, but the fact that they are written in her hand.  So that's what spurred me to finally add those things to the go box and in the process, I managed to dump a chintzy, glittery, glass Christmas pine cone on the floor.  Glitter everywhere.  Only a small bit of glass, thankfully, but of course the small bit that broke managed to be in slivers.  It's one of those things that I was cleaning up thinking "I'm going to cut myself" and then a few minutes later have the blood and the glitter to go clean up.  (It was really just a prick, but what's the fun in admitting that up front?)

The hike I went on yesterday was wonderful. It was absolutely beautiful, and the company was fantastic, and we delved into some of the deep subjects and she was willing to listen, though she disagreed (fodder for future posts, I'm sure as I think about some of our conversations).  I'm sure I got some photos (but I question the quality because I was playing around with some of the light and focus stuff), but I can't upload them until I delete a few more that are already on my computer.  Otherwise, I may crash the computer.  I can show you a couple of the flowers that we saw yesterday from previous photos.




Now I put the question to you.  If you have to single out a few things to put in a smallish box that could possibly someday end up being your only worldly possessions, what would you put in?

Friday, July 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)
1) Yay! Friday! I need it so much more than I usually do. I do not know what my problem is lately, but I have not been doing well about keeping up with things.  Yeah, we all get behind.  I've given up on that elusive state in which a person considers themselves "caught up".  That is probably the place where unicorns and leprechauns live, and I don't think we can get there from here.  But, I can usually keep a pretty decent work/life balance and keep my place in a state of reasonable sanity.  I mean, it's not usually "clean" per se, but usually it's clean enough to not gross me out/annoy me at every turn.  And I don't feel like I'm eating right, because I can't seem to cook, partly because I can't find time to do dishes.  And then I just say, "Screw it.  My brain is fried. I'm going to find a blog to read."  Thank you all for being accommodating and whipping out posts just for me.

2) I love blogging.  I knew that, of course, but I was reminded of that the other day.  Again.  I wrote this post the other day, and you got it.  It is very true that I cannot and should not immediately reject a chance to get to know someone just because I can't tell where he is on the faith page, nor would I be against pursuing a relationship with a guy who is pursuing a relationship with God, even if we are not currently in the same place.  But you do understand that I need someone who is either pursuing or on the verge of pursuing God and not because I want him to, but because he wants to; and while it may be fine for me to be a catalyst, it is not right for me to be the cause.  Anyway, the point is, since not all of us are currently blessed with local communities that understand the faith side of things, it's so wonderful to have the blogging community where people do understand.

3) You remember last week?  When I told you that I bit the bullet and finally ordered a big, expensive canvas?  I still have a few things to figure out...

But...


It's here! And it turned out wonderfully!! This is a little shot of the way the texture looks and the way the picture wraps around the side. I really love that for some reason.  It came a couple days sooner than I expected, and of course I tore into the package immediately.  Right at first I was a little disappointed because it looked slightly fuzzy, but then I realized that I'm a moron and that's due to the canvas texture... and didn't I order it partly for that reason? To have the texture?  Not always the brightest bulb, I tell you.

As you can see, when you look at it from a distance, rather than from an inch away as you're ripping off the packaging (and really, probably a 2 ft by 3 ft picture was meant to be viewed at a little distance!) it looks perfect. It was definitely the right photo for a canvas!
And you also get an nice view of the awesomeness that is my couch.  Hey, it may not be fancy, but it was free and it is comfortable.  Therefore, awesome.
4) Okay, the part that I still have to figure out. Where do I hang this bad boy?  I have a great wall for it in the living room, but it's behind where I typically sit.  I'd love to hang it in my bedroom, but the few times I do have guests over, we don't hang out in there.  And how do I hang it?  It has a hanger.  One teeny, tiny little thing that is supposed to hold the whole thing up. (I'm sure it will; the canvas isn't that heavy.) But I don't know if I should try to find a stud?  And the wall is plaster, so it's not the easiest to get nails into it. Eh, well.  Good problems to have.  So much better than spending all that money and then regretting it.  No regrets here!

5) I'm so excited that so many people are actually reading Light of Faith!  If you've never read an encyclical before, you should go read it.  And if you have read an encyclical before and you have therefore determined never to subject yourself to that torture again, go read this one.  JPII was amazing, and so were his encyclicals, but they were dang near impossible to read.  This one is very easy to read, and it is beautiful and wonderful and many good things.

6) I think a couple more quotes, yes?

One:

Faith understands that something so apparently ephemeral and fleeting as a word, when spoken by God who is fidelity becomes absolutely certain and unshakeable, guaranteeing the continuity of our journey through history.  Faith accepts this word as solid rock upon which we can build, a straight highway by which we can travel. ...As St. Augustine explains: "Man is faithful when he believes in God and his promises; God is faithful when he grants to man what he has promised".

Two:

Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey.

Three:

Faith is also a knowledge bound to the passage of time, for words take time to be pronounced, and it is a knowledge assimilated only along a journey of discipleship. 
I love it.  I love it all, and I need to reread it.

7) I'm not sure if I'll find them this weekend or not (or even if I'll be able to get out at all; the forecasts are not at all promising- but if there's rain, I refuse to complain), but I hope to see some of these guys:

Columbines are my favorite!
Have a wonderful weekend and head on over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Real Me

Saturday I went hiking with a friend of mine.  She's an awesome person, but like many of my friends here, she doesn't really know me.  What she knows about me is real, but what she doesn't know about me is more real and more important and I can't explain it to her.  I can tell her, but that doesn't mean much.

So here's what happened.

We were talking about some of the romantic ups and downs of a mutual friend, and then she decided to ask about MY love life (here's a hint: there isn't one right now).  "Well, what about So and So?"  I tried to explain that while So and So has many attractive qualities, I can't really pursue anything beyond the friend plane because we are not in the same place faith-wise.

Which led to a nice LONG lecture about how you're not likely to ever find someone with exactly the same beliefs as you, and you don't really know where other people are in their faith anyway, because some people aren't that comfortable talking about it, and so on and so forth.

I tried to explain that I'm not trying to be too picky, but there needs to be a certain amount of common ground.  In explanation, I said something like "It wouldn't make much sense at this time in my life to find someone that had no interest in any kind of outdoor activities." Planning to continue on and explain that, in the same way, I need someone that has a shared understanding of my faith.

Only, my friend likes to talk and didn't let me finish.  She says, "Well, of course not."

Riiiight.  You immediately get that we have to have common interest on "big" matters like outdoor interests, but give me long lectures about how I need to be more open to different ideas and thoughts on matters of faith and values.

And then yesterday I got to skype with a friend who does understand exactly what I believe and why (because it turns out that there a lot of people who do actually share the same thoughts and values).  I can't even put it into words the difference in connection with the friend that gets me and the one that doesn't really get me.

In summary, I don't really know the point of this post, other than to say that trying to forge a romantic relationship with someone like So and So would be like my relationship with Friend 1, in that there's only so much of yourself that you can share because you can tell them all about your faith, but when they're not in the same place, they just don't really get it.  And if I can't find someone that gets the faith aspect the way Friend 1 gets the outdoor aspect and Friend 2 gets all of it, then I guess I'll be single forever.  And that's not a bad thing!

Also important point of this post, I really miss Friend 2 and all my other friends like her... The ones that we live way too far away from each other, but getting together with them is like we've never been apart and when we do discuss things, there's so much background we don't have to explain because we know.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Papa Francisco

I've been thinking recently how great it would be when Pope Francis would get his first encyclical out, but I didn't know when that would happen.  And it happened this weekend, I think!  Anyway, I know it's out because I've read it and I love it!  I also love that the first draft was written by Papa Ben before he stepped down.  I love that there is the melding of the two in this letter that fits so well with the historic way this particular succession has gone.

So many things... I hope I will have the perseverance to go back and reread this and soak it up a bit more.  But I loved how it put into words so many things that I have been feeling recently, only of course it said it better than I could and also added so much. It is about the light of faith, and it is a light that is desperately needed right now!

Allow me to let Pope Francis say it from his words in the Intro:

We come to see that faith does not dwell in shadow and gloom; it is a light for our darkness. Dante, in the Divine Comedy, after professing his faith to Saint Peter, describes that light as a "spark, which then becomes a burning flame and like a heavenly star within me glimmers".[4] It is this light of faith that I would now like to consider, so that it can grow and enlighten the present, becoming a star to brighten the horizon of our journey at a time when mankind is particularly in need of light.

I mean, how could you not love this:

Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.


And this:


To speak of faith often involves speaking of painful testing, yet it is precisely in such testing that Paul sees the most convincing proclamation of the Gospel, for it is in weakness and suffering that we discover God’s power which triumphs over our weakness and suffering.

I don't often sit down and read an entire encyclical, though I have had the intention of doing so at various times.  I did read this one though, fairly easily.  I highly encourage you to head here and check it out for yourself because it is definitely worth it!

Friday, July 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)



1) Well, I committed to trying to write 3 posts a week for the month of July.
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Clearly I'm off to a rip roaring start for the month.

2) To be fair, I thought I had written one this month and I forgot that the first of the month was actually Monday.  Either way, this is two on the week, so that's not too far off.

3) I'm taking a 4 day weekend sort of under protest.  I know, I know, who in their right mind would protest a long weekend?  The thing is, there just weren't enough patients that were interested in coming in today to make it worth opening the clinic.  I didn't want to take it off because I don't like to travel on extremely busy weekends, and what a waste to have 4 days in a row (and PTO) if you're not going somewhere amazing!

4) Except it's not.  I got to hike yesterday and then drive around.  I saw a moose!  They're one of my favorite things to spot.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get a good picture, so this will have to suffice.

I mean, at least it isn't a blob that I have to try to convince you is a moose, but I wish you could see him a little better.
And today I have been able to use to start to get caught up on some of the craziness that has been stressing me out.  I started by catching up on some sleep, then I went to Mass, got groceries, paid some bills, am currently over halfway through my laundry and am slowly working on cleaning up and getting caught up on some work paperwork.  With every task I complete, I feel a little bit of the load roll off.  So I'm glad things worked out the way they did, even if it's not what I originally thought I wanted.  And I get to go hiking again tomorrow!  And then still have Sunday off!

5) I admit that the moose was my 4th celebration.  I just wasn't feeling the crowds and the late night for fireworks, and I wasn't on top of things enough to arrange a BBQ with the friends.  The hike was nice; not as beautiful as last Saturday, but they can't all be.  Even more exciting than breaking the barrier weight (which has fluctuated over the week, but is currently at what it was a week ago... though it'll go up after my ice cream this weekend) is that my hikes this week have been at about 2 mph.  I know those of you that are runners may not find that impressive, but for a hike, it's not too shabby.  My speed will go down when I start picking up some steeper hikes again, but I'm excited about that time.  The numbers on the scale are nice, but the improvement in fitness level is what I really enjoy!

6) I'm a little nervous.  I have been wanting a canvas print of one of my photos for about 2 years now.  But I didn't know which photo to choose, and they're expensive, and I didn't know what size to get, and I was afraid of what would happen when it was blown up that large.  So I've never ordered one.  Until today.  I got the one at the end of the post from Saturday's hike. I'm sure that the subject is perfect for a canvas, but sometimes there are imperfections in the photo that I don't see until I get a print. I'm afraid that this will be one of those cases.  Maybe it'll be a little blurry when it's HUGE, maybe the color won't look right.  But what are you going to do? Never take the chance?  There's currently a 50% off sale, so I decided to bite the bullet and take the chance. If it turns out looking as good as it does on my screen, it'll be well worth it!

7) Okay, I need to get back to my long list of stuff again.  I'll leave you with one of my favorite things about hiking this time of year:
A plethora of wildflowers
Enjoy the weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!