Friday, December 31, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 9

Click here to read the original post at ConversionDiary.com
**Thanks to Joel and Lisa Ann Schmidt at The Practicing Catholic for the plug! They listed me as one of 7 Catholic blogs to read in the new year! I'm truly humbled.**

*1*
I forgot today was Friday... I'm on vacation this week (Alleluia! Praise God for waking up at 10:00 everyday!). It's a little bittersweet for the following reason:

*2*
I've never liked the winter. Being cold is miserable and I'm no fan of dry skin. I dislike it even more after winter canceled my flight to Lisbon. You can read about what happened here, but basically: the American economy gets my money this New Year's Eve. Sorry, Portugal. I know you're hurting.

More apologies to my good friends who I will not get to see. I hope you have a wonderful time!

*3*
Traveling has its risks of danger, misfortune, and, most commonly, stress. There were some peeved people pacing at the gate as we heard the flight cancellation news. As airports are my 3rd favorite place in the world because they are a people watching feast, I perked my ears and heard some stories. 

Suzie was in Richmond for Christmas, visiting her boyfriend's family. She had been waiting for days to get back to her precious NYC and away from what had become a black hole on the map. Mr. Business Man was used to the cancellation pattern and was relieved that he could join his family for the day instead of flying north. Several other people just had panic in their eyes.

*4*
1. I love traveling, especially the screw ups because it allows me to gather characters for my imagination bank as I people-watch. 

2. God bestowed upon me plenty of grace as my own panic should have set in. Before I left the airport, it was pretty clear that it didn't make sense to take the delayed flight. This meant missing out on a reunion I have been awaiting for more than a year.

*5*
A few weeks ago the nation was blowing up over the new TSA flight security measures and I stayed out of the debate. I'm still unsure which side to join, but I do know this:
It was embarrassing to step into that Plexiglas cylinder. I made efforts to convince myself that the people who were reviewing my image had been sitting in the same room all day, just looking at x-ray after x-ray. How much do I really matter?

Nevertheless, that person in the room saw a black and white version of me, naked. I don't like it.

*6*

*7*

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dan Eldon

My first college art professor introduced me to the story of Dan Eldon. I cried on the spot.
The only thing I wanted for Christmas 2008 was his book, The Journey is the Destination. (I do not own the rights to this)
His love for people around him was simple and childlike, but he also took on the burden and pain for those he knew he couldn't help. Dan grew up in Nairobi where he lived a life far from ordinary and he documented it in visual diaries.

The professor told us to start keeping visual diaries, an assignment that changed my life. Recording my life with words AND art made such a huge change in my perspective that I suggest that everyone keep a visual diary.

My professor encouraged us to buy a big sketchbook, to use it to plan out our work, to brainstorm, and to create within its pages. 

A recent project I completed in my own visual diary.
He said we could glue a map onto a page in the middle of the book, start writing down a thought on another page, glue a picture from a trip to Ireland to another page, and overlay a small painting on another page with a random paragraph written on wax paper. The idea was to create a feeling and a congruent concept throughout the sketchbook, using as many layers as we felt necessary.
This took forEVER...
When I went to the art supply store, I was already in love with the idea. I bought the biggest sketchbook that would fit in my backpack and I'm only halfway through it, three years later, because it's such a big investment of time and emotion.
I combine magazine clips with written word and my own painting.
I've used magazine clips, my paintbrush, stream of consciousness writing, sketches for bigger pieces, and other random contributions to document my last three years. Much like my diary entries, I cringe when I turn some of the pages, but I love the book as a whole.

I let my eye do the deciding and eventually, something is created.
African Dan
The whole project began because of Dan and the love of his mother and sister. Dan grew up as a compassionate person who empathized with the Africans who saw war, hunger, and corrupt government everyday of their lives.

Dan became the youngest photojournalist for Reuters at the age of twenty-two and documented the war-torn continent. His compassion and his job also brought him to his death, as he was stoned to death in Somalia in July 1993 by a mob reacting to the United Nations bombing raid on the suspected headquarters of General Mohammed Farah Aidid.
A view into Dan's book. (I do not own the rights to this)
Dan's mom and sister, Kathy and Amy, raise money and awareness for African causes through art promotion through their organization, Creative Visions. After Dan's death, Kathy and Amy pulled together Dan's seventeen visual diaries and created two bound compilation books, one of which I have.

Neither the organization's website nor Dan's book mention any specific Christian mission, but they do a lot of good for people in need.

Another page from Dan's book. (I do not own the rights to this)
The foundation is a "creative activist website" that provides "toolkits" to help anyone become a "change-maker" in one's own community. They hold conferences, seminars another ways of connecting artists, journalists, and creative activists for the betterment of the world.
One more page...(I do not own the rights to this)
Yes, some of their rhetoric smells of socialism, but helping people through this private, non-profit is a great venture.

A few years ago, I got so involved in politics and the drive behind it that I forgot about the best mission: living to help other people. I haven't finished deciding how I'm going to use my talents to accomplish this mission, but having Dan as an art role model is very telling of how much we can do on Earth after we've gone.

(My parents purchased Dan Eldon's book, The Journey is the Destination, and I took pictures of open pages, though I do not have the rights to any of them)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lisbon: bummer city

Well, thanks a lot, snow.

I could use this next week to display my fiction-writing skills. You'd be dazzled by stories about getting lost in the airport, about the first moment I see my good friends, about the millionaire I sat beside on the bus to Our Lady of Fatima. Yes, yes, this is the enormous rock he gave me for my left finger...

However, that would be lying and defeating the purpose of this blog.

My flights got pushed back because of the snow and after some time weighing my options, it made more sense to get a refund and miss out on my trip. The thirteen international friends I was going to meet in Lisbon are going to have a wonderful time and I'll pray for their safety!

Last night, before the flights got pushed into the snow bank, my sisters, cousin, mom, and I talked about heading to Europe this summer. I have a new goal set, but man am I bummed about this one.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fuselage habits

I have flown a lot in the last two years, so the quirks of traveling have become habit. I am not as mechanical as Clooney in Up in the Air, but I'm good at separating my liquids and slipping off my shoes.

A friend told me that he usually asks out a woman on his international flights, which I think is brave. I usually strike up a conversation, but airplanes always seem like temporary time machines to me. I get on the plane, sit for x hours and then get off, knowing I might bump into that lady in the restroom or that guy in the line for coffee. We'll probably never see each other again.

It reminds me of how many people on Earth I will never know.

The first time I flew to California from Virginia, I remember an irking feeling that someone had driven the fuselage (thanks, LOST, for bringing that into the vernacular) into a flight simulator, projecting cloud images into our windows, and pulled back out again. It was weird to think I was standing on ground that was connected to Virginia... just 3000 miles away.

This distance also highlights how many people who live between the coasts are people I will never meet. The idea that I might know someone for longer than the flight is so foreign to me that when my friend told me he asks out someone on his flights, it was as if he said, "Did you hear they found a new continent?"

My goal for this trip is to transcend that "otherness" feeling. I mentioned that I'm working on seeing men as bretheren. Similarly, I'm going to view fellow tourists as people and not objects peppering my view as I travel.

See also:
*Lisbon: bummer city

Lisbon, here I come!

My dad suggested we call it Elizbon while I'm there...

I fly off to this former world power port tonight and I return in a week! I'm going to attempt to let you know what's going on from there via the blog, but I don't want to assume I'll be able to find a computer or Internet easily.

Pray for me! I'm hoping to see the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima and I'll tell you all about it!

May God bless your week!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Psst, Mary is preggers..."

In anticipation of Christmas, the priest at my church delivered a homily about the pregnant Mother Mary a few weeks ago. He set up a scenario about this young teen, returning from the place where Gabriel announced to her that she would bear the Son of God:

She's in awe. She might not understand how it could be possible, but she recognizes the weight of the blessing in God's choice. This teen also knows that she is just a girl and she doesn't know how to explain it to her parents. There she was, walking along a path she had walked a hundred times before back to her home, but this time she was facing the risk of judgment, charges of adultery, and death.

How would we react if we met the real Mary with the real Jesus in her womb? What kind of judgment would we pass on her in the name of Christianity. "If she was a good person, she wouldn't be pregnant right now."

Obviously, I believe in and love the teachings of JP2's Theology of the Body. I don't think "Oh, it's fine" if someone chooses to have sex before marriage, but it doesn't help anything to treat them badly. Gossiping, trash talking, and passing judgment on pregnant women are not Christian acts, even if one is doing them as acts of standing by values of abstinence.

This is where I struggle with the shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. I don't watch it often, but when I saw it I constantly try to shake my first reaction of: what was going on in their heads?

The more pressing question is: what is going on in the heads of teens who watch the show? I don't have an answer to this question because sometimes the young moms tout an "I wish I'd waited" message and others tout an "I'm old enough to handle this" message.

These girls have to learn a lot of lessons really fast, while surrounded by judgmental looks. A lot of the teen dads on the show leave the picture and start sleeping with other girls. Zero consequences, few lessons learned. Each teen in the show is responsible for the pregnancies, but only the girls carry around the reminder for their schoolmates to see.

What is the difference between women who are 5 months pregnant and not-pregnant men or women who had sex 5 months ago? Evidence. We can see the reason we should be "allowed" to judge.

Mary's parents were disappointed. The most logical reason she would be pregnant was that she had sex with a man. Before the angel came to Joseph in a dream, the only explanation he could entertain was that Mary had sex with another man. The other Nazarenes would jump to that conclusion, as well.

We can never know everything about another person. The simplest strategy should be to love everyone. This kind of love is an action, not a passive emotion.

Don't throw the first stone. Imagine everyone for whom you're aiming is either Mary or Jesus, two innocents who faced judgment and accusations.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Emil Daddy

Thanks for your patience. I've noticed some people coming directly to the site, but realize I haven't updated in almost a week. It's been a fast, fast week...

My only grandfather passed away on Wednesday, early morning and we laid him to rest today. About two weeks ago, we checked him into the ER for pneumonia symptoms and found out he had lung cancer that had metastasized to his liver on the side that was paralyzed from his stroke a year ago.

My theory is that the paralyzed side hid a lot of the pain that he would have felt in what turned out to be late stages of cancer. PLUS he was a stubborn man who felt no pain, emotional or physical. You might think Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer are tough, but that's because you never met Emil Daddy.

We called him Emil Daddy because he was a strapping, young 54-year-old when his eldest grandchild (ME!) was born -- he didn't want to feel old and he liked doing things his own way, so it was "Emil Daddy."

If you're as impeccably observant as my grandfather was, you've already noticed that his name is the backwards version of a tart, green citrus fruit. He came to EVERY Grandparents' Day at each of his five grandchildren's schools, bringing with him a bag of limes as a visual teaching tool.

"You'll always remember how to spell it because it's lime, L-I-M-E, spelled backwards," he said to a crowd of open mouthed elementary school kids sitting Indian style on the rug.

He was always a big hit and my sister says she has a friend who asked her last year, "You're the one with the grandfather with the limes, right?"

My Emil Daddy lost his young wife when my mom and her sister were 2 and 3-years-old. I was talking to a friend and cousin the day he died and she exclaimed about how she didn't know any man who is ready to get married at the age he was on his wedding day, let alone who is able to raise two girls. Those girls grew into extremely successful women with college degrees, a nursing degree for one and an engineering masters degree for the other, and kicking families, if I do say so myself.

Throughout all of Emil Daddy's own book of Job, he remained steadfast in the Lord. It was really something to admire. His faith was consistent and strong, even when it would have been easier to get mad and give up.

In his daily life, Emil Daddy was extremely organized. I cannot begin to explain just what I mean by "extremely" because you have never met someone so efficient and particular. He saved every used peanut butter jar to store something, he separated black pens, blue pens, and red pens, he rewrote the user manuals for his computer in notebooks, cross-referencing them in other notebooks (using color coordination), so he would absolutely know where to go when he had a question.
I'm on the left. Chubby little hand, huh?
I could write for hours about the little quirks and memories I have of this stoic yet sacrificing and giving man. In fact, I'm working on a novel that will explain the love story between Emil Daddy and his wife, Thelma. Sneak preview: we have a few pages of 12-year-old Emil handwriting explaining how he was in love with a girl in his class, Thelma, and how he wanted to marry her. It only took ten years, I guess.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing me into the world under the care of my grandfather, Emil. I will continue to learn from the imprint he left on my life.

Thank you for your prayers and your time in reading this. God bless you all and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I know what I like

There is a distinct difference between "good art" and art. Conveniently, the literary and art world has set up an elite system to figure out the difference. On many occasions I buy into this system because I really think "good art" sustains itself over generations.

However, if you can enjoy the same books and movies dozens of times without getting sick of them, you've stumbled upon your own definition of good art. That's nothing to be ashamed of! Below is my no holds barred list of books I have read at least 5 times and movies of which I will never get tired. If I wanted to impress you, I'd share classic literature titles and indie movies..... It's good to know what you like, isn't it?

Books:

*Ella Enchanted - Haven't heard of it? That's because it's written for 5th grade girls. I haven't read it in several years, but I was at least 16 the last time I read this. Good, romantic, fantasy stories never get old.

*Pride and Prejudice - Yes, I'm a girl. Sue me.

From the Screwtape Letters play I saw in NYC!
*Persuasion - This is my favorite Austen novel because it shows how long love lasts when you don't abandon it.

*The Screwtape Letters - A new lesson learned each time I read it. If you haven't read this, what's wrong with you? Go to get it!

*The Bible -- I've heard this several times... but I have never read it from cover to cover in one fell swoop.

*Any Little House on the Prairie book - These are stories about the richest people on Earth. Often it seems like it would be easier to live like good people if we had as little and if life was as hard as it was for this family. It's all relative, so we should make just as much effort and be just as loving as the Ingalls.

*The Lord of the Flies - We all turn on Simon every once in a while, just as we turn on the Holy Trinity. It's helpful to remind ourselves about darkness, too.

P.S. - I just found this site called Catholic Fiction: jackpot!

Movies: 

*"Indian Summer" - Chances are you haven't heard of this, but it's a great movie (with shaky morality) about our childhood expectations for adulthood. When we reach adulthood, those expectations can haunt us or motivate us. Oh! And it takes place in Canada. Win-win.

*"Sound of Music" - Doe, a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of golden suuuuuuuuuuun!

*"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" - AKA, 7b47b. What's not to love about a group of rugged, singing, dancing brothers in Oregon Territory, 19th century?

*"Meet Me in St. Louis" - I already mentioned this once.

*"Calendar Girls" - Anglophile here, so this movie gives me the right dose of British accents and English countryside. It's also an interesting story about a bunch of moms who take their clothes off to buy a couch, so it's a crowd pleaser.

*"What Dreams May Come" - Beautiful images in a beautiful story. Who cares if it's accurate or not? It makes me bawl every time I watch it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 8

Click here to read the original post at ConversionDiary.com


*1*
Thank you all for bearing with me on the whiny and woe is me posts. I beg of you to pray for my family again, especially for my grandfather. He is not in good shape, so if you could pray for his peace with the Holy Trinity, I would appreciate it.


*2*
From Flickr, Stlyouth
I listened to Patrick Madrid's Open Line radio show this week! One caller asked why we ask non-Catholics not to receive the Eucharist at Catholic Mass.


I have always wondered; I know Protestants see the consecrated host as a symbol, even though they're standing in a room full of Catholics who know it to have gone through transubstantiation. If they're going to think it's a symbol anyway, then they've missed the point to begin with. Mr. Madrid, as he has on so many occasions before, answered my question: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34.


"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself." -1 Corinthians 27-19


*3*
This is cheating, but I'm tagging back to an earlier post I had this week about boys and girls. It goes out to teenage and college aged students, especially.


*4*
My work had its office "Holiday Open House" this week, which was a lot of fun! I haven't gotten to see my co-workers in months (virtual office), so it was wonderful to see them again! It reminded me how fortunate I am work with such good, fun, honest people. I have the best boss in the world and a super support system of co-workers.


Prayers go out to one co-worker who is moving on to do mission work! See, I told you I work with good people.


*5*
Visit Billy Atwell's site for an interesting look at conspiracy theories about the Catholic Church and his hope for a new movie coming out, "The Rite." This is one impressive Catholic blogger and speaker. If you're wavering in your faith or you can appreciate a good testimony, he has some videos posted here.


*6*
Last week I said I wanted to see a concert soon and tomorrow I make that dream come true! If anyone is in RVA, Carbon Leaf is playing at the National. Those of you who are not Richmonders, check them out. They are irishy, rocky, and folky.

*7*
We are quickly approaching the darkest day of the year. This means we're quickly approaching the time of the year when the days get longer and longer. One cannot notice the light without the darkness. I'll expand on that next week, but here's a preview: "Thanks to the human heart by which we live,/Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,/To me the meanest flower that blows can give/Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."







Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Boys and girls

Boys are not stressful and they are not stupid.

Reviewing the Theology of the Body as I teach the teens at my church reminds me of this. Another beautiful result of the third wave of feminism <<sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm>> is the trend of disliking men for being male.

Take your pick of any jaded female Facebook status, the evidence is abundant.

I'm guilty of a little hate speech soiling our brothers here and there, but it has been a while. I have a longer history of stressing out about "boys" and wondering if they liked me romantically or not. Oh the time I have wasted...

Ladies, think about how much time and energy you've spent analyzing something a guy has said or not said. We get all worked up, as if guys imply or hide anywhere NEAR as much in their speech as we do, and when it doesn't work out: we get to spit all over their good name.

Sounds like a good deal, right?

I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize this. Until several months ago, I thought I needed to know what the men in my life were thinking. Pick a side, I thought. Pick a side, friend or more than friend, and go with it.

God only knows how many friendships I spoiled with that approach. I'm finally at peace and trusting God. Where the words "let go and let God" would make me angry and confuse me, now I can sincerely let go.

Attention young ladies: take a break from guys for a little while. Allow yourself some time to come to see them as brothers in Christ or potential brothers in Christ.

Being friends with them is so much easier then stressing about what they're thinking -- and, if you ask me, being friends with them is easier than being friends with most women.

Aim for God, as explained in the diagram here, and He'll bring you closer to whom He's chosen for you. You may already know him! In the meantime you can get to know Him and all the hims without angst-dripping Facebook statuses.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Diary

When I was in 6th grade and having a particularly rough, middle-school-is-the-first-taste-of-hell moment, my mom suggested I start writing in a diary. "Oh mom, what do you know? Well, I do have some spare time..." The habit stuck and I'm in my 13th year of diary divulging.

Buying a new diary is a ritual. It should look like the beholder in that stage of life -- the last one I bought was understated, painted leather, and two inches thick because I thought it could be filled with stories about meeting my husband and my first months of motherhood. That was important to me, therefore it's consistent with my needs for the diary.

Unexamined self-talk is vulnerable to worldliness and I think everyone should pour thoughts onto paper. My diaries are filled with milestones...though I cringe at virtually every teenage, twenty-year-old, and "last-week-ago" thought I've written.

Diary writing became such a big pillar in my life that I built my one and only art show around it.
Two autumns ago, I painted four main pieces and picked out a dozen pages from diaries dating back to 11-year-old me, lining the pages atop the paintings on the wall. In each of the works and on each diary page I painted some version of a black area, a consistency that represents a vehicle between all of them.
My objective was to illustrate the concept of memories and how they adapt to our lives

One lady told me that this was a pro-choice painting... news to me...
I wrote excerpts from diaries around this head thing.
When you recall memories that you've thought about before, you're looking through two lenses:
1) All of the experiences since you were younger shift your perspective on everything, including past memories. 2) Remembering a memory is an imperfect task to undertake anyway and acknowledging that opens another pocket for learning about yourself. 

For example, I remember my second birthday and that my cake had no candles on it. Remembering how my parents scrambled to find candles for their eldest child's second birthday cake is more important to me now than it was at six-years-old. At six, I was more concerned with the color of my dress. 

If God wills it, I'm closer to being the parent of a 2-year-old than I am to being a 2-year-old. Six-year-old me liked pretty dresses, simple as that.

I added more diary excerpts underneath and around the tree branches.

If you try to read this, please recognize that I was probably 18 and "artsy fartsy" for artsy fartsy's sake when I wrote it. *Groan*
Reading over the diaries to pick entries was painful and posting them up on walls for others to read them was even more painful. But that was part of the point. We are the sums of our experiences and the product of our equipment for absorbing them. By sharing my impression of this concept with others, I placed a marker in my memory and in the memory of everyone who looked at my show (and now, you). 

This memory "marker" may or may not pop up again in your life, but all seemingly inconsequential moments add up. In a few minutes, days, or years you may think back on any memory with a new perspective. 

The new perspective will meet with the old perspective and the difference will give you even more to think about. 

"I was once incapable of seeing a man as a brother in Christ first, instead of a potential mate. Thank You, God, for constantly de-clouding my vision of that. In a few years, I'll see more results from that."

Or

"Wow, 17-year-old me actually wrote the words, 'I have everything figured out.' Joke is on her... and now the joke is on me."

Or
"I use the word 'I' too much."

There will be more memory collisions in my future. I look forward to them, as embarrassing as they will be.

Friday, December 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 7

Click here to read the original post at ConversionDiary.com

*1* 
Hello, my name is Elizabeth and I'm a former "feminist."

Hi, Elizabeth.

The women who hoist the 1970s version of feminism onto their shoulders would be offended by me and my mind right now.

On the subject of wifely submission, I have always touted the position of, "Heck no I will not submit! Submission means you agree you're lowly and less than!" As I grow closer to what I believe God is calling me, marriage, I see how small minded this is. This post by "Barefoot and Pregnant" does an outstanding job of explaining the dichotomy. Read to the end, it's worth it.

*2*
Speaking of husband and wife, there is a really cool diagram in this post, as well as an explanation of the most pure moment of sexual desire in the history of time. Intriguing?

*3*
As Wednesday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we sang Salve Regina. My friend elbowed me and immediately, we thought the same thing; we wanted to sing this version:




Restraining and preventing myself from singing that version was like holding in a sneeze.

*4*
PC people hate on/are jealous of Apple people, the world over. I have one friend in my life, in particular, who thinks PCs are better than Macs.  

Rather than explaining the illogicality behind that (and becoming a complete hypocrite), I will share with you this shirt I found on shirt.woot.com. Please check out that site, if only for the genius of the copywriter.




*5*
Prayers and an impressed pat-on-the back go out to the woman who brought Theology of the Body to my church. She's a military wife, so her family has moved around the country for the last 15+ years and has dealt with the separation of long deployments. 

This woman has raised two wonderful daughters who break the mold for what a teenager "should be" in this era. One of them is old enough to be in TOB class--the fact that she chooses to come to class and doesn't complain is jaw-dropping. But this girl wants to be there and she wants to learn what we have to teach. On top of that, she wants to make us feel comfortable and appreciated, though attendance tends to be low.

I had the pleasure of spending some time in her home last week when we were working on lesson plans. I look forward to the challenge and I pray that God guides me (and that I listen) as well as she has to raise the beautiful, grounded, and God-directed family I am fortunate to know.

*6*
It has been way too long since I've gone to a concert I actually wanted to go to... I want to fill my quota for good, live music very soon. 

*7*

Ladies and gentlemen--maybe this is the first time you've read this or maybe this is the gagillionth time you've read this, but it is such an important mission to remember:

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her." -Maya Angelou

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Theology of the Body, Week 3

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

No, the humor is not lost on me. Non-Catholics may say: You taught a group of teens about not having sex on the day you celebrate the holiest sex ever. But Theology of the Body is 100x deeper than "not having sex" and the Immaculate Conception was much more than holy love-making.

It will take the entire TOB series to cover the depth and completeness of the Theology of the Body, so that's why I'm reporting our goings on here!

Nakedness without Shame

In the beginning, when Adam saw Eve, he experienced the most pure form of sexual desire ever felt. They had not eaten of the fruit of knowledge, so they were "naked without shame." If you can imagine this: shame and embarrassment didn't even exist because there was perfect Love. When Adam saw Eve's body (and vice versa), he saw and experienced his call to love her.

The first parents had no need to cover themselves because there was no fear of being seen as an object to be used.

Unlike today. Thank you, Britney Spears.

Pope John Paul II referred to this call to make a gift of themselves to each other the nuptial meaning of the body. In the physical design of their bodies, Adam and Eve saw that their bodies literally fit together and they saw that their Maker had created them for a sacred communion. They were gifts for one another and in being so, they were able to mirror God in a sacred, albeit relatively small, way.

In the second chapter of Genesis, we read:

"Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh...the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed." -Genesis 2:24-5

Marriage brings us as close to the original "nakedness without shame" as we can reach in any other capacity. Sex in the City would have you believe that having sex with as many people as possible removes your shame and makes you more comfortable with your body in that situation. Those ladies certainly act like they have no shame, as our colloquialisms would have us define, but they are corrupting the original purpose for making love.

As the first married people on Earth, Adam and Eve were able to love as God loves:
*Free- God's Love is given freely to us.
*Total- God's Love is complete and He gives all of Himself to us, withholding nothing.
*Faithful- God never abandons us and never stops loving us.
*Fruitful- God's love brings us life. Jesus died for us so that we could have new life. (Theology of the Body for Teens, pg 42)

A friend and co-teacher shared with us this triangle diagram -->

As a man and a woman work toward God, they're also getting closer to each other. If we seek God, we will also grow closer to each other, with the Love that growing close to God fosters. I love this visual because it is a superb reminder.

So, when Adam and Eve first recognized the God in one another, they were already toward the top of the pyramid. Later came the Fall. Adam and Eve allowed the serpent to tempt them into questioning the gift, as Pope John Paul II called it.

To exemplify that "questioning of the gift," we showed this clip (it won't let me embed it) from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

We don't have to wait until the next retreat to transcend worldly things and feel God's presence. Every time we review something in TOB or see something in our day that reminds me how great God is through the teachings of TOB, we can feel that overwhelming presence. Praise God!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I love 1st graders! Week 11

I'm going to miss those little goofballs! Today was the last class until late January and it is Bummer City in my heart.

On many occasions I have thought, "Wow, I really love this!" and "Teaching is fun, I love trying to find a balance between discipline and entertainment" (while teaching... okay you caught me). However, tonight revealed the most overwhelming feeling of deep-rooted Love for each of these precious little people.

The hang up is: I don't know how much I'm allowed to show. The training they make religious ed teachers undergo paralyzes me a little--thanks, lawyers. My twin snuggled up next to me while we were sitting and it was all I could do not to put my arm around her for a little side-hug. I want to show each of them how much I'm growing to Love them, and, you know, try to share Jesus' Love, but I feel like I can't.

Next time, I'm going to keep the motto I've tried to tattoo to my heart: Love always. As long as we're all together as a class, I can adore these little chillins all I want!

Jesse Tree

Tonight we joined the other classes to celebrate the Jesse Tree prayer service for the kiddies. That meant a squall of elementary schoolers attempting to sing a song I sang when I was in their shoes, about 17 years ago... a lot of high pitched mumbling to the tune of The 12 days of Christmas.

That also means: party time! We asked them to bring in a treat to share (this is a test for moms and dads more than it is for our students...) and we brought gifts!

My lovely teacher friend brought in gold ornaments that she decorated to give them along with these cards (pictured at right). It is rotten quality because I used Photobooth to snatch a picture of it when I was in weird lighting. They enjoyed the gifts!

Parents: I'm really sorry for the amount of sugar in their bloodstream when you picked up your little darlings. I hope you only heard 5 or 6 verses of the song we sang before they fell asleep.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ennui-versary

Happy one year ennui-versary to you, family! It is the end of a year of crappy situations and pretty tragic events, to which I alluded in my All Souls' Day post.

We "joke" that my uncle kicked it off when he fell off his bike, suffering a severe head injury. For a few days there, we thought he wasn't going to be living on his own, but the day after the priest game him the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, he made a complete recovery. It took a few months before the doctors cleared him for driving... driving! One day he was on the road to life in bed and the other he was asking to drive. Praise God!

My mom tore both of her hamstrings, suspending her tennis career until six months after the surgery... her amateur tennis league. Not tragic, but she was very torn up about it (weird, overly anatomical joke? Yup, thanks for playing).

Next: my two sisters got in two separate car accidents. My baby sister walked away unharmed, yet shaken after being T-boned. The mid-kid and the car she was in flipped completely over. Christine, the mid-kid, walked away from her accident too. Her souvenirs? A bruise on the top of her head where the car bounced on the ground and a back injury that still plagues her. God is good!

Two days after Christine's accident, my grandfather (Emil Daddy) had a heart valve replaced. He went to Thanksgiving with us and had an extraordinary start of a recovery. Exactly two weeks after Emil Daddy's surgery, we got a call: "It appears Emil Daddy had a small stroke." My 77-year-old grandfather has been learning to talk, walk, and use his right arm again for the last twelve months. His mind is sharp as an ax, he just can't communicate or get around as easily as the rest of us.

This alone has taught me to value every over-share, every long-winded story, and every seemingly superfluous sentence.

Two days after Emil Daddy's stroke, my gramma (other side) lost her apartment in a fire. She came to live with us and fell in the middle of the night twice, breaking her arm once.

Emil Daddy's best friend died suddenly while he was in the hospital. His sister, who lives in California, died while my grandfather was in a rehab facility. The stroke weakened Emil Daddy's swallowing muscles, leaving him with a high risk of pneumonia. In April, he actually got so sick that he almost died in the hospital. Finally, after having surgery on her broken arm, my great aunt passed away suddenly two Sundays ago.

Each little life rock slide challenged my family and by the grace of God we learned to tie our happiness to Jesus Christ. All of us grew closer together as we grew closer to God.

Though Christine is in chronic pain (and the busiest human being on Earth), she always makes every effort to love people around her. Emil Daddy, who raised two daughters on his own, learned to let people take care of him. The rest of us are learning how to be patient and love others. We could be tempted to use this stress as an excuse to mistreat others, but we're all working to do the opposite.

I suppose this makes this week an anti-ennui-versary.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 6


I'm no Gleek, but Finn is my new "celebrity" crush (Finn's character, I know nothing about the actor). He's such a nice guy, I love his voice (of course), and I ... really applaud God's work with that kid. Typical me: he's Canadian. I should have known because he reminds me of Gilbert Blythe, my literary crush.

I haven't raved much about Canada on this blog, but it's a joke in my family: Oh Canada, you put a spell on me.

*2*

We needed a movie with a good message:

A Walk In My Shoes - 2:33 TRLR from Moms4FamilyTV.com on Vimeo.

*3*

You may have noticed that I added a new blog to my roll over there: From Punk to Monk is a blog written by "Homeboy McCoy," a self-proclaimed former "punk." He was in the fast lane as a musician and heard God's call to become a monk. He has a great voice (I have it on good authority that he has an MFA in creative writing) and some powerful insight.

Help a brother out...

*4*
Warning: Shameless self-promotion below (that's not true, I'm feeling plenty of shame for this):

I have another site and it features my jewelry business. As soon as I lasso some time, I will make some winter-friendly jewelry, but there are plenty of pieces on there.

My friends and family make fun of me because "Elizabeth changes her mind at least once a week" (as my cousin said Wednesday night). Jewelry making (not so much jewelry wearing, actually), drawing, painting, writing, reading, swimming, kids, God, Catholicism, and more -- I have a lot of passions. I can't help it.

*5*
As I mentioned last week, my class reunited at our 5-year high school reunion on Saturday. I loved seeing my former classmates and I had a great night out! We hopped around to a few bars, though I only planned on going to the first.

Let's just say I wasn't missing anything by not knowing the boys at the guy's school... I'm sure some of them are very nice and good guys (I met several), but overall... I wasn't missing much.

*6*
I am a terrible test-taker. I have always been a terrible test-taker. I will not go into my list of reasons why tests are terrible ways to measure aptitude. Last night, I took the GRE in preparation for applying for grad school... ouch.

I scored significantly higher on the math section. And yes, you remember correctly. I'm applying to ENGLISH graduate programs.

Some of the math questions gave the option to say, "Hey! There isn't enough info here to determine this!"

I wish the verbal section had that option. "Hey! I read a lot, but apparently never came across this word in my 2 decades of literacy. Give me a break, huh?"

*7*
I'm going to be a bridesmaid! You know that old "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" bit? Not me. I have been excited about being a bridesmaid forever. Yes, there is some responsibility and there will be some challenges to juggle, but I'm light on my feet and quick to solve problems. I'm so honored that my friend chose me to be with her up there on a big catalytic day in her life!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Arranged"

Netflix, with the help of my Wii, brought me to a cute little movie the other night. Arranged takes place in Brooklyn where two teachers of orthodox faiths, one Muslim, one Jewish, find friendship sparked by a mutual tradition in their faiths: arranged marriages.

The movie probably cost a buck and a song to make. It is not going to excite you or wake up your action-movie-core, but these quiet movies are helpful in slowing down the pace of our lives.



I really do understand the purpose behind arranged marriages and I respect them, in a way. No, this does not make me weird.

They are more statistically successful than whatever process is going into half of the marriages in America, which are failing. This is likely due to the respect for the commitment to marriage and to honoring God in that marriage, a common goal in Islam and Judaism.

Several religions practice arranged marriages and not all of them end up peachy keen -- consider that acknowledged.

In several jabs throughout the movie, the principal of the school ignorantly attempts to show Rochel Meshenberg and Nasira Khaldi how much their religion offends womanhood, according to her. "There was a women's movement, you know?"

The writer and director tastefully sprinkled blatant examples of ignorance, planted in fear and overgrown into intolerance. The principal thinks she's teaching the girls about how intolerant their religion is for female choices and that they should want to remove themselves from those chains immediately. Her arrogance and ignorance shield her from seeing just how intolerant she is.

This is a charming movie, one that I recommend for its obvious respect of devout religious lifestyles and for its unapologetic mirror for intolerance. The two women spend their lives practicing true love and devout faith, though their world surrounds them with reasons to abandon that.

After watching this movie, I am grateful for Netflix, I am grateful that I will not attempt to find true love under the hawk eyes of my Jewish mother, and I'm grateful there is a non-Christian movie that still touts a Christian message of Love.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I love 1st graders! Week 10

There are as many paths to the Catholic faith as there are Catholics. There are converts (shout out to Kassie at Secret Vatican Spy who will join at the Eucharistic table this Easter!), cradle Catholics (here's to Rebecca at Modestia!), "reverts," and double/triple/etc. reverted reverts. We love and welcome you all (and non-Catholics, no hatin' here).

One thing is for sure: to be a Catholic, you must have sturdy knees.

This week I ... abandoned my co-teacher. Don't fret, I checked with her first and she said everything went fine, though it was a full house of kidos. The University of Virginia's Catholic Student Ministry hosts a praise and worship once a month entitled Ignite.242. Last night was the final Ignite.242 of the semester and a friend of mine was the guest speaker.

My friend used the word "given" as a spring board for the talk, following up on previous talks covering "chosen," "blessed," and "broken." These four words are the key chapter titles in Fr. Henri Nouwen's book, The Life of the Beloved (one I will have to go buy).

He explained how even those who are materialistically poor or poor in health can develop a strong and healthy community, inciting joy.

In the last year he spent time in Mexico and Haiti, building, teaching, and helping where needed, while exposing himself to some of the most needy, yet joyful people he's known. He said some of the orphans in Haiti had just lost their parents, but they showed great love and sought attention from him and his mission buddies. A woman in Mexico, who cannot afford any kind of material comfort or luxury, somehow managed to make cookies for the missionaries and walked the miles to deliver them.

The sense of community was a source of true wealth and it does not have to be isolated to those in dire situations. You are my brother. You are my sister. We are a community, we need only to act like one. Working to please ourselves and achieve success for ourselves alone will not only leave us unfulfilled, but it will prevent us from creating our community.

He elaborated, reviewing a lesson I will never hear too many times: imagine how good you feel when someone smiles at you on the street. Think about how much of a relief it is to start up a random, friendly conversation with someone when your day was spinning down into the dark. Haven't you seen how fulfilling it is to be the one to smile at someone on the street or to act friendly toward a stranger? You are my brothers and my sisters, I want to act that way.
I do not own this picture.

Sing sing sing ... my friend spoke ... sing sing ... and then a priest walked in with a consecrated host in the monstrance, aka Jesus joined us in the flesh. There is always such a rush when you first see this during adoration, I love it. The rush blocked out the thought, "What's the plan? How long will this be?"

I promise this was not out of impatience, some adorations are longer than others. We're back to the tip about having good knees... let's just say it was quite a while. My stubbornness and pride got in the way, so I wound up kneeling at a perfect right angle, on the naked floor for ... a long time. Serves me right.

During one of the knee-numbing cycles, I recalled something my friend said in his talk. He shared with us the example of his parents who show him the devotion and commitment of real, true love everyday. His mother is ill with chronic pain, yet he said his dad shows heroic patience and love for his wife a several decades. His dad is an inspiration of what true love looks like in his own life.

God came to Earth and joined us in flesh. As God and man He allowed Himself to become arrested, beaten, scourged, embarrassed, and hung on a cross, all so that we might spend eternity with Him. God is Love.

Like I said, I will always welcome a refresher of this truth. Even if it costs me my knees.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The BBC has no faith in us

Many of you have seen this BBC list of 100 greatest novels on Facebook. Apparently, the BBC thinks most people have read only 6 of these 100 books. Show those limeys what's what. If you've read more than 6, shout out. If you haven't... read a few of them. Many of them aren't very long (Great Gatsby: love, obsession, murder, parties, all under God's watchful eyes).

You'll notice I didn't go through and show which ones I've read because I have an unfair advantage over science and econ majors.

Groan if you want to, but I'm actually disappointed that I have read only 32 with all the time I spent in English lit classes. I've gotta get crackin'!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 White Fang/The Call of the Wild - Jack London
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, November 27, 2010

High school reunion

It's my teenage vow of self-preservation: I try never to say the words, "I feel old." I hope future me appreciates this, but I'm sure I've embarrassed her some other way.

Today I will dress up, put on make-up, pick up an old friend, and head out to a bar for my 5-year high school reunion. Part of me cannot believe that it has been 5 years since I donned the white cap and gown. The other part knows that I have been at least ten versions of myself since graduation and this is more likely to be a introduction to a group of people I don't know and who don't know me.

Half of that is very accurate. I know all of the girls from my class, as I graduated from an all-girls class of 76 girls, but I only knew 4 or 5 of the guys at the neighboring brother school.

It's a little nerve-frying, as I'm supposed to know everyone in the room, but I'm determined that it will be fun. I love my city, another thing that has changed since high school, and I'm excited to meet and reconnect with Richmond residents who are my age.

Friday, November 26, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 5

Click here to read the original post at ConversionDiary.com


*1*

I've received a lot of support from friends and even from people who don't know me this week after the sudden loss of my family member. I am very blessed.

*2*

Just like many out there, this was a busy week, so this will be a very short Friday post. We were surprised on Sunday with the passing of my great aunt. Her faith was so strong and unshakable, I hope to honor it and emulate it for the rest of my life.

*3*

Jesus was a saint, sort of.

*4*
They looked a lot like this. How generous!
My wonderful boss was kind and thoughtful enough to send a beautiful arrangement of flowers to a man he doesn't know from Adam, my recently widowed great uncle. He is the best boss a person could hope for, as seen through this simple but enormous gesture. God bless him.

*5*

I am really grateful I don't like pie. Thanksgiving comes around and my picky eating habits save me from a lot of pain and belt buckle loosening. Believe me, I certainly ate enough, but I could have gained 20 pounds today if I was a less picky eater.

*6*

After I finish this, I'm going to finish my personal statement for grad school. If I can brush my shoulders off (I am never going to let go of that phrase): I think it's going to wow them. It sums up with an ode to Wordsworth's "Ode" (my favorite), comparing the sentiment of working toward God in this life to working toward the reachable depth of knowledge through the study and discussion of literature. Booya (again, this is staying with me).

*7*

You should see how many little scraps of paper I have next to me right now. I'm a scraps-o-paper jotter-downer (I love the English language) and I am sitting next to a whole pile full of ideas for future posts. This week has been quite an interruption and a time for love and familial support. I will hop back on the efficiency train soon, but for now, I'm spending some time with my family, my prayers, and the Holy Trinity. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

JML (love)

On Sunday the world lost a wonderful woman and my great aunt. It was an extreme surprise and this week has been a real trial for her family. Below is the eulogy I gave for this woman who was so filled with Christ's love that I can only hope I honored. For those who have never heard the Richmond accent, "Hello there" is pronounced <<Hello, they-yah>> and she was famous for it. 

Hello they-yah.
One of the most consistent memories I have of Joan Marie was that she was always very well put together. She always had a fun jacket or sweater, perfectly matched shoes, and a fresh face of make-up. I remember that every time I hugged her, I felt a little foundation rub off onto my cheek. Now, I think I was in 6th grade when I finally grew taller than her, so it was the little ritual I will always remember: first, she’d say “Hello they-yah Elizabuth,” Second, bend down, but not until the last second, so as not to look like I was about to hug a 10 year old. Third, accept the warm kiss on my cheek and feel the slick spot of foundation on my cheekbone. Just like I could feel that little spot on my cheek, we all feel the direct and indirect “rub offs” that Joan left on each of us.

Joan Marie and the house she decorated WERE CHRISTMAS. She used to tickle my dad into submission. Laura and Chris always mentioned each time they received a gift, which was always perfectly wrapped, on time, and ideal for that person, it would most likely be green. My freshman year of college, she IM'd me. My 65 year old Great Aunt IM'd me! I’m sure Michael Jr will testify that she was the coolest Mimi around and he’ll get to tell his new cousins all about her.

Joan lived the faith and didn’t ask for credit. Obviously Matthew 6 was stamped right on her heart. She probably dropped off meals at peoples’ houses who, to this day, do not know from whom they came.

This philosophy spilled over, in abundance, to her life with Saint Gertrude High School. I never knew how involved in Saint Gertrude she was until I was pleasantly surprised to run into her at a class correspondents’ meeting earlier this fall. Gerties love their committees, I think I sit on 3 of them and I’m sure she sat on 30 or more since she graduated. There she was at her alma mater for what was likely her 1000th meeting to discuss Alumnae relations, chatting up some ladies from her Gertie era. She was the popular kid!

When I offered to talk about Joan, Johnny asked me not to be too soupy. So let me see: ham biscuits, broccoli casserole, corn pudding, Peecahn PAHI.

Let’s just agree, the essence of Joan Marie is: Joy. And it’s our job to keep that joy going.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I love 1st graders! Week 9

"Is Jesus a saint?"

I asked my first graders this when we were learning about the community of saints.

"Yes, no, maybe so?" was the response.

Go ahead and form your own answer. G'head.

Later that night I posed the same question to a group of friends and my wise friend said that yes, He is. The definition of a saint is someone who is in heaven... this we know of Jesus. This means Jesus is a part of the community of saints and he is above the community of saints, as God. 100% man, 100% God.

I have to be honest, I didn't think of this. I like to think it's because I was trying to translate the messages into 6-year-oldese, but he's exactly right. It's another wonderful relationship we have with God and I am grateful for it!

I told the first graders that He wasn't a saint as a segue into a review of the Holy Trinity. They made me proud: "Father, son and Holy Trinity, I mean Holy Speereet."

We both come to some new clarity today: I realized I have another connection to Christ and they remembered some details about the Holy 3-in-1. Yay for learning!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gak me.

God knows what He's doing.... and He didn't call me to FOCUS. That was the elusive opportunity that I was referring to in the last few weeks. I was really excited by the idea of ministering and evangelizing (this is such a scary word. I really consider it "talking" to people about things that we're passionate about. I happen to be passionate about Christ) on a college campus somewhere in the U.S.

But like I said, He knows what He's doing and those weeks between applying for FOCUS and waiting to hear back woke me up. They suspended me in my plan, which, as my dear friends and family can tell you, changes A LOT.

Testify.

I miss school. SCHOOL: writing papers, getting in academic discussions/debates, reading, pulling all-nighters. I miss learning from professors who have made knowledge their life. My shape-shifting plan over the last few years has gone from pursuing a masters in English lit, a masters in physical therapy, an MBA, a masters in creative writing, a masters in arts management, and probably about a dozen striations in other directions.
(I don't own the rights)

My plans are like Gak: it looks like it could dry into a cement you could walk on, but then you squish your finger into it. EWWWWWWWWWWW hehehehehe. Nope, there she goes again.

Two years ago I steered away from the plan of getting a humanities graduate degree because I figured I need to think about practicality. Also, I wasn't confident in my potential as a professor. Working with TOB teens (all 5 of them!) and my first graders has been some of the most fun I've had this fall. And college students are basically really tall 6-year-olds, right?

Many, many topics grab my attention and passion; I hate having to choose.

I'm working my way down this post, trying to decide if I want to conclude with "so I'm going to get a X degree!" Nope, I still can't decide. I'm going to stick with a list and I'm sorry that I've used you to get my ideas out in this platform.

*Master of Arts in English Lit
*Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
*Dual MA/MFA degree
*PhD in English Lit
*Change my mind once more

Friday, November 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, Volume 4

Click here to read the original post at ConversionDiary.com
*1*

See if you can guess my pattern here.

*2*

Here we go, once again... Just as the leaves took forever to turn rusty colors... my inevitable autumn sickness took forever to turn its ugly head. I don't want to siphon all the blame onto my 1st graders...but they are probably the Mary to my Typhoid. Watch out people, the stomach flu is out there and it is kicking and screaming all the way home.

*3*

Home handcuffed me to the sick bed and I managed to keep that stomach flu to myself! No one in my family got sick, which is a true miracle. You know who you are and I love you, but some people in my family pick up more colds and flus than mess around the house.... I guess I could be pointing that at all members of my lovely family. Family, forgive me for this.

*4*

This is the weekend. I am going to conquer this digital stack of graduate school applications and I'm going to conquer it good. Call me Joan of Arc, my weapon is my keyboard.

*5*

Keyboard (more likely a piano), guitar, drums, base, and a beautiful voice. Those are the weapons of choice for many a talented musician. I am in awe of anyone with musical talent, but one of my favorite Christian musicians is Phil Wickham. Tis the season and this wonderful man just released his Christmas CD! This is a CHRISTmas CD, so check it out! It's almost Christmas!!

*6*

Christmas movies are really failing us. How many new Christmas movies, versus "holiday" movies, have you seen lately? This is one of those typical complaints that is easy to make and easy to get people to agree with, but why can't we come up with another movie that makes us feel the way It's a Wonderful Life makes us feel? How hard can that be?

*7*

Be merry and full of turkey, mashtayders, caohrn, peeaz, cRANburry sawce, rolls, ham biskuhts (if you're lucky enough to be from Virginia), pAAHHHHH, and family in one week!

(Did you catch the pattern?)
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