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I haven’t written in a long time….I find journals are a lot more fun when the person writes a lot of meaningless stuff, not the person who writes once in a blue moon to give you an overview of things. So I’ll try to refrain from sounding like a report.

Everyone’s heard the news now: Jackie’s engaged!!! After the initial excitement, I started thinking selfishly and pondering over what this means for my living situation. If someone wants a roommate, I’m free! I don’t think I’d want to live by myself, though lots of people have been mentioning how AWESOME living on your own is. I’m also wondering about moving back to the house; in the past, that wouldn’t have been an option cuz I would’ve felt too much like a slacker, but now that Mom died, Dad’s living in the two-story house all by himself, so I was thinking it might be nice to move back in and help him with the upkeep of the house, and since there’s so much room, SOMEONE should take advantage of it. And while we’re both (my dad and me) really quiet, we really just appreciate the mere presence of another person. I’m sure some people would stick up their noses were I to move back in, but the notion gives me some pleasure, so I’m not ruling it out.
I could also be like my Grandma Non, who moved in with her sister and her sister’s new husband when they moved out>D I think Jake would hate that, but it’d be ADORABLE, and it’d be pretty spiffy to follow so closely in my awesome grandma’s footsteps:-D My cousin Margaret said, “I’m pretty sure you guys would then need a sitcom.” My cousin-in-law Vince then said, “You’d need a catchphrase…’Am I interrupting?’”>D

My coworker is obsessed with M&M memorabilia, and she just bought a yellow M&M stuffed doll that sits on her desk and has his hand up in a perpetual wave. It’s pointed right.at.me. So he’s constantly looking at me and waving, and it kind of freaks me out. Then someone will stand in front of him, and I won’t be able to see him, but then that person moves, and GAH yes, he’s still looking at me.

I’m so excited about 4th of July weekend!!!!!!!!! We already get Monday off, but I also asked off for Friday and Tuesday because John, Jami, and the kids are coming in from Texas!!!!!! So not only do I get a 5 day weekend, but I FINALLY get to see my nephew and nieces!!!!! I’m packing my bags and spending the entire weekend at Dad’s, along with John, Jami, and the four kids, so yes, we shall be the Weasleys for that weekend. I’m looking forward to taking the kids to see fireworks on the 4th:-D I never really got excited about fireworks (other than when I was very little), but now I’m SUPER excited just cuz we’re going with the kids!!!
Because of their presence, I will be MIA for the whole weekend to everyone; every second will be spent with fam. Except for Tiara, she has special clearance to my time because she is visiting the same weekend, coming in from California!!!!!!! So I’m looking forward to seeing her, even if it’s just for one day!!!!!!! TIARA, COME HOME ALREADY!!! As you can see, my weekend is booked with crazy, busy FUNFUNFUN, and I’m EXCITED.
Oh, and this is really special, too—once my vacation is over, I won’t be sad, because the days following the end of my vacation, there’s fun stuff planned for them, too! Next Tuesday I’m going to Crossroads, my church’s young adult group, and Lindsey, my friend all throughout middle school and high school and now into grown-up land is giving the talk!! I’m so proud she’ll be giving the talk, but I’m also excited cuz it’s going to be a talk on the single life, which always makes for fascinating discussion! Then the next day, Wednesday, is the book club I’m a part of, where we’re studying John Paul II’s ‘Love and Responsibility,’ and not only would I be excited to be discussing such a masterful work, but after the book club meeting we’re going to all go swimming!! Random, late night pool party!! Woo hoo!

Vocations

I had an awesome conversation with Fr. Yates last night about vocations; it was my favorite part of the day! He mentioned how he had given Mass at the Pink Sisters today, and I mentioned how I visited them when I was discerning the religious life, and I thought that was totally one of those throw-away comments, but he said, “I didn’t you know you had been discerning the religious life.” And then we got into an awesome discussion about discernment! And I just loved it cuz I haven’t gotten to see my spiritual director for awhile now (he had to cancel on me two weeks ago, and now I have to wait till he gets back from Greece), so I ended up getting to discuss things I’ve been wanting to discuss! I told him, with an extremely guilty tone and face, “I think I’m being called to married life. Sorry!”
“Why are you apologizing??” he asked.
“Well, cuz we really need religious vocations, and EVERYONE seems to be getting married!”
So then we talked about the beauty of marriage as a vocation and how badly we need that just as much as religious vocations. I confessed, “I just get jealous when a girl is going into a convent; I think it’d be so cool to have THAT vocation.” (I know this probably doesn’t make sense….it’s like, I want BOTH vocations, but you need to decide, and by deciding on marriage I’m turning down the religious life, and is it so strange that I just don’t want to reject either??)
“Then it sounds like what you need to pray for now is *acceptance*.” Fr. Yates said. Awww, so wise!! Man, just the perfect counsel, praise God. I’ve been given my vocation, and now I need to accept it.

I once had this vision….one of those scenes you see in your head while daydreaming, only I call it a vision cuz it’s much more random and loaded with meaning: I was walking down the aisle in a church in this beautiful, ornately decorated medieval dress, and Jesus was standing at the altar, and when I reached the altar, Jesus placed a crown on my head and said to me, “The gown is the graces I give you, and the crown is your vocation.”

That was a random tangent. While talking with Fr. Yates, I realized something—“Maybe what I’m longing for in the religious life is something I need to incorporate into my daily life!” Like, maybe one CAN have both vocations to some degree! I embrace marriage as my vocation, and then I pepper some religious vocation aspects amongst my life! Does that make sense? But as to what I should incorporate, I’m not sure…I’m going to have to go back and read my journal entries from when I was firmly decided on a religious vocation (back in 2006) and see what I did differently then, cuz at that time I felt so spiritual and confident and carefree, so I must’ve been doing something worth repeating then. If I find anything, I’ll fill you all in.
I'm way caught up on work, so I figured, hey, I should write a journal entry. Then I got onto livejournal and suddenly, I got a little freaked out thinking of what to update everyone on. I don't know what my deal is, but I'm a little uneasy right now, and the idea of talking about myself does not appeal to me because I'm just a bunch of 'I don't know's right now. To summarize how I feel, I'm fine, just off. Does that make sense? I currently feel uncomfortable in my own...I would say body, but it feels like more a soul thing, but is it possible for one to feel uncomfortable in one's soul? Am I having another existential crisis? Nah, this isn't anything cerebral, just emotional, my emotions are just out of whack. Perhaps I'll try to explain it tomorrow if I remain caught up on work.

So on a note that DOESN'T pertain to my feelings, Dad brought me back a souvenir from Texas:-D It's a Charles Dickens action figure!! I love how much a part of the family Charles Dickens is>D

A week by myself

I had been doing fine with the idea of the fam visiting Texas for a week without me, but the day before they left, Saturday, the notion really hit me and I got exceptionally bummed. In the morning, Dad and Ange came to our apartment to pick Jackie up, and I gave them a rather subdued farewell because I was so down, but I didn’t want them to know this because I know Dad and know how it would eat away at his guilty conscience (I get mine from him;-). But it was very sweet cuz Dad came bearing lots of snacks for me and a gift card to IHOP and a gift card to Chevy’s so that I would be sure to eat well whilst they were gone. I thought that was super sweet and cute. But when they left, I cried. It wasn’t a long cry, but a good, hard cry. I remained bummed until late afternoon, at which point I chatted on the phone with my friend Dennis and Jake came over to give me some deer sausage he had accumulated and we just hung out.

Monday was a nice enough day, but come 3pm, I was feeling icky again due to being alone. Plus, it was a holiday, and I had no family around to celebrate with. I am not used to this. So, while I wasn’t in the mood to socialize due to my being down, I NEEDED to see people—so I invited friends over! And it was so wonderful! It was very cleansing. Some people are like plants—their mere presence rids the air of toxins:-P They didn’t leave until midnight, and my friend Brenda spent the night. That was a lot of fun! I mean, we didn’t do a whole lot spending-the-night-wise, just went to bed, then got up and had breakfast together, but just that was super special to me She obviously left before I did, so that I could lock up, but when she headed out the door, we both said to each other at the same time, “Have a nice day!” Except I made mine all cheesy 1950s mom-esque>P

So the week by myself is going Ok. I really have nothing to complain about other than the fact I’m NOT IN TEXAS.

Goodness abounding

I haven’t written much lately cuz I’ve just been doing so much stuff, and I COULD list off the stuff I’ve been doing, but those journals are so droll, and journals are more for writing about your feelings and thoughts, not so much your actions.

I’m currently reading St. Theresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle, it’s a book on contemplative prayer. SO.GOOD. One line from the book is “God appreciates it when we don’t put limits to his works.” The next line was something about how we should then place all our trust in God, so in front of the Eucharist, I prayed, “Ok! I trust you completely, God!” And immediately, my heart started racing and I had trouble breathing—the anxious kind of physical reaction. I prayed, “I WANT to trust you completely, God, but…it’s so SCARY!” Then, it hit me—trust is scary! Duh! Trust doesn’t start out as this warm, fuzzy feeling; it starts out as a conscious decision to let go, and yeah, letting go is scary; if I WEREN’T scared of such a leap, I’d be a sociopath or something! So it’s not a matter of me FEELING the trust so much as deciding on the trust. So I prayed again, “God, I trust in you completely,” and the heart started racing and my breath came shorter, but I stuck to that prayer and said ‘screw you’ to my physical reactions. And ya know what? My body eventually went back to normal and I was able to chill again. And I haven’t been getting anxious since…in fact, I just realized this, I’ve been a lot more grateful for everyone and everything in my life and more laid back than ever. Well, I think part of that is also due to my currently reading Little Women, which has a bunch of good moral tales:-P But didn’t I just write a journal entry on how I’d been getting heaps of minor panic attacks? Haven’t had one since.

Then, as if to drive the lesson home for me, Dad, Ange, and Jackie are leaving Sunday for Texas, and I was a little concerned about what I would do for Memorial Day. Cuz everyone’s gonna be spending it with their families, but my family was going to be out of town. I was worried doing NOTHING would only invoke loneliness in me and a dissatisfaction of my extra day off. But I didn’t think too much on it, figuring something will come up, and if nothing does, oh well. I didn’t go out of my way to plan anything cuz I wanted to put it entirely in God’s hands, let something fall in my lap. Then, today, my friend texted me saying he got 5 tickets to Six Flags and wants us to get a group together and go Monday!! Well, first he was like, “Would you be interested in…” and I was all “UM YEAH!!!” Yay!!! Six Flags with friends on Memorial Day, I’ll take that! I feel like had I gone out of my way to plan something, it would have been NOWHERE NEAR as cool as Six Flags. AND I never even had to worry before about what will become of my Monday, cuz God’s watching out for me:-D Yes, even in seemingly frivolous things like this.

Impromptu Feast!

Last night, my fam had an impromptu feast! I emailed Dad asking if he wanted to go out to eat and then Adoration, and he said, “Actually, I’m barbequeing tonight! It’ll be ready at 6!” So I was all excited, random barbeque! If ever anyone needs a random barbeque, it’s on a Tuesday. I picked up a mini watermelon on my way there with Jackie, but Dad had already thought of that and bought a BIG watermelon! And what a feast it all was! He barbequed hamburgers, turkey burgers, and zezzitzas (sp???), there was salad with fancy fixings, watermelon, corn on the cob, pork and beans, fancy potatoes…am I forgetting anything? It was SO amazing cuz I’d been sick lately and was just starting to feel better, ergo SUPER HUNGRY. And for dessert we had strawberry shortcake! Ange and Don came, too, so it was a big family affair, it felt like Memorial Day already;-P And Jackie and I got a huge portion of the leftovers to take home, so I’m excited about dinner tonight! I love leftovers. It was such a random, spontaneous happening, and such a BEAUTIFUL, DELICIOUS happening, I’m so grateful for it! It fed us all body and soul.

Speaking of Memorial Day, Dad, Ange, and Jackie leave for Texas this Sunday. I can’t go cuz I couldn’t get off work; it’s going to be weird remaining in Missouri while my family goes off to another state. Don’t feel bad for me; I’m not down or anything that I have to stay. I mean, obviously I’d PREFER to go, but I totally understand not being able to get out of work. So I’m going to have a full week of living by myself; we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not I’m dying for interaction;-)
Saturday morning I visited a cloistered convent. It was a convent where my grandma used to take my dad and his brothers and sisters for Eucharistic Adoration, so I felt an instant spiritual connection with the place. When I entered the place (the living quarters, not the chapel), a young, super sweet, smiling nun opened a slot in a door and instructed me to a certain room—since they’re cloistered, they speak to you through slots in a door or wall. The room looked like it came STRAIGHT from the 1930s; I wondered if they changed it at all since my grandma had been>D But I loved it. That week, I’d felt no peace regarding being a nun, but once I sat down and could take inventory of my feelings, I realized I was totally at peace; it felt sooo good.

Something that really opened my ears was talking to the Mother Superior about how one knows where one is supposed to be—like, first you decide between marriage and consecrated religious, then you have to decide what guy to marry or what religious order to enter, and there are TONS to choose from, where does the discerning end??? She comforted my saying there are more guys in the world than there are religious orders;-) But she also said, “In the end, it’s something God just puts on your heart.” My spiral into this chaos of confusion and discomfort is me wanting to grab ahold of the situation, shake God and demand to know what’s to be decided RIGHT NOW. But I’m not meant to decide anything right now; when I am, He will put it on my heart, and I will listen. So all my ranting and raving about confusion, don’t put up with it, cuz it only reveals a lack of trust and patience on my part. Oooh I want to listen to that song “Listen to Your Heart” now! That’s a good song, “Listen to your heart when he’s calling for you/listen to your heart, there’s nothing else you can do/I don’t know where you’re going, and I don’t know why/but listen to your heart before you tell him good bye.” It kind of works for my situation! I now have a theme for my discernment process>D I like giving things theme songs.

Last night, whilst journaling about my consecrated religious vocation, I realized I hadn’t been taking it very seriously; I hadn’t been doing much to nurture it and focus on it. So it’s turn-over-a-new-leaf time! My schedule, when I don’t have already established responsibilities like work and softball, is going to mimic that of a nun’s! I woke up at 6 this morning to pray the Angelus, Benedictus, Lauds, Morning Prayers etc., then in the evening I will allow myself one hour of recreational activity, but any other time will be devoted to prayer/spiritual reading/meditation. Then I will have Night Prayers, Vespers, and Compline, cuz that’s how nuns do! Granted, this is more the life of a contemplative nun, but it’s where I want to start; I feel it on my heart:-) When I have a free night, I’m going to go to bed at 9:30 and wake up at 5:30, cuz those are the sleeping hours the Dominicans and Pink Sisters keep. And I assured Jackie I can still go on evening walks with her;-P So we shall see how it goes, and hopefully I will have more time to journal on this vocation!

Little Mermaid Love

I heard a song from Disney’s Little Mermaid musical called “Her Voice”; it’s obviously the song Eric sings after he’s fallen for Ariel’s voice. It’s a super romantic song, only Ok music-wise, but there are these few lyrics that I’ve fallen in love with cuz they’re SO beautiful and poetic:

I can sense her laughter
In the ripple of the waves against the shoreline
I can see her smiling
In the moonlight as it settles on the sand

I wish I’d written that!! Isn’t that just gorgeous imagery? GAH Those 4 lines make me WANT THE CD!!

Heehee And as I gush over these super poetic, super romantic lyrics, I have plans to show some friends of mine This Is Spinal Tap tonight. Call me well-rounded;-)

The dust bunnies of my mind

Yesterday was really nice. Throughout the day I'd been feeling down and tired, but I went to my dad's for dinner, and I thought we were just going to pick at the pantry, but when I arrived, he was in the midst of fixing us a big, healthy dinner!! We had fish, baked potatoes, salad, beets, and corn on the cob!! It was soooo good! It totally rejuvenated me physically and mentally. That is something I need to pick up-- home-cooked meals eaten around the table. My goal is to do that at least once a week-- cook a meal and sit down at our nice, new table and eat. Cuz I guess there's just something very therapeutic and cleansing about a homecooked meal eaten around the dinner table. After dinner Dad and I went to Adoration, so really, just a good night all around:-)

I was awoken last night by the storm outside at 4 in the morning, but I'm Ok with that, because the storm was AWESOME!! The lightning lit up the entire apartment, thunder shook the ground, and the rain sounded like a waterfall!! SOOO COOL! I ate some frozen yogurt (yes, at 4 in the morning) and just enjoyed the show.

I want to tell you guys about a CREEPY dream I had last night. I fell down a laundry shoot and ended up in some tiny dungeon room, with a crazy-looking man chained up. The man transformed into thousands of tiny bugs, then reformed into a man OUTSIDE of the chains. He started chasing me around the small dungeon, trying to steal my face and saying, "Down here, YOU DON'T HAVE A FACE." My alarm woke me up before he ever caught me. And thank God, cuz I saw no way out of that one!

Discernment

Consecrated Life As Vocation, Week 1, Day 3:
Having a hard time making the transition from married-life-as-vocation to consecrated-life-as-vocation. I got so comfortable in the married life vocation and had such fun with it (for the most part). I keep telling myself, ‘I’m decided! Convent it is!’ but no finality is felt, no peace from having made a decision. Am attempting to find time to meditate on consecrated life, imagine myself IN it, but thus far any time I DO have to think upon it has me falling asleep too quickly. So currently my vocation is consecrated, but…I don’t feel a whole lot for it. Which is weird, cuz in the past, toying with the idea was FUN, but at this moment, it just has me going ‘meh.’ But I anticipate more feelings to be made known this weekend, when I visit a convent with my friend Megan, who is also discerning, and talk with the Mother Superior. I'm excited:-)