Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birthday Blog

My 28th birthday; I intended to think of all I hope this year could bring, what I hope for in the next two years before 30. Instead I have the themes of Deacon Dave's sermon from 2 days ago still on my mind. What am I willing to give, give up, surrender, sacrifice for the sake of moving forward toward Heaven... for the sake of holiness? Material possessions, comforts, relationships that direct me away from Christ, entertainments, dreams or plans? Is there even a harder question I could be asked right now?

Then this morning I read one of my favorite passages, 1 John 4, and it leaves me convicted of the imperfection of my love for God especially, and everyone else too. Not in a negative way, or a burdensome way... rather, it's this dawning awareness of what I would do well to hope for in the next year or two years: holiness - total abandoment to the love of God. The fruits, the ever satisfying fruits of living in and according to that love are what I truly long for, even underneath the shapes all my particular longings take.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Perhaps the most reasonable decision, after avoiding the gym like a quarterback avoids a defensive end, is to simply not go back to vigorous exercise if you've been away from it for at least a month. Maybe you should just accept your fate of never being thin and call it quits. My triceps, biceps, abdominals and quads (at least, I think those are my quads) are making a convincing argument after last night's return to the House of Physical Exertion.

Also falling under the category of 'sore' is my neck. The pain can be traced to multiple causes, not the least of which is the insatiable appetite for reading I've developed (or rather, regained) this week. I've been devouring fiction of late. The time spent curled up in bed with a book, half-sitting and half-lying down, hasn't done my neck any favors but has otherwise been quite lovely.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alive Again!

It's new music Tuesday, ladies and gents. While I'm glad to see David Gray has a new release that I'll be sure to check out, what really has me dancing in my chair is the arrival of Matt Maher's new album, "Alive Again."

Matt Maher inspires me to do all sorts of things, like get up to watch the sunrise more often, write my second book, believe that I'll be published one day, sing at the top of my lungs in the car, read the Bible more frequently, humble myself, be authentically Catholic in every circumstance, declare my love... you know, things like that. He is a beautiful, holy instrument of Christ and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't wishing to sneak out of the office and drive directly to Family Christian Stores to buy "Alive Again." This afternoon will be a small lesson in patience.

Here's a superb video of Matt expressing the heart of the new album. (I think superb is my new word of choice. That's usage number two today.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching Up

Several days in a row, one thing or another has made me think, "I should put that in my blog." Yet, it had to wait. So let's see if I can catch this blog up with my thoughts.

First of all, if you like riesling even a little bit and you have the chance to try Chateau Grand Traverse Late Harvest Riesling (from the Chateau Grand Traverse winery on Old Mission Peninsula, MI), please do so. You will thank yourself for this treat. I tried it on Saturday night and it was by far the best riesling that has ever touched my lips. I could easily have consumed the whole bottle, but restricted myself to 2 glasses. It's not really sold outside of lower Michigan so I wanted the chance to savor the taste more than once since it'll be a while before I can purchase it again.

Last night was a historic night for me: I saw U2 in concert! Seeing a live show of U2 has been on my 'do before I die' list since the first time I put together said list. I finally can cross something off! The show was amazing. They played Soldier Field (while the Bears were away being beaten by the Packers). Everything about the night was fantastic. If the videos or pictures turned out alright on my humble little camera, I'll post some here.

I keep meeting cute boys... and not dating the cute boys I meet. Oh the infuriating pattern of my singleness... But I continue thanking God for His reminders that there are some great men out there, even if so far they only come in the form of friends. Must be thankful in all things, must be thankful in all things, must be thankful...

The ball is rolling with this year of ministry. I'm already having to pray my way out of feeling overwhelmed. It's all so exciting! I am officially the RCIA Coordinator at my parish; a role I hoped to eventually have since my junior year of college. The season of volunteering is beginning too, with Adult Faith Nights, 40 Days for Life vigil and Frassati Society topping the list. A few months ago, I was trying to give some concrete form to the extent of and ways in which I volunteer. Like most things I try to handle by myself, I actually needed to wait on God to direct me and place me in the situations in which He desired me to serve. I'm trying to roll with it and realize the goodness of not being in control; trying to have confidence in all the ways God reaches out, takes my hand and says "Go with me here." Rolling with it requires a lot of fear-conquering prayer and trust. And some self-discipline in spending my time on the right things and not usually the easiest things. (Can I help it if I go into withdrawals when I can't watch a few Brewer games each week? Or if I am hooked on CSI:NY reruns? ...Yeah, I suppose I probably can help it... At least the baseball season is nearly over for the Crew.)

And the books. I have to write an update on the books, right? Right. Unfortunately nothing substantial to report. Still no final word from Moody Publishing. "How long, O Lord?" Yes, yes, I'm being overdramatic. It is endlessly difficult to patient though, as well as to not get caught up in the fearfulness of questioning what I should do next if Moody turns it down. At times, the only thing that keeps me going is to focus all my mental energy on writing the new book but everything else that has been going on has kept me from that endeavor lately. This leaves my mind to wander down paths of doubt that are both pointless and painful. I think I'll need to get back into scheduling mode for my writing. I did that when I was in the home stretch of finishing Full of Days, writing blocks of time into my calendar that were set aside for the work instead of counting on finding time here and there in the course of the week. I'm nowhere near the home stretch of writing The Mercy Hour but the scheduling might be a must at this point. It either has to be a priority alongside of the other top priorities or it has to be set aside in favor of the others. Any time I consider setting it aside, my friend's incredulous questioning of my honest dedication to being a writer ring yet again in my ears and I know I have to follow through.

Undeniably, I've become one of those girls who lives by her daily planner and yet strives to be open to the unexpected and spontaneous. It's an adventure. Would it be possible to just plan on the unexpected and spontaneous? I do like to at least feel prepared, and like Tolkien pointed out, "It will not do to leave a live dragon out of your plans if you live near one."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

After The Summer

"Lord, it is time. The summer was very big. Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose. Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days, press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine." (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Oh, September, are you really here? Welcome, welcome, welcome! Month of dewy mornings and chilled dusks. Month of harvest, month of change.

September must be the loveliest of all months. It comes at just the right time, after the summer has worn me out and the harsh winter days need not be thought of yet. There is so much in it to love. When I was in the Upper Peninsula this past weekend I was noticing how wonderfully tall the cornfields are, as well as how wet the mornings have become. I suppose the formation of every American student is to slip into vacation mode while it's summer, even once you are out of school. And just as the sweetness of June beckons me toward road trips and beaches, September beckons me home. "Stay," it whispers. In September, I set goals... and gain certainty that they will be realized. Each September feels more like the start of a new year than January ever can.