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October 19th, 2007

A New Journal

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Hi Everyone,
I started a new project called "The Nanny Diaries." I think the point of it is pretty self-explanatory. I decided I wanted to keep it separate from this journal in case I want to write about something non-nanny related. So please check out The Nanny Diaries at banannypeel.
:)

July 28th, 2007

I can't believe I let two full months go by without writing. That has to be a record for me. I think it really reflects the mental state I have been in though... I have not been myself, I have not been thinking clearly, and I just haven't known what to say.

That doesn't mean that the past two months have been all bad though. I had some really great CYFM experiences... two amazing weeks of service which included the construction of a labyrinth, the most rockin' SonForce Kids Bible School ever, and the formation of a lot of really great friendships. Also the completion of my year of volunteer service. I haven't had the time to let it sink in yet that it's all over. I've been too busy living in people's basements and trying to find apartments and deciding what I'm going to do with my life. But the 11 hour car ride to NC yesterday gave me time to sort things out, and a 2 hour conversation with my mom this morning helped me make a firm decision. So everything should be set before the weekend is over. But I'll talk about that when I know for sure.

And yes, I did say 11 hour car ride. It's supposed to be 10 hours. Last time I did it in 9 hours and 15 minutes. This time I got confused and almost went to Tennessee. Then when I finally got here Mom and I went to Mi Pueblo and the waiter tried to make a joke about not giving me a Corona. Not funny. I'm in a better mood today though. Especially since I found out they now have a Goodwill store in King and I've already supported it. :)

So I guess I have changed a lot. God worked a lot on me during this year. I don't know if I'm better or worse but I'm definitely different in a lot of ways. The things I want for myself are different. The way I see things is different. Even the things I like to do are different... like this for example. I really sometimes don't even want to write at all anymore. I actually kind of forced myself to do this tonight just because it had been so long. I will say for this year:

I forgot how to write, but I learned how to fight.

How do you like that?!?!? Hah.

But it's true in so many ways.

May 28th, 2007

King never looked so good.

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It's funny how I work at a retreat center and my job is all about directing people to escape from their lives to focus on their faith, and what really matters most, but I couldn't do it myself without driving hundreds of miles and not thinking about that very work at all for a few days.

Well, I can't say that I didn't think about work at all. But it has just been so amazing to be home; it's just exactly what I needed to regain the mental health I will need to make it through the next two months. I had no idea how homesick I was until I started planning this trip, and especially not until I actually got here, and my soul just smiled to see all the North Carolina license plates as I drove towards home. It's been four days of beautiful weather, good shopping, fun times with friends and family, and clearing of the head and heart. Best of all, I came to the realization that I really could see myself coming back here at the end of my year of service, and being happy. The reason that is the "best of all" thing is that it gives me more peace about my future; now plan A or plan B is acceptable and livable. Whew.

Do I want to go back tomorrow? Absolutely not. But can I handle it now? Most def. So I'm really thankful for this little pause I've been blessed with, and for the following things:
-the realization that I could get from New York to North Carolina in 9 hours rather than 10, and that I did it without getting a much deserved speeding ticket
-getting to have barbecue AND a cookout in the same week, and everyone knowing the difference
-country roads
-getting my accent back
-sitting on the porch swing
-talking, laughing, chilling, and drinking with old friends
-looking hot while riding around in the Marty McFly
-three days of shopping in a row
-mass at OLG
-ice cream at Frank & Bo's
-home

One thing became very clear this week, though: my heart is in two places now. This will never be easy, but it will always be wonderful.

April 29th, 2007

Through a glass darkly

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Explanations for the lack of updates:
- I’ve been really busy with work
- I’ve been really busy with randomness
- It’s springtime
- Every time I’m on the computer lately I’m applying for jobs
- This has been the craziest month of my entire life

So I hope those reasons are good enough for everyone. Really just for Katrina. Hah.

Yesterday I tried to go to confession. I hardly ever have a chance to go because confessions are on Saturday and we are usually working. So this Saturday I finally had the day off and I set aside the time. I walked over to the church only to see a sign on the door saying, “NO CONFESSIONS TODAY – Sorry for any inconvenience.” Weird. I mean, what is God trying to tell you when you want to go to confession but can’t? I have been trying a lot lately to figure out what God is telling me, through little things like that but also through bigger things… the handful of inexplicable events that have occurred in my life recently, things that I thought would never ever happen, things that I would never have seen coming or expected in a million years. The kind of stuff that just leaves you sitting, staring, open-mouthed and speechless. My life makes the opposite of sense. And I’ve realized that it’s no use at all trying to figure out what God is telling me. Instead I just started thinking about how strange it is that God is always with us, always guiding us and talking to us through events and surroundings, but we are so incapable of understanding. We get these small glimpses of clarity or little inklings of what He wants us to do or learn, but beyond that there is so much happening that we miss out on because we’re too caught up in things that don’t matter, or because we are too finite to comprehend an infinite kind of love. So that’s where I am. Wandering through a fog of my own creation, although all the while somehow I know that God is not only present in my confusion but He is watching me, caring about me, leading me through a force that I cannot always feel and seldom understand.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as through a glass darkly; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12

Tonight I talked to a group of teenagers about converting to Catholicism. That is one of my favorite things to talk about, but I did it a little differently this time. The theme of the night was “callings,” like the call to religious life or the call to be married. And there were other speakers to represent both of those calls, and then there was me. So I thought, what is the type of call that I am representing as a convert? I got up to speak and the first thing out of my mouth was, “I have been called to change.” I was called to change denominations, at the risk of leaving my family and the comfort and security of what I’d grown up with behind. I was called to change the vision I had for my future, to abandon plans for a career in exchange for a year of volunteer service, not knowing where it would lead. I was called to change locations, to move 600 miles across the country where I knew no one… all this because I felt God leading me. I cannot explain how or why. But tonight I told a room full of kids that when you are called to change, then you just know that it’s what you’re supposed to do, even if you don’t know why. If that is truly the essence of my calling in life – change – then maybe I will always be wandering around through a fog, seeing a poor reflection and “knowing in part.” But I will continue to follow in whole, just like I did when I changed churches and states and lives, until I know fully.

April 3rd, 2007

Repetitious

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If you ever wondered why I converted to Catholicism, I think this will explain it.Collapse )

That was a speech I did at CYFM today. And then I went out in my bare feet in the grass and threw around the football for a while. I felt pretty happy.

Tonight I went out for a bike ride. It had gotten a lot chillier, and really windy. I rode all around town. It was one of those nights when in my mind's eye, I kept seeing myself as if I was another person watching me. Does that make sense? Especially the end of my ride, when I went out to the river point park. One of my favorite places here. I parked my bike and walked way out on the little strip of rocks to the very edge of the water. And it was dark, and the city lights were shining all around, and just an inkling of the sunset was left glowing on the water. After I came back to my bike and started to ride away, I looked over my shoulder at where I'd been and it was like I could still see myself there, a dark silhouette in the twilight, staring emptily out into the Hudson. A lonely girl who is wondering why, no matter where she goes, her life is so painfully repetitious. She is wishing she could step off the edge of these rocks onto a boat that would take her sailing away, and she could stay out on the water where things make sense.

But she isn't really there. She's on this bike, pedaling home in the dark back to real life, back where nothing's certain, nothing's as it seems, and all of it is strangely similar to the life she tried to leave before.

March 12th, 2007

A lesson re-learned

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It's your day off. There is more daylight and more warmth today, and plenty of time. You can't miss the opportunity to escape into the woods. So you take along a friend who knows the way and begin to climb. Worries about the future are forgotten for a while as your focus narrows - the path is steep and icy; you must concentrate on where to put your feet next, take it one step at a time.

You aren't looking for a trail marker but here is one, unusually bright and clear. Three distinct, pale blue squares.

"I'm not sure where this will lead, but it seems like we'd get the best view from there."

"Yeah... usually three markers together like that mean the start of a new trail. The blazes are so prominent... someone must really want us to go this way..."

Yes, Someone does.

And soon you come to the summit. From here there is a view of the river, the bridge, and beyond. Sink down onto the cool stone to take it all in. Feel the warm breeze as you start to talk about your fears, about how you're afraid your life is going nowhere because you have motivation but no motive. You have no direction, no bright and clear trail markers in real life for you.

And feel your mouth drop open, hear your words trail off as suddenly, from the north, two graceful hawks glide by. They are close enough for you to see the detail of their feathers. You are so high that they fly a few feet beneath you, circling slowly over the peaceful sparkling river. And as you watch in awe, he says, "Look at that - their wings aren't even moving. The wind must be just right for them to float so effortlessly that way. See how they don't try to get anywhere. The currents of the air carry them where they need to be. Look at that, April - that's you."

Chuckle to yourself as you admit that this is a lesson you've had to learn many times. Say Thank You for showing me again.

...

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!"

March 7th, 2007

I almost don't even want to write this. Because it is whiny and self-pitying and overly dramatic and I hate all those things. But a lot of stuff just came flooding back tonight, unexpectedly, while I was surrounded by people in the gym yet alone with my thoughts and those memories. They will never go away completely, no matter how long I manage to go without remembering. Especially since I spent seven years collecting new things to put in that unwanted baggage that will always be a part of me. Seven years, wow. For a long time that memory was my whole identity. Then it was the worms underneath the rocks in the dirt. Then it was a skeleton in the closet. Now it's diminished to a hazy dream, but it's one that can come back with amazing force under the right conditions.

It's a lot like the weather was tonight. Bitter cold, the kind that makes your face burn. But once you get inside for a while you forget about it. And a few hours later when you go back out, you open the door and the wind hits you with a shock that takes your breath away for a moment. So you gasp and your eyes water as you run to your car, knowing all the while that it will take a long time for that engine to heat up. You can't drive away from the cold, or the truth. You have to just deal with it, and hurry home to safety and warmth. It does get easier to go out in the cold, once you've lived in it for a while.

February 28th, 2007

Come away with me.

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Today I got an acceptance letter from Marquette. Not a huge deal; the really important thing is whether or not I got the fellowship and I won't know about that for another 5 or 6 weeks. But it felt kind of weird reading that letter and not really knowing if I still even want to go. I think what I really want to do is just walk with you on a cloudy day in fields where the yellow grass grows knee high. What I really want to do is just wake up with the rain falling on a tin roof while I'm safe there in your arms. Ok so that's from that Norah Jones song but doesn't that sound nice?

I also need to say, I think that me leaving North Carolina has caused some serious problems in the world of sports. The Panthers had a pretty shameful season back in the fall, and now Duke is having one of the worst years they've had I think in a very very long time. Maybe the worst year they've had since I've been following them, which would be since 1997. Who knew I was such a good luck charm?

I am tired tonight.
Tired of waiting for my life to start.

February 15th, 2007

So it was kind of the best thing ever yesterday because it was Valentine's Day AND a snow day. It went so long without snowing here, and then when it did it wasn't a very big deal to the people here and everything just went on as normal. But Tuesday night into yesterday it finally snowed like over 6 inches and everything was cancelled. I got a lot of work done at home, and then had a nice fun evening last night. I even went out to play in the snow, which translates to: run around for a few minutes, make one deformed snow angel, and then spend an hour digging cars out of snowdrifts so you can go to work the next day. Another new thing for me to add to the list.

The next 11 days are vacation for us here. Which is a ridiculous amount of time so I have been making a mental list of things to do.

-sweater shopping
-snowboarding
-St. Ray's basketball game
-two day spiritual retreat
-hiking
-get a massage
-Pretty Pretty Princess game
-hang out with John
-go to NYC with John
-reading
-Connecticut?
-harmonica playing

Should be an interesting time. Feel free to add any ideas to my list.

I need to say that it's amazing how your whole outlook changes when you admit the truth to yourself. Who knew I could be so happy and so scared all at once?

January 31st, 2007

New things

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Two things I thought I'd never be doing have happened this week.

1. I went snowboarding!!! (and liked it)

2. I am mailing off my application to graduate school in WISCONSIN.

Seriously, I am random. It's like all those silly hypotheticals we do at CYFM. I guess I really am like an old tire found in the ocean, or neopalitan ice cream, or playing the spoons, or the song "Ice Ice Baby." Why? Because it's random.
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