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Archive for the ‘Rise Up’ Category

Jan 5 a

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This morning DH set off to his mom’s with the kids because I needed a day to myself, but that moment at the door with the sun orb through the fluffy falling snowflakes, I almost ALMOST changed my mind and went with my family for the day – but I didn’t. I knew I needed SOMETHING – time alone, God, both, to get myself back to where I could give of myself and not feel so put out by it. But oh how I wanted to be with them all when they played in the snow!

This afternoon I was still struggling and feeling just a little bit lost before I had a chat with my best friend. The first thing was I got to tell her what God did in my heart during this year’s Rise Up:

On the first night He stirred my soul so deep, the talk called us to respond to God, to say yes to whatever He asks of us, there was a beautiful prayer of abandonment on one of the slides, and a video of Mary’s fiat that moved me to tears. I felt a call to say an unequivocal ‘yes’ to God and I threw the doors of my heart open wide.

The next night I went to confession. I had taken the usual time to prepare my heart and jot down my list on paper as I always do. So when it was my turn I walked in and sat down. I started in with my list but suddenly the priest stopped me and took my paper! He said he felt I needed the challenge, and to just tell him what was on my heart. I don’t like being put on the spot like that, but I had no choice so naturally I started in on all the things I’d been feeling, most of all, my struggles with the spiritual life and not measuring up. I try so hard to do what I know God is calling me to and turn to Him in everything and then I forget or I don’t and I just feel really frustrated! (I know I’m weak, and part of that frustration comes in forgetting to ask for His help when I need it!) The priest started to tell me how much God loves me and told me I needed to accept myself. I was taken back because I truly thought I had come to the point of acceptance – especially when I would look back on who I used to be and the person I’ve become with his guidance – I loved my life and I really felt like I had a handle on this self-acceptance thing! I was so surprised by what he said that I asked him if this was something we could go back and forth on, because I knew I USED to accept myself…

But after a little while I realized that he/He was right. Especially with this struggle to prove myself with homeschooling and managing my house, I found I was trying so hard to be perfect for God, determined to get it right, that I felt crushed when things fell apart, and it was unhealthy. Worst of all, I was denying God the chance to help me, because even though I knew He loved me and that I needed his help, I was determined to fix me.

By now adoration was over and I had moved to the chapel to finish sorting out my thoughts because I was nowhere near ready to just go home. I was conversing with God and journaling furiously through my thoughts: I’d been saying to God: ‘I say yes to You, I do, just let me fix myself first.’ That’s not quite right, rather: ‘Please help me fix myself, please fix me, I want to do Your will.’ I wasn’t letting Him love me right where I was! I’d heard many times how we are not our faults – past OR present – but still, there was this part of me that CLUNG to this desire, this goal to have it all together: my kids, my marriage, my house… – and I was willing to get God’s help to do it, I was, but still, STILL, I’ve desperately clung to that notion of order and God called me out of it. My fiat is to say yes to the mess that is me.

So I started accepting my struggles and forgiving myself for all the things that weren’t perfect in my life. And I actually caught myself thinking: ‘Ok, God told me I need to accept myself… now how do I fix this?!’ It was that ingrained! ‘Lord, I’m broken, fix me!’ I know I don’t have to fix myself for God, but still I keep trying!

Then into my chaos God spoke words of His love: ‘It’s not your job my child to fix yourself, your life. Why deny me that which gives me the greatest pleasure?’

The childlike cries of my soul were quieted, but He wasn’t finished.

‘Stop doing, just STOP. Start BEING.’

‘Don’t focus on saying prayer x,y,z and a rosary and bible reading and schooling and cleaning and being intentional in your marriage – although all of these are important too. Don’t focus on offering every time-block and being sure to ask for help every moment -on seeing me everywhere and in everyone.

Just walk with Me beside you. I’m always there.’

Serenity is not something you can DO, you just have to be.

‘When you stumble, scared, unsure, just reach out and take My hand, lift your heart to Me, 1 word, ‘help’, ‘Jesus’, just the cry of your heart and I’ll be there my child, no matter what it is you are facing.’

He led me to approach my morning prayers differently, almost challenged me to take 5 min and just be silent, and not lift up a single prayer.

‘Take 5 min – Just sit/kneel be in My presence in silence. For now, don’t lift up a single prayer, you need to learn to listen with your heart. Nothing more, not now. It’s just like you wrote earlier this week, really, you have stored up a treasure of prayers and graces for your loved ones, right now you need to just let go and be.’ (and receive My love).

At my last Rise Up, I was too Mary, God called me to stop just sitting in His presence and to start serving. Since then I’ve been so busy doing I’ve become Martha, I’ve gone too far the other way and forgotten how to sit at the feet of Jesus!

I knew I had to let go and accept myself but I still found it hard. It seemed to be a major block to my heart being fully open to say yes, so the next night when we were to be prayed over to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to reach out to others, I had to bring it as my own prayer request, and afterwards I did feel freer, more joyful.

When I came back to the chapel early the next morning God spoke His love over me and reminded, reassured me of who I am in Him.

‘Your yes too, can change the world. Be content with who you are. That’s who I’m madly in love with.’

(I was trying to earn God’s approval. Not because I was trying to ensure my way into heaven – I know Jesus already did that, it was just out of my love for God.
He’s given me so much and I felt I wanted to give everything back by being as perfect as possible for Him. But I know now watching me like this was killing Him. I love you just the way you are, stop trying to be somebody else! )

‘And, what of DH? You are the only one (human) who can reach him, his heart, his soul. He needs you, without you, he would be lost.’

‘You’re who I thought about from all eternity, before the world began.’

By His grace, I can let go of my need for perfection now and accept my human struggles. I know I don’t have to fix myself because in His eyes right now, I’m already perfect.

Talking about all this with my best friend and sharing the rest of my Rise Up story of discovering His love all over again, I realized some things and they struck me anew.

-I told her, when I’m feeling like I did yesterday (like everything’s getting messed up) , it’s because I’m not seeing right! I need to recognize this, and then change how I view my world. I need perspective!
Always, always, I have to BE and not let the DOING take over. – Today I will DO less and BE more.

-I guess I don’t have to pray ‘Lord help me with X,Y,Z’, and really, besides reminding myself by saying the words, why would I? He already knows what I’m thinking and feeling! It seems all I have to do is lift my heart, it’s just a desire! It’s all about heart lifting.

Heart lifting. Be IN Me.

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A really great article, talking a bit about CCO and the conference I went to last week.

Young Catholics RiseUp to be counted
Written by Fr. Raymond J. de Souza
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 13:00

An annual highlight arrives in the last days of the year. That’s when Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) holds its annual conference for university students. They call it RiseUp, and it begins each year on Dec. 28 and runs through New Year’s Day.

I first went in 2004 in Toronto, in my first year as chaplain of Newman House at Queen’s University. Completely conquered by the experience, I have returned every year since as it has travelled around the country — Vancouver, Quebec City, Calgary, Toronto again, Winnipeg, and this year in Montreal.

Not all Catholics in Canada know about CCO, but they should. It is one of the most powerful works of the Holy Spirit in our country and a testament that the Gospel has not lost its power to attract souls — even those of the young. Andre and Angele Regnier founded CCO in 1988 in Saskatoon, realizing that the university campus was indeed mission territory. While in previous generations it would have been enough to merely provide services for practising Catholic students, the current situation requires evangelization. CCO’s premise is that most students on campus, including those from Catholic homes, have never heard the “Gospel preached simply and clearly.” So they do it.

CCO full-time missionaries are usually recent university graduates themselves, and they raise all of their own income personally. Can you imagine the zeal for the Gospel and the trust in Providence required to accept that mission? There are dozens of them at campuses from Vancouver to Halifax, and they are evangelizing thousands of university students. To be with some 500 of those students in Montreal was a pure gift and why I have already booked the 2011 RiseUp in Vancouver on my calendar.

“CCO is a university student movement dedicated to evangelization,” says the mission statement. “We challenge students to live in the fullness of the Catholic faith, with a strong emphasis on becoming leaders in the renewal of the world.”

A key word there is fullness. They invite students to be more Catholic, not less. They understand that at the heart of the faith is the person of Jesus Christ. They teach people to pray. They encourage reception of the sacraments, especially promoting confession. Eucharistic adoration is central. The Holy Spirit is not neglected. They read the Scriptures devotedly. They present the magisterial teaching of the Church with confidence in the truth, not a grudging attitude. They present the Catholic faith as a joy to be embraced, not a burden to be borne.

They are a model for how the Church should evangelize a culture where God is at the margins. And if all this can be done on the university campus, where hostility to religion and scepticism about truth often dominate the local culture, then there are sure grounds for hope that the Gospel has not lost its power.

Bringing 500 faithful young Catholics to Montreal is a challenge. Montreal is likely the least-practising major city in the Catholic world. For generations in Montreal the only real question has been whether the Church would withdraw from the culture before it was pushed out, or vice versa. The grand Notre Dame in Old Montreal now charges admission, exempting those who come to pray. Just like the admission charge at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s signals the collapse of the Church of England as a culture-shaping institution, so too does Notre Dame indicate a general attitude that what used to be is not and never shall be again. A culture that cannot support its principal shrines converts them to de facto museums, but they stand as tombstones — markers of places where the faith is dead.

So when a number of students at RiseUp went to Notre Dame for Mass, the cashier was sceptical that so many young people would actually want to do so. Surely it was some kind of trick to avoid paying the fee. Yet they prevailed, and it stands as a symbol of what these marvellous young Catholics do — overcome the scepticism of so many in the Church that the fullness of the Catholic faith still attracts souls to Jesus Christ.

To see the Oratory of St. Joseph and Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral both filled with young people on fire for their faith, this is what the Church in Canada needs. Whatever travails each year brings, at RiseUp the year ends full of Christian hope.

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In spite of many difficulties and set backs (one more being that my parish priest has refused to let me ask my parish for donations) I am finally going to Montreal!

I’m scheduled to leave in 3 hours. I say scheduled because there is a major storm outside and the news yesterday said all sorts of travel schedules are/would be messed up. But even if my train is delayed… I am going to trust that I will get there eventually and not give up hope: God has made it clear several times over that this is where I am meant to be.)

I doubt there will be any new posts until after I get back. I am not excited yet, and there’s a part of me that will find it hard to leave, as I’ve never been away from my 2 year old or my husband this long before. Still, I know I will enjoy it. I love the retreats and this is twice as long, a whole week to feel close to the Lord and to grow closer to Him. Best of all, they say it takes about 4 days to form a habit, and I will be at the conference for 5 and away for almost a week. I’m hoping this will give me some time to actually begin to establish some of the changes I’ve been wanting to make like walking with the Lord throughout the day, and handling my suffering with more grace and acceptance. It’s been a rather stressful last few months and my soul is looking forward to this time of refreshment and renewal.

Arrivederci!

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Quick Takes
Pictures for last week are up.
Pictures this week: adoration, google maps, xmas fair, playgroup

1. a) As my faith grows I’m developing a zeal for all souls, even those I’ve never met and feel no special attachment to. It’s funny to think that someone whom I’ve never met is somehow benefiting from my prayers, but it’s pretty neat.

We heard DMIL’s sister was sick back in the summer. This week DMIL told me that she’s getting worse and now Christmas is up in the air a bit, as they might not even be here for it. She plans to see her sister one last time before it’s too late. With this news, I have renewed my prayer initiative for her sister’s soul.

I pray for healing, if it is Your will (how you want to make Yourself known to these people etc. I need to keep this if ‘it’s Your will’ mentality when it becomes someone I really care about). I pray for her conversion, or if that’s not necessary, then I pray that she would persevere to the end, and that You would take her home to be with You.

For all these souls, just move in their hearts, Lord.

b) I’ve been feeling the Spirit with me more the last few days, it’s been heavenly, My faith is strong, God is so near.
I started praying that the holy spirit be with me in all my interactions back on Tuesday last week (in-laws, kids, grocery clerks etc etc..) and it seems to have made a difference.

c) I’ve had a bit more luck finding that place where I’m ‘in the moment’ lately, by taking a moment to close my eyes and then open them again. Somehow it gives me a fresh perspective.

d) Realization: Relying on your own efforts while still being humble is really hard! Letting Christ live through you makes much more sense. Being alive with God is so much easier. I can truly, humbly profess that I can be happy without getting my way all the time, I can leave behind my selfishenss-when I have God with me instead. I can have great joy in serving others when the holy spirit is alive in me!

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2. In the car on Wednesday there was a little short faith message on the radio, but it was such a good idea, I had to share:

The wisest thing you can do for your children, is every night, the last thing they see you doing, so far back they can’t remember when you started it’s so etched in their memory, you kneeling down by their bed and thanking God for his love for them, for his plan for their life…

Wow. I have started doing this with my oldest, it sets a great example.

3. I’m starting to get excited for my trip to Montreal for Rise Up. I’ve been google mapping the city and the places I want to visit. I’ve been noticing more and more popular sites are being integrated, now google maps has names of restaurants and landmarks, even on the street view, and also flickr images of the city, tied in to where you’re looking. There are 3 separate photos of the front of the Notre Dame Cathedral that people have taken in google maps. Technology is really going places!

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I also bought my tickets for the train on Thursday. I did look into other options, but found that once you total up all the taxes and surcharges, even a really cheap flight one way is STILL more expensive than the same trip by train (not counting the cost of meals). (Also, if I was doing a round trip, the total taxes and surcharges for the 2 flights would be more than either of the flights themselves! ) And on the train baby (and me) will have room to move around and we won’t have to deal with the differences in air pressure… Plus the train station is right in the city, about 5 min drive from the hotel! Conclusion: baby and I will be taking the train to Montreal.

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A friend and I took the kids to my old Highschool Christmas fair last weekend. I’ve made it a tradition to attend I think every year since I graduated? (check that..) It’s fun to see familiar faces and I always find some great deals on my Christmas shopping.

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My friend and I trolled the toy room and picked up a couple little men for mega blocks-toy story characters buzz and woody. My 2-year old loves them, and it’s sparked lots of creative self-directed play. My friend also caught sight of a pair of child–sized Christmas oven mitts. They are adorable and they were sitting on top of a bag of play food! I went through and only took the things we didn’t yet have, and left plenty for someone else to buy.

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Then we went down to the cafeteria for lunch, and then up to the games room where my 2-year old had a couple gos on the bouncy castle. So did his little toy men.

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Then the big kids had a go
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That morning I had the realization that I could ask my old teacher if she wants to support me for the conference. Our paths have crossed several times since I graduated and her family is very involved with CCO, so she was a good bet. And she was delighted to be able to help out, and took a donation form home. She said she’d give it to CCO, so I still don’t know how much I still need, but I intend to find out soon.

It is incredibly humbling to ask for donations.

5. On Tuesday morning I dropped in the local playgroup before class to catch up with one of the people I emailed to ask for donations. While I was there I also got to see a friend I hadn’t in a while, meet her new baby AND learned that the other CCO mom just started a playgroup out at her church on Wednesday mornings. So, early the next morning I loaded up the kids and we drove out to the church. It was slow getting started, but by the end there were about 10 moms with kids and the room was full.

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I’m super excited to find a regular playgroup that I’m free to attend (my class conflicts with the other one). Plus it’s out at that lovely old church with the garden shrine. A great opportunity to teach my kids about Jesus and Mary, and to refresh my own spirit as well.

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6. This article on conversion diary gets slot #6 because it was very timely for me, as I go to adoration more often, and was searching for comfort etc, especially while trying to discern Rise Up.

7. My pants have been given a new lease on life. For several years I’ve wondered why the bottoms of my pants always get wet and wear out so quickly. It’s the first thing to go. This week I decided it was time to get them hemmed! I tried on 5 pairs in the chair on the kitchen so DMIL could measure them to sew. The next day, I tried my new pants out and I am very pleased with the results: I never knew it was possible to wear pants on a day when the ground is wet and come home with dry pant legs! It is so liberating! 😀

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Nov 18

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Conference update

For the most part I still had peace about it, I just still had no idea how it was going to work. I was going to Trust the Lord on this little guidance. I am the type to go entirely on FAITH, to go with what I feel the Lord is telling me, what I feel He is calling me to, even if it is extremely impractical and I have nothing else to confirm it. I will Trust God, that He knows what He’s doing with the situation.

So, what about the baby…? I don’t really have peace about not taking him because I don’t want to make a mistake with him. I don’t want him to suffer because of my absence, (he was already crying for me when I got in the door after being out 7 hours a few weeks ago) And I definitely don’t want him to be weaned and not take me back again by the time I return.

In peace, I’m starting to see myself at the conference with the baby. The second day I took the 10 min of quiet prayer time, I got this image/notion of myself at the conference in an auditorium during a talk with the baby sitting there quietly looking at books. I guess I don’t expect it to be like this 100% of the time, but he shouldn’t be too much trouble. I’ll bring Lots of books. I know he’s really a bookie, and that is something he can do quietly and by himself! (If I can get him to sit still long enough, I expect he’ll be walking then, but a book will probably be the one thing that will make him sit still once he learns to walk!)

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Basically I have done this before. I took the baby to a couple retreats and it wasn’t the same as when I went alone, but it wasn’t bad, it was just a different experience. I wasn’t able to pay as much attention to the talks but i got to hang out with another CCO mom and her little one and by staying at their place I got to discover a wonderful sanctuary/shrine right next to the church.) I was still blessed by attending, but in different ways.

I’ve been asking the Lord to lead me with regards to Rise Up. I’ve been really listening, and He’s not answering, so it must be right. If I was going the wrong way, He would let me know.

So, the major issues now are – traveling and rooming with a baby (the bus is 14 hours and if he has a bad night it would affect everyone else and the room assignments are quadruple occupancy, so I’d be sharing the room with 3 other girls as well as baby). I had a talk with one of the CCO staff memebers in which he expressed great concerns over how it could work for me to go to rise up, and though he doesn’t normally discourage people from going, he said it’s an option I have to keep open…

I told him,” it’s in God’s hands.” *to God* “You hear that?” “If it’s meant to be then God will have to make it happen, because I have no idea how to make it work.” I was feeling less and less sure. That small inkling of certainty at God’s Will having had him change my heart, was leaving me more and more confused and anxious. He alone can make it happen.

At adoration that afternoon I was really torn. It was hurting my relationship with Him just trying to discern His Will! I was there at adoration, begging for an answer or for some peace… but answer came there none. I was asking Him honestly, “What do you want from me Lord! Every struggle etc in our lives is supposed to drive us unto You, why do I feel like I’m falling away?! Lord, I’m here. I’m asking You. Help me!” The only comfort was a small reminder that my faith is still rather new. I have a great zeal to share it, but I don’t yet have many of the answers myself, so I’m not entirely equipped to do so. In other words, I have more to learn – why it would be good for me to go.

God is always, ALWAYS faithful, if we give Him time. I didn’t want anybody to shake my peace about the decision, but when even CCO is telling me maybe don’t go, I started to wonder if maybe it would be best to wait till next year. But then I don’t even know where it will be, it might be a great city but it might be really far. Flying to vancouver would be like $1000… Montreal is a good city.

Montreal is the perfect city. Silly me! God still had a few tricks up his sleeve. As a somewhat last hope I thought I’d message a childhood friend who lives there, just to get a general idea if she’d be around and then maybe I could ask for a place to stay. I left my note for her that afternoon explaining why nothing was definite yet, and went on with the day.

It was when I was up in the night on the pc with my stuffy nose that I saw her response-before I’d even asked, she’d offered me her place! I still have to figure out how to get there, but that’s not so difficult. So, it’s decided. I’m going to Rise up, with the baby, and I’ll be staying at my friend’s apartment.

In the fundraising department, I’ve modified the sample letter and come up with a few people to contact. It’s hard to ask for money till I know exactly how much I need, but I should have that sorted out pretty soon, when I book my travel tickets.

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This is last week’s Quick Takes . I still have a bit more to write, but wanted to get this up first, as some of this week’s takes are continuations of these.

Nov 12/13

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1. Every year over the Holidays there is a big national CCO conference called Rise Up. I discovered CCO just after there had been one, and last year I had a 2 month old baby so it wasn’t even on the table. This year has been different.

I definitely thought about going to Rise Up this year, but eventually decided it was not in the cards for me financially. So, I made the decision not to go, and made peace with it. Then at the end of the progessive supper the staff gave another speech about it, and now, I’m not so sure, but I think it’s back on the table. I really feel God is calling me to go this time. It was like He changed my heart.

But now my head is full of questions? Lord, Do You want me to go to Rise Up? What about the kids, do You want me to bring one? both? How should I pay for it? (the main reason I wasn’t going to go was the cost. I swing the 80-100 for the retreat every time but $500 is a bit steep especially since I’m still paying off my camera. But- I don’t want to take people’s money if I don’t really need it. I could easily put the full cost on my credit card. And we have the money to pay it off. Then I just add $500 to my bill. Other people need money more than me. )

These were my 2 workshop selections, the second one looks especially appropriate for me:

1H – Deepening Your Prayer Life
We are created to be in a relationship with Our Lord and it is the desire of His heart that we would spend time with Him. If you desire this as well, then this workshop is for you. Come and learn how to go deeper in your prayer life through the practices of Eucharistic Adoration and Lectio Divina.

2B – Evangelization and Social Media
Do you Tweet? What about Facebook? Email? Blogging? Websites? How can we use these social media tools to bring others closer to Christ and the Church? What is the Church saying about it using Social Media for Evangelization? What balance should we have between using social media and person to person evangelization?

When I broached the subject with my husband he said that he was not comfortable with me spending that much, even out of my personal funds, so that answers the money question: If I go I will be fundraising. I think this is best, it’s in God’s hands, if He does indeed want me there, then He will provide everything I need. And because it is my husband’s decision and as a wife I am called to submit, I don’t feel so guilty at the thought of fundraising either.

After discussing it with my mom and husband, I decided to register, and not miss the early bird deadline. I have 2 weeks to pay the registration fee so I decided to take those 2 weeks to really pray and think on it, and figure out how to make it work. If at the time when the money is due (and also will no longer be fully refundable) it still doesn’t look like it will work, then
I guess there’s always next year.

So I went ahead and filled out the forms. Then as an after-thought I decided to change one of my workshop selections. In doing so I messed up the registration, and had to email the coordinators. It’s completely out of my hands, since I messed up my registration. It’s entirely in God’s hands. I’m glad, it’s better because now I can’t mess up by doing the wrong thing. Fundraising too. The financing is not on my shoulders. If it IS his will, then He will provide everything I need. He will make it happen.

2. On Monday afternoon I had a meeting with my faith study leader. She encouraged me to share a faith booklet on the core gospel message with my friend when I met with her on Thursday. We discussed my faith journey and prayer habits, and then she challenged me to carve out a 10 minute block of time to listen to God everyday . She stressed the importance of opening up our hearts and quieting our minds to really listen to what the Lord may be calling us to. She told me I should use the PRAY acronym, to get everything off my mind so I can really listen to what God is telling me.

At first I resisted, telling myself, “I have so little personal time as it is, how can I give any of that up?!”. Then thinking about it more, I feel God is calling me to take our relationship to the next level, so to speak. He wants me to step it up, to make a real sacrifice for Him. So, I decided I would do it. And I’m reminded of a truth I have learned but often forget, ‘that taking even a few minutes to pray makes all the rest of my time valuable/ more productive etc’. In other words, I don’t really lose anything.

The first day I went into the woods out back. Then I shared my heart with God. I want conversion for all the people in my life, both past and present, every soul in my care, I want your mercy and grace for them all-My in-laws, husband, kids, friends and family members. I know it’s a lofty goal, but NOTHING is impossible for God. I know that with every trial, You are equipping me to love and save my loved ones. And when I finally took time to quiet my thoughts and LISTEN, the first thing I noticed was the fresh scent of pine from the wet trees, which I hadn’t noticed until then. I am glad that I responded to this call and carved out this 10/30 minute block of time for God.

3. On Monday afternoon my group and I met up at school to build our paper prototype for our meal planning application. We were there till about 7:30 pm. It definitely took longer than we thought. It is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun.

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My cutie friend and her laptop
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4. I’d been in a funk for the last 4 days or so, and was really struggling with regaining my joy. I had good things happening in my life but I couldn’t get excited about anything. Then Saturday evening after the birthday party Mom and I went to the closing banquet for 40 days for life. A woman from Silent No More was the guest speaker and listening to her describe losing her children, I thought of my own baby in heaven, and I found my heart! After that I felt fully alive again. 🙂
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5. On Thursday my best friend and I got together for our annual girl-time and examination of our lives etc.

This year we had a lot more to talk about, since she’s been discovering God etc. I’m so glad I took the time to pray first. I knew I wasn’t in the right head space to minister, and that tonight was about more than just predictions.

I was already late and taking the time to pray made me later, but she was even later so it didn’t matter. While I was waiting her father invited me downstairs to see the cottage he was building in the basement. I had no idea there was practically a second house down there (- the essentials like a kitchen and a bathroom). It is really a utopia, you can tell how proud he is of his creation. Before then we’d hardly spoke two words to each other but that night I saw a whole different side of him.

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When she got home we had a great night. First we had a really good faith discussion and she explained some of her biggest problems and blocks to faith, which she confessed later she didn’t think she’d ever tell me about. Praise the Holy Spirit for His work in her heart! Now I know the faith mission I had that night; it was to bring her biggest issues out in the open, so I can help her move past them.

Our predictions from last year were on the computer so first I played the hilarious David Sedaris video for her. We both laughed out loud. It really is comical, especially if you’ve studied other languages or care about grammar.


(Note: There is one bad word at the very end).

After that we talked through our predictions as usual. Then I went through the big bag of hand me down clothes she had for me. The first thing I pulled out of the bag was a plastic tiara, so we took turns playing princess in front of her vanity and taking pictures. It was fun 🙂 In the bag I found a couple really nice things including an elegant black shirt and a vintage style dress with a sweet heart neckline that looks really great on me. It’s also completely modest 🙂

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Outside she walked me to the car and we took a few minutes to pray there together in person. It was pretty awesome, the only thing to make it more special would be if we had held hands while we did it.

6. We got our midterm exams back. Turns out that because of the bonus I got 100% on the exam even though I got a D on one of the 5 questions. The Prof always puts a bonus, and it’s always the same question. It’s actually really smart. The question: ‘What one question is not on the test but should be, and answer that question.’ This method let’s students get credit for the thing they really studied and knew well but just wasn’t asked.

7. I happened to catch some of the CMA awards on TV and one of my favorite country artisits played a really neat song. I thought it was a cover but couldn’t find the lyrics anywhere. The next day I found a video from the CMAs, I guess it’s a brand new song. DH has made fun of this aspect: “It aint hip to sing about tractors and trucks and little towns, and yeah that might be true. But this is country music, and we do.” The song is so true and it’s what I love about Country Music.

For anyone who’s interested, here is the video:

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