Monday, December 2, 2013

Anno Domini 2014 - Happy New Year!


Happy New Year friends!  As I mentioned in my 7 Quick Takes the last two weeks, I love celebrating the first Sunday of Advent not only as the start of my Christmas countdown but also as New Year's Day. Several years ago I began the tradition of setting "spiritual resolutions" for the upcoming liturgical year. As a Catholic I am called to keep Christ in Christmas, to celebrate Christmas with a focus on God and the realization that the Incarnate God lives with us not only on December 25th but every day of the year.  Advent prepares me not only to welcome Christ into my Christmas celebration, but to continue welcoming Him into my life on a daily basis. I have blogged in the past about my spiritual goals in 2011 (goals for 2012) and in 2009 (goals for 2010).
So what will I be doing in 2014?  I've decided it to keep it simple this year with just two spiritual resolutions:

(1) Embrace JourneyLiving and live my goals with intentionality.
The main reason I have only two spiritual resolutions this year is because of my JourneyLiving philosophy. Much of my philosophy for JourneyLiving and the goals I chose to set came from Matthew Kelly's Rediscovering Catholicism, a book which I highly recommend. By taking the time to examine my life and evaluate my priorities, I determined five goals for my life which are unchanging.  These are the North on my compass.  The goals for my entire journey.  In 2014 I want to live these goals intentionally, I want them to not be an afterthought or a byproduct but the initial aim of everything I do.  The "action step" for this goal is in the form of a daily examen where I will reflect on my day and what I did toward achieving each of these goals.

(2) Cultivate and continue spiritual friendships. 
The simple fact of the matter is having spiritual friendships makes your faith life easier.  Now I know that the Christian life is not always an easy life, and that God did not intend the Christian life to be the easy life all of the time. But I also believe that there is a reason God created the Church, there is a reason Jesus said "where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them" (Mt. 18:20).  That reason is fellowship, God did not create man to be alone, He created us to be in communion with one another, to support one another, and this year I am to cultivate friendships (both old and new) which will support my spiritual life.
"I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013 sponsored by the Catholic Bloggers Network
UPDATE for 2014! - I am linking this to the Catholic Bloggers Network Advent LinkUp 2014.

Be sure to visit Catholic Bloggers Network and the link-up for many other great posts! Many thanks to the Catholic Bloggers Network for hosting, and to Monica for coordinating!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Life Happens Again... 7 Quick Takes

It seems like "life happens" is simply the theme of my Quick Takes lately.  At least a three week hiatus is better than that 17 month one I took before I "re-started" blogging last month, right? I'm a little late to the party once again, but still linking up over at Jen's blog!
(1) How do the Mamas do it?
I have to admit that my foray into blogging, and my frequent perusing of link-ups from Conversion Diary and the Modest Mom Blog often leave me in awe of the fact that these women find the TIME to blog?  Seriously so many of these women are not only mothers but mothers of large families, homeschooling mothers, writers etc. and many of them have jobs outside of the home as well.  Seriously, how do ya'll find the time to add blogging to the list?
(2) Banking
I am still enjoying banking, and still not quite sure if this will be a detour or a new path - either way I am happy for the chance to do something new and enjoy it.

(3) Hypocrisy
I have to admit sometimes I feel like a hypocrite, teaching Jr. High Religious Ed yet coming to the realization that I missed Sunday mass more times than I care to count in the last year, and haven't been to Confession since I went out at Notre Dame in July/August...

(4) Encountering Sin
I am guessing (or is it hoping?) that the reason I feel like such a hypocrite and sinner so much lately, is not in as much that I am sinning more but in that I have been attending our Alpha Follow-Up Adult Ed program and making a conscious effort with my prayer life and JourneyLiving goals.  I definitely believe in the Franciscan philosophy that as we grow closer to God, we also become more aware of our sin.  After all nothing scares the devil more than to see Christians in love with Christ, and if it is happening he will definitely try to make us aware of our shortcomings.

(5) Satan Trembles When He Sees...
Does anybody else know the hymn "Satan Trembles When He Sees the Weakest Christian On His Knees..."?  I'm not sure if that is the title but it is definitely one of the resounding lines from the song.  I believe it is mainly a Methodist/Protestant hymn, but we sang it in prayer at Alpha/Alpha Follow-Up once. I tried googling it for a video or lyrics and had no luck.  If you have either please let me know - I like this hymn!

(6) Christ the King and Advent!
For some reason I was a week behind liturgically and was expecting this week to be the last week in Ordinary Time as oppososed to the Feast of Christ the King and the last week in the liturgical year.  (I think on account of Thanksgiving being so late, I always expect Advent to start two weeks after Turkey Day instead of one).  I was pretty excited when I realized Advent starts next week though! It is my favorite liturgical season, and since 2009 I have been enjoying the tradition of  celebrating the Church New Year by setting spiritual resolutions.  I will definitely be spending the next week thinking and praying about what my spiritual resolutions are for Anno Domini 2014.  Will you join me?

(7) Mass With Others
One of my favorite things about the Church is community and our opportunity to celebrate Christ with others every Mass.  I have a part-time job doing direct care with individuals with developmental disabilities, and the past few weeks I have been taking one of the ladies I work with to Mass at her Church.  The first time I brought her she excitedly asked me after Church, "Lauren are you Catholic?"  I answered yes, and she said "No wonder you knew when to stand up and sit down!"  I'm guessing some of the staff who've brought her in the past were a bit clueless, but I am enjoying the experience of attending Mass with someone else and the opportunity to share our faith together.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes - The Life Happens Version

Once again, I am little late to the party on joining in Seven Quick Takes (hosted over at Clan Donaldson this week) but after a three week hiatus I decided I would simply steal my post title from Emmy over at Journeys of a Catholic Nerd Writer, and simply say "life happens, better late than never."
(1) Life Happens...
 It seems that when we least expect it life simply starts happening.  I expected to miss a week of 7QT on account of heading down to New Jersey to celebrate a wedding, but life simply had other plans that led to me missing even more weeks of writing.  My car died.  I got a job offer.  Quit my old job.  Convinced said old job to let me continue on a relief/per diem status.  Decided to buy new car.  Started new job.  Bought new car and exceeded budget.  Regretted exceeding budget.  Got more relief hours than expected at old job.  Got more "homework" to study than expected at new job.  Spent past two weeks fairly exhausted.
(2) Anything Else?
Well, I think QT 1 basically summarizes the last three weeks of my life, but I will see what I can do to find some other things to write about for the next 6 (now 5, this one totally counts right?) Quick Takes.
(3) Banking
My new job is in a bank.  I am a bank teller (in training).  Not sure how my path led from aspiring non-profit professional, to banker, but we'll see where this goes.  Will it be a detour?  Is my path taking an unexpected turn?  Who knows!
(4) The Journey vs. The Path
While redesigning my blog (aka picking a template someone else designed and tweaking...) I started thinking about just what I meant by JourneyLiving?  What does it mean to live on a journey? How do I create goals for my overall journey (life) as well as short-term and material goals (for my path).  You can check out some of what I came up with in the JourneyLiving tab and expect a post on my JourneyLiving philosophy sometime soon!
(5) This. Blog.
I am in love with this blog, Modern Modesty.  Seriously in love. I love that she is a modest fashion blogger, who doesn't necessarily always look like a modest fashion blogger.  Now don't get me wrong, all of her outfits are modest, and would meet (or in most cases exceed) my own standards for modesty.  They are also super, duper cute!  She accessorizes well, looks stylish, purchases things in "regular" stores (i.e. not ones designed specifically for the modesty crowd nor the wealth millionaires). 
(6) These Blogs
While they're not getting a whole quick take of their own, I am also a fan of these blogs and sites which I also found recently.  In case you can't tell I'm on a bit of a clothing/fashion kick lately.  Blame the new job
MoMoMod --
JunieBLAKE --  (Haven't bought anything from here, yet, but LOVE the Katy dress) (Haven't bought anything here yet either, but my friend gave them rave reviews and said that its totally worth the price).
(7) Prayer Request
I'm going to finish things up with a quick prayer request.  As many of ya'll have heard, a young teacher in MA was murdered this week.  She and I attended the same college. She was several years behind me, and so I never knew or met her, but we did have some mutual friends.  It is still scary for me to think about, especially because so many of my friends and family members are teachers.  I love this beautiful response which another blogger wrote after the death, and ask you to please keep Colleen, her family and friends, and the Danvers and Assumption communities in your prayers. Please and thank you.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes
 I am a little late to the party this week, but I still wanted to share my takes for this week.  Be sure to visit Conversion Diary for the rest of this week's Quick Takes.  
(1) Amazon Prime Video Streaming!
I just figured out that with an Amazon prime membership you can stream video of lots of shows and movies for free.  How did I never know this before?  the whole reason I have a membership in the first place is because of a free trial I forgot to cancel, but now that I have one I want to get my money's worth out of this membership.
(2) Friday Night Lights
I have been using all that Amazon Prime to stream lots of Friday Night Lights.  I started watching this show with my roommates when I was living out in SD and teaching, but we only got through part of season 1 and I never got to finish it. 
(3) Confession Time
I haven't been to church in weeks.  I hadn't been going for awhile because of my work schedule, then I got into a good rhythm and then I just stopped going again.
(4) Hypocrisy
If you're wondering why I bothered with posting the above confession, its because of hypocrisy.  That whole Revelation verse about the lukewarm being spit from the mouth?  Sometimes I can see myself becoming that.  I have a blog about spiritual living, connect to other Catholic blogs, drive around with a rosary in my car - and yet it seems I miss church more weeks than I make it lately.  Just trying to be transparent I guess.
(5) Interviews, Job Offers and Work
Things have been a bit crazy for me a bit lately, picking up lots of overtime, working 40-60 hours a week, yet also looking for a "full time" job.  Things have been a bit confusing lately, trying to figure out what direction comes next, analyzing a job offer I received to determine if it worth leaving my current job for.  A bit messy, but I guess that's life.
(6) Reevaluation
I feel like this whole job switching time is a good chance for some reevaluation - a chance to look at my current goals, see if they need any changing, and see if I am really taking steps to work toward them.
(7) The Goals
My main life goals are still the same as when I wrote them previously, they haven't changed, but my commitment to them definitely needs a kick in the pants.  I have decided to add a few short term goals to the list as well which are:  move out, make aggressive progress toward paying off my student loan, and gain skills/experience which will help me build a career in writing and marketing.

Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about isolation, Chardonnaydo, and the creepiness of Furbies (vol. 232)

I am linking up over at Jen's 7 Quick Takes.  Two weeks in a row might be a new record for me!  I have to say I'm kind of excited I managed to get my link in at spot #46, definitely better than last week's #92.  I would have been even earlier, but something was wrong with my internet connection.  I'm not the only one who gets excited about these things? Right?

(1) I'm Live!
That "new" writing home I talked about last week, is fully live.  Granted I don't know how to create a wordpress site and then not have it live, so it never wasn't, but I have started working on it and officially posting the link and sharing it.  So it is fully live.  Check it out
(2) New Blog Post Format?
Is anyone else finding a new blog post format here in Blogger?  Or have I just been out of the blogosphere long enough that it happened awhile ago, and I just missed the change?
(3) New Laptop, Windows 8
So I made a great purchase, of a new Toshiba Windows 8 laptop.  If you've lived on the VISTA stipend, you know the fact that I purchased this within weeks of ending my service is a big deal!  I found an amazing deal on a laptop for less than $250!
(4) Spellcheck
I have to say the total integration of spellcheck into the internet, apps etc. is a great feature of Windows8.  Did you know that "blogosphere" is a real live word? It didn't get picked up by spell check.  For some reason this makes me really happy!
(5) Not enough hours in the day...
I have to say when I go blog hopping, and see everything that some of the bloggers manage to get done in an average day, week etc. it sometimes amazes me.  Even without children, my own home etc. I still feel like there aren't enough hours in the day sometimes - hence I have a backseat full of cans waiting to be redeemed, an incredibly messy room, and dishes sitting in the sink...
(6) And yet, more than enough hours in the week...
I have been quickly learning that in the human services world, there is always enough hours for someone willing to work.  I am on about my 4th consecutive week of working overtime.  I was thinking yesterday "wow, I didn't really work that much this week," then I calculated my hours, and realized that including what is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, I'm at 57 hours...
(7) Fall
Fall. I still love it.  Fall is definitely my favorite season.  I love "fall things."  So far the "fall things" I've done are - pumpkin latte & pumpkin donut from Dunkin, salted caramel mocha at Starbucks (not really fall, but it is a seasonal drink..), made chicken chili soup in the crock pot, and - WENT TO THE BIG E!!! For the uninitiated the Big E, is the Eastern States Exposition, it is located in Western MA and serves as the state fair for all of New England.  All 6 states are present at the fair, and the fair ranks as one of the largest state fairs in the nation. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes -- Reinvention Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about isolation, Chardonnaydo, and the creepiness of Furbies (vol. 232)
(1) So Long, No Blog
As anyone checking my blog out right now can see, it's been a long time since I was "engaged" in the blogging world.  It started off unintentional, but after awhile it just felt "awkward" to start up again.  Since I've still been reading blogs regularly (perhaps more avidly than before), I decided I should get back into the blogging world.
(2) "Where" Do I Blog/Write
Where is my place in the blogging world? What type of blogs do I like to read?  I am constantly reading Christian and Catholic woman's blogs, and I realized that most of these are "mommy" blogs.  Why do I, as a childless, unattached 20-something read these so much? Because for the most part they're the only Catholic woman's presence on the web.  Unless you're headed to there isn't a ton (which does not mean none - there are some great blogs out there by singles) for the single young (wo)men of the Church.  That's the presence I'm hoping to be a part of.
(3) Re-Invention
I am definitely in a season of reinvention in my life.  I finished 2 years of AmeriCorps*VISTA.  I am working a most likely short-term job, which I do in fact really enjoy.  I'm trying to start a career.  This can be a scary season.  I feel like I'm a college senior all over again asking the big questions.  What do I want to do? What do I want to be? Where do I want to live?
(4) Fall
I love fall.  Let me rephrase that - I LOVE fall.  It is my favorite season, in a way that only a New Englander could understand.  Even though its a season of dying in many ways, I also see it as a season of refreshment - that cool crisp air, just seems to revitalize things after a long summer.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to laugh at articles like this -- despite coming from the Onion, I suspect that Mr. Autumn Man is NOT just a satire.
(5) My New Online Home
In addition to revitalizing this blog I also have another online home -- L.B. Writes  From this home, I will be venturing into marketing and communications consulting, doing freelance work for non-profits and small businesses.  I have a passion for keeping the "social" in social media, and using the power of the written word to do good in communities, by helping organizations promote positive social change.  I am hoping this will mean big things for me in the future.
(6) Personal Re-Invention
In addition to my career, there's been some personal re-invention going on.  This is the re-invention that says not only what do I want to do and what do I want to be, but also who do I want to be?  This is the reinvention that asks: what is my vocation?  what does GOD want me to do?  This is the reinvention that (at least past the age of a 22 year old college student) looks at "where do I want to live?" as a bigger question I wonder things like - what would happen if I met my future life partner while living in a big city, when I would want to raise a family in the country?  Personal re-invention is about not simply deciding what to be, but discerning who to be, and who to surround myself with.
(7) Faith Life Re-Invention
This one is a challenge and sometimes a failure, but still something I see as important.  It's been a struggle lately with my faith it seems, even the basic logistics of making it to Mass have been a struggle with my work schedule (Saturday day time then back-to-back overnight shifts Saturday and Sunday), but I realized that if I say this is important, and am not willing to sacrifice an extra hour of sleep or whatever else to make my faith a priority, I become like the lukewarm being spit out (Rev 3:16).  I'm trying to get my priorities in line, and go back to my philosophy journey driven living of living for those priorities everyday.