Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Settling

No one would encourage you to "settle" in your relationships, but would you ever consider it?
What are your thoughts on settling in relationships in general?

This topic is proving hard for me to get started with, I have my opinions on this topic. In fact a few friends and I were having a discussion on this topic not too long ago. Just getting the words out is not as easy.

Women and men sometimes feel like this is never going to happen for me so I should just find someone, anyone who is willing to have me and move on. They stop trusting God. All those women who are telling themselves that they don't need a man to have kids and instead decide to "do it on their own".

I am worth it. I am worth the wait. I am worth getting to know. I am worth loving. I am worth standing in front of the Alter before God, family and friends as a life-long commitment is made. I had a conversation that turned into a fight with someone about her relationship with her boyfriend and one line she threw at me was very telling "Do you want me to be alone?" I can't speak to her heart or mind exactly but when she asked me that I realised that she was willing to settle because she probably didn't think she was worth much or could do better. I struggle with my own self-worth issues and I'd like to think I will stand strong but I know I can't do it alone.

I pray that I remain strong enough not to settle. I was playing with a friend's 9 month old son on Sunday, making him laugh and enjoying everything he was doing, my heart was aching for a baby of my own but I do not want one above God and everything He wants for me. It is very easy to make my desire for a husband and babies an idol, something that I want at all cost, above everything and everyone else. It will be very easy to tell myself I deserve this, compromise everything I believe to just settle into something that I think will give me everything I want.

I do know that there will be times that we may need or want to compromise just a little. That great, godly man who makes you heart skip a few beats doesn't attend Daily Mass or pray the Rosary daily but when he discusses Ven. Fulton Sheen (you have no idea who he is) with such passion you get goosebumps may just be worth something.

What are your thoughts on settling? Join or check out the link up on Jen's blog.

Friday, 25 October 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #46

--- 1 ---
This week has been hard. I am exhausted between work and last minute running around for the retreat this weekend all I want to do is sleep, it is not helping that my sinuses are not co-operating.

--- 2 ---
I bought a new printer at the beginning of the month and I only opened it on Thursday, it took me over two hours to set up. It's an e-printer/wireless/3-in-one and needs a rocket scientist to set it up. Every time I send a print it asks me to align the printer which I have already done a few times already so I ignore it every time.I'll probably try to fix it tomorrow.

--- 3 ---
This is the last Friday in October. This year seems to have flown by so quickly, my birthday is in two weeks, then we have the Feast of Christ the King a couple weeks after that and then we're in Advent, preparing for Christmas. It feels like I was just doing that.

--- 4 ---
I still have to pack for my retreat which is not happening right now but hopefully I'll remember everything. Please pray for us this weekend and I will pray for anyone who wants as I'll be spending much time in Adoration.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we looked at Patience. There were quite a few insightful thoughts so check them out.
--- 6 ---
It's retreat weekend!!!!

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Patience

(when you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?)

I am not patient in the least, let's just get that out of the way. As a kid I read the last chapter of the book first. I like to know where I'm going and what steps I can cut out to get there faster. Unfortunately I have no sense of direction and I have friends who are chronically late so I find myself waiting a lot. God definitely has a sense of humour.

One of my favourite verses is Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future with hope." This verse is both comforting and frustrating. I often find myself praying this verse asking God what is this plan and when does it start. I know where I want to go but I don't know the steps, God has the map and I don't know what I can cut out to get to my destination faster.

I've heard a story a few times of a child who saw a butterfly struggling to emerge from it's cocoon and decided to help. However because the butterfly wasn't allowed to struggle and go through every step, it was too weak, he wasn't fully formed. He couldn't fly.

"In God alone be at rest my soul." Ps 62:5. Trusting God, really trusting Him and being at peace with His plan. This is not easy, that is why I try to stay close to Him. Pray always even when it's hard, especially when it's hard. Adoration, sometimes it's enough just to be in His presence other times I have much more to say. His Word, my bible and I are not the best of bosom buddies at times but I know I can always find just the right verse, passage or even chapter when I need it.

Strong, faithful friends who will tell you the hard truths, stand by you, support and encourage you, let you cry pray for you and with, be there for you, in real life or online. Sometimes I don't even really need to bring up that I am feeling impatient or frustrated, a relevant conversation may just come up and the discussion may be just what I needed. I also need to work on being that kind of friend to others so that I can encourage and support them also.

Patience is a virtue and virtue is a grace. Even when I am sick of waiting, impatient with being patient I can see the graces that have gotten me to where I am now (stronger in my Faith, a better friend and person, more mature) and hopefully those graces will help me get to where I am going.

Be sure to check out what everyone else thinks in the link up on Morgan's blog.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #45

--- 1 ---
I actually started this on Thursday but it has become QT Saturday because I have so much that had to get done. Although the main culprit is the surprise birthday party that I attended Thursday night. I had told myself that I would leave at ten since I had to be at work on Friday and I have Mass at 6:30. I go home close to midnight but I had fun, my friend was surprised and I got up to go to Mass before work

--- 2 ---
Friday a worker from my department had her retirement function, it was actually a function for three retiring employees. It was very sad, she has been working at this company longer than I have been alive. The function was very nice and touching, there were laughs, memories and really good food.

--- 3 ---
Today Saturday I will be attending a anniversary/birthday Mass then heading out to hangout with the birthday girls. We have no idea where we are going, there is a great place that has a number of places to eat, drink and enjoy free entertainment on Saturday nights. Free live entertainment should be good since I am looking for an affordable night.

--- 4 ---
Today I start praying a St Jude Novena. St Jude is the name of my Church so I usually pray it but with everything going on I was going to skip it this year but since praymorenovenas.com is leading one this year I get my email reminders so I don't have worry about being distracted by everything else going on.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we discussed Chastity. There were quite a few insightful thoughts so check them out.
--- 6 ---
Only one more week until my retreat. We have so much done yet sometimes it feels like we have so much still to do. We keep praying and working, God is good.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Chastity

Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

Chastity lets us live with upright and undivided hearts.

Chastity is NOT abstinence. Chastity comes from the Latin word castus meaning pure. Many of the internet definitions that I saw referenced not having sex before marriage but chastity is so much more. Chastity does not only direct what you do before marriage but also what comes after. In fact it can be argued that chastity can have nothing to do with sex and it is about so much more that just the physical act. Chastity is the difference between loving and using.

Emotional chastity, I'm not sure how wide spread the term is in secular culture but it is like the it phrase in the Christian world. Do we even know what it really is? I'm still not sure I can fully articulate a definition. We can be attracted to someone for the way they make us feel, think, act or even the idea of being with them and we can just as easily begin using them instead of building a true, authentic relationship.

This post is not however about the definitions of chastity but rather our struggles with it and how we overcome.

We are naturally predisposed to certain desires (it's why advertising is such big business) and while most of these desires are not wrong how we indulge them just might be. Just like ads heighten and sensitize us to crave that ice-cream, new car or juicy steak what we read, listen to and watch can affect our desires. I try to be very careful about about what I read and watch on t.v, I don't need to see every big buster that hits the big screen and I am particular about my listening choices.

Chastity takes discipline. Chastity also takes grace, lots and lots of grace. Every time I meet a great guy who shows interest (and even if he doesn't) I have to pray about it. My reactions, his reactions, my thoughts and his because if he's ringing all my bells it is very easy to picture him standing at the alter all decked out waiting for me. It will also be easy to go many places that we should not.

There are quite a few chastity resources, most in my opinion are geared towards teenagers but I believe that most of them should still be helpful.

A few useful resources
Audio Talks
Back to the Garden: Theology of the Body from Eden to Today by Dr. Edward Sri
Avoiding Fatal Attractions by Dr. Edward Sri
Getting it Right: The Foundation of Friendship by Dr. Edward Sri

Check out what everyone else has to say on the subject or join the link up over at Jen's blog

Friday, 11 October 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #44

--- 1 ---
It's less than a month until my birthday. I love my birthday, I go all out for my birthday. Although I am a little behind in my planning, I haven't decided on what kind of cake I'm having this year or where I am having dinner. I usually have dinner out every other year, I also usually make my own cake, last year was a lemon curd cheesecake but I am coming up empty this year.

--- 2 ---
Less than a month after my birthday I am going on vacation. I always like to take Advent off, it's my favourite Liturgical season (I say that a lot but Advent really is) so I like to take my time through this season, no unnecessary rushing. I have already ordered my Magnificat Advent companion and I am looking at what other books I want to read through this period.

--- 3 ---
The best part of my vacation..... I am headed to Florida for 10 days. I have already hit up masstimes.org, picked a church, checked out their Daily Mass, Adoration and Confession schedule. This is not my first trip to Florida but my time to this particular area. I am really looking forward to 10 days of downtime.

--- 4 ---
I prayed the St Therese de Lisieux novena a week ago and since the first day that I started I have been seeing roses. I have also been having my prayers answered. I just had to share that because God is so good.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we our favourite recipes for one. Check out what everyone likes to cook maybe you'll find a new favourite or at least something to add to your recipe box or pinterest.
--- 6 ---
Retreat planning is coming along well, making changes to logistics and schedule as needed but everything is starting to fall into place. There are still quite a few things that need to be finalised but I am like how everything is going. We keep praying and working, God is good.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Fave Recipes.......For One

Fave Recipes... for one!
(ok, or a small crowd!)

One is such a lonely number.

I love to cook and I have been cooking for just one and sometimes two (I live with my sister) for a while now and I am not the biggest fan of leftovers. Therefore I have mastered the art of single cooking, unfortunately I don't measure or re-write recipes when I make changes.

I do have a few tricks that I like to employ like this nifty chart for reducing a recipe

There are some recipes that cannot be reduced using this chart like choux pastry (learnt that one personally) or some cakes but as far as I know everything else is fair game.

If you don't measure like me but rather cook by sight, smaller cooking tools are great for helping to make smaller amounts.

I use that baking dish to make fruit crisp/cobblers as well as small cakes, souffle for one. I also have a small baking sheet, muffin/cup cake tin and a couple other baking stuff. I have regular sizes too but the small ones are great for when I want to make just enough.

"Re-purpose" your leftovers. Leftover rice then make fried rice, you can use any vege or meat (shredded or diced) along with it too. Leftover pasta, maybe try a cassetole. Meat and veges, try tacos or a wrap. Just because you eating the same thing twice in the same week doesn't mean you have to eat it the same way.

I like this cheese souffle, I made it and it's not too complicated just precise. It's kind of fancy without being difficult. It's perfect for one.

I make fruit crisps all the time for an easy desert, frozen fruit of choice, sugar (or sweetener of choice), oatmeal, butter. Mix about a cup or 2 of fruit with 1 tablespoon of flour(for thickening) and about 1.5 tablespoon of sugar (more if you like sweeter), pour into baking dish. Mix oats with butter (1.5 tablepsoons), a sprinkle sugar then spread over fruit mix. Bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy.
 either or not both

These Spinach Egg Cups freeze well and are great if I do say so myself.

See what everyone else is cooking, see Morgan for the link-up.

Friday, 4 October 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #43

--- 1 ---
So we have an OFFICIAL date for the canonization of JP II and Pope John 23rd, April 27th. Anyone wants to pay my way to Rome, I will love you forever, babysit your kids without complaint, clean your house or cook every meal for the next 3 years. :)

--- 2 ---
A friend handed me the chance to go to Haiti for some charity work with her in 1st week of November. It's my birthday week that I have been planning for a while but this also feels like a great opportunity but I don't know if I can hold up well when faced with suffering kids. I'm not even sure if I can get the time off from work but I am excited and nervous all at the same time at the thought of being able to go.

--- 3 ---
I will be praying a Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary along with praymorenovenas.com in anticipation of Pope Francis consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Sunday 13th October. The novena starts today.

--- 4 ---
My favourite department store is having their annual 10 day sale, so tomorrow I am going to pick along the carcass in hopes of finding some things that I want, need and can use. My mother went on the first day and when she left to return what she wanted was sold out but I am still hopeful. There are two branches that I can visit easily tomorrow so I have a few options

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we discussed careers as vocation. There were some very interesting points of view, so check out what everyone had to say.
--- 6 ---
I had to write a press release for our upcoming retreat, I am the most critical of my writing, if I was not working with a deadline I would never even finish. I edited the life out of that thing and I still was not satisfied when I was done. Moving on, anyone have favourite ice-breakers or get to know you activities that can work at a retreat?

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Careers As A Vocation

(How do we know what God's call is for us if we are focused on our careers? Is it appropriate to focus on that career and then get married/enter religious life later? Or maybe the call/vocation IS the career and you could be single?)

I have three friends who are in their last year of Seminary, one was a very successful lawyer who struggled for a while before deciding on the priesthood. Another was a teacher who had thought about it then dismissed it. The last one had the fastest route to his vocation. I can't really speak for all of them but for at least one I know he would not change anything about his journey.

I believe that we are to live our spirituality, seek God's Will and listen to His voice wherever we may be at the moment. God has a plan for all us but part of that plan is not sitting around worrying and wondering what that plan is.

Moses was a prince and then a shepherd minding his own when he heard the Lord. Samuel was a boy asleep when God called him. Therefore I could be knee deep in spreadsheets if I live my life prayerfully and attentive to God's Will I am unlikely to miss His call for me.

A career just may be the path to your vocation. I want to be a wife and a mother, but that may not be what God wants for me. Or if my career could be my training ground for being the type of wife and mother that I will need to be. We can't constantly be worrying about what is not ours to worry about, we can pray and seek advice but we can't constantly let the "what if" and "maybe's" paralyse us from fully living our lives.

When I started working, I loved it and happy envisioned myself as a working wife and mother. It was different from how I grew up since my mother stayed home but I thrived as a working woman and couldn't see myself not working. Now I can easily see myself as a stay-at-home wife and mother, the transition would take some getting used to since I still love working. I know that what ever I end up being God will give me the grace to live it out.

So how do we know God's call for us if we focus on our careers? Pray, listen, trust.

Want to know everyone else's thoughts on this topic or share your own then head over to Jen's for the link-up