Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Not Alone Series: Deal Breakers

We have all thought about our list of qualities for our future spouse (and maybe even religious community), but sometimes those can be pretty limiting on who God has planned for you. Instead, maybe think about the few things that are so important to you, that if a guy you were considering dating (or community you were entering) didn't have those things, you would have to move on. Why are those things important to you?

My Faith is important to me, very. My family is very catholic, non-catholic. Going to church and praying alone is lonely. My most important deal breaker is my future husband has to be Catholic. The capital C kind. Who believes and accepts ALL the teachings of the church, I have learnt that those two don't always go together for some people. I love Jesus and the fullness of my Catholic Faith and he needs to as well. He doesn't have to be a perfect Catholic just a practising one.

He has to be living chastely. Not worrying about his past at this time, at least not enough for it to be an immediate deal breaker. However when we meet I need chastity to be a way of life for him not something he doesn't really believe in but will try for me. I certainly don't want to be fighting off grabby and wandering hands or explaining "I don't do that either". Although I guess this would fall under the first deal breaker of him being a practising catholic, although he doesn't have to be Catholic to live chastely.

Now I know people who marry non-Catholics and have a great life. There is a family at my church, the husband comes to Mass with his wife and family every Sunday, he is even semi-involved. They have been married for about 40 years and he is not Catholic, I don't think he has any plan to convert but he is at Mass, participating in everything except receiving Communion. There is another couple where the wife converted after a number of years, the oldest daughter was about eight when it happened. I know non-catholic spouses are not the end of the world. In my heart however, I'm not sure if I could handle one.

What are some of your deal breakers? What are those things you would find hard to overlook? Visit Jen for the link-up and see what everyone else is saying.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sunday Moments: She Left Her Water Jar

"Then the women left her water jar and went back to the city." John 4:28

Yesterday I was reading and something jumped at me "Faith is the willingness to look foolish." This Samaritan woman who Jesus met at the well she had just such Faith after her encounter with Christ.

She went to the well at the sixth hour alone. Women of that time did everything in groups, a journey to the well was not a solitary trip. She went at the sixth hour aka noon aka the hottest time of day aka the time of day that no one else will be making a well trek. This woman wanted to avoid others, to have nothing to do them.

Yet after an encounter with a Jewish man (the cultural faux pas abound) who offered her what should be impossible even after He lets her know that he knows all of her sins. Every wrong things she has ever done and is still doing (the husband she has not her husband).

This woman's time with Jesus inspired enough Faith for her to be willing to look foolish. Willing to face the people she went to great lengths to avoid. Her Faith was so great that she inspired others, others who were probably also trying to avoid her.

"Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony," John 4:39.

Can I step out in Faith like that? Can I inspire Faith like that? Can I leave behind my water jar? Can you?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Not Alone Series: Bucket List

What are those things that you want to do before you get married (or enter the religious life)? Is there anything that you're excited to do, accomplish, etc. before engagement, marriage, and babies come along? Even if you feel that you've done everything you wanted to do pre-marriage, dig deeper and see if there isn't anything else you'd like to do!

I remember the first time I travelled alone, I was so scared. Travelling alone was completely accidental, my sister and I had been planning this trip and then she had to pull out at close to the last minute. She wanted to cancel the whole thing but I had my heart set on it and I played brave and said I would go alone. Every fear of a single, young female travelling alone flashed through my mind for weeks on end but I was determined to do it. Best decision ever. I was cold-sweating on departure day and I made everyone stay at the airport with me until the very last second but I went and had the time of my life. I loved the feeling of being independent and getting to do a lot on my list that my sister didn't want to do. I faced a fear and lived to tell the tale.

A lot of my bucket list has to do with travel and facing my fears. Getting out of my comfort zone.

Finally take that trip with my sister, I have fallen in love with solo travel so my sister and I have yet to take that trip just us.

Live and possibly work abroad for six months to a year. That independent feeling of living all alone for longer than a one or two week vacations. Not hiding behind the familiar but putting myself out there, getting out of my comfort zone.

Learn to ice-skate properly. I live in the Caribbean, snow is non-existent but I have ice-skated before (indoor rink on a cruise ship), however the 2 year old whizzing by with her dad was ten times better than I was. My balance is zero and I was terrified of falling but I had a great time so I need to find a way to learn.

Experience snow. I know many of you are probably sick of snow right now but I have never seen snow up close and personal. I am not a fan of cold so I go to warm places like Florida for my vacation during the winter. I want to build a snow man and make snow angels, get in a snowball fight.

Take a spontaneous trip. I plan my trips down to the very last detail. I may be over my fear of solo travel but I still need everything just right.

Go to Europe. France and Rome are musts for this trip but there are other countries I want to visit as well.

Learn to play the piano. I took music lessons for a while as a child and I can probably still play "Mary had a little lamb" but a more grown up piece might be better. I can practice with my kids when they take lessons.

Learn to swim. Yes I live on an island (two if you want to get technical) and I cannot swim. I practically lived at the beach as a child and spent a lot of time in the water but I had/have a little fear of letting go, or at least being let go of.

These are just a few of the things I want to get done before I take on a new role in life.

What are some things in your bucket list? Check out what everyone else has visit Morgan for the link-up.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Not Alone Series: Why Not Both?

We've been hearing a lot that "married people and single people can't relate to one another". What is your perspective on this? In what ways can we bridge the gap between singles and marrieds?

For me sometimes it is hard after a friend gets married to maintain the friendship we had before but I am learning that's okay. I can't maintain the same friendship because it has changed just as friendships change when you transition from kids to teenagers, students to working adults, friendships change when marriage enters the picture.

Allow the friendship to evolve and grow, enjoy the aspects that stay the same and embrace the things that are new and different. I have hated some of the changes but many have been great and have actually helped to improve my friendships along the way. One of them being the great resource of the husband when an unbiased, semi-neutral, male opinion is needed.

Realise that you aren't the only one experiencing a change, your married friends are also affected by the changes that are taking place. One friend after she got married felt a little left out of the group for a while. We had no idea she felt that way for a while but after a very heartfelt conversation we realised that we all had preconceived notions about the other and they were far from correct. While we were thinking that she would prefer to spend the time with the hubby (and she did but not all the time) she thought we didn't really want her around as much, which was definitely not true.

Communication is so important. Everyone is sitting around thinking what they are thinking and if no one is doing any talking we can continue to believe what we think is correct and it could be very far from that.

My married friends and I do many new activities when we get together and some are growing on me like spending time baby watching and talking instead of maybe going out. We miss out on doing some other activities like getting away for the weekend, then those who were there would tell the stories but we have learnt to be sensitive so as not to make people feel left out.

I believe if I loved you as a good friend when we were both single, I can also love you as a  good friend now that you're married. It may take time to find a new normal but if I treasure the friendship and you do to we can make it work.

How do you bridge the gap between the singles and the married? See what everyone else is saying visit Jen for the link up.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunday Moments: Between One Man and One Man

It's the First Sunday of Lent. The catecumen were introduced at Mass and we the faithful were asked to do our part for them pray, be good examples and the like. They said yes to the questions they were asked. We said yes to the task we were given.

Jesus said yes when he went into the wilderness. Scripture says "Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil" but He knew what was not just in the wilderness but also on that hill in Calvary.

Something I heard today that really had me thinking "fasting (and abstaining) sits between "yes" and "no" on the seat of temptation. Think about it you don't eat ice-cream all the time, in fact you can go days maybe a week or more without eating it just naturally but when you decide to give it up for some reason (Lent) you suddenly crave ice-cream like nobodies business. A friend will just call up asking you to just go out for ice-cream. You may go out to dinner with friends and then they may ask if maybe you want something sweet just as you are passing that new frozen yogurt place that you have been wanting to try, you may reason with yourself that that frozen yogurt is not really ice-cream. There you stand (or sit) between yes or no, tempted, knowing what you should do but a little voice whispering what could it hurt. Feel free to substitute with something else that speaks to you.

When Jesus met the tempter He was hungry, He hadn't eaten for 40 days and nights. He was starving, John the Baptist's locust and honey probably looked like a gourmet meal right then. Starting out by trying to speak to Jesus' pride the devil pretends to question the validity of Jesus being the Son of God to trick Him. The devil tries to distort scripture to trick Jesus and then finally he tries to get Jesus to worship him.

In His weakened and tired state you would that Jesus would not have been at His best yet He mad the right choice between yes and no everytime. It is not easy to resist temptation because let's face it you are only really tempted when it is something you really like, really want or really need, something you think you cannot possibly do without. Jesus was able to stay strong because He lived chose to live on the word of God and to worship and serve only God. In His weakened state Jesus knew His need for God.

In my Lenten journey I hope to recognise my weakened state and rely on God, to know I need Him.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday #57

--- 1 ---
I had plans to write this QT when I got home yesterday but I went to Adoration after work, then there was Stations of The Cross, Benediction and a talk plus lots and lots of incense. Incense gives me a headache (#badcatholic) so I came home, vegged out on the couch trying to recover and then just going to bed with no relief.

--- 2 ---
I survived Ash Wednesday. Now there are many days that I can get so busy that I forget to eat and doesn't bother me one bit. Even Good Friday (a holiday here) and I am home fasting doesn't bother me but Ash Wednesday is always hard. Maybe it's having to go to work after being home for days or the graces of Lent prepares me for Good Friday but I suck at Ash Wednesday fasting. This year I mused to myself that I am really looking forward to being pregnant and nursing during Lent (after I get married of course) then I can just have three regular meatless meals but no snacks so Ash Wednesday can not be so hard.

--- 3 ---
Yesterday, Friday March 7th was exactly 9 months before my birthday, Friday November 7th. It was also a 1st Friday and my birthday will be a 1st Friday. Being the good Catholic girl that I am (most of the time) my mind started seeing possibilities, so I will be praying a 1st Friday Novena during these months. I started yesterday and will end on my birthday. I already go to Mass and Adoration on 1st Fridays and Confession the day before of after so this is my gift to myself.

--- 4 ---
On Thursday everything that could go wrong at work did and then some. I was really losing it and then a friend called, she called me for a reason that we never even got into. She knew something was wrong almost immediately and ended up talking me down and encouraging me. She said this is Lent, the devil is extra busy and annoyed, she advised me to pray a Hail Mary whenever I felt myself losing it or someone getting to me and that she was praying. She said some other things and it really helped me. #catholicfriendsforthewin. Of course we never got around to what she needed, so I'm not as great a friend,

--- 5 ---
The Not Alone Series this week we shared bachelorette party ideas. There are some really great, raunch free ideas.  Come check out the link up.

--- 6 ---

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

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Not Alone Series: Bachelorette Parties

It's inevitable that we will plan our friends bachelorette parties at some point or another, but how do we make them fun without all the raunch? Give us your ideas for fun things to do with a bridal party without all the crazy.

I am not much of a party planner but my idea of celebrating getting married does not included p-straws or kissing random guys or having them give me inappropriate things.

I believe the bachelorette party should suit the bride that's why I was not too upset that a friend choose running a race or three to be her either of a great weekend. Seriously this girl ran a 5, a 10 and 15 k over the weekend in addition to some low key partying in the hotel room. She had fun which is the important thing. Disclaimer I did not run others did.

I had one friend who is very low key by nature. The maid of honour chose to just have us close friends get together for a night of food and memories. We told stories of how we each knew the bride, how we met and became friends, it was a very teary but special night.

One of my friends who got married a little over a year ago met her husband the day she left a Religious Life discernment house. We simply had a night of prayer and games. She felt comfortable and was happy, I think the crown helped too. Board games with my friends can get very wild.

I am childish at heart I wouldn't mind a day of bowling, ice-skating, arcade games and karaoke, maybe carnival rides. I also wouldn't mind a spa get away with a night in a plush hotel just me and my girls.

How would you plan a non-raunchy bachelorette party? Check everyone else's ideas visit Morgan for the link-up.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

7 Posts in 7 Days The End

It's 11:30ish on Sunday night. The last day of this last day of the 7 posts in 7 days challenge. I did it, I made it to the end. I don't think I did it too well all the time. I'm learning to be okay with that.

I don't need to be perfect all the time. It's okay to have flaws and for people to see those flaws. It's good to ensure that you do you best at what you do but sometimes your best is not the greatest and that is okay.

I went into to this without any real plans. I had two link ups and the other five days were up for grabs. I had some ideas and I wanted to clear up my drafts a little bit. However except for the link-ups and one other posts that did not happen.

I do hope this little challenge has broken me out of my rut a little because I do want to write a little more. We shall see.

Well I better hurry this up or I'll miss my cut off time.

Lent starts this week and I have two days off work to prepare for it, maybe I'll get some writing done in between sleeping, cleaning, reading, sleeping and preparing for Lent.

It has been fun checking out new blogs. Can't wait to get to know some of you better through your writings. Welcome to anyone who is new, hope you stick around.

It's been swell. Have a good week.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Privileges and Challenges of Being Catholic in Today's Society

I am Catholic. I am a practising Catholic. That is a beautiful thing. It is not always an easy thing.

These privileges and challenges are mine, some may be very unique to me and others may be a little more universal. Some of my privileges I even consider challenges at times.

One privilege I would say of being Catholic in Trinidad is that non-Catholic are a little more in tuned to our liturgical calendar. Most of the country abstains from meat on Good Friday, it's a cultural norm. On Ash Wednesday only 1 person may tell me I have something on my forehead. In fact I have gone a full workday without anyone saying anything.

Challenge, non-Catholics seem to think they know your Faith better that you do. True I may not know my Faith as well as I should but to be preached the wrong thing as if it is genuine fact is a little insulting.

The Sacraments are definitely a privilege of being Catholic. I get to receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist every single day. I get to avail myself of Confession regularly so that I can draw nearer to Him by reconciliation removing the stumbling blocks that sin creates between us.

Challenge, Confession. It is hard and it is not. I wake up in the morning, tell myself I am going to try to make it to Confession later in the day but by noon I have a hundred reasons why today is not a good day. I have 500 reasons why I don't really need to go today. I have a thousand reasons why it will be better just to skip it. Then I get there the line is long, everyone is taking a really long time. I'm hot, hungry or thirsty. Maybe all three. Then I get in, get out and it's a privilege again.

As a Catholic I am privileged to be called to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour. I make His ways, my ways. I try to live a life that is more than just seeking temporal happiness.

I am challenged everyday in my walk with Christ by a world that walks a different way. A world that tells me temporal happiness is what I need. A world that tells me how I choose to live is stifling and oppressive.

When I travel it is a privilege to experience the universality of the Catholic Church. I don't have to seek a church whose theology is most similar to mine or as close as I can get it. I get a Mass that is the same, I get theology that is the same and a homily that is unique.

There are so many more privileges to being Catholic and few more challenges but I'll stop here. Feel free to add your own privileges and challenges to living your Catholic Faith.