Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Not Alone Series: Marriage

Most of us here feel called to the vocation of marriage...but what is it exactly that you're attracted to? What have you seen in others' marriages that you've learned from or would do differently? (maybe this is from married friends or your parents!)

Happy Easter everyone!!! Hope you all had a great start to the Easter season. He is risen, Alleluia Alleluia!!!!

Honestly I knew I felt called to marriage because I wanted kids. Now I know a priest who said he felt called to the priesthood because he wanted children so I know that those who have a religious calling also have a desire for parenthood but differently I guess. My desire pulls me towards marriage.

What attracts me to marriage however is what I call the intimacy of normal. Simple, everyday, ordinary tasks that take on an invisible layer of intimacy that's so easy to miss but do beautiful. I am fascinated by couples who grocery shop together, the meet up at the grocery cart or when they start to laugh for no reason over a tin of peas.

Most of the time is not even something special on the outside but still seems so special and intimate to me. I was privileged not too long ago to ride with a great couple after Mass, listening to them discuss the reading and the homily. Applying it to their life, sharing their thoughts and hearts. Simple. Sharing the everyday, ordinary stuff.

Don't get me wrong if I get a super romantic guy who loves to buy me roses I will be ecstatic but I just love the simplicity of having someone to do the ordinary, everyday with.

What are your thoughts on the attraction of marriage?

See what everyone else has to say or share your own thoughts, visit Jen for the link-up.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Not Alone Series: Selfish Singles

How do you combat being selfish with your time? As a single person, it's easy to get caught up in our own little independent world. There are those moments when we are needed for extra church things, hanging with our friend's kids, getting caught up with something on the one night you could stay in, etc. where we get frustrated that the needs of others are taking away from our own time. How do you avoid this selfish tendency and what do you do to avoid becoming frustrated with "sharing" you time with others?

My grandmother has a saying "friends take you but they don't bring you back", I heard it practically daily as a teenager to warn me against the dangers of following bad company. However the Bible tells me that iron sharpens iron, Proverbs 27:17.

Friends have definitely been very helpful in sharpening me and keeping me from selfishness. I do have the other kind as well but over the years I have learnt to recognised and choose the kind of friend who will enlighten, inspire and encourage over the ones who will keep me stagnant or drag me down.

It is so much easier to give of my time when there is someone else in the trenches with you. Recently my friend called me up to be at a conference as prayer support. I did not want to go, it started early Saturday morning and would take up most of my day. I had errands to run and I had had a long week so I desperately wanted some veg time. I did go simply because my friend asked me and we hadn't spent much time together in a while, I am so glad I went. The time I got to spend with my friend was great though it wasn't much in the way of hanging out but doing something with her, serving with her and just serving was even better.

Sometimes I also need to examine my motives. There will be times that I am genuinely tired and NEED that me time. Those times I'm okay with saying no. There are the times when I just feel like I have given enough and I just don't want to or need to give any more. Those times I need to really look at what is driving that which I don't always feel to in the moment but when I have a quiet moment and feeling a little more at peace I can look back at why I was feeling a certain way.

Doing something I love is a great motivator for me when it comes to being of service to others. You never have to ask me twice to babysit or watch the kids at an event where mommy and daddy are busy. I love children, especially babies, so I am always up for giving my time.

I am also for serving in one area that helps me avoid another task that I particularly don't like. I am a queen of the retreat registration desk by now. It keeps me away from the initial mingling with retreatants and the big welcome talk where I have to be out front talking, I need time to warm up before I am surrounded by a swarm of people I don't know and most people hate the registration desk anyway so I get to be of service and bonus I meet people one on one for a short period and ease my way into the whole thing.

Where can you be of service? What are some ways that you avoid selfish tendencies?

Check out Morgan for the link-up, see what everyone else is saying.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Not Alone Series: Do's and Don'ts of First Dates

What are those things that we should be doing, and the things that we shouldn't be doing? They can be from the physical parts (clothes to wear, places to go, things to say) or emotional parts (talking about it all the time, planning the future, etc). We can all learn something in hindsight, so what are your tips to share?

Now I don't have a lot of experience with first dates and the few that I did have were not shining examples of what a first date should be. I would like to think I have learnt a few things though so here are my pearl of wisdom.

Do remember who you are. It may have been a while since you've had a date or may be not so long. You may feel like you've known this guy for ever though you've just met or he may be a total dud. However you will always be you, a child of God. Be gracious even if he isn't. Have self-control even if he doesn't.

Don't forget your standards. No overly friendly physical contact. Have in your mind and you heart your list of Nos and stick to them. It's just the first date, even if he is the most amazing guy you have ever met and you JUST know he is the one, it is still just the first date.

Do have a list of talking points handy. If you are like me, not a natural conversationalist, it may be a good idea to have some pre-chosen topics to talk about during lulls. Don't plan a whole conversation, just have a few topics that you can easily talk about like your favourite football team or Saint. Have a few questions you would like to ask him like about his job or his family. Remember it's not an interrogation just a get to know you.

Don't let your conversation only be negative. If you don't like something that's fine. You don't agree with his point of view on something that's fine too. If everything that comes out of your mouth is whiny and negative that is not fine. Don't suppress your thoughts just to have a good date or impress the guy but maybe you can redirect the conversation if it have been on a negative track too long.

Do be safe. If this a totally new guy especially let someone know where you'll be. Have a day date instead of an evening or night date. Meet somewhere public instead of having him pick you up at home, bonus you have your own car if the date goes south for other reasons.

Do dress comfortably. You want to look nice, special. You want to impress. That's great. However if you are a t-shirt, jeans and sneaker kind of girl then the 10 inch heels may not be the way to go. Dress-up to suit your style and personality.

Do pray. Get God in on this. Before, during and after. Ask Him to be there with you. Thank Him for the great guy who has kept you laughing, smiling or surprised. Beg Him to save you from the jerk. Ask Him to give you patience, calm your nerves and help you to relax.

Do have fun. With dating there is the good, the bad and the ugly. A first date may not necessarily lead to a second but you can still enjoy yourself.

What are your do's and don'ts for dates? See what everyone else has to say, visit Jen for the link-up.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Not Alone Series: Beginning of the Year Goals + Lent!

Remember our first post this year? How are the goals you set going? Regardless of how your goals are going, how are you utilizing this Lent to continue to strive for those goals?

In my first post I spoke about expecting more from myself. Seeing around the problems to the alternatives, the other way around. Remembering "with God I can scale any wall" Ps 18:29

I will say I have my good days and my bad days.

I am realising (not that I didn't know before) that the "with God" is super important. I can expect more of myself, I can look for alternatives, find them and try to do them but without God it's just hard and difficult and draining and downright discouraging.

By expecting more of myself I am learning to trust God more. I am praying more about the tiny things. I have always prayed about the big things, I have along the way learnt to pray about the little things but I never realised that there are tiny problems and situations that I usually tried to handle on my own. I'd get frustrated and give up.

I find myself now asking God to show me the way in some things that I would usually see as not worth the bother but I have realised can really dig at you and leave marks. It's easy to believe you can't if you say it enough times.

This is really helping me through Lent, my usual meat withdrawal and hatred of all things fish is absent this year. I am finding it easier to focus on my goal for Lent which is emerging at Easter looking more like Jesus instead of the steps that I have chosen to get me there. Laura wrote this great post "Which battle are you fighting this Lent" over at Ignium Today. I have been fighting the the wrong battle, so focused on the steps I missed the goal, in fact I usually forgot about the goal.

Expecting more of myself is not about learning to rely on myself knowing I can do it, it's about trusting God and relying on Him to show me the way.

What were your goals at the beginning of the year? Have they changed? Stayed the same but look different? How are you utilizing them this Lent?

Visit Morgan for the link-up, have your say and see what everyone else has to say.