Friday, May 28, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (#1)

These "quick takes" are hosted by Jennifer at I highly recommend you go check out what she has to say for the day as well! Click on the picture above to link to her blog.

  1. Last night, the thunder storms coming through my area were truly magnificent. Lighting up the entire sky, drenching rain… it was a true definition of the word awesome. I especially love after the thunderstorm, when the ground has a certain glow and you can hear the birds calling out again. Just a beautiful natural experience.
  2. I love Friday. I know, everyone says that, but I really do. And lately, I’ve had another reason to love Friday: the airing of the second season of Merlin on SyFy Fridays at 10 PM. I know it’s crazy, but I love this show, and I honestly look forward to every Friday night at 10 PM. Good thing I have a minimal social life so it doesn’t interfere with my television schedule...
  3. I tutor high school students in chemistry. There is one student that I have been working with since about November, and since she misses so much class, I basically have taught her more than her teacher. I am sure I will do a post on some of what they have taught me eventually, but I got some good news this week. She passed her statewide standardized exam for chemistry! It was a very exciting moment for her teacher, her mom, and me. A lot of hard work went into that!
  4. I just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. It’s based on Hamlet, but unlike most adaptations of Shakespeare’s work, I still found myself wondering “What’s going to happen next!?!?!?” It’s placed in the American plains area on a dog breeding farm, and how the author works in characters like Ophelia and Polonius is quite interesting. I highly recommend reading it, and I’ve posted a review of it here.
  5. Speaking of reading, I just started People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, and I LOVE IT. First off, the main character works in the preservation and study of old manuscripts, but she also has a fictional degree in chemistry, so the little snippets of chemistry knowledge that filter their way into the story are quite refreshing. You will probably hear more from me on this.
  6. We’ve re-started Bible Study for the summer out at the Newman Center on campus. We are doing “The Great Adventure” series with an 8-week study through the timeline of the Bible. I’m really enjoying it so far… one thing I picked up from this week’s lesson is that man and woman were created on the 6th day, just like the animals and beasts, but unlike the beasts, we were created for the 7th day - so let us work toward the 7th day!
  7. This week, for some reason, has seemed unreasonably long. So I am very glad that it is Friday and I have a long weekend ahead of me. Sometimes these long weeks have a tendency to pull me down spiritually… what do you do when you feel yourself getting weighed down by the drudge of the work week? This week, I went to Mass every day, and I think that helped make each day go by in a manageable fashion.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bucket List - Catholic Church Edition

3810 Massachusetts Avenue NW 
3411 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE 

400 Michigan Ave., NE
1725 Rhode Island Avenue NW 

1501 K St., NW
2712 Dumbarton Street NW 

1400 Quincy St., NE
2210 F Street NW 

1357 East Capitol Street SE 
920 11th Street NE 
206 New York Avenue NW 
595 Third Street NW
36th Street at N Street NW 
8th Street and N Street NW 
6001 13th Street NW 
4835 MacArthur Boulevard NW 
Western Avenue at Quesada Street NW
16th Street and Park Road NW 
900 North Capitol Street NW 
4400 Wisconsin Avenue NW 
12th Street and Monroe Street NE 
630 E Street SW 
2015 Rhode Island Avenue NE 
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue SE 
26 Grant Circle NW 
Second and C Streets NE
4925 East Capitol Street SE
1900 North Capitol Street NW
725 5th Street NW 
Tenth Street and G Street NW
333 Second Street SE
25th Street and Pennsylvania Ave NW
2665 Woodley Road NW 
14 M Street SE

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bucket List - DC Edition

The following is my bucket list for the time I am living in DC, however long that may be. Things will be added and taken away, and I appreciate any suggestions for things to do in the DC area.

  1. Seeing the Sites
    1. Go on a White House tour
    2. Visit all the Smithsonian Museums
    3. Tour the Capitol Building
    4. Tour the Library of Congress
    5. Take my picture in front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building (or even better... get a picture inside!)
  2. Doing the DC Thing
    1. See the lighting of the National Christmas Tree
    2. Ride each Metro line in its entirety
    3. Take the ferry boat from Old Town Alexandria to DC
    4. Learn how to drive like I'm a native/manage to not get lost while driving through the city
  3. Out and About
    1. Take a campus tour of GWU
    2. Take a campus tour of Georgetown's historic campus
    3. Bike ride along the Potomac
    4. Spend a day in Mount Vernon Get a season pass!
    5. Go on the ghost tour in Old Town Alexandria
    6. Kayak on the Potomac River
  4. Entertainment
    1. Attend a show at the Kennedy Center
    2. See all the Shakespeare plays I have not yet seen
    3. Go to a Capitals hockey game
    4. Catch a fly ball at a Nationals baseball game
  5. Food
    1. Find a place that serves REAL Cincinnati chili (other than my own kitchen)
    2. Find a Mexican place with the food of Fiesta Charra and the margarita night of El Burrito Loco Found it!
    3. Figure out what the hype is with Ben's Chili Bowl
    4. Go on a brewery tour
    5. Tour some of the vineyards and wineries in Northern VA
  6. Being Me in the Big City
    1. Run around to all the filming locations for National Treasure and pretend that I am looking for the lost Templar treasure with the assistance of the adorable Riley Poole
    2. Go on a National Treasure 2 tour of Mount Vernon
  7. Spiritual Workout in DC
    1. Attend Mass at all of the Catholic Churches in DC
    2. Visit the Monastery of Mount St. Sepulchre

Friday, May 21, 2010

What's in a name?

The Spiritual Workout - what does it mean?

"Spiritual Workout" is a phrase I came up with for myself during my Lenten journey this past year.

In today's society, we hear so much about eating right and exercising to stay healthy. I am not a health professional, but I believe the latest recommendation is to get 30 minutes of exercise about 3-4 times a week. The question is - do we stick to this routine to keep our bodies at their healthiest? The answer, at least for me, would be a resounding "not at all". All of this talk in our culture about maintaining healthy bodies is a good thing - we are, after all, created in God's image, so our bodies are an essential part of our existence as human beings. While I tend to limit my physical workout to walking to the bus stop and up the stairs, it is something I think I should incorporate more into my daily routine.

This got me thinking during Lent. We spend so much time thinking about how we are going to improve our physical image, but how much time do we spend each day thinking about improving our spiritual lives? What if we spent as much time thinking about our spirits as we did our bodies? If we spent 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week, cultivating our spiritual relationship with God, how much healthier would we be spiritually? What would the world be like if we all blocked out a "workout" time for our spirits through meditation and prayer? I can't imagine that there are many people out there, even non-believers, who wouldn't agree that the world would be a more peaceful and compassionate place to exist if we all took some time to search our souls for the Truth.

As I contemplated this, I decided it was time to make a change. So, I decided to give myself a spiritual workout during Holy Week, just to give it a try. I attended Mass every day that week (with the exception of Good Friday service, which is not celebrated as a Mass). Before Mass each day, I spent about 10-15 minutes in quiet prayer. I started off not really knowing for what or whom to pray, so I often just read the morning prayers in the Magnificat. That week, I also meditated on some of my "religious reads" each evening instead of spending all of my free time watching television or surfing the internet. All in all, I came out of that week completely rejuvenated and refreshed, not only spiritually, but mentally and physically as well. I felt GOOD.

I decided that this was a change I needed to try to make in my everyday life - not just during Holy Week. While I have had some weeks that are more successful than others, I can say that I attend Mass more often, usually 3-6 times a week. I spend more time in prayer, whether it is before Mass, at Eucharistic Adoration, on the metro, or as I fall asleep at night. I have found more fulfillment as I spend more time in my aerobic workout with talking to God.

I had been wanting to start a blog since I moved out on my own, and I decided that reflecting on my spiritual journey would help me continue on my spiritual workout. I hope to write about things that I have discovered and learned on my journey, as well as ideas for how to improve each of our individual spiritual workouts. I know that I will also include topics dealing with my daily struggles and triumphs with being a young, Catholic woman trying to figure out her calling in life in this big city. Let's face it, trying to adjust to a new place and new life can be an intense strain on the soul.

I hope you join me for this spiritual workout, and I would love to hear your suggestions of how you can incorporate a few minutes of spiritual exercise to your daily routine. Who knows, maybe learning to cultivate the spirit will even inspire me to cultivate the body as well!
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