Friday, June 29, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (#34)


So, yea, long time no Quick Takes. I realized that I had no excuse to not post with you all, since I have every other Friday off of work. So, I'm going to try to come back this summer, just because.


Have I ever mentioned how much I love my flexible work schedule? I work 9.5-10 hour days, but that means I get every other Friday off and only have to work about 4 hours the other Fridays. It's absolutely wonderful. I'm just in love with my flex sched. Love.


This flexible schedule that I adore so much has allowed me to pick up some new hobbies including:

Not a new hobby, but one I enjoy...
Sleeping is the hobby, not kissing!
Being a trendy Jet-setter.
Really. I've had 3 round trip flights in a month.
Daily Mass. Again, not a new thing,
but Fridays are when I am able to get to daily Mass!
(Except for today, probably... just had to sleep in a few days this week!)
New obsession!
Ah, thrifting! I blame Katie, but I just can't seem to stop. I buy a lot of skirts. I love skirts. I also buy a lot of books for my sister, who will start teaching 3rd grade in the fall. But my latest find? Old school Backgammon.

Alright, I'll stop talking about how much I love my flexible work schedule. For now...


Encouraged by Leila, I decided to check out the "Catholics for Choice" Facebook page and leave them some love. I left a comment on this button:
If you found my blog by searching for this, welcome!
I am 100% against what this button says. Huzzah!
I said something along the lines that "I am one of the millions of Catholics that chooses to follow Church teaching because I am in love with Christ and His Church!"

Guess what? It was less than 2 hours later that my comment was deleted and I was banned from the page. What happened to promoting open minded discussion and free choice for all?  So I choose differently than y'all, but I guess my choice doesn't count.

Oh well. I guess I'm not too torn up about it. To make me feel better though, Bad Catholic said on Facebook earlier this month:

"You're not cool unless you've been banned from Catholics For Choice's Wall. Just sayin."

So basically, Marc at Bad Catholic just called me cool. I'll take it.


On a happier note, June has been a month of many things. Guest posts, for one. 100° heat, for another. Oh, and weddings! Of course.

I am a crafty gal, and so I was inspired by this idea from Caitlin at Catholic Cookie Jar (she also has a delicious banana bread recipe!) to make my wedding gifts.  Here's how they turned out, with a little bit about the happy couples!

I had the pleasure of traveling all the way to Dodge, Nebraska (with a brief 15 second stint in Iowa) at the beginning of the month to celebrate with my friends Danielle and Carlos as they began their life together as husband and wife. Danielle and I became friends as single women, where we spent a lot of time together cooking, baking, talking about awesome Catholic things, and watching lots of Merlin... until Carlos came along! Their love story is really sweet and very Catholic, and I'm so happy to be a witness to their love for each other and God!

Tomorrow, I get to travel up to Mount St. Mary's to see my friend Becca marry the love of her life, Clint.  They are getting married in the church where they met, which is similar to my parents' love story. I am so excited to be spending the day with friends as we celebrate the beginning of their married life together!


Speaking of being crafty, I totally want to make these cards:

Science geek Liesl, meet craft Liesl. Craft Liesl, meet science geek Liesl. Let this beautiful relationship begin.

Thanks to Jen as always for hosting!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Beholder (Guest Post for Christina)

Christina at Reflections of a Catholic in Formation is hosting a series entitled You are Beautiful for the month of June. Here is an excerpt from my contribution - head on over to her blog to read the rest and check out the other great posts!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

When I first heard this saying as a child, I thought that it meant that beauty was relative.  You know, how some people think the sunrise is one of the most beautiful things in the world, whereas I hold the belief that something that happens that early in the morning can only have so much beauty.

Other things that aren't too beautiful in the morning include my unkempt hair and sleepy eyes.
The trap we fall into with relativism though is that it leads us to believe that lies are the truth - yes, even with beauty! I can't count the number of times I've heard over the years, "You look pretty!" or "That dress looks beautiful on you!" but I can tell you that there have only been a few times I've heard the words we all long to hear: "You are beautiful." 

Yet, when I started thinking about the theme for this post and the above adage popped into my head, another thought came to light that made it all start to make sense in a way I'd never realized before.  What was the thought that entered my mind with this saying, you ask?

What if I think of God as The Beholder?

Beauty is in the eye of The Beholder.

It doesn't change much, but it changes everything.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Alright... Good Talk: My Experiences with Spiritual Direction (Guest Post by Christina!)

I've written about some of my experiences with spiritual direction before, but I've never really devoted an entire post to the topic. Perhaps I will someday, but until then I am very excited to welcome my first guest post by Christina!


Hi everybody! My name is Christina, and I blog next door at Reflections of a Catholic in Formation. Liesl asked me to write a post about my experiences with spiritual direction, and I will gladly do so over the next few paragraphs. On we go!

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept of spiritual direction and what it’s all about, let me give you the five cent definition. Spiritual direction is when a person meets with a priest/nun/monk/well-formed lay person to talk about their spiritual life. You’ll talk about how you’re praying, how often, what you struggle with, major themes you notice (or they might notice for you), and perhaps a plan for going forward from where you are. It has a great deal to do with self-awareness, but you’ll also be trying to listen for God’s voice or see His hand in your life. Additionally, they’re a fantastic help if you’re discerning your vocation, and that’s where my story starts.

I was away from the Church for most of my high school career, and reverted to the faith shortly before my freshman year of college began. I had a serious conversion of heart on a retreat that September, and threw myself wholeheartedly into the practice of my faith. I was on cloud nine for a while, going to daily Mass, weekly Adoration, and occasionally cutting my math class to have lunch with the missionaries on campus and two very wonderful religious sisters, and I naturally began to think about entering the religious life myself. However, what began as a passing thought quickly became a matter which consumed my prayer completely. After about three weeks of torturous grappling with it, I decided I had to speak to the university’s chaplain.

I went into his office and very nervously told him that I thought God was calling me to the religious life. I don’t recall what he said, but I do remember that he was much too calm for my comfort, seeming almost to take the news in stride as if I’d informed him of what lovely weather we were having. I was upset by his reaction and confused with what this would mean for me. Would I drop out of school to enter a convent? Would I still be called to the religious life if I finished my degree before pursuing it? The chaplain could see how upset I was, and took me into the chapel to talk. He reassured me that if I was actually being called to the religious life, this wasn’t a bad thing. It’s a beautiful vocation, and the women who are called to it live with extraordinary joy. If I wasn’t being called to religious life, that wasn’t a bad thing, either. Either way, he told me, I should stop trying to actively discern, since I was so new to the faith, and that I should remember that no matter what my vocation ended up being, whatever God called me to would be my happiness (this is one of his favorite things to say).

It was at that point that he recommended that I see him each moth for spiritual direction. Since then, he’s helped me work through some serious issues. When my parents, angered by the change in political views my religious orthodoxy had brought about, pulled me from the Newman Center’s World Youth Day trip and I thought they would force me to spend the next three years at UConn, I was in his office looking for guidance. When I was afraid to go home to my very lax Catholic family for the summer, where I would have none of the support I enjoyed at school, I was talking to him. When I thought once again that I might be called to the religious life, he was counseling me on what to do. When I experienced a sudden and painful spiritual dry spell during my sophomore year, he was helping me work through it. Even working through some very personal issues that affected my spiritual life, I went to the chaplain in spiritual direction.

Of course, I don’t want to give the impression that spiritual directors only help you deal with the tough stuff in your spiritual life. Liesl and I have the same spiritual director, and though he has a unique relationship with each of the people under his direction, he and I have a slightly weirder relationship than most. We make fun of each other a lot, we used to get into a few (lighthearted) physical tussles, and occasionally I will invade his office, take up one of his couches, and we’ll just laugh at the awkward non-sequitur of a situation. We laugh a lot, talk about sports, he’ll occasionally tease me for being a nerd like one of our more recent seminarians, and he’ll guide me through good or emotionally neutral time in my spiritual life, as well. He’ll recommend books I should read or new prayers I could say, either to expand my horizons or to correspond to what’s going on with my prayer life. He’s also my confessor, which helps him and me identify patterns and signs more easily because we see most of what’s going on together, rather than me knowing everything and forgetting to tell him something important or relevant.

Even as a young woman who hasn’t discerned her vocation and doesn’t have a degree yet, I can definitely say that spiritual direction is a tremendous help in my life. It allows me to reorient myself every so often, like a pilot making sure the plane is on course, except with heaven as my destination, it’s not so much about keeping on the only route that will get me there as determining which route God is calling me to take. I imagine that eventually, whether I move away for grad school or work or any other circumstance, I will need to find a new spiritual director. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, and though I dislike the thought because I also think of mine as a quirky older brother figure, I’m more or less reconciled to the idea that it will happen. In any case, I thank God for my spiritual director and his wise guidance, as well as for allowing me to grow closer to Him through spiritual direction and its fruits.

If you would like to learn more about spiritual direction, you can visit Catholic Spiritual Direction, though you will have to sort through it a little bit, depending on your familiarity with the subject. If you want a spiritual director, ask around with anyone you know who has one. You can also ask any priests or other religious you know to guide you or point you in the right direction for a spiritual director. I hope I’ve helped you all out a little bit by telling the story of my experience with spiritual direction, and I want to thank Liesl for giving me the opportunity to do so. God bless, everyone!

Liesl and Christina met two years ago on the front porch steps of the GW Newman Center, Christina a young freshman and Liesl an old graduate student trying to be welcoming (and not scare people away). Thankfully, Christina kept coming back and the two became friends in real life! Christina is a junior at George Washington University, where she is studying history, how many times you can go to Mass in one day, and wrestling. If you want to contact her, you can find her practically living at the Newman Center during the school year, or you can also reach her through her blog or email at
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