Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Corner with a View

This view may not seem like much, but it is my source of sunlight during the day.

My office is four white walls covered with print-outs of patents, a colorful periodic table, and funny pages from a cat calendar. The only window in my office is from Microsoft; I don't get a glass window with a view of what is outside my four white walls for at least a couple of years.

Just outside my door, in the corner at the end of the hall, is a large window that lets the sun stream in. It gives me a glimpse of the outside world when my eyes need a break from starting at a computer screen; when my mind needs a break from thinking. I watch cars attempt to parallel park; I watch people walk down the street on their way to grab a coffee; and, every once in awhile, I watch moms with their little kids carrying backpacks that are way too big for their little frames.

In this view is the building where I spent the first four months of my job in training; the 7-11 where I used to go grab Slurpees during the hot summer days; the sushi restaurant around the corner that serves delicious lunch buffet.

I've heard that this view has changed over the years as more buildings go up and the street gets busier. In the distance, you can see the cars driving on the beltway. In the air, you can see planes taking off and landing over the water. In the winter, you see snow; in the spring and fall, rain; in the summer, heat radiating off the pavement. 

My corner with a view changes every time I walk by; and yet it stays the same.

Linking up with Julie!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Be the Best Godparent

This post was originally written for and published on The Mirror Magazine... head over there to join in on the conversation! Thank you ladies of The Mirror Mag for hosting me!

~ * ~

Close from a young age!
I was holding Robert, my youngest baby cousin, for the first time when my aunt and uncle asked me to be his godmother.

Of course I said yes!

Robert responded by spitting up all over my shirt.

Apparently he agreed with his parents' choice... I had been chosen. 

That was almost 9 years ago, and at the time, I didn't realize what an important role I was taking on. It wasn't until a few years later, when I started to grow deeper into my Catholic faith, that I realized what a big deal it is to be someone's godmother.

Think about it for a minute.

During the Rite of Baptism, the priest (or deacon) asks the godparents:
Are you ready to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents?
We respond (hopefully) with "We do."

The priest later says:
Dear parents and godparents: You have come here to present this child for baptism. By water and the Holy Spirit he (she) is to receive the gift of new life from God, who is love. 
On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring him (her) up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives him (her) is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in his (her) heart. 
If your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility, renew now the vows of your own baptism. Reject sin; profess your faith in Christ Jesus. This is the faith of the Church. This is the faith in which this child is about to be baptized.
... and later after the lighting of the Baptismal candle:
Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of the light. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.
Help the parents. Constant care. Responsibility. Entrusted to you.

The faith and soul of a little child of God is entrusted to you!

Thankfully, as Robert has grown, I've learned more about what it really means to be a godparent. Here are some of the top things I've discovered:

Make your own spiritual life a priority

Your number one job as a godparent is to be a role model in the faith for your godchild, and you can't do that unless you make your faith life a top priority. This means you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you are going to be encouraging your godchild to attend Mass, you better be attending Mass too. If you're going to help teach your godchild to pray the rosary, he better see you with a rosary in your hand from time to time. Especially when your godchild is young, him seeing you living the faith leaves a huge impression that will last the rest of his life.

Live your faith life fruitfully

The Rite of Baptism also includes a prayer to "Make the lives of his (her) parents and godparents examples of faith to inspire this child."

While making your own spiritual life a priority is good, you have to be sure that you are living that faith life fruitfully. If your godchild sees you going to Mass, but hating it, then that doesn’t leave a very good impression on his young and impressionable heart. It's important that your godchild sees you living a life of faith because you want to, not because you have to. Remember that the fruits you bear from your faith life no longer benefit only your soul, but also the soul of the child you promised to help raise in the faith.

Be present both physically and spiritually

Robert's First Communion!
Spending time with your godchild helps build trust so that if there ever comes a day when he needs advice or has questions about the faith, he feels comfortable coming to talk to you. I was lucky enough during college to spend a summer living down the street from my godson. I wouldn't trade that summer for anything, because even though he was young, the time we spent together helped build our relationship.

Sadly, after college, I moved hundreds of miles away from my godson. While it's more difficult to be physically present, I make a point to be there for him for the "big" life events. I even made a special trip to be there with him for his First Communion, and he was so excited to have me there.

Since I can't be physically present as often as I would like, I make special effort to be spiritually present as well. One way that I do this is to send my godson little "I love you" notes and gifts in the mail from time to time - prayer cards, saint medals, etc. He knows then that I am thinking about him, even though I am far away.

And on that note...

Give good gifts

I know... I went from giving spiritual advice to talking about presents, but stay with me here! Gifts can say a lot, especially to a child, and they can also be a great way to introduce your godchild to different aspects of the faith at a very young age.

For me, I've made a point to make sure that every gift I give Robert includes something Catholic... but I also work hard to find good Catholic gifts. Nothing is more boring to an 8 year old boy than an old lady prayer manual, for example, so it's important to find things that your godchild will be excited about. For his First Communion, I bought him a comic book Bible. When he opened it up, he exclaimed with his hands in the air, "A COMIC BOOK BIBLE?!?! FINALLY A BETTER BIBLE HAS BEEN MADE!!!!"

As he grows older, he will outgrow clothes and toys, but hopefully he will never grow out of the excitement he has for being Catholic.

Pray for your godchild...

Pray for his daily life. Pray for any struggles or fears he shares with you, even if they seem trivial. Pray for your relationship with your godchild. Pray for his future vocation. Pray for his faith to continue to grow, and for him to grow in love for Christ and the Eucharist. Prayers go a long way!

...and ask your godchild to pray for you.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me…” I honestly believe that nothing is as strong as the prayers of a child. How could Jesus and Mary ignore the heartfelt pleas of a young heart?! So ask your godchild to pray for you and your intentions. I recently asked my godson to pray for a special intention for me every night before he goes to bed, and I trust that someday I will see so many fruits thanks to him joining my prayer army. Even more, asking your godchild to pray for you also encourages him to make prayer a part of his daily routine, which will subtly help him grow to have an active prayer life.


Not only have I learned that being a godparent is a big deal, but I've found even more that being a godparent is hilariously fun, rewarding, helpful at fostering my own faith growth, and a great learning experience for passing on the faith to our youth.

Are you blessed to be a godparent? What are some of the greatest things you've learned along the way?

Teaching him how to drive at the ripe old age of 7!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One Word

When I was begging people for blog post ideas, one person suggested that I tell you all about a normal day in my life. Or what I'm thinking for Lent. Or my must-have food item.

What a surprise it was to me when I realized that all three of those ideas can be summed up into one post... nay, into one word.


You all are probably like - whaaaaaaaaat?! - but really. Chocolate is the answer to all of those.

A normal day in my life...  I said yesterday that if I wrote about my typical day, you all would be put to sleep. But I left one thing out of my monotonous typical day, and that is the fact that every day I am asking someone(s) somewhere(s) for chocolate. No one is safe from being asked the "Do you have any chocolate...?!?!?" question. No one. Not even my boss. There are even rumors that certain person(s) can tell that I am going to ask for chocolate just by looking at my facial expression. 

And if that person has the chocolate which my heart so lovingly desires...

Survival mode!

...and if there is no chocolate to be found...


What I'm thinking for Lent... So, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that like last year, I am once again giving up chocolate for Lent, among some other things I have yet to decide to add/subtract from my daily life. I've actually done this for a couple of years now, and I've survived. Barely. The first couple of weeks are the hardest. Then the next few are spent dreaming of Anthony Thomas chocolate bunnies. And by then, it's Holy Week so I just offer it up because we're so close to getting my chocolate back the celebration of Jesus' resurrection! In truth, giving up chocolate helps me work on the always elusive virtue of self-control/temperance while also giving me an opportunity to offer it up for some real life actual prayer needs as opposed to my insane chocolate cravings.

So, on Mardi Gras, you can bet that this will be me...

Squirrel! (see what I did there?!)

And then me the next day...

My must-have food item... I mean, is the answer not chocolate for some person in the world? I just don't understand how it could be something other than chocolate. Ever. I bake with it. I have it for breakfast. I melt it in my warm milk. I would use it as a condiment if I could. It is its own food group, as it should be.

So, I'm curious. If someone asked you to write about those three things, would you be able to sum it all up with one word?

I can sum it up in three.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Who are you and what have you done with Liesl?

Well, it's happening.

Someone must have kidnapped me and swapped my brain for another's, because I've decided to take on the challenge with Conversion Diary and pretty much the rest of the Catholic blogging world to write 7 posts in 7 days.

Yes. 7 consecutive days.

As I've barely managed to write something once a month in the past months, this could be interesting... so why am I doing this? Other than because I was kidnapped and replaced with someone else who looks and acts just like me in every way except she blogs like a fiend?

It will give me something to do. If I were to write a "Day in the Life" post, it would go something like this: Liesl wakes up. Liesl gets ready for work. Liesl goes to work. Liesl pretends to work does her work. Liesl goes home. Liesl watches TV. Liesl takes a bubble bath. Liesl goes to bed. Are you still awake? Good, I'm glad at least one of us is. One of the things I've loved about blogging over the years is that it gives me something to do (planning posts, reflecting on my topic, writing, editing, etc.) and connects me to other people; and this is something that I miss the most about not blogging as much. I can pretty much guarantee that I will not blog every single day after this week long excursion, but I am hoping it re-ignites some of that enjoyment I've had in the past... and in the least, it will give me something to do for a week besides taking lots and lots of bubble baths.

It will help me fight perfectionism. The reason I don't post as much as I used to (or ever...) is because I am a perfectionist. It's my one and only tragic flaw, I know... I come up with a great idea for a blog post, I write most of it out, and then it sits in unpublished land for forever because it isn't perfect. It's not good enough to publish yet or it doesn't have the right voice or it's a topic that I'm not sure I want to share with the world... take your pick. My perfectionist nature is keeping me from doing something I enjoy doing! So here's to fighting the good fight against being perfect... and hitting the bright orange Publish button.

It will help me cut down on the list of drafts... which seems to keep growing in size faster than my belly when confronted with lots of chocolate cake. Or, on the other hand, maybe those drafts are still drafts because they are terrible ideas and should never see the light of the interwebs. In that case, I'm going to need some blogging ideas, so you have anything you would like me (or look-alike me) to write about, let me know!

Will you join us crazy kids on this 7 day journey? You know, the blog party never ends, and tomorrow we gonna blog it all again!

I know, I know. That was terrible. Therefore, if you do join us, I promise to reference Ke$ha no more than once per blog post. If you don't, I'll have  to devote an entire post to the Catholicity all up in Ke$ha's music. So, to save me from having to write that and you all from having to pretend to read it, please join in on the fun!
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