Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Truly Holy Family

Recently I had the opportunity to play the part of the Virgin Mary in a live Nativity scene. It was such a beautiful and meaningful way to start out my Christmas Season. It made me think a lot about the Nativity Story. Now, of course, when we think of Christmas we think of it's namesake-Christ. And we should, He is the Savior of the world! But, this Christmas I have been focusing a lot on Mary and Joseph.

Mary was engaged to Joseph, some believe that she was as young as 15 years old! However, before they were married, the angel Gabriel told Mary that God had found favor with her and she was to bear the Son of God. During the play, I really tried to put myself in Mary's place and when the man playing the angel Gabriel said this to me, I kept thinking, "I am five years older than Mary was when she found out she was pregnant and I'm still not ready to have a baby anytime soon! I can't even fathom how I would respond to a statement like that. But, Mary said without question, "I am the handmade of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to your word."
WOW. Just like that. No questions asked.

Here are some things that I might have said if an angel were to spring this on me...
1. Are you sure that God wants me?
2. Wouldn't it be better to wait until after I'm married to Joseph?
3. How is this possible?
4. Are you SURE that God wants me?
5. What will I tell my friends and family?
6. I really don't think anyone's going to believe this...
7. How am I going to explain all this to Joseph?
8. Am I ready to be a mother?
9. What if I'm not a good mother?
10. Are you SURE that God wants ME?
Thank goodness no angels have appeared to me, right? God would probably be disappointed in my faith in Him. But Mary, bless her heart, she just accepted it right away with total confidence that God would take care of her and her family. And He did, by the way. 

And Joseph! What a Saint! Oh my goodness. 
Joseph found out about the pregnancy and was going to quietly divorce Mary, but after an angel came to Joseph in a dream, he willingly took Mary into his home, agreeing to be there for her no matter what. In the play, the man that played Joseph sang a song to the tune of "What Child Is This." He took my hand and sang to me, "Fear not, my love, for all is well. Together we'll care for Emanuel. My life is yours, your life is mine, together we are one." I feel like this is what Joseph would have really said to Mary. He loved her so unconditionally that he was willing to endure any ridicule or threat to his safety, just to provide for and protect Mary and Jesus, even though Jesus was not his biological son. 

Another thing that really struck a chord with me was the fact that during the play we got to use a real baby for the Baby Jesus. When the Kings came to bring their gifts to us, I was holding the baby because he was getting a little fussy in the manger and all of a sudden, one of the Kings started to sing, "Mary Did You Know?" First of all, I should mention that this is my all time FAVORITE Christmas song in the entire universe. The words are so beautiful and sitting in Mary's place beside the manger, I just kept thinking, "How could this tiny Baby possibly save the whole world? For thousands of years this Child who can't even keep His eyes open right now, will become the basis for so many good things in our sinful world. "

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water? 
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? 
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? 
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? 
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? 
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? 
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again. 
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? 
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations? 
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb? 
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Miracle Babies

I was so ready to write this blog. I even had a title picked out..."Beware: Venting in Process."
But, I can't anymore.
I'm sure that a lot of you are familiar with the show Grey's Anatomy. Well, I am by no means an avid watcher, but tonight I am so glad that I took a nap and now I can't sleep. I was flipping through the channels when I came across Grey's Anatomy and I intended to use it as background noise while checking my blog and facebook.
But it became so much more than that.

I haven't seen much of this episode because I turned it on late, but I do know the jist of one of the stories...
There is a baby girl who was born pre-mature. Something is wrong with her Mom and they had to move her into surgery so she never got a chance to see her little girl. For a while it seemed like the little girl was not going to make it and her Mom's only concern was that her baby was going to die without being held. Well, she was right. Her baby was going to die without ever being held because this little girl was in such critical condition that it wasn't wise to pick her up. Now, I don't know what any of the numbers mean on the little monitors that they always give us a view of in those shows, but I do know you start to see the numbers drop, it's not a good sign. A male doctor, Dr. Karev, decided that this little girl was going to die either way, so he honored this little girl's mom by holding her while she quickly declined. However, rather than dieing in this in the arms of Dr. Karev, her heart rate started to pick up and she was surviving. I guess it was because of this thing they call, The Kangaroo Hold.
I looked this up on the internet and found another interesting case that was shown on the TODAY show.
Mom's Hug Revives Baby That Was Pronounced Dead
Kangaroo care’ David and Kate were practicing what Australians call “kangaroo care.” Actually, it is widely practiced throughout the world, especially in poorer countries where incubators may not be available for premature babies. An infant is held skin-to-skin to their mother or father, generating heat for the newborn much like a baby kangaroo receives in its mother’s pouch.
Kate had heard of kangaroo care before. “[The baby] comes out of you, and all of a sudden there isn’t the warmth or smell of the mother or the sound of their heartbeat. And so putting him back on my chest was as close to him being inside me where he was safe.”
TODAY Moms: The power of ‘kangaroo care’
Jamie continued to come around as he lay across Kate’s chest. He began grabbing at his mother’s finger, as well as his father’s. And when Kate put a dab of breast milk on her finger, Jamie eagerly accepted it.
Kate finally began to believe her baby was actually alive. “We thought, ‘He’s getting stronger — he’s not dead,’ ” she said. But the family wasn’t getting any encouragement from their doctor. While the Oggs urged hospital personnel to summon him, they were repeatedly told what they were seeing was still just reflex from a baby already declared dead.
Kate Ogg told Curry they had to “fib” to get the doctor to return to her bedside. “We kept saying, ‘He’s doing things dead babies don’t do, you might want to come and see this,’ ” she told Curry.
But the skeptical doctor still didn't return. “So David said, ‘Go and tell him we’ve come to terms with the baby’s death, can he just come and explain it.’ That made him come back.”
Kate Ogg told the London Daily Mail the doctor was in disbelief when he arrived back at the bedside. “He got a stethoscope, listened to Jamie’s chest and just kept shaking his head. He said, ‘I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it.’
Dr. Lisa Eiland of the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City told NBC News there may actually be a good grounding in science for what seemed like a miracle. “What’s important is the warmth that the mother provides and the stimulation that the baby may have received from hearing the mother’s heartbeat,” Eiland said. “So those are all things that may have helped the baby in terms of going down the path to living as opposed to the path of death.”
For his part, David Ogg gives all the credit to his “very strong, very smart wife” for the family’s now being able to enjoy raising Jamie right along with his sister Emily.
“She instinctively did what she did,” Ogg told The Daily Mail. “If she hadn’t have done that, then Jamie probably wouldn’t be here.”

I have never been so grateful that I haven't been able to sleep. These two stories just spoke to my heart, in a big way! I think that even though Kangaroo Care is used on babies, it is still so relevant as we grow older. It is so true that sometimes all we need to revive ourselves is to know that somebody is there and somebody loves us. After hitting rock bottom and dying a little inside, once we know that someone is there for us and that unconditional love is present in our lives, we can be brought back to life. I am so thankful for the people that have shown me the love I need to survive, to thrive, to live.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Little About Prayer (Well, ok...A Lot)

In my (almost) twenty years of life I feel that I've met quite a few people who struggle with their faith. The people I have encountered didn't have all the benefits I have had in my life. I was raised very traditionally.
1. My family went to Church every Sunday.
2. My brother and I have both attended Catholic schools our entire lives.
3. As a result of our Catholic schooling, we learned how to pray and lead the Rosary.
4. We celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation atleast twice every quarter of the school year.
5. We prayed at the start of the school day, before lunch, after lunch, before going home, before dinner, and before we went to bed.

I consider myself very fortunate, especially for number 5. Many of my friends have asked me for help because they want a deeper relationship with God, but they don't know where to start. It seems that no matter what their unique situation is, I always seem to answer the same way. "Why don't you start by taking some time out of your day for prayer." And then they get that confused, frustrated, look on their face. I can almost see the wheels turning in their brain.

What is prayer?
How do I start?
What do I say?
What if I don't have anything to ask for?
How long do I pray?
How do I know He can hear me?
Ok, take a deep breath! I understand, to someone who hasn't been raised on prayer and has never had a personal relationship with God, it can be overwhelming. But just relax. God is in your life whether you like it or not. He's in everyone's life, but He's not pushy about it. If you give Him an open invitation to live in your heart and you include Him in your life, He will reward you. You will feel the peace of His presence.

Before I started this blog, I decided to Google search, "What is Prayer." I came across this site.
I found it interesting because it says that the word pray is derived from the latin word precari which means "to ask." However, to fully understand the word pray we need to recognize that prayer is a conversation and a conversation cannot be held unless the other party is participating. Therefore, when you pray, God hears and answers. God is all loving, He is not rude. When you pray to Him, he doesn't ignore you. He responds and he answers EVERY time.

A good friend posted a quote to my facebook page today that inspired me to blog about prayer. Her quote was this:
God grants our prayers in 3 answers:
1. YES, you deserve it.
2. NO, it's not yet the right time.
3. NEVER, it's not good for you.

I think this is very true. God always gives the answer that is best for us. It is difficult when we pray for something we think we truly need and we don't get it. Often times we assume that our prayer went unanswered, but it didn't. When God doesn't give us what we want, it's because of two reasons.
1. What we're asking for will not benefit us in life, therefore it is not good for us.
2. We will get what we are praying for, but not yet.
Number two is my favorite one to explain to people who are having the break-up crisis. I've had a lot of people come to me and say, "I've been praying that my boyfriend/girlfriend and I would stay together and get married someday because they're the only one I can ever picture myself living the rest of my life with, but they broke up with me! Why did this happen if I prayed so much?"
It's hard when something like that happens. Someone so in love has their heart broken by someone they once trusted so deeply. But, I always try to lead them to the realization that "If this boyfriend/girlfriend was so wonderful and you thought that no one else in the world could ever compare to them, just imagine how perfect the person God intended you to be with will be! God created someone who knows how to meet your every need, someone who understands you completely and loves you unconditionally! Would you really want to miss out on that? And maybe you're right. Maybe that person is the person God created for you. If that's the case, give them time and they'll come back. God has no flaws in our life-plan. Everything that happens is significant and necessary in our lives."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lessons From A Tiger

Today someone posted this awesome picture on facebook and it just blew me away. I don't know why, but I feel this strange urgency to share this picture with everyone I know. It's one of those pictures that shows the awesome and complex creations of our Lord.

The Story Behind the Photo
Photographer Dyrk Daniels noticed the 370lb Golden Bengal Tiger had taken an interest in the child, who was leaning against his glass enclosure.
As the tiger, called Taj, headed over to her, Mr Daniels got his camera ready, expecting him to snarl and bang against the glass.
‘I noticed that Taj had taken an interest in the girl and was heading towards her.
‘I thought for certain that the little girl would need therapy after the encounter and fear cats for the rest of her life.
‘I could not believe my eyes when Taj approached the girl, bowed his head and then placed his huge right paw exactly in front of where the little girl’s left hand was.‘It was incredible to watch. Taj let down his right paw, rubbed his cheek against the glass where the little girl’s face was and moved off.Far from being scared, the little girl was so excited that she started clapping as she walked back afterwards towards her mother.
‘I have never seen such tenderness from such a large predator,’ Mr Daniels said.

My Own Reflection
As I shared on my facebook page earlier...
This powerful tiger could have easily crushed the body of this tiny girl in a second if the glass weren't between the two. He also could have scarred her for life, like Mr. Daniels said, but, after taking an interest in this little girl this powerful creature's reaction was entirely unexpected. He bowed to her! Not only that, but he tried to reach out to this small and innocent baby.
Two things were brought to my attention as I was reading this article.
1. We can all take a lesson from Mr. Tiger. He was obviously the more dominant species of the two, but he did not use his power to intimidate. Instead he showed respect for that little girl and reacted as if she were his own baby. (And he'd never been exposed to her before.)
How much of a wake up call is that? If this powerful creature can treat a stranger, who is clearly inferior, with love and respect, why can't we?
 In Matthew 6:26 Jesus says...
If we are more valuable than the birds of the air and the tigers of the land, why is it that they are more civil? Why is it that this tiger showed more respect to a baby than a boss does to their employees or a child to their mother? Why is it that this creature can bow it's head to a baby, yet we (including myself) find it hard to make time to bow our heads and thank the Lord for all He has so freely given?
2. As we all know, the Tiger is often referred to King of the Jungle.
Hmmm.... a King bows to a baby... why does that sound so familiar?
Ooooh! The story of Jesus' Birth!
This "Tiger King" has got it right. He is honoring this tiny child who will hopefully one day become a great warrior of God. This tiny baby will grow up and become a savior. Not the Savior of the World, we've already got that. But, somebody's support, somebody's shoulder to cry on, somebody's protector, somebody's healer. She will be somebody's savior.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An Unpleasant Experience

Something new happened to me today. I was having a meeting with one of my professors beacuse I'm not doing so well in her class (I'm not doing so well in any of my classes right now) but anyway, I got into my car after the meeting and had a full blown PANIC ATTACK.
I ended up having to go home after I was stable enough to drive. It was far from the proudest moment of my life.

Something about this whole anxiety and depression thing that really drives me crazy is ...
So often I can think to myself, "Just calm the heck down!"
But my mind (always blowing things out of proportion) says, "Excuse Me! Have you seen what we're dealing with here?!"
Ugh. What an exhausting, endless battle. It's like I'm two completely different people. One half of me knows how to handle stressful situations in a calm and effective manner, but the CrAzY in me completely overpowers that half and freaks it out! So, the crazy wins...again. I get so upset because I feel like I'm on all these pills but I'm not getting any better. Yes, they help sometimes, but trying to figure out the correct dosage is really a pain in the rear, if you ask me. I've been switched and switched back and had additional medication to go along with what I was already taking, then switched the dosage on that and now I'm not really sure what's going on here.

All I know is that I just want to get all this figured out so that I can like school again like I always used to. Right now, I hate it because I can't focus long enough to do any of my homework so now my grades are slipping and I feel like a failure because last year 1st semester I got all As and second semester I got all As and one B and this semester... I've got a C+ in atleast one of my classes. Who knows how many others. Help me get through this semester, God. I really need You.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sweet Relief

Today I did something I've been longing to do for almost two years...
I obeyed the command that God placed on my heart and sent to me in a dream....
I asked for forgiveness from someone I hurt and it was HARD to do...
And Now...

I am revived because I've been FORGIVEN.
I made a choice to own up to what I did to someone I hurt and ask them if they could ever forgive me and
they said yes. I can't tell you how much weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can move on
with my life instead of living in this guilt that has been weighing on my heart for almost two years! I can finally let go of that part of my life and move on.

This is not the only thing that I have to own up for in my life, but it's a start. I think a big part of healing from this depression and anxiety is going to require me to confess to what I feel guilty about; all the things I have said or done that have hurt other people. Most have been unintentional, but that doesn't mean I don't feel bad about it. I need to right some wrongs and empty myself of anything I feel to be sinful or unholy. I want to serve the Lord by being His hands and feet on this Earth, but I can’t do that without His help. It is inevitable that I’m going to mess up many times for the rest of my life, but if I can ask for forgiveness from whoever deserves it and God, I can spread His Word without fear that I’m going to be a bad representation of Christ. I want people to look at me and see the work of God and know that He is good.

Making Things Right

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and it seems to me that I have a lot of guilt. I don't want to announce all the things that are weighing on my heart, but if I told you what they were, you would probably say to me, "That's what you're so upset about? That's nothing!" But not to me... it is something.

I have always tried to live a good life. I have made it my goal to try to be nice to everyone, no matter what they're like or how they treat me. I try to set a good example for other people by saying things like, "You never know what someone is going through. Even though they're mean to you, doesn't mean you should be mean to them. Try to be understanding because everyone has their own problems." But there is one person in particular who I hurt in highschool and ever since then, I feel like I don't deserve to give people advice on "how to be nice."

It's been close to two years since I've hurt that person and if I'm being honest, I've thought about it atleast once every two weeks since then. It's wearing me down because I feel like I've never been forgiven and I am one of those people who can't stand it when someone doesn't like me. I know that not everyone is going to like me, but I want this person to know that it was a unique situation and I really DID NOT mean to hurt them. Everything was going so fast and I was doing a lot of thinking around that time, a lot of faith based self-reflection and then an opportunity came along that I had been waiting my whole highschool career for. Yes, I could have waited a little longer to take that opportunity, but my heart was longing for that opportunity and I was afraid I would lose it. I was torn and maybe I made the wrong choice. I know it hurt that person- I have always known it and believe me, I realize I am completely at fault.

I have decided that I can't take it anymore. I'm going to try to make it right. I'm going to ask for forgiveness and I pray that God will let this person know how sincerely sorry I am for what I did to them. I pray that they can look into their heart and forgive me so that I can move on with my life.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thank You, God...Thank You, Friends

We're all living in our own little world, aren't we?
We've all got our own separate problems and our own separate secrets. We think that nobody
needs to know because nobody cares or nobody understands. But, is that really true?
In my own opinion, I don't think so. I think that our problems and our struggles are the things
that unify us the most.

When I started this blog (and still on occassion) I struggle with some thoughts that seem
to taunt me and run through my mind over...and over... and over again.

"Why do I need to take my medication everyday in order feel good?
 Why can't I just be happy on my own?
Why can't I be happy like everybody else?"

The last one especially bothers me. When I'm having "one of those days" I look around me and it seems like everyone, strangers and friends, are effortlessly happy. They seem so free. I, on the other hand, am praying that I don't run into anybody I know when I'm in the store because right now, the hardest thing in the world is to muster up a smile and friendly tone of voice. Sometimes it can be so hard for me to realize that I'm not the only one in the world with problems. Selfish, I know, but it's true. However, after I put a link to my blog on my facebook page, so many people have opened up to me and told me that they struggle with similar problems and that they're always there for me if I need to talk.
Thank You, God! Thank You, Friends!

I am so grateful for the stories that I have heard. Not only because these people have
offered a sympathetic ear, but their stories puts things into perspective for me. When some
people shared their stories, I was completely shocked. People I've known for my whole life,
or close to my whole life, have "shared their secrets" with me and I now understand certain things about them that I didn't before. But more importantly, I have a whole new understanding of what it means to be humbled. Those who have opened their hearts to me and shared their secrets, never hesitated to tell me how wonderful I am. What a blessing to have such thoughtful people in my life. Some of these people I haven't talked to that much, but they still offered their help and kind words despite the fact that they have their own problems to worry about.
"To see yourself through the eyes of a friend is to know how special you really are."

Right now I am so grateful. I am grateful for MY problems. I have heard many things that break my heart and I am so thankful that I have not had to go through the things that some of my friends and family have. I am grateful that I now realize that God needs me to love His children unconditionally, without judgment, because sometimes they can't feel His presence.

I'm grateful for my life experiences, and friends that keep me grounded and make me realize that I'm wonderful and that My Life Is Good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Revelation And A Confession

Confession: Forgive me Lord for I have sinned...

I will not be going to school today because I'm taking a sick day. I didn't sleep well last night because of these new pills that my doctor put me on. The thing that confuses me is that they supposed to help with anxiety and sleep. I woke up so many times last night and I am very tired today so I have decided not to go to school. My confession is that I could probably make it through my classes, but I don't feel like it, so I'm not. I'm sorry, Mom- if you're reading this.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I want to tell you about a wonderful Bible verse I recived from signing up for the daily Bible verse at Check it out if you're interested in that kind of thing.

 "Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body
you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful."
- Colossians 3:15

I don't know why this verse hit me so hard today, but I'm glad it did. I posted it to my facebook page as my status and I didn't really read it until it was out there for the world to see. As soon as I took the time to analyze this verse, a wonderful calm came over me -which is why I call it a revelation.
Like I said in my facebook status today, how many times do we long for and search for that one moment of peace in our day? Sometimes my day gets so busy that I feel like I don't even have time to go to the bathroom! No, this is not a joke or a figure of speech. There have been days when I've almost wet myself and considered the easy fix of Depends underwear. Ok, so maybe not the Depends part, but seriously, some of my days are just too packed and I'll be the first to admit it. It's hard to believe that this is the life that God really intended me to have....NEWS FLASH! It's not. God didn't intend for me or any of us to be stressed out every minute of everyday-He wants just the opposite for us. God created us to live in peace! Infact, not only is this what He wants for us, this is what He requires of us! Yes, that may seem hard to do, but that's because we are so aquainted with our common lifestyle of filling up every minute of every day....well, atleast I know I am. I have committed myself to a lot of things this semester and this year, so I will have to keep my word and finish what I started, but I'm praying for the Lord to help me remember that verse in hopes that next year, I will finally come to my senses and realize that I don't need to have 5 jobs...I need to be at peace. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

One Day At A Time...Or Not

If you've been reading my blog, you know about my most recent investment, and let me tell you . . . boy was it a good investment ! This simple daily quote book , "Live Happy" has yet again captured my attention and forced me to reflect on my life . This is good because I need a little reflection time . Yesterday I had fall break, but as a requirement for one of my classes, I have to have 25 hours of classroom observation done by Thanksgiving . Don't get me wrong, I love the second grade class that I'm in, and I LOVED the field trip to Holy Hill, but sometimes, I just want a break . You know, every once in a while I'd like to have just one day where I don't have to leave my house at 7:30am and get home at 8:30pm . So, I had that one day today and it was NICE . I was going to go do some more observation today from 8-2:30 then work at the Daycare from 3-6, but I was up until almost 2am yesterday doing homework so I decided that I deserve to have one day of fall break . Although, on Monday, I'll have to start it all over again, which reminds me . . . Note to Self- tutoring Kindergarten students on reading and writing (Monday's and Wednesday's) starts on Monday !
Oh boy , come on back brain . We're writing a blog here . I started talking about that one little quote that caught my eye and now I'm all side-tracked . Well, I suppose that's alright- it makes a pretty good point .
Today's daily quote in "Live Happy," is . . .
"I try to take it one day at a time
But sometimes
Several days attack me at once."

I struggle with this and I'm sure everyone else does too . I try so hard to take life one day at a time, but no matter what I do,  I always end up thinking, "What do I all have to do tomorrow?" or "I cannot forget that my doctor's appointment is next week ." I think this is part of the reason that I don't sleep well . When I lay down at night it seems like it's almost impossible to shut my brain off . As much as I'd like to be able to go, go, go, 24 hours a day, I can't because God didn't make us to function like that . Hmm . . . that's something to think about, isn't it? God didn't make us like the Energizer Bunny, although, sometimes I try to convince myself that He did . The human body needs to be recharged, but not once a month like our friend Mr. Bunny . We need rest every day and honestly, if there is a "right way to relax," I don't think I'm doing it right .
There comes a point at night when I just can't keep my eyes open anymore, but even though my eyes are closed the wheels are still turning in my brain . I need to work on that . When I've reached that point of exhaustion and I realize it's finally time to try and catch some Z's, I shouldn't be spending my last few minutes of conciousness thinking about all the things I need to accomplish tomorrow, or the things I didn't accomplish today . Which, by the way, I am extremely guilty of . My last thought before my mind goes blank and I finally fall asleep is usually something along the lines of, "I know I didn't get ___ , ___, and ___ done today so I'll have to find some time tomorrow to do them . . . . *yaawwwn* Hmm . . . let's see . I'll have to get up tomorrow and do them in the morning before school because I don't have a break between classes and *yaawwwn* I have to work directly after my last class and after work . . . . ZZZZZZZZZZZZ ." When my day ends like this, I don't feel refreshed when I wake up . I feel like I pick up exactly where I left off and, even though I slept, it still feels like a continuation of one very looonnnng day .
I'm going to challenge myself to end the day when I crawl into bed . Once I'm all burried in the blankets, I'm going to try to turn on some music so that I can drown out the sound of my own thoughts . You know . . . it's almost too bad that the Energizer Bunny isn't real . . . I bet a few bangs to the old noggin with those drum sticks of his would really do the trick . But I guess I'll just stick with the music for now .  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making The Most of My Moments

Technology Class...
I should have been learning about all the helpful tools that are available to me on Microsoft Publisher, but I wasn't. I should have been listening to my professor explain how this program can help me in my future classroom, but I wasn't. To put it simply, I should have actually been listening during his instruction, but I wasn't. Instead I had my nose buried in this little quote book called, "Live Happy." Shame on me, I know. But, for once I don't feel so bad about letting my mind wander into the quiet caverns of my brain because I think some good might have actually come from it.
This little pink and green quote book has been my newest obsession since I bought it yesterday and I think I've read it cover-to-cover about five times already. But, today one particular quote has been weighing on my heart. About half way through the book on a plain page with only some simple pale pink swirling patters near the bottom, reads this quote:

Be where you are. Otherwise, you will miss your life. ” -Buddha

It sounds so simple, so why is it so difficult? Maybe it's because we don't really understands what it means to live. To live could simply be going through our everyday routines. Wake up, go to work or school (in my case, both), go home, go to bed, do it all again tomorrow. But living fully is something completely different and completely sacramental. If we are not active participants in our lives- mind, body, soul- how can we claim to have lived even one day? In my own life I find that I'm always trying to race time; always trying to stay one step ahead of schedule. In doing so, I'm never fully present in the moment at hand. By focusing on what my next class is, what activities I'm going to plan for the kids at Daycare, or what homework I need to get done tonight, I'm not engaged in the moment. I'm not connecting with the people I am with by noticing their selfless acts of kindness or learning about their unique personalities. I'm not making the most of the gifts that I've been given; gifts as simple as the fact that I'm not paralyzed and I have the ability to, and should, take notes during class! I'm even missing out on how to use Microsoft Publisher, which is a shame because it turns out that I need it for an upcoming assignment. 
Ok God, point taken. Man, you really DO have a sense of humor...
Note to self: Pay attention in class. Take notes. Live in the moment (even if it's difficult.)  

Like my therapist keeps telling me, I am going to try to work on living my life one moment at a time because I think once I start to fully participate- mind, body, and soul- in each moment, I will be much more able to cope with problems that may arise in only that moment. When another moment comes along, I'll worry about that when I get to it. Tonight, I'm counting my blessings and thanking God for each moment He's given me. Tonight, I'm truly living.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Beauty of Dirt

I've found that it is nearly impossible for me to enter any kind of store (grocery, pharmacy, gas station, retail, etc.) without entering the greeting cards isle . I don't know why, but the simplicity of a well written card just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy . Like there's still somebody, somewhere who knows what life is really about . But, this post won't be about all the lovely cards I read while spending half an hour in the local Walgreens, though, it does involve the same isle .
I came across this cute little pink and green book with flowers on it entitled, "Live Happy." It's one of those daily quote type books that I love so much . After spending about five or six minutes reading this book (add that to my 20 minutes of reading greeting cards) I began to notice that the Walgreens employees were passing my isle more and more frequently . I scooped up my items and headed to the checkout .When I got there, I hadn't realized it, but I still had the book in my hand . Looking at this little pink and green book I thought to myself, "What the heck, it's only a couple bucks."
After relieving the Walgreens employees of the theft threat, it's back to school to work on that homework that has been looming over my head all day . I left my house this morning at 9:30am and it is now 8:48pm, it's been a long day . Well, anyway, after 20 solid minutes of reading, "Bartleby the Scrivner" I am ready for a break...from homework atleast . I look over at my little pink and green book and start to read . Now this is my kind of reading! One sentence per page, if only all books were like that . No offense, Bartleby .
After reading a few pages I came across a quote that really spoke to me .

You can say that again . I think about all the things that I'm struggling with in my life right now and, boy, dirt just sounds like the perfect word . Maybe even like mud . I've been crying so much lately that those tears are bound to fall to soil sometime . I've been living with a heavy heart for a while now because right now I don't measure up to who I used to be . I used to be care-free and happy all the time . I would just feel so good on some days that people would ask me,
"Are you ok? You seem a little excited..."
And most of the time I would respond with some kind of sing-songy response like,
"Of course! Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day! I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way!"
Lately, my personal interactions with people usually begin with them asking,
"Are you ok? You look like you're worried about something."

Often times this breaks me down because I feel like a completely different person than who I used to be . And the thing that really bothers me is that I really liked who I was .
But... "Every flower that blooms has to go through a whole lot of dirt [and a whole lot of change.]"If you don't mind that I add my two cents. :)
I'm beginning to realize that almost everything on God's green earth changes . After a rose has done it's job-reproduced through pollination, and given a glimps of it's beauty to those who care to stop and smell, it withers . A rose doesn't bloom and flower in every season of the year, so why should I expect myself to be at my best in every new chapter in my life? I feel that those "happy chapters" in my life are over because I did my job and did it well . I was there for the people who needed me most and I learned what God wanted me to understand in that period of my life so now, it is my time to wither so that I can re-gain the strength to push through all this dirt and renew myself once again .

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In This Moment

Fellow blog readers, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Amanda and this is my very first blog.
A little about myself:
I am currently a sophomore in college, majoring in Elementary/Middle Education with a Minor in English/Language Arts. I hope to someday become a fourth grade teacher in a small Catholic school. I am currently on my 14th year of Catholic schooling and I couldn't be more pleased. I am proud of the education I have recieved and hope to someday give children the same wonderful experience that I have had.
This coming January, I will have completed my first year as a certified Daycare teacher. I am thankful to be one of the few people in this world who can say, without hesitation, I love my job. It is not only good preparation for me as I come closer to becoming a teacher, but it is rewarding in so many ways. I have often found that the moment I step into work and recieve my first hug of the day from one of my School-Age kids or see a two year old running toward me yelling, "Miss Amanda!!!" I can't help but be thankful for God's gift of that simple emotion we so often take for
Why I created this blog:
Watch out folks- here comes the personal story!
For the past year, I have been struggling with the newness of diagnosed depression and anxiety. I am currently seeing a psychiatrist and she keeps telling me to, "Live in the moment." As simple as this sounds, it something that I struggle with all the time. I currently have five jobs that are somehow related to child-care and while I love and enjoy each and every one of those jobs, they're constantly making me think ahead. For example, while I should be paying attention in class, I often find myself thinking about art projects for my School-Agers to do when they get to the daycare after school. Because I am human, and I am weak and stubborn, I cannot give up any of these jobs so lately my assignment from the therapist has been simply to, "Live in the moment." I'm not sure how long this blog will last, but it doesn't matter because for the past fifteen minutes, I've been living in this moment, and this moment only. Success, welcome back old friend.