We celebrated Halloween at school yesterday. It is fun to see all the kids in their costumes. Some of them are very unique and interesting like a twister game and a chickmagnet. Then you have the usual witches and princess. We walked as a school down mainstreet Rockport and the businesses gave out candy. I was grateful that the rain held out until it was over.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Sunday Morning Thoughts
I've had a busy weekend with community meetings and getting together with friends at the monastery, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. Coming to the monastery Friday night, I was tired after a long week of work. (Work was very good- but I had LOTS on my plate, so it was quite busy). But, it has been so nice to connect with everyone, laugh a lot, eat great food, and hang out with some amazing people- just watching TV, dancing together, or whatever. Then, today I get to go to a meeting to get ready for an upcoming Teens Encounter Christ weekend- which I'm looking forward to. So, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle grading Algebra tests and writing Fox in The Box results this week!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
God's Beauty . . . . Do You See It?
I wonder what the world would be like if we all truly believed and didn't lose sight of the fact that we are created by God. We are wonderfully and beautifully made even when we mess up or don't know something. We are wonderfully and beautifully made even when we've worked hard, but things didn't go the way we planned. We are wonderfully and beautifully made even with all our flaws and imperfections. We are wonderfully and beautifully made even when we forget something, make a mistake, or don't meet another's expectations. We are wonderfully and beautifully made when we say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, or show up at the wrong place. We are wonderfully and beautifully made because we are children of God. God created us; so therefore, we never want to insult God or any of God's creations.
How much different our lives and our world would be if we truly believed and lived out of the fact that God loves us. We are created by God. We are wonderfully and beautifully made.
We all deserve a place in this universe. Build yourself up by knowing that God loves you. God created you. You are wonderfully and beautifully made.
I may have stepped up the "coolness ladder" at school. When the 7th and 8th graders participate and behave well, I let them listen to a song of their choice at the end of class. These have to be preapproved songs appropriate for school. I choose a person who then chooses a song from the list. The students enjoy it. They seem to behave and participate better (at least most of them or they lose the privilege). I also have benefited by being exposed to new music and by becoming aware of the students' favorite songs.
Some of the songs they listen to are extremely sad and touching. One such song is "Alyssa Lies" by Jason Michael Carroll. If you haven't heard it, please look it up. It's a country song about child abuse.
I believe that music gives us a way to express ourselves when words fail. Oftentimes, the music expresses feelings the students (or adults, for that matter) may not be able to articulate on their own. Sometimes the words express loneliness, confusion, or a desire to change oneself or the world.
I'm glad I'm able to hear the music the students are listening to so that I can understand the students better. I become aware of what music they enjoy and what songs affect them.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Sister Kristine Anne, Sister Betty, and Sister Jane didn't plan it, but today they ended up wearing a slight version of our "new look!" Our new colors for publications are shades of blue, purple, orange, and green. When I saw them and asked if I could take their picture, they were good sports about it.
Sister Kristine Anne is our prioress (superior). Sister Betty is the monastery coordinator, making sure all those little, and some not so little things run smoothly here. Sister Jane is our subprioress.
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the solemn vows of a friend from college. While studying, we both were discerning a call to religious life. Eventually Ann became a cloistered Dominican at a monastery in Connecticut, and I became a contemplative-active Benedictine. While she no longer uses email or the internet, we've kept in touch with real letters through our years in initial formation. It's been fun comparing notes on community life in our different orders.
Next year I hope to make my own perpetual monastic profession with this community, so I was curious to see how things would be at a cloistered monastery profession. Though different from the way we do it, the ritual was beautiful. Sr. Ann was so peaceful and happy, and her community of course was delighted finally to have her for good! It makes me look forward even more to the day I can promise "forever!"
Saturday, October 17, 2009
This is my favorite time of the year. I love to watch the leaves change color. I also love the cool weather and being able to wear a light jacket. I also love to watch football during this time of year. My students were in a great debate at school on Friday. There was going to be a big high school football game. I have students from North Spencer County and South Spencer County. The two high schools were playing each other. They wanted to know who I was cheering for. I told them both. They said I couldn't cheer for both. I found out today that North Spencer (Heritage Hills) won in over time. I can't wait to hear the conversation in my room on Monday.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Come & See is Here
Today is a day to get ready for our Come & See visitors. We are blessed to have two great women coming to spend the weekend with our community and learn more about our way of life. Our theme for this weekend is, "Discerning God in the Everyday." Sister Becky and the other sisters on the team will provide input on ways to find God's will/God's desire for us in our everyday lives.
Please pray for those traveling today, for their weekend experience, and for the sisters on the team for the weekend.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Learning New Things
My brother once told me that the word "gullible" wasn't in the dictionary. He said, "People just think it's a word, but it's not really." Yeah, right . . . . . . . . . . . I looked it up later just to make sure.
One time when we were young, he was scribbling on a piece of paper. When I asked him what he was doing, he answered, "I'm writing Japanese." I was sooooooo disappointed that my teacher wasn't teaching me Japanese. I begged him to teach me.
Teasing brothers and trusting sisters don't mix well together.
I enjoy learning, but not always in the way that it happens. Unfortunately, we don't get to choose how we want that learning to occur. Sometimes it takes place the hard way or from people tricking us or from those who annoy us the most. Are we open to the opportunities God sends us to learn new things? Do we see them as graced moments?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I may be the daughter of a nurse, but I am the worst medicine taker. My mom would start prepping me 2 hours before by saying, "Catherine, you'll need to take some medicine before you go to bed." I knew I couldn't run from it or slow down time. I would temporarily stop breathing every time she repeated those words throughout the 2 hours.
When the time came, there I sat at the kitchen table with the medicine in front of me, scared to open my mouth. My mom was very patient as I slowly built up enough courage to swallow. It was all quite a scene - one for which I should have gotten an academy award, except I wasn't acting. When I swallowed, you would have thought I was dying from instant poison. I gagged and carried on so! As I did my mom would encourage me, "Hurry!! Drink some water! Eat a cracker! Swallow, swallow, swallow!!"
Then when it was all said and done - 2 hours of prep, 15 minutes of sitting in front of the medicine, and then finally swallowing, my mom would say, "See. That wasn't so bad." Then came the dreaded words, "Now that was only half. You need to take a little more." I certainly had worked myself into a frenzy all for a tablespoon or 2 of medicine.
I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day. She heard me cough and said, "Do I need to come up there and give you some medicine?" I'm happy to say I'm a little better at taking medicine and can do it on my own now, but when I heard those words again, I temporarily stopped breathing.
Why do we resist things that are good for us? I knew the medicine was necessary and beneficial in the long run, however I had a hard time getting past the short term discomfort.
When I look at the decisions I make, do I think long term or am I discouraged by the short term discomfort? When asked to follow God as a Benedictine Sister, I had to face some immediate fears in order to reach long term health and happiness. Immediate fears such as "What will my friends think?" "What about MY plans?" "What all will I be giving up?" "What exactly am I opening myself up to?" "Who else my age is doing this?" I had to swallow all those fears, knowing in the long run that this is where God wants me.
God will only lead us to happiness. On our path toward God, there's only good medicine that will lead us to a more healthy and happy life. Are we brave enough to receive it and see past our fears so that we may experience more fullness of life?
Friday, October 9, 2009
Our God Is an Amazing God
I went to a public school for most of my education, but did go to a Catholic school when I was in 1st and 2nd grade. The priest would visit our classroom every so often. The teacher would let us know, and we were to be on our best behavior. (Weren't we always?)
I still remember what happened on two of his visits. Once, he chose different students to be disciples. I was Bartholomew. I remember thinking, "Yeah! I'm Bartholomew. " I had never heard that name before, so it made it extra special.
I also remember in 1st grade when he asked our class how many gods there were. I knew that God was every where and that God was in each person, so I confidently raised my hand and said, "Billions and billions and billions and billions." Makes sense, right? He's everywhere. If God is in my classroom and also in all the classrooms all across the world as well as in each person, there had to be billions of gods.
I'm sure my teacher's eyes got big. How could the brightest student in the class . . . (Ha, ha, only kidding.) The priest called on someone else who answered, "One." WHAT!!!!! You can imagine my surprise. One God! How can that be? The idea blew me away! I remember thinking, "Wow! There's something amazing about this God!"
"OK," I thought, "God's not really everywhere." I then pictured God on a cloud up in Heaven, looking down on each of us. The idea that God sees all of us on earth even when we're inside a building and under a roof blew me away also when a teacher revealed that bit of news to me later in the year.
So, let's get this straight. There's one God, but yet God is everywhere, knows everything, is in each one of us, and sees everything even when we're inside a building with a roof over our heads. Amazing! There's definitely something amazing about this God!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Going on a Bear Hunt
One of my favorite children's books is Going on a Bear Hunt. I only first discovered this book when I was in college and working with children with autism. One little boy named Joey absolutely loved that book. I know I've heard it or read it at least 1,000 times. The message of the book has finally sunk in as I apply it to my life.
In the book (it's also an echo speech piece), you're looking for a bear. You're not scared. You have your "lunch by your side and your camera too." Throughout the book, you come to different obstacles - thick mud, tall grass, a big lake, etc. Each time the same phrase, "Can't go over it. Can't go under it. Gotta go through it," is repeated. As soon as that obstacle is overcome, you state again your focus - "Going on a bear hunt" - and that you're not scared. After all, you've got your "lunch by your side and your camera too."
At the end, you come to the cave, find the bear, and then turn around and run like crazy through the mud, across the lake, through the tall grass, and through all the other obstacles until you are safely back where you started.
Does this sound like life? I believe, "Can't go over it. Can't go under it. Gotta go through it," certainly applies to mine. When I meet obstacles I often want to go around them, but just like the book says, "I gotta go through them."
"I've got my lunch by my side" - food for the journey, the essentials needed in life. I also have my camera - the fun loving part of life, the extra things that make life interesting. The camera coud also represent my memories. It takes documentation of where I've been and keeps it on file.
It's interesting all the obstacles that were overcome in the book, but yet when the person came to the cave, that was the last place he/she wanted to be. In that case, it was a wise decision.
How often in life have I worked hard for something, overcome obstacles, and then not been happy with the outcome? Did I make the pursuit for the right reasons? Was I looking for the greener grass and then realized I was happy where I was? Was I afraid of the success once I achieved it? Was I out of my element and felt out of place once I arrived, so retreated to where I started? All questions to ponder.
Right now, I'm just trying to get through the obstacles, so I tell myself, "I'm going on a journey. I'm not scared. Got my faith by my side and my wisdom too. Coming to (fill in the blank). Can't go over it. Can't go under it. Gotta go through it."
Blessings on your journey. Remember: 1. Consult with God. (Not mentioned in the book, but should be the first step.) 2. Know your purpose. (What's your focus or goal?) 3. Bring along what you'll need. (Faith, prayer, wisdom, experience, help from others, etc.) 4. Continue through any obstacles. (Don't waste energy trying to go over, under, or around. They exist. You gotta go through them.) 5. When you reach your goal, rejoice. Look how far you've come and how much stronger you are because of your journey and persistence. 6. Evaluate. Don't just run back to where you started. You worked hard to get where you are. Ask yourself, "Is the outcome what you want? Is it a safe and healthy place to be?" 7. Start over. (Consult with God, know your purpose, bring along what you'll need, continue through any obstacles, rejoice, evaluate.)
Saturday, October 3, 2009
High School Alumnae Day
I attended an all school reunion today in my home town. The oldest grads were from the 40's. We all visited together, sang with enthusiasm at Mass, enjoyed our lunch, and had a short program. We were taught by the Sisters of Providence from St. Mary's-of-the-Woods, IN. Today is the feast day of their foundress, Mother Theodore Guerin, so the day was extra special for the SP's who also attended. Although I didn't join their community as a member, these SPs helped foster my own religious vocation.