Quick Takes 2-25-11

Seeing as I’m doing a terrible job of blogging on a regular basis, I’ve decided to join the “7 Quick Takes Friday” club. And a great way to control my impulse to just talk about myself and the mundane things that are going on in my life. haha

– 1 –

I started substitute teaching this week!! I gave a quiz and started Thirteen Days with three classes on Wednesday, and today I will be subbing for the art teacher. Exactly where I want to be! It should be an interesting experience. I know that substituting is not at ALL like being a teacher. It sort of reminds me of a chaperone vs. youth minister… one is there to carry on what the other has started, but the other has a long-term commitment to seeing those kids through something. Being a stand-in isn’t nearly as fun as getting to know them, pushing them to be their best, teaching and leading by example, etc. But I’m grateful for the sub job, and am looking forward to lots of adventures because of it!

– 2 –

It rained for a little bit today for the first time in a while. It’s funny — a few weeks ago when the snowpocalyse was rolling through, all we got was rain and clouds. I got SO antsy to see the sun! Today, I found myself wishing it would thunderstorm and rain like crazy. Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind!

– 3 –

Mom and I were shopping a couple weeks ago and found gorgeous mirrors at Target for $30 on sale! And they’re big, too — like 3×2 foot, hang on your wall and feel like you have nice things, big! I don’t know if they’re still there, but they had a brushed bronze/brown and black. TOTES WORTH IT! I can’t wait to hang it in my next living space… wherever and whenever.

– 4 –

I got a letter today from the University of Texas at Austin! I have been offered a spot in the Fall 2011 MA in Art Education program. I am THRILLED! It has been such a long wait since I submitted applications (and a lot of mayhem and mishaps with the UT app, especially), that I thought I was definitely going to hear a “no” from them. God is SO good! I will keep waiting to hear back from UNT and UH before I make any decisions… and keep discerning if this is what I should do. I am so thankful that it is now a real option and not just a “hope”!

– 5 –

I have REALLY been considering flying up to Steubenville for Easter. I would give anything to spend the weekend in such a vibrant Catholic community, and with so many friends that mean so much to me. I know the solemnities and celebrations will be like nothing I have ever experienced before, and I am itching to visit Franciscan (“The Catholic Cool Kids Club”). Plane tickets are just so expensive… at least I have a month or so to decide!

– 6 –

The Purge has been going well. I have been trying to clean out my life and my “stuff,” and it happens in bursts. The last one got a lot of the paperwork and tangible (yet somewhat haunting and tortuous) memories of my undergrad work out, and now I only have a couple smaller mini-projects to deal with.

  • As crafty as I love to be, I have piles of things “to be scrapbooked” that remain piles or boxes of stuff. I really need to figure out how to make myself sit down and deal with all of it.
  • I have a giant box of CDs that I honestly don’t know what to do with. Who even has CDs anymore??! And what do you do with all the cases and sleeves and everything? I still use CDs in my car occasionally, but I don’t want to tempt burglars with books of original CDs. Regardless, I need to update my iTunes library and then put them away, I guess.
  • Art supplies. It’s definitely something that must be tackled. And there is no better word. Tackled.

Still have a lot to do, and it’s more time-consuming than just throwing stuff out. Yikes!

– 7 –

I’ve been worrying thinking about what I should do for Lent this year. I was working in Florida last year, and wasn’t able to really put myself into the season. After such a powerful summer, I really want to be present and focus on preparing for Easter. But I’m also considering working on small things that will sustain me after Lent is over. I always try to take on everything at once… I’m WAY too “all or nothing”/”go big or go home,” and I feel like I really need to work on being even-keeled but still passionately obsessed. Aghh… who even knows?!

Btw, the Aggie Catholic Lenten mega-compilation and links/suggestions/faqs extravaganza is a pretty awesome place to start thinking: Aggie Catholic Lent 2011.  I still look better in burnt orange… but man, I love those Ags!

Rediscovering Catholicism

I just finished reading Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. I’m not writing a book review. I love reading, but that’s totally not my thing… so I won’t even try. What I WILL do is comment on some of the awesome things I picked up the first time through! I didn’t know you could get a free copy here, but I’m glad that if you can’t afford to purchase a copy, you can still get your hands on it.

This book is full of questions and challenges for WHY we aren’t the people we ought to be. Of course, that’s a question we’re always trying to answer. But especially as the Catholic Church, where is our vigor? Our zeal? Our passion? It’s something that I have been struggling with for almost 9 months now.

Sometimes, I felt like Matthew Kelly was taking thoughts right out of my head… as if we had just spoken and he had recorded what I said on paper. Sometimes, his perspective is something I wasn’t seeing.

“Holiness brings us to life… it elevates our emotions. Holiness doesn’t stifle us, it sets us free. Holiness is to allow each moment to be all it can be.”

“The surest signs of holiness are an insatiable desire to improve oneself and an unquenchable concern for unholy people.”

“There is nothing more attractive than holiness.”

Wow. Maybe that’s old news for you, but in my journey… coming from the the community where I grew up and the Church as she interacted with me up until last summer, this is big news. I have said it a billion times since moving back home: I don’t feel like anyone ever called me to holiness here. No one called me to be the “best version of myself,” as Kelly puts it. No one made it so simple!!

“If you went into an ice cream store and there was no ice cream, you’d say, “There’s a problem!” If you went into a chocolate store and there was no chocolate, you’d say, “There’s a problem!” The mission of the Church is to share the Gospel, and to teach, challenge, and encourage people to become more like Jesus Christ. So how is it that we can belong to a local church community that goes on year after year with almost no outreach to the unchurched in the area, and with very few people really becoming more Christ-like (i.e. working to be holy!), and yet think there is no problem?! Let me tell you, if this describes your church community, “There’s a problem!!”

I suppose what it really comes down to is whether or not we sincerely believe that knowing and following Christ is the best way to live. I suspect that, on some level, most Catholics don’t. Because if we did, we would most likely be more excited to share it.

What an achievable, easy thing to do. It’s not new age. It’s not complicated. It is exactly what the mission has been from the beginning. Be holy, as Christ was holy! Then WHY is it so difficult? Why have our communities forgotten to keep working towards holiness?

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saving snippets…

A blurb from an article I was just commenting on:

Today, I see that nothing about my religious anti-choice views did anything to prevent abortion. They did a lot to shame myself and my friends, but nothing to prevent abortion. Today, I hear anti-choicers talk about the babies and the unborn and the American genocide, but what I really hear beneath all that is slut-shaming and fear of female sexuality. I hear that language clearly because I spoke it once, myself. It is a familiar language to me.

my response:Read More »

Mother Teresa and Catholicism

So I’m reading this incredible book right now… and I plan to post about it at length in the future. BUT for now, an excerpt that’s really a quote:

“Religion is not something that you or I can touch. Religion is the worship of God — therefore a matter of conscience. I alone must decide for myself and you for yourself, what we choose. For me, the religion I live and use to worship God is the Catholic religion. For me, this is my very life, my joy, and the greatest gift of God in his love for me. He could have given me no greater gift.”

— Mother Teresa

I absolutely love this. I’m sure it resonated with me because I often feel like it is difficult to describe why I believe, in the deepest part of my heart, that the Catholic faith — the Catholic way of worshipping God — is the one intended for us all. Beyond all the apologetics and history, I ask myself, Why this faith? Why these rules? Why these traditions and this way of life? Mother Teresa puts it so simply, and so beautifully: it is the greatest gift God has given me. It brings me closer to the heart of Christ and the loving arms of God than any other religion could… and that is my joy.

Sacred Art

“I think we need a more contemplative stance towards life, to see the deep religious and human truths that are there. We can only go so far with words and books. There is another level within us, a symbolic level or image level, that touches us very deeply. I think artists have the privilege in the Church, and they have had it throughout history, to open up that level so that people can see the mystery of God. The artist speaks, not just literally, but symbolically. I think visual images, if they are well done, can move us there. That’s a ministry.”
—Brother Michael Moran, C.P.

“In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art.”  — Pope John Paul II

I’m really intrigued by the artists who are working to create contemporary sacred art. While our religion may be steeped in tradition, our lives are vibrant, changing, and expressive — and the art in our homes and churches should reflect that. At least a little more than they do right now.

My home parish is extremely modern, and I do feel like there are things lacking in our worship because of it… while the sculptures and stained glass in our church are more contemporary, they don’t really “speak” to me. They don’t have the emotional pull, the awe-inspiring factor, the contained beauty that reflects the faith and the life of the Church. And if we lose sight of the glory that art should bring to our faith, then we lose the point.

But let me show you some of the amazing things I have discovered recently:

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