Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Everything matters"

One of the things I told myself I would start doing after graduation form nursing school is read books. Well it's been well over a year since I graduated and while I have read a few I have to admit that I'm slacking big time!

I did however just finish Conceived Without Sin by Bud MacFarlane last night. He is a Catholic author and the first book of his that I read, Pierced by a Sword, was phenomenal! Couldn't put it down. It's one of those things where I still think about the characters in the book... is that weird? ha They just reminded me of some people I know in real life! Conceived Without Sin, however, was kinda hard for me to get into. He spent so much time building up the characters that I feel like I didn't really get to the plot until about page 400. And then I stayed up passed my bed time to finish it! ha ha

While I do wish the book would have grabbed me from the beginning there are a few things that really struck me and because of those few things I absolutely loved the book. The first: "Everything matters." It is something that Buzz, Donna and Ellie said in the book. Think about it... everything matters. Nothing is coincidence. I could drive myself crazy thinking about it. Everything that I do, everything that I say, everything time I smile at a stranger... that matters. Our lives are not meant to be lived for ourselves. We are all intertwined into the Divine Plan of our Creator. There are days that I feel so far from God but He is right here. I'm a living part of the Plan everyday in all that I do whether I make a conscious effort or not. Pretty amazing if you ask me. Epiphany!

The second thing: "Love is a decision." Boom. Mind blown. It's kind of one those things that is so simple but so true and even though it is something I am infinitely aware of... it still blows my mind. Love is more than a feeling... thank you Boston! Love is a choice that you make everyday. I chose to love my patients at the hospital even when they are cantankerous and sleep deprived. I chose to love my family members when I disagree with them. I chose to love my husband when those little quirks I once fell in love with are driving me insane! You can either decide to love or you can walk away.

It got me thinking about the divorce rate is the US... it is freaking ridiculous! I understand that some people really do get mixed up with people they should never have been with and there are some cases where separation or annulment are appropriate. BUT SERIOUSLY! I don't think that half the marriages should be ending. That is unreal. I think that our society has become such a culture of "me" and of "instant gratification" that we don't want to work for it. We don't want to make the choice. We would rather just not deal with it. This seriously saddens me. I have been married for just over a year and while things aren't rainbows and sunshine every single day of our married lives I cannot imagine my life without my spouse! No one ever said it was easy. Love is sacrifice!
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So, since I have been kinda on a saint kick...

Check out
Patron Saints of Difficult Marriages

Patron Saints of Second Marriages

St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Married Couples

Saint Monica, Patron Saint of Married Women

St. Monica prayed unceasingly for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine. What an amazing wife and mother!

"Nothing is far from God."- Saint Monica

Next book: House of Gold by Bud MacFarlane!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Irrational Fear of Confession

Why would anyone want to sit behind a screen in a poorly lit room and tell some guy with a collar all their sins? I've heard this question before. Shoot... who am I kidding?! I have asked myself this question!!!

I will not pretend that I am holier than thou or that I've got my ducks in a row or whatever... my ducks are scattered and I'm pretty sure a few of them got lost. Going to confession is not usually something I look forward to. Actually, I have been going to confession for 15 years and it still terrifies me. Even though my wonderful Catholic husband goes regularly and I could easily catch a ride with him I'm usually just like, "Nah, I'm good." I'm totally not selling this whole confession thing, am I?

Well, I just think it's crazy how God has this way of bringing us back to him whether it be through a sacrament or scripture reading or an epiphany that we have. This weekend, for whatever reason, I decided to go with my husband to confession. I found this Examination of Conscience online and I went through each line and evaluated myself which was probably more thorough than I have EVER been. I wrote down each thing I wanted to confess 'cause even though I am afraid to tell my sins I also am afraid I will forget one (makes perfect sense, right? ha). And then I went.

I wish I could remember this particular sacramental experience for the rest of my life. I have never felt like I was in conversation with God quite like that. It was really a supernatural experience. I wasn't just kneeling there spouting off my sins and waiting for the words of absolution. I was having a legit conversation about my life and living my faith. I was consoled and felt a sense of peace. It was both strange and awesome.

I didn't walk out of the confessional feeling like a saint. I honestly never have. I just felt... good. It's like if you crash your dad's car and you are terrified to tell them and you are anticipating the wrath... and then dad is like, "I know you didn't mean to hurt the car. It's gonna be alright. Are you ok?" And then your mind is blown! That's a really crappy analogy, i know. But it's the best I got, ok! My tiny human brain was not made to understand all the glory that is God... but I like to try!

Moral of the story: Confession is awesome!

Not convinced? Well maybe this guy will help convince you. If St. John Vianney spent 16-18 hours a day hearing confessions, he must have believed it was good for something!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Fall Love Story

I seriously love Fall weather. I love packing up the swimsuits and shorts and bringing out the sweaters and boots and scarfs. I love watching football. I love the way the trees change. But there is another reason I love fall that most people don't know about.

I love Fall because it reminds me of the time in my life when I fell in love with my husband. Cheesy? You bet. But it's true. Patrick and I met through some mutual friends at the Newman Center at Pittsburg State University where we both went to school at that time. I remember the first time I saw him. I went to an apologetics class that the Chaplain of the Newman Center held every Monday night. I was a freshman from Texas that had just moved to Kansas and didn't know a soul. I can't tell you what we were talking about at Apologetics but I remember where he was sitting and that I thought he was cute even though he had a bull cut (which he continues to deny even though there are pictures from that year to prove it).

We didn't even talk that night and he doesn't remember it at all. We didn't even become friends until the very end of that school year when our little group formed. Katie, Josh, Steven, Patrick and I all became friends and the 5 of us started spending a lot of time together. Patrick and I went on a date and for about a week we spent just about every day after our college classes together. I had to go back to Texas for the summer so even though we liked each other I pretty much decided to put all that on hold. We were such good friends... why mess that up?

So what did I do? I ignored him. ALL. SUMMER. LONG.

And then Fall came....
Patrick and I are the two on the right

I remember so many details of that Fall... like being really nervous to sit next to him in the photo above.  It was actually on this night that I told my friend Katie that I liked him and she basically told me to chill out and take it slow ha ha. Pretty good advice since I was a big jerk and ignored him the past few months. Looking back, I really wish I hadn't been so ridiculous but hindsight is 20/20, right!?! Also, we had just planned for Katie and her boyfriend Steven (now her husband!) and Patrick and I (who were supposed to just be friends) to go back to my home in Texas for Fall Break which was a month after that. I didn't want that to be awkward.

Patrick and I in the front, Steven and Katie in the back -in Texas
Well... I decided to not chill out and so we started dating. I just FYI I really hate the term "dating." But courting sounds too formal. Anyways, I was certain at that time that I had never in my life been that happy. Patrick was the most incredible guy I had ever met and it wasn't long before I was starting to imagine a future with him. I was impressed with how easy it was for me to talk to him. He made me laugh A LOT! We went to church together, prayed together, danced, went on walks... it was perfect.

My best friend and I fell in love. I love him more now than I ever have. We have been through some difficult things in the past 4 years and have seen each others' true colors. We know each others' little quirks and what to do to absolutely annoy the living hell out of each other. I cannot imagine my life without him. I love Fall because those feeling of first falling in love come back. So this Fall just like every other one for the past few years, I will remember how our love story started and thank God for bringing Patrick into my life!

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Faith and Works

I am a Catholic, born and bred. Also known as a "Cradle Catholic." I am in love with my Church. Seriously. Unfortunately, just like with any kind of love, I can take it for granted from time to time.

Today, the hubs and I went to mass just like any other Sunday morning. I was hungry and in my head wishing I could have grabbed a granola bar on my way out the door. I know fasting isn't supposed to be fun but today I was particularly not a fan of it. I sat in the pew, knelt down for a few mediocre prayers (the ones I always say before mass), and then sat back down ready to get the show on the road. I realize this sounds incredibly disrespectful. I am not perfect and will never claim to be. This morning is was in a particularly sour mood.

Then... I heard the Second Reading.

How beautiful! We are called to be a people of action! What good am I doing if I am not doing good WORKS for others? How many times do I say I will pray for someone and fall short? How often am I serving the people of God?

So after my initial feelings of failure I decided I am going to take action. I don't have any clue what kind of action I am going to take and I will certainly take suggestions but if it's true that faith is dead without works then I better get my act together!

Just FYI the United States Council of Catholic Bishops site is a great reference if you ever need one!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

American Heroes

Tuesday was the 11th anniversary of the day America was attacked by terrorists. If you were old enough to remember that day at all chances are you were reflecting on where you were when you found out, how you felt, who you lost. I did.

Firefighters raise the American Flag at ground zero.
But I'm not that 7th grade little girl anymore. Now I almost feel a sense of pride. Of course I still tear up when I see the images of the towers falling and hear the stories of how a little girl grew up not knowing her dad. But that event didn't break us. We are still the United States of America.

I will not go into politics because I hate talking about it anyway, but look at where we are. Unfortunately there were also some riots in the middle east at American Embassies. While I still don't believe these riots came out JUST because of a video on youtube it makes you think. I was watching on Fox News and I honestly can't remember who was talking but they were talking about how to the Muslims that were rioting blamed the US government for the video. Looking at things from their angle, I in a weird twisted way see their point... hang on cuz I really do have a point here. All they know is a government that dictates aspects of their lives that we don't experience here. We have free speech. That is something they don't fully understand. They expect out government to jump in and do something about the video. We, on the other hand, and these wonderful liberties that were set in stone many moons ago. We love our freedom, we expect to keep our freedoms. We do not expect the government to jump in and intervene.

Essentially what we have here is a misunderstanding of our freedoms. Do I think it was ok for whoever made this video to make it? Well, I most certainly wouldn't do it but he has free speech. Do I think it was ok for them to riot in the streets and kill innocent Americans? Absolutely not. My heart goes out to all the families and friends of those that lost their lives serving our county this week. My heart also goes out to all the military men and women that fight tirelessly for my freedoms everyday. They are our heroes. Do you have a hero?

Soldiers from the US Army 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan have a moment of silence in honor of the 9/11 victims on the 5th anniversary of the event. Photo by Flickr user Morgan-Family, via CC.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Apartment Living

I am in my second year of living in an apartment and let me tell you... it is far from glamorous. I think the best word to describe it is "interesting."

Today, my DH and I walked out the front door of our second story apartment into the beautiful fall weather. It was the first day we were BOTH free since I don't know when. As we walked towards the car to run a few errands the DH spotted my front bumper of my little Honda. It was pretty clear that someone hit me. It took the paint off. Awesome.

Also, what's with people not taking out the trash? Setting it outside your door is not the same as walking it to the dumpster. And if you walk passed it for 4 days and STILL don't walk it to the dumpster then you are just freaking lazy. Speaking of lazy... pick up your dog's poop, please.

I will say that we are thrilled that our new neighbor is quiet. We definitely couldn't say that about our previous neighbors that played techno club music so loud that it rattled the pictures on our walls and screamed at each other at 3 am.

On a much happier note we DID enjoy the lovely fall weather and got SO in the mood for fall that I made pumpkin muffins for breakfast with our coffee, bought some fall decorations and mulled cider scented candles :)

Much Love Ya'll.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'm just writing

Blogging.... it's not something I ever thought I would do. Yet here I am.

My name is Hilary and I am a young Catholic wife. My husband, Patrick, and I got married in July 2011 and are enjoying the adventures of married life. It is seriously never a dull moment with him! We have a sweet and spirited pup named Rosalyn and she is always entertaining.

I am what most people today would call old fashion. I believe in strong family values, working hard and speaking up for what you believe in. I like to cook, bake, read, write and spent time with family. One of the most valuable pieces of advice anyone ever gave me was to "talk about things you can't see." I think that is how you can really get to know people.

I am a nurse and I LOVE my job. It's sick how much I love it. Seriously, no one should love their job this much. I have wanted to be a nurse since I was 5 and it's crazy that I finally am. Only problem is that now I sometimes miss learning. I'm kinda nerdy that way.

I have been writing my thoughts and reflections in black and white composition books for years. Really that is all I'm doing. I don't have any profound purpose for starting a blog. I don't have a theme. I'm not trying to persuade anyone to think like me or gather followers. I'm just writing...