Friday, September 5, 2014

7QT: Seven Quick Takes (Volume I)

It's funny, I consider myself a bit of a "writer" on the side of my "real" life...and yet, I haven't written anything in FOREVER.  I decided to challenge myself with the 7QT this week, since I read everyone else's all the time, and it would be a good link up to get me to write...something.

1)  Happy feast of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta! 

If there ever were a saint among us, I feel sure we could say Mother Teresa was one.  (Although I remember my anti-Catholic parents lamenting that she wasn't a "real Christian" when she died...more on that another time.)  But, Mother Teresa was able to show the world, in great clarity and simplicity, who God is and what love does.  I've referenced her tiny living quarters in this post, but I continue to marvel that tiny little Teresa of Calcutta was able to change the world with such simplicity.  It seems that everything passed through her hands.  She didn't hold on to anything, she used it all for God, and she used it all the way up.

2)  T-G-I-F

It was only a 4 day work week, but heck if it didn't feel like double that.  I had such an awesome Labor Day weekend that maybe it made the rest of the week that much harder.

3)  Goin' to the chapel and we're...gonna get married

That's right...the countdown is on.  THIS is wedding month for me!!!  God help us and bless us!!  There's so much to do, so little time, no money left, and yet, I'm so excited!!

4)  I'm off the wagon (or is it on the wagon?) again with coffee 

I quit coffee about a year ago, cold turkey.  I just knew I needed to.  I had had about a 7 year love affair with the stuff, but something inside me told me that it was time to quit.  I did, and never felt better.  However, sometime again this summer, I picked it up again.  First, it was just at work...sometimes.  Then, I bought some for home because I was having company.  Then, I had to finish what I bought, of course, after the company left.  Well, it turns out that the caffeine still wreaks havoc on my system.  After about a month or two of steadily increasing coffee use, I also had increased anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia.  Yes, all of those things could also be explained by the impending nuptials, financial concerns, family drama, etc., but the coffee sure didn't help.  So, I quit again.  Day 2.  Already feeling much MUCH better.  (Why can't I just remember that?!)

5)  I need friends

I'm relatively new to this city, been here about 1.5 years.  And, although the last several months have been a major focus upon wedding plans, I know when that all dies down, I will eventually need some friends to hang out with. I had made one really great new friend, and she moved a few weeks ago.  I feel like I haven't lived here long enough to have people moving away already, but it's time to put myself out there and try to get some new friends.  I'm really bad at that, as an introvert.  However, even though I like being alone, I still want and need friends.  I feel like I see the same people over and over (work, gym, other routines), and that it's hard to meet new people at this phase in my life.  So far, a new friendship hasn't presented itself, but I'm praying for just one new friend to take her place.  Although I consider my fiance to be my "best friend," I also firmly believe that we need other couples as friends, and that I need some girlfriends, and he needs some guy-friends to keep us all happy.  As a Catholic who is about to start practicing NFP, it would be great to have people that understood our "lifestyle," if you will.  I should just pray about it.  The friend that moved was a great, unexpected gift.  If God could give me her, then surely he could give me someone else.         

6)  It's the end of the world as we know it

...and I (don't) feel fine.  On a more serious note, it seems as if there is so much going on in our world.  Beheadings, torture, black masses, war...  I know to some extent, these things never stop, but it is SO sobering to me that when I stand up to say the Creed at church every Sunday, my brothers and sisters in Christ across the globe could be killed for doing the same thing.  Why was I born here, and they were born there?  It's not fair.  Why do those of us with freedom (religious or otherwise) sometimes take it SO for granted?  Where is the mass media on reporting this????  It seems like awareness is growing, especially after two American journalists were killed (may they rest in peace), but sometimes I feel like the world is coming to a crash around us, the enemy is gaining a foothold, and NO ONE notices.  We are busy scrutinizing the fashion choices of celebrities, or criticizing what seem to be TRIVIAL concerns of our local and national politics, when considering what is going on with the rest of the world.  Do we not notice the TRUE evil that is staring us in the face?  I hate the navel-gazing media style found in America of late, and it really concerns me that we are so unaware and (so far) unresponsive to this massive problem.  

7)  N-F-P

If you'd have told me 5 or 10 years ago that I'd be an NFP-using Catholic, I would have rolled my eyes, laughed, and told you the oldest joke in the book about NFP.  ("You know what they call people that use that method, right?  Parents.")  Anyway, I have learned a lot, and come a long way, not only in my understanding, but in my obedience to church teaching (thanks be to God, and more on that journey another time).  However, I get married later this month, and I can already say with full confidence that I may have a love/hate relationship with NFP.  First of all, not all of us are such textbook people that these methods are just easy-peasy.  I showed my charts to our NFP teacher (who is also a nurse), and even she couldn't decipher them.  I learned one method in class, then self-taught myself another method, and even with two methods sort of going at the same time, I feel like an idiot.  I feel frustrated.  I can't always decipher the signs.  I am not looking forward to days and days of abstinence simply because I don't KNOW what's going on, and yet, I know that all forms of love require sacrifice.  It's funny, I could talk to someone about the evils of contraception and how harmful I think it is to women and true feminism until I'm blue in the face.  However, when it comes to me and my body and NFP, it ain't easy.  I want to learn this stuff so well that I could teach it.  In theory, the theology and the application are BEAUTIFUL.  I really mean that.  And yet, learning it and applying it or understanding it as it applies to you and your body...well, that's a different story.  I want to find some couples who could be our friends who also practice NFP, but how exactly do you strike up THAT conversation?  And, we took our class at a parish different from our own (not offered at ours)...  Anyway, I digress.  I love NFP.  I thank God that I learned this stuff in Church!!  It's awesome!!  And yet, I kinda hate NFP.  It requires me to self-sacrifice.  It can be confusing.  It's embarrassing to talk about (sorry, it is).