Friday, July 17, 2015

7QT: Seven Quick Takes (Volume XIX)

I'm linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum to bring you seven quick takes from my world this week.

Psychic Moments.

I revealed/discovered last week that I might be an INFJ instead of an INTJ.  INFJs often have "psychic moments" in which their intuition tells them something before it happens, or they have strong impressions about unseen or unspoken things.  It's happened to me a lot over the course of my lifetime.  And it happened to me yesterday twice, very strongly.    

First, I woke up with the face of a former student at the forefront of my mind.  Someone I haven't really thought about for a few years, someone I was never really that close to, but whom I loosely know.  I could not get him out of my mind for the first several hours of the day.  I even checked social media to make sure he was still alive.  (dramatic much?)  The only thing I could figure out was to just pray for him. He was raised Catholic.  He is gay and left the faith.  He graduated from college (where I was his advisor) and is living the high life in one of the country's largest cities.  I don't know if I was called to pray for him specifically, or to pray for who he represents to me.  It's just been so much on my heart lately (for obvious reasons and for personal reasons) to pray for my gay friends. Especially those who were raised Catholic or Christian, but are no longer practicing.  I'm not sure what God was asking of me, but I know our prayers are never in vain.

Secondly, at the end of the day, I was just getting home and my husband was just leaving for a rehearsal.  I had a terrible feeling about him leaving.  I kind of dismissed it like I was being extra fearful and too imaginative in the worst-possible-scenario type of way.  It's been about one year exactly since he got in a near-fatal car wreck before our wedding.  Anyway, I just hugged him extra tight before he left.  I even chased after him and hugged him another time to say a second goodbye. Well, he's fine, but his mom got in a car wreck last night.  I think my radar was a little off, but once again, I tried not to slip into fear when I had these feelings last night, and I prayed instead.  I hope God applied them to my mother-in-law, as needed.  (Does it count as a "psychic moment" if you're "off", like I was?)

Anyway, both of these scenarios are not really about me.  It's more about what I'm called to do in that moment, which is pray.  I heard someone say that when someone comes to mind like that, pray to their guardian angel because your guardian angel, or the Holy Spirit, is prompting you.  So, I did that. I really feel called to more prayer and fasting, especially in situations where I feel helpless or don't know what to do.  Our prayers are never in vain, even if our premonitions are off.  

Here I Am, Lord. 

I have a background in music, and ever since I moved to my current city, I haven't used it as much.  I only have one job now, and it's my "day job," which has nothing to do with music.  I have substituted on piano for a Catholic Church in town.  I have helped my husband with his concert series, both by performing and doing things behind the scenes.  I also played and sang at the parish Christmas concert last Christmas, but I still haven't found my niche for music in this city or in my life.  I keep asking God, how am I supposed to use my musical training and love for music?  It's hard, because when opportunities come my way, I do want to help out my husband's music career first, and since I'm not depending on music to make a living, I usually think he should be getting the first shot at opportunities.  Also, the majority of last year was dominated by moving and wedding planning.  It wasn't a priority.  Now that things have settled, I really want that piece of my life back.

Anyway, last weekend, in a city of over 4 million people, it seems like no one was available to sing for the Saturday evening mass at our church.  I was going to be there anyway, my husband was going to be there also, playing piano.  And, the music director asked if I might sing.  I knew it was the right thing to do.  I was really reluctant and hesitant (and nervous).  I said yes, but may not have had the greatest attitude.  As I was practicing the music for that evening's mass, I was going over the old Catholic standard Here I Am, Lord.  It literally wasn't until I sang that refrain that I got it.  I had kind of half-heartedly prayed to God, "how am I supposed to use my music?"  And, when the answer was right in front of my face, I still sort of resisted out of pride, or because it wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  It cracked me up.  I laughed, and said, "Okay, God.  I get it."  I need to be open and willing to do your will.  If I'm needed to sing, that's what I should do.  God's will, not mine.  Here I am, Lord.

This is usually how God works in my life.  He's gracious.  It often comes in the form of writing on the wall, a 2x4 over the head, or something extremely, really, obvious that no one could miss, like the words to a song, reminding you, "Here I am, Lord.  Is it I, Lord?  I have heard you calling in the night.  I will go, Lord, if you lead me..."  He lead me alright, it just took me a minute to see that it was the answer to my prayer of "how am I to use my music?"  God was like, "Well, how's this?"

So, all said and done, last weekend, I attended four masses.  I sang at one mass.  I was a Eucharistic minister at two masses.  And I helped my husband advertise for his concert at all four masses.  Here I am, Lord.  I get it now.  However you want to use me...  Thanks for working with my obliviousness.    

One of our good friends is in town and staying with us for several days.  It's been fun to see her and catch up.  I really just want her to move back to town.  Our house is kind of a disaster zone in every area but the guest room and common living areas.  We are glad to finally have things in a semi-reasonable state to accommodate guests.  No reason to have a house with extra bedrooms if they can't be used once in a while!  But, we enjoy our guest so much that we stayed up way too late talking.  It was worth it, though.  I love good friends that feel like family.  


I'm sure there's an entire website dedicated to this phenomenon - when a man (for whatever reason, men do this more than women) overtakes way more than his allotted share in a public space, such as a subway or waiting room.  (I'm scared to google it.)  It's called manspreading when a man "spreads" out over two or three chairs.  It's especially offensive when those chairs are needed by others. Egregiously offensive if the elderly, children, pregnant women, etc. are standing by, when the man is spread out all over seats they could be using.  (I'm sure women sometimes do the same thing, especially with purses or bags or something.)

Anyway, I had to trip my way up the stairs of our on-campus bus the other day because a man had spread himself all over the stairs.  Literally leaving about 1-2 inches to get by.  It was so rude and annoying.  I had to take a picture.  I rudely said, "Excuse you," as I passed by, which did nothing.  I should have calmly and kindly said, "I'm sorry, could you move your leg so I could pass by? Thanks."  I'm sure he would have obliged.  What can I say?  It was the morning, and I was cranky.  I thought I'd take a picture and publicly shame him on the blog that no one reads instead.  Two wrongs make a right, you know?  

Come on, baby, light my (Kindle) fire.  

In a moment of weakness,  During Amazon's "Prime Day" the other day, I caved and purchased a Kindle fire on sale.  In order to get the deal, I also had to sign up for Amazon Prime.  We did a free trial via my husband's card a few months ago.  I wasn't too impressed, so we cancelled at the end of the free trial.  I fully intend to cancel Amazon Prime again at the end of this free trial, but I needed to sign up via my card in order to get the Kindle deal.

I'm hoping that the Kindle, with its free wi-fi, ability to read books, camera, email/internet/apps, will make it possible for me to either downgrade my phone to a stupid phone, or refrain from getting a newer phone.  If I get a new phone, I will lose my grandfathered-in, unlimited data.  I'm hoping that between an aging phone and a new Kindle, I can do what I need to do without having to purchase more data, a new contract, or a new phone.  The cost of the Kindle was about one month's cost of my cell phone bill. I'm excited to see how it goes!

Black thumb. 

I'm guessing that black thumb is the opposite of green thumb.  Whatever the opposite of green thumb is, that's what I have.  I have managed to kill succulents - plants that are in the cactus family.  Plants that virtually need no attention.  Since we got married, we have received killed three basil plants from my husband's Italian family.  I love the idea of fresh basil in the kitchen or backyard, but I can't seem to get the right combination of sunshine/water/basic care to these plants.  I'm really hoping that the third time is the charm.

As for the rest of the yard?  Well, last year during wedding planning, I sort of gave up and started paying for someone to come mow.  And, where we live you have to mow all year.  And, I guess I just sort of never cancelled that service.  So, we pay for mowing.  But, our front and back yards are extensively landscaped by the previous owner.  We are doing that whole apostolic thing where Jesus said, "let the weeds and wheat grow together until the harvest," (Matthew 13:30) and letting it run wild.  I really really need to pull some weeds and put down some mulch before the house is over-run. Maybe someday.


That's all I got, folks.  Let us pray for God's mercy on us, and on the whole world.  Let us pray for the victims of the shooting in Chattanooga and the Christian martyrs around the world.  Let us pray for all those we love and their intentions. 

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