Friday, April 8, 2016

7QT: Seven Quick Takes (Volume XXXIII)

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

I'm baaack.

So, I kind of took a blogging hiatus for about the last 4 months...not that anyone even reads/notices/cares, but I'm back-ish.  I'm not sure if this space will stay what it has been, but I re-activated ye-old blog for now. 

I really have felt the need to retreat and get my priorities straight the last few months.  I'm not sure I'm "there" yet, but I enjoyed the break.  By the same token,  I have a strong need to write.  I want to start a blog or write a book or something.  And yet, I really feel like I need to retain some privacy. (Ari is a nickname.)  At the same time, I have considered purchasing a domain and just starting a new blog there.  Lots to keep in mind.  I want it to have the potential to talk about anything, but most of the things I think to write about concern my Catholic faith.  


Life is really good with my husband.  I thank God for that and for him every day.  I do wonder what our future holds.  In other words, will we ever have children?  It's hard to be a female in the Catholic blog-o-sphere because it seems that everyone is a mom-blogger or has 1-10 children.  I'm certainly open to life and want children.  We practice NFP right now.  It's tax season and open enrollment for my insurance at work.  More than ever, the reality has set in that we just cannot afford children right now.  And there are other factors, like my husband's disability.  And other factors too, concerning my health.  Sometimes I wonder how the middle class ever make it in this country.  Are we even middle class?  Our mortgage went up, our insurance went up, our phone bill went up, etc....of course the salaries have not gone up and the coverage of said insurance has decreased.  It's just a crunch time for us financially...and will be for at least the next 3 years or so.  By then I will be even-more-advanced maternal age.  I don't want to give into despair.  And yet, I didn't think this would be my life story.    

Jesus, I trust in You. 

Thy will be done.  


On a lighter note, one major shift that has occurred since the last blog post was that I am now a commuter who uses public transportation.  I have always hated driving, but the possibility of using public transportation to get to work has never been an option, even though we live in one of the largest cities in the US.  However, recently the routes and whatnot have been changed for the buses in our city.  Wouldn't you know it, but I can now get on a nice charter-type bus, and let someone else deal with traffic for me?  It's awesome.  I'm dropped off right by my office.  I can park for free where I catch the bus, or if need be, my husband can drop me off because it's not too far from home. Granted, it still takes about 1.5 - 2 hours to get to and from work, so I'm still basically gone 7a-7p most days, and that does suck....but the amount of time that I personally am driving every day has been reduced from 2-4 hours per day to about 1 hour per day.  This is a huge improvement on my mental health, wear-and-tear on my car, and physical health.  I just can't even express the joy that I have found not having to drive so much in the worst traffic on earth.  It has also made me better able to cope with my job and some of the innate frustrations of work.  I don't arrive at work after fighting traffic for 1.5-2 hours.  I don't arrive home hangry and in near tears out of stress, I arrive after sitting on an air-conditioned bus while I sip coffee, read, or listen to podcasts.  It's amazing.  I feel like this change has bought me more time at my job.  I didn't see how it was sustainable for the long-run...even though I've worked here for over 3 years now.  It has been a major, drastic, awesome life change.  I can't fathom going back to driving so much.      


Thanks to another shift in the schedule of a nearby chapel, I'm able to attend daily mass a few days a week now during my lunch break.  I really felt like I needed something more in my spiritual life. And, while I still need even more of God in my life, these few extra days a week in which I can receive the Eucharist and go to mass are a huge, huge blessing.  


We had a wonderful Easter a few weeks ago.  We went to the Easter Vigil, which lasted almost 4 hours at our church.  After it was over, we saw some friends of ours from the young adult group.  They invited a bunch of us over for crepes.  It was so fun.  I felt like a crazy Catholic, having a post-Easter-vigil party in the middle of the night.  We got home around 3:30 am, and had to be up at 5:30 am to play music for Easter services the next day.  Yes, we were so tired on 2 hours of sleep, but it was worth it.  I always think back to my partying, "worldly" days or college exploits.  I would have easily partied through the night for less-than-noble reasons in my past...why can't we celebrate the Resurrection with our friends in the same, over-the-top way?  The answer is, we can!  Christ is risen.      
Conversion Story.

I found out that in the future (not sure when), my conversion story will appear on the Coming Home Network - either in the newsletter or website (or both?).  As I stated before, Ari is a nickname for me.  It was important that my story retain some amount of privacy, due to the things I shared about my family and the way my Catholicism has affected my relationship with my parents.  (Short story - it has been rough, my dad is a Protestant minister of the anti-Catholic variety.)  I have shared most of my story on this blog, too.  

     [You can read it here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV if interested]

Anyway, my husband has a family member who is marrying a non-Catholic soon.  The future spouse has pressured my husband's family member to leave the Church.  I truly think that only those who don't fully understand the faith could ever leave it.  It breaks my heart.  When I heard about that situation, I felt the urge to write my story down and submit it to the Coming Home Network.  I thought, even if it could help one person, I should tell it.  Of course, immediately after sending I felt a nauseous pang of regret, but I chalked that up to the enemy.  I'm not perfect, and I love hearing how God has worked in the lives of others.  Why not share how He has worked in mine too?  I'll keep the blog updated as to when the story is posted on the Coming Home Network.  


I feel a strong urge to pray for this crazy, fallen world of ours.  It seems like every single day, something more horrifying than the previous day occurs.  It's overwhelming to me.  I have family members in dangerous parts of the world, although, I'm coming to think that "dangerous" is everywhere.   

Did you know that St. Faustina was told in her visions that before Christ came as Judge, there would be a renewal of His Mercy?  I think we are in that renewal now.  The Year of Mercy.  Our world needs mercy.  A true understanding of it.  (Side note - one of the best books I have read recently is Remembering God's Mercy by Dawn Eden...check it out.)  

Anyway, will you consider praying for our country?  against ISIS?  for Catholics to come home?  for whatever God places across your path?  Even if it's an extra Hail Mary a day, or a quick "Lord, have Mercy," our world needs it.