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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Testify to Love!

I am a lover of Christian music as it really livens my spirit up and give God His praise due to Him!  This song is a statement of intent of the way I want to live, testifying to love!

Testifying to love is something I have tried to do my entire life and have longed to do my whole life to come.  Here is another look at the lyrics.

All the colours of the rainbow
All the voices of the wind
Every dream that reaches out,
That reaches out to find where love begins
Every word of every story
Every star in every sky
Every corner of creation
Lives to testify!

For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love
I’ll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take, will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love

From the mountains to the valleys,
From the rivers to the seas,
Every hand that reaches out,
Every hand that reaches out to offer peace,
Every simple act of mercy,
Every step to kingdom come,
All the hope in every heart will
Speak what love has done!

For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love
I’ll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take, will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love

This is what I want to live to do: have love, be love, show love, feel love, share love, and just have the love of Christ, son of God, felt in the Spirit, in my life.  There is a burning desire as I have talked about before, to love and do great things; I want to do more in the world.  I feel so many things!  Today I saw God again, in the sky once more, in its glorious splendor of wonder and awe.  It gave me the hope, as well as the love.  It makes me want to crank up the praise and worship contemporary christian music and just dance beneath the stars without a care in the world and so much love in my whole being.

The biggest challenge for me always was finding the place that that love is supposed to abide through me.  My passion was drawn to being a camp counselor as well as working/making any and every retreat I could get my hands on.  It was there that the love of a family that I have come to adopt was instilled in me.  They have helped me grow and learn, especially the Riverbend TEC community/family.  From there I left to be where I am out east, doing retreat work in every form.  While I feel like I can put my love there, there has still been the challenge to be truly myself and show the love that I feel deep down.  It is in traveling the journey I am on to, God-willing, enter formation for religious life that I hope this love that burns within me will be let loose.  The Salesian sisters have shown me a great love and passion for who they are, what they do, and God whom they live for.  It makes me smile and everyday I think about what this potential future can hold for me and it is hard to live in the moment, as well as fill out the rest of that darn application.

I must love now with all I can and do now what is needed to be done so that I may continue to love with all my heart, through the love poured out on the cross!  For as long as I will live, I will testify to love.  I will be a witness in the silence when words are not enough.  With every breath I take, I will give thanks to God above.  For as long a I will live, I will testify to love!

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A Moment Beyond the Moment

Standing on the back steps, I look out to the sky.  There is something in its beauty, with the breeze brushing by, that draws me to the mystery that surrounds us all.  I am looking at history, millions of years of history staring back at me in this present moment.  At that moment of connection, the history becomes now and the now looks to history for the future.  Life lives in looking up to the sky.  For me there has been always something beyond what we see in this beauty.  While what we can can see may be as beautiful as any, even what one may say is ugly, there is another form of beauty in that beyond the physical sight.  I was drawn to want more of what I was feeling in that moment.  Everything that has been holding me down for a brief moment flew out of me and I was able to be right there in that moment looking beyond the moment to feel a presence calming me.

My whole life I have wanted more than what I was surrounded with.  Sure, there have been some amazing moments that I will never let go, but there has been a drawing for something else.  Now, with something that could potentially lead me to discovering that thing that I wish for even though I am not sure what I am being led to, I am being put to a challenge.  Of course, I still have to make this official that I am to be entering and I understand not to be so set in something because it could change, but I have felt happier than ever.  The smile runs across my face.  When I was first talking to Jen and Elfie in the bathroom at NCYC, I had no idea where it would go.  These two aspirants led me to this place in life I would have never thought I would be at.  The feeling that went over me when I made the connection between what m life was then and where it could go was astounding.  The same feeling I get when staring into the sky, walking in the bluffs, strolling the beach, and anything of that sort.

Today I sit here with conflicted increasing feelings.  The more sure I get of trying out the path of religious life with the Salesians, the harder it gets and the more afraid I become.  It is hard to be in a place now where interaction with  my friends is none and the job, though I absolutely love it and the people I encounter, is not fulfilling me to what I know is out there somewhere to do so.  Deep in me, when I close my eyes, I see someone beautiful.  This person is truly happy, something I have not always been.  This person is dancing and singing and loving.  This person wanders in the wonder an awe of God’s creation, though humanity slowly takes it away.  The person has the ability to stand in front of people and share herself with the world, the sorrows and trials, the joy and miracles, and this is something I never had the ability to do.  I want this person to come out of me and be there, as God wants me there.

Life with the sisters is something I am beginning to feel is one of the few places that will allow me to e who I truly am an desire to be.  Those that I have met and the little I know of them have already taught me so many things.  There is this peaceful, caring, fun-loving feeling to being there with the sisters.  No matter what God does with me in formation, it will be an experience that will bring out in me so much.  I can not wait for the day I get my application finished and turned in and I hear back.  God willing, I will enter into a world that is so amazing!

So when I looked to the sky tonight, I felt something.  There was a hope that filled in me that no matter how hard things were, how hard they are now, or how hard they may be; will always be there when I look to the sky and the beauty that surrounds me.  Stars glimmering, moon beaming, trees crackling, water crashing, breeze blowing, and whatever else may be bring me to learn so much.  It is a reminder of all the things that have been forced into hiding that are ready to break loose!  This moment brought me beyond the moment and I pray that God continues to reach me in this way.  I also continue to pray that God leads me in ways that are pleasing to Him!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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A Taste of My Life at SMU

The following is a video that was created to promote Hiawatha Valley TEC #61 during the spring semester 2009 at Saint Mary’s University.  This was during my senior year, which was this past school year.  First sleeping person is the campus minister.   Second sleeping person is the secretary (she is amazing).  Third sleeping person is the assistant campus minister.  Those on the couch are friends of mine.  The one terrorizing the place is a good friend of mine, we were in the same department.  The voice over is a friend too, we both studied Pastoral and Youth Ministry.  Enjoy!

I love TEC, it is a wonderful thing!  To learn more and find one in you area, click here.  This program was and still is a huge part of helping me become who I am to be in God’s eyes!  It makes me smile!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2010 in Retreat Experience, Videos

 

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On My Honor

This is a song that may be familiar to some; it definitely one that I am familiar with.  Today while being the bored self that I can be, this song came to mind.  I am not sure who wrote the lyrics and music, but it is a Girl Scout song that I love.  It is called “On My Honor.”

Chorus :
On my honor, I will try.
There’s a duty to be done and I say aye.
There’s a reason here for a reason above.
My honor is to try and my duty is to love.

People don’t need to know my name.
If I’ve done any harm, then I’m to blame.
If I’ve helped another, then I’ve helped me.
And I’ve opened up my eyes to see.

Chorus

I’ve tucked away a song or two.
If you’re feeling low, there’s one for you.
If you need a friend, then I will come.
And there’s many more where I come from.

Chorus

[Friendship is the strangest thing
if you keep it to yourself, no reward will bring
but you gave it away, you gave it to me
and from now on great friends we’ll be]

Chorus

Come with me where the fire burns bright,
We can even see better by a candle’s light.
And we’ll find more meaning in a campfire’s glow,
Than we’ll ever learn in a year or so.

Chorus

We’ve a promise to always keep.
And to pray “Softly Falls” before we sleep.
We’ll be Girl Scouts together and when we’re gone,
We’ll still be trying and singing this song.

Chorus

The middle verse, which I place in brackets, is not one that I knew.  After having read it then singing it to myself, I decided it was surely worth keeping.  I find in the lyrics such basic, simple things of life that many people don’t bother to even think of.  There is a base element of singing these things and giving your honor on what you are promising and sharing to and with others.  Seeing the person that I am, I am going to take this apart a little.

People don’t need to know my name.
If I’ve done any harm, then I’m to blame.
If I’ve helped another, then I’ve helped me.
And I’ve opened up my eyes to see.

With many people, it is all about acknowledgment and being known for something that you did.  Even on the side of doing harm, somebody will always want to know your name and who you are.  When we have been harmed we wish to know who did it, but why?  So we can do revenge, so we can cause more harm?  If someone does harm to another, that person needs to take ownership of that, but the whole world does not need to know this.  On the flip side, who are we to boast of the good we do?  Doesn’t that undo what good we did?  Jesus would always tell people after a miracle to not tell anyone.  By helping others, we really help ourselves as well.  There is a goodness that is shared in the bond of helping.  By announcing it to the world and saying, I did that, you take away its special mystery of helping.  Don’t be discouraged when  you do something good for another or others and you are never noticed for it.  They surely have seen the good that you do.

This is what I find most often is the case for me.  I love to do the little things, to be behind the scenes, but my name people do not always know.  I have become quite alright with that, though I do fall guilty to wishing even just once in a while someone would acknowledge the good I do so I know I am doing something right and making an impact.  If people are not knowing your name behind things, don’t get discouraged, God knows the good you do.  As well, He knows the bad that you do too.  In either case, people don’t need to know your name.  There are lessons to be seen in everything and if you are willing, your eyes will be opened up to see.

I’ve tucked away a song or two.
If you’re feeling low, there’s one for you.
If you need a friend, then I will come.
And there’s many more where I come from.

This one I see as quite suiting for me, though that seems to be the case with them all.  This is more a declaration, whereas the last verse seems more a statement.  My personality lends for being there for others, a quiet presence with something unique to share.  My writing is very important to me, as it expresses me from many angles.  My closest friends and I have quite the bond that is unbreakable and we are ready at a moments notice to be there for each other when needed.  It is so important to have someone like that in your life.  The same of all this can be said of a relationship with God.  Sometimes I like to think that God is singing that verse to me.  It is quite comforting and gives me a sense of security.

[Friendship is the strangest thing
if you keep it to yourself, no reward will bring
but you gave it away, you gave it to me
and from now on great friends we’ll be]

Reading this verse and never having seen it before, I really wish it was one we sang.  It really hits to the depths of something that is so valuable to me.  My friendships are the greatest things in my life.  There are two friends that I find to be the utmost closest in my life.  One, while we appear to be drifting away, is someone I have known for at least 5-6 years, maybe longer.  There is the greatest ability to talk about anything and everything, even when we differ in opinions and trains of thoughts.  Even though we may be drifting slowly, we gave each other our friendship and the bond we created will not leave us.  There is another friend that I have known for around 3 years now, and there is also something very special here, unlike any bond that I have ever had.  It actually hurts a little to be away from this friend, but I have also realized something.  This person has a part of me, and I a part of this person.

After some certain events with both of these people, there is no way I am letting go of them.  I have a good amount of friends that I am glad I shared my friendship with.   Thus again, it is with God that I find this.  We are to give ourselves to Him and in return He gives us ourselves with His special love in us.  It is a beautiful thing.  It is said that friends are angels given to us by God, I tend to believe that.  I also believe that through our friendships the spirit truly moves.

Come with me where the fire burns bright,
We can even see better by a candle’s light.
And we’ll find more meaning in a campfire’s glow,
Than we’ll ever learn in a year or so.

I love fire and I could leave this section at just that, but of course I won’t.  There is something about a fire that pulls me in; you can learn so much from a fire.  You can learn the bad and the good.  A fire can tear apart everything.  A fire can provide heat and warmth.  A fire can ruin a person’s life.  A fire can draw us into close bonds.  We can learn so much from a fire.  I find that I can put myself into what one can see in a fire.  Where a fire can be destructive, I have gone through something that is real had to deal with.  Where a fire can be create warmth, I set out to give warmth of the spirit to those who need it.  While staring at a fire and getting to know it, you learn a lot and see deeper into many things than you could imagine doing, creating bonds.  When you get to know me, you see the depths of my soul and there is a mysterious bond that I hold that I hope people can learn from.  One can never explain the love and lessons of a fire that I have.

We’ve a promise to always keep.
And to pray “Softly Falls” before we sleep.
We’ll be Girl Scouts together and when we’re gone,
We’ll still be trying and singing this song.

I do not always understand the second line as much, or find a lot of meaning yet in it.  It is the idea of a promise that has been made throughout this song, in all the verses and the chorus I will talk about next, that is held here.  This promise for Girl Scouts is something we would state often in the Girl Scout Promise.  We say we will try to serve God and our country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.  From there, you could look into what the law states.  In the end, when we are gone from being active scouts, we keep trying and singing the song.  I know I will forever sing it.  It is this commitment that I hope I have in all I do, especially in the coming future of entering into formation for religious life with the Salesians.  I only pray that the promise I make with myself, others, and God are ones I will honor just as much as the lessons learn from scouting and this song.

On my honor, I will try.
There’s a duty to be done and I say aye.
There’s a reason here for a reason above.
My honor is to try and my duty is to love.

This refrain is amazing and everything I want to say in my life in everything I do.  There is a duty for each of us to be done on this earth, and I will do it.  There is a reason for us to be here as there is a reason up above.  No matter if we find that reason, our honor is trying and our duty is loving.  What else is there to say?

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Reach High For The Heavens

When the world seems to be closing in

And you are not even sure where to begin

There are people running all around

And your feet are not steady on the ground

Tears are rolling down your stain-streaked face

And all you want is get out of this place

———-

Reach high for the heavens

Reach high for the heavens

God will be there

Holding out His hand

So reach high for the heavens

———-

 When the road has been laid out just for you

And you think it is something you can’t do

The fear of the unknown fills you up

And you are not sure you can drink that cup

Being lost is all you have ever known

And the seeds of confusion have been sown

———-

Reach high for the heavens

Reach high for the heavens

God will be there

Holding out His hand

So reach high for the heavens

———-

When you see your life as it should be

And the potential there you do see

The chance is there for some change to come

And you may see the good you’re from

Smiles have the chance your face to appear

And what was confused can now be clear

———-

Reach high for the heavens

Reach high for the heavens

God will be there

Holding out His hand

So reach high for the heavens

– Yours Truly

Fact: When you type in “Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco” into a google search, you get about 15,300 hits.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2010 in Creative Corner, Living Salesian

 

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Sharing Your Treasure

In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways.  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of treasure.

The topic no one wants to ever talk about, sharing treasure.  Some of us have too much of it, some of us comfortable, some of us just getting by, and some of us not even close.  When we have just as much treasure as we need to get by and a little extra to do a few things we want, we are always reluctant to give of the treasure.  There are many different impressions people have of others when it comes to giving money.  These can include as such: someone is giving money because it is easy, that person gave more so they are better, and the list could go on forever I am sure.  In the end it is the reason behind why a person may give money, or treasure as I am referring to here most times.  That is what matters in sharing your treasure;  you need to be giving it with the right heart of mind.

For me, I have been fortunate my entire life to be supported monetarily by my parents for my whole life.  Dad paid for college for me, of course there are the loans I am supposed to be helping on.  When I needed something, I was able to get it.  When I wanted something, if it was in reason I would get some help on it.  I did have a summer job for some summers that helped in paying for things I wanted in the years of college, as I had no time to spend it in the summer while I was working.  One could say I am a bit spoiled that way, I think it to be blessed since I do have three younger siblings.  Even so, what little I did get from work, I had to use for things I thought were important and save for this future of mine.  I already gave to time and talent, why do I have to give my treasure too if I do enough otherwise?  Well, we are called to multiple ways of giving sometimes.  In giving treasure, we do give to ourselves a little, we give to others, and we give to God.

Giving to ourselves seems selfish and way easy, but it is how we give to ourselves that matters.  This is part of making sure we are taken car of so that we can better serve others.  This is not going to the extreme and buying things for ourselves that are not needed what-so-ever.  I found this is going to get a little snack for myself, go out to a movie or dinner with my friends.

Giving to others is something we all want to do, and by default we give money.  That is great for those receiving the money, but why are we doing it?  Is it from guilt?  Is it from passion?  Is it out of force?  It is from your heart?  While no matter the reason on the receiving end, from the giving end we should not be just giving to get a gold star on our resume for heaven.  This is my story of how it is possible for one with not much money to just dwindle away has given to another.  April my junior year of college, I went to a Casting Crowns Concert.  The main singer, Mark Hall, supports World Vision, a program for sponsoring children around the world.  The last concert I had when too, I had thought of doing it, but as a freshman at the time, it seemed not feasible.  Talking with a friend of mine, we decided to share sponsorship, sharing the treasure we would have to share with this little girl.  Along with that, came some level of awareness of what I was spending my money on.  I had to cut down on the extra snacks and things I would get here and there, but it was worth it.  This can only prove that it does not matter who you are, you can give.  Now, with religious life as the surrent goal of my future, I am out to make sure people know they can give and how important it is.  Not sure I am able to keep up with my half of the sponsorship, convincing my family to help carry that load is an important thing to me.

Giving to God, now really, how do we give our money to God?  Doing all that I have described in sharing treasure thus far, and other ways unique to you, with a sincere good spirit and heart is giving to God.  Whatever we do for the least, we do for Him.  When giving in church, give what you can and do not be scared of what others think of you if you put in but a small amount in the offering, you are giving from what you can.  Do not only give from surplus you do not need, but from what you have and be in solidarity.

Sharing your treasure is complicated yet very simple.  Take a look at wha you have gained by treasure and assess what you really need and what you can let go of so that you may provide money for those in need.  Trust it goes to the right place.  Do it with a pure good heart, and it will truly make a difference.  As I am thinking about a future with the Salesians, I can see how giving treasure is something I am still doing, but in a different aspect.  I will not receive money as one woul din regular life, it goes back to the community and to those we serve.  Not being sure if I can continue sponsorship is the big question in my mind.  Is it feasible if I become a Salesian?

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Sharing Your Talent

In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways.  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of talent.

Talent is something that people tend to think they have none of or they do not see what others see in them as a talent they have.  Talent is also something that can be quite the opposite and be something that people thing they have the best of, that no one can be better.  Neither of these are good for us.  Everyone has a talent of something they can contribute to the world, but we need to make sure that even when we know it we are not gloating of the things we are really good at.  Then there is a balance between people knowing your talents and sharing them with the point it becomes too much.  So what are your talents, how can you use them, and what roles do they play in various parts of life?  Well, here is my story on these thought-provoking questions.

I used to think that there was not much talent to me, but the first thing that opened myself up was the fact I went to Girl Scout camp.  When I became a staff at the camp, I discovered that I was able to support the other staff, do real well at taking care of my cabin of girls, and just being a good presence at the camp.  The ability to become an emergent leader was appearing in me, as well as doing very well at the games.  I love games, no questions, hands down.  The thing, though, that came with these “talents” of mine was the needing to start looking at time I spend focusing each of my talents for who they are for.

This carried into my college life.  As I posted in my last post, managing time and where I put my time is vital to my relationship with the God three in one, my vocation, and my ministry.  Recognizing and developing the talents I have is important as well.  This is connection I started to really notice and came to work on more during my senior year of college.  Sure, I was doing that throughout all of my college career, but junior year leading into senior year it was more predominant.  By time senior year came and was going, I was always looking to help in campus ministry and did almost everything at campus masses.  By everything I mean I was a liturgical coordinator, lector, Eucharistic Minister, altar server, greeter, and I sang in the choir.  There was rarely a mass that went by that I was at that I did not do something unless I asked someone to take my place.  The thing it, I wanted to make sure everything was taken care of, so I did what I was assigned and even subbed in when others would not when people were gone.  I loved it and I was good at it.  Our campus minister came to rely on me to make sure things were happening at mass and problems were solved so that she could better focus on the music aspect of weekend masses.  It was great experience and she really pushed me out of my box to do what she knew I could do.  There was a real talent there and I was using it for God and the community I was living and praying in.  What I had to become aware of was that even though I was good at it all, helping at mass and other campus ministry things, I needed to not engulf my time in just my ministry.  I was bogged down more than ever and realized that with the deep struggles I was having, I needed to take time for myself and allow myself to be at mass as well as participate in things with out helping.

Now being out east, I have noticed that some of the things that I loved to do for others and the things I loved to do being on Saint Mary’s campus, I am unable to do.  There has come the realization that talent is not just what I share with others, but again, something I share with myself and with God.  Not all talent is visible to the world.  Something I was being taught to develop in college has more fully come to my awareness.  I have a certain talent of being able to be in the moment, be a silent presence to others and for myself.  To be able to take the time to focus in on my relationship with God, with Jesus, and with the Spirit is not an easy thing that came to me.  Knowing when I need those moments of peace and quiet or my christian music blaring so I can jam is in some aspect, a talent.  This may all be strange to you, but I believe it is good to look at these aspects as well.

There are of course many talents that I wish I could have.  I am a very behind the scenes person, or being strange in a skit person.  I love being the person who is present to those who are needing someone to pray for them or to lend a ear or even some kind true words.  There is the desire to be able to share my story with people in giving talks/presentations in front of people, being more comfortable with standing in front of others as well as being able to express myself in words more clearly.  I do have a lot to share, but I wish I was a bit more brave.  Now, if you look at what is said in the commandments, we are not to covet our neighbors goods.  Does this include talents we wish we had?  I think if we wish for them in a healthy way, which includes developing them, then it is okay.  We must not just wish we had some trait or talent, but rather if we want it, we must work towards it.  It is also important to know that we are all given different talents to use at different times.

Looking now to my preparation for formation to hopefully become a sister, I ponder where talent fits in with it all.  Going back to how I worked at a camp, I loved being there and the girls seemed to really love me (I am not saying this with an ego, it has been said to me as well).  Parents would tell me that there girl was wondering the whole drive to camp if Speedy (my camp name) was going to be there.  Through that, I knew I had a talent of being a camp counselor despite how other staff and higher ups would treat me and others.  With the Salesians, they work primarily for the youth in camps, retreats, youth centers, school, ministry, and wherever else the youth are.  It suits me…minus the teaching this which terrifies me.  Being able to develop my talents and use them within the religious community is important to me, but I need to be mindful of what is expected in the community, not overstepping anything or anyone and adjusting.  Being aware of and not letting go of what I am good at and cherish is something I will need to be sure of.  This too, of course, comes with stipulations.  God calls us continually to different things in different ways, while maintaining the strand that hold us together as a person.  In feeling a pull for religious life, things will change, and being open is so important, as it is in everything in life.  I pray that I may realize my talents as they are in my life and know when the appropriate time for expressing them is.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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