Saturday, May 31, 2014

Frustrating challenges

Why oh why do these things keep happening?  Put money in savings account > have to get new tires.  Today, had a moderately successful yard sale > now can't find my phone.  No matter how hard we try, we just cannot seem to get ahead in saving and raising money for this mission trip.  I know I can't take these occurrences as signs that we are not supposed to go on mission, but why must it all be so difficult?

I haven't given up hope just yet, but I am almost there.  Please pray that I find my phone... and a little peace.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I am halfway through a two-week vacation from work.  Perhaps vacation is not the correct word since I have spent most days packing and moving our belongings.  I had a yard sale yesterday and will do it again next week since so much stuff is left.  Deciding what to pack now and what we still need out is slightly exhausting for someone as organizationally challenged as myself.  Thankfully, my family has been helpful in carrying oodles of boxes down to the car from our second story apartment that sits on top of a hill.  Our apartment is in complete disarray.  I look at our belongings, wonder what the heck some of them are, and attempt to make the yard sale pile larger than the “keep” stack.  We are only committed to going on mission for a year, so getting rid of absolutely everything would be simply impractical. 

Times like these try my faith.  Last year, we moved and were turned down for mission work.  Then, we moved again, and adoption did not work out.  Thus, I feel somewhat apprehensive about doing this all over again.  As I fumble through the business of sorting, boxing, taping, and loading, I often feel uneasy.  What if this plan falls apart?  What if we cannot come up with the money for plane tickets and vaccines?  We will be reimbursed for travel expenses upon completion of our yearlong mission, but my bank account keeps laughing at me when I tell it of my dreams.  Week before last, I moved money to our savings account aka the plane ticket fund.  Woohoo!  The next day, as I left work, a completely flat tire greeted me in the parking lot.  Long story short, we had all four tires replaced, the cost of which nearly equaled what I had just put in savings. 

My friend suggested I read some blogs of people volunteering in countries where we may go.  She hoped this might ease my fears and give me an accurate image of what life is like in these places.  I emailed her back shortly thereafter.

“I think I read the wrong blogs.  According to my research, we are going to go on mission and DIE!”

She then sent me a link to a specific blog that did, indeed, soothe the crazy brain.  But, still, the anxiety!  I grow weary of it.  I pray throughout the day, keeping in mind Padre Pio’s admonitions to constantly discern what is the voice of God and what is not. 

Yesterday, at Mass, the priest reminded us to make Jesus the Lord of our hearts.  This simple command struck me in a surprisingly profound way.  Who is the Lord of my heart?  I paused to look within myself to find the answer.  What was happening in my heart at that moment? 

Who is the source of such thoughts?  Not the One who loves me more than I can understand.  Clearly, I had not appointed the correct person to be in charge of my inner goings-on.  The devil knows my weaknesses far too well.  I cannot become complacent in putting God in charge of my heart.  As soon as I invite Him in, pure joy radiates through me.  I must now learn to make this joy my home, instead of tiny islands I happen to bump into occasionally.

Lord, I need that grace you promised me.  Send your spirit to fill me with your joy and your peace.  I am scared and tired.  I want to rest in you, but many times I give up on the way.  Thank you for never giving up on me.  Help me see the path you wish me to take and to be not afraid.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Still angry?

I've been feeling better lately.  I still carry the sadness of the reality that we will never have biological children.  I feel anxious that adoption may never work out.  However, I don't feel like my soul is being sucked out of me 24 hours a day.  I can think about what the next 20 years might bring and feel something other than terror and exhaustion.  I have started noticing bad days among the good, instead of the good days being like clean spots on dirty carpet.  I can breathe.

Why, then, does such anger fly out of my mouth when anyone talks to me about growing our family?  I talked to a family friend a few weeks ago about our infertility situation.
"Why don't you adopt?," she asked.
"Why don't I adopt?!  I'll tell you why!"

Everything we have been through in attempting to welcome children into our home poured out of me like, well, this:

Thanks, NBC news, for understanding my emotions.

I finally stopped, and we stared at each other for an instant, our eyes wide.  

"I'm sorry," I said softly.  "That was really angry."
"No, it's okay," she told me.  "I understand."

We went on to have a nice conversation about the turmoil in both of our lives.  She is truly a lovely friend and an excellent listener.  The way I reacted to her question troubled me.  A few other conversations with other friends and family members have followed a similar pattern, thankfully without the mouth explosions.  Though I delivered them calmly, my words stung even my own ears with their anger and cynicism.  

Is this really how I feel?  Why does it only come out when others mention it?  Have I unwittingly suppressed my emotions?  Once I figure out what is going on, how do I fix it?

I know I will probably carry the weight of sadness with me my whole life.  As difficult as this is, I know God will fashion something beautiful out of it if I just hand it over to Him.  Anger, however, is most dangerous.  Just look at what happened to Anikin Skywalker.
Yep, should have listened to Yoda, bro.

Perhaps master Yoda is right and my anger comes from a place of fear.  St. Paul reminds us that "perfect love casts out fear."  Am I simply not loving the way I should?  What lies in my heart, poisoning my words and maybe even my actions?  Truthfully, I am not sure yet.

Meditate on this, I should.  (Oh, man. The star wars streak runs deep in this family).

Clearly, my heart longs for healing.  I must invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in my heart and bring me true peace.

Sweet Mary, mother of the Word incarnate, help of Christians, pray for me to Jesus.  Help me look to you for the perfect example of what it means to love tenderly and to stand beneath the cross.  Pray with me that the Holy Spirit will breathe life into me and cast out all that breeds anger.  Amen.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday chuckles with Malfoy

I'm not entirely sure why this makes me laugh so hard. But it does. Without fail. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to survive watching the news

Below are 180 of the 279 girls abducted in Nigeria. When terrible events like this happen, it is tempting to conceptualize the evil acts committed. We sometimes forget that a new and dreadful reality has been created for each person involved. They do not have the privilege of seeing the story on yahoo news, frowning in concern, and then moving on to check emails. For them, this is life now.

However, what can we really do? We are thousands of miles away and posess probably little to no knowledge of how to track down sex traffickers. Few of us have the cash to buy plane tickets to Nigeria. Somehow, posting about it on Twitter doesn't accomplish our mission either.

Then what are we to do when we recall that we also long to fly to South Korea to comfort the families of the boat wreck victims? Oh, and the earthquake in South America, and the orphans in Russia?

Suddenly, we are overwhelmed. We are physically incapable of personally tending to the needs of each person affected by tragedy and injustice.

Would it be best to push all this pain from our minds since we cannot do anything about it?

Perhaps it is not yet time to despair.

When I say that the best course of action is to pray for all these hurting souls, some people may roll their eyes. They wonder how our sweet little thoughts can possibly impact the lives of people we do not even know. Here, faith becomes most necessary. We may never see the effects of our prayers for others. But our prayers do not just swirl around our own heads. They go somewhere. Not only that, but God has solemnly promised us that every prayer will be held within His heart.

Some might wonder why we have to do the work of praying for others. Why does God not come down here and wipe away suffering? There is a longer answer I plan to discuss later, but the short answer is that the act of prayer allows us to participate in God's work of salvation. God asks tiny little you and me to empty ourselves and be a part of His loving plan. In prayer, we hand over our selfishness, our control, our fears. Certainly, such acts cannot but help make the world a better place.

Still others may ask why any of this even matters. Why should Americans care about some bad thing that happened to some people on the other side of the world. I give you the eloquent, unflinching Pope Benedict XVI:

Each of us. I ask you to take a moment to say a prayer for these girls. If that is too much, just pray for one. She matters to someone. Thank you.

Deborah ​Abge, Awa ​Abge, Hauwa ​Yirma, Asabe ​Manu, Mwa ​Malam Pogu, Patiant ​Dzakwa, Saraya ​Mal Stover, Mary ​Dauda, Gloria ​Mainta, Hanatu ​Ishaku Gloria ​Dama, Tabitha ​Pogu, Maifa ​Dama, Ruth ​Kollo, Esther ​Usman, Awa ​James, Anthonia Yahonna, Kume ​Mutah, Aisha ​Ezekial, Nguba ​Buba, Kwanta ​Simon, Kummai ​Aboku, Esther ​Markus, Hana ​Stephen, Rifkatu ​Amos, Rebecca ​Mallum, Blessing ​Abana, Ladi ​Wadai, Tabitha ​Hyelampa, Ruth ​Ngladar, Safiya ​Abdu, Na’omi ​Yahonna, Solomi ​Titus, Rhoda ​John, Rebecca ​Kabu, Christy ​Yahi, Rebecca ​Luka, Laraba ​John, Saratu ​Markus, Mary ​Usman, Debora ​Yahonna, Naomi ​Zakaria, Hanatu ​Musa, Hauwa ​Tella, Juliana ​Yakubu, Suzana ​Yakubu, Saraya ​Paul, Jummai ​Paul, Mary ​Sule, Jummai ​John, Yanke ​Shittima, Muli ​Waligam, Fatima ​Tabji, Eli ​Joseph, Saratu ​Emmanuel, Deborah Peter, Rahila ​Bitrus, Luggwa ​Sanda, Kauna ​Lalai, Lydia ​Emmar, Laraba ​Maman, Hauwa ​Isuwa, Confort ​Habila, Hauwa ​Abdu, Hauwa ​Balti, Yana ​Joshua, Laraba ​Paul, Saraya ​Amos, Glory ​Yaga, Na’omi ​Bitrus, Godiya ​Bitrus, Awa ​Bitrus, Na’omi ​Luka, Maryamu Lawan, Tabitha ​Silas, Mary ​Yahona, Ladi ​Joel, Rejoice ​Sanki, Luggwa ​Samuel, Comfort ​Amos, Saraya ​Samuel, Sicker ​Abdul, Talata ​Daniel.
Rejoice ​Musa, Deborah ​Abari, Salomi ​Pogu, Mary ​Amor, Ruth ​Joshua, Esther ​John, Esther ​Ayuba, Maryamu Yakubu, Zara ​Ishaku, Maryamu Wavi, Lydia ​Habila, Laraba ​Yahonna, Na’omi ​Bitrus, Rahila ​Yahanna, Ruth ​Lawan, Ladi ​Paul, Mary ​Paul, Esther ​Joshua, Helen ​Musa, Margret Watsai, Deborah Jafaru, Filo ​Dauda, Febi ​Haruna, Ruth ​Ishaku, Racheal Nkeki, Rifkatu Soloman, Mairama Yahaya, Saratu ​Dauda, Jinkai ​Yama, Margret Shettima, Yana ​Yidau, Grace ​Paul, Amina ​Ali, Palmata Musa, Awagana Musa, Pindar ​Nuhu, Yana ​Pogu, Saraya ​Musa, Hauwa ​Joseph, Hauwa ​Kwakwi, Hauwa ​Musa, Maryamu Musa, Maimuna Usman, Rebeca Joseph, Liyatu ​Habitu, Rifkatu Yakubu, Naomi ​Philimon, Deborah Abbas, Ladi ​Ibrahim, Asabe ​Ali, Maryamu Bulama, Ruth ​Amos, Mary ​Ali, Abigail Bukar, Deborah Amos, Saraya ​Yanga, Kauna ​Luka, Christiana Bitrus, Yana ​Bukar, Hauwa ​Peter, Hadiza ​Yakubu, Lydia ​Simon, Ruth ​Bitrus, Mary ​Yakubu, Lugwa ​Mutah, Muwa ​Daniel, Hanatu ​Nuhu, Monica Enoch, Margret Yama, Docas ​Yakubu, Rhoda ​Peter, Rifkatu Galang, Saratu ​Ayuba, Naomi ​Adamu, Hauwa ​Ishaya, Rahap ​Ibrahim, Deborah Soloman, Hauwa ​Mutah, Hauwa ​Takai, Serah ​Samuel, Aishatu Musa, Aishatu Grema, Hauwa ​Nkeki, Hamsatu Abubakar, Mairama Abubakar, Hauwa ​Wule, Ihyi ​Abdu, Hasana Adamu, Rakiya ​Kwamtah, Halima ​Gamba, Aisha ​Lawan, Kabu ​Malla, Yayi ​Abana, Falta ​Lawan, and Kwadugu Manu.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31"So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." Matt 10:29-30

Friday, May 2, 2014

Happy Friday!

Penguins, science, snow, good manners, making new friends...I just love everything about this picture.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A terrifying...I mean, friendly reminder from Mother Angelica

I have been calling this image to mind quite often. Almost every day, I wonder whether we are truly answering God's call. Are we really supposed to go on mission? Is this all a terrible mistake? What will everyone think if this endeavor comes crashing down like all our other plans?

I have sought the counsel of several wise Christians on the matter. If I understand them correctly, as long as we are responding out of love, then God will lead us to where He wants us to be.

So, here we go again. I'm selling our unnecessary furniture out from under us, and my dear inlaws have graciously invited us to stay with them after our lease ends. We are still in conversation with our mission director to decide where we will go, but he assures me we will find a good match. Could all this fall apart? Definitely. Will it? No idea. I hope not. Wesley and I have prayed long and hard on this, and still feel strongly called to this mission despite the many challenges.

Last night, I called to mind part of Mother Catherine McCauley's suscipe: My God, I am yours for time and eternity. Teach me to cast myself into the arms of your loving Providence.

Life in Christ is certainly an adventure. May we remember that what the world sees as failure might be exactly what God uses to fold us into His embrace.