Friday, November 25, 2011

When God says you're good enough

When does God say you are good enough for him?

Do I have to constantly challenge myself every day and strive to be better than the next? Each day surpassing my previous goal? Does "good enough" consist of weekly or daily Rosaries, Lauds, Vespers, Compline, and some spiritual reading on the side? No.

God says we are good enough when we are not in mortal sin. We don't even have to try to do better than that. We can have moral certitude that we will go to Heaven when we die (you know, eventually) if we are not aware of any mortal sins.

Don't get me wrong. It's good to challenge yourself. It's good to try to be better. But it's not what is absolutely necessary. Sometimes, it's good just to take a step back and focus on doing the basics right.

Why do I say all this? I have known a lot of people in my life that have struggled with scrupulosity. Seriously people, it can destroy a soul worse than laxity. Guard yourself against it at all costs. If you struggle with it to an extreme, my prayers go out to you, for I have personally known no more difficult struggle for a spiritual life. I have heard of stories where a woman called her priest because she needed to know what type of beans would be the most charitable for her family (one tastes better, one is more healthy).

I will make a slight confession that I have noticed a bit of a struggle with it in myself lately. I came from a place where you could really only go to Confession on the weekdays (which took a LOT of adjusting when I was used to going on Saturdays). Now I have to adjust to being a Trad and going on Sunday mornings. This means that I get to go to Confession right before Mass every week. Luckily, most days I don't have to worry about being able to receive the Blessed Sacrament the 45 minutes after Confession. There is one concern regarding this, though. Now, if I don't go to Confession right before Mass, I am completely nervous about going to receive, even if it was the day before that I went to Confession.

Why do I have this problem?

There are several other factors, but most importantly, I am lacking in zeal for God right now. It's funny how when you don't feel close to God, that you think you aren't. Seems to me the opposite is said by the saints (Mother Teresa, I think St John Vianney, too). Those emotional ups and downs are just part of any relationship and they are often not a reflection of what actually is the case. It's not even that I don't feel close to God, but that I don't have the desire to feel much closer. I'm just going along, trying to do what I'm supposed to and not much more. I think the problem is that I come from a place where idealists loom and say that if you're not giving everything you can at that very moment, you're sinning (or at least that it's a neccessarily bad thing). It's not a sin, I keep reminding myself, to rest for a little while. God kinda invented that. I have every intention of eventually trying harder to be better, to perfect my flaws. But right now I'm resting. As long as I don't slide backwards from it, I don't see how that's a problem

In fact, I've seen how avoiding resting CAN be a problem. I can think of two times in my life where it became a big one, one of which I almost left the Church. Both times I tried really hard spiritually. I was going to Daily Mass, doing weekly Rosaires,  and got my spiritual life in a place better than it ever was before. I exausted myself doing it, and then fell into a dark place in my soul. One of those times I tried to stop going to Mass entirely, but my (then) boyfriend would not permit it (thank God). I've noticed that I'm in a similar place right now where if I try too hard, I'll just end up falling away again.

The spirituality of St John of the Cross (Carmelite) is that you should give everything you've got. If you can do better, then do it. Perhaps that's okay if you are a lot stronger of a person than me. The spirituality of St Philip Neri seems to be to start trying on a less difficult scale (he particularly mentions fasting), becasue you can always add more later. This may sound like somehwat of a lazy approach, but I think it's a perfectly pastoral one when it comes to fragile souls like mine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

To everyone out there, I wish a very happy Thanksgiving. Remember that this is a religious holiday, too (even if it was instituted by the Calvinists who put more effort into celebrating this than the Incarnation...). A national day to thank God is a very good thing.

So is turkey...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm pathetic

All week, I've been sorta looking forward to having a day without James. He lives a lot closer to me now, and is here almost every day. We spend almost the entirety of weekends together and it is absolutely wonderful, but somehow, my time is sucked away like a vacuum when he's around. I was excited to get all sorts of stuff done when I found out he wasn't going to be here today. The apartment is starting to come together (emphasis on starting), but there is TONS to do all the time. My room is still a wreck. I just have had no motivation to get it ready when there's nowhere to put everything I have right now. This is largely because my beloved has taken up most of my space with his stuff. I was gonna blast my music (which he doesn't like me to do with him around), clean a ton and go to bed early.

So I came home to an empty apartment. I ate a large dinner of leftovers started the previously filled dishwasher, and haven't done a darned thing since. I can't believe I miss him so much. This is friggin ridiculous! I've been in relationships before where I miss people, but it was more of an emotional dependence /neediness thing. Now it's like I'm missing my right arm. I like my right arm. It helps to complete me. Talking on the phone to my right arm really doesn't cut it (all analogies fail in some way).

We seem to have been drawing our constantly fighting phase to a close (this is me, so I'm sure it'll come up again). I must admit I've been so impressed with how he handles me in these matters. If I'm being erratic and irrational, he points it out. If I make a good point, he points that out with /almost/ as much ease. We both have admitted that there were times in arguments where we realized the other person was right, but our pride wouldn't let us lose just yet. But even through our worst fights, he's only grown in love for me. Even when every few hours there's another spat, he wants to spend time with me. It... kinda freaks me out at times. I thought that everyone was supposed to dislike me the more they got to know me (at least with guys this has been the case). But... no one knows me like he does, and every day he just wants to be around me more.

I can't explain how this is such a new feeling for me. I've been in relationships before. Heck, I've even been engaged before. It was so completely different. I was never really happy, though I tried to convince myself I was for a long time. Everything about this has been different. He proposed in almost an exactly different way, we disagreed on almost exactly the opposite wedding things (though I had no luck with either fiance about groomsmen outfits...), and they have very polar opposite personalities... The day I realized that I had problems with my then-fiance was when I asked a friend of mine (who was also engaged) "Are you half as terrified as I am?" She talked to me for hours and helped me realize a few things. Now, I'm not terrified. I'm frustrated beyond all reason that I have to WAIT 5 HORRIBLY LONG MONTHS and 11 days (but hey, who's counting). I'm irritated, anxious, a little nervous, impatient, ect, ect, ect. But there's no fear. In fact, most of the negative emotions have to do with the fact that we have so long to wait (and I'm the one who insisted that we HAD to have at least 6 months to plan everything). It's actually quite relieving. I know that I'm with someone that will clean the bathroom for me and buy me flowers after he screws up like he did last week (the day after I told him that I'm a sucker for flowers, he bought me a pot of purple flowers (yay, these ones will live TWICE as long as cut flowers!). He really is so sweet when he wants to be... but the best part is... I'm happier than I ever thought I could be. A person can care for you and do all sorts of wonderful thigns for you and it mean absolutely nothing to you. But through God's grace I have found someone who lights up my world the way I do his (though I'll never understand why). He is good to me and good for me. He certainly doesn't put up with any of my crap, and he helps strengthen me where I'm weak. I never knew I could be this happy with someone!

Pardon the mushiness. I'll leave some disinfectant for the vomit.

This may or nay not have actually happened...

My job has a fun perk of giving us free hot chocolate and coffee. I can't drink caffeine, so I opt for the hot chocolate every morning to jolt me up.

One day my coworker mentioned that he doesn't drink hot chocolate because he's concerned about the calories.  This *may* have caused me to panic inside a little. So I went over and looked at the sugar-free hot chocolate we have and it was less than half the unhealthy stuff (I'm not obsessed about my weight or anything, I am *mainly* just concerned about health. Obesity runs pretty heavily in my family [ie. I'm the only one alive who's not]). I tried it. It tasted awful. So I decide that I need to sweeten it up a little. I put a small sqare of a Hershey bar in it and let it melt. Still tastes awful. I put the rest of the mini Hershey bar (4 squares) in there. Come on, people, this is all in the name of health! Somehow it still tastes really bad. I put TWO packets of sugar, and I still can't rid myself of the healthiness taste. I then give up, dumping it out and proceeded to get another cup of ungross hot chocolate. I hope I never have to go on a diet... I think I'd fail...

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I've actually been really hoping to have time to make a new post on here soon. I'm basically almost exclusively limited to Sundays, considering that's the only day I can breathe most of the time.


I now have the following booked:
     bridesmaid dresses
     venue (with catering)
     the men's outfits (long story with that one)
We mainly only have the following left:
    wedding bands
    still working out kinks with the music (both for the Mass and for the reception)
    marriage prep
    invitations (I had some picked out but I changed my mind)
    complete guest list
    reserve a block of hotel rooms for guests
    Rehearsal dinner stuff
    gifts for wedding party
    hair and makeup artist
    figuring out favors
    marriage license
    veils for my bridesmaids (I am a Trad, after all)

Let me know if there's anything I need that I don't have on either list. Anyway, we've done pretty well so far. Actually, we have all the majorly important stuff! We just got the venue yesterday, phew. That's the most important one next to the Mass time and location (which has also been a tricky matter).

Things keep coming up. No, it's not the usual things wither. I LOVE my dress, I should be getting it in the next few weeks to start my alterations (I'm in between sizes so alterations are gonna be fuuuun). My veil was the only thing I got that was overbudget. I had no idea how expensive they are. I do think this one's rather overpriced but I got 20% off and it matches my dress and... I just don't want to go hunting all over the place to find a veil that I like less that's going to save me no more than probably $50.

Speaking of my dress, it was the third one I tried on! I know, really! As soon as I saw it, I knew that was it. Because James occasionally looks at this blog, I wont put any pictures or give any description other than this. It's white (not like cream which looks HORRIBLE with my skin). It's floorlength and formal. It has been described by just about everyone as "simple but elegant." I showed just about everyone at work the picture (most of the people at my work are men... the ones with daughters my age know the right things to say... the single guys... don't).

Speaking of work, I work in administration with a bunch of engineers. They are really cool. Most of us in administration, though, are women. Actually, all five of us are, but there are a couple of other women. They are so much fun. I'm currently in the process of finding us a new company who will sell sodas and coffee and I think we finally have ourselves a new one by next week. I've been there 4 weeks and I'm already sick of the inability of the current company to do their job. I've worked with one order with them and they messed it up 4 TIMES. I mean, how can you mess up a single order four separate times? So, this new company is coming in to give us a sample of their coffee (most of the guys don't like our current coffee) and we'll see how that goes! I get along with the personalities of most people there really well. There's this one woman who is Catholic, and  can tell she really cares abotu her faith. She's a really good person and she sent both her kids to Catholic school. What's really fun about her is she's the sweetest lady who won't take any crap from people. The other day, Rob, the one who picks on everyone and gets it all back, was talking about how his wife is a "stay at home bum." Now, I could tell he was joking, but this woman couldn't. Man, she jumped down his throat like nothing else. He just stood there chuckling and agreeing with her about how important it is for women to stay at home with kids. He said that she's looking to work again cause their kid is going to school soon and Rob said he's going to tell any boss of hers that they'd better not give her any crap because she will just leave. He's doesn't want her working unless she actually enjoys it. I love being in an atmosphere where that's the kind of people I'm working with!

I forgot to bring my new medicine, let's just call it  N, when I visited to look for a dress. The side effects were getting pretty bad from it so I decided to see how long I could go without taking it before the pain came back. Answer: one week exactly. The side effects have unfortunately gotten pretty bad. After being off of it for a week they mellowed out but I can tell that the moodiness is coming back. I think it literally causes manic depression in me. This is really a pain because... well... I'm already a not completely emotionally stable person as it is, and this just brings me back to my worst days. Friends who knew me then, think my second year at my Catholic College. Ya. For my own sake I'm not going to elaborate. But just please pray. I am lucky enough to be able to tell that most of the time I think crying is an overreaction... but still. Please pray for me in this. I basically have few choices with dealing with the endometriosis. Oh, by the way, if you can't tell, it's midnight and I'm awake. Ya, that's a side effect, too. The annoying thing is I don't have any time to take off work for medical reasons until December... I really don't want to start taking off so early in my job but I think I may cause this is getting bad...

So James and I have been spending a lot more time together because he moved closer to me. The down side? Now we're getting a lot more of the little annoying things about the other person. He can be the absolute worst slob I've encountered in my life. No, that's not true, I've known men that don't bathe and really smell, but even THEY were cleaner than this guy. We fought about stupid things (mainly cleanliness related). We fought about important things. We fought about food, cleanliness, clothing, finances... a lot of things. We settled on the food, he lost on the cleanliness, I lost on the clothing and finances. It's not that cut and dry, but with most of our fights one of us realized we were wrong and gave in.

Oh, and by the way, one of those fights was because I got all huffy when I found out that any event not in the evening is NOT supposed to have a tux. I eventually got over it (though I admit, I'm not over the disappointment of knowing that I'll never get to see James in a tux :(  ). Apparently the more formal thing to do is wear what is called morning jackets. I don't know who makes up these rules, but every place we looked online agrees that it's the more formal thing to do.. They aren't as stunningly handsome as a tux, but they are more appropriate for the morning, so... you know, whatever. I don't really mind about the fact that it's not a tux... it's just... there is something so wonderful about walking down the aisle and looking at that guy across and thinking "I get to be with THAT GUY for the rest of my life?!? YES!" I mean, it's a proven fact that a tux increases handsomeness by about 78% (Roughamm and Dilan, 2009). Yes, I'll still think he's uber handsome when I'm walking down (and every moment until then), but I am saddened that it'll be taking away some of that wow factor (you know, the "I've never seen him THAT polished!" factor). And, like I said, this is basically the only time I'd ever get to see him in a tux, and that makes me very, very sad :( Also, I'm afraid that it will make the event itself look less formal. I mean, the morning jackets have pinstriped pants and a different colored jacket. It looks nice, don't get me wrong, but because it's not matching I'm just sad. I don't know why this still makes me so upset. But I've agreed to this because it's important to him, and he's sooooo worth my being a tiny bit disappointed (okay, a bit more than tiny). Anyway, I gotta stop talking about this because I'm tearing up too much (stupid medicine!)

We had the shortest and most interesting fight yet last night. He came over and I was making dinner. I told him dinner would be ready in about 30 min. This was right at 6:00pm. He told he he was going to go on a little drive. I thought it was a little weird, but oh well, that's fine. 6:20 comes... he's nowhere to be found. 6:25 comes, I'm getting a little nervous. Dinner is finished. I try to call him and no answer. I wait a few minutes. I call again, goes straight to voicemail. I'm starting to panic because I thought he turned off his phone. Why would he do that??? I left a message with the vocal intonations indicating I was starting to cry (this was not a result of my medicine, I could tell) saying I didn't know where he was or what he was doing and dinner was ready and I was waiting for him and all. 6:45ish, he calls me back  He tells me he's about done and asks if I want him to stop buy and grab some milk. I'm already done crying at this point and hesitantly tell him sure. I hang up and try to analyze why I'm getting so upset. I realize that an element is the frustration of he left and I made dinner for him, ect, ect. But, I realized I was mainly upset because he told me he would help me clean the apartment after dinner but now as time is going by he's just going to say he's too tired and go home after he eats. He also wont let me put up most of his stuff. This is when I start getting really angry, cause the apartment is a wreck and it was muchly (not wholly) his doing. 7:20 passes. I. am. livid. I write a note on the door that says "James I'm too angry to speak to you right now. A cold dinner is waiting on the stove. Wait until I approach you before you talk to me." and as soon as I put the note up he calls. "What?!" a firm voice greeted him. "Jane?? What's wrong??" I told him and he rushed back (arriving around 8:00). I decide to busy myself with something for about 20 minutes and I wouldn't let him come in the room and it was too hard to talk through the walls. When I got out, he approached me, "Didn't you read the sign?!?" I asked. "Do you really think that's going to stop me?" was his response. Here I ream him out for being gone an hour and a half when he knew full well that dinner would be ready at 6:30. He, almost in a wimper, told me that he was so sorry and that he didn't tell me where he was because he wanted to surprise me with something. *diffuse* I mean, seriously. It's hard enough to stay angry at a repentant man... then when you find out he wanted to surprise you with something? Sigh. I knew I was done. I stopped with my huff and waited, while he cleaned more than he usually gets done in four hours in about 40 minutes (I can never intentionally guilt him, but this was nice). The surprise wasn't actually something directly for me, but it still was cute. I think I'm gonna tell him that if he ever fails like that again I'm a real sucker for flowers...and milk chocolate truffles...

Perhaps this is from my Protestant upbringing, but I'm not really one of those "you can't celebrate Christmas until December 25th" people. I get it, Christmas is a smaller season... but outside of Mass I'm still going to sing Christmas carols and wish people Merry Christmas (unless I am fully aware they're not Christian or they're wearing a turbin or yarmulke or something, then I'll usually not say anything... only happiness for us Christians!!!)(this is one of the reasons I keep my blog anonymous). I"m generally okay with people starting Christmas music right after Thanksgiving, even if it's not Advent yet, cause it's just so close and that really is the custom here in the States. But... THERE SHOULD BE NO "CHRISTMAS" MUSIC ON THE RADIO NOW!!! I have purposefully unset any of my preset stations that play only winter carols the day after Halloween. Sorry, Frosty isn't allowed to come out right now. It's 67 degrees in my city at almost one o'clock in the morning (I love this city). I'm wondering how seriously it would be taken if I wrote to my Congressman about this... I mean, they actually passed that legislation about TV commercial volumes...

I hope to write a discourse on my current music trends next time I write! Now I will attempt to get my 5 hours of sleep for the night.