Monday, July 25, 2011

Vocation Now

      What earnest young Christian hasn't wished they could know their vocation now?  It might be easy enough to be open to God's calling, but it's hard to be open to an indefinite span of years before the call comes.

      I for one am quite prepared to prepare for whatever my calling, I only wish I knew so could start preparing.

       (I say this smugly now; just wait until God calls me a direction I never considered and I am completely thrown for a loop and have to face the claim that I am prepared to accept my calling).

      But I'm forgetting a few things. 

      God does have a plan for me, even if it's not revealed for another five, ten, or twenty years. (Deep breath.  I can wait that long, can't I?)

      AND He's fair, more that fair, so He'll be sure and present me, even now, with opportunities to prepare for that calling.  Even if I don't clue in that such and such a circumstance is a chance for preparation.

      SO my best bet is to assume every circumstance is an opportunity to prepare, and accept everything that comes my way, and perform my every task with devotion.

      Hmm.  This is sounding a lot like a game plan for holiness.  But that's what vocation is all about, right?  The way of life set up to give each person their fullest opportunity for holiness.

      Umm.  If my though processes as expressed above make sense, and preparing for my vocation coincides with working towards holiness, if I want to discern my vocation sooner than later...I have my work carved out for me.

            God bless,


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Value of Mentorship and Friendship

I have had the blessing of spending all weekend with mentors and friends.  Fortunately my main mentors are my parents, and my main friends are my siblings, but some how these roles are illuminated by spending time with other mentors and friends.  
Sometimes mentors are distincly mentors - oh, you spend time with them and have fun, but there's obvious enough disparity of age, maturity or experience that it's a mentorship more than a friendship.  
Then there's more clear friendship, usually with something like a peer (I wish I had a better word than peer, which bugs me, but I'm working on it.)  That said, I believe the best, truest and most lasting friendships are something like mutual mentorships, where both friends have something to offer and something to learn, and in turn call one another to a higher level of holiness.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Great Day

And I mean truly Great, not just great in the overused-and-therefore-weakened sense of the word.

We went to Mass.
We had friends over, the young, the old and everything in between.  We cooked, we made messes, we cleaned, we played, we sang, we prayed, we feasted and we talked.  We talked theology, family, friendship, past, present, future, serious, silly.  We goofed off and laughed.  We shared stories and ideas.  We stayed up far too late.

This is real, human, Christian, community, family life. This is Great. 

Friday, April 29, 2011


       I realised that my last post was still Good Friday and decided, after almost a week of Easter, it's high time to add something new, an Easter post, even though I have nothing very exciting to report.  

       On second thought that isn't true, I do have something exciting, I just remembered.  So exciting, life-changing exciting, I can hardly believe I forgot.  On Easter Sunday I found out that I am a direct descendant of King Saint Louis IX of France, father of eleven, patron of Versailles and Quebec City, 13th-century crusader and sole canonized French monarch.  He is my great-great-great (well, 26 greats anyway) grandfather.  Who was descended from Eleanor of Aquitaine, so her blood runs in my veins as well.  This discovery was almost surreal.  And as it turned out, Saint Louis' birthday was Easter Monday.  I'm so pumped about it!

Saint Louis IX, pray for us!

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Epic Good Friday

              My parents were considering watching The Passion today but decided on a more family-friendly alternative dealing with the Passion, the 1959 version of Ben Hur.  I have always found epics valuable and enjoyable but a slightly hard to take seriously (our family hasn't watched The Ten Commandments for years but still crack jokes about the corny line, "Moses, your hair!").  I find them often overdone and pretentious, and yes, a little corny on occasion. 
            But today I realised that in epic lines any scriptwriter of today would be mortified to publish, there is often a very sincere truth.  The type of truth that I suspect we all  have expressed in a very profound way in our own minds but tend to be too embarrassed to say aloud, even to those whom we know share the same convictions.  We're queer creatures, aren't we? I don't think the human race was any less queer in 1959, but at least they didn't mind saying saying a few corny things for the sake of expressing a profound truth.

Well it's 2:30 on Good Friday, which means I should be getting ready to go to Church, not blogging.  

Wishing all a blessed Triduum and joyous Easter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lovely Lent

         I was shocked yesterday to realize Palm Sunday was a week away.  Lent is whizzing by, I can't believe it.

         Lent is very dear to me.  It feels so good to detach from little pleasures, to be reminded of the good of enduring this or passing up that, instead of regretting what material or emotional gratification I might have had but didn't.

         In Lent it's easier to remember that the lack of an earthly pleasure that might have been isn't wasted.  It's easier to have peace about choices I make that might make me miss out on something fun, because I know it's Lent, so that's ok to miss out on something.  Better than ok, actually that's good. 

         So I love Lent for itself.  Don't worry, though, I won't miss it, because I love it even more for what it precedes.

         I love how special, right and well-ordered the festivities of Easter seem after 40 days of penance.  I love singing, "The strife is o'er, the battle done!" when it's so tangibly true. The strife of fasting, the battle with chocolate cravings.  Needless to say, these  are nothing to Jesus' real strife and battle he endured on our behalf, what we're actually singing about.  No, I don't have real strife and I don't fight battles, during Lent or anytime.  I don't know the meaning of suffering.  But in my weakness, it seems like I've endured a little something for Christ during Lent.  That's a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I love being outside.  But I get cold so easily.  Pretty well from November to March, I limit my outdoor excursions to fast walks which keep me somewhat warm.

But today the sun was shining.  It wasn't exactly warm out, downright chilly when the wind came up, but it was beautiful so I threw on a hoodie, grabbed my history book on World War I and tiptoed through the lasting March mud in the backyard, seating myself to the best possible sun-soaking advantage with least compromise to my ability to read without squinting.  And I read, for oh, a good twenty-five minutes, and it was lovely. 

Then it clouded over and started to hail, and I ran inside to protect my book and my comfort.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My little protege

I waited twelve years for a little sister.  And then I got one, my little darling, the only other sibling born with dark hair like me.

I was the first Big Sibling to hold her.  I potty trained her, and now I'm helping to teach her to read. I used to take her out to the barn with me in the morning and cuddle her as she approached  fascinating, but terrifying animals.  She would help me toss the hay: me carrying two flakes, she one baby-sized fistful.

She plays my little harp on which I first learned to play nine years ago.

I read her stories, do her hair, paint her face, push her on the swing.  My next project will be teaching her to pump.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

back at last... blogging that is.  Still, two long-distance trips, one international, have been on among my accomplishments since I posted last, along with...

  • Turning 17
  • Losing my economics text (ahhh shame I know, but what's a girl to do?  I really did look for it.)
  • Adventurously eating a hot pickled pepper
  • Making granola bars for the first time...AND everyone liked them, even though I overcame the very Lenten temptation to add chocolate chips 
Yes, it's been a busy month, but I am surviving.  I will try to get back to blogging with a bit more regularity.  I still owe my baby sister a post which will (perhaps) be soon forthcoming.

Until then,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What I love about brothers

     I was going to start this post with some very clever puns on the word malefactors, but considering how hard it is to discern the tone of text, where the same words might range from sisterly sarcasm to rooted resentment, I thought it could be taken the wrong way.  And it would spoil it to say "just kidding...I meant that in the nicest way possible."  Which is kind of what I'm doing anyway.  I just trust you'll excuse me for not wanting a rare moment of wittiness to pass by entirely concealed.

     So, after me come three boys, thirteen, eleven, and eight.  How do I explain what this is like?  If you have brothers, I don't have to.  If you don't, I won't even try.  I think God gave me brothers largely so I could grow in virtue.  Boys are boys - even the best and sweetest of boys are boys, and they try my patience.  Actually they try nearly every virtue I've got, plus I'm pretty sure several gifts of the Holy Spirit and most of the Beatitudes.  And they make painfully obvious the ones I don't posses.

     This is good for me.  I'm reminded daily how much war I've yet to wage in the battle for holiness by reflecting on my behavior towards my brothers.  And even though it doesn't look like it, chances are I'm a way better person for having little brothers...if I didn't, I'd be even more selfish and persnickety than I am anyway...I just might not have occasion to show it at this point in my life.  But I'd never have occasion to battle it either, until later when maybe it was too late to conquer.

    So forgive me, my dear brothers, that you guys get to be what helps me work out my vices, receiving the brunt of all my failed tries at being holier. Years from now you can tell my children, "Lucky for you kids you have us three uncles; your mother would be much nastier to you now if she hadn't worked through a bunch of nastiness on us."  But please don't.

   Recently I read Eight Cousins.  Rose says to her uncle, "'I have discovered what girls are made for...To take care of boys.'"  Now isn't that sweet?  I could go so many directions with this quote - likely I will sometime - but to stick to the point, it gave me a whole new outlook on my interactions with my brothers.  Maybe that hasn't manifested in my behavior towards them, but it is a little something to add to my interior deposit of motivations to be a good, kind sister...which I pray in the long-term will have a substantial  affect.

   Now I must say there are really wonderful and beautiful things about having little brothers which I would not give up for all the peace, quiet tidyness in the world...individually their passion, their thoughtfulness and their affection; as a whole, their joy, flamboyance, their hugs, their overall carefree fun.  That's what I love about brothers.   

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Ladies of the House (and Beyond)

            I would like to pay tribute to the  other women of the family - my mother and two older sisters (my baby sister fits into another category; I'll devote a post to he sometime ). It is such a privilege to have these three ladies in my life who are my very best friends.  They are an example of true femininity and have shaped my life profoundly.  Even on a material level, there are many activities that because of my mother and sisters I have a whole different level of experience and appreciation; activities which, for me, will always have posses more meaning than their names imply, such as...
  • Drinking tea
  • Chocolate and cheesecake
  • Shopping
  • Sharing clothes
  • Baking (especially tweaking recipes until they have totally surrendered to a horde of nutritious ingredients which we would never admit to adding when serving the boys our baking).
  • Girls' movie nights (BBC classics!)
  • Walks
  • Country music in truck #7
...I could go on.  So thank you, Mama, girls, my life wouldn't be the same without our little community of womenfolk.

Stay tuned for my next post:  what I love about brothers.  That will be fun.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Musings from the Mailbox

"That's all a blog is, really.  Writing one big, long letter to yourself," observed my mother.

"And then sharing it for the whole world to read," quipped my sister.

      We had come back from a walk in the rain to the mailbox which had anticlimactically produced some junk mail and a poultry magazine for my brother.  My sister had complained that no one sends her letters; my mother had attempted to remedy her sorrow by suggesting she write one to herself.

     It's a good point, about the blog.  Who's it for, really?  The blogger.  But that's ok.  If no one ever reads this big, long letter to myself except for me, at least I'm having fun writing it, and no doubt I will find in myself a flatteringly attentive cybercorrespondent.

     That said, blogging, emailing, anything computery will never hold the place in my heart of good old pen-and-ink, and a full inbox or new blog post to myself will never charm me like braving a misty January morning to walk to the mailbox and discover a letter.

     I love letters.  I love the smoky, waxy smell of my room after I've sealed a letter.  I love being able to say I have sealing wax.  Who has sealing wax?  It's really, really cool to have sealing wax.  And I love actually using a fancy letter opener.

One of the coolest letters I ever got was scented with rosewater.  I thought that only happened in nineteenth-century novels.  It was so great.  I'll have to try that sometime.

Sorry for the random rant, self.

That's ok.  I liked it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Feast of Saints Timothy and Titus!

        The feast brings to mind inspiring words of St. Paul to St. Timothy:

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
- 1 Tim 4:12

     This is as relevant today for a young and aspiring follower of Christ as it was nearly 2000 years ago.  I am reminded of a few things each time I read this verse.
     Firstly, that I cannot allow the societal stereotype of youth and young adulthood to discourage me from pursuing holiness and being the best I can be.  (I recommend a refreshingly against-the-current book on this topic, Do Hard Things: a Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris).

     Also, that my earthly journey isn't just about getting me to heaven.  We're all in it together as the Mystical Body, and in my behavior I'm accountable not only for the damage I may do myself, but for the influence I have on others.
     This concept applies to everyone, with the possible exceptions of the hermit or the recluse.  But the schoolchild, college student, parent, professional, and religious, each has his own audience for whom they are responsible to set an example.  Mine mostly comes in the form of my four younger siblings.
     This affords me a very tangible and immediate reminder of the importance of setting a godly example; it's a real wake-up call when one of the little ones begins a bad habit that looks just like mine.  And what I reward it is when they exhibit a virtue which I have tried to model for them!
     I hope that, with God's grace, I will use the opportunity of setting examples for my siblings to the best of my ability, and so be in practice when I go out into the big, wide world and am accountable for a much larger, scarier, tougher audience to my behavior.         

    Why "Convictions"?

    I first had the idea to have a blog entitled "Convictions" because the word summarizes the things I would write about - my passions, resolutions, beliefs and aspirations. 

    Then my sister showed me Hebrews 11:1 and I thought, "Hey, that's perfect!"  I have many Convictions about life, some trivial, others profound, but all are bound within the context of the great Conviction "of things unseen": my Faith.

    So here I am, blogging about my Convictions.

    Some of these may not seem directly linked to the Faith, but I hope that even through relating anecdotes about my life, musing on the latest novel I've read, or sharing a new recipe I've invented I will will glorify God, Who has blest me with the interests and abilities to find joy in these things. 

    God bless.