Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More positive

Another quiet day here on the work front. Don’t worry I’m not complaining. In face I realized that a lot of my posts are kind of whiny and full of complaints. I actually did my scripture reflection today. It was from Matthew, where Jesus is describing the Kingdom of Heaven and comparing it to a person who finds a treasure, a pearl, etc. The reflection asked us to remember a time when we fell and how that felt. Then it reminded us that Jesus loves us even more than that! It also gave some practical suggestions on how we can remember this great love that Jesus has for us. If we begin our day, giving it to Him, asking him to be a part of all we do, our joys, our challenges and giving ourselves up to His will. Then in the evening we can reflect on the parts of our day when we felt Christ’s presence and where we followed his will. We can also ask for forgiveness for the times when we went against his will. This is something I tell my young people to do all the time. Maybe it’s time to practice what I preach. I decided that if I am to post something I should at least have on positive thing in my post.
Today when I was home for lunch making a delicious lunch of grilled summer squash, and chicken salad wrap I thought about how grateful I am that I have a job that allows me to go home almost every day and make my lunch. I am reminded of the times when I was a teacher and only had 20 minutes scheduled for lunch, which meant by the time you got down there you only 15 minutes and forget savoring your lunch if it needed to be heated up. No, I guess I don’t miss the endless days of turkey sandwiches, carrots, and an apple scarfed down in a cafeteria filled with yelling kids. I also got some more registrations for Youth Ministry in today. Not only did I get 2 11th graders I also got 3 Catholic school kids! Not whether or not they show up I won’t know but their parents did pay the fee so we shall see! This is my last three day week so tomorrow is my Friday yeah! I’m actually taking next Friday off because my sister-in-law and family will be here from far away. So yeah, it’s still summer!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not much good or bad

I know it’s been awhile. I haven’t been inspired lately. Maybe it’s because I haven’t kept up my afternoon prayer time. Instead I’ve been watching TLC while I munch my lunch! I also haven’t felt like I am in that dark hole that I sometimes get into. The impending school year is upon us. The first of August is the end of this week. What does that mean? Well, it means I have to come into the office more than three times a week to work on stuff. I honestly have very little to work on right now, I wouldn’t want to get too far ahead of myself. So, for this week I am slowly accomplishing little things, mostly surfing the web and connecting with folks on facebook. I felt like I accomplished some things last week. I try to keep thoughts of 50 hour weeks far from my mind. I know that even once August does come it won’t be nearly as crazy as it gets further on down the line.
I did have a rather snotty email sent to me today by a parent. There has been a bit of confusion in regards to the Youth Ministry/Confirmation connect. Quiet honestly before I came long Youth Ministry was a joke. The person in my position didn’t leave any record of what was done or who attended the events. I think that the D.R.E. and the priest did all of the Confirmation preparation. Youth Ministry was seen as an optional thing while preparing for Confirmation. I’m trying to change everyone’s perspective. Youth Ministry is an expectation of kids in grades 9-12 (at least kids who aren’t in Catholic Schools would be my hope). When they are in 10th grade they prepare for Confirmation but still attend YM when not preparing. Anyway, this is what she writes:

This is a very different process than has been the precedent in the past. I have two children who have gone through the Newman confirmation program and there was a separate registration as stated on the registration forms for Youth Ministry. This change was not communicated to the parents which has been confusing. I had Ben's registration ready to submit in May, but I did not submit it because I knew that he would be in the confirmation program. If it was stated that confirmation was part of Youth Ministry, I would have submitted his registration. We will be out of town so his registration will be late. I am wondering if other parents are confused also. Thanks,

To be honest there has been some confusion by other parents, I just didn’t think it warranted the snotty response. Yeah, I know it’s different than in the past, get over it! By the way it has been stated that Confirmation Prep. is part of Youth Ministry. This is the crap that I hare dealing with. I’m sure there is stuff like this in all lines of work. They just don’t tell you this when you’re in college!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reflection on the past leads to a new begining

As I take a break from my “work” today I reflect back on the day that I came to interview here at the church. I don’t know why these memories pop back into my head. Maybe it’s because the weather is brutally hot as it was on that day. I remember I was at what was my fiancé’s house, soon to be our house, moving some of my things in and arranging it to my liking. I decided to take a walk through campus, explore my surroundings. I marveled at how close the church was to my new place of residence. It was very hot and humid; I was sweating profusely by the end of my walk. I knew that I would drive the few short blocks rather than risk arriving at the interview sweaty and disheveled. I entered the back doors of the church and saw a woman I had known from my old parish. She greeted me excitedly and asked if I was interviewing for the job (she must have guessed from my awesome interviewing suit). I replied yes and she was very excited. I greeted the secretary who called my now Campus Ministry boss (who I will refer to as J from here on out). J escorted me to the conference room where the interviewing committee was waiting. I remember meeting my “other boss” (K), and all the different folks on the committee. It was a grueling interview. They just kept firing questions at me left and right and giving me scenarios that I had to respond to. I later found out from one of the students on the committee that I was their 8th and final interview so they had the pattern down pretty good. K really worried me. I remember thinking that if she had to be my boss I wouldn’t like it, she seemed mean and angry, which is totally untrue but she does come off that way. I remember thinking how I would prefer working with J since he seemed so kind (ha!). After the interview I was told to wait in J’s office and was given the National Catholic Reporter to read. The couch was sagging and I was uncomfortable. I sat there, sweating (no air-condition) as I waited and waited for the committee to finish deliberating. As I waited the music minister (M). Met me and was excite to find out that I had attended the same University she was teaching at. I waited and waited listening to the clock in his office chime on the quarter hour. I kept thinking that I didn’t do so well in the interview but they must have liked me somewhat otherwise they wouldn’t have taken so long. Finally the music minister went down and got J. He dismissed me and said they would be in touch.
I returned to my future home and sat outside in a lawn chair rehashing the interview with my dad on my cell phone. I really wanted the job. At the time I had no other options. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do if I didn’t get the job. Plus it was so conveniently located. I had a good feeling about it. While we chatted my call waiting went off and I could tell it was from the church. I let my dad go and found it was the church, the priest actually, calling to offer me a job. I really couldn’t tell you what I said in that interview that day. But for some reason, out of all the people that applied and interviewed that committee saw something in me that they wanted here at my church. I was so glad! I was getting married to the man I loved, had a nice place to live AND a job in my field. How could life be any better?
I also remember those first few weeks of working here. It was about this same time of year. It was slow and quiet. I met with each of my bosses and got the low down on what went on around here. I also had to clean off my desk which was piled high with “stuff” from the previous Youth Minister. Then I got take off for two weeks because of my wedding (how nice and generous of my work place). When I returned it was August 28th and I was thrown into the whirlwind which is this ministry until about December 15. I had no clue what I was in for.
I don’t know why I am looking back on that day. Maybe it’s to get in touch with those good feelings I had, those feelings of hope, anticipation, excitement, confidence that I could do this job. Now that I am headed into my third year (the longest I’ve stayed at a job by the way). I don’t really have those feelings. I have some ideas on how I would like things to go but I also have the past two years of experience and know what I am getting into. I don’t want to have to fight and push to try new things. I don’t want the pressure of feeling that I have to have “numbers” (common way that the priest evaluates programming which I happen to disagree with); the pain of dealing with parents who do not prioritize their child’s faith, the struggle to communicate with my colleagues, the uncomfortable atmosphere this work place exudes at times. Oh yes, and did I mention that I would like to be pregnant this year too? I’m sure that will throw everything for a loop since I have no idea what it will be like to be pregnant and do this crazy work.
Right now I don’t know why I am doing this work. I do know one thing. This is where God wants me to be. What I thought were doors being opened for me in other directions obviously weren’t. And so I wait. Wait for the craziness to begin, wait for the joy and energy that I know my students will bring me wait to see what God has planned for me this year. Maybe I should try and forget these past two years of challenges and focus on the task at hand.
O Lord, please help me to see your light in this ministry. Help me not to get discouraged by the little things that can eat away at my soul. Help me to know and accept that this is Your will for me right now. Show me how I can serve you today and each day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Many places

My head is in many places right now. For three nights I have had dreams where I am working somewhere else or am seeing the kids that I use to teach and in my dream a deep sorrow and longing comes over me. It’s not that I hate my job here but I think at the current time I am not energized, ignited, or on fire with passion for it. I have had this at other jobs. Right now all I feel is boredom and a dread that soon I will go from nothingness to craziness. Why does it have to be so extreme? On the other hand I couldn’t fall asleep the other night because I was thinking about all the things I could, would, should do next year and how it would all work together. I was also contemplating how having a child (remember I’m not even pregnant yet) would work into this job. My brain was racing with ideas and thoughts. I just don’t know. I am going to make a bigger effort to stand up for myself and for what I think should be done as far as programming and such. I can’t just sit here and let what had always been done be done over and over and over again. Yet, thinking about another year in the dysfunction that is this work place puts a knot in my stomach ache. It is exhausting trying to deal with this on a constant basis. I feel like I have been complaining a lot. I’m just not inspired right now. I know things will get better.
I did have a college student come and visit me today that is always nice.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let the Spirit Work

I’ve had a little better attitude around the office today. I didn’t get much work done but I didn’t let it bother me either. I had a really long discussion with our music minister who from here on out I’ll refer to as M. She gets frustrated with the dysfunction that is our office (although sometimes I think her personality is one that contributes to it). She reminded me to keep at it, to go with my instincts because they are good. She also said that the Holy Spirit is at work inside all of us if we let it work throughout gifts and talents we will be successful and feel fulfilled. It is true. I must let the Spirit work through me in this situation. I cannot hope for a different situation but focus on what I can do in the here and now. It is challenging. Especially now when not much is going on. But it did give me hope and helped me to look towards the future and get excited about it. Time is running short; soon we will be in full swing. I vow to make at good effort this year to realize that I cannot change the other people in my life but only how I react to them!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I am so small

Guess I really don’t know what to say today, seeing as I was such an idiot yesterday. Here I am ranting and raving about how dumb my job is when there is so many things bigger going on. One of our good friend’s sons was in a serious car accident yesterday. He is critical condition. He was driving the car with two other girls, one of which died. Pretty serious stuff. I see on facebook that a couple of my kids know these young people. So, sad. Not sure on the status of our friend. The girl died seemed to be a wonderful person. A life cut short for reasons unknown to us. It really makes us realize not to take life for granted. We are vessels of the Holy Spirit and should live that way, each day. Rather than trudging off to my job I should ask God where it is he needs me today. How will I meet Him in the seemingly boring or unimportant ways? It is then that I will find Him in the bigger picture. My prayers and thoughts are with our friend and the other families of the accident victims. Truly one of life’s mysteries.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's just another day

Another day of nothingness! Cam you believe I was actually excited to have a meeting to go to this morning? At least it was something to do. “The priest” says if I don’t have stuff to do then I should get outta here since we all know what’s coming down the road. I just don’t know if I can take these ups and downs. The thought of August 15th- December 15th causes a dreaded knot to form in my stomach. Hmmm… now that I’m actually counting that is only four months. I wonder if I’ll be 4 months pregnant at that time (that’s “our plan” not necessarily God’s). Anywhoo, I’m just bored. I also feel that if I look down the long road of youth ministry things are not going to change for the better. I have asked parents to sign their children up for youth ministry by August 1st and I have gotten 3 (out of 65) forms back. 3!!! What the heck people. What really torks me off is when people say the Catholic Church doesn’t offer anything for youth. Well I sure as heck am trying. I just don’t know. Leave it in God’s hands; leave it in God’s hands.
In my daily reflection for today the question is raised, “What seeds are you sowing right now?” As I thought about it I felt guilty. Maybe I’m not trying as hard as I could? Or what’s the point? These seeds I’m sowing aren’t growing, or at least I can’t see them. I then read on to realize it’s not what I am doing but how I am doing it. How am I approaching this situation I find myself in? Not very well, but I’m not quite sure how to change.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bored wonderings

So, I was getting pretty bored with myself yesterday. I pretty much cleaned my entire office. As I was sorting through all the books in my office, some mine some that have been here for goodness knows how long, I was having some depressing thoughts. I was thinking, “What is the point of all this? I’ve never even used these books (I did trash some of them). If I left this job would I even care if I got my own back? I don’t really use them. This is so much not what I expected when I was a young naïve high school/college student.” I guess I thought that it would be so easy to attract young people to the church because I was so attracted. I have to sit and wonder why I was so attracted to religion and church when most of my peers weren’t. I guess I wasn’t very comfortable with who I was growing up. The church gave me acceptance, and identity. Now that I am more comfortable with who I am personally I am still working to figure out who I am professionally (in ministry that is). I felt like when I was teaching I was 100% myself. I don’t know if it is just my working conditions but now I don’t feel free to be myself. I am constantly walking on egg shells wondering if I am going to have to have a confrontation with one my many bosses. Or wondering which one of my ideas will be shot down. It’s hard to get fired up about ministering to others in this situation.
I’m feeling a little bit better today. I reviewed some ideas and meeting minutes that happened at the end of the school year when I did feel fired up and goal orientated. It has been stated that the priest, my campus ministry boss and myself will begin meeting next week to discuss plans for next year. I have to get my s@#t together for this. The priest always wants you to be prepares before you voice something. Confidence, confidence! And a gentle heart towards my other boss!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A big long catch up!

I know, I know it’s been so long. I’ve actually been back from my vacation for a week now and am just getting around to posting. The three days I did work last week were crazy! It’s always hard to come back to work after vacation but last week was particularly brutal on me. I started going to a dark place and got frustrated with my job and was dreaming of working somewhere else!
I came back to work Wednesday and hardly a soul even asked about my trip or even acknowledged that I was back after being gone for ten days. Kind of makes you think, “What is the point of me even being here?” As per directed by my “lady” boss I am suppose to continue with Youth Ministry during the summer, since after all I am a full time employee. Last year (my first year) she sprang this on me after I had already met with the high school kids for the last time leaving them and me thinking everything was free and easy until September. She also stipulated that my activities should have some type of educational component to them (she is after all the director of religious education). I of course balked at the idea thinking that kids would want to do anything but learn over the summer. But, because I was naïve and the new kid in town I busted my butt putting together a program that I thought was both fun and educational. Before each event I would call all 65 kids that SHOULD be in our program and reminded them in an overly cheesy and excited voice about the event. At most I had 4 kids. So, as summer approached this year I asked my committee of adults what type of programs they thought I should do. One suggestion I liked was to do more service orientated programming. I thought this was a great idea. I put together a schedule of various ways we would serve throughout the summer. Some of these options are challenging to do during the school year as they don’t fall on a Wednesday evening. I was pumped. Right before I left on vacation I put out the signup sheets for two events taking place the week I got back. Strawberry picking and strawberry cleaning (two separate events) for a later fundraiser done by another committee in August. Secretly I was hoping that no one signed up as Wednesday was my first day back and I knew I would be exhausted. But one kid signed up for both events. Well, I sucked it up and got excited for that one kid. I was even more excited when a second kid showed up at my office right before the event! Alas the first kid canceled. So the one student, young man I set off for the berry farm. In all actuality this was quiet a pleasant event. This same young man came to all the events I planned summer. Last summer he barely said a word and when he did it was usually outlandish or totally inappropriate! This time we actually had a nice conversation. I could really see how he had grown in the last year. Together we picked to big flats of strawberries totaling about 4 pounds! He mentioned coming back the next night to clean.
My husband, seeing that I was busy, took off to fish on Thursday night. I set off for church ready to clean strawberries with my two faithful kids! The event started at 6:30. I sat ready with knives, cutting boards, and gallon buckets. NO ONE showed up. I stared down 4 pounds of strawberries ripening by the minute and began cutting. I started to grow angry as I thought about the lack of commitment and excitement these kids have about their faith or church in general. I prayed. I said, “God, you must have a reason for putting me in this position. Please, show it to me. I don’t know if I can go on if this is how it is going to be. There were other groups meeting in the church and I soon heard the voices of women as the finished their prayer group. I recognized one voice to be that of D. D is an older woman who spends a lot of time at church often bothering our priest as well as other members of the staff. She is always offering to “help” with anything and everything! I was too prideful to ask for help and I knew if she saw me she’d ask what I was up to (she’s kind of nosey too!). Sure enough! That’s exactly what happened! When I told her my dilemma her reply was, “Oh for goodness sakes! I’ll help you!” and she did. We had a really nice long talk. She told me about her family. How she has six children but one committed suicide. How her husband had “dropped dead” (her words not mine) one day. Her days nursing, her trip to Alaska, and such. It certainly made the time and work go faster.
Even though I am still frustrated and annoyed with the young people I have to look at this is what God wanted of me at that very moment. D needed to talk to someone; she always needs to talk to someone and a lot of times we don’t have time to talk to her. She knows this and isn’t really a bother but I’m sure she is lonely. As was I that night.
I don’t know, I hate to feel this way, and I’m sure the lack of activity around here has something to do with it but I just don’t think I can do this work the rest of my life. The thoughts (and actions) of starting a family are beginning to take shape and I cannot fathom working a 56 hour week with kids at home, I don’t want to do that. Patience, patience, I know God will show me where He needs me at that time. Right now I’m just plain bored! Like my husband says, “If they are going to pay you to sit around don’t complain!” It’s true! Maybe tomorrow I’ll clean out my desks and my book cases!