Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I am now that person

When I was in college I had an awesome professor/Campus Minister, Earl. Being a Religious Studies major I got to have a lot of classes with him. Being a religious nerd I pretty much participated in every Campus Ministry program there was, many of which he led. This was the basis of our relationship. Earl, always reached out beyond the Religious Studies/Campus Ministry realm. Because I went to a small, Catholic, Liberal Arts University all students were required to take some type of Religious Studies course so many people knew and loved Earl. Earl was someone that you would go to when you had a problem. Many, many, many people went to him with there problems. I didn't seek out his advice too often but I remember specific times when I had a problem and I knew that he was the one I should go to.
Yesterday was the second day of the Spring semester here. Things are really getting busy. I had been in meetings all morning long, had a bit of work to do BUT was actually leaving because the dust from our construction project was becoming "unhealthy." Just then one of my students came in. She initially wanted to talk to me about how she could get involved and help more with our programming. She ended up talking to me for over and hour about how the guy she broke up with at the end of last year was now dating someone else (who also attends out parish) and how hard this was for her. I listened a lot. I did try to offer "advice" or to change her mind but I hoped I helped her to look at the situation in a different way and to work to change the things she had control over. I don't even know if I did a good job but as I went home I realized, I have become the person that my "students" come to for advice. Wow! How the heck did I get here? Earl died from a terrible battle with cancer a little over a year ago. I think about him often. I know that I am not as wise or wonderful as this man was but I think that he would be proud to know that what he was to me as a teacher and friend has carried on into how I do my ministry. I know that I am not the only one.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I don't want to write much because there is just too much to process right now. I just got back from a workshop entitled, "The Path to Simply Being" It was so awesome! I was thinking about it and I think this is the first retreat I've been on as an "adult" I am totally in a Zen place right now. I hope to incorporate all that I learned into my daily interaction's!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fired Up!

Well, it's at the end of a long Wednesday! I just finished Three hours consisting of Confirmation interviews, Youth Ministry, and then another interview. Normally I'd be packing up my stuff and rushing home to the husband. I thought that since my computer at work was still on I'd stop and post something especially since I am so fired up! This year working with the young people of my parish has been so awesome! My first two years were really tying. I would actually be anxious and nervous about Wednesday nights. I remember visiting the small groups was actually painful because no one was discussing anything. The time went by so slowly. Tonight and the Wednesday two weeks ago when we met were so much different. Every group was having a great conversation. They were all different. Some were more serious then others but I am totally cool with that. Also, last year when I interviewed Confirmation students it was a painful experience. Most of the young people didn't seem to care about the whole process and half of them didn't have a clue on what I was talking about. This time around most of the young people are engaged, interested and dare I say even enthusiastic about the whole process. I truly feel blessed to be in this position. I am glad I stuck it out. I'm sure somewhere down the line I will have another challenging group of young folks to work with but for now I am fired up and loving it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

You don't know what you've got til it's gone

This weekend my husband went away Friday night-Sunday afternoon for a boys ice fishing weekend with his dad and cousins. This left me all to myself with very few plans. I was so happy! I began to make plans to keep myself busy, plans that I knew my husband would have no interest in. I rented some chick movies, I slept in Friday morning and did my workout in the late afternoon (he wouldn't be around anyway right?), I did a little cleaning, watched the chick movies. I had to teach two classes at the Y on Saturday morning so that time was filled up. I called my parents up and made a date to see a movie and do lunch. I got some girlfriends together for dinner and later wine drinking and girl talk at my house. Sunday I was lazy most of the day. I don't write this to give you a full account of my weekend. I write this because I came to a realization. I was so happy to have a weekend to myself! Now, don't get me wrong, I love my husband and I misses him terribly. But it was nice to not have to worry about anyone but me (and the dog of course). When my husband and I are home we want to spend time with each other. Our lives are so busy most of the time that time together is rare, and we don't even have kids left. This weekend reminded me of what it was like when I lived in Eau Claire for two years. I was dating my husband but I was alone most of the week and I hated it! I hated trying to find things to do after work. Hence the reason I spent so much time at the mall! I hated being alone unlike this weekend where I really enjoyed it.
My point is, it isn't until time had past or our circumstances have changed that we appreciate what we have. Lately I have been so focused on getting pregnant and having a baby that I am not appreciating this time without a child. When I first started my ministry I was stuck in the past longing for the days when I was teaching, or looking to the future when I could find another job. I am going to try and live more in the present moment. I've gotten a lot better that is for sure. It is still something I need to work on. I've even taking a workshop this coming weekend on that very topic. I'm looking forward to it.... but not too much! For now I'll enjoy my Monday off!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


So, I feel like I should write something profound here. Not much to say really. Life is good, quiet. I am enjoying the final weeks of "slowness" until the Campus Ministry portion of my ministry amps up. I've created a little prayer space in my kitchen. I had gotten in the bad habit of eating my lunch in front of the television. I had designated that time as a reflective prayer time. I know that most people would do this in the morning but I just can't give up watching Sam, Robin, Diane, and Christ (Good Morning America) with my cup of coffee! For some reason I felt the need at lunch to come home and watch stupid television. Well! No more! We had this little cart/table thing in our kitchen that we used for our toaster and mainly to throw junk on. I have determined that the toaster is not something we use every day so I moved it. Cleaned off the junk, put a nice place mat, a candle, my bible, journal, and other reflective book on it and now have a place to eat and pray. So far it's worked out pretty good. I feel so lucky to have be able to come home for a nice leisurely lunch. Part of my prayer today talked about how when we pray it is often in petition but really we were made to give praise to God. So today I give praise to God for allowing me to have this slow, relaxed time. Even thought there are times when my ministry consumes me I rejoice in the times when it let's me be! That's all I got!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blessed in and instant

So, if I am not at church I am usually at the YMCA. Church and the Y that's where I am! I actually work at the Y (I know, like I need more "work") teaching Group Cycling and Zumba. I love the Y! I love its atmosphere and it's values. Everyone is welcome. Well, I had spent a little more time than "normal" this morning. I was scolding myself as I exited the building thinking that I should have hurried it up since I had a lot to do today! As I headed out the door I saw and older gentleman struggling to walk up the snowy, icy, incline that leads to the front entrance. I didn't even think twice about it and went over to see if needed some help. He seemed so grateful and even called me "kid". I don't know if I imagined it but I thinking he was crying out of shear frustration. After I got him safely to the building he thanked me and I went on my way. I felt truly moved and blessed by this moment. I don't even know why. Perhaps it is because in simple moments like this I can truly see Christ and what he is calling me to do. If only all of life's moments would be so clear. I think of the circumstances involved. If I had left the Y earlier I never would have had this encounter. Would someone else have helped this man? I believe that I encountered Christ this morning in the simplest of actions. I must remember these moments when it seems He is hard to find.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I KNOW it is worth it!

Last night was the first night of Youth Ministry since before Christmas. It was also the first night that we "require" that our Confirmation Candidates return to Youth Ministry programming in order to keep them connected with each other, the other youth of the parish, and me. Last year was the first time we tried this. I remember feeling so anxious about the whole thing. Last year Confirmation class was a bit of a challenge. I remember painfully roaming the halls and listened to my excellent small group leaders trying to coax any response from these kids.
Last night went so much better! I had four small groups and sat in on four very different conversations about the power of God and miracles.
I am also in the midst of interviewing our Confirmation Candidates. Last year I really enjoyed this (also the first time I had done this). The group I had last year was much more engaging when you talked to them one on one.
Last night after Youth Ministry I had the most wonderful interview with one of our young ladies. She had such a mature attitude about her faith. She also said some things that made me realize that what I do here is so important and is making a difference. I had resigned myself to the fact that I might never see the fruits of my labor. Maybe years down the road a young person might come back and tell me how being involved in Youth Ministry affected them. I felt so blessed and encouraged when this young woman shared about how some of our conversations at Youth Ministry have helped her to grow in her faith. I hope all people who work with youth realize that even if it doesn't seem like it every day or every moment of their ministry they are making a difference at least in someone's life. All I know is I came home with the biggest smile on my face!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I want to glow in the darkness

So I was thinking about Christmas and how the secular world celebrates and why. I bet a lot of people don't know why we put up Christmas lights inside and outside our home. It comes from the fact that as we approach Christmas we approach the winter soltice, the shortest day of the year. The days are shorter and I'm sure many of us wake up and return from our work in the dark. I loved having my Christmas light up. I loved that warm glow they gave off. Many times the tree lights were the only ones we kept on during these long winter nights. But now the Christmas season is over and I am sure, like most folks, the Christmas lights are down and the tree is sitting by the curb. But guess what? It's still dark out! I wake up long before the sun comes up and as I return home the shadows have already fallen across my home. Why do we take the lights down? Or for that matter why do we stop celebrating the TRUE meaning of Christmas, God being made human for us! As I was thinking about this I thought about how I personally want to handle this. First of all, I want to be more aware of how I am a light in the darkness in all I do. I never want to forget that Christ resides in me and I reflect that light. I also want to recognize the light in others. Winter can be long here in the Midwest what better way to get through it.

I am back at work full force today. Youth Ministry starts up tomorrow and I am going in interview my Confirmation candidates. For the first time since coming to this job I was actually looking forward to work. Christmas was great. The break I took was wonderful but I'm ready to be back!

Kind of random, I know!