17 November, 2006

Hunting Widow

So, as of 5:30 tomorrow morning, I will officially be a hunting widow. It will be my first year and he comes home at night, but still. I have to entertain myself on a weekend day for the first time in months. Sad, I know.

Anyways, after being sick for the past two weeks, I am somewhat looking forward to having a couple of long days to relax and be creative. I think I am going to scrapbook, wedding plan, and probably sew a little bit. I'm thinking Christmas dress???

I also have to say that my kittens have been relatively good company. Daisy thinks that every little scrap needs to be hidden in the corner and that dishtowels complete her collection while Gatsby is either hearing mice or seeing spirits, but let me tell you, they are worth every minute of their nonsense!

Oh, and I've decided I need to move to San Diego. No, not because of the weather and yes, I know my fiance is here in Green Bay. However, one of my best friends in the whole wide world, they only person who truly understands the significance of the Angry Beavers and listening to Christmas music early, lives there. And I haven't seen her in years!!!!!! And she is baking Christmas goodies tonight! How sad is that??? Me, a hunting widow, missing quality Christmas time in San Diego!!! Really, there is some injustice there!!!

Anways, off I go. Chinese is on its way and I have to schedule my chick flick marathon for the weekend. Pierce Brosnan anyone????

13 November, 2006


I got a four-year-degree from a private college. To some, that makes me wealthy. To others, that makes me lucky. To yet others, it makes me and others like me, lazy and inattentive.

Guess what? I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to achieve a four year degree. My parents did assist me with my college education. However, I worked unbelievably hard to create those opportunities. I pushed myself through high school finishing 8th in my class with 3 academic scholarships and a full year of college credits under my belt. I then proceeded to complete my 4 year college degree in 3 years, graduating Magna Cum Laude with honors, 2 majors and less than $10,000 in loans. My education is worth over $100,000. My parents paid just under $25,000 of that for which I am extremely grateful. Let's look at that.

$10,000 Loans (which I will eventually pay off myself/with my fiance)
$25,000 Parents

That leaves $65,000 worth of education that I paid for myself up front. I had saved for college since I was 8 years old. I spent the years leading up to college working toward scholarships. I worked two jobs for most of college and worked full time my entire senior year in addition to a full time class schedule and a serious relationship. I slept somewhere between 4 and 6 hours each night.

I'm not complaining. You can ask my roommate of 3 years. I loved almost every minute of it and I took great joy in what I was doing. But don't sit there and judge my education. Don't assume that I partied every weekend and dwindled my time with sororities and fraternities. Don't assume that I did the bare minimum to pass. I guarantee you, I earned my education, cost and content.

Don't diminish my education or anyone else's because you assume a rule about private colleges and their students. I am humbled by the opportunity I was given and I am aware of the reasons for the stereotype I am challenging. That said, don't judge my ability and my ethic by a stereotype. That's like measuring inches with a meter stick.

And I am sure I am not the only one.


I've really had the opportunity in the past few weeks to reflect on the importance and value of good friends. Since being laid off, I have had a couple of tough weeks at home. It is really hard to spend the entire day reflecting on the fact that you should be working and aren't. Or the fact that you are bringing in bills that you aren't helping to pay. Not only that, but I've been sick for the last week and that doesn't help the cause.

These are times when I start questioning myself and my value. Do I have something special to offer? What did a 4-year-degree get me? I worked my tail off and racked up a pretty sum in loans for this? These are times when I wonder if I am good enough. That is a really hard reality to face.

That said, I have been affirmed in so many ways by those whom I gratefully call friends. So many of them have taken minutes out of their day to e-mail me to check on me. A couple have made an extra effort to get me out of the house for social time. Sometimes it is to run errands and sometimes for a cup of coffee. It has been an affirmation of what really matters. Jobs will come and go. People and relationships will bless you over and over again if you work at them and let them.

In moments of fear and tears and frustration I lean heavily on those wonderful people I am blessed to call friends. I am so overwhelmed by the message He keeps sending me that truly affirms that which is important in life.

30 October, 2006


It has been awhile since I watched any of the news expose shows. I got a little bit turned off by whichever show was doing the constant expose on child predators. I think it was almost 6 weeks in a row that they filmed men trying to meet up with kids and then having them arrested. Not only that but after doing it in 5 locations they felt the need to milk a recap episode...anyways, I happened to flip on an episode the other night while I was waiting for my sweetie to get home.

It was about two 16 year old kids who killed another 16 year old girl in a lover's quarrel. Essentially, they beat her to death (apparently not knowing they killed her) and then tried to dispose of the body. Being cold, they could not bury it, so they brought in another 16 year old to do some dispicable things to the body to essentially disguise the identity.

Anyways, the parents of the boy in the situation offered a really interesting presence to the show. Not only did they come on national television to talk about it, but they did not condone or excuse their son's behavior. When the son told his father, he reached for the phone and called the police. When Stone Phillips asked about how difficult that call was to make the father responded, "I wasn't thinking about that. It was the right thing to do."

Both parents expressed great sadness and confusion over the boy's choice, but they both said that he needed to be accountable for what he had done. He committed the crime. They don't know why, but justice needed to be done. The truth needed to be told.

I wanted to jump for joy. Not because of the terrible situation under which it occured, but because they highlighted a set of parents that wouldn't excuse their son's behavior. Sure, they didn't understand it. They could have come up with a half dozen possible excuses, as many parents do, for their son's delinquent behavior. They didn't. They held him accountable and by extension themselves. It broke my heart to watch these parents grieve their son, but it brought me great hope to hear the way they held him accountable.

That is true parenting. The father was deeply emotional as he told the host that he was 49 and would never see his son other than behind bars again. That is a true definition of tough love. A love that puts one's own needs after the needs of the one they love.

Pray for them. Pray for the son and pray for his parents. Pray that they might find healing and hope. Pray that other parents may follow in the example of their honesty and accountability, hopefully under much less horrifying circumstances.

25 October, 2006

Childhood Obesity

Have fast food and restaurant advertisements all but taken over the television commercial breaks?

I mean, maybe I am just more sensitive to it due to my unemployment. Maybe I am craving the food and so the ads attract more of my attention, but I was disgusted when I started counting how many advertisements in a break were for gross fatty foods.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my gross, fatty foods. They are a nice treat and they taste heavenly. That said, how often do you want me to eat it? Every meal? Are you kidding me?

As for childhood obesity, have we ever thought that the ads aren't actually targetting the youth, but their parents? The parents are the ones making the decisions after all. I don't remember the ads affecting me until I had buying power...when my parents had the buying power, I had no sway over the decision, so the ads just blew right by me. Maybe parents just need to get some courage and put their feet down.

When I was a little girl, we didn't have a lot of money. McDonalds was a big treat!!! It wasn't a convenience or a craving, it was a treat. We got it for completing our job charts for a month or for being fully potty trained. It ranked up there with a trip to the zoo!!!

I was watching the TODAY show this morning...I know, feel however you like about that...but they did a segment on little changes you can make to reduce the fat content in your fridge on basic things like milk, bread and juice. What fascinated me was that my mother has been doing these things for years. My mom is a registered nurse who has stayed home with my 2 sisters and me for the last 19 years or so. She has always been very conscious about nutrition and balance. Still, I was truly astonished when I realized that she had been feeding us skim milk (believe it or not, there is actually more calcium in skim milk than 1% or 2%, whole wheat bread (although if your kids are set on white bread textures, Sara Lee makes a great whole wheat with the look and texture of white), and 100% juice for years and that this is new to so many people.

Get this, use plain yogurt and add fresh fruit instead of getting the stuff with fruit. Not only is it cheaper, but the sugar content is soooo much lower.

Come on parents, take responsibility. It is not the fast food companies, schools or ad agencies contributing to your child's weight. We are a capitalist society, they are trying to make money. You are the only one responsible for setting good nutrition habits in your household. Teach your children and yourself about healthy, tasty and satisfying food combinations. Get yourself and your kids off the couch and get outside. Stay active. Not busy, but active. Re-establish the idea of "treat". Expand the category. Treats are to celebrate or reward, not simply to indulge.

That said, I am really craving Taco Bell...and Arbys...

So long...

...since I posted.

The last week has been interesting. I have a lot to talk about now though.

I was laid off last Tuesday. After 17 months of exemplary service for a mismanaged company they laid me off. Lovely, I know. As one attorney I talked to said, "As far as I am aware, we haven't outlawed stupidity." Basically.

So, I am taking this time to re-evaluate my direction in life. After being in a job where I never had the opportunity to do what I was originally hired to do, I am wary of the job market. In the initial stages of the layoff I talked with my dad and he basically reminded me that there were three key pieces to my employment anywhere and that in the end, 2 of the 3 had been violated.

#1 Follow you passion. (What I was hired to do could have been my passion, but I wasn't given the opportunity to do it and I settled for something much less...)

#2 Never compromise your ethics. Integrity is who you are when nobody is looking. (This one is the one I suceeded in.)

#3 Never work for someone you don't respect. (I had long had concerns about the management and practices of my former company.)

All of that said, it still hurts. I am an "all or nothing" kind of girl. I believe in work as a vocation, not simply a job or a career. I gave a lot of my heart to the job I did. I gave a lot of attention and talent to the positions I held. And not only was I laid off for it, but I was betrayed by the people who led my team.

That said, I refuse to take up a jaded view of my next position. I will go in with all of my heart and give them everything I have to give. I don't live to work, I work to live, but Catholic teaching is clear about the subjective nature of work. It doesn't say treat others the way they treat you. It doesn't say take what you can and run. It says to treat others as you would like to be treated. Sure, ideally, the subjectivity of work is intended to be a developing relationship which is a joint effort between employer and employee. Many employers don't live up to these intentions, but that shouldn't discourage me from trying to live up to them.

I REFUSE to let one mismanaged, misguided, company destroy my view or ascription to Catholic Social Teaching. Catholic Social Teaching is the practical applications of Catholic scripture and doctrine. It may be hard to come by, and my hopeful belief in it may be seen by some as naive and impractical. I believe the phrase "golden girl" has been thrown in my direction a time or two. I don't care. I will always believe that it can exist. I will always hold it up as the only standard I strive towards. Anything less is an insult to the dignity of the human person and the body that is the Church.

Moreover, my last job taught me many things, but more importantly, it brought me many wonderful relationships. I am so glad that I never let an opportunity pass to share fellowship with a co-worker. I walked away with my head held high and several invaluable relationships. The girl in the picture is one of my greatest blessings from my time at the company. She is a talented woman and strong witness to the power of faith. (And she makes me laugh...a lot!)

Sure, I am scared. I feel somewhat helpless. The bills have to be paid. The cats have to be fed. That said, God will provide. He always has. I am so much better for what He has given me in the past 17 months than I ever could have dreamed. No company will ever change that.

Not to mention that if I hadn't taken my former position, I wouldn't have met my fiance...take that former company.

11 October, 2006

Let it SNOW???!!!

We might actually get measurable snow fall tomorrow night!!!

Does it count? It is not actually winter and it probably won't stay. Does it count as the first snow? There are great benefits to the first snow. For example, I get to use my snowman spoons on the first snow. So I really need your thoughts!!!

Let me also say that I am a huge fan of snow, but I don't like the cold. I am perpetually cold. Part of that is simply that I am a woman. Now, don't go getting all freaked out on me. Women's bodies simply work different than men's. Women's bodies send most of the blood to the core of the body where all of the reproductive organs are and presumably, at some point, a baby. That means there is less blood to the appendages such as hands and feet.

That said, I think I am still just naturally cold. Admission: I have to wear leggings or long underwear under most items during the winter. Layers are my only salvation. And I keep a blanket near my desk year round.

That said, the first snow is something mystical. I used to think the correct word was magical, but it isn't. Mystical means "real" and it is often on the first snow of the season that life feels the most real. It is the most powerful, the most whimsical, the most real. It seems as though the first snow sweeps through your body, mind and soul and cleans it out. Snow makes me feel much the same way I feel after I go to confession: clean, refreshed, and content with simply taking my next step.

I think the first snow also brings you home. I don't know too many people who don't experience the first snowfall and not say something to the affect of, "I wish I were at home, curled up in a blanket with a good book (movie, cup of coffee, etc.)." There is something warm and welcoming about the ice cold delicacies we call snowflakes.

Whether you agree or not, let this be an opportunity for us to step back, take a deep breath, clean up, and head back home. There is a warm blanket waiting...

In the meantime, I'll see if I can track down a picture of my snowman spoons.

Soap Box...

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "soap box" came frome? I have and today I did the research...I like research. I know, I'm strange.

Apparently it comes from a time in history (traditionally British) where orators or public speakers would give impromptu speeches standing on soap boxes. They were wooden crates filled with bars of soap.

So, let me get on mine (well, since I have several, let me get on one of mine).

Okay, so I walked away for a few hours to do some work-related tasks and now I can't remember what I was all fired up about. Guess it couldn't have been that important, hmmm??

Fitfull Sleep


Wow...sleeping was interesting last night. I spent the first half of the night trying to plan my wedding in my sleep. Well, seeing as it was sleep and dreaming, it was rather unproductive and I woke halfway through the night to frustration.

What is this? Is this a symptom of our crazed society? Is this my body and mind telling me that I don't have enough time during the day that I need to seek more time in my sleep? Well, I won't give in to that.

The above article highlights only a few of the necessary benefits of a full night's sleep. Here are a couple more interesting facts.

- Women who get enough sleep in complete darkness have more predictable menstrual patterns. In fact, with enough dark sleep, many women's cycles will pattern themselves with the lunar pattern.

- Studies have shown that today's individual gets significantly less sleep than those individuals 100 years ago, but there is no evidence that shows we need less.

God gaves us bodies that require rest and require it at pretty regular intervals. Now, he also gave us the ability to chose our sleep patterns and adjust when necessary. Just because we have the opportunity to choose, doesn't mean that it is good for us to choose less.

If you have a hard time sleeping, try a few of these tips.

- Pick a regular bedtime and stick to it even if you aren't tired.

- Create a bedtime routine or activity for yourself. After a period of adjustment this will trigger your mind to the idea of sleep. Consider a cup of tea, a chapter of a book, or a decade of the Rosary.

- When you find yourself tossing and turning, don't. Sit up, take a few deep breaths, stretch your muscles and lay back down. If you are still restless, get up and sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea until you find yourself relaxed again. Tossing and turning tends to add to frustration and sleeplessness.

- Keep a notepad by the bed. Often times our anxieties come from a fear of forgetting something. Wake up, write it down and release your mind back to sleep.

I'm not going to tell you how much sleep your body needs. Only you can know that. Mine has two sleep levels: 5 hours and 8+ hours. Anything less than 5, or more than 5 or less than 8, makes me tired. You'll have to discover that level for yourself. Then try to stick with that length of sleep as much as possible. You'll be much happier for it.

All this talk of sleep has actually woken me up! Consider these suggestions for combating the tyranny that has become our days (and nights...).

10 October, 2006

"Rent" and other assorted thoughts...

So, I spent the weekend with my 19-year-old sister.

Different...I am definitely glad I am no longer a college student.

That said, we had a GREAT time!!! We drank a ton of coffee and talked about all the things that sisters talk about. My wedding, our beaus, our family, love, loss and everything in between. We went to an interpretive dance recital and the musical "Rent". Which brings me to my first point...

Seriously, have you seen "Rent"? I can't understand how people can walk out of "Rent" and be so psyched out. Sure, great music, great talent, but did you understand the premise? Did you understand the message? If they did it would seem a much more sobering experience. Alida and I got back to the dorm, rescued my blistered feet, cracked open a couple of cream sodas and tried to combat the onset of extreme depression. This is exactly how apathy begins. It is the perfect example of the shallowness of our culture. They hear the music and the voices. They experience the excitement of the Broadway experience. It becomes about the presentation and not the message. People are dying...of AIDS...and it is not just hypothetical. This is real! This is an opportunity for us to reflect on the plight of millions around the world and all we can do is walk around singing "Seasons of Love"??? I mean, if that were the catalyst to a conversation about AIDS and finding a cure and a solution, great, but I believe that constitutes a minimal percentage.

So, Alida and I were depressed. Seriously. We both attacked the phone as soon as we could to reconnect with the loves of our lives. There was a need for a sense of security and "right"ness. A safe place to work through the thoughts coursing through our brains.

I must say the show was good art. Good art makes you think. Good art makes you wonder, question, and feel out of place.

The issue at hand is not letting the execution of the art overshadow the message. It is also about educating the viewer to embrace and engage the art.

What else can I say?

Truth Sleep...

So I have discovered something interesting about my sleeping moments. Well, actually, I should say my fiance has discovered some interesting things about my sleeping times.

I talk in my sleep.

Not unusual, true, but the things that are said are what are interesting.

It seems I am at my most honest and my most clear when I am sleeping. One afternoon I was quoted to have said, "We need to start keeping receipts," in relation to our wedding budget. Yesterday I remember saying, "Just relax, if you relax you'll be able to sleep better."

This is an interesting experience. Not only am I at my most honest, but I am also at my most vulnerable. I am so grateful to have a very open and honest relationship with just about everyone in my life because if I didn't, who knows what trauma could be caused by my sleep comas.

I believe this is what people mean by living a life of integrity. Now, I am not saying that I always operate with the most integrity, but it is about who you are when nobody is looking. That way, when people do look, especially in your most vulnerable of moments, they see the true, the good and the honest which isn't any different than the way you operate on a daily basis.

So, I am not afraid of what I am going to say when I sleep. Certainly, there are some funny moments...some embarrassing moments...and some sad moments, but there are no painful or hurtful moments. That gives me great hope for my eternal soul and for my example in the world.

That said, it is journey and we must perservere to maintain this level of integrity. We must work at it. We must take part in the graces of the Eurcharist and the sacrament of reconcilliation. We must keep ourselves in the state of grace, for ourselves and for those who walk with us and around us.

Funny though how it took a moment of vulnerability and another person entering into that vulnerability for me to recognize and process this experience of integrity. Speaks a bit to the concept of community and our beautiful communion of saints.

So much theology in one sleep cycle...I think I need a nap...

02 October, 2006

Oh yes, here I go...

So here I sit, at my desk, in the home stretch of my workday. It has been painfully long as I await the return of my sweetheart from six days in Las Vegas. An old boss of mine used to call it "Lost Wages", but hey, that's another post.

As I sat here I heard a voice say, "If only she weren't a Democrat, I could love that woman." I can only assume it was in response to some image that flashed across the TV monitor in the radio studio just steps from my office.

So people can't be good people if they aren't Republican? or Democrat? (depending on your persuassion...) It is reminiscent of a comment my sister made to me in hushed tones during one of my recent trips home. I had metioned that she had grown up so much and really come into her own when it came to her opinions. She looked around and under her breath whispered, "I think I might be a Democrat."

Now, why should that be an admission worthy of hushed tones? The answer is it shouldn't. If I remember correctly, when I first asked my parents about political affiliations they were Democrats. Today I would imagine they would side with the Republican persuassion, but I think they are much more likely to vote issue by issue and candidate by candidate, but she should not feel that she has to keep her affiliation under her breath like a dirty swear word.

Here's my take: Democrat, Republican, whatever. I am progressive. I want to see movement forward. I don't want to sit around and argue about the same old issues at the expense of action. Let's move forward here people! Put the time, energy, and money into acting upon the issues instead of yakking them to death. Now don't get me wrong, I am the queen of yakking, but yakking can occur while we work. Pick up a baby, serve a meal, counsel a teen mom...not only are you serving and moving forward with action, but you can yak in the process if you like.

Seriously, we need to stop getting caught up in labels. Soon as you know it, we will be saying, "Oh yes, he is the pro-life democrat who drinks a double espresso each night at 7." Who cares what they or anyone else says! Who cares what they are called! What do they actually do???

Shakespeare seems to have had it right, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." It is not the name that creates the sweet smell, it is the plant. Look around you, what do the "plants" around you smell like? Then you can decide on their names.

27 September, 2006


My sweetie has a fortune taped to this picture in a frame at his house that reads, "You crave your lover when the two of you are apart."

Well, he leaves for Las Vegas this morning. It will be the longest time we have been apart since July. I have a long slate of projects to work on to pass the time as well as some outstanding social engagements with friends.

It is strange how drastically your life changes when God brings a life companion into your path. Now, I don't believe in forsaking all other persons and priorities for them, but there is certainly a heightened level of commitment that removes you from your previous dedication to friends and family. There are still errands to run, dinners to attend, and work functions to tolerate. That said, it is key for my sweetheart and I to carve out small niches of time to spend with one another.

The other night we found ourselves in the living room with our feet propped up, just talking. He looked at me and said, "Wow, I miss this." I nodded in agreement. You don't realize how blessed those simple, ordinary, everyday moments and tasks are, until they are overcome. Last night it was packing. We enjoyed the first hour of his preparations, but then it became a task. A necessary task, but still a task at the expense of quality time spent together.

In hindsight, I should have worked harder to bless the task and make it holy. I could have pushed my energy just that much further instead of allowing the tyranny of the work day and the kitty recovery (our babies just had their "no more babies" surgery) to determine how I treated my fiance. Instead of making it a fun love-filled evening, it became a task-filled evening to launch the trip.

It is worth the reflection.

So, I am homesick. Not for my home or house or because I am physically away, but because I am distanced from the routine and love that has come to characterize my daily life.

Hopefully the sweet surprise I left in his suitcase will make up for the dull night and give him a reason to come home quick!!

26 September, 2006

"Our" Engagement Ring

So I have been having a difficult time adjusting to my engagement ring. I mean, it is unbelievable. It is far more beautiful than I ever could have imagined and I am a very blessed woman. My sweetheart picked it out himself. I had very little to do with it other than the expression of a few preferences. It is a true and complete gift of self. He knows me well enough and I trust him deep enough to ask him to choose that gift and symbol for me and for us.

Maybe that is why I am having a difficult time adjusting. It is not mine. It is ours. It symbolizes what we want to do with our life together. It symbolizes our assent to God's will for our life. Our free gifts of self to one another: his offer and my acceptance. I wear it as an outward sign of his great generosity and love and my acceptance and commitment to that love and the love my own heart.

Not only have I had to think about "mine" versus "ours", but I have had to think about how permanent it is. This ring will, for all general purposes, never leave my hand from this point forward. I've worn rings before. When I was 16, dating age in our house, my dad gave me a promise ring. I promised to protect my chastity and my purity and to pray for my future spouse. Everyday I wore that ring I was reminded of that promise. However, that promise was a promise that led to something else. It was a temporary promise, to be replaced by the ring and promise of my engagement and marriage. That day has come. This is permanent. And I am so blessed, but a bit overwhelmed by its permenancy.

I've always used Shakespeare's line, "forever and a day," as a trite and cute reference point, but in the last few weeks as my beloved and I have approached and entered this engagement, I truly understand the beauty of that statement.

25 September, 2006

I am Engaged! Now What?

So, my wonderful boyfriend proposed on Friday night just moments after asking my Dad's permission. He wanted to wait, but he just couldn't and so, sitting in the living room, on the new couch I had helped him pick out, with the kittens making mischief around us, he asked me to share his life with him.

When he handed me the ring box, I looked at him and asked him if he "was sure". He kind of looked at me puzzled...I started to open it and he got down on one knee in front of me, in our comfy clothes, and asked me if I would marry him. I only had one end of the box open and instead of finishing I threw my arms around him and said yes. It was 5 minutes before I opened the box.

Strange thing, I was engaged, but I didn't feel it. We called on the family and shared the news and sat and talked about it, but it didn't feel completely real. The first moment it felt real was actually on Saturday night when we were with his family. His sister kept referring to me as "aunt" and her daughter as my new "niece". That really struck me. Words like "wife" and "in-laws" really hit me. I can tell I am a wordsmith when it is the words that drive a concept home!

There were so many ways that Friday night could have gone and the proposal could have gone. That said, as we look at it a day or two later, neither he nor I can imagine it any other way. As always, God provided and it was more perfect than anything we could have planned ourselves.

I'm thrilled and I can't wait to be his wife! It is an amazing feeling to know that you are unquestionably with the man that God chose for you.

23 September, 2006

So You're Catholic Now...So Am I!

Okay, well first off, I should have listened to my friend Sheila much sooner. She is an award-winning journalist and has been encouraging me to write everyday...I have not. I have been too busy. But this little forum has been a nice exercise in daily thought. I appreciate all of you who read it and the few of you who respond.

So my thought for the day. I was sitting in Blessed Sacrament adoration (ask me if you are unfamiliar) yesterday afternoon listening to the spiritual mix on my IPOD when I got to thinking about some of my friends. Growing up in California I had a lot of friends who were non-denominational and some friends who were converts to Catholicism from that tradition. Often times they are very critical of the faith they left. Now, I understand this as a faith stage, but sometimes it frustrates me because they criticize some of the practices of their former faiths that I think the Catholic church (being a cradle Catholic) could stand to improve upon.

For example, praise and worship (hence why I got to thinking about it while listening to my IPOD). I understand that it is a simple devotion, sometimes lacking in liturgical substance and often not appropriate for the Mass, but I believe it still should play a role in Catholic spirituality. Why not? Give people another method of praise.

Or fellowship...come on people, donuts and coffee for 50 people following a 200 person Mass doesn't cut it...especially when we place the table stragetically next to the door so people can "grab and go". That is not fellowship. That is not community-building. Yes, I think the non-denoms can take it to the point where it overshadows the message of the service, but that doesn't mean we should lose it! Let's improve upon it.

Face it, if we truly believe that we have the fulness of the faith in the Eucharist, why is faithful incorporation of other traditions and practices scary?

The church has a tradition of blessing and making holy the practices of the cultures and societies into which they enter. We must consider that today's American society ought be treated like a foreign culture in the Church like any other. It is a culture into which the Church must enter. Let's embrace, bless, and make holy practices that can bring us closer to one another in the communion of saints as well as closer to our Heavenly Father and His kingdom in Heaven.

Gas Prices...

Okay, is anyone else irritated at the fact that they are dropping??? I know, you think me crazy...but seriously, the economy has not changed that much. Doesn't this just prove that they were jacking up prices last year even though they didn't need to??

That said, there are two good things about this:

#1 I can buy myself at least 3 more cups of coffee each month with the money I save on gas...

#2 It is going to take that much longer for prices to get back to their highs if it occurs again...well, let's be honest, when it occurs again...

Most of you are probably wondering how in heaven's name a picture of my wonderful family applies to this diatribe. Well, it is like this. My parents live in Cincinnati, my sister in Louisville, and me in Green Bay. It means either a lot of driving, a lot of flying, or a lot of loneliness. I opt out of loneliness so that just leaves a lot of gas guzzling miles between me and my family. Some might consider that a blessing, but not I...

Increased Productivity Without My Computer???

When my sweetie arrived home last night he discovered the living room completely refurnished and rearranged. We had agreed to buy a new coffee table, media shelf and end table...so I did...and I assembled them...they didn't look right in the configuration so I rearranged and now it looks awesome!!!

What he couldn't believe was that I had done it in 3 1/2 hours...how did I have that much energy and productivity?

Well, here is my theory. Ditch the computer! Most of us spend most of our day on the computer. Staring...blankly...at a bright screen...with little words...

For the last 16 months, my computer and I have been inseperable. Attached at the hip, hinge and other joints. I haven't taken a vacation without my computer. Two weeks ago, I took the plunge and left the computer home for Labor Day weekend while we were visiting my family. What a relief!!! No one could get me via e-mail!!! No one could tell me to check my account or forward me pressing issues!!! Shortly after, I decided not to take my laptop home with me at night. Gasp! I know...

What I have discovered is not only am I more productive at home following the work day, but I am actually more productive at work as well. I know that the 8 hours I am in the office is when I have access to my contacts, calendars and corporate communications...once I leave, that's it. No more. I have to get everything done for work at work. It has been a huge eye opener!!! And a huge stress reliever!

So I dare you, detach from your computer for one full weekend. Completely. It will dramatically shift your outlook.

Just like I am going to dramatically shift the nose of my kittens if they don't get out of the packing material...

Kamikazee Kittens

So, I swear my cats are trying to off themselves. But as my sweetheart says, "They're like practice kids, but if one of them accidently offs him/herself we won't get thrown in jail."

Last night it was the laundry. Gatsby would not stay out of my fresh laundry. He has a bit of a flatulance problem and that made the process all the much more interesting. He tried to climb my dresser. I later came to find Daisy in the dresser. Such was the moment for them to be shut in their room. For the next two hours, I heard them cracking their skulls and their little kitty butts against every hard surface in their room.

He is getting large and klutzy, but you wouldn't believe the amazing balance he manages on the back of a wooden rocking chair. They fight each other on the back of the chair. That is when they aren't hanging from my new window treatment...

So, as far as I am aware they have not discovered explosives, but if you happen to see a furry orange blur immediately before an explosion, you'll know he's taken it to the next level.

Only 17 more years...:)

Papal Comments Prove Their Point

Now, before y'all get up in arms, I like Pope Benedict and I like peaceful Muslims...

However, I am a little irked by the uproar over Pope Benedict's comments. He was quoting an ancient bishop...not only that but it was in the context of academic dialogue. Has he not gone out of his way to promote and engage in peaceful, ecumenical dialogue? I mean he has taken ecumenical dialogue to a higher level than even his predecessor, the beloved John Paul II.

And he has apologized for the reaction. He has no reason to apologize for the comment as it was properly contextualized and expunged upon, but he recognized the impact it had and apologized for the concern it caused. What more can we ask for?

And isn't the Muslim community just proving Benedict's point (agreed with or otherwise) by blowing the whole situation out of proportion? Dialogue...isn't that what they have been asking for all along?

Christians and Catholics get bashed all the time, but people lives aren't typically hanging in the balance.

And don't even get me started on the media's disgusting role in this situation. I am ashamed to call myself a journalist with the lack of integrity and contextual reporting this whole situation has created.

Pope Benedict has an exemplary record, as does the Catholic Church, in area of ecumenism. He is a loving, intelligent and tolerant individual. He refuses to let political, religious, or personal nonsense dictate his message. That is responsible journalism. That is responsible leadership. That is responsible existence.

Finding Out the Whole Story...

There is something to be said for finding out the whole story.

For example, this morning, I had breakfast at my sweetheart's. He is a fab ulous cook!!! Anyways, while I was downstairs using the newly redecorated bathroom, he discovered that the kitties had peed all over one of the chairs in their room. Now this is not their first offense.

I came up the stairs and got an earful...not to mention the earful I am sure the kitties got while I was downstairs. He assumed they were just being bad. What I discovered was that it was not in fact the kitties fault. I had not cleaned their litter box in a few days and it was too full for them to consider usable. They had instinctually sought out the next least permeable thing so as not to soil their safe space. So, if you think about it, they actually saved us some grief.

So, the moral of the story. Don't jump to conclusions...or maybe it is as simple as clean the litter box.

How Did You Get Your Job?

So I just got back from lunch with my sweetheart...and the topic of discussion was how people get their jobs despite complete incompetancy...and the one that disturbed me most was using their "skills" in other areas of their lives to work their way, "up the corporate ladder".

Please don't make me elaborate more...What I don't understand is how those thoughts even track through people's minds? Where do they come from? I mean, I understand the whole theory behind chemical imbalance in pyschopaths, but you CANNOT tell me that sleeping around and having affairs has to do with a chemical imbalance. Testosterone does not count even if guys have 400 times more than women...it is a little thing called respect and self-control.

If you put as much energy into your troubled marriage or rocky dating life as you do into sordid affairs, you might actually be able to sustain a lasting and meaningful relationship. And, although I do not speak from experience, if sex is what you are looking for, apparently happily married sex is the best kind. That is a topic for a whole other message.

But, as the love my life said, "It is easy to hate somebdoy. It is hard to love somebody."

Woman at the Inkwell

Hello everyone!

There are a few reasons I started this blog. Number one, I am an aspiring writer/journalist and I needed an outlet for daily journaling. Number two, I have moved around so much and have so many friends and family around the country, that I wanted somewhere that they could all keep up with me when and if they wanted to.

Why "Woman at the Inkwell"? Many of you might have caught the slight religious overtone from the story of the woman at the well. This blog will have some religious topics, overtones and values. I am "cradle Catholic" as we call them, someone who has been raised in the Catholic faith from birth. I work in Catholic ministry and try to live a Catholic life. That said, it won't be ALL religious, so the small twist of phrase seemed appropriate.

I am of the camp that writing is not just about the writer, nor is it just about the reader. It is about the dialogue and relationship between the written word and the read word. I encourage you to offer feedback and send me your thoughts.

I look forward to continuing this venture! As I told my mother the other day, "I need to be a part of the global community." Just like you, she laughed and told me to "go for it" (insert motherly smirk and condescension here...).