Friday, November 25, 2011

a heart full of thanks

As Thanksgiving Day comes to a close, I'd like to share some of the things that I'm grateful for this year.

  • My Heavenly Father, Who has blessed me in so many wonderful ways during this past year.
  • My wonderful family: my parents who give me so much love and support, my brother and sister, brother-in-law and sister-in-law who are always there for me, my loving and energetic nieces and nephews, and my aunt who does so much for me.
  • My godson, who is technically included in the nephew category.... he brings me so much joy and I'm so happy I am a part of his life.
  • My friends: Hannah and Robyn, Ev, Stasia, Leslie and Leslie and Abby, and Hannah *.  I've known some of you since I was 5, and others for 3 months, but you all mean so much to me and I'm so glad that I know all of you.
  • My teachers at college.  I am so lucky to have such amazing instructors, and their wisdom blows my mind every single class.  
  • Everyone at Franciscan who makes it what it is.  It is a dream come true to attend school there and I'm grateful for all the work that is put into running it.
  • The little things in life that bring me happiness: books, music, laughter, scrapbooking, photography, and cooking.
  • And finally, for all of you who read my blog.  You make blogging worthwhile.... thank you for your comments and support!

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?


*Just so you don't think that's a typo, I really do have two friends named Leslie and two friends named Hannah :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Answered Question #1

Last week, when I asked if anyone had questions for me, Jake asked, “What are the hopes and fears for the future of a young lady like you in her first year of college?”  Here  is my answer:
Hope and fear are certainly two of the things most prevalent in the mind of a new college student.  Will I meet 10 new best friends?  Will I pass all of my classes?  Will I get a 100 on my first test?  How will my roommate and I get along?  Will it be better than high school?  There are hopes of friendships and health, and the opportunity of being on your own for the first time.  Here at Franciscan, it’s Which household will I join?  (Ok, and in the mind of young women: Will I meet my future spouse here?  Or discover a vocation to the religious life?)
I can only speak from my own experience, so that’s what I’ll do.  During this first semester, I had two main hopes: To grow in my faith and to do well in my classes.  As for fears, well, there’s the typical question of making friends.  That was probably one of my greatest fears.  Right along with sharing a room for the first time.  Thankfully, both of those fears were unfounded: I have found wonderful friends who I know I will be friends with for the rest of my life, and sharing a room has proven to be a great experience.  In fact, now I’m lonely when I go home and have a room to myself!
Jake’s question was about the FUTURE of someone like myself.  So, my hopes for the future, starting at the near future, are as follows:
I Hope: join a household that will bring me closer to Jesus, Mary, and the Saints take every realistic opportunity to travel, both in the US and abroad “make new friends and keep the old” attend talks and cultural events that will expose me to concepts and ideas I’m not familiar with gain practical life experience while in college graduate from college with a practical degree, that will help me find a job that I enjoy and that will help me help others find my vocation, be it marriage, religious, consecrated, or single life
Fears, on the other hand, are more difficult to describe.  Honestly, do people really talk about their fears all that much?  I do think it’s important, though, to talk about fears in order to overcome them.  Two friends and I wrote down a couple of our fears
We Fear:
...not being able to make friends
...not keeping up with my prayer life
...not being responsible for myself anyone going to actually hire me?
...that I won’t be ready to face the world after college
...being lonely
Then, of course, there is the fear that Otis, the dorm’s trusty yet rickety elevator, will give out halfway down, and I’ll be stuck.
(And, as my dear friend said, “Where is Prince Charming?!?!?  Why isn’t he here yet?!?!?”  But as funny as this may seem, it’s totally true.  I think most girls go into college expecting to find their spouse and are disappointed when he doesn’t reveal himself during their freshman year.  But this is a topic for another time…)
I truly think that it’s crucial to face our fears and do our best to fulfill our hopes.  By doing this, we can live out our potential and become the Children of God that we are called to be.
Jake, I hope that answers your question!  (If not, or if anyone else has a follow-up question, please let me know!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For Our Faith, For Christ the King

Happy Feast of Christ the King, everyone!

The next couple days will be crunch time for me as I work to finish 2 projects and study for a test and a quiz before Thanksgiving break.  I will post as soon as I'm on break!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Happy Moment

Hello Everyone!

Last night, I did something that some would consider wild and crazy, and others would consider normal.  And about an hour ago, I received the results of my wild and crazy action.

Oh.  You want to know what I did?  First you need some background.

In Media, we're reading The Church and New Media by Brandon Vogt as supplemental material.  The book includes 11 chapters written by well-known and emerging Catholic bloggers, tweeters, and others involved in "new media".  Chapter 4 is by Mark Shea, a convert and Catholic author.  I was reading through his chapter, which is all about starting a blog and how to attract readers, and I came across this: "The very nature of the Internet is interactivity.  When planing my blog, I decided from the get-go to both exploit the connections I had and to make now ones with brashness.  So I emailed writers and bloggers I either knew or whose work I liked and said, 'Hey!  I've started a blog!  Could you tell your readers?'  There's no need to be shy about that.  The worst that can happen is that the blogger or writer will ignore you.  The best (and much more common thing) that can happen is that the blogger you contact will stick a link up (as is my custom) announcing 'New Blog!' [...] I have a number of readers  who send me links to stuff they've written and who link stuff I write [...]"

By now, you probably have an idea of what I did.  Yup, I emailed Mr. Shea and asked him if he could advertise my blog on his blog.  And just now, I received this email back from him: "Hi Allison!  Good work.  You give me hope!  I will plug your blog on Tuesday, 11/22!  Mark".

THANK YOU MR. SHEA!!!!  *pardon me.  I got excited*

Anyhow, I'm in the process of writing two new posts.... one serious and one a bit more, well, amusing.  :)  Keep an eye out!

And please go look at Mark Shea's blog!!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Holding Jesus

Last Friday, I had the privilege of distributing Jesus' Precious Body for the first time.  Because the priests always distribute Jesus' Body, the EMs most often distribute the Precious Blood.  (Lest you think I'm complaining, I most certainly not.)

Yes, I have held Jesus in my hands when I receive Communion in my hands, but because I most often receive on the tongue, I don't have the chance to hold Jesus that often.  (I prefer receiving on the tongue because there is less of a chance on dropping a particle.  Just a personal preference.)

But on Friday, there was only one priest, so I was assigned to distribute the Precious Body.


It is truly a different experience from distributing the Precious Blood.  When you have the opportunity to hold Jesus in your hands, not in a chalice or ciborium but physically in your hands, it is a whole new experience of adoration.  I never fully understood what someone meant when he said he used EMing as adoration, but now I do.

I was also assigned to purify the vessels after mass, which I had done about 4 times before.  The guy I was purifying with made a comment about what he thought about when distributing the Precious Blood.  He said that he always thinks of himself as Veronica, wiping the blood from Jesus' face, because that's essentially what we're doing.  Now I have something concrete to meditate on when I distribute under either species.

If you EM, what do you think about as you bring Jesus to the Church?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mind Expansion

This has certainly been the weekend of new and fascinating information!  Beginning Thursday and going through tonight, I have been to more readings, talks, and informational sessions than I have in 3 weeks.  There were some purely fun things, too. :D  So, I present my weekend:

Thursday I attended a Poetry reading that was extra credit for my Poetry class.  The poems that were read were quite interesting..... they "broadened our horizons", and not in an expected way.  They're the kinds of works that you need to re-read a couple times before you can even start to understand.  Nevertheless, I'm glad I went, if only for the experience.

Friday I had another opportunity for Poetry extra credit.  In all honesty, I have to admit that I wasn't all that excited to go to another reading the second night in a row.  This time, the speaker was Mark Adderley, a professor at Wyoming Catholic who writes Arthurian fiction.  He read 2 chapters from his newest book, The Hawk and the Huntress, and it was extremely interesting!  So interesting, in fact, that had I had money with me, I would have bought the entire trilogy!  He's an expert on all aspects of the Arthurian legend and loves English history..... part of that probably comes from the fact that he was born, raised, and went to college in England.  Anywho, it was definitely worth my time.

After the reading, I came back to the dorm just in time to begin a game of Apples to Apples with my friends.  Apparently I'm very good at persuading people that my card is the best, because in the first 7 rounds I accumulated 5 cards.  Somehow I got outwitted, and ended up losing by one.  It was still quite hilarious as we tried to convince each other that the ocean was "ingenious" and that some actor we hadn't heard of was "great".  When we finished the game, we read through all the cards and laughed at the funny comments on the bottom.  AND THEN we went and watched a movie in one of the common rooms.  Fun night!

Saturday morning I got up and went to a Myers-Briggs Personality workshop.  I had taken the test on Friday morning, so we went through the different letters to figure out what we were and then were given our results from the test.  Turns out that I share a personality with only 1.5% of the population!  It was interesting to not only learn about my own personality, but also recognize characteristics of my family members.  I was hit over the head with things about my sister and dad specifically, but could definitely see things about my mom and brother as well.

That evening my friends and I went to see the student performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The costumes were from the 80s and the music was courtesy of the Beatles.  One of my friends had made some costumes and another friend played music, so it was neat to see the work they had put into it.  The production itself was very funny; we were all so glad we went!!

As if that wasn't enough for Saturday, it was also Midnight Madness night.  I was expecting a scrimmage of some sort, but after a mini-concert from Righteous B, a game of knockout, half-court shooting contest, performance from the Baronettes (our "dance team), the men's and women's teams came out, did a shooting contest, three guys did a dunking contest, and that was that.  Somewhat disappointing, but oh well.  It was still fun.

This morning I was able to EM at mass, which is always a neat experience.  There was a talk entitled "Redefining Vocations" that I attended this afternoon.  Woah-oh.  It was really good!  Sister gave a really good intro talk and then there were three testimonials.  I'm really glad I got to go to that.  I returned to the dorm and did some studying, then left again to have a hall council meeting with our brother dorm in preparation for the brother-sister Ugly Christmas Sweater party. :D  It's going to be a really fun event!

Dinner was a delicious wrap not from the caf (hehe) and the evening was in the student center for a really, really, really interesting talk by Adam Blai, who is an expert on exorcism.  He is one of a very few lay persons who have a certain title on exorcism.  He gave a 1 1/2 hour long talk about obsession, oppression, and possession, and the way the Church goes about handling all of those circumstances.

So, that's what happened this weekend.  Think I did enough?!?!
Oh, and I should mention that on Tuesday, a friend and I made cookies.... it was the first time that I had done any real cooking/baking since August, and it was really fun.  Especially since we had to have a scavenger hunt for bowls, and pans, and measuring cups, and pretty much all other baking items. :P

I'm currently working on a more serious post..... it should be up in a day or two. :)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Date a Girl who Reads

Thanks to Elizabeth for posting this on her blog!  As she says, it's quite beautiful, and most likely completely true. :D

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent.  Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
- Rosemary Urquico

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On the Road Again

My apologies for not posting recently!  Life has been very busy!!

As I mentioned two posts ago, I went home again last weekend.  This trip was..... yeah.  There was much discussion surrounding this trip.  Some members of the family (who shall remain nameless ;) ) were concerned about said bus and its safety.  Basically, it was a great trip home (the bus ride was fine!), the event that I returned for was successful, and the return trip was nice as well.  The only bothersome thing on the bus was the rather loud rap that a lady 3 rows in front of us was playing..... we could hear every word, even though the earbuds were in her ears!  Anywho, I'd recommend the Megabus for return trips home :)
In Media class this week, we've been talking about still photography and some of the influential pictures throughout history.  We took a look at some Pulitzer Prize winners and other photos that capture a moment that video couldn't.  It definitely made me want to improve my photography skills.  (Did I tell you all about the amazing deal I got on that photography book?  It was a $48 book and I got it for $3!!)
Lately, I've been really into writing poetry.  Perhaps this was spurred on by the fact that I'm in a poetry class in which we write no poetry, and my creative genius was begging to be let out.  We've also been reading quite a bit of free verse in my poetry class, so I got to thinking, Gosh, I can write free verse!  Soooo.... I have forced myself to get away from the structured-ness that I always hold myself to.  It's nice to productively write, for a change!
Because I will be receiving a grade for this blog, and because I'd like a good grade, I'm going to be expanding my "repertoire".  Instead of blogging only on daily activities and college life, I'd like to start including some more serious discussion topics (thanks to Evelyn for helping me on that wording!).

So, dear readers, I leave you with these two questions:

~Do you have a favorite photograph?  If so, I'd love to see it!  Comment below with a link to the picture.
~What are some topics that you'd be interested in me covering?  These can range from fun to serious... I'm up for anything!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Flaming Leaves

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, - 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

~Ode to Autumn by John Keats