Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tell the World I'm (Coming) Home

Yes, it's true.... first semester is over, done, finis, and I am home once again!  Except this time, I'm home for a whole month!

Does life get better?  I submit that it cannot!
(And if you don't get that reference, come talk to me.  I will quickly solve that problem)

Sooo....what's been happening these past couple weeks?  Lots o' stuff.
Last week, I had five exams in six days, which meant very little sleep and lots of hilarious conversations with Evelyn :)  (In case you're dying to know, I did get my scores back, and I am happy :D )

After we were all done with our exams, we piled into a van.  What an amusing car trip!  Picture this: a driver and 6 students, an 8-seater van, 5 suitcases, 3 oversized duffel bags, 6 backpacks, and approximately  10 smaller bags.  I kid you not, we literally could not move.  And when we stopped for a stretch break, we pretty much had to unpack 5 bags before anyone could move.  :P

Oh- saddest moment of my week.... I had bought a CD to listen to after finals, so I finished my last final went back to my room and ripped open the plastic, put it into my disc drive........ and it wouldn't load.  Turns out the CD won't play on macs, but it will on PCs.  Seriously, Apple?  That's just lame.

I can't believe that Christmas is only 5 days away.  Woah.  Where did the year go?  Christmas is going to be so awesome..... Christmas Eve, we'll go to mass then to my sister's house for hors d'oeuvres.  Christmas morning, My parents, aunt and I will open presents, then get ready for all my siblings and nieces and nephews to arrive in the afternoon.  I love spending time with my entire family... we play games after dinner, and that's always tons of fun.

This has been a post full of italics..... wasn't it Anne Shirley who made some comment on italics?  Or was that Rose Brier?  It's so bad when you get book quotes mixed up.....

"And I shall memorize every line in this book and paint it in calligraphy on my living room walls.” 

That is very tempting, honestly.  How interesting would that be, to have a living room with calligraphied walls?  Better yet, to have a library with calligraphied walls!  (Before you go look it up, no- calligraphied isn't a word.  I made it up.)

Last, but not least, I will be changing my background and design once again, so don't be confused when you see my blog next time!!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's International...

So, this is gonna be super duper quick, but I saw that I now have readers in 10 countries!!  I knew about Canada, the UK, and Australia, but some of you are from Russia, Croatia, France (Bonjour!) New Zealand, and South Africa!  Welcome to you all!  *sigh* The wonders of media!

I'm 2 exams down and 3 to go..... soon I'll be home!  I can't wait!
I leave you with the song I've played the most..... 30 more times than the next song, in fact!  It's Defying Gravity from Wicked, sung by Idina Menzel.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Answered Question #2

This will most likely be my last post of any length until after exams.... so here you go!

I wanted to answer Super Frugalette's question: "I want to know more about how you feel as a college student.  Is it living up to your expectations?  Do you feel anything is lacking in your experience?"

Hmmm..... well, all in all, I am thoroughly enjoying college.  I am learning sooo much, both in classes and by talking to other people, I am meeting lots of new friends, and, most importantly, I'm growing in my faith!  

I should probably expand on those areas.  Firstly, learning.  Even though I'm not necessarily taking classes that I love, they have been good for me in the long run, and I've ended up liking aspects of them all.  For instance, my poetry class has really helped me appreciate Christian poetry more.  This past semester, my favorite class, by far, was Foundations of Catholicism.  It was a "required" class, but I loved it.  We learned a lot about doctrines of the faith, historical aspects of the Councils, and current-day issues.  Under the same "learning" category- even though I attend a Catholic University, there are people who are either not Catholic or who come from a different background than I.  I enjoy talking to them and learning their points of view.  In a totally less significant area, it's been interesting to learn more about different ways that people grew up.  There have been countless discussions about Christmas traditions, favorite family foods, and summer vacations, among other things.

Secondly, I've met so many wonderful friends.  You know, it's funny.... in high school, it took me a while to make strong friendships.  Since August 26th, I've formed 1 extremely strong friendship, 3 or so really good friendships, and about 15 good friendships.  It's so much faster and easier to get to know someone when you're living within walking distance of them!!  I love it.  

Finally, and definitely most importantly, my faith has become so much more prevalent in my life.  For goodness sakes, how could I NOT grow in my faith when there are 3 masses a day, perpetual Eucharistic adoration 6 minutes (walking) away, Jesus is one floor away, the main chapel is always open.... there are rosaries, worship nights, and night prayer meetings in "the bell tower".  Oh yeah, and there's confession 4 days a week and spiritual direction in my dorm 16.5 hours a week.  Seriously, I'm going to miss my early morning and late night journeys down to the chapel while I'm on Christmas break.  (Before I leave the dorm in the morning, I stop in to say "good morning" to Jesus, then I try to say night prayer each night, as well).

As far as anything that's been lacking.... I guess the only thing is that I still feel like I'm in a "bubble".  In high school I was in a very small bubble, so the bubble's gotten bigger.  But let's face it- we live on "the hill".  Everyone here acknowledges that we're in a Catholic bubble.   I can't think of anything else significant!  I wish there were more hours in the day, but doesn't everyone?!?

Hope that answers your question, super frugalette!!

To all my Christian followers- Happy Advent!  I hope you're having a wonderful season of preparation for Christmas!  I will be changing my blog theme to reflect the advent season, so hopefully I'll get that up soon!

As I mentioned at the beginning, I'm going into finals, so I'd appreciate prayers, but I also won't be posting anything significant for a week.  'Til next Wednesday!!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

NOT that "old time religion"....

I love technology.

I suppose that as a young adult in the 21st century, most people would consider that a given.  But for me, it's not so much the technology itself, but what we can do with it.

Because I love my faith more than technology.

Do you realize how important technology is for the Church today?  As more and more young people buy iPhones, iPads, Kindles, mP3 players, and use google every single day, the Church needs to be there.  Some people have realized this, and are using modern methods to spread the faith and make it more accessible to the world.

Matthew Warner, founder of flockNote, developed a website where parishes can centralize registration, bulletins, notices, etc.  Opus Dei has iPhone/iTouch apps for an examination of conscience and daily prayers.  There is a Catholic calendar app, a Bible app, a prayer reminder app, and a guide to confession app.  I know of several priests who record their homilies and upload them as podcasts.  Bloggers such as Jennifer FulwilerFr. LongeneckerBrandon Vogt, and Mark Shea are engaging Catholics and non-Catholics alike in discussions concerning matters of faith.

Of course, there has to be something that I don't think is going quite right.  The Church Herself, while starting her journey towards technology, is very behind.  Who do I mean when I refer to "the Church"?  Mainly parishes and dioceses.While many have updated their websites, I think most are stuck in the last decade, and I'm not talking 2 years ago.  Many parishes make it hard to find mass and confession times, information about their church groups, or anything else!  This is super important in a world where people don't make phone calls as much ........  Searches on diocese sites don't produce the right results, and, sorry to say, the Vatican website is a bear to navigate!  (My professor recently assigned us a paper based on Vatican documents.  Instead of directing us to the website, she told us to search for document names in google.)  Have these sites gotten better?  Absolutely.  But do they still need help?  Most definitely.

As the world progresses in technology, it's important for us to accept these changes or risk being left behind.  But can't we help the Church advance?  It doesn't just take one person to revolutionize Catholic interactions online, it takes many.  Make Catholic sites visually appealing and easy to navigate.  Promote religious videos, podcasts, and apps.  Help people gain easier access to Catholic teachings, documents, mass times, and talks.

And now you know why I'm majoring in communications and theology!

What are your favorite Catholic blogs, apps, and websites?  What should the Church do to reach more people via media and technology?