April 27, 2013

Not Sure if Luck or a Higher Power

I've had a rather week this week.  There has been SO MUCH going on that I haven't even had time to settle down and write a blog.  It started last week when my supervisor wasn't keen on the final project I had for my students.  She wanted something more "fun" for them.  I rather agreed with her, mostly because Greek mythology was what sparked my interest in theology to begin with, so I decided to create a shiny new project with just three days to go before Monday when it all needed to happen.

My weekend disappeared in a flash.

It literally took from Saturday morning to Sunday night with brief intermissions for my niece's birthday, mass, and walking to finish the lesson plans, graphic organizers, rubric, mythology packets, and sample projects for the class.  But it was totally worth it!  The kids seemed to really get into the project and I think I may only be missing a handful of projects from students here and there.  Not too bad, really!

Consequently, I was left feeling like the whole rest of my week was off in some way.  I had some other obligations this week which resulted in me leaving to get to class an hour before it started when it takes an hour and a half to get there.  I mentioned to my sister that the only way I was going to make it was if I hit every green light on the way up...and somehow I did.  Which never happens.  I don't mean rarely happens, I mean in all the year and a half I have been driving at various times of the day to get to this chool, I have never ever ever hit every green light all the way up to it.

The following day got even better.  My folks left for the weekend and said they were going to be taking one of the cars with them.  Not even giving this a second thought, I left all of the things I needed for class in one of the vehicles.  When I finally made it to the point that I was ready to leave in the morning, I looked outside to see the wrong car in the driveway.  Why is it that despite evidence to the contrary, we sometimes think that our own force of will might change a horrible situation into a better one?  I intentionally grabbed the wrong set of keys hoping that somehow trying to open the doors with them would prove in some way that they had not taken the car I needed with all my stuff in it.  Alas, this was not the case.  The keys did seemingly nothing and I had to accept the fact that EVERYTHING I needed for class was gone for at least two days.  Resigning myself to beg the other team of teachers at my school for their copy of the day's lesson materials, I quickly grabbed the right keys, locked up the house, and ran out the door...only to find the car I needed with everything still in the driveway on the other side of the house to my confusion, irritation, and intense relief.  I turned to get the right keys and go back into the house only to realize that I had only grabbed the keys to the other car, not the house keys, and was completely entirely locked out of the house (possibly for two days or so) with no way of getting into the car to rescue my materials.  In a moment I can only attribute to willful denial, I decided to try to open the car door anyway and somehow, somehow it was open!  My sister managed to let me into my house a little later and all was right with the world, but I have to say, all these coincidences the last two days which have somehow worked out in my favor, I'm not really sure they're coincidences at all.

Despite my busy schedule, I have kept up with my walking and praying with God.  I have successfully done 10k every day for the first two weeks of this adventure and we are coming around into the home stretch of week 3.  Sunday we will be halfway done with this challenge.  My step count has even gone up a little.  This week, I've started to break 10k with a new record of over 13,000 steps.  My new goal is to try for 15K over the next couple of weeks if time allows for it which has become my new adversary actually-time.  I no longer feel the same fatigue and exhaustion as I had been feeling in the first couple of weeks.  Quite the opposite in fact.  I now have to walk because I am more energized when I do, I'm also more relaxed now that I have created this walking routine in my life.  I didn't get stressed out over the weekend when I was spending the whole time working on projects for class and I didn't even freak out all that much when all of those frustrating situations were coming up.  I was able to set aside that frustration and anxiety and key into my rationality to work through the situation better.  That being said, I fully endorse walking 10K a day.  It's good for you!

April 26, 2013

Awkward Yoga

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if a little person moved into your stomach and started re-arraigning all the furniture?  And then about every week or so, they decide their apartment's not big enough and start stretching the walls out?  That's pretty much exactly what being pregnant is like. 

Today I am exactly seven months pregnant and this is what I've learned so far: just when I think Bishop has found every awkward position he could possibly be in, he finds a new even more awkward and uncomfortable position.  I think I've figured out his motives.  Whenever he makes me feel uncomfortable, I feel the need to rub my stomach so that he calms down and stops practicing his awkward yoga routine.  Then it hit me: he's exactly like his father.  He's just trying to manipulate me into rubbing his head.  It's just like when John sets his head on my chest as a subtle way of telling me it needs a massage.  Bishop is just trying to push his head through my stomach so that I'll reach down and start rubbing it.  Boys. 

I guess it could be that he's just so anxious to meet us that he's trying to get out.  That makes me feel a little more loved and little less used.  Either way, I can't wait to meet the little guy.  And it's only partially because I'll be able to sit and lay down in whatever position I want. 

April 23, 2013

The Bloggess

So... I was supposed to blog about this a while ago.  Probably the week it actually happened.  It has now been exactly 3 weeks since we went to see the Bloggess.  I guess I've been in a post-lent stubborn laziness.  Better late than never?  I guess. 

Anyway, I met the Bloggess!

See?  Proof.  That is Teresa and me standing right next to her.  John was there too.  He took the picture.  She also signed my book.  I'd post a picture but... then I'd have to go take one and that might delay the writing of this post for another 3 weeks.  Nobody wants that. 

So, we got to meet her before the reading and official book signing.  Why?  I blame the bookstore but luckily everything worked out nicely.  Apparently there were tickets I was supposed to purchase for the event in order to enter the store and be seated.  I did not know this because there was no mention of purchasing tickets on the bookstore website which I checked the second the tours dates were announced and then I checked again about a month before the event.  Of course they had added it sometime between then and the event because we checked as we were standing in line in the hopes that we could still get tickets. 

But they were sold out.  The Bloggess being the awesome person that she is felt bad that there were people who showed up that couldn't get in for the reading so she came out to meet us and sign our books before the event started.  Then we stood around talking about what we might do since we drove an hour and a half and weren't about to just turn around and go home right away.  About 2/3 of the people standing in line left right away.  Then after a few minutes the store manager said we could come in and stand in the back as long as we weren't blocking anyone's view.  So Teresa and I came in and were able to see and hear the reading and the Q and A.  Plus we didn't have to pay for tickets.  It was pretty awesome.  We also didn't have to wait in line for the book signing since we already met her beforehand. 

Also I have to say she's a lot funnier in person which is saying something because she's really funny on paper.  

All in all, it was a successful adventure.  Here's a bunch of other pictures I took in the bookstore. 

Poster of the book cover

Taxidermied animals

My view from the back

Attempted close-up

April 18, 2013


Since I became Catholic, I started doing a lot of self-reflection.  Recently, I've been contemplating the reasons for my sins.  This isn't just because I'm supposed to be going to confession regularly, although it does help.  I think being consciously aware of the things I'm doing wrong will help me in the long run.  Kind of like when I started taking Tai Chi to help with my anxiety and depression.  I eventually learned how to sense when I was heading into a panic attack or a low period and what I could do to alter these instances, alleviating some of the worst of these disorders.  I.E. if I can figure out the symptoms and the indicators for my behaviors/thoughts/etc., I will be better able to circumvent them in the future.

Something I keep coming back to is a sensation of emptiness or longing.  These sensations were beginning again today and their familiarity caught my attention.  Perhaps these are indicators that I'm not spending enough time with God.  Today, I took my walk with my Dad which didn't really afford me much time in prayer with God.  I've taken walks with other people during this 10K, but I've never really encountered this detachment before.  Of course this is the first day in a while that I haven't spent a great deal of time in prayer either.  I had also caught myself trying to think of things I could do to ignore or offset this emptiness and I think this is when I finally made the connection that I've been using distractions to interrupt my time with God.  Separation from prayer leads to an accumulated sense of emptiness or longing, which leads to a need to do other things to distract from this feeling, which eventually leads towards sinfulness as it manifests either in frustration from lacking fulfillment in some sense or in other ways.

This really isn't anything novel or new.  Essentially, I'm just restating how intentionally or unintentionally neglecting time I usually set aside to spend with God makes me feel empty and causes me to stray.  It's the same things people have been saying for a while, but until I really noticed it in myself, I hadn't really understood it.  Whether or not I spend time in prayer while I'm walking, I still get to count the steps towards the challenge for this school, but ultimately I feel like I took a step backwards today (no pun intended...even if I get to count those too).  I shall have to try again tomorrow and in the meantime set aside some time tonight for some praying.

April 15, 2013

Rainbow Umbrella

I tried to go walk three times today.  Each time, it was raining.  The first trip, I got to try with my nephew until it rained too much for him.  The second one included a brief bought of hail which was all kinds of fun and exciting.  The last time I tried, I was smart enough to grab an umbrella.  That did the trick.  I managed to make my 10K today, rain and hail and all.  On my way back to the house, I noticed that the umbrella I happened to grab was my mom's rainbow umbrella.  It made me start to think about the story of Noah and the arc and how God set a rainbow up in the sky as a sign of a covenant between God and humanity.  This actually helped me for some reason.  I got about halfway to my goal today and wanted to quit again; cold, rain, and exhaustion does not make for a pleasant experience.  Yet when I saw the umbrella, it just made everything better.  Sometimes we just need physical reminders of things we should be remembering and thinking about.

Today, I couldn't focus on the rosary.  I kept thinking of some hymns as I walked though and eventually started to sing them until the cold sucked the joy out of me.  I should get a hymnal to learn more songs one of these days so I can sing praises along with praying.

UPDATE:  The end of the week means we total our step count.  As of Sunday, I am officially over 75,000 steps!  I'm doing better than I thought I would have at the onset.  Woo!

April 14, 2013

I Got the Call

I was really looking forward to going out and walking at our farm.  I anticipated having an easy time of walking and getting 10K by going out there.  Instead, it took me twice as long to get 10K.  Fancy that!  It seems like the pedometer I have picks up steps done in town better than in steps done in grass or mud.  I don't really understand that one, it's strange.  Despite the annoyance of trying to get 10K with the pedometer not really picking up steps, I did enjoy being able to go out and walk the property again.  It's been so long since I've done that.  I definitely remember it being so much harder to walk the length of our farm before, when I was a child.  It was hardly difficult at all now.  Such is life and growing up.

I discovered when I went out today that I felt called to prayer.  This is the first time I've ever really felt a calling to prayer.  It was as if I needed to be praying while I walked, the words just coming forth.  To be honest, I've never really prayed much in the past, so I'm rather in uncharted territory.  So feeling the need to pray, not just intending to or wanting to, was another new experience for me.  I'm not really sure what it means, whether I'm developing a habit or whether it's something more.  I really feel like I should talk to someone who has had more devotion to prayer than I have.  Maybe my sponser from RCIA.

Tomorrow marks my second week of walking 10K with God.  If I didn't quit in my first week, I hope this bodes well for the next five.

April 12, 2013

The Problem of the "City"

Since I discovered that it seems like it's easier to walk around town and pray (I still can't explain why other than the distractions of town seem to help with keeping my mind focused on one thing), I've been doing that.  After my walk yesterday, though, I just didn't feel like posting anything.  I had a very strange incident that made me wonder how often similar things happen around town, as we have moderate population of special needs and vagrant people who walk around town quite often.  To elaborate:  I had someone scream incoherently at me and then toss a pop can at me from the side of the road.  Since I was praying, I really wasn't expecting that and I sort of froze.  Luckily, that was exactly what I needed to do to have the can miss me.  I have no idea if anyone can get hurt from a pop can being thrown out of a car window at low speeds, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out.

This incident just made me really sad for those people.  I have no idea who they are.  There was absolutely no way they could have known who I was; I was walking around town in a hoodie I never wear with the hood up and they did this while my back was turned to them besides.  This seems to suggest that they do this indiscriminately...unless they actually did somehow know who I was.  Either way, it was a blaring reminder that people can just be so hateful no matter where you are.  I'm seriously more worried for the other people they may do this to, however.  I suppose I should have recorded their license plate number and called the police, but I also didn't want to make a scene if I wasn't hurt.  I don't know.  Maybe today I'll go back to the parks.  At least there I don't have to worry about being attacked from a car again.

April 10, 2013

Breaking 10K

I actually broke 10K today, but I had to get help.  For some reason, snagging a group of people to walk with made it easier to forget how long I had been walking.  Oddly enough, we still talked about church and God for most of the walk.  Well, perhaps not all that odd, except I didn't tell them what I was doing exactly.  Somehow the topic just got brought up and that lasted for a good portion of the trip.  I only made it through 2 rosaries today while I walked, but that's ok too.  I remembered all of the mysteries we were supposed to meditate on today which was part of why I was saying five the last two days.  I kept forgetting to announce the mysteries and so I just counted each rosary as one mystery instead of each decade.  Is that even a valid form of praying the rosary?

So far, my total is in the 11,000's.  I also somehow managed to get 3k in today at school.  Woo!  Another first!  I honestly wasn't sure that I was going to get in very much today.  It's been on the brink of storming all day and has been at least overcast, if not torrential downpour (like this morning).  I was pretty sure that I was either going to have to go walk around Wal-Mart or finally break down and find a place I could get a subscription to the gym at.  For some reason, after coming home and getting some food, the cold outside didn't seem so very cold after all and it wasn't raining so I decided to go for it.

Interesting lesson of the day:  going into a park to pray and walk is highly distracting.  Walking around town and praying (where there is so much more going on and so many more  people) less distracting!  How does that even happen?  Perhaps we're trained to block out so much more when we're in town than when we're trying to relax in woodsy areas, I don't know.  All I know is that it was easier to pray the rosary without an actual rosary and walking around town than it has been when I'm trying to pray in the woods, walking around, and coming across others along the way.


I didn't post yesterday.  For some reason, I was so exhausted from the combination of the events of the day and lack of sleep.  We had a field trip yesterday and I also did my 10K.  By the time I got home, I pretty much ate dinner and then fell asleep.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I typically stay up at all hours of the night.  Passing out close to 7pm is a new experience for me.  My body must have been pretty shocked too, because I kept waking up at odd hours of the night convinced I needed to get to work.

On a side note, I've been consistently averaging 5 rosaries during my walk.  This usually gets me around 7,000 of my 10K and takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.  Over the course the day at school, I average around 1,500-2000K so that leaves me about 1000 to make up when I come home from school.  I can't help but think that if I got up earlier, I could get a lot of walking in, instead of doing it at the end of the day.  But then again, if I was that tired last night after I came home, I shudder to think what the last class of the day would be like.

One problem I have been coming across is that I'm just not sure about my prayer techniques.  I didn't pray very often until recently.  Pretty much it was only when people asked me to pray for them.  I wonder if there are any good books out there on prayer.

EDIT:  Oh yeah, I made my 10K yesterday too.  Two for two!

April 8, 2013

10K a Day Feels Impossible

I am clearly not as active as I should be.  This is what I learned today.  After calibrating my pedometer about midway through the day, I determined that I maybe walk about 2k steps while I'm at school.  This is based off the fact that I walked about 1000 steps since lunch to the end of the day.  I went home and collected some prayers that I could meditate on and pray while walking, then I went to this nifty park behind the schools to walk and pray.

Lesson of the day #2:  while it's possible to read prayers and walk, it is not very effective.  I think I need to pick some prayers that I know or memorize a few and say these whenever I do this because reading and walking isn't going to do it for me.  I did manage to memorize some prayers while walking, through.  I was saying a variation of the rosary today, but it wasn't one that I was familiar with, so I'm not sure how well I was meditating on it as much as I was trying to get it right and walk.  Fun times!

Lesson #3:  it's really hard to memorize prayer, pray, walk, and do all this while others are walking/running by.  Being outside and with so much distraction I'm sure I lost my focus a number of times.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Lesson #4:  sometimes when you're ready to give up on something, you can find inspiration randomly.  About the fifth walk around the park, I was thinking "maybe I won't be able to do this" and then there was a random snake.  For some reason, it just made the association to scripture for me and I found the inspiration to finish my first 10K.

I'm not sure how I'm going to manage this tomorrow, actually.  It's supposed to be raining and I don't really have a gym I'm a member of.  I wouldn't mind walking out in the rain, but I really can't afford to be sick.  I'm still determined not to give up in the first week.  That would be depressing.  I may just settle for working out on some of our equipment at home.

Woo!  I finished my first 10K with God!

April 7, 2013

Prayer in Motion

Monday, we're beginning a "10K a Day" challenge for six weeks at the school I'm doing my student teaching in.  This is meant to promote health awareness at school.  I'm assuming the intent is for students to see teachers being conscientious of their health and therefore act as a model for healthy lifestyle choices for their students?  I'm not sure exactly, that's just my assumption.  They gave me some literature on it, but I admit, I pretty much read it and forgot it.

I've known for a few weeks that I was going to participate in this activity, but I also decided to mix some eastern philosophy into this project.  Having studied Tai Chi a few years ago with some really great people, I've started missing the act of meditation in motion.  Since I've begun to pray more towards the end of Lent, the idea began to develop that I might do "prayer in motion" instead of meditation in motion.  My idea is thus:  I want to do 10K a day with God; walking with God if you will-although I don't intend to limit myself to just walking, I may do some meditation on scripture while I practice Tai Chi.

As such, I decided to continue blogging daily while I do this 10K a Day.  I want to keep myself honest and for some reason I seem to do that better when I record publically than when I don't.  I can't say for sure that I will blog every day, but I intend to try.  We'll see where this goes.

April 4, 2013

Angels and Hoods

I've been watching The Bible again.  The voice over is still kind of irritating, but I'm interested to see how they finish the series out.  I think I vaguely remember at one point hearing about why angels are always depicted wearing hoods, but I can't remember the reason.  This actually made me realize that I know very little about angels at all.

For a while, I think, I struggled with the idea of angels because of a book I had read when I was younger which struck me as being completely off the wall and outside of Christian beliefs.  For some reason, it always made me leery in the future about learning anymore about them.  I dont' really know how much good literature is out there about angels, but if there are some good books, I'd love to read them.  In the meantime, I'm left wondering about what the deal is with these hoods.  All the angels in The Bible are depicted with them, and I think it was mentioned in Dogma, and I know I've seen this in other movies and paintings, but I guess it's just something that never really sank it.  I think it's kind of a neat characteristic of them, though.  Another thing I've always wondered about is the "choir of angels".  I think I really need to get a journal to write down all these questions I have and start recording some answers.

April 2, 2013


I needed to take a couple of days to decompress and reorganize my thoughts following Lent.  I had thought for a while that I might journal for msyelf, but I can't find any of the empty journals I usually keep on hand and I hate using notebooks for that purpose.  So, instead I decided I might try to post more on a regular basis.  I may even beat Angela into posting more until she has her baby.  I have lost my leverage over her, however, aside from the shame of not posting.  SHAME!

Okay, okay, I said I was done on the whole confession topic, but I lied.  So sue me!  I tend to come back to things over and over again.  I apparently have "Context" as a top strength which means I think a lot about the past and apply it to the present.  I digress, however!  So, while I was confessing, I was told about a book to read that would help to put some things into perspective.  I couldn't find it at the library, so I ended up buying a copy (it was less than $20, so it wasn't a bad deal).  After reading a bit of the first chapter and paging through it, I can definitely say I wish I had had this book whe I started dating.  I don't really know I would have listened to it at the time, or if I even would have read it, but it already seems like it's a pretty level headed response to the 'dating scene' in modern days.  Before I go about recommending it, I intend to put it on my reading list and finish it at a later point in time.  Stay tuned!