Archive | March, 2011

It’s my birthday, I can [procrastinate] if I want to.

29 Mar

I’m smack dab in the middle of ringing in my 21st birthday, in style.

ORU style.

Meaning, water, stale granola, and working on a huge assignment.

(For the innocent: ORU does not allow the consumption of alcohol by anyone at the school – faculty, students, etc – anywhere, for as long as you’re enrolled/employed).

I just want to thank all of you once again for all of your prayers and support. I am honestly doing much, much better. A lot of good has come out of this little valley, and I’m hopeful for the future. What exactly the future holds looks different than it did a few weeks ago, but I think I’m ready for it.

To clear up some concerned inquiries (and a rude one) I’ve received:
1) Confirmation is still like, the largest thing on my horizon right now. Unfortunately, y’all are stuck with me. Enjoy your last four weeks without having to, you know, count me as a full-fledged Catholic.

2) Yes, Eli and I did break up. No, there was not some huge, dark, tumultuous drama. We’re just moving in different directions, and that’s okay. Just because a relationship doesn’t end in “I DO” doesn’t mean it’s a failure (does that sound familiar, sorority sisters?). We learned from each other and we grew. A perfectly amicable split.  He’s a fabulous man, and I’m honored to call him a friend.

3) I did not get “hit upside the head with a grumpy stick.” But I really like that phrase and I’m going to steal it, if you don’t mind. The usual snark and borderline irreverence is on its way back. If you’re wanting a blog by a perfect Catholic, then go visit Jen, Hallie, Kimberlie, basically, you know, anyone but me. I’m 20. Er, 21. I’m new to this. I will make mistakes, there will be plenty of them, and I’ll probably even like a few of the ones I make and drive my confessor crazy. Sorry.

So, in short, I’m back. Yay? Yay. I think so.

 

7 Quick Takes: Musical edition.

25 Mar

I hate to sound like a broken record. I’m a generally happy person, I promise. But I’m not really ready to talk about what’s going on in my life right now. So, I give you links and randomness.

1) 
Stars: Dead Hearts.
Listening to Stars chronologically is like listening to a musical scrapbook of my young adult life, from junior high to the present. I’ve loved them for forever, and I got to see them live at the Free Press Music Fest this summer. This song is stuck in my head right now.

2) As is this one:

Sufjan Stevens – The Dress Looks Nice On You
I got to see him live in October. Now, all I have to do is see Phoenix and Bright Eyes live and I’ll be complete. Or something like that.

3) Calah, whose praises I’ll sing some more, guest posted at Betty Beguiles this week. Calah and Hallie, together in one place? It made my day. Go read her post, she’s happier.

4) Also, I’m blogging at Austin Catholic New Media this week – and I’m not an emotional train wreck! So, if you want Happy Kassie, please, by all means, click away. 😀 I’m ridiculously excited to get to be a part of what’s going on in my home diocese – the diocese I never knew! 😀 Actually I live in a town that borders the Dallas, Austin, and Tyler dioceses, but the parish I attend when I’m home is in the Austin diocese. Whatever. Austin CNM is doing some fantastic things for new evangelization, and you should check them out. P.S. My post talks about the Donut Man.

5) This really adorable stick-figure music video to Switchfoot’s son 24 makes me laugh and cry. It touches me. But maybe that’s because stick figures are the extent of my visual art talent, outside of photography and dance.

That’s all I have the emotional energy for. I love you, readers of mine, I really, truly do. Here’s to happier posts ahead.

Smells, bells, and reality checks.

12 Mar

Sometimes the Gospel happens in ways you don’t really want it to. Sharing the love of Christ, joining yourself in the suffering of others, taking up our cross – and sometimes the crosses of our loved ones who can’t do it on their own. The tragedy in Japan is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. All of the people I’m the closest to here at ORU have been deeply wounded my tragedy over the last few weeks and months. One friend lost her father. There has been loss in my parish, with the passing of the beautiful Shannon, a dear friend of my godmother’s. Then my dear friend (and old roommate) and her husband lost their precious baby. The 3-year-old son of one of my best friend’s friend was senselessly murdered on the same day. Another very dear friend was in a head-on collision last night. And another of my closest friends just contacted me with the news that her grandmother has had a serious heart attack and needs to find a way to her immediately. It’s not all bad – my sister from another mister is being reunited with her biological family over Spring Break.

I didn’t get back from the hospital with my friend in the wreck until this morning, and am currently sitting in my dorm room waiting for phone calls from the friends at the hospital and the friend who needs a ride to OKC. I’m supposed to be at a retreat preparing for the Rite of Sending, but this, friends, is far more spiritually grounding than any retreat ever could be.

I am the Queen of Tradition and Ritual and Order. I get it from my old-school Southern family. I love ritual, I love the Rites, I love the tangible, formal, beautiful expressions of worship in our faith. But this week was a slap-in-the-face reminder that Tradition and Ritual and Order aren’t everything. And so I turned the other cheek and got slapped with the reminder that I really, truly love and own this faith I’m leaving everything I’ve known behind for. Sitting in the emergency room last night, discreetly clinging to my rosary with my godmother’s Miraculous Medal blessed by PJPII attached, and my Miraculous Medal blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in the other hand, my mother at home praying, my boyfriend and his (lovable) Rad-Trad roommates holding an impromptu vigil, the Holy Mother and Saints praying, my godparents praying (even though I texted her frantically at hours that are ungodly for mothers of young children), I knew that THIS – this union of people from all expressions of the Christian faith, uniting in prayer around one family, one moment in time, one cause, one purpose, one petition, is what the Gospel is. The liturgy is beautiful, invaluable, necessary – but not the be all and end all of our existence.

At some point waiting in the ICU I slipped down to the hospital’s chapel, with the precious Body and Blood of Christ in the tabernacle. All I could do was thank him. Thank him for this beautiful thing we call the Communion of the Saints. Thank him for the Church – Catholic and catholic. Thank him for the friends he’s brought into my life, in person and through the blogosphere, that are willing to pray for people they’ve never met and probably never will meet.

This is Heaven on earth.

This is the Gospel in action.

This is faith.

This is home.

7 Quick Takes – College Edition.

4 Mar

That time has arrived. What time, you ask?

Grad school application time.

Well, not quite yet, for most schools. But it is definitely – DEFINITELY – time to start narrowing down my list. Most of you know that I’m in a small, private, evangelical university for undergrad. I really don’t want to go the private school route unless it’s a theologically sound Catholic school. Otherwise I just want to go to a state university. SO, ladies and gentlemen, I’m depending on you wiser, braver, stronger, more knowledgeable Catholics and non-Catholics alike to share your thoughts and opinions for Catholic or state schools that have a Masters of Social Work program (MSW). Unfortunately, it does have to have an MSW, counseling and psych won’t qualify me for licensing. In no particular order…

1) Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida.

2) St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa.

3) Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois

4) University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota

5) Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas.

6) I’m planning (knock on wood) on earning my MA Political Science from University of Dallas. Which means I should probably consider one of the state school options in Texas for my MSW, since the social work side is such a short program thanks to my advanced standing status (ORU is good for something!).

7) Any additions I need to consider? Things I need to take away? Sound off, please! I need your help!

Visit Jen at ConversionDiary.com for more Quick Takes!

The Beginning Of The End Of The Beginning

2 Mar

 

I had high expectations for this Lent, my final Lent before full communion. I expected to be in some state of perpetual happiness, floating around on a spiritual high and speaking words of wisdom (let it be. . .) to strangers and woodland creatures who stopped for random chats about faith and theology in coffee shops and tea houses.

The reality?

Flash to me kneeling in the church on Sunday morning, pulling my chapel veil just a tiny bit further forward to hide the fact that I’m sobbing. The ugly cry. Most cries from me are ugly anyway, but Sunday’s display of emotions was particularly unattractive and volatile. Instinctively, I knew that this time in my life was going to be really, really difficult. But I kept pushing that aside.

“I’ve got this. I’m strong. I’m in control.”

Except I’m not.

I’m working overtime, I have a completely full academic load, I’m trying to maintain the peace at home concerning my conversion, I’m making graduation plans, I’m starting to fill out graduate school applications, I’m attempting to maintain a balance between spending time with my awesome boyfriend, spending time with my (sadly neglected) friends, and making time for myself to sit and just be. But on top of that, God just had to reach into the very core of my being and bring all the ugliness, all the hurts, the rejections, the bad choices, the horrible self-image, the pride, and lay it out on my table. Not to condemn me. But so I can make the choice to either keep my paltry offering in my greedy hands or to clear the table off. I feel like Eustace from the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I have scales to be scrubbed away, and it hurts. Like bloody hell.

But I didn’t want to fall too far down that abyss – I am the world’s worst when it comes to self condemnation. But I felt like God was telling me that he didn’t want me to concentrate so hard on the worst of me that I forget about preparing my best for him. There is a time and a place for penance every day of our lives. And particularly in Lent. But in my prayers, I knew that I needed to be healthy. I know that there is a huge work of restoration in me. I know that there are broken, dirty, ugly baseboards in my heart that need to be cleaned. And I know that only God can do it.

“Let it go. You’re not proving anything to Me. I’m in control.”

So this Lent? I’m going to be balanced. I’ve picked a project or two for each part of me – my intellect, my body, my emotions, and my spirit.

  1. For my intellect: One thing I lack in this area is discipline. I’m not ignorant. I’m actually quite bright – as long as numbers aren’t involved, anyway. I’m easily bored in classes, though, and busy work irritates me. If I can’t have discipline as an undergraduate, how am I going to accomplish anything else? So, I’m disciplining myself to get my papers turned in on time or earlier. I’m also not letting myself skip a single class. Also, being a student in a non-creative field and working as a dance teacher has stifled a lot of my creativity. So I’m going to do just one thing – one little thing – creative a week. Maybe a craft, maybe a few paragraphs of fiction, maybe a photograph. But I know that God created me with a creative mind and I need to stop letting it waste away.
  2. For my body: I actually can’t blame ballet for my horrible body image. I was blessed to have wonderfully supportive teachers and parents. I had nary an image issue until I LEFT dance. But I know hating myself is basically telling God he didn’t do a good enough job. Which is actually, you know, not something I want to do. So, with that being said, I’m not going vegetarian this Lent. Maybe next Lent. I want my focus to be on accepting who God made me to be, and starting to live a healthier lifestyle, NOT “How much weight am I losing?”. Also, as crazy as my life is right now, it would be incredibly difficult to get in all the nutrients I need. And as a dear, sweet friend pointed out last night in one of the most reassuring phone calls (ever), I need all the mental efficiency I can get right now. So I’m working through a book that will help me create my own nutritional plan. It also deals with the cognitive behavioral side of self image, which is right up my alley, because I love psychology.

    Also, I threw out my flat-iron and curling iron. I’m not against curly girls like me straightening their hair, or anything like that. But this is truly a sacrifice for me. I reread a book my mom gave me in Jr. High called Curly Girl, and I will be me, myself, and I for all 40 days. Even Spring Break, and my 21st birthday, and my Baptism, where my hair will be wet. In public.

    I’m still wearing makeup. Sorry

  3. Emotions: I’ll spare you the gory details of this one.
  4. Spirit: I’m doing the Friday Stations of the Cross, and will be going to Adoration as much as possible. I will be doing some specific devotions for various things going on in my life, and the lives of my friends. But ultimately, my focus for my spirit is relinquishing up the last bits of my life that I’m desperately trying to backseat drive with God. Which is kind of like trying to backseat drive with my mom. Unpleasant.

 

My prayer this Lent. . .

Is that I will make habits of balance, and recognize that every part of my life belongs to God, and I should treat it as such. He doesn’t suddenly stop being God when I have homework to do and cuss myself out in the mirror for not matching some image I have in my mind of what I should look like.

Here’s to Easter Vigil.