Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

This is my last post of 2009. How time flies! This past year has been full of a lot of things and changes for me. I graduated high school, started college, had a job, had surgery, and so much more. I woke up this morning thinking about the past year, and it was a pretty good one. God has been wonderful to me, and though it may have taken me a long time to realize His hand in certain areas of my life, I am grateful for all that has happened to me this past year. The good, bad, sad, and joyful.

One of the neat things that I have been able to be a part of is working on my church's new website. A couple of months ago, the pastor Fr. Christian asked me if I wanted a job. I said, sure. That job turned into being one of the parish webmasters. It is cool!

Our launch date was originally January 1, 2010. We finished things two days early (whoo-hoo!) so it was launched yesterday afternoon. As with any website, it will always be a work in progress, but I encourage you to go visit now and come back often! One awesome part of the site is the podcast section. What I am most eager to listen to often is the "Faith Seeking Understanding" podcast, where Fr. Christian answers questions about the Catholic faith.

Welcome to sthomaslc.com and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wisdom Teeth Are Great

Yesterday I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed. Never did I think I'd be able to be on the computer in such short a time. I know, the recovery time is way short, but being such the baby that I am, I had expected to be away from the virtual world for a long time.

All I remember about the procedure/oral surgeon visit from yesterday was sitting in the waiting room, silently stewing over my impending fate. Then another girl came in with her parents. She looked just as excited as I felt. Ha! Then after some silence, a drilling noise could be heard by all. I instantly looked up and met the other girl's eyes, and we both had silent, mini-strokes. It is amazing the bond you can share with a complete and total stranger. In times of trouble, we bond together.

Finally, it was my turn. As I was walking back, the nurse asked me how I was doing, and I sarcastically replied that I was great. Just grrrrreat. I'm a mean patient. I should probably write them a nice apology/explanation letter. I just don't like IV's, needles, the word surgery, and the fact that I won't be able to chew normally for a while. So naturally I take it out on the people who are involved with all of those nasty, terrible things. The good oral surgeon and his staff were very kind to me, the belligerent and whiny patient.

After sitting in the chair for just 5 seconds, I started to freak out. Then I started to hum one of my favorite songs, "Down to the River to Pray" by Alison Krauss. I just recently found out about it, and I love it. As I hummed, I said a few silent Hail Marys, and then I was calm. Doc came in, went over the checklist, and began to give me the IV. It wasn't as bad as my last IV experience, but it was enough to make me light headed. Then he said you'll start to feel funny. As I replied, "What kind of funny?" the nurse put the oxygen things in my nose, and I was out like a light. I came to in the recovery room. Now that I think about it, I wonder how they got me there because I couldn't walk without two people holding my hands!

The first day was brutal. It now seems that my body does not respond well to anesthesia or Hydrocodone. I could not stop getting sick for the life of me, even though I hadn't had anything to eat for at least the past 15 hours. That sucked really bad. I couldn't even keep a pain pill down long enough. Amazingly enough, I managed to keep Spaghetti-Os down later at night. Good ole Spaghetti-Os, the ever reliable food. I've been vomit free for almost 24 hours. I know, that was an over share.

Now I just look like a chipmunk, and I wish I could eat normally. It is kind of difficult to chew with just my front teeth. Not that you wanted to know my whole tale, but I had to share it anyway because writing gives me something to do! I would also like to share with you something that helps calm me down and put me in a prayerful state.

"Down to the River to Pray" by Alison Krauss

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way !

O sisters let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sisters let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way !

O brothers let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
Come on brothers let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way !

O fathers let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O fathers let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way !

O mothers let's go down,
Come on down, don't you want to go down,
Come on mothers let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way !

O sinners let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sinners let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way !

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sabbath Sunday: Fear and Faith

I've decided to stop numbering my Sabbath Sunday posts, so don't freak out! I did not forget how to count; I'm just doing something different.

This Sunday's post is from this past June. That particular Sunday's Gospel passage really spoke to me, and now I find it speaking to me again. Although this time, it isn't about big changes like beginning college. This time I am sort of freaking out about getting my wisdom teeth removed. Tomorrow I go to the oral surgeon! Yaaaaaaaay.

I'm not terrified of the surgery itself, I promise (okay, just a little). It is just the IV that I have to have for anesthesia that frightens me. I'm a fraidy-cat and absolutely abhor needles.

Pray for me! Hopefully I can post again soon before the New Year. Until then, read "Fear and Faith" here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Netherfield Day

I hope you all are having a wonderful day! I am, and it has been what I like to call an Arrival to Netherfield Day...and that is good my friends, very good.

A bowl of Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast while watching Kate & Leopold on one of the random movie channels made for an excellent morning. Then I drove out to visit my best friend Becca. We chatted and did absolutely nothing, and then we went down to the barn to see her new 7 month-old Tennessee Walking horse. Jazz is a gorgeous jet black boy, big for his age too. I always love visiting Becca and both her human and animal family. Her other horses, Moon and Smoke, are two of my favorites. Moon and Jazz are getting acquainted, and that is a show quite unto itself.

Becca and Jazz

I left Becca's house and came home to find the place to myself. I took the time to wrap presents for the family. Now my Dad and I are getting ready to leave and join the rest of the family at my grandparents' house. My aunt and uncle drove down from Indiana. It has been a very good day thus far.

May you have a Happy Christmas and may your family gatherings be filled with peace and love!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sabbath Sunday #5

I forgot about the Sabbath Sunday post last week. So here I am doing it now before I forget again. This Sabbath Sunday post is titled "Optimus Prime is My Hero." Yes I transformed my love of Transformers (ha! that was great) into a blog over the summer.

Read it here.

Happy 4th Sunday of Advent and have a Happy Christmas if I don't blog before then! :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Different Kind of Treasure

I found it amusing, meaningful, and helpful that the Scripture verse for a daily meditation seemed to speak to my pack-rat nature. Indeed I am one, but I am getting better at not being a hoarder.

"Do not be concerned about storing up treasures on earth...Store up treasure for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves cannot break in and steal." -Matthew 6:19-20

Now I am no theologian or Bible scholar, and even if the meaning of these verses does not pertain to pack-rat behavior, I think they would certainly help curb it.

Interestingly enough, this particular meditation comes in the month of December. In this season that more and more seems to be about consumerism and less about the importance of the birth of Christ, I find these verses helpful because I am reminded that in the end, material things don't mean anything. It is what I store up in heaven, what I give of myself and not of my wallet to God and my fellow human beings, that is really important.

Treasure doesn't have to be gold or silver (try telling that to Captain Jack Sparrow!), an iPod or a Wii, a pair of $100 jeans or a gift card. Treasure is the family and friends that God blessed us with. Treasure includes all the non-material gifts that God has given each of us. Most importantly, this different kind of treasure is the remembrance of our Savior's arrival to this world.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Angels With Hooves

This little guy is Rudolph. He's a real gentleman, and he hammed it up for the camera.

This is Esperanza, which means hope in Spanish. I think it's an appropriate name given her circumstances! She is incredibly shy and spooks at practically everything.


Yes...it is another post about horses! In the last post, I told you about the arrival of Horse Haven's newest residents. Of the 84 neglected animals from Cannon County, Tennessee, HHT is now taking care of 15 horses and one mule.

I can't even begin to imagine how people can treat another leaving creature with such disdain. These guys and gals are emaciated, covered in rainrot, and some are a little people-shy. Their owners never took the time to feed them or love them. They were just something to have, like a yard decoration or knick-knack on the living room shelf.

To me, they are much more than those things. Every time I meet a new horse, with its own colorful story to tell, I am amazed. I think God sends us angels in many forms, and for me in particular, some angels come in horse form. They are constantly teaching me about life, even though they cannot speak. Surprisingly, they help keep me sane. I enjoy driving all the way out to the barn just to be with them.

Sure, sometimes one of the horses will drive me nuts because he doesn't want to come inside when he is supposed to. Some of them are little stinkers and nip and spill their feed on the ground. In spite of their silly behaviors, I think deep down, they know that they have been saved. Saved from a life not worth living. Saved from a slow and painful death.

I can't upload that many pictures. So here is just a sampling of my angels with hooves. I went out to the barn on Monday to help weigh, measure, and photograph the horses for our records. It was a lot of fun, and I know you're thinking...how could that possibly be fun? Just take my word for it, it was.

This is Shane. He is my shift's responsibility. As soon as I snapped the picture he closed his eyes! He is so sweet.

This is Cayenne. I affectionately call her the Mullet Lady because she has a horse mullet. Unfortunately, part of her mane had to be shaved because it was so matted.

This is Titus. He is such a nice guy. For the same reasons as the mare above, he had to have his mane shaved and part of his tail cut off.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chill Time

The lack of posts this week was due to the fact that I had a final every day and a paper due as well. I was finished with school and unpacked by bedtime Wednesday night. Then I sort of took a few more days of "chill time" and only checked email and Facebook. Hopefully I can get back into the blogging swing of things and give you some new posts next week.

Today I went to the barn for Adoption Day. It has been a little crazy for Horse Haven these past few weeks. A recent case out of Cannon County, TN involving 84 neglected horses has had the barn and our volunteers being super busy. We are now taking care of 16 of those 84, and they arrived this past Wednesday. Today I was able to go meet them. They are all so loving, some are a little goofy, some are stubborn as all get out, and a few are incredibly shy. We probably have 3 stallions but because they are emaciated it is a little difficult to tell. We also have a new momma and baby.

I don't have pictures of them because it was simply too cold to take their blankets off this morning/afternoon. Hopefully in a few days it will warm up enough. Did I mention it was cold? It was freezing outside! I had 2 shirts, 2 jackets, long johns, jeans, and Smartwool socks on...and I was still chilled to the bone!

This past week it is safe to say that I had a lot of chill time...literally. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Below are Beatrice and Skylar. This pair, mom and not-so-young baby, have been with HHT for a few weeks. I finally was able to take pictures of them. Skylar has the most gorgeous blue eyes.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sabbath Sunday #4

Here is my Sabbath Sunday post for this fine, chilly weekend. It was originally posted in June. "Yes, I Am A Mush Pot" is my explanation of why I am emotional at times...or as I like to refer to myself, being a mush pot.

You can read it here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Brothers

Last night some friends and I went to a late showing of the movie Brothers. I am no movie critic, and this blog is no film forum. However, it encompassed so many emotions that I wanted to let you all know that it is out there.

My friend called me, asking if I wanted to see some movie about brothers. Well...let me at least check it out before I commit to going, I told her. So I found the trailer and watched it. From the trailer, I could tell that it was going to be a rough, intense film. I still wanted to see it. It stars Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman. I think I've enjoyed every film that I have ever seen all 3 of them in, so that was sure to help.

If you haven't heard of it, I'm posting the trailer below. It is an R-rated film for "language and some disturbing violent content." Why would I blog about something like that, you ask? Well, because this film shows a side of life that we don't know much about...and maybe some of us don't want to know what war is like, but I do. We can't be afraid of the things that we don't want to hear about.

I have a lot of favorite movies. Of the many, there is a small group that are my favorite favorites. They are ones that I can watch over and over and over and never find them old or uneventful. A good portion of those select few are war movies, and I use that term not in the political sense but just in the film sense. They are about war, not the politics of war. I cannot even begin to explain to you, let alone myself, why some of my favorite movies are war ones. I don't like blood, guts, gore, guns, and death. I don't in the least. They're just great films, and I am also fascinated by what goes on in the human mind when it is engulfed in conflict. It probably helps to back up this quirk that my favorite time periods are all centered around great wars in history. Everyone has their morbid fascinations, maybe this is mine.



I cried. I cried because of the movie itself and what it represents, which is reality. It isn't a war movie in the political sense, so don't get all political on me. An article from movieline.com accurately describes it as "a family drama, a study of grief, an exploration of the darkest reaches of human nature, and a remake." It also says that, "You could say Brothers reverses the standard war movie formula by featuring the war in the soldier rather than the soldier in the war, and for that reason alone it does deserve some degree of differentiation."

Maguire, Gyllenhaal, and Portman did a fine job of making this movie feel real. At some points, I forgot that I was sitting in the theater. It is both good and terrible. Good because it is a great film. Terrible because things like that truly happen to real people. While watching this, it also made me think of friends who are in the military...some of whom graduated with me. They're so young! I'm frightened to think of what could happen to them.

Brothers
, is in my opinion a very powerful and moving film. I recommend it, but, to quote that age-old saying, it is not for the faint of heart.

Lord have mercy on us all and bless our troops.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Marine Mammals and Finals

Indy waiting for more ice cubes

I've had a super busy week. Classes were officially over on Tuesday. Hooray! Posting will be light for at least one more week. I have 3 more pages to write for my final paper and 4 finals to study for. I get distracted very easily which is why it takes me forever to write papers. I am going to have soooo much fun. Not.

Anyway, I never told you about my awesome little adventure over the Thanksgiving holiday. My family and I went up to Indiana to visit my Aunt Jen and Uncle Dave. Every time we go and visit them, we always stop by the Indianapolis Zoo where my aunt works. It's a tradition in my family, albeit an atypical one especially because it's always freezing when we come up to visit. Who wants to walk around outside in 40 degree weather? We do.

My aunt is a Marine Mammal Senior Trainer. That is quite the title, don't you think? She works with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, Pacific walruses, polar bears, harbor seals, California sea lions, and gray seals. How awesome is that? VERY AWESOME.

I think it is one of the coolest professions on the planet. Some days I find myself wanting to be like Aunt Jenny. So since she works for the zoo, we get to go behind the scenes. It is always fun every time I go. I've been 4 times for sure, and it never gets boring! One time we were able to go and visit the elephants and see the new baby.

On this trip, we got to do a dolphin pet and some behaviors with Nova. My youngest sister, Kayla, has unofficially adopted Nova as "her dolphin" so we always play with Nova. She was being a little stinker, but she gave us high-fives and kisses and eventually she did the behaviors that we asked of her, like spinning in a circle, waving, and some sort of dolphin version of an acrobatic-gymnastic maneuver.

Then we went and visited the walruses Aurora and Nereus. I remember the first time I met Nereus when he was a little baby in 2004. It was also my first trip to the zoo and going behind the scenes. He's such a big boy now and he's not even full grown! He's such a little stinker, but you have to love him. Since the walruses had already been fed, we just visited with them.

Aurora (left) and Nereus

My Aunt Jen is the coolest. Period.