Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stop Worrying

Stop worrying.

That's all He said.

In the midst of my whirly-twirly mind thinking about 1 million things at the same time, all of a sudden, for a brief moment, it all stopped. And I heard, "Stop worrying." That's all I heard. No other sounds, though there were plenty to be heard.

And I did, I stopped. For the first time in a few weeks, for the first time within the past few hours, I stopped worrying.

It was and is wonderful to feel this way.

Though I have recently been presented with a few future-opportunities and items to follow up with, I was still frightened. Hell, I'm still scared.

But it's a fear that's been tamed and wrapped in a love that I only think I can understand. Funny thing is, I will never understand the depth of God's love for me.

This evening was some sort of collecting point for all my worries and fears about what I'm supposed to do with my life, and my cup decided to runneth over, so to speak. I see all of these wonderful people around me who are doing beautiful, wonderful things for others, for God. They have plans, and they're already making something of themselves. They are beautiful people who are trying their best to make this world better for the rest of us, especially those who are suffering from whatever ailment befalls them be it sickness or oppression or rebuilding shattered nations and peoples.

I want to do that. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to do what they are doing. But at the same time, there is a feeling/voice inside me that keeps saying, yes, you want to do that, but that is what they're doing. Yes, I know you're interested. You forget child, that I know you.

I am playing catch up because of my indecisiveness. Now I think, though, that my switching majors 3 times was what I needed to do to get me here. But then I think, well what if I had come in with a plan and stuck to it or at least not have gone back on the other plans I had when I first came to college? Maybe I would be out researching or working on projects that benefited more than just my GPA. Instead, I am taking a much-needed "light" semester and focusing on recharging the batteries. Then I think about past mistakes, actions, missed opportunities that I regret. Are those things and their potential consequences going to hinder my future, help my future, or both?

My situation is akin to my hiking habit. On the trail, I often spend my time watching my feet. Occasionally I look up to see further ahead, to see the valleys below, to see the sights up ahead, to see the hiker in front of me. I guess right now, I am supposed to be watching my feet. It's not quite time for me to look up ahead. I'm not quite ready to look ahead.


Stop worrying, He said.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Alternative to Heroin

You'll never have to worry about me doing drugs, particularly heroin.

Yesterday I watched a movie with scenes full of people shooting up. I hate needles. Blegh! No thanks, I'll pass.

Though I was not particularly fond of seeing the needles, overall I enjoyed watching American Gangster. I do love Denzel and Russell, and not in a schoolyard crush kinda way but man, these guys are awesome kinda way. I feel that any movie I've seen either of them in, both men command the screen no matter the role.

I could've saved myself some trouble by educating myself that one of the reasons why the movie is rated R is because of "pervasive drug content." Next time I'll shut my eyes!

I don't need heroin or meth to get me going or make me feel happy or alive or whatever. All I need is a mild incident of terror combined with sprinting, or to put it plainly, adrenaline.

On Saturday I got to the barn a little early, so I decided to go visit with the "babies" in one of the pastures. They were all the way in the back, taking their sweet time to come up to the fence, so I decided to visit the boys in the pasture next to the babies. They too were in the back-ish area of the pasture, but they were acting all funny. That's when I saw something move on the other side of the fence, right in front of where Perry and Jessie were hanging out. I went into the pasture with the boys to get a closer look.

As I got closer, I noticed that "it" was chestnut colored, had four legs, and a blue halter. Uh-oh! Somebody got out. Holy @*$%#!!!!!

I quickly realized it was Comanche, but having no lead rope in hand, I took off for the gate. At the last second, I decided to skip the lead rope for the time being and sprinted down to the barn to see just where Comanche was supposed to be...and also to find out who his pasture buddy was...which also meant I could have more horses loose!

Ah, up in the front pasture with Spice. A big black horse, hard to miss.

I sprinted back out of the barn. Comanche was no longer on Horse Haven property, but luckily he was away from the road in the back of the neighbor's yard close to the little cut-thru gate. I found a lead rope and then started walking toward the escape artist. He then saw me and started to walk away, the little turd! So I tried a different approach and was successful in capturing the fugitive.

As we turned to go back onto HHT property, I spied Spice and the hole in the fence line where Comanche had come out of. He was nosing around, with his head, neck, and one hoof on the other side of the fence. Like thunder after lightning, Spice jerked back into the pasture after I cracked a big "NO" at him. I didn't think I could be that loud.

After I put Comanche in an empty stall, I walked back up to make sure Spice didn't get out. Then the other volunteers showed up. Paul fixed the fence, which upon further inspection, was missing one board. Comanche had knocked the middle board down and was able to fit between the top and bottom boards.

As I brought Comanche back up to where he was supposed to be, he nickered the whole way! Once he tried to stop for grass, but I reminded him that he had all afternoon to graze in the neighbor's lush backyard. No chance of stopping now buddy!



So you see, I don't need drugs. I have animals that get my heart pumping.

Oh and I'm totally out of shape. I was so out of breath after sprinting back and forth, I thought I was going to keel over with Comanche's lead rope clutched in my hand. At least he'd be able to pull me around.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ducks

I just accidentally brainstormed. Like, a brainstorm for my future kinda deal.

It's both terrifying and exciting to think about possibilities. I'm going to do some sniffing and fact-checking and questioning. And break out the big girl panties, too, I might add.

I amassed several different ducks. Now I'm trying to decide which ducks I need to keep, which ones to act upon. Then, I'll try to get those ducks in a row. Know what I mean?

All things of course, must be prayerfully considered. Remembering to do that, though, is what I will probably struggle with the most. I'm trying to do more to be aware of God's presence in my life, because He's there all the time (duh). If I jump into future-planning and don't listen to Him, well, what good is that?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Te Amo Duke

"I was ill and you took care of Me...Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it for Me." -Matthew 25: 36, 40

Before all things and above all things care must be taken of the sick. They must be served in every deed as Christ Himself. -St. Benedict

I almost made it today without crying, almost. St. Valentine's Day has usually just felt like another day to me. Last year, though, that changed.

We put our beloved dog, Duke, down on this day last year. He was sick, and it quite literally came out of nowhere.

That's what still hurts the most. Death isn't fair, ever. No matter how much notice you have, it still just sucks when you drive home with one less member of the family present. Or when you wake up the next day thinking they'll come running into your room to wake you up just so they can go outside and pee.

That and the day we found out Duke was dying, we selfishly asked if it would be alright to take him home for just one more day, so that we all could say goodbye. I can tell by looking at the pictures of us with Duke that there is something identifiably different about him. You could tell he was sick. In a way, we were holding on when it was really time to let go. After we took him to the vet, I didn't wash the sweater I wore that day for almost 2 months because it still smelled like Duke. 

God, I miss him so much.


"On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." -John 14: 20

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Totally Not the Right Holiday

Yesterday night I went out for dinner with some friends from the barn after we finished up the chores. At some point, a story came up that I remember quite vividly, save for one detail. I can't remember the horse's name, which leaves me rather frustrated because everything but his name is quite clear!

Phoebe and I went into a stall to give a horse his oral meds. I put the plunger into X's mouth while Phoebe made sure he didn't go anywhere. Literally as soon as I pushed the plunger, he moved his tongue causing the syringe to move towards the side of his mouth rather than stay in the middle.

A good portion of his medicine shot right out the side of his mouth into Phoebe's face. Somehow, he received most of his medicine. The whole situation was quite funny seeing as I had no idea what happened at first. It was only until Phoebe stepped around the horse to look at me when I saw her face.

Good times, good times. She still has the medicine stain on her barn jacket! Anyway, the reason I told you this story was that it led me to look through my old Horse Haven photo albums. I hoped that seeing a black horse would jog my memory as to which horse it was that starred in the infamous story, but it didn't happen.

Instead, I found some photos from this past October and Halloween-ish time that I forgot to put on here. I like to share, you know that. And I know tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day.

The decorated stall was for "Boo at the Barn." Boo is our annual fundraiser that takes place around Halloween. Volunteers decorate a stall and a horse, and then little kiddies and their parents come around to get candy and maybe pet the horse if they're brave enough! In 2009, my stall was an epic fail because it was so incredibly last minute. For real. So this past time, I wanted to redeem myself. I partnered with Sigi and our horse, Porsche.

Though we didn't win the stall decorating contest, I'm pretty proud of our effort!




My friend and I went to visit a barn's open house for some fancy-schmancy horses one afternoon. It was a bigger deal than I thought, what with free beverages (including booze!), a professional photographer, and horses that cost the same amount as attending the University of Tennessee for one year. My favorite horse sold for 5 figures.

And this little gem, well, it makes perfect sense to me! I love horses. And apparently, I don't care to let the world see my affection for them. I found the picture on the barn's website.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patience

My Grandpa that I haven't spoken to in almost 2 years emailed me a Valentine's Day card. I almost started to cry when I got the mail today as I returned from class.  I did cry out of pure happiness and love when I read the card. It turns out that the only reason we haven't spoken was out of pure laziness. On his part and on my part.

I learned two valuable lessons that I feel like I should have known all along:
a) Patience truly is a virtue.
b) Laziness can be a crippling disease if you let it go untreated.

I could have picked up the phone or sent a letter sooner. I just expected Grandpa to reach out first. At least, that has always been the case ever since my grandparents divorced. He would call first, he would send the birthday card first, etc. Time just got away from the two of us, and I let silly expectations get in the way of what I could have done sooner.

I began to grow impatient, waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. It was sometime after my birthday 2 years ago when I hadn't heard from him that I began to patiently wait for some sign or acknowledgment of my existence. Somewhere along the line, I forgot how to be patient.

Fitting, then, that the following reflection was what I read last night before I went to bed.

"By patient endurance you will gain life." -Luke 21:19


Practice patience toward everyone, and especially toward yourself. Never be disturbed because of your imperfections, but always get up bravely after a fall. -St. Francis De Sales


God of Patience, let me endure my imperfections without rebelling. Help me to be patient with myself as well as with others.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How About a Little of Everything?

Instead of studying for my psychology test, which is tomorrow, I thought I would try and write down some of the random bits of my life that have been quite fun as of late. I have little motivation to study since I like to lie on the floor while I study...earlier when I lay down on the floor to do some reading for American lit, I almost fell asleep.

So far I have enjoyed my American lit class, but the readings for this week have been of particular interest to me since they are from a captivity narrative. You know me and my soft spot for Native Americans and anything that even remotely touches on the subject...so of course I will find some enjoyment in a captivity narrative. The woman's deep faith and trust in God was rather refreshing, but I didn't enjoy much of what she had to say about the Wampanoags, for example, "there was a vast difference between the lovely faces of the Christians, and foul looks of those heathens." That's terrible!

Winter weather plays tricks on my poor little hands. Really cold temperatures make my hands dry up like raisins, so this past weekend my hands and I enjoyed the unusually warm, spring-like temperatures. All that niceness stayed around until just a few hours ago, when it started to rain. I honestly enjoyed the weather teaser, but the temperatures are supposed to drop this week and snow may be possible one day this weekend. Blegh!

Earlier this afternoon, I accompanied my friend Sarah to a used book, CD, and movie store. We both abhor going there because it is too chaotic and unorganized for us. Though I love books, I hate going to this bookstore for some reason. Going there gives me some kind of complex. Today though, we had a successful trip because we were in and out fairly quickly, found half of what Sarah needed to find, and I had a nostalgia moment when I found a book series that I used to read as a kid. I may go back one day to buy them...as long as I don't have to go alone. Our trip was made all the more fun when I tried rolling Sarah's window down only to find her loudly saying, "Noooo! That window is broken." It was. I tried to roll it back up, but to no avail. I retorted later after we fixed the window that if she didn't want it accidentally rolled down, she should cover the button with a big piece of tape that says don't touch.

Just last week I discovered the band Pearl Jam. Dude, they're awesome. Why I just now found them, I have no idea. I can only thank my former roommate and friend Jade for letting me peruse her iTunes library and add some of her music to mine. I don't know why the 4 Pearl Jam songs I currently have made it into that file in the first place, but I'm glad they did!

Have I ever mentioned how much I like being Catholic? I really do love being a Catholic Christian. I can go to Mass anywhere, and it will still be the same. I love that! For the weekends that I stay on campus, I go to the cathedral which is all of 5 miles away. I have never really felt at "home" or enjoyed church as much as I do when I'm at my home parish or even the cathedral. I could walk to the church on campus, which I have done in the past, but you know sometimes you just go where you feel the love best, even if it isn't all that logical. It is also awesome that one of my best friends who also functions as a third father to me is the rector at the cathedral, and the pastor at the home church is also one of my best friends. Having priests for besties is a cool thing.

Santa Claus (what? It's almost Valentine's Day) got me the Robin Hood, Inception, Green Zone, and Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince movie scores. I love them. Since I can't put up all of my new favorite songs, here are just a few:

"Fate Has Smiled Upon Us" -Marc Streitenfeld, Robin Hood


Of course I included something from Hans Zimmer! He is the man. "528491" from Inception