The Rudest Thing

I have a list of pet peeves a mile long. Anyone who knows me in real life could tell you that the littlest things can bother me. It’s mostly things that other people do that are inefficient and therefore bother me, but some of these are real things. For instance, not driving with your lights on when it’s raining or even foggy. This is one of my biggest driving pet peeves. It’s actually the law. I always think that the police should pull these people over. BUT then a few months ago I was driving and saw a car without its lights on in the rain and was telling them from my car to turn them on and I noticed it was a police officer IN a police car. I guess they don’t pull people over because they, themselves, have no idea that this is the law!!

I don’t consider this driving tick rude though – it’s just ignorant to other drivers and endangering other people’s safety! That’s all.

Today I’m writing about what I believe is the rudest thing one stranger can do to another stranger because it’s happening to me right now. This is my biggest traveling pet peeve and I travel a lot and see crazy stuff all of the time! Going through security is a regular adventure for people who haven’t traveled in a while or are just ignorant and don’t read signs or pay attention to what you are supposed to do. Take off your shoes, pack your liquids in those tiny travel bottles, remove things from your pocket, take off jackets and sweaters and just go through the line quietly and efficiently. In the mornings at the Charlotte airport each security check point is for only one type of traveler. This means that if you are business/first class you go through one point (usually C – although today it was for us regular passengers), Pre-Check (typically B & sometimes D), and steerage (A, which is also the only one open at 4:10am and E – where no one ever goes and they have the most amount of TSA agents available). This morning as I was getting in line for security a couple in front of me wasn’t allowed in C because they were pre-check. The kind agent directed them to D this morning to go through pre-check and then they proceeded to argue with her about how they weren’t. She said, “yes you are – it says so right here on your boarding pass.” That kind of peeves me – and it’s because these people were just GIVEN pre-check, they didn’t even know it, AND they were then not taking advantage of it.

I recently applied for Global Entry Pre-Check to take advantage of these features of the TSA that this couple was trying to avoid. I’m still in review – can.not.wait to hear if I make the cut. I’m hoping this makes the early morning flights I have (three more in the next three weeks).

I can deal with security, even the craziness of boarding which should be done from the back to the front if they want it to be more efficient AND faster as well as avoid people getting hit in the face with my bag as I go down the aisle to my window seat in row 32.

The thing that I cannot stand is the fact that all of us are sitting with mere inches of space in these crazy coach airline seats and the person in front of me has the audacity to recline their seat. I know that they have a right to do so, and the ability to do so. However, the extra two inches that you are reclining STEALS two of the six inches I have back here. I’m cramped trying to use my small surface, drink my six ounces of Dr. Pepper, and now must operate/work/sleep/breath with your seat back right in my face.

The last flight I was on where someone invading my space like this I was behind, arguable, one of the BEST seats on the plane. How do I know it’s the best seat on the plane? I received it a few flights ago. It’s an exit row seat in the back near the window. There’s no seat in front of it and you have the absolute MOST amount of leg room on the plane. You literally have three FEET of leg room, and you need an extra two inches of MY precious space to lean back? Yes, it is your right – but should you?

There are so many times when people should thing of the appropriate response to this question, “I could, but should I?” Probably not.

Linking up with the other gals at the Not Alone Series since this is definitely ADULTING and how I do it … not blowing up at other people while traveling, eating at restaurants, etc…

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NAS :: Love Stories

What is your favorite love story? How did your favorite real-life couple meet? Which fictional love stories (from books, movies, plays, or songs) make your heart soar? What’s your favorite love story from the Bible?

I know it’s Saturday and I’m writing for our Tuesday post … but hey, it’s my blog and I can do what I want! I’m sure Lindsay won’t mind that I’m linking up late. Check out the other Love Story roundups over at the Lovely Lindsay’s!

I’m a romantic comedy junkie. I love when everything turns out great in the end and the good guy and the good girl get together and live happily ever after. I know that most of the time (ie: ALL of the time) that’s not real life. There’s no hard work put in after marriage – sometimes, the movie ends when they finally have a first kiss – think You’ve Got Mail (with two of the most beautiful people :: Tom & Meg). But I still love them.

My favorite Rom-Com of all time is Yours, Mine, & Ours– the ORIGINAL y’all …. with Lucille Ball! The new one is NOTHING in comparison!!!

I also love tv shows that follow a couple’s love story and my absolute favorite is Bones. Brennan and Booth are just lovely together and go through real life. I love watching them together and seeing how they write for them to interact. I feel like I know these people – and truly I do – it’s just that they don’t really exist!

I think that Love is just lovely – and the romantic part is having companionship for a lifetime. There are so many amazing love stories all around me, which is what gives me hope that there’s something for me in the future. If some flawed human beings can write the amazing stories that I love on TV and in movies – then, the Lord of Heaven and Creator of the Earth can write me a love story that will catch me by surprise and be more than I could have ever hoped for! I have faith that he will bring me a Joseph like he did Mary who will help us accomplish his mission on this earth and unite us with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom!

NAS :: Readiness

How ready do you think you are for your vocation? Are you ready to be committed to your vocation within the next year, or two years? That means being married (and maybe with a baby), taking religious vows, or telling people you’re not interested in marriage and plan to remain single for life. What do you still need to work on or change about yourself before you’re ready? Have you thought you were ready before? How have you become better prepared over time? Married ladies can chime in, too: how did you know it was the right time to get hitched?

Linking up with the ladies in the Not Alone Series this week as it’s been way, way too many weeks. This group has been such an amazing help to me in the past few years with the amazing friends that I’ve met and the support system that they have become. This seems like a good topic to enter back into the writing mood and linking up with the group.

A few questions in this week’s prompt strike me. Let’s begin with Have you ever thought you were ready before?

Yeah. I’ll say I’ve been ready to be a wife and mom for a long time – but there was one definitive moment almost 5 years ago while I was away with some kids at camp and praying about my future. I felt distinctively that the Lord was telling me that a husband was coming and that it would be sooner than I would feel it was ready for. Now five years later, I am still no married. I don’t feel unready – but I do not have the same feeling in prayer either. I don’t know if that’s what the Lord has in store for me.

Second question to consider What do you still need to work on or change about yourself before you’re ready?<

Um, a lot. Everything. I need to be better at submitting my will toward the other. I need to not be so selfish. I need to act with more humility and be a stronger woman of faith. I need to be more open to the Lord and His will. I need to feel better about my body. I need to clean up my eating habits. I need to kick my sugar addiction. Intellectually I know that these things are not the reasons why a man hasn’t asked me to marry him (or date him) – but they feel like things that are wrong with me. They are definitely things that I should work on to be a better wife to this man once we are married. To give us a fighting chance of having a marriage that lasts until dead instead of divorce.

Final question to consider How have you become prepared over time?

In so many ways that I cannot even write them all down – some more profound than others. I know how to rely more on myself to my emotional well being than someone else. I can cook better. I’m stronger in my faith. I’m better able to take criticism and make changes to improve. I am better able to have discussions about topics that I feel passionate about. I have more control over my emotions in public. I’m more confident in myself and my abilities. I have a job that I love and am good at.

All of these make me a better human being and therefore it would make be a better wife. I’m sure than during the time between now and when I do meet my spouse, I will grow even more into a better human being and better wife and mother.

Check out the other ladies and their thoughts this week over at Lindsay’s at the NAS Link Up.

NAS: Freebie :: All Groan Up

Topic for this week is whatever we want, so I thought I’d write a little bit about a book I’m on a launch team for :: All Groan Up.

I’ve been reading this guy’s blog for a while now. It’s full of funny, inspiring, and great content. I especially think about his explanation of OCD … Obsessive Comparison Disorder. (not to diminish people with clinical OCD tendencies) I don’t know about you, but I tend to look at someone else’s life and compare and contrast to my own. However, I typically only see the ways that hers is better than mine, she has accomplished more of my goals than me, and is overall happier than I am. Objectively, I know this isn’t true. The self we put on Facebook, Instagram, and even this little ‘ole blog is our best self. I don’t tend to write to you on the days when I’m practically having a nervous breakdown, crying my eyes out because I don’t know what to do with my life, where I’m going, or if I’ll ever not be single.

I have those days. We all do. However, it’s how we come out of them, how we try to prevent them – that matters. Wondering how to cure OCD according to Paul? His three tricks are: Put on Blinders, Cut down on Facebook and TV, and Celebrate what you do. Celebrate the great things that are going on in your life, even if it’s just that you remembered to take out the garbage before it got smelly – people that is an accomplishment sometimes! Typing of which, that should really go out this morning before I leave for work!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand … when an opportunity came a few weeks ago to be on the launch team for his new book All Groan Up: Searching for Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! I signed up. I thought it was a long shot – I’m not a writer, I have about fourteen readers (if you’re even there today), and I really dislike twitter (because in this regard, I am an old person and don’t understand how it actually works)! But he accepted me, added me to a Facebook group to get to know others on the launch team, and sent me a copy of the book to read ahead of time.

I was in Texas two weeks ago (speaking of which, I should share photos with you, the view from my aunt’s house is amazing! – maybe Friday) and couldn’t stop reading the book until I was finished! It was excellent. I found myself nodding along when he was talking about figuring out what he wanted to do, living with roommates, searching for a spouse, taking a leap at a new job, and so much more.

I can’t put my finger on exactly why I loved it so much. He writes like it’s a friend having coffee just chatting about what’s happening. He writes to the scared 20-something who just wants to figure life out so they can become transform from thinking of themselves as a child to an adult. He writes honestly without sugar coating everything.

From the title, you might think that he was searching for a job (that actually made money) for a while – and you’d be right. He was – but in the midst of it, he found it – his ‘signature sauce’ – “your unique mix of ingredients that brings the world a flavor that no one else can.”

We all have it, we all bring something to this world that no one else does. We just need to figure out what it is and bring it! Here’s hoping that mine will help me succeed in my new job – which begins Monday!!!

Check out Morgan’s for more ‘freebie’ posts from the ladies and as always thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting up this weekly time of amazingness!

NAS: Christian Friendship

What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?

Oh, Christian Friendship! How difficult to attain sometimes, but how necessary for life to go smoothly! In my opinion, anyway. I’ve been blessed to have many friends in my life, many fantastic friends in fact. I wouldn’t have made it through High School with my faith intact without Stephanie, Erin, and Ashlei. We had an amazing opportunity to meet many friends from around the Diocese at a retreat called “TEC” – to encounter Christ and “JTE” Journey to Emmaus. I was blessed with some amazing experiences with these ladies and couldn’t have made it without them. They were better than any other acquaintances I had during the same time in my life.

Moving on to college, I had friends who were just as great. My college roommate, Julie, was a blessing – we were placed together randomly and it was the best that could have happened to begin my freshman year out right. We met tons of other people, went to Europe and South America, and loved hanging out at Campus Ministry. These people helped to support me in my Catholic Theology degree and know that I wanted to work in the Church, or at least support the Church in my future career.

After school, life became a little more difficult to find friends. I spent 9 months living at home working at a jail and the Lord sent me Elisabeth. She was in town for just a little over a year – we ended up leaving about the same time – I went south and she went west. We are not great friends – picking up wherever we left off each time we talk and it’s glorious.

When moving to Charlotte it took a little more time – well, I thought it did – but when I was celebrating my 30th birthday last month, I realized that some of my friends I’ve known since almost the day I moved here. Lisa (and her brood of kiddos – there were two and one in the oven when we met and now there are five) and I met at Bible Study at our parish one random morning – they had moved here just a month or two earlier. We became fast friends and good friends. She and her husband would bring their boys to Daily Mass so I got to see them a lot. Now all five little ones are so great to me whenever I come over to visit. Then in the Spring I met Devon (before she was engaged, before Shep – my godson – came along, and before the new little girl CEA was even thought of) and we also became fast friends. I was even the reader at her wedding.

I had great friends for a while – great married friends, and not only was I seeking good Catholic friends, but I was also looking for single friends. I love my married friends, and I love their kiddos. I never complain about being interrupted at their house when we’re talking, stopping to read a book, waiting for dinner to begin to make their places child friendly. I love being able to text in the afternoon and say, “I need some baby time, can I come over after work?” But I needed a single girlfriend to help me keep my sanity. So after much time, the Lord sent me Mary Grace – we met within a few weeks of her moving here and became fast friends. I don’t know what I would have done the last four and half years, three living situations, four jobs, and traveling to four continents. The Lord really knew what he was doing when he thought for us to be friends.

The last few years have been filled with great roommates (Meredith and Lisa), new parishioners at the parish who I made into friends (Erica and Kate), connections from Fr. W to encourage me to take a dating leap (Stephanie), nuns who are full of contagious joy (Sr. Gloria and Sr. Edeva), and many more I’m sure I’m forgetting to write – but who are amazing women of faith who support me.

Back to the prompt though – do I think that Christian friendships are important? YES! I think being a good Catholic in this world is hard enough, but without being able to have the Lord at the center of the conversation about what’s going on, it’s almost not worth having the conversation, in my opinion. My life tends to revolve around my faith – which I’m happy about – and without being able to speak about faith and prayer with others, I don’t know what I’d do.

This does not preclude me from making friends with people who have different faiths. I don’t screen people, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m friends with my family and their significant others – none of who are strong Christians. I would say I have friends at work who aren’t, but that’s not really true right now since I’m working at a parish – most people who work for as little money as we do are there because of their faith, not because the work is great.

I’ve been very privileged my entire life to attend Catholic School and work in the Church. These are the places I’ve met my friends, the ones who have remained great friends all share a common faith, a common foundation. So I’m biased in saying that I think it’s important. I’m not sure my entire life will continue in this fashion, but I do hope to always share my faith with my friends no matter the situation.

Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting and providing this amazing group of friends online. I’m so grateful for the entire community! The internet wouldn’t be the same without y’all!

NAS: Challenge Check-In

A couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?

A few weeks ago the NAS topic was Challenges – challenging ourselves to do more, something different, etc… I didn’t write because I as I noted the week after St. Joseph had been kicking my butt with an answer to my novena intention. I’m sure you all know about the Pray More Novenas reminders (but if not – totally check them out – it’s an excellent way to increase your novena devotions). I’ve been receiving the emails for a while now and love the monthly devotions and new saints, novenas, and opportunities every month.

In preparation for the Feast of St. Joseph (one stand up man), I began praying the St. Joseph Novena on March 10th with more than 70,000 of my closest novena loving friends. I have had a pretty strong devotion to St. Joseph for a while. In November of 2012 a very close friend was going through a pretty severe rough spot in her marriage. She and her husband didn’t know if they were going to make it together, so we put St. Joseph on it. And not just a 9 day novena – we went big! I started praying the novena to St. Joseph every morning for an increase in faith for her husband, that he would want to remain married to her, and then added in later that he would be a good father. Their relationship is a testament to me about the power of St. Joseph.

Although the rough patch is over, there are always rocky moments in life and knowing the power of St. Joseph, I’ve since added more intentions to my daily prayer – for my future husband (who is seriously lost – or maybe I am, anyway), my godson, another friend’s husband, and still another’s current boyfriend.

So when last month’s St. Joseph novena began, I added a second novena time in the evening and asked St. Joseph to help me discern my vocation and my avocation, placing all the pieces in place that needed to be in place. And boy did he move some seriously pieces in place.

I was seeking direction about whether I’m really supposed to get married or not because there are so many times when I think that dream will remain a dream forever and never be a reality. It was hard to turn 30 with no prospects and I needed some serious reassurance. However, that’s not what I got, not what I got at all.

On Monday of the Novena someone at work told me about a job advertised in the paper for our Diocesan Newspaper. It’s not something I ever thought I might do, nor does my degree in Catholic Theology provide me the background to do. But I could not get it out of my head. I went back and forth about whether I should apply, whether I was even interested in leaving my current position, and if I even wanted the job or to work for the Diocese. After a quick discernment period, I decided I should apply, give it a chance. Sending in my resume wasn’t quitting my job, and just because I sent in my resume didn’t mean I was going to be offered the job or that I would want it if it was offered to me.

So I began the process on the last challenge day of redoing my resume (haven’t done one in quite a few years), gathering references, telling my pastor, etc…

On Wednesday, I called a friend at Our Sunday Visitor to ask her to be a reference for me with the job. She encouraged me to consider OSV if I was looking for employment. I told her, “no way I’m moving to small town Indiana.” But there were some things she knew of coming down the pike that would allow me to live in Charlotte and work for OSV, she’d pass my name along if I was interested.

This is when St. Joseph’s puzzle work began to shine. On his Feast, I told her to please pass my name along and we’ll see what happens. By the end of the day I had a phone interview scheduled for Monday. After the interview on Monday, one was immediately scheduled for Tuesday. On Wednesday, I had a call from HR with an offer that needed to be accepted by Friday.

WHAT? How crazy is that?

Talk about pieces being put in place, all of the doors were thrown wide open, not just cracked windows. So my challenge was to discern whether I was in the right place or not for my job. After much consideration, a few tears, and some trepidation I wrote my letter of resignation and passed it to my pastor. We told the staff, and now I am just three weeks from starting my new job with Our Sunday Visitor!!

I’ll be helping parishes in my territory (the south) set up new websites, start on-line giving, and some more new things OSV has coming out later this year. I’m excited about the change. I’m nervous about failing. I’m eager for the challenge.

This is going to be something completely different from what I do now – although we are OSV customers, and my work with our parish website is what got me in the door for this job to begin with.

So a huge thanks to St. Joseph for helping me discern the change, placing the pieces right in place, and being a rock of support as I take this crazy journey! I’m excited to meet tons of new people, encounter hundreds of new parishes, and be stretched in my abilities! I’m sure more stories will come from my time on the road – working in the parish is a crazy, amazing, unbelievably funny job!

Alright, talk to you all later! On a plane, headed to Texas for a visit with my godmother!

Check out Jen and Morgan for more ladies at the challenge check-in!!! Not sure who’s hosting the link-up, but one of these amazing girls is!

NAS: Expectations vs. Reality

Have you ever had people in your life who have expectations of what your life is like, as a single person? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you’re unmarried? Did you ever have expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?
Boy I have a LOT of thoughts on this … hopefully they will be written coherently and not all over the place!
There are two questions here: Do I have expectations of what the single life is? AND Do others place expectations on me because I’m single? Although I think the prompt is really getting at the latter, the former is more of a big deal for me right now and has been on the last fifteen years of my life.
So I will get the easy one out of the way and then deal with the more difficult. Do other people have expectations of me? Yes, of course – I have them of others. Do they interfere with the relationships we have? No, not really. The one exception might be my family. My sister is always telling me to get on ChristianMingle.com and then all will be better – I’ll magically meet a man, get married, have lots of kids, and be happy. Now she’s not saying the specifically, but it’s what I’m inferring when she tells me “this will be the year I buy you a subscription for Christmas.” Now I’m here to say that although online dating can be successful for some it’s only an avenue that God uses, not the avenue that God uses. I have a CatholicMatch subscription and it’s not all that and a bag of chips if I’m being honest.
I think my mom also has an expectation of what my life is like – but more in that I’m dating all of these guys and am in long relationships that I’m not telling her about and that’s completely wrong. Again, I just might be inferring her thoughts, but it’s what I hear.
My friends are super supportive. Married friends with and without kids never take advantage of me for baby-sitting (I mean I watch their kids, but it’s not too much – and honestly, I could stand to do it a little more). They are always great about having me over to hang out with them and their little ones. I love all of the super cute stories, drawings, and book readings that get to happen during those visits. Sometimes it’s them who wants an afternoon, an hour away to just be with a friend. I don’t mind being interrupted by little ones, but it’s probably because I never am and only want that for the future.
So the harder question – what are my expectations for myself? Well, I read this book (well, part of a book) about twenty-somethings (which I’m not even one anymore!) and she said we need to prevent “Expectation Hangovers.” I had to read the chapter about this to get a firmer grasp on it, but the gist is that we are disappointed more when we don’t get what we thought we were going to get than if we just had realistic expectations and the experience was what we expected.
Make sense?
Example – when I turned 25 I had this quarter life crisis of sorts – I was so upset that my life wasn’t what it I expected it to be. I thought I would be married, at least dating someone, have kids, love my job, have a stable living situation (ie: not seeking out roommates over and over again). I didn’t have any of those things – no husband, no boyfriend, no kids, okay job, roommate after roommate (all terrible) and I had a super hard time turning 25. So I decided to change a few things – first being my expectations. So what did I do? Well, I set some other expectations – I couldn’t control not expecting things, but I could change what I wanted to do. So I made a 25 things in the next 25 years list. I figured these were things I could accomplish before I turned 50. Most of them were things to do rather than things to be – although married with kids is on that list.
There are some other great things I’ve already done like: Be a High School Youth Minister, Run 1 mile, Attend Fr. Michael’s Ordination, Go to Italy, Buy a Big Bed (ie: queen), Start a Blog…
I’ve done these – and about one per year since I wrote the list. I didn’t set out to accomplish them, more like I did the thing and then months later I looked at the list and happily realized I did something and crossed it off!
This changing my expectations habit has helped in areas of work, personal relationships, and life in general. Not that they are low, but that they are realistic. Why set yourself up for failure when you know you’ll just be disappointed? (I also do this with friends – you know, the ones who are late, a LOT – you know who you are!)
It’s not settling, it’s about being realistic. Realizing that my job is not my purpose in life. Marriage is not the goal of my existence. My purpose in life is to be a Saint and my goal is Heaven. When I have those two things set then I’m ready to take on the hundred other tasks that clutter my day!
Thanks to Jen for Hosting and Morgan for always being there! Next week the answer to the challenge (which I didn’t write about, but have a super big announcement to share with y’all)!
Happy Holy Week! Happy Easter!