Saturday, June 18, 2011

One week at Notre Dame... and counting

It has been one week since I packed up my car and drove almost 7 hours to my cousins' house in Cedar Lake, IN. Tomorrow, it will be one week since I came to Notre Dame.

Orientation is over and with it, the last of my summer. Classes start Monday and the eagerness and anticipation as well as the nervousness and, for some, sheer dread, can be felt through the halls. I have finished my reading assignments for the first day and so, I thought I'd share some news with you all.

I know where I'm going for the next two years!

I will be working as a part of the Butler Catholic Community, the campus ministry for Butler University in Indianapolis. I am so excited! My mentor will be Fr. Jeff Godecker, the priest who has been running the program on his own for four years. He sent me a brochure from last year and I fell in love. Here's what it says:

"We openly welcome all persons, both liberal and conservative, content and dissatisfied, those who are turned off and those turned on, those who are certain and those who have doubts and questions. We are a Church where love dwells and we are built on God's grace along with the hopes, dreams, and the faith of our members."

The mission of the BCC (Butler Catholic Community) is "to create a welcoming, accessible community to find, build, and share faith." I'm so excited to be a part of that mission and I look forward to the next two years!

So, as I am adapting here, please pray that the Butler community will be open to me and that I can be open to them. In the mean time, please pray for my Indy community and for the Echo community as a whole! These wonderful people will always be in need of prayers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The tale of my travels and the start at Notre Dame

So, after two weeks at home, I left my parents home and went into the great unknown. Well... sort of.

On Saturday morning, I headed out around 10:00 am for my cousins' house in Cedar Lake, IN. When I was a child, I used to go there with my family once a year for the family reunion. I hadn't been there since I was about 12 years old. On the (very long) drive, I kept seeing things that I remembered from my past- certain towns, the large cross on the highway. It was a nice drive, but I was glad to pull into Larry and Ruth's driveway. As I pulled up to the garage, I was reminded of so many wonderful memories there when I was a little girl and it was just like coming home.

I was so blessed to have such a wonderful time with Larry and Ruth (and Marie), and even to get to see Eleanore, George, and everyone else. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who love and support me so much-- and have for as long as I can remember. It was just perfect! My day with them ended far too soon and I had to leave (after Mass at their newly renovated Church and a very nice breakfast).

Then, on Sunday, I arrived at Notre Dame. I was met by Colleen, who quickly helped me fill a tub with stuff from my car. After unloading that tub into my new room, Natalie helped me fill two more before I was really done. Then, there was the matter of unpacking. Soon, the room started to look like it was mine and it has slowly become comfortable.

The Echo people are great, naturally. I've really enjoyed getting to know them better. We're still doing Orientation. Classes begin Monday.

More later!

Pray for us, this schedule is pretty packed!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A reflection on Acts 20:24 and a celebration for a friend

Tonight I was blessed to spend the evening celebrating a woman who has served our parish for several years as director of PSR (aka CCD). We began with Mass and followed with a reception.

One of the things I love about the Catholic Church is that, unlike many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who worship in Protestant Churches, we have set readings for every day of the year. Today it was like the readings were pre-ordained for Roseanne's retirement. From Acts 20:24, in a speech that the author (probably Luke) recorded from Paul, it says: "I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God's grace."

How fitting is this? For those of us who endeavor to give our lives to the Church through ministry this is a good reminder of what our goals should be. As Dr. Roper said in his speech at Convocation (see for the text), we are called to die to ourselves constantly. When I was sitting there in Convocation listening to his words, I know that I thought about my decision to enter the Echo program- more or less against my own wishes- because I knew that it would give me a greater opportunity to do the work I love, even if it keeps me from pursuing it completely for the two years I'm in the program. I had to die to my own pride and go against what I had originally said about my future. I had to turn down the opportunity to do missionary work-something I greatly desire- for a greater opportunity, one that I am grateful to have. But this next step- no matter how unsure or nervous I might be- will surely help me in the course of the ministry that I have been given.

At any rate, the evening was wonderful. I got to spend time with three dear old friends (Alyssa, Jessica, and Erin) and it was rewarding to see how the Lord is working in the lives of these three beautiful young women. It is always good to be reunited with old friends after a long absence, but especially when it is a reminder of how the Lord really does answer our prayers. It was also fun to sit and have "girl talk" without talking about philosophy, theology, or anything else that comes up in such conversations at UD! Just a good old time talking about our dreams and boys and everything else under the sun.

I was also blessed to talk with other dear friends- Doris, Roseanne, Belen. And then a phone call from my big brother tonight, where he played me a new song he's working on. Life is so good!!

Unfortunately, I still have to pack! Getting down to the wire now, but with mom's surgery last week it's been hard. It'll happen.

Pray for me!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

All will be well... I think.

This is how I feel packing to live in a college dorm again.... ------>

So, I really should have updated this by now, but I’m at home and when I’m at home I’m AT HOME. My dad always gets excited when I come home because we can hang out and my mom likes to watch movies with me and I also have to unpack/pack, so really it’s impossible to take the time to update my blog.

Graduation was more or less surreal. I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I am a college grad—especially since I’m packing to move back into a dorm. But it was over in a flash. Bishop Vann gave a wonderful yet rather long address and then I walked across a stage and was handed a diploma from Bishop Farrell (which was surreal in its own way, since I’m probably his biggest fan). And then I was down the stairs and to my seat and Tim and I sat there looking at our diplomas like, wow, this is really happening. And then there were goodbyes, I turned in my graduation garb and walked away from Braniff, not sure I’ll ever see many of those people ever again.

Rebecca and I had a lovely graduation reception, which many of my dear friends from HFN attended. I was so glad to be with them all one last time before leaving!

The week after graduation consisted primarily of cleaning and packing and trying to go one last time to all the places that Molly and I loved. My parents stayed until Wednesday morning, and while they were there Mark and I enjoyed going all kinds of places with them. Then, when they left I spent an evening with the Ponikiewskis/Parents and an evening with Molly and Jill. It all went by so fast that I can barely explain how I felt or what was going through my mind except to say that I was very happy and very sad all at once. Happy to be enjoying the company of my very favorite people (particularly the Ponikiewskis) but sad to be saying goodbye.

Molly and I spent the weekend in Houston and were blessed to spend time with Adam Landry and to meet his family and to see Caity Dewitt and Alison Galbraith. All these wonderful people who have been such a blessing in my life! And then, too soon, we packed up my mom’s van (which she had lent me) and we drove to Tulsa. After a wonderful evening with Kevin and a sad goodbye to Molly, I went home.

I have been very blessed since I’ve been home. On Sunday my parents threw me a graduation party and all these wonderful people came to congratulate me and celebrate with me. It was wonderful to see them all—especially my dear friend, Jindra, who has always been so kind to me. She is like a second grandmother and is so sweet and so filled with love and grace. And seeing all these other people who have always been an inspiration to me—The Cruises, the Manions, the Brookses, the Volkmers, the Stratmans, the Mugels, the Tuckers… the list could go on forever—it was so wonderful and so special and I am so grateful to everyone who came. Everyone that was there is someone who has played an important role in my life. Seeing my family and friends was wonderful and I wish I had more time to talk to everyone.

Since the party, I have been unpacking and packing at the same time. It’s difficult and stressful and the added nervousness of going, yet again, into the great unknown, alone and the pain of being terribly homesick for Dallas and my friends and my apartment—this as all made this week very hard.

Then, last night, my friends from St. Pats School got together. We try to do this every time we come home and each time there is a different group that comes. Last night it was Paul Volkmer, Matt Ruder, CJ Papesh, Calli Collier, Hannah Mugel and I. I think it’s been years (probably since graduation) since we were all in the same place at the same time. And it was just like no time had passed. The bonds that run between us are so strong that even after 8 years of separation, we were able to talk for hours and just be together. It was like heaven for a few hours there, being able to forget my nervousness and worries about packing and leaving again and just sit and remember old times and talk and dream… it was a great reminder of why I love my little town. These people were the ones who made my childhood what it was, and without their friendship I would not have been the person I am.

So, all in all, I am very blessed (something you all already knew) and I am very grateful for friends. However, should someone wish to help me pack/unpack, it would be greatly appreciated. I just keep playing Dr. Who in the background and reminding myself constantly that all will be well.