30 Days of Thanks

 

A group of awesome ladies put together this linkup of a list of 30 things you’re thankful, one for each day in November. Ranging from the serious to the silly, here’s my list.

1. Jesus. Nuff said. He is EVERYTHING to me.

2. Being Catholic. Since I’ve converted, I keep learning more and more, and my faith has never been stronger. I can’t believe all the things I never knew existed. It’s like I’m finally seeing all the colors God made instead of just a few.

3. Kortni. She has kept me together (and alive) for the past 5 years while I learned how to truly live instead of just survive. I can never ever thank her enough for all she has done for me. ❤ you, sister.

4. My extended Catholic family. Gram and Pop, Mimi, Poppy, and Angel, Ms. Chris, Ms. Lynn. None of them are related to me by blood, but they are there when I need them, no matter what.

5. #Cathsorority. Ladies, you have kept me sane and supported me through my ups and downs this past year. Your prayers and support mean more than I can say. I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful group.

6. The CSO. Having somewhere I can go for a couple of hours, to get away from the house and hang out with Catholic young adults who are at the same general stage in life I am is just wonderful. Even if I’m not officially a student, I am welcomed with open arms and that means the world to this fledgling baby Catholic.

7. Mass. I love first of all that I can partake in the mass and receive communion, daily if I so choose (and can get there around work!) The more I go to mass, the more I want to go to mass, the more I crave mass. A complete 180 from my Baptist days where I’d rather have wisdom teeth pulled than go to church some days.

8. The Rosary. The rosary was the first tangible connection I had to the Catholic faith. Even before the thought of converting ever crossed my mind, I had a rosary from the Catholic club at school and (thanks to Kortni, Ms. Chris, and Ms. Lynn) knew how to pray it. I fully believe that learning to pray the rosary was the first step on my long road home. Now it’s a vital part of my faith and one I’m glad to share with others by making rosaries (and chaplets), both for sale and to give away when I can.

9. Mary. Mary is definitely my spiritual mother. I have an intense devotion to her. When I first toyed with the idea of converting, I was still sort of afraid of how God would react. Prodigal daughter who basically said ‘Screw you’ come crawling back and all. Mary was a lot more approachable in my mind. She led me step by baby step back into the arms of her Son and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

10. Confession. When I screw up, I have the hardest time letting go of the guilt. Going to Confession helps me with that. As the priest absolves me from my sins, I am able to finally let go of that guilt and shame I wrestle with and move on. Coming out of the confessional, I always feel so much lighter, the heavy burden I carried having been left behind at the foot of the cross. It’s a wonderful feeling to have.

11. Fuzzy. My “child” in fur. I got Fuzzy when my dad brought her home in 2000 from work. She became mine instantly, practically living on my bed. I hated leaving her behind when I went to college. Now that I have my own place, Fuzzy is back with me. She’s 12 now, and I know I may not get many years more with her but I’m determined to cherish every bit of what I do get. Having her here makes this apartment more like a home, and it gives me someone to come home to after work instead of an empty apartment. I love my Fuzzy.

12. My apartment. After 5 years of moving back and forth from dorm rooms to a tiny bedroom full of boxes, I appreciate having my own space all the more. My apartment is my place to just be me. After a long day in society, I can come back home, kick off my shoes, and curl up in my chair and know that no one is giving me funny looks when I have random crazy ideas that spiral into half completed projects all over the house.

13. My health. This year I’ve had my share of health problems. From discovering gallstones and the subsequent surgery to the balancing act with my thyroid and meds, it’s been one heck of a year. And dealing with my depression and switching meds on top of all of that. I have never been more thankful that I’m in relatively good health. I am still able to work and play without serious health issues. I’m still overweight but I’m losing weight steadily, thanks to making healthier lifestyle changes. My health could be worse and I know it. I’m thankful that its not and that I’m continuing to work to get healthier.

14. My doctor. My doctor is awesome, nuff said. She has been invaluable this year as all my health issues kept creeping up. I don’t know what I’d do without her (besides still be sick)

15. Health insurance. Having health insurance has been such a blessing this year. I shudder to think about what my bills would look like without it. Eep. Thank you, work, for providing me with benefits.

16. My job. I’m thankful to have a good job, especially in this economy. I get enough hours to make ends meet and a few extras once in a while. I get benefits for the first time ever, which is pretty awesome to me. I have a wonderful manager, and decent management above her. I’m lucky in that regard, and very thankful for it too.

17. My coworkers. I’m so grateful for my coworkers. I’ve had some real stinkers in the past but this bunch is pretty awesome. We help each other out if one person is overwhelmed, and just plain make work fun, cracking jokes and dancing around holding booty pads. (No lie, one of my coworkers did this!) It makes folding clothes a lot easier when everyone’s smiling.

18. My car. From April to July/August-ish, I had no car thanks to the old one dying on me. It was a real eye opener to how much I took it for granted. Having no way around besides catching rides with friends or walking was truly humbling. I depended on Kort having time to drive me for simple errands like running to the store or to dr’s visits. I did have a scooter for a little while before it got stolen, (I really have bad luck with vehicles) but when it can only go 30 mph, your travel routes are limited. Not to mention I could barely strap down a gallon of milk to the back rack to get it home, let alone anything more. I’m a lot more aware of all my trips now and take time to plan to do many things in one trip to save gas and make the most of it.

19. Public transportation. While I had no car, riding the bus was usually the only way I could get to work. The closest bus stop was a mile walk from my place but that’s a lot better than the 5-10 mile walk to work. I missed the bus one day and managed to walk halfway one time before my manager took pity on my and picked me up. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was so so grateful to be able to catch the bus relatively close versus walking to and from work each night.

20. My iPhone. This thing is my lifeline. Living with ADD makes it very hard for me to keep track of a lot of stuff. Bills to be paid, places to be, it all floats right out of my head usually. My iPhone makes it possible for me to function now. I have my calendar with my work schedule, appointments, and even the daily mass schedule for the parish on it. I have a to-do list app I love to bits called Epic Win that keeps me focused on what needs to be done (and allows my gamer side to indulge a bit too!) And of course all my Catholic apps keep me grounded and connected to my faith. Laudate, iBreviary, Liturgy of the Hours, and of course YouVersion’s Bible app. I can give up the phone when I need to (I managed to do so at my retreat 3 weeks ago), but it is still a major tool in keeping me flying and not crashing.

21. My watch. I don’t keep track of time well. I could swear its only been 5 minutes but its been half an hour instead. Or vice versa. Having my watch helps me keep track of time a lot better, especially how long I’ve been doing something. I have alarms set to tell me to stop what I’m doing and clean up to leave for both work and home. Since I started wearing (and actually looking at my watch, I’ve been a lot more punctual and I don’t miss out on as much anymore by losing track of time.

22. Photography. Photography has been my creative outlet this past year. Picking up the camera to shoot anything has always been one of my favorite ways to express myself. I went through a period of self-doubt with my photography for a while and now picking it back up is like a breath of fresh air. Composing a picture, looking at the angles, figuring out the puzzle of settings to create the effect I want, it’s all a game of sorts to me with the prize being a picture that captures the exact scene and feeling I wanted.

23. Nature. I’ve always loved spending time in nature, ever since I was little. Recently I found a clearing behind my apartment building that was once a small playground. The equipment is gone now and it’s all overgrown but it has become my sanctuary of sorts. I’m hoping that once the warm weather comes around, I can clear out some of the underbrush and make the clearing usable again. Maybe even have a spot to hang my hammock at times.

24. Music. Music has been invaluable this year to me. From upbeat songs giving me the motivation and energy to clean the house to using songs to express the words that won’t come out. And of course praising the Lord. I don’t think I can sing well but I do it anyway to praise Jesus. And besides I figure if God gave me a voice that can’t stay in tune, then He might as well listen to it, right? 😉

25. My Kindle. I am an absolutely voracious reader. I can devour a thick book in a day. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows took me 6 hours from start to finish. And that includes tear breaks. Having my Kindle and access to all sorts of e-books (especially the free ones!) has been wonderful. I’m able to find something to read for any mood I’m in. I have devotional books, the YouCat, kids books, classics, tons of novels and mysteries, cookbooks, and self-improvement books all at my fingertips. And it takes up no more space than a child’s picture book. Which is awesome because at the rate I’ve been downloading books, if they were all hard copy, I think I’d have run out of room in my house by now.

26. Pinterest. Pinterest is one of my new addictions. I can find ideas for everything on there. Photo tips and pose ideas, recipes to try, art projects to make, ideas for the future, and of course all the Catholic goodies. Since I joined Pinterest, I have: cooked more than ever before instead of always eating box meals, learned to make my own laundry detergent (saving money and reducing allergic reactions), found ways to organize and decorate my pad without costing an arm and a leg. I’ve also learned more about my faith just from reading pinned articles that I probably would never had stumbled upon otherwise. It’s pretty awesome.

27. My Wii. Being overweight, exercise is part of my routine now, in order to shed those extra pounds. I’m very self conscious about exercising though (and clingy exercise clothes don’t help much!) and can’t afford a home gym. So having my Wii and Wii Fit has been amazing for me. I can get my exercise in without being afraid that people are pointing and laughing at my chubby self. Plus I’m a Nintendo girl at heart so the Wii was the next upgrade for me to get anyway, and there are some really awesome games on there. (Zelda anyone?)

28. Fuzzy/thick blankets. I have sensory issues at times, and one of the few things that never fails to keep me calm and relaxed are my blankets. The heaviness and soft texture help soothe me and allow me to drift off to sleep much quicker than most anything else I’ve tried. They are a true lifesaver some days. Besides, who doesn’t like a warm snuggly blanket? 😉

29. Online bingo. This has been my mode of destress quite often after work. It helps to have something semi-mindless to focus on to wind down and transition from work mode to home mode, especially on the nights that I’m extremely keyed up from work events and having trouble shifting gears.

30. Blogging/journaling. This is a new (or rather long abandoned and returned to) outlet for me. When the words will come, it’s a great tool for expression. I’d much rather write out how I feel than harm myself. Some days the words don’t come and I journal through scribbles and doodles. Whatever works. Getting the feelings out is the important part. And having a record of what I’ve gone through, to be able to look back and see how far I’ve come, especially on the days when I feel I’ve got so much farther to go and I’m so disheartened by all my struggles, it’s awesome. I can say to myself ‘look at what you’ve conquered so far’ or ‘remember this? This was an amazing experience and a real breakthrough. Keep pushing and building on that’. It really helps keep me going through the darker days.

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Fresh Start

I got a haircut today.

It was very nervewracking, sitting in the chair, while the stylist busily snipped away at my long hair. Id peek down occasionally to see the pile of hair growing bigger. Eep. I haven’t had short hair in a looooong while, so this was a big change for me.

But when she was done, and I saw my reflection in the mirror for the first time, I LOVED IT! All my worries went away, and I couldn’t stop grinning. My hair felt so much lighter, and with all the weight off, my natural waves stood out more.

I also went to confession today.

I think that was even more nervewracking than the haircut.

I’m already nervous when I go to confession, but today the nerves were worse. Not really sure why, but I kept wanting to run away than face the priest. When I finally got into the confessional, my hands were shaking so bad. The confession got deep, and subjects were touched on that I prefer to keep buried. I was in tears at the end of it. Not because the priest was mean; he wasn’t mean at all. He was very nice.

I cried because through the graces of confession, I could feel the layers being stripped away. My soul had never felt so light, so free before. I was used to feeling lighter after confession already, because I wasn’t weighed down by my sins anymore. This time, I was practically floating on air, I felt so light. Not only were my sins gone, but the burdens I carried around from the buried subjects had been unearthed, and I realized that I carried those burdens unnecessarily. All they did was weigh me down and cause me to hurt when I didn’t need to.

Today kicks off the Year of Faith in the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI has called for this Year of Faith to invite all Catholics to an “an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world” (Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, 6). I never planned on my a-hah moment happening on the same day, but God likes to knock me upside the head with these sort of things apparently.

Those who know me well may or may not be aware that this Saturday marks a year since I had my faith shaken and all the lies stripped away. I’ve spent this year recovering and rebuilding my faith and my life. It’s getting better, but there are still rough spots. I’ve had to force myself to blog at all this past year, just because I was so disheartened with what happened. (And I’m still not ready to talk about what happened, let alone even think about blogging about it). This blog was made to do 3 things: to chronicle my journey of converting to Catholicism, to give me a space to blog about my ADD, depression, anxiety, and other assorted issues, and to give me a way to reach out to anyone who might be going through something I’ve dealt with, and offer what help I can.

So this entry marks a fresh start:

A fresh start in my faith as I dive in headfirst to all it means to be Catholic. I’m returning to the basic building blocks at first, and building from there. I learned so much from RCIA, but I know there’s a ton more to learn. I’m hoping to have some of my #Cathsorority sisters help out with some guest posts later on lol! (hint hint yall 😉 )  Don’t worry I’ll provide details later….once I get them all worked out in my head.

A fresh start in my life as I wrangle with all my 3 letter problems. With the help of Kort @ Heart Shaped Stone, I’ve developed what I’m calling Flight School. Flight School is my way to get organized, not only around the house, but organize my time and finances as well.

A fresh start in this blog as I take it back to what it was meant to be. I’ve come to realize that I may never have a huge following like some other blogs. *shrug* If God uses my writing to reach one other person and help them, then I’m satisfied. I haven’t decided whether or not to take down the older posts or to leave them. They’re from a very rough time in my life, and the person I was in those posts was deceived. Even the ones after I realized what was going on, I had to force myself to sit down and write them. I don’t think they reflect myself and this blog very accurately.

I think a fresh start is just what I need. Peel away all the layers and let the real me fly finally.

Much love in Christ,

 

 

PS: Because I figure some of you will want to see the new hairdo, ta-dah!

But just ignore the red face, kplzthx? Kort and I went to the fair the day before this was taken….and I forgot sunscreen….again. *facepalm*