About Me

My Photo
Florida, United States
I am a Hopeful Bride of Christ and I long for the day I can dedicate all of my life to Him. I have been actively discerning religious life for about 4 years now and I have been accepted to enter the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church. I hope to begin formation soon and beg your prayers that my student loans do not keep me from entering. With your help and prayers I hope that my entrance to the SMMC will soon be reality. Rest assured that you are all in my thoughts and prayers - most especially those young men and women discerning their vocations, whether to the religious life, priesthood or married life. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I continue this journey toward Him.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A little update

Hi everyone,

I am still here and I'm sorry my post have been so few and far in between.  I have been preparing for entrance as a pre-candidate and life has been sooooo hectic.  The good news is that I am officially living in Spokane WITH the sisters.  I am sooo grateful to you for all of your prayers and support over the years, I have truly felt them.  Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I proceed with discernment.  Tomorrow begins the hunt for a job that will allow me to manage payment of my loans and time with the sisters, I have some leads and hope some stuff pan out.  Please keep storming Heaven.

In other news, I make my total consecration today!!! I am sooo excited about this and cannot wait.  I ask you to please continue to ask for Our Lady's intercession as I prepare for this life-altering moment.

I will try to give an update on life in the convent more often than I've been posting.  Hope for something at least once every two weeks (I'm really think once a week but I don't want to make you  guys promises I can't keep, especially since I don't know what my day-to-day schedule will be like)

Entrusting you to Our Lady's care,
Hopeful

Monday, October 1, 2012

The garden of Life


The following post is by my good friend Natalie.  I read it and I just wanted to share it with y'all, hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

“The Garden of Life”
By: Natalie Hand

            Every March I get the need to put my hands in the dirt and plant a garden.  I have this image in my mind of plants overflowing with God’s bounty and it excites me to till up the ground, pull all the weeds and prepare the beds where that miracle we learned about in kindergarten can take root.  I envision going out there with my kids and talking about how amazing God is that he can create all this from tiny seeds and bringing in baskets of beautiful fruit and vegetables that we can share at our table.  I usually start my day by myself and am joined by a toddler or preschooler (I usually have one of those around) and end the day with a few more kids helping out of curiosity.  Feeling quite accomplished at days end with dirt embedded in my knees and the inside my finger nails black, my need to be one with part of God’s creation is satiated.  Then the fun begins.
            Every evening I enjoy going out there and checking on how things are growing and what new little seedlings have popped up that day.  We water and watch, water and watch.  I find it so fulfilling and therapeutic to have a front row seat to a tiny part of God’s creation.  However, this past summer was another story.
            We started the garden like we do every year with great intentions…and then, life happened.  Things were going just as we planned.  My tomatoes were making their way through the cages, the cucumbers were slowly creeping up their teepee, and the peppers were adding a few more leaves to the stem when our world flipped upside down.  On May 20th, instead of celebrating my husbands 38thbirthday, we were at our dear friend’s home consoling, cleaning, and entertaining children because they had just found out that they were miscarrying our 16th Godchild.  The days after that were spent doing much of the same and preparing for a funeral for our sweet baby Benedict.  After a time of mourning and celebrating the life around us, we buried that little angel who left us entirely too soon, taking with him a little piece of all of our hearts.
            The rest of the summer was spent visiting family and participating in youth group trips and events and before we knew it, summer was almost over.  When we finally had time to enjoy the garden we worked so hard planting, it was taken over by weeds and the tops of most of the plants became a nice meal to the neighborhood deer.  I tried in vain to pull some of the weeds, but as most know when you pull the weeds, the plants come up with it so I eventually gave up on my garden.  I didn’t water it, I didn’t check it.  It just was and actually still is a mess.   All I had envisioned is just now a clutter of unsightly green that I don’t care to look at because when I do, it just reminds me of something that I started out passionate about that now makes me recall all the things I am asked to do and don’t have the drive for anymore.  All the things I want to do, but don’t have time for.  All the things I need to do, but can’t do because of how busy I have become or just the plain fact that we don’t have the money to do.
            As I sat one day just looking at the jumble it became, God revealed to me that this garden is much like parenting.  We start out excited as we see this new little creation that God has entrusted us with and we spend time caring and loving them with intensity and caution.  We watch their every move.  Charting their growth and making sure they are getting all the nourishment they need, physically and spiritually.  Teaching them to feed themselves, be independent and how to hold their little hands in prayer.  But then somehow, when we are not paying attention, life happens.  Work happens.  Extracurricular activities become more abundant.  Money becomes tight and more jobs need to be attained to make ends meet.  We start living to work, not working to live.  Prayers become shorter at night and sometimes the Divine Mercy is said because it’s just shorter than the rosary.  (Don’t judge).      
            It made me stop in my tracks.  What are we doing?  Before I know it, my garden of life will be filled with weeds and the autumn leaves will have filled the beds choking off any life within it because faith got put on the back burner to take care of the daily grind, bills, tuition, clothes and shoes for these kids who haven’t decided yet to stop growing!  How big can shoes really get?  Did we teach our kids all that really mattered in life?  Did we show them by example how to be Catholic or did we just tell them in passing?  It made me realize how important it is to pull the weeds out while they are still small so the entire plant won’t come out with them. I pray that one day our harvest will be plentiful and we will be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor instead of trying to weed through to find the goodness and grand picture of a plentiful garden we started out with.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God qualifies the called


This past June, I accompanied our Middle School youth group to covecrest along with some parents and two other core team members.  Like the year before, I fully expected the kids to get a boatload out of it and of course they did.  What I forgot was how much I would benefit from it.  I was so focused on making sure the kids allowed the Holy Spirit to transform them that I didn't worry about the Holy Spirit transforming me.
During that wonderful week there, I came face to face with myself; my fears, my shortcomings and my self-inflicted obstacles. I was so aware of how not worthy that I was for the call to Religious Life that I found myself asking God if He was sure. I honestly wanted and needed an explanation as to why our wise Lord would choose an undeserving sinner like me to live on this path to Holiness. This brought me great sadness and it troubled me greatly. It wasn't until Thursday (camp was from Monday - Saturday) that I finally stopped to focus on how unworthy I was but rather on how wonderful and merciful our Lord was. Father Rob (bless His heart) kept reassuring the teens that they were wonderful and they were definitely worthy of the Lord's love.
That evening I went to chapel for evening prayer and as I sat there, reading psalm 139 I couldn't help but sob uncontrollably. That psalm always have that effect on me for some weird reason. I started to realize that the Lord knew me much more than I knew myself and if He saw fit to call me to this life then I should embrace it and Him. The next day we celebrated the feast of St. Peter and Paul (how fitting was that?) I remember clearly how father Rob reminded the kids that "today is the Feast day for anyone who's ever messed up" he also reminded all of us not to struggle with our shortcomings because "God does not call the qualified, but He qualifies the called" It meant so much to me to hear that especially due to the struggles I was having earlier in the week.
I wrote that little sentence down in one of my notebooks and I kept reminding myself that God didn't call me because I'm the best person for the job and the most perfect one out there. He called me because out of my weaknesses, my failures he can bring about something beautiful. Early on in my discernment St. Paul and St. Peter were great examples to me of how much one does not need to be perfect. Then of course I remembered David and I realized that I was in "good company" with my less than perfect ways. Years later, I stumbled onto St. Augustine and St. Monica and I found a kindred spirit (oddly enough in both of them) I see how much this wonderful saint loved Our Lord and had such compunction for his shortcomings and all I can think of is how wonderful. Someone who definitely was not perfect but who through the prayers of His mother and through the Lord's grace became a saint.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of one of my most loved saints, I invite you to remember that we are called to strive for perfection but that doesn't mean that we are discounted if we are not there yet. All we need is to be sincere in our desire for the Lord and do our best to overcome our shortcomings. St. Augustine recognized his sinfulness but then gave it all to the Lord and allowed Him to transform his heart. I beg the prayers of this wise saint along with that of his mother everyday and I know they are storming heaven for me.
In celebrating the feast of St. Augustine today, remember that God qualifies the called; and so if you let Him, He will prepare you for whatever wonderful thing He has planned for you.
Happy feast day of St. Augustine,
Hopeful
Support a vocation to Religious Life

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The reality of entering

Hi there!  Yeah I'm still here.  I've been preparing for entrance by being as aggressive as I can with paying down my loans as well as being persistent in my fundraising efforts.  I was working on a dinner in which one of the sisters would give a talk but it looks like the dinner won't be happening anytime soon.  Initially I had planned on a dinner for October 22nd but with the need to get everything ready to enter as soon as possible, it does not look like I will be able to have a dinner any time soon.  I am hopeful though that I can fundraise enough to be ready for entrance.

In other news, my discernment is going as can be expected.  I went through a good week of anxiety and fear of the unknown shortly after I gave my boss official notice that I was leaving.  We both knew that I was leaving but giving her my letter of resignation made it all too real and I got the gist of what I was doing.  I didn't have any regrets or second thoughts but I didn't realize how much I needed to trust in the Lord as I continued to make steps to enter Religious Life.  

So these last few weeks have been a wave of emotions for me as I prepare to face the unknown.  I have  experienced true happiness and joy at the anticipation of my entrance and the beginning of a life lived in Community.  I have experienced anxiety when I think of the fact that I not only need to get additional items for my trousseau but also must be just about debt-free by the time I enter.  

Last night in Adoration, I told the Lord that I was going to spend the next hour with him in silence and I barely made it.  After about half an hour I wanted to pull out my rosary to pray the rosary and I just about did and I was reminded gently of my promise.  Fifteen minutes after that I wanted to pull out my book to do some spiritual reading; it wasn't until the last ten minutes of Adoration that I finally decided to stop and silence my heart and mind and hear the Lord.  

I have been soo looking forward to my entrance that I haven't been thinking too much about what it would be like.  Now that's it's approaching, I think about it more and more and I realize that I won't be visiting anymore and I keep thinking and worrying about that.  While I am exited on one hand, I can't help but be worried about "messing" up.  

I wonder if this is how a new bride feels after the wedding, when she and her groom are finally under one roof and she suddenly feels as though she is under a microscope.  I will never know since I have never been a new bride, but I do know that when I think of life in the convent I do feel as though it will be like living under a microscope; I don't want to "mess up" nor do I want to be unnatural.  I guess I need to continue to remind myself to just be myself, just as I was on my previous visits.  

I need your prayers now more than ever as I prepare for this very exciting and radical move especially as I work on eliminating my loans.  Please consider making a donation or inviting someone to donate to support my vocation.

May God Bless you always,
Hopeful


Monday, July 9, 2012

Remembrance

So over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking of my unworthiness.  Not only in terms of this beautiful vocation the Lord has called me to but the fact that he has seen fit to invite me to His table.  It brings tears to my eyes and I get so overwhelmed.  I was thinking of a way to express my feelings and then Matt Maher came on and this song just dotted the i.

Oh, how could it be
That my God would welcome me into this mystery
Say take this bread, take this wine
Now the simple made divine for any to receive

By Your mercy, we come to Your table
By Your grace, You are making us faithful

Lord, we remember You
And remembrance leads us to worship
And as we worship You
Our worship leads to communion
We respond to Your invitation, we remember You

See His body, His blood
Know that He has overcome every trial we will face
None too lost to be saved
None too broken or ashamed, all are welcome in this place

By Your mercy, we come to Your table
By Your grace, You are making us faithful

Lord, we remember You
And remembrance leads us to worship
And as we worship You
Our worship leads to communion
We respond to Your invitation, we remember You

Dying You destroyed our death
Rising You restored our life
Lord Jesus, come in glory

Lord Jesus, come in glory
Lord Jesus, come in glory
Lord Jesus, come in glory

Lord, we remember You
And remembrance leads us to worship
And as we worship You
Our worship leads to communion
We respond to Your invitation
We respond to Your invitation, we remember You 

picture from savior.org
I just want to sit at His feet in adoration and just let him into my heart.  I don't need to tell Him anything, he knows it all; He knows what I'm feeling, what I desire more than anything is to have time with Him in silence.