Luke 10:41-42

"But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.'"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Feast Day

Today is the feast day of the patron saint of this blog, St. Martha. The first reading from Mass is one of my favorites, Proverbs 31, the wife of noble character. It was interesting to read it as an engaged woman this time and see how it connected to Jesus's encounter with Martha in Luke 10. When I've talked to married women and read books that refer to Proverbs 31oftentimes the feeling is of frustration. This capable wife is like superwoman; she has a successful career, takes care of her children, servants, the poor, and makes her husband look good. It seems like she never sleeps. In the real world, women are always battling that balance between career and family, and even if they don't work outside the home, struggle with trying to keep it all together. So then why would this chapter be paired with the story of Martha, who is trying to do the same thing, and Jesus admonishes her for it?

As always I have to remember what is the heart behind what I do, is it to honor God or myself? When Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, it's really about her and her needs not being met (v.40); she's so distracted with busyness that she forgets what all her tasks were supposed to be about. I was reminded of this on Monday. I had an opportunity to do some work out of town this and next week and was scrambling to find the time to prepare for it as the new school year is quickly approaching and I have two new classrooms to set up, along with other responsibilities at home. This job ended up being cancelled and it frustrated me a little; it's work I enjoy doing that would help give me more experience in some future career goals, and of course it's extra money. But now I'm so glad I didn't have to do it. There is almost no way that I could have gotten all my work done at school and home and stay sane. These next few months of moving twice, starting a new job, and getting married are going to require me to spend more time than ever at the feet of Jesus. And verse 30 at the end of Proverbs 31 gets to the heart of this capable wife's work-"...but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." That is why she does it all, where she gets her energy and motivation, why she is beloved by her family.

It's not all about me.

Friday, July 2, 2010


In my short-lived first blog I did a post about the crazy-growing plant in my living room. Being a science teacher and my mother's daughter, I am pretty observant of the natural life around me (see previous posts), that and it's summer and I'm at home more often to pay attention. My garage apartment becomes a mini greenhouse in the summer because I don't run the AC often due to being cheap (I am also my father's daughter) and I get cold so easily. So the warm temperature and lots of windows makes my plants very happy. But instead of just growing taller it's starting sprout vines along the floor. My pictures don't do it justice. Something that I've noticed though is that as new leaves are created I have to remove a few dead yellow ones. They don't all make it, because in order for the plant to stay alive and have enough nutrients it has to get rid of what's draining it of available resources.

John 15:1-2 "I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit He prunes to make it bear more fruit."

A friend of mine told me yesterday that being married is like having a mirror in front of you all the time, your spouse reflects back everything about you, good and bad. In my single years I prayed that God would put me in a relationship if that is what would make me more holy, and I got what I wanted. My fiance and I recently spent 6 days traveling together and I learned a lot about my day-to-day selfish tendencies. Yesterday we weren't even together but after reflecting on a phone conversation we'd had I was humbled yet again by the sacrifices he is making for us and our future while I still often live in single-mode thinking of myself.

Just as I prune my plant to make it grow healthier and stronger, God is pruning my heart to prepare me for my upcoming marriage.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Living in the middle of the city does not lend to many opportunities to see wildlife, so I've been pretty excited about what I've been observing lately right outside my door. A mama robin recently decided to build a nest in the gap between the drain pipe and outside wall of my apartment. For the first few days, there was just a mess on the ground below of what materials didn't stick together. But now, every time I leave or come home, I look up to see her sitting on her eggs, waiting for them to hatch.

Here's that ongoing theme of patience coming back to me again. I've been engaged for just under a month now and in that span of time, the fiance and I have managed to get a lot planned, despite my constant telling people that I wasn't going to do anything until after my school year was over. Things just kept coming up that we "had" to take care of right away. At this point I feel like he and I are pretty settled into this engaged couple routine, and everything we do together is building toward this greater purpose of marriage that isn't going to be official for another 6 months. And it is already really hard to wait. Now that we have this end goal (which is actually a new beginning) in sight, it's hard to not rush things along, hence all the planning we've already done.

But we're never going to have this time of engagement again. It's time for us to continue to get to know each other better and prepare ourselves spiritually and mentally for what will be an incredibly joyous and trying season as newlyweds.

1Corinthians 13:4-5 "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful..."

As I look up at that little bird, I think of how boring it would be to just sit there, day after day, waiting until the eggs start to hatch. But if she wasn't there, those eggs wouldn't be able to hatch in the first place, they need her warmth to develop the life within. What a symbol of sacrificial love.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chicken Little

I just got back from shoe shopping and a mani/pedi. Rough life, right?

I didn't enjoy it at all.

I am getting my engagement pictures taken this evening, and the shoes I was going to wear I discovered were literally hanging onto my feet by a thread. But because I was afraid of being late, I had to rush through picking out a replacement with really enjoying the hunt like I normally do. That wasn't the really stressful part, though.

I was sitting in the massage chair being taken care of by two different people, and instead of just relaxing and being excited about getting photos taken that I really never expected to have, I'm glued to the local news, worried that storms that are four hours north of Dallas are going to come here and ruin this evening. I have been worried about this since last night and probably won't be able to relax until we're actually in the middle of the shoot. Oh, and I was also worried about my car getting towed most of that time.

Unfortunately, this gives you of just a glimpse of the worries running through my brain since I got engaged 2 weeks ago. Instead of enjoying this exciting time where I get to be showered with gifts, shop, decorate, primp, be with family and friends, and prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage to the most wonderful man, I have been paralyzed by all these "what if" scenarios. And every time one passes, a new one takes it's place. There are countless things that could go wrong between now and December, and I will literally go crazy before then if this keeps up.

I know what Satan is trying to do. He knows my difficulties in trusting God. He's distracting me with lots of tasks and responsibilities that keep me from rest. But this time is more important than ever for me to cling to my Lord and believe His truth in preparing me to be a wife.

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A reason why I love being Catholic-

It's technically 3: the Easter Triduum. Despite 29 years of being a Catholic this is the first year I participated in all 3 services-Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. I was thinking last night that if people, Christian or not, attended the Triduum they would want to become Catholic afterwards. It was such a wonderful way to culminate a really fruitful time of Lenten sacrifice. Yesterday I really got what the disciples must have felt on that Saturday, that anticipation of what was to come. I was so looking forward to the celebration of the Resurrection.

I've been to Holy Thursday Mass a few times before, but what was unique this time was that there were some children to get their feet washed by the priests. How special that must've been for them! If they're anything like me, priests are heroes, the celebrities of the church and to have them humble themself in that way would be so special.

We went to the Good Friday service at 3, the time when Jesus would've died. I think the Catholic Church more than any other really focuses on that day, all that happened to Christ, and you can't help but be moved when you kneel in front of the crucifix. The priest's homily went straight to my heart; he talked about how Jesus truly gave it all that day and that God calls us to the same. I know that I hold back, when I talk to others about my desires, and with God in my prayers (or lack of it). It's out of fear of disappointment, that if I put those feelings out there, I'm exposed and could get let down. I will experience pain sometimes, but then there's redemption to follow.

The Easter Vigil was amazing. At the beginning the church is darkness until our candles were lit, starting with the Easter candle, representing Christ as the light. We heard the stories of creation, Abraham, Isaac, and Moses, then the lights came on, the Hallelujah was sung and we heard of the empty tomb. I got to see about 30 people get baptized and come into the Catholic church, 7 of whom were children (including 2 I've been teaching). We all stood and applauded for them, just as I am sure they were celebrating in heaven. I worshipped while the choir sang from Handel's Messiah after communion.

Catholics know how to celebrate!

Today was spent enjoying great food, drink, and conversation with family and friends. I am so blessed. But I was talking to my boyfriend on the way home from a friend's house about tomorrow. I am totally on that God-high, like I feel after being on a retreat, but now I have to get back to the "real world" of my routine and work. How can I avoid going back into bad habits out of laziness and forgetfulness?

It reminds me of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17) and Peter's desire to hold onto that mountaintop experience. But God quickly steps in and commands Peter, James, and John to listen to His Son, who tells them not to be afraid. And that's the lesson I think. God gives us these amazing times where we should want to praise and glorify Him, but they are only temporary here on Earth. When we're off the mountain we need to follow what Jesus did and live in a trusting relationship with Our Father. I've learned so much during these last 6weeks and now I need to put it into practice.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I was in some moderate traffic on my way home from work and errands this evening. I was listening to Catholic radio, a call-in show that today focused on the Passion. Until a couple months ago I never would have been listening to this. Back around the first of the year I felt convicted to give up using my phone in the car for Lent. Not only is it a safety hazard, it is always my fallback when I'm restless driving from one place to another. Instead of setting aside time to call family members and friends, I do it in the car when I have nothing else to occupy my attention. Now I spend more time in prayer, silence, or listening to a radio station that inspires and teaches me.

There's no coincidence to the length of the Lenten season. Not only does it mirror the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert and the amount of time it rained in the days of Noah, but studies show that it takes that amount to time to either stop or start new habits. This Lenten season has not been the first time that I've made literally lifechanging choices.

A few years ago I decided to give up frozen foods because I was almost completely subsisting on them. I noticed that I started losing weight as a result, so I kept it up, gradually cut out other junk food, and tried to eat foods that God made, not man. A year later I was 80 pounds lighter, and 3 years later I still am. Not only do I look completely different, my confidence has changed and I'm in a body that is healthy and active.

I also started dating a lot more during this time, but didn't always make the right choices. Last year while on a Lenten mission trip, God convicted me to wait for the man that I truly desired, that had the qualities that would lead to a lasting, holy relationship. I wasn't going to waste my time with guys that weren't good enough just so I'd have someone to talk to and take me out. This meant being completely alone for awhile. But a few months later I met my now-boyfriend of 8 months. He was what I'd been praying for for so long. Our relationship is pure, mature, and centered on what matters most.

Now that this Lenten season is drawing to a close I wonder what's going to happen next. This has been another amazing time of sacrifice and growth and I don't want to fall back into bad habits. I want to keep growing and making the best use of the time God gives me.

Hebrews 12:1-2 "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lillies and Calves

Last week I bought a beautiful starfire lilly for a lesson on plants. My kids and I have both enjoyed watching how this flower goes through its life cycle. They asked me to take pictures of it over spring break because some buds hadn't opened yet. That's forced me to pay more attention to it than I normally would as I bustle about on different tasks at home. I noticed that the final bud on the flower seemed to be taking forever to open. I was so tempted to just pry it open myself so I could enjoy its beauty right away, but knowing that I have a black thumb, forced myself to just leave it alone.

A day or so later it opened on its own and it was worth the wait. It's like the coffee episode all over again.

At least I know I'm not alone in my struggle with patience. Around this time I read from Exodus 32 when the Israelites make a golden calf and worship it instead of the Lord. Why do they do this? Because "...the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain..." (v1). Instead of waiting for God to move in His time they take matters into their own hands with disasterous results: "Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf-the one that Aaron made." (v35) I always shake my head when I read of the Israelites and their ingratitude because I see so much of that in myself. I was talking with a friend a couple months back about a decision I was struggling with. She told me something that I've been thinking about often and came up in "Believing God" as well; that as Americans when we in a dire situation we oftentimes pull out the credit card to solve it, while most people in the world are in poverty and only have God to rely on. And then we wonder why in the postmodern church we don't see miracles like we read about in Acts and the Gospels.

I ultimately decided to let God provide instead of working to do it myself. And it hasn't always been easy. I don't really doubt that I made the wrong choice but those questions do pop up every once in awhile since the situation hasn't been resolved yet. But I know that when it does God will get the glory.

Psalm 7:17 "I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High."

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I got an espresso machine a few months ago, and with my bf's help, figued out how to make great lattes quickly. Recently though, I noticed that the milk just wasn't foaming the way it was before. So I trouble-shooted, cleaned out different parts, but it still really wasn't working the way it should. So I talked to him about it, and he said he'd help the next time he was over. He steamed and foamed the milk for me and turns out the problem was...

I didn't wait long enough to let the water heat up before I started.

BF gave me a knowing look and I said something to the effect of "Imagine that."

See we both know that I struggle big time with patience and being still. One of the reasons why I typically use my espresso machine on the weekends and evenings only is that I don't have time (or I think I don't have time) to stand and wait for the machine to warm up and go through the about 10 minute process of making the coffee when I have to get to work. Same argument for making cereal in the morning, or just cooking in general. To really prepare anything well requires focus and attention and being present, not flitting off to do other things.

2Peter 3:13-15 "But, in accordance with His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by Him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation..."

The same is true in my spiritual life. I get so impatient when God doesn't answer a prayer Right Now. As I struggled with dating, getting frustrated not meeting the right man, I kept praying to God. What frustrated me the most was that inbetween time just getting to know someone and I couldn't tell for sure if it was going to lead anything more. I wanted God to just tell me, so then I could move on either way. Rarely did it happen that quickly, because I wouldn't have to depend on God if I got my answer immediately. Would I have prayed that much otherwise? Knowing me, most likely not. I'm facing this again in a different avenue of my life. I know that God is calling me to something different but is not giving me an immediate answer-the best way I can describe it is that the future looks hazy. It reminds me of what Paul writes in 1Corinithians 13:12, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known."

God is calling me to patience as this next stage unfolds. I am called to ask what He desires of me and be honest in praying from the heart, but even more importantly, to be still enough to listen for His response.

So how was this morning's coffee? Perfect!

It's a start.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Being a little silly

Yesterday was one of those days where my attitude totally affected how I reacted to events at work. What I thought was interesting was the way I realized it. Today I had to go to training in my district and there's always a theme for how we're supposed to dress. This time it was one of my favorites, the 80s. I love the music, the clothes were so outrageous, plus it's the decade of my childhood, so there's the nostalgia factor. I borrowed accessories from a friend, my mom recently gave me a pair of jeans she wore in the 80s (it made my head explode a little, thinking that I'm wearing the pants she wore when she was my age), used the pieces I had from previous 80s parties, and put on the brightest makeup I have.

I looked ridiculous.

It was awesome!

As I was driving to school, hoping I wouldn't get pulled over, I was thinking how much I needed this. I ended up being one of the most dressed up people there, went to lunch with a friend and the gym in all my 80s glory. And I didn't really care. I made myself and others laugh and that was enough.

Periodically I get into this rut at school where I take myself way too seriously. I don't laugh enough with my students. I instead only see the negative and end up snapping at kids that don't deserve it. Case in point-yesterday one of my students lost her shoe on the roof at recess. Seriously. She threw it up into a tree to get a ball that was stuck, only the ball and the shoe got stuck. Now in her 5th grade mind I'm sure this made perfect sense. I forget sometimes that I am working with children, God's creation, and they deserve to be treated with grace and patience.

Luke 18:16-17 "But Jesus called for them and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.'"

I need to be more child-like and forget offenses easily and quickly, not worry about the future, not care what other people think, dance, laugh, and sometimes dress funny.

Trying this again

One of the problems with having a female mind that jumps around to a myriad of tasks is that I sometimes don't finish projects, or do well with them for awhile, just to eventually abandon them. I have lots of different ideas and get inspired...but not for long. Blogging is an example. Over a year ago I started a different blog, posted a few times, but then got busy continuing my education and in my personal life. When I tried to find it last week, The Practice of Patience was gone. But the desire to reflect through writing is back. I'm reading more blogs than ever before (not much on commenting though), mostly for work purposes, have a blog with my students, and contribute to wikis for fellow teachers. I'm craving an outlet for my thoughts about everything else, although I know that I'll still be writing about work here too. I hope to be more faithful in writing this time; it's another way to consider the work that God is doing. Hopefully I'll become more like Martha's sister, Mary.