Saturday, March 31, 2018

Holy Week Thus Far

+JMJ+

Holy Week 2018 has been so wonderful.  Now that there's a lull in activity (everyone except me is trying to prepare for the Easter Vigil tonight and is wisely sleeping in), I'd like to take a look back on these past few days and remember all of the joyful yet bittersweet moments that make up Holy Week.

Monday, March 26th, 2018

After rather challenging day at work, going to the last choir practice for Holy Week was a blessing.  I will admit, I'm usually tired after working, but knowing that Jesus is right there in the Holy Tabernacle listening to you pulls you through.  I kept thinking about the Passion, especially how Our Blessed Mother must have felt.  

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

My next youngest sister Elizabeth did her "birthday day" with Mom down in Madison.  I, sadly, don't recall getting much done in their absence.  Yet more proof that having a job is good for me......and that I need to get more hours.  Doing nothing and being bored is a dangerous place to be.  

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

My sister Elizabeth and I were blessed to sing for the Requiem Mass for one of our wonderful choir director's husband.  What an honor it was to sing the beautiful, tear-jerking music during Holy Mass.....praying for one soul in particular.  Please pray for Marvin's soul!  You can read about him here.  After the funeral and the lunch, we spent the rest of the day outside doing some spring clean-up work.    

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

After working a quick shift (6:30am-2:30pm), I came home to a sparkling clean house (company coming the next day).  Why is it that I somehow am usually gone when a lot of work needs to be done?  I'm not complaining, just wondering 😁.  Oh well, bonus points for the rest of my siblings that were home.  They did a good job.  Anyway, after getting home I had half an hour before leaving for choir practice before Mass.  The Mass?  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.  I didn't sing for Holy Week last year due to my work schedule (which ironically hasn't changed, lol.....I think I was just a wimp last year), so singing for it after a year off is amazing.  After Mass, I was blessed to see some old friends (a gift during Holy Week, that's for sure).  I wish I had gotten a picture with them....but I failed.  Anyhow, after that, we were blessed to stay in town until the English Mass was over so we could go back to church and pray before Jesus in the Holy Tabernacle in the beautiful Altar of Repose.  We stayed there about 45 minutes, but it felt like 10 minutes.  Usually, I get antsy when I sit in one spot that long, but God looked down kindly on me that night and I was able to peacefully meditate on His Passion.  Again, my thoughts kept drifting to Our Blessed Mother.....imagining her pain at seeing her Holy Son in such pain......knowing that Jesus was aware of her presence during His suffering and wondering how much pain that added.

I can only imagine what it must have been like, seeing the Son of God, your Son, tortured and killed before your eyes.  I don't think I realized before this Holy Week just how much Our Blessed Mother had to suffer.  Truly, her heart was pierced.

And yet, knowing that we were the ones who put her beloved Son up on the cross, she still loves us with her motherly love and wishes to lead all of us up to her Son in Heaven.  How comforting that is.  The thought of it almost makes me cry.
Good Friday, March 30th, 2018

Our out-of-state relatives visited, so I'm afraid I don't have much to say about this day.  In the evening, the Good Friday service was bitter-sweet.  Knowing that I hadn't sufficiently meditated on the Passion of Jesus was sad for me.  However, it couldn't be helped.  After the service (it's always strange to call it a "service"), my two younger sisters, a couple of friends, and I stayed while the altar servers had practice up in the church.  There we were, watching them on the "tv" from downstairs, critiquing their every move.  Little did they know they were being watched!  

My take-away so far from Holy Week?  Just how real this is.  Maybe it's because I'm older this year, I don't know......everything is just so real.  The Passion, Our Blessed Lady, Our Blessed Lord and His particular love for each one of us, the true horror of sin.....it all is so vivid and real.  I know I can only ever understand in a tiny, small way the Passion and Death of Our Blessed Lord, but if I had to describe what I do understand, I would use only one word: heartbreaking.
 
I can't even put into words what all I feel about the Passion.  This Holy Week has been beautiful, difficult, and so grace-filled.  I thank Our Blessed Lord for pouring out so much grace into my soul this Holy Week, especially after how much of a buffoon I was during Lent.  That always surprises me: how our Blessed Lord still loves infinitely even when we don't take things seriously.  Again, it's heartbreaking, this Holy Week, to know just how much I've fallen short.  Yet, there's a joyful cry in my soul because Our Blessed Lord is reaching all the way down to were I am with a hand of mercy and justice.  May I never fail to grow in awareness of the reality of the Passion.
   
I hope you all have a blessed Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, as well as a safe drive to and from church if any of you are going to an Easter Vigil.
I will remember you all tonight during Holy Mass.  I thank every one of you for being such wonderful and supporting readers.  May God bless you.
In the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Emma  

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Snapshots of Summer

+JMJ+

Spring is officially here in my book and that calls for some photos from the summer months.  All photos in this post copyright Gloria In Excelsis.  Please do not copy!


Micky, my sister's infamous rooster.


Photo-shoot before a dance gone wrong.


Vacation up in the remote north.


The fields before the invasion of golden-rod.  


Watering.....and watering.  


Sunset.


The cats at their favorite outpost.


Apple pie!






Again, vacation up north.  We were able to stay at a small campground......a memorable couple of days!



Views at a park we camped at with friends.


Attempting fancy hairstyles around the campfire is a scene you don't want to miss.  The struggle is real!

God bless!  I hope you all have a blessed Holy Week!

Emma

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Just.....

+JMJ+

 copyright Gloria In Excelsis Deo.  Please do not copy!

Here I am, sitting at the library, my fingers swollen and stiff (stress), just minutes after getting through a job interview.  Praise be to Jesus!  

I thought I'd write a post giving you all an update on what's going on (not like there's anything serious or anything).  

First off is the fast-approaching spring.  That means I've been researching camping stoves and tents for what seems like ages.  I wish there weren't so many options out there.......it's quite overwhelming sometimes.  I'm also hoping to get out into my off-grid setup in April, so I have to get a few things figured out for that, like containers to hold water and fixing up an old bar-fridge to be used as a cooler.

I also bought my first car (!!!) and am looking for another job.  Things are changing fast.....it's so much fun!  Even though it's hard sometimes, I can see how I'm growing in so many ways.  

God is so good to me.......I was just reading My Sister St. Therese, last night, and I found a really inspiring part were Celine is talking about how St. Therese taught them the gift of gratitude.  I don't remember the exact quote, but it went along the lines of right when you show gratitude to Jesus for a gift He's given you, He showers down countless more graces on your soul.  

 copyright Gloria In Excelsis Deo.  Please do not copy!

Even when I'm feeling bla or down about something, I need to remember to always be grateful.  God gives and takes away.....all for my good.  Therefore I should respond with joy even when things are hectic, overwhelming, and just plain hard in my eyes.  

That's something I wish I could learn and hold dear to my heart: the ability to except everything with joy knowing it's God's Holy Will.  I think that's what I'll focus on more these last few weeks of Lent.  Even small things like unloading the dishwasher is a gift from God.....perhaps you can't see why, but it is.  

That leads me to a subject I love to think about:  the fact that God is All-Knowing.  That just floors me.  Wow!  Once you know that, it's so logical to except everything God sends us as the best thing for us.  He's All-Knowing, obviously He knows what He's doing!  

Well, I have some shopping I have to do......I'm determined to get an Easter dress this year.  I said that last year and ended up just wearing what I have.  I'm not one to ever buy clothes, so I think I need to really step up and get something that's fancy for a change, just so that I have something on hand to wear to weddings and such.  

God bless you all!  I hope you have a lovely day!

Emma   

Monday, March 5, 2018

Why I Would Make A Depressed Nun

+JMJ+

copyright Gloria In Excelsis Deo - please do not copy! 

After at least 5 years of preparing to enter a convent, here I am about to write a post on why I would make a depressed nun.  It seems strange how much has happened these past few years.  

I love nuns.  I love the habit, the life-style, the prayer.  In my young mind, it seemed the ideal, the greatest of greatest things a woman could do.  Being an extremist, the idea of locking myself up, completely changing my way of life, and leaving everything behind to start a new life inside a cloister seemed like heaven in my mind.  Note the words, "in my mind."  

I've always been a dreamer......I'm not logical nor practical.  I flit from one idea to the next, living in my own dream world and not seeing any details in life.  Many times......actually, most of the time (😊), I didn't realize that things don't often translate easily from my mind into reality.  The reality of being called to being a sister/nun (even though there's a difference between the two, I'll be using both names interchangeably) being one such  thing. 


Living in an enclosed building?  Check!  Wearing baggy, unique clothing?  Check!  Having only a room with minimal furniture in it?  Check!  Never seeing the world?  Check!  Living under Jesus's roof?  Check!  Never having to work in the world?  Check!  Never having to date and turn into a tomato while awkwardly trying to learn everything about a guy?  Check!  Sounds like an ideal life, right?  Wrong.

 You see, that's all I really thought about.......notice there weren't any good, solid, realistic details in there. 

The reality is, I love loving those I am close to.  I love my family, I love kids, I love sacrificing for those I love.  I love to give........and it's what raises me up.  I draw my energy from being around those I love, it's what raises me up to God.

Family life.  It warms my heart.  Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that it's not all marshmallows and unicorns.  More like sugar-highs and unicorn poo.  However, by God's grace, a person can get through anything.  (yes, even the poo part)  Finding joy in suffering......that's the point.  
 So that's why I would make a depressed nun.  Being alone with myself?  That would probably present a danger rather then a road to Heaven, for goodness sakes. 

Yes, I discerned in the wrong way for a good handful of years.  I'm still trying to convince myself that I wouldn't be forgetting God by hopefully someday entering into the holy sacrament of marriage.  Getting over an extreme opinion, like thinking that I need to avoid/give up everything that I love because it "takes away" from my love for God, is hard.  It's just hard.  Pray for me!  God's grace will bring me to the place He needs me to be.

I feel like I've just blabbered to a group of people and now you're all sitting there bewildered and thinking, "........uh.......what was that?"  I hope this made sense to at least someone out there :)  

Have any of you discerning the religious vocation?  

Have any of you made any discerning bloopers?   

Any lessons to share?

In Jesus!
Elnora-Emma