01 January 2014

Welcome 2014

Happy New Year!

Usually when this time arrives, I'm mourning the ending of the previous year and am a bit worried about the year to come. The new one is unknown: anything could happen, and I often interpret that in a negative way.


I don't have that view this year. Instead I am very eagerly looking forward to 2014.

Here are five of the best/biggest moments from 2013:

I. Pope Benedict XVI Resigned

I mean, holy cow, right? "Does this even happen?" I asked myself as I scrolled through several articles on the matter. I do not envy Ratzinger or any Pope his job and I really wasn't one of those people that raised a huge fuss over the resignation. I appreciate what Benedict did for the Church and what he continues to do from Gandolfo. Love you, Papa Benny.

Aw, Papa. :)

II. Pope Francis Emerged

I don't think anyone who watched with bated breath as the new Pope stepped onto the balcony will forget the way Pope Francis quite shyly raised a hand in greeting to the massive crowd in front of St. Peter's. In the early hours, all I knew about him was his Argentinian background. As time went on, I learned that this Pope, so similar to and so different from Benedict, would lead the Church in a very simple way. As he always asks of us, let us pray for our Holy Father more throughout 2014.

III. Paris and London Were Awesome

I traveled to Paris and London for my Spring Break this year. It has hands down been one of the best things I've ever done in my life. Of course, it did nothing to still my desire to explore the world; in fact, it has only made my thirst much more unquenchable (is that a word?). Seeing ancient art, buildings and streets, eating new foods and enjoying a few steps on historical ground can be rivaled by little else. Here's hoping there are many more adventures to come.

My favorite painting and go-to moment if I could time travel.

IV. I Became Engaged

This one is kind of a can't-believe-it-happened but also haven't-I-always-been thing at the same time. I am truly so pleased to have found the person I want to spend the rest of my life learning and becoming holier with. I have a separate blog for wedding/marriage related things which I plan to be updating with more frequency as time goes on. This event is only second to...

V. I Joined the Church!

Exclamation point! Sometimes I still can't believe it has finally happened. All my life seems unimportant before my journey to Catholicism. I am always thankful for every difficult conversation, piece of art, quiet moment and mysterious experience that urged me on. So many people--my fiance, my sponsor, my RCIA director, the priests and sisters at St. John's, the Catholic friends I made at school, the friends I've found through blogging and Twitter, choir members, parish visitors, strangers I only ever saw once--taught me more about the faith than I thought I could know, answered questions, puzzled over other questions, gave me more hope, helped me in the daily grind, made me laugh, made me feel accepted and showed me what the love of the Church really is. If you reading are one of these people, thank you. Thank you for every way in which you have helped me.

Of course the list would be incomplete if I failed to include two brilliant women: St. Therese and the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Therese has been like a sister to me (pun?): gentle, inspirational and oh so sweet. If I can be half as good as she, I shall truly live well. Mother Mary...what can be said of her that has not been already? She has been a perfect spiritual mother, kind and loving, coming to my aid in the most loyal fashion. Non-Catholics miss out so much in not knowing how to love Mary.

So what's in store for 2014?

I'm not sure yet. I do have a few plans, though:

I. Keep Dance Partying

Can't beat a good dance party (pun #2?). I'm starting to seriously believe that spontaneous dancing keeps me sane. I have music playing at almost all times, at least in my head. If you haven't spun around your kitchen with flour all over your clothes and cake batter half way up your arm, you haven't lived.

II. Slow Down

I want to be better about living in the moment. Some time during this year, I'll be moving from home to the coast to get a solid job and some wedding planning made more official. I really want to take advantage of the time I still have at home. I know I won't realize how much I value that time until I've left it, so I intend to spend more time showing my family how much I care for them.

III. Organize

Somehow, I've let clutter cloud my living space, computer and brain. I need to detox my surroundings and become more organized this year. I need less "stuff" and more minimalist. I am not entirely sure how to orchestrate this goal, but if plans are successful, maybe I'll share my ideas here.

IV. Go to More Daily Mass (and Adoration!)

It was so convenient at school to go to daily Mass when it was offered at a lovely 12.05 PM instead of 7.00 AM. 7.00 AM?? Ouch. I guess that whole "Keep watch" business was pretty literal. Nonetheless, what do I really have to do that is more important than meeting Our Lord? Nothing, not even sleep (which is my real weakness here). From oversleeping to the max, spare us, O Lord. Plus: Hopefully I can incorporate some prayers to St. John Bosco into this daily Mass venture. I was given him from the Saints' Name Generator: completely random, no pop quizzes involved. Just pray faithfully beforehand and you will be presented with a shiny new penny saint to learn about and pray to throughout the year. I'm pretty stoked about this. :)

V. Read

Actual books. Blogs and articles are great, but I honestly don't remember which book was the last I read in its entirety. If you have any book recommendations, please leave them below. I have a few Papal Encyclicals, Catholic fictions, secular fictions, Scott Hahn books and the like on my list, but I also really want to get into history and art.

That is certainly enough for now. I hope you all have a blessed new year.
Don't forget: today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Have you got Mass plans yet?

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