Friday, December 11, 2015

Coming Back

A year ago, I left the Convent. A year ago I surrendered the habit that I had accepted only a few months before. I surrendered to God's almighty Will when I entered and submitted again that day, realizing that it was His will that I leave. 

I said goodbye to my Sisters. I said goodbye to the place that I had called home, that I thought I would inhabit for the rest of my life. I cried as I dressed in lay clothes, as I saw how butchered my hair looked. I hugged Sr. Katherine as I loaded my suitcase back into dad's car. I lowered my head in shame as we drove by the chapel parking lot, where the school children were playing. I didn't want them to see me as I left. I struggled to readjust to the world, its noise, its pride. I felt shame and confusion about who I was turning out to be, and that I had been wrong about my vocation. It was a hard day.

Now a year later I can look back on all of the good times too. I remember all of the laughs I had in the Convent, all of the happy memories with the Sisters and the friends of the Center. I also can see how far I've come and how much I've grown since then. A lot has happened, and I thank God that He has given me the chance to live this life. 

This isn't what I imagined I'd be doing, but I'm glad I'm where God wants me to be. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sail On




It hurts to see pictures of Sisters. I wish I still was one.



It hurts to see smiles framed by habits.



Sometimes I feel some envy for Sisters, even Priests. I feel sadness that I did not succeed in the Convent. I lost my opportunity at living in community as a Religious.

I try to cover up my sadness, my regret, with a smile. I constantly tell people that I'm over it, but I know full well that I'm not. A drive through Vermont reminded me of the rolling hills of Still River that I used to wake up to outside of my cell window. I found tears streaming down my face as I begged God to release me from the torment, the despair. I don't want to regret leaving. I don't want to doubt where God is leading me.

I miss riding the golf cart in my habit, my veil flying behind me. I miss grand silence. I miss the bell that summons the Sisters to rise in the morning, the only thing that breaks the stillness. I even miss morning meditation - I never was a morning person - when I would begin to nod off while reading. I miss the laughs during breakfast after silence is ended. I miss isolating myself in the recreation room, playing hymns on the piano out of tattered books. I miss the surprise of what task I would get each day. I miss it. I regret leaving, but I know that if I were still there I would regret my stubbornness. 

I'll admit it. Sometimes I think I should discern another Convent. Maybe I should have been cloistered. Maybe I should have been in an order that is less strict. Maybe I didn't give it my best shot. Lately I've been entertaining the idea of a Third Order vocation. Sometimes I forget about how badly my soul hurt while I was there. Often, I beat myself up for not staying. 

I think about the future a lot. I think about getting married, having children. I worry about the future a lot. I worry about how to tell my children that their mother was in the convent. I'm worried that, as children do, they'll tell their friends at school and be made fun of because "that's weird." I'm worried that I'll have a hard time finding a husband to begin with. I'm not antisocial. In fact, I'm more social now than I ever thought I would be. But I'm still worried. It's hard around here.

Once someone knows you were in the Convent, you automatically become a spectacle. You're a rarity. 

I've refrained from telling my new coworkers that I was in the Convent. It's just easier that way. It's easier than constantly fielding questions about what it was like, why I entered, and worse yet, why I left. It may be a big part of who I am, but I'm still not ready to face myself. It's hard. I want to share happy stories about the Convent, but the feelings that go with those stories and the other memories outweigh the happiness, and so I stay quiet.

I have shied away from talking to even my spiritual director about it. It just hurts too much. I hate that I can't help but break down into tears when I talk about my feelings. I think that he must think I'm overly emotional, I cry so much. The last time I talked to him about it was the week of my entrance anniversary. He came to visit and anoint my father in the hospital, and he asked me how I was doing. I broke down in tears as I tried to put these feelings into words. Sentences ran together like tears down my cheeks.

I remember one time, not long before I left the Convent, when I just had so much frustration built up in me. During afternoon recreation I did something I hadn't done in years. I laced up my sneakers and took off running. I ran a large loop around the Convent, taking the wooded trail that the Sisters use for hiking and skiing. I'm not in shape. I ran until I couldn't run any more, and then I kept running. I was so angry/frustrated/sad/scared/upset/uncomfortable. I got back to my cell and flopped on the bed, gasping for breath. At one point I thought I was going to pass out or die, and it flashed across my mind to get Sr. Mary Elizabeth (a Sister who is an RN), but I didn't. I just laid in bed until recreation was over. My body was exhausted. My mind never seems to be. I kept brewing.

I heard this song shortly before I entered the Convent. I entered and, as mentioned above, took solace in alone time making music. I played this song in the Convent, when I thought I had found peace. I continued to play it when I realized that the peace had escaped me. I recently picked up my earbuds and took an angry walk outside listening to it. It's been the song stuck in my head, my restless head, for a while. I just want peace.


I'm sorry that my blog has been filled with such depression. I really am an optimistic, funny, bubbly person. But when I can't stop thinking about the Convent and the life I could have had in it, it's all I can write. It's part of who I am. I know that on this blog I don't have to hide myself
. It's a good outlet for me to express some of what I'm feeling.


I will say that I have found some hope from Leonie's Longing and a FaceBook group of women who have left the Convent. The support and prayers have surely helped.

If you or someone you know is struggling after leaving the Convent (or seemingly not struggling), please let them know of those 2 resources. The FaceBook group is private (for obvious reasons), and if they'd like to get in, let me know and I will add them.

Thank you for reading yet another post. God bless you.





Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints

November 1st is the Feast of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation. This year, it fell on a Sunday, and the Church of St. Joseph's in Troy, NY celebrated in a special way.

A set of vestments were borrowed from St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (Windham, NY) Church, three Priests gathered on the altar, and an estimated 200+ people filled the pews. The Extraordinary Form of Albany is currently using St. Joseph's Church as the site for their Masses (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon). For this community, a Solemn High is a rarity, as gathering and organizing such a Sacrifice is difficult with no designated leader and few Priests that celebrate the Latin Mass in Albany's Diocese. However, with months of organizing among members, the Extraordinary Form was celebrated as a Solemn High.


A young man named Connor served as MC today. Six servers and a thurifer joined him on the altar.


Fr. Richard Carlino, diocesan pastor of St. John the Evangelist (Schenectady, NY) acted as homilist and sat in choir.



James Agnew, Professed member of the Third Order of Carmelites acted as straw Subdeacon. James did much of the organizing for this event.



The Deacon for this Mass was Fr. Michael Flannery, diocesan pastor of St. John the Baptist (Greenville, NY), where other EF Masses have been celebrated.



Acting as Celebrant was Fr. Jeff L'Arche, MS, who also celebrated his 40th anniversary of Priesthood this past June.

Please see the video below for photos of the event and Fr. L'Arche's celebration of 40 years of Priesthood.









Monday, September 28, 2015

Anniversary

Forgive my emotional posts lately. 


It's been almost a year since I entered the Convent.



I've gone through a lot of things since then.

Entering.
Being spiritually tormented.
Leaving.
Being spiritually tormented.
Coming home to nothing.
Being spiritually tormented.
Finding a job.
Being spiritually tormented.
Leaving that job.
Being spiritually tormented.
Moving to Albany.
Being spiritually tormented.
Starting my new job.
Being spiritually tormented.

Things are always adding to and taking away from my spiritual torment. I suppose that's part of the Christian journey. But some things hurt more than others.

When I came home from the Convent, it was excruciatingly hard to face people again. Some comments that hurt to this day include "So, you didn't like it after all?" and "You'll regret leaving." Ouch, man.

People don't understand.

But things hurt even when they're not from ignorant people who don't know the Religious life. I've been in a lot of pain due to things that have been done, albeit probably neither premeditated nor intended. I was cropped out of the Sisters' profile picture. I get it, I'm not in the Convent any more. But all that remains of me on the FaceBook page is my left arm. I hid my pain really well at first. I found that while on break at work, and tried to make a joke out of it. It's funny, right? I mean, how many people can say they've been cropped out of a convent's FaceBook profile picture? That makes me a badass, right? No, it makes me a blubbering ex-postulant.

A friend of mine that I met while at the Convent messaged me the other day. "When are you going to come and visit?" I really didn't want to answer but I did. "I don't know." It didn't stop. My torment continued. "Do you want to come to the Bazaar?" This is the same Bazaar that I took part in last year, the weekend after I entered. I helped Sr. Christopher Margaret with the corn dog stand. All I could think was, No. I don't. No no no no no....

People don't understand how hard it is.

Visiting and thinking about the Sisters is more painful than pretending like those two months of my life didn't happen. I visited them a few times after I left, but have since stopped. The last time I saw the Sisters was when their students celebrated Confirmation. A friend and I drove out to see the Sacrament, and the feeling I got being there was that I was not welcome. The Sisters didn't mean it, and I'm sure they didn't know that's how I felt. But I felt like people were looking at me, the girl who left. All I could think was, all the other girls that had come and gone through the Convent (and there were plenty) never visit, and I wonder if that's why. 

People just don't understand.

I've been hanging out with that group of Hispanic Catholic women lately. They invited me over for a get-together and Faith Sharing. The assignment was to find a reading or verse (a lectura) in the Bible and give a testimony about your life according to that verse.

I'll be honest. My prayer life has been beyond wimpy. I've been hiding from God. It just hurts too much to face Him Who put me through all of this.

So I spoke about my time discerning my vocation based off of Isaiah 12:2



I spoke about how I trusted God for three years as I discerned the Religious life, how I trusted Him while in the Convent, and how I trusted Him as I left. But I felt like I was reading out of someone else's story. I feel a lack of trust in God. Where is He bringing me? Speaking honestly, I'm afraid of where He's leading me. The last year, although full of growth, has brought me so much pain. It hurts to talk to God, to tell Him how badly I hurt. I find it hard to spend time in silence with Him. I don't want to think about this.

I don't know why I'm writing this, and I certainly don't understand why I feel compelled to hit Publish. I guess it's partly because I know that very few people know what it's like. It hurts.

I haven't told anyone at my new job that I was in the Convent. I know that as soon as someone learns that fact about me, that they will always look at me as the girl who used to be a nun. There's no getting around that.

Will I ever find love? Will I ever be able to move past the fact that I failed at being a Sister? Will I ever get out of this constant spiritual torment? Will I ever be able to talk to God like I used to, to bare my heart to Him and know that He loves me and has a plan for me? Will I ever be able to accept that plan?

I don't know. 




Thursday, September 17, 2015

FUZZBUTTS and other developments

Hello!

So I'm all moved into my new apartment in Albany! I love it! The location is perfect and the apartment is great! I love being able to decorate on my own and take care of myself. When I was furniture hunting I did my best to be frugal. In total I think I spent less than $300 on all my furniture.

One of the most exciting parts was redoing the kitchen table (accompanied by 3 chairs) that I got off of Craigslist for $40. It started out like this:



and I sanded it down, primed it, and painted it. 





Now it looks like this!




My bedroom is my pride and joy. Every girl's Pinterest has to have a bedroom design featuring fluffy bedding and fluffy rugs. And I made my dream come true.

I got my bed (that includes mattress, box spring, and frame) for $60. It's in perfect condition. The coffee table I have at the foot of my bed I got for just $3. I think my bedside table was only $20. Although not pictured, I got a gorgeous dresser (the only piece of furniture I got from a store!) from TOPS Furniture in Hudson Falls for only $95. Also not pictured is a standing jewelry cabinet that I got on Craigslist for $25.





~000~

I have always wanted ferrets. As a kid we had lots of pets. Guinea pigs, dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, fish... But Mom would never let me get a ferret for some reason.

About a week after I moved in, I wandered into PetCo. It just so happens that that weekend they were having a sale on ferrets - 50% off! I fell in love with a cinnamon ferret and I took her home! I got her a multi-level cage and all sorts of treats and toys. I named her Adelaide (Addie for short).

(here she is asleep because it's the only way 
I can get a picture of her that's not blurry)

wookit da fangs

So a week and a half goes by, and I'm dying for another ferret. I swear, they're addicting. So I started to call around to see who had ferrets for sale. They're rather expensive from stores like PetCo, so I preferred to rescue one from a shelter. I called all the shelters in the Capital Region. Not a one had a ferret. I decided to call one back and ask to be notified if any do come in. I called on Tuesday and left a message on their answering machine. While in the waiting room at the doctor's the next morning, my phone rang. It was the humane society! Ironically, four ferrets had been surrendered to them the previous day. I informed them with glee that I would be in later to look and possibly adopt one.

With excitement, a friend and I drove to the humane society, and looked at the ferrets. I fell in love (uhgain) with a sable mask ferret already named Rufus. I paid my $50 adoption fee and we were on our way.



Surprisingly, Addie and Rufus got along really well right away! I put them together in a completely different cage (again, obtained off of Craigslist that very day) and they hit it off. Automatically friends.

snuggle buddies!


So that's what's going on in my life lately. Fuzzbutts and moving. It's a happy life down in Albany so far. I look forward to meeting lots of new people and growing as a person. It's good to be free.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Looking Back Happily

I have dreams, but I have memories and fears too. 

Driving through the Adirondack Park on an audit route this weekend, I found myself passing through Old Forge. Old Forge, the place of many summer family getaways, canoeing on the rivers and lodging in mini log cabins and bed and breakfasts. 



They all started the same. Mom and Dad would pack frantically, at the last minute as was with everything, while my little brother Kamryn and I would gather our books and DVDs. Mom and Dad would load up her green Mercedes SUV, while Kamryn and I would bicker about which side of the car (Mom's or Dad's) each would sit on. A strange premonition of the split my family would suffer only a few short years later. Finally ready, we launched. Soon we would arrive, greeted by log cabins in miniature. 

Those were happy days. Those were filled with wonder, as sparks floated out of camp fires like red hot fireflies. Those days were filled with stories, memories, learning, experiencing. Many times we would emerge from our cabin to find deer grazing around the clearing. Approaching slowly we were able to feed and pet the desensitized creatures while mom looked on, camera in hand. 



Dad had never been an adventurous person, so naturally Mom would take us in the canoes. I remember paddling with her as Kamryn lazed around as if we were servants, as she told us stories about how wild rice was harvested from rivers just like this one fourteen hundred miles away in her native land of Minnesota. 

I've wanted to go back, relive some memories, see some spots, but I hadn't gotten the chance. Unfortunately for me, I was working past dark so seeing places wasn't a possibility this weekend. But on my way there I was struck by how beautiful it is in that area. I pulled over by a small lake to take in the sunset and I realized how blessed I am to live in this beautiful State in which world renown cities cohabitate with hidden beauty such as this. 



I've been thinking a lot lately, initiated by the changes about to happen. Thoughts and memories, both hopeful and morose, have plagued my conscious. Memories of my mother and the relationship I wish I could have with her, worries about my father and his prospect once I move out, regrets based on my lack of presence in Kamryn's life... I know that it's not that I don't care, but that I am not about to let things that I cannot control ruin my future. I'm moving to a bright new promising city, into an apartment of my own. This alone is enough to make me cry with joy. As I went shopping for decor and household items I found my eyes welling up in TJMaxx, realizing that this was the first time that I was making these decisions and choices and advancements on my own. I realized that I was free. I'm an adult. This is my life and I'm building it. I've finally broken from the prison I lived in for so long, living under other people's expectations and realizing that the only ones that mattered were my own and God's. 

This is my life. Not Mom's, not yours, not anyone else's. And I like it like that. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Plunge

A lot has been going on in my life lately, and I apologize for not writing for you. I hope you'll understand.

Ever since I came back from the convent, I had dreams of moving down to Albany, starting over, and making a life for myself. Dreams faded once I got my job in Warren County, doing medical billing and A/R. I settled. I settled because I had to. I had nothing to my name but a car and my laptop. I needed a job, and that one seemed like it would do. I took it. I learned it. I mastered it. I loved it. In only five months I had even broke out of the confines of my job description, becoming the sole translator for our many Spanish-speaking patients. I became a sort of a go-to person on my team, answering questions and assisting my coworkers. Far from the top, I at least had a view from somewhere except the bottom. I was making my way.

But it wasn't my dream.

My dream isn't to live in this area. My dream isn't to live with my dad in an apartment in Glens Falls. My dream isn't to stay here. I need to spread some wings. These wings have been folded for so long. Can they still fly?


Climbing the ladder, her breathing quickened...

Stretching out, ever so slowly, I began to look. Just look. 


I crept to the edge of the diving board, peeking over...

An opportunity. I have learned that passing up an opportunity is never a good idea. Take every chance you get. If you don't you'll never advance. So I took this opportunity. An opportunity to live closer to Albany, my destination. I looked at an apartment, talked specs, and signed the lease in one day. I knew if I passed it up, I wouldn't get it back.


Bending knees, she prepared to leap...

OK. I have a place to live near there. Now to find a place to work, to thrive, to climb, to succeed.

I applied. Again and again. Silence for a few days, then calls came in. Three interviews later and I have an offer for employment, a job that will allow me to assist patients and use my knowledge and love of Spanish.


A moment of hesitation, the board quivers...

I got a phone call today, from a lady I met at the Spanish Mass in Albany. You see, I've been trying to expand my horizons. I want to meet new people, make friends, and thrive. You see, that's part of my dream too. So she called me, and we spoke (in Spanish, por supuesto) for a while. She invited me to a women's group that meets after Mass on some Sundays. A great opportunity to meet new people, grow in a community, and learn some Spanish while doing it. I agreed.


Toes curl around the edge of the board...

When I told a wise coworker of mine that I had put in my 2-week notice and was leaving for Albany, she hugged me and shared with me her advice. All of her advice was amazing. One thing really stuck with me. Always say yes. Say yes to everything. A similarly wise person (although in perhaps a different way) once said, "opportunities come once in a lifetime, yo." I refuse to watch them float by. I will jump at a chance to make my dream happen. I will leap towards any step that is even an inch higher. I refuse to be left behind. I started from zero in December and I refuse to be a sob story in the end.

JUMP!

I recently remembered a song that I fell in love with a few years back that holds some special memories for me. One particular memory above others. Driving from Huletts Landing back south, over mountains and over Lake Champlain... The view was majestic, the scenery smelled of heaven. I'll be honest. Listening to this song, the lyrics can't be made out. Here's a tip. Don't look them up. Just think of this. Driving over these mountains, seeing the lake and view expand as you crest the hills... You don't know where the road is taking you. You're progressing, trusting, taking your opportunities as they twist and turn. Keep moving. Keep climbing, sink down a little, climb some more. Twisting, winding, where?

This song makes me cry.

I don't know where I'm going. I'm just heading there. Sounds stupid. But it's beautiful.




Saturday, June 27, 2015

A hilarious short story...

On I87 heading back from an audit in Port Henry tonight, I was going just a bit faster than a beat-up convertible just ahead of me. Inside the convertible were two young men, about my age. I went to pass them (on the left, of course), and just as I tied with them, they floored it and sped up a couple hundred feet, then went back down to the speed they had before. This happened a couple times, and I could tell they were just having some fun with me. So I decided to have some fun too (safely!).

They got off the Interstate at the North end of the Lake George Village, and I followed them. We ended up on Route 9 South, alone, side by side at a red light. We both accelerated when it turned green, and as we arrived at a decent speed, I slammed on my brakes so they shot up ahead of me. We both exchanged a thumbs-up and a laugh and continued driving down Rte 9 (like normal people this time).

At another red light, I was behind them, and a cop was behind me. After the light turned green, I moved over because it seemed the cop wanted to get past me to go somewhere else... And as soon as I moved over, he sped up and flicked on his lights to pull the guys in the convertible over! HAHA!! One last wave to them as they pulled to the side of the road and I was off.

Have a good night, guys. Thanks for the fun!! ;)

beep beep

Friday, June 26, 2015

Oves et Hædis...



It's a sad day.

It's a sad day when a "debate" breaks out among "Catholics" in the comments under their Bishop's statement on Facebook about the SCOTUS decision.


The following is a statement of Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger regarding today's U.S. Supreme Court decision on...
Posted by Diocese of Albany on Friday, June 26, 2015



It's a sad day when people use the word "love," and the image of God's promise, as weapons against Him. It's even sadder when these people are people that consider themselves to be Catholics.

Jesus did not change His stance on certain subjects, even when people left Him when He preached them, the Real Presence being the one that comes to my mind first (see John 6:54-69). Jesus saw that people left His side because the teaching was "hard." Jesus wasn't about to compromise the Truth for popularity. He wasn't about to run after those that left in order to apologize for having offended them, and retract his previous statement. The Gospel from this past Sunday (EF) was about the rejoicing in Heaven over the 1 repentant sinner. Why didn't Jesus chase after those people that left him? He knew that they wouldn't accept Him and His teaching. He pursues us, always with a loving heart, but He is God, and God does not change. We are the ones that need a change, a change of heart, a change toward God.

My disappointment today does not originate from the decision arrived by the Supreme Court. I honestly wasn't surprised by their choice to make gay "marriage" legal in all 50 States today. This doesn't worry me. I knew it was coming all along. Remember, we are not of this world. However, my worry and disappointment stem from the reactions of those around me. Again, I knew, for the most part, who would rejoice and who would recoil at the announcement. But what saddened my heart was seeing so many Catholics and other Christians rejoicing over this decision.

We all know that Satan has been triumphed over. We know that in the end, God will win the battle. He's God after all. But that doesn't mean that Satan won't try to win.

His largest victories are those of Catholics. He already has claimed souls of non-Catholics. They're already on his side, ultimately. But it is the soul of a devout Catholic that he wishes to conquer the most. Not only to spite God, but to bring other souls with it. This is why great Saints such as Padre Pio were troubled by demons relentlessly. Sadly, Satan has made some victories in this. Priests, Religious, and laity alike are being misinformed by each other, and are falling for the idea that homosexuals can get "married," that it's a "right," and what's worse, that Jesus Himself would support this because it seems to be the "loving and charitable" thing to do.

The saddest part by far of this is the amount of Catholics, no, wait, "catholics," that agree with SCOTUS' decision, that gay "marriage" should be available. 

Pruning time is drawing neigh. God will separate the sheep from the goats. The Church and its true adherents are dwindling, but that is how God knew it would pan out in the end. May God give us the strength to persevere in the Truth, and to spread God's Truth to those around us.

Satan's win wasn't in that the Supreme Court made this legal. His win was far before that. His win was in convincing us that God was wrong. That's how this all started, and it's been like it ever since.... 




"In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph..." - Our Lady of Fatima

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

iPhone 6 Plus!

[mini-review]

Since spring of 2013, I had an iPhone 4S. I really loved iOS and I really loved how it worked. As with everyone, the updates shook me, but were ultimately easy to get used to. When I came back from the Convent, I got the same phone back (Dad hadn't sold it or given it away yet). It was sturdy and did what I needed it to. It was trusty through audits and using it as a GPS.

But in May (May 3rd to be exact!), I took the plunge. I got an iPhone 6 Plus!! I LOVE it!


Quite the transition...


This decision wasn't made in a day. I thought about it for at least a month, watching YouTube videos and reading blog reviews comparing the 6 and it's larger counterpart the 6 Plus, trying to decide which would be a better fit for me. I visited the wireless store multiple times, trying to see if a Plus would fit in my back pocket, how big it felt in my hands, and if I thought I would enjoy using it. In the end, I decided that if I settled for the 6, I would regret my choice and wish that I had gotten the Plus.

I couldn't be happier with my decision!

My favorite features are the LTE capabilities, the camera, and TouchID, among others.

But the SIZE!

My biggest worry about getting the 6 Plus was the size. Would it fit in my back pocket? How would it feel in my hands? Would it be hard to access the entirety of the screen? I must say that although it felt huge at first, it feels just right now, and I'm so glad I got the bigger of the two 6s. (Yes, the phone fits in my back pocket!) I have hands of average size, and I find that the phone feels large sometimes, but not bulky by any means.

My favorite thing about it though is it's size. It's perfect. It's so thin, and the screen is such a great size. I do find myself being lazy lately and not wanting to reach my hand to access the top of the screen, so Reachability has been a favorite feature of mine lately.  Reachability lowers the display halfway down the screen temporarily for easy access when you double-touch the home button. I find this capability to be useful, but strangely implemented. It works great and is a fantastic feature, but at the same time it looks strange on screen. I can't think of a way to implement it in a way that doesn't look strange, but perhaps it just will take some time to get used to. Can't have everything...


Screenshot of reachability 
on my calendar 


I love TouchID! It's super easy to open my phone, and I can create prints for people who I want to have this access to my phone! Also, it can be used in other apps to protect privacy, as well as to authorize purchases and updates. I really love this feature!   I will say, though, that sometimes it malfunctions and doesn't read my print, like if my hands are wet or sweaty, or if my phone hasn't been rebooted in a long time. Even in those circumstances, I am able to type in my numerical password and gain access to my phone and its functions.

It's pretty funny now. When I had the 4S, the 5 felt large in my hands. But now that I'm accustomed to the 6Plus, everything feels small!! My 4S feels so rinky-dink that I wonder how I lived with it for so long! The whole phone fits in the borders of the 6Plus' screen!! 



Overall, I just wanted to encourage anyone who is debating getting the 6Plus. I love it, and I wouldn't trade it for a 6 for anything!!



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not a Happy Driver...

When I was 16, I scoured the newspaper ads every Sunday for a car. I would call on cars to find them to be too expensive or in too much need of repair. It was frustrating, as I wanted a car really badly. One Sunday in particular, I saw a listing that caught my eye. A 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, with only 33,000 miles on it. Asking price was only $6,500. Excitedly, I called the owner and asked about it. It was in perfect condition! I begged my parents to look at it and think about buying it. Dad agreed to go look at it, and came back home with sad news. Someone had already bought it. I was devastated. 

We decided to go get ice cream that evening, and on the way we took a detour. Dad said he had to go measure a house for windows (See his shop here!). We pulled into a driveway, and Mom and Dad got out of the car, and walked up to a silver Chevrolet. They smiled and looked at me. They had bought it! Dad later told me the hilarious story of his first visit to the car that would later become the Kylie-mobile. He and another potential buyer were looking at it at the same time. The other guy made an offer, but Dad said, "If you buy this car, you're going to make a 16 year old really sad today."  Dad guilt-tripped him into passing on the vehicle. That sly dog...

My car has been the setting
 for many a non-moving selfie.


Ever since I got that car, I've been going to the same place for all my repairs and oil changes. Dad and I were loyal to this company because Dad trusted them. Recently, that trust has been broken. 

This year, I began to have trouble with my car. It would make terrible screeching noises as I slowed down, especially from high speeds like coming off the Interstate. It sounded like metal on metal.

I brought it in to the shop, asking them to look at my brakes. That's what anybody would think is wrong with it. I picked it up later. "Nope. It's your swing arms. You need new ones." And how much would that cost me? $800. Fine. Replaced and paid for. Driving it the next day, the sound was worse! 

I brought it in to get an oil change, and when I left the shop the sticker in the upper left corner of my windshield was the same one as before, and my digital oil monitor hadn't been changed and still said something like 40%. I called the shop. "Did you change my oil?" "Uhhh, we don't know. Bring it in and we'll do it again." I mean, how do you not know if you changed my oil? It was in the shop all day long! They changed my oil again (and I made sure they only charged me once) and I was on my way.

My bumper after I got rear-ended
 at school my junior year.

I brought my car back in because of the screeching noise (that had gotten progressively worse) about a month ago. Again, it wasn't my brakes they said, but my shocks and struts that needed to be replaced. Fine. Another $800 put into my car. I asked them as I left: "Are you sure that my brakes are okay?" The mechanic said to me, "Oh yeah, your pads are fine - you've got a long way to go on them." I believed him. But when I left the shop, it still screeched.

The next week I had an appointment at a tire shop to get my snow tires taken off. When I went in, I gave the attendant my keys and asked, "is there any way you can look at my brakes while you're working on my car? It's making a terrible noise." They said "of course" and went to get started on my car. As I waited for the service to be done, the attendant came out. "You really need new brakes." My jaw dropped to the floor. All four had to be replaced. I had him fix my brakes. No way was I going to go back to the other mechanic.


My brother and I hanging out in my car...

I brought my car in multiple times to my mechanic that I've had for four years, and every time it wasn't my brakes, but something else that was uncannily expensive and urgent. I spent about 2K on things that I'm not even sure I needed. And what's the most unsettling, what if my brakes failed while I was driving? What if something happened? I had felt my brakes give way before, and I could tell there wasn't much left to them when I would brake. When I got my new brakes, the difference was incredible! The mechanic explicitly denied that my brakes were bad every time I brought my car in. 

It's hard to know if they just didn't know that my brakes were terrible, or if they purposefully pretended that they weren't. I don't know which makes more sense. But in the end, they gave me false information, and my life and car were put in danger. I will not be returning to that shop, and I will caution everyone not to go there.

If anyone in the Capital Region knows of a really good (TRUSTWORTHY) mechanic, please let me know!



Friday, May 8, 2015

Coming Soon!

Clear your calendars! Grab the spouse and kids! Fr. Paul Nicholson is coming to Albany!!


Join Fr. Paul Nicholson and Catholic families from around the Diocese and beyond for the Conference on the Family! 


Fr. Paul Nicholson is a missionary priest who has traveled all over the globe to give parish missions and to minister to the Catholic people. Fr. Nicholson is an extremely engaging speaker, who relates to the people, is humorous, and delivers content that is efficacious and easy to relate to.

The Conference on the Family aims to help us better understand how to apply our Faith to our family!

Thursday, June 4th's evening session is for women; Friday, June 5th's session is for men; Saturday's family session includes the talk for families, Mass, and a cook-out! Bring the kids!!

The Conference will be taking place at St. Paul the Apostle in Schenectady, NY.



Tickets are $10/session (Saturday is free-will offering), and children under 18 get in free. Tickets or reservations can be made on our Event page. Please note: Even if you are going to pay at the door, please register so that we can know how many attendees to expect!

Listen for the ad on WOPG, and like Capital Region Catholic Conferences on Facebook!! Please share this exciting event with your friends (within and without the Diocese!), and please pray for Fr. Nicholson and the success of this event!



Holy Family, ora pro nobis!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

I Hate Being a Grown Up

I had a terrifying thought the other day. Being a grown-up sucks. It's hard. It's scary. It's stressful. It's not all the fun I thought it was when I was growing up. I wish I could take back every nap I refused in pe-K and surround myself with colored blocks and nursery rhymes.

There are bills, insurance, expenses, not to mention jobs, families, and friends.



Sometimes, I stop and think, how do they all do it? I'm terrified just thinking about it. 

I look at my measly bank account. It's growing, but very (very very very) slowly. I'm literally starting from 0 after coming back from the convent. I worry if I will ever be financially stable enough to live on my own, or help support a family, or buy a house, or get a new(er) car, or be anything other than a poor college student. I browse real estate listings and the like, just looking for something pretty, and rather, I find something ugly: six digits, sometimes more. I don't even have that many pennies! 




I go to work at 8am, and don't leave until 4:40, which is fine because I love my job. But I don't go home right away usually. I do secret shops to make extra money, or I grocery shop, or I run errands. And then I go home and try to do some schoolwork. Most nights, I don't feel like it. But this makes me worry. How could I ever be able to devote my life to a husband? How could I ever work (or how could we both work, really) 8 hours a day, plus overtime, and still have a family? Doesn't this sound impossible to anyone else?

The amazing thing is, it seems that nearly every family pulls it off and makes it work.

I got an email from my employer the other day, notifying me of their health insurance plan that is now available. I'm still covered under my mother's health insurance because I'm under 24, but I took a look just to see what it was. What I found was high-deductible health insurance plan, with some numbers attached that scared me a little ( This wouldn't have made a shred of sense to me before I got my new job in medical billing. Thank God for Medical Billing 101!). How am I supposed to afford rent (or a mortgage, however those things work), food, gas, and living in general, plus expenses like this that are inevitable?! How in the world do people do this?! Car insurance, gas, repairs, health insurance, loans, gas, heat and electric... Is there something magic that happens so that you can figure your life out? 

I know I'm only in my early-20s. I know I have "plenty of time" to figure this out, for God to show me my husband, and for me to settle down. But honestly, I feel so much older than I am. I've always felt this way, even growing up. It probably is from the stress that my mother placed on me to excel to such a high degree as a child. I always have felt a couple of years older than I really am. But now I'm faced with these worries about the future that doesn't feel so far away, but is. I don't think of marriage as being something maybe 5+ years away. When I think about getting married, I think  within the next year or two. Maybe that's just my dream, or maybe that's just how my brain is. I'm already starting to be afraid that my "biological clock" is ticking, and with 20 children pending, I want to get started as soon as possible... Perhaps I'm rushing this...



I really just want to fall asleep tonight, and wake up a fully established adult, with a fairly decent salary, a husband with the same, and beautiful children. I want to wake up to a home that doesn't need repairs, two functioning cars, and a family that is happy, healthy, and holy. That's what I want.

But I have to go through the icky stuff first.



Right now, as you probably know if you follow me on Twitter, I have marriage and baby fever. I can't wait to get married (Latin Mass wedding, of course!), have children, and start living my life as a wife and mother.

 If I could get married tomorrow, I would. If I could raise a family next week, I would. If I could be a full-blown adult, I would. But I know how much all of this entails. I know how much being a grown up sucks.  I just hope I can figure it all out before it's too late...




Sunday, April 5, 2015

ALLELUIA

Alleluia! Resurrexit sicut dixit! Alleluia!

I went to the Easter Vigil in the Extraordinary Form last night. WOW how magnificent is our Liturgy! It's good to be a Catholic!!

Below you'll find a few photos from the Vigil Mass, and also the recording of the Exultet, chanted by Fr. Larche, Missionary of LaSalette who graciously celebrates Mass for us regularly in the Extraordinary Form. Please, in your kindness, pray for him and his order.





...





Friday, March 27, 2015

Doing Away with Holy Days of Obligation

The Diocese of Albany publishes weekly a periodical titled, The Evangelist. It highlights events and developments around the Diocese, as well as across the globe. For the most part, it's somewhat solid. But every once in a while you'll find, scattered in the pages, a heretical idea, or a photo of liturgical dancers. This week, my brief scanning found (yet another) ridiculously stupid write up.

This week's The Evangelist published a question from a reader (originally from December) to Fr. Kenneth Doyle, Albany's Chancellor for Public Information, essentially asking when Holy Days of Obligation will be removed from the calendar...



From the column, "Question Box:"

"When are we going to do away with holy days of obligation? We no longer live in medieval times when a village is closed down for the day. The only people at Mass now are the diehards. Please encourage the bishops to put the celebrations on Sunday or take away the obligation. (Copake, NY)"
His answer was not exactly informative...

Of course, this illicits a response from yours truly...


If you don't want the richness of the Catholic Faith, if you want a bland year that passes without anyone noticing, then you're looking for something other than the Truth. 



It's time to evaluate. 


Holy Days of Obligation (or HDOOs, as I like to call them) should not be thought of as "obligations," as burdensome days when you have to go to Mass, or else. These are days of rejoicing! All Saints, Christmas, Ascension, these are days that we should be running to our Churches to praise God!



The reader who asked the question is very misinformed. I wouldn't be so quick to say that their sentiment is malicious, but it certainly shows how uncatechized they are. Things like HDOOs that are a major part of the Church and the Liturgical Year can't just be "done away with" simply because people don't want to take an hour out of their day to go to Mass. This is part of the visible effect of the changes of the Second Vatican Council. When the Liturgical Year was rewritten/revised/recreated, people were given the idea that things in the Church can be changed on a whim, and the fact that nobody was really educated about the changes of Vatican II is partly to blame for things like this. Results of this are obvious - Why can't we allow divorced and remarried folks to receive Communion? Because the Church doesn't allow it. I'm a woman and I'm not going to veil anymore. We never said you shouldn't veil. I think abortion and homosexuality are okay. The Church doesn't; she never has and she never will. Let's have clowns during Mass.  ...     It doesn't work like that.

Okay. Let's pretend that the Church could change directions on a dime. Fine. However, God does not change; He is ever the same. The same is true for His Word and teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in entry 2059 that the "ten words" were pronounced by God Himself to Moses in the midst of a Theophany (Deuteronomy 5:4). It then goes on to say (entry 2072) that "the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, an they oblige us always and everywhere. No one can be dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart." Wow. No arguing with that one! Let's go on. The third Commandment tells us to keep holy the Sabbath Day. The Church and her Catechism reach further than "just Sundays," and extend this commandment to Holy Days of Obligation as well. 



It's not like Masses on HDOOs are so hard to find. Churches everywhere offer Masses throughout the day, especially on Holy Days. It's not impossible, by any means, to work 9-5, or 8-4:30, or even 10-7, and make Mass. There are morning Masses, noon Masses, and evening Masses. The problem with attending Mass isn't the convenience, it's the attitude of the attendee. 

Even if you have a really rough day at work, and you're exhausted, and all you want to do is go home and pass out on the couch watching Jeopardy!, you should get comfort out of knowing that you will spend an hour of your day with Our Lord, and that the day is a Holy Day because it is a special day. Sadly, many Catholics don't think of it this way, and will never think of it this way. They are misinformed about the Liturgy, about the Church as a whole, and about their duty to Worship God. 

One small point having to do with the statement, "We no longer live in medieval times when a village is closed down for the day." Something curious that I found while reading the Catechism to discuss the topic of the Commandments is this nugget from CCC 2188

"In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church's holy days as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public example of prayer, respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. If a country's legislation or other reasons require work on Sunday, the day should nevertheless be lived as the day of our deliverance which lets us share in this 'festal gathering,' this 'assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.'"

Interesting! Could you imagine how amazing it would be to make the Assumption of Our Lady a national holiday? Now we really wouldn't have an issue getting to Masses! But alas, America...



The Liturgical Year needs to shape our year. It is our year! We must adopt the cycles of the Church into our own daily life. As Michael Voris said a couple of weeks ago, we must be "Catholic, more than we are human!"

The sense of dreadful obligation that accompanies Holy Days of Obligation is really a problem, and that's the only thing that needs to be changed...


Friday, March 20, 2015

Meeting Michael Voris

It's been a busy couple of weeks here in the Albany Diocese! And I mean the good kind of busy - not liturgical-dancers-prancing-around-the-Altar busy...

Conference on 3/14/15


Immediately following the Bishop's Mass on the 14th, my best friend and I went to hear Michael Voris of ChurchMilitant.TV speak at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church in Watervliet. Since the conference began in the morning I missed half of it, but the one talk that I did hear was extremely inspiring and engaging. After the sessions were over, I approached Michael to get a picture with him (of course!).


He was staying at my friend Kirk's house. Kirk invited me and my friend over for dinner and to spend some time with Michael. Of course, I accepted the gracious offer, and we met them back at the house.

We were there until midnight, talking with Michael Voris and Matt Pearson about the Church and what's going on in Albany and New York City. The following day they would head down to the City to begin filming coverage of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, which would include active and open homosexuals this year for the first time ever. We had a very engaging conversation and lots of fun getting to know each other a little. We exchanged stories of the Sisters, and about our new Bishop. Fr. Paul Nicholson even got in on the fun, all the way from Rhode Island (We were all tweeting back and forth making jokes)!

Michael reviewing the tweets on my phone...

Michael is such a great person and an exceptional Catholic. He's extremely friendly, very intelligent, and surprisingly (please don't take offense!) not stuck up or full of himself. He's down to earth despite his status as being one of the leading reporters in Catholic news. Likewise, Matt is a very kind guy who is extremely personable and down to earth. If you ever get the chance to meet either of them, I encourage you to take it. I hope and pray that I will see them again, and that God will reward them for all of their good work for the Church.

Please watch and support ChurchMilitant.TV as they aim to expose the truth of the Faith and bring to light issues that must be addressed within the Church.





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bishop Celebrates the 1962 Mass at the Cathedral in Albany

The Cathedral was filled nearly to the brim as the Bishop of Albany, installed just less than a year ago, celebrated the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal.

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, installed as Bishop of Albany on April 10th, 2014, celebrated a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on Saturday morning, March 14th at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Fr.s Michael Flannery and William Pape of the Diocese of Albany and Fr. Jeffery Larche, MS served at the Mass, as well as 10 altar boys, including 2 MCs. A choir of sixteen singers was led by Brian Gurley, the Director of Music for the Cathedral .

This event was publicized on Fr. Z's WDTPRSPatheos, and Cleansing Fire.

The Mass was particularly special to this Diocese because it was the first Mass in the Extraordinary Form to be celebrated at the Diocese's Cathedral in nearly 50 years, and it is especially notable because it was celebrated by the Bishop of Albany. Historic, indeed.

As previously mentioned, the Cathedral was nearly full for this event. Attendance estimates range from 350 to nearly 600. I helped to hand out worship aids (with the Propers and Prayers) before Mass, and we extinguished all 300 of them before 15 minutes prior to the event. The Priests and MCs had to scramble before Mass to make sure that enough hosts would be consecrated because of the unexpected large number of people that were pouring into the Cathedral. The parking lot was nearly full with more than a half-hour to spare before the beginning of Mass.





Overall, it was a fantastic event. The turn-out was incredible, and the response was very positive! Thank you to all who organized and supported this event, and an even bigger thank you to all who participated as servers or singers. Most of all, thank you, Bishop Scharfenberger, for making this Mass possible!!





We were unable to obtain a professional photographer for the Mass. However, David Pietruza was gracious enough to take photographs during the Mass. I also managed to take some (less-than-high-quality) shots from my pew. Please excuse the poor quality. Next time...

View more photos of the event HERE and please "LIKE" our page on Facebook, The Extraordinary Form in the Albany Diocese.


UPDATE 3/15/15 8:30pmEST:

Here is a recording of the Bishop's Homily. Hopefully it's audible.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Updates and I'm Still Alive!

Wow I haven't posted on here in almost a month! I'm sorry!

Much is going on, and my life has been very busy lately, thankfully.

Announcement - I'm no longer unemployed! I'm currently working through a temp agency at a medical billing office, and I absolutely love my job! I really enjoy the work, and my coworkers are so incredibly positive and friendly. I've made so many friends since starting and I really feel like they've adopted me as one of their own. I love it! Thank you to all those who prayed for me to find employment!

Other amazing news! My Bishop, +Edward Scarfenberger, will be celebrating a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany! This is a huge event in this Diocese, as this will be the first time the EF has been celebrated in the Diocese's Cathedral in about 50 years! Also, I'm very excited that our Bishop will be the Celebrant! I will be sure to update you all with photos afterwards! If you happen to see this tonight, PLEASE share this event with those in the area. There are people coming from MA and VT for this. It's going to be awesome.




Another exciting event tomorrow! Michael Voris - yes, the same Michael Voris that does the Vortex and owns CMTV - will be in Watervliet tomorrow giving a conference! I will be attending following the Mass. See poster below, but please note that it conflicts with the Mass. I suggest going to the Mass, and then going to see Voris afterwards... Don't tell him I said that, although if he didn't have to be there, he probably would be at the Mass too!



So it's official, my best friend and I are visiting my Sisters next week for the Feast of St. Joseph! I'm super excited to see my wonderful Sisters and Brothers, and I'm also excited because they are celebrating with a Solemn High Mass!


So that's enough update for now. I'll post again after photos of the events are published and accessible. I hope you are having a blessed Lent!

UPDATE: This just posted: