The alternate name for this post could be, "I Cannot for the Life of Me Put Together a Decent, Coherent, Blog Post and So Now I Have Resorted to a Quick List of Paragraphs as Opposed to a Perfectly Strung Together and Articulate Post That I Guess Just Wasn't Meant to Be, Volume 1."
Words are hard, y'all. I have way too many of them floating around in my head at a time, and I can barely make sense out of them once a month for the sake of keeping those that are interested updated during my first year of missionary life.
The struggle is real.
Anyways, I have made it back to Minneapolis and am ready to get another semester of mission started! In the past month I was fortunate to be able to spend about 3 weeks back in Texas with my family for Christmas break. It was so good to be home, and I may or may not have eaten tamales for lunch for a week straight (I did.) Without further ado, for the sake of trying to condense my writing, here is a quick list of 7 things that happened/are happening in my life in the past month.
1. Winter. Winter happened.
I won't dwell too much on this one because I am working on another blog post about my arctic tundra experiences. I will just say this: I now understand why Minnesotans get excited when it's in the 30's as opposed to the negatives. That being said, the high on Sunday is -8 and the low is -17. Feel free to start a prayer chain in your home parish for me.
2. Life got simpler.
My parents are moving! Most of y'all probably know that we have lived in the same town and the same house since moving to Texas nearly 14 years ago. Time for a change! Most of my break was spent cleaning out my room, going through embarrassing childhood pictures and various memorabilia (and posting it all on my Snapchat story), and making trip after trip to CCA to donate SO many random things that we don't need anymore. It was a lot of work, and stressful at times, but it felt really good to simplify my life and get rid of so much junk. Currently figuring out how to make this a non-cliche metaphor for my life. Stay tuned. Please pray for my parents, and that our old house will sell quickly!
3. Mission Staff Retreat (MSR)
Every January, Saint Paul's Outreach provides its missionaries and staff with a midyear retreat to restore and refocus for the coming semester. We spent four days at a hotel and conference center in Chaska, Minnesota, where the Caribou Coffee was never in short supply and our beds were made for us every day. Quality time is my main love language, and thankfully there was plenty of it to go around! MSR was an extremely life-giving retreat and helped me reflect on the gift that it is to serve the Lord with my life in this unique way. #loveyourjob, am I right?
4. THE WORST AIRPORT EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE.
Before I got to MSR, though, I endured one of the worst days for security lines at Dallas Love Field Airport in recent history (probably). At one point I overheard a TSA agent saying that they had been expecting 7,000 people around the time that they had seen nearly 14,000 people (keep in mind this was at 8 in the morning.) Never have I ever been stuck in a security line for an hour and a half, and never have I ever seen so many people miss their flights because of the line. Shoutout to Southwest Airlines for switching my flights free of charge, and shoutout to Terminal 1 of Dallas Love Field for having a Whataburger and a Dunkin Donuts near my gate. Part of me was secretly relieved that, even though I missed my first flight, I did not miss my last chance at Dunkin iced coffee and a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit until the summer.
5. As if I wasn't cold enough...Alaska.
In this edition of, "The Holy Spirit Prompts Rebecca to Say Yes Without Giving a Lot of Thought to the Matter," I am helping lead a spring break mission trip to Anchorage, Alaska! We are going to be working with Catholic Social Services at different homeless shelters and food pantries, as well as exploring the beauty that God has created up there. I said "yes" to going on this trip on a complete whim and not taking into account that it would still be winter even though it is technically a "spring" break trip, but I could not be more excited - even despite the cold! Please pray for my teammates coming on this trip (Andrew, Brody and myself), as well as the 16 students we are taking with us! If you are interested in learning more about what we will be doing and how you can be a part of it, please contact me.
6. Fan Into Flame
The beginning of the spring semester means that it is Fan Into Flame season for most SPO chapters! Fan Into Flame is a retreat put on by SPO that centers around the Holy Spirit. Students will hear different talks the Holy Spirit's role in our lives as Catholics and have a chance to respond to God's invitation of new life in His Spirit. Fan Into Flame was a life-changing retreat for me when I was in college, and the Lord always shows up in powerful ways. The Minnesota mission staff (our team and the team at St. Thomas) has already begun preparing for this phenomenal weekend, and we need your prayers! SPO Minnesota's Fan Into Flame retreat is February 19-21, 2016. Come, Holy Spirit!
7. Time to Create
In the past couple of years, I have not really given much thought to New Year's Resolutions, but at the prompting of some close friends of mine, I have decided on a few: one of them is to be more creative. During MSR, I was able to spend some really rejuvenating time coloring/writing/making beautiful things for my friends. Along with that, my sister has recently launched her own calligraphy business and she is absolutely killin it. Inspired by her, I received a set of brush pens for Christmas and bought myself a cheap set of watercolors. I've found a lot of simple joy in coloring, practicing my lettering, and figuring out how watercolors work. I've made a few little pieces for friends, from Saint quotes to Bible verses to lines from Parks & Recreation (seen below). My resolution is to make my friends' lives more beautiful through these little pieces of paper. And since it's going to be winter until, like, April, I need a good indoor hobby.
There you have it! And now, time for things to kick into high gear again. Students are slowly making their way back to Minneapolis, and we begin our new semester on Monday with Catholic Students United Leadership Day. Please pray for us and for the Lord's will to be done in our work this spring!
To Jesus Through Mary,
My name is Rebecca. This blog is a documentation of my life as a missionary with Saint Paul's Outreach - in Minnesota, Florida, and everywhere in-between. Thanks for stopping by!