Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

surprised by love

From what I can remember, one of the first things that I learned about God is that God is love. Countless songs at Mass, little bookmarks from the Catholic bookstore, dinner table conversations…God is love. During my time at BC, this truth became real for me in numerous ways.  Thanks to the Jesuits, I learned to try to find God in all things. So naturally, since God is love, I began looking for God in the  love I found in my life, in my relationships with others.

I have been unbelievably blessed with love in my life. Sometimes I can hardly take it all in. And the best part about all that love is that I am constantly surprised by how much I am loved, and by how deeply I love others. My Mom and I have a little joke about this- when something really great happens, or we have experienced love in a special way, we’ll call each other up and say “Why does God love us so much?!” 

And it is so true. I wonder this all the time. But not only do I wonder why God loves me so much, sometimes I look around and wonder why the people in my life love me so much. I mean, I really suck sometimes. Why do my friends love me so much, when I constantly dodge their phone calls in an attempt to get work done? Why does my boyfriend love me so much, when I get irritated and snappy on the phone when I’m stressed out?  Why do my brothers love me so much, when I am so far away and we barely see each other? Why do my parents love me so much, when I move halfway across the country to study and can’t be at home? These are just a few obvious, fairly lighthearted examples.  But the truth is, I am so very often surprised by the love of others.

And sometimes I do some crazy things for love, and I look around and laugh at myself. Many a time I have jumped on I-95 north to drive up to see my boyfriend and his family, just because I miss him so much, even though I should definitely be studying.  Flying home for short weekends to be with my family, staying up late talking to my brother, putting down my Hebrew Bible to pick up the phone to call a friend. I hope sometimes I surprise others by my love for them!

I think that is what this whole “God is love” thing is about. God loves us through anything and everything we have ever done. Sometimes, we are happily surprised by love–God’s love for us, as manifested through the actions of others. The love that a friend shows when she jumps on a midnight train to come visit, even though its only for a day. The kind of love a father shows when he works night and day for his family, and puts everyone in his family before himself.  And when we are blessed to experience such love, we have to share it.  We, too, are called to surprise others by our love.

Sometimes I think I just don’t deserve to be surprised by love.  But that is the beauty of grace.

Suscipe, St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.

i was running

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite movie in the entire world is Forrest Gump. Yes, it is a cinematic masterpiece–the drama, the romance, the comedy, the history–its all there. Love it. I, of course, love the famous “Run Forrest Run!” scene.

What I do not love, however, is running itself. Maybe I’m scarred from my childhood memories of always being the last kid to finish running the mile during PE, but I really do not like running. Some of my closest friends are avid runners and I badly want to love it. But I think running is so difficult, and I am so very bad at it.

This morning’s workout consisted of two miles of running.  For many people, two miles is a joke and can be accomplished quickly.  But this morning I saw the workout posted on the board and I thought about leaving. But I stuck it out, and it was indeed a terrible workout.  During the entire run, I felt sluggish and heavy and tired. I finished last in the class, which I guess doesn’t matter, because at least I finished.

But the coolest thing happened during the workout–unbeknownst to me, one of our coaches was filming all of the athletes running…after class, he sat each of us down, showed us the video of ourselves running, and talked us through technique and what we were doing wrong/right.  He pointed out some things that I never even realized before, and showed me how my technique was really slowing me down and wasting energy. I guess sometimes you just need someone to point things out to you.

So, armed with my new knowledge, I will hopefully overcome this mental block/hatred of running! Stay tuned to find out =)


Its official…I have completed the first year of this program. To say that I am elated is an understatement…I have been counting down the minutes to this point for months now. And finally, freedom.

As I walked home with some friends yesterday, after taking my last final, I felt weightless. Then I had this thought flash through my mind, “What am I supposed to do now?!”  Such a happy thought. Because, for the first time in weeks, I’m walking home to my apartment…not to the library, not to spend hours poring over flashcards…but to enjoy my life for a little bit.  What to do with all of this free time? At least, until Greek starts in two weeks. But who’s counting?

schedule interruptions

I am obsessed with planning. My apartment is littered with sticky notes, to-do lists. I plan my days out down to the minute sometimes.  I tell myself that my academic goals/life goals necessitate such planning, but at times, I’m quite confident that I take it a bit too far.

Have you ever seen that Adam Sandler, movie “Click”?  For most of the movie, Adam Sandler’s character is on “auto pilot”…he simply fast forwards through the seemingly “meaningless” parts of his life…and then one day, pauses and realizes that years and years have gone by.  The moral of the story is, all of those little meaningless day to day tasks, conversations with family and friends, days at the office–whether we think they are important are not, all of these things add up to life.

The problem is, most of these things don’t fit nicely into my plans. When I plan to sit at my desk and study for a few hours, someone will call as soon  as I sit down. Or I’ll get an important email. Or I’ll remember that I have to pay the electric bill. And then I feel distracted, irritated, and my hours of studying turn into hours of moping, and convincing myself that going to graduate school was just a bad decision.

But today, I did something completely uncharacteristic. Despite my plans to work this evening, I came home from work and decided to go for a run. Not part of the plan, but I didn’t care–it was a beautiful spring evening and I wanted to be a part of it. So off I went. And I was running to a great song, and then my ipod died. But I just kept on running. And as I was running, I thought to myself–and now my phone is ringing.

And I’m laughing.

procrastinate later

The past few mornings, I have awoken to an epic battle: me versus my snooze button. I have been plagued by a bout of sheer laziness, exhaustion…I honestly don’t know what to call it. Suffice it to say, I’ve been walking around the past two days on auto pilot and generally feeling awful.

I keep a barrage of cliches, inspirational ideas, and problem solving techniques on hand for days like this. After all, I cannot afford such moments of laziness.  Who can? One such “lazy” evening means 20 less cuneiform signs that I’ve learned. Not possible in my world.

But alas, nothing could shake my crazy mood. Then this afternoon, I remembered one little adage I hadn’t yet pulled out of the arsenal: “Act the way I want to feel.”  This is a quote from a fantastic book I recently read, The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. In the book, Rubin takes herself on a yearlong journey through her everyday life, looking for ways to become happier.

“Act the way I want to feel” seems a little fake at times, but it really works! This afternoon at work, when I remembered this, I started smiling energetically when undergrads came in asking silly questions about filing for taxes, and I moved through my work diligently, checking tasks off of my list. When I went to job #2, I went quickly through the stacks, selecting the right books, noting my full cart proudly. I wanted to feel energetic, so I started to act energetic. And it absolutely worked. Too bad this took me two days to remember.  Any other ideas for snapping out of funky moods?

So now, safely out of my lazy, procrastinating mood, I am off to a few hours of studying cuneiform!

Bob Rice

Catholic speaker, musician, author, teacher

domestic diva, M.D.

my mother raised the perfect housewife...then I went to med school

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The Spiritual Evolution of a Faulty Catholic

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