Archive for October, 2007

Still here…

Thanks to those of you who promised prayers…I’ve been trying to figure out what I could write about considering what I’ve been going through lately. It’s hard when things get worse before they get better, but I am grateful for my firm belief that things will get better.

One small tidbit…I’ve prayed Psalm 51 many times, and I remember even pointing out to my former RSM house mates that their prayer book had this Psalm EVERY Friday morning (usually the Psalms rotate on 4 week cycles.) Well this week, I’ve been having a bit more of an intense experience with it, pleading with God to help me, to bring back my joy, especially during a few sleepless nights I’ve had recently. Can’t say anything much more profound than that – it is what it is – it wouldn’t be very authentic of me to go on waxing poetic about my situation.

I hope you’ll hang in there with me with these less frequent blog entries for a bit longer…it’s hard to think about blogging when I don’t even have enough energy to keep up with my classes. I have reason to be hopeful that within a few weeks, I’ll be experiencing a noticeable lifting of the heaviness I’m feeling now. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep up as best I can…

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Let me apologize in advance if I don’t keep up with this blog much over the next few weeks…I will check in, but not always with a substantive reflection. The truth is, I’m just feeling completely swamped, and my anxiety level is sky high. It hasn’t helped that the abstract submission system I was supposed to use to assign papers to reviewers wasn’t working when I needed it, and what should have been done by Friday last week was still on my plate yesterday…finally got caught up early this morning (1:00). But class prep this week just didn’t happen, which made for a couple of brutal class sessions trying to teach on the fly.

What I’ve realized is that I’m going to need a little extra support to get out of this state of mind. So, back to therapy I’ll go next Tuesday, and this Friday to the doc for some meds to take the edge off this anxiety/depression/whatever it is… I seem to have one of these episodes once every 2-3 years. I know God is with me in this, and I know I will not always feel this bad, but right now, I can honestly say it really sucks!

Your prayers are appreciated…

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The new “nun-do”?

Okay, so I had a few requests for this photo…I may add more to this post later, but am in the middle of a meeting at the moment.my-new-haircut.jpg


Later…Incidentally, some of our nuns told me that this really was a standard haircut in the days of the full habit, when longer hair would have just made it more difficult to put on the veil and all the other linens that went with it.

It is interesting to note the various responses I got…a number of sisters complimented me on the new look. A number just commented that it was really a different look – kind of my own feeling about it… Some said nothing, which is ok, too. I got some other interesting responses – like the sister who when she saw me worried that I may have been sick. Another said I had guts; that she would have stayed home if she ended up with a haircut like this. A friend of mine who likes to tease me unmercifully about many things, took to calling me (I’m sure her intent was meant to be affectionate teasing) Sister Auschwitz, which after several times of hearing it, prompted me to point out to her that it wasn’t a particularly kind thing to say. To her credit, she refrained from repeating this the next day.

I wonder what it is that makes some folks need to give an opinion about something that really doesn’t have anything to do with them… do I do that to others, I wonder?

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Amazing Grace

I find it amazing indeed how willing God is to show up.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, a combination of things, I guess… work stress and the anxiety that goes with that. I’d been experiencing a dryness in my prayer – the image I was having of my prayer was one of slogging through the mud. One of the graces I was praying for as part of the communal experience of the Spiritual Exercises last week was to experience in the depths of my heart God’s love for me. I found myself remembering with gratitude times when I have had that palpable sense of the enormity of that love, since it really didn’t seem to be happening for me.

Well on Sunday, I was feeling a little down after going through all that frustration with things not working on various computers, so I decided to reach out and call a friend to vent a little. In the course of our conversation, I came to an awareness that I was feeling lonely, and when I acknowledged that out loud to M., I felt a small interior shift in myself. It was as if simply acknowledging the loneliness to myself and another human being brought me to a more authentic stance before God.

So when I then prayed with the story of the prodigal son, this time I was really open to an experience of God coming running to me, and holding me and kissing me tenderly and bringing me home. So just that small shift allowed the grace I was praying for to happen, and I wasn’t even praying specifically for it when it came. Amazing grace indeed!

Of course, the work stress still continues, and some related anxiety sometimes grips me, so I may have to get a little more support to get back on an even keel.

One good thing is that I won’t have to find the time to get a haircut for a good long time…I goofed in telling the stylist what clipper attachment to use on Tuesday, and the result was quite a bit more dramatic than the slightly “spiky” look I was going for. Oh, well, it will give the nuns back at the mothership something to talk about this weekend… I’m still a little too sensitive about it to go ahead and post a photo here, but maybe I’ll be over that shortly. It actually doesn’t look bad, in my opinion, but it sure is different!

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Well, if I were REALLY a smart geek, I would know better than to count on technology working properly when I REALLY need it to. I dutifully turned on my computer a few minutes before 7:30 tonight, only to find out that our course management server was down, and I had no way to contact the students. AAAGGGHHHH!

Now do I postpone the midterm to make up for not being able to have this office hour? What a mess!

Speaking of messes, I’m battling another computer problem…I’m a program chair for a big engineering education conference, and I’m supposed to be assigning reviewers for the approximately 100 abstracts I anticipate receiving by Friday. Problem is that there’s something wrong with the online review system such that the reviewers cannot submit their reviews. So I reported that bug to HQ, and e-mailed the reviewers I had already assigned, but some apparently didn’t get or read my message, so I’m still getting e-mails asking me about it…

I decided to stop assigning reviewers until the problem is fixed…but that puts a lot of pressure on me and them to get things done in a more compressed time frame. Then I find out the guy in charge of the system is going to be gone this week, and he never got back to me to tell me when the thing is going to be fixed….AAAGGHHH again!!

Then the final straw…I was composing an e-mail to this guy’s boss to explain the situation to her, because it really needs to be fixed right away. Wouldn’t you know…my computer decided to freeze up on me and I had to kill power to get it going again…of course, I lost the e-mail I was composing…I GIVE UP!! Time to call it a night. Hopefully the telephone will work tomorrow…

Maybe God’s trying to get my attention somehow…so I’m going to turn this machine off and listen for a while before I go to bed.

Have a great week!

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newlogo.gif I’ve been at the Tau Beta Pi convention the last couple of days. Tau Beta Pi is the National Honor Society for engineering. Since the convention was local this year, I thought I’d attend. It was nice being around such a large group of intelligent, enthusiastic young men and women – yes, there were a significant number of women…I suspect a much higher percentage than the 20% average of women who have majors in engineering nationwide.

bblogo.jpg Well, anyway, my absence from campus Thursday afternoon and Friday had me feeling I wanted to make myself available to the grad students in my Direct Digital Control course, who have their midterm exam Monday night. So tomorrow night, I am holding virtual office hours from the comfort of home. We use Blackboard as a course management system, and it has a feature that allows a kind of chat room feature, as well as an interactive electronic whiteboard, so I’m going to try it out tomorrow night…I wonder how many of the students will join me online.

Now I just need to hope that nothing else will happen to my internet connection here at home…been having trouble with the DSL service the last several days, and I think I’ve identified and rectified the problem…time will tell…

On another note, the heat wave we were having last week seems to be gone, so it will be time to start planning how I’m going to layer my clothing to prepare for the breezy/chilly ride to and from work this coming week. Will I wimp out? I hope I’ll stick it out at least the rest of this month, if not longer…

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Make your home in me…

These days, I’ve been praying with the Gospel of John, Chapter 15. There’s so much to ponder here, but the phrase that really grabs me (I use the Jerusalem Bible translation) is where Jesus says, “Make your home in me as I make mine in you.”

Jesus making his home in me…now that seems pretty intimate to me. This realization is humbling and wonderful at the same time. I wish I had more time right now, but I must get ready for class…just wanted to put out a thought for you to ponder.

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Another shooting…

My prayers are with the people of Crandon, Wisconsin after a shooting spree by a sheriff’s deputy, of all people. What is this world coming to? Apparently, the shooter is also dead, so we may never know what caused him to do this horrendous thing.

I’m reminded of a song by Judy Small, written after the 1989 Montreal Massacre, when a gunman shot and killed 14 female engineering students. I shall quote a small portion of it. I realize it may be hard to hear, but I assure you, I am in no way intending the question posed as a judgment on all men…

And so we wonder why, as we try to make sense of this
Why is it always men who resort to the gun, the sword and the fist
Why does gunman sound so familiar while gunwoman doesn’t quite ring true
What is it about men that makes them do the things they do ?

A provocative question, no? Remember, please do not interpret this to mean that the songwriter is condemning all men. Just wondering why mass murderers and serial killers are overwhelmingly male? I wonder if in a matriarchal culture, it would be women who are the perpetrators of such heinous crimes? I wonder how often this would happen if we had meaningful gun control laws in the U.S. Just lots of wondering, but with no answers…

Let’s keep all touched by this tragedy in our prayers.

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Crash landing…

Gosh, it has been a busy week…just thought I’d check in with you.

I’ve got a whole lot to do over the weekend, fortunately not quite as much as last weekend…

Here’s an update on my resolution to reduce my carbon footprint…Since classes started in early September, I’ve taken the car to work an average of less than one day per week. It often stays in the garage all through the week, only coming out to play (or do errands, to be more precise) on the weekends. So far so good, though on Monday, I misread the weather forecast and ended up riding my bicycle home in the dark and in a pretty steady downpour – not pleasant, but not horrible either. The unseasonably warm weather is spoiling me – we’ll see how long my resolve lasts once the cold, blustery weather starts.

I thought riding home after my night class (ends at 8:00) would be kind of spooky, but I’ve actually enjoyed my night rides more than my morning rides in. The weather seems calmer, things just seem quieter, and I’m able to settle into a reflective mood after a busy day at the office. Of course, I’m wearing reflective clothing and have lights on both the back and front of my bike – God watches over me, but I have to do my part!

Tomorrow I try to give blood again – got turned down for low iron the last two times, so I’ve been eating copious amounts of spinach this week, and tonight, I gorged myself on 2 double cheeseburgers at McDonald’s. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to ask the Red Cross to take me off their list!

So you can see I’m rambling tonight…a function of exhaustion, no doubt…but hopefully I’ll have something a little more substantive to say in my next post.

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Finding God…

In a comment on my last post, DJC asked me, “How did you find God in your life?” In thinking how I might reply in a few words, two thoughts occurred to me. One answer is that it’s not so much me finding God as letting God find me. And the other is that finding God is not something that happened at a specific moment in time; rather it’s a continuous process that I expect to be ongoing for the rest of my life.

Having said that, I thought I’d share an early memory with you. When I was young, maybe around 4th grade, I remember going to Church a few times when nothing else was happening and just sitting there. I suppose I might have been praying during at least part of the time. What I remember clearly is having what at that time I called a “weird experience”. This “weird” experience that I had several times in that Church was something I now recognize as a felt sense of the presence of the Divine. What is even stranger is that I don’t think I ever told anyone about it until I was an adult, discerning religious life. Hmmm… God doesn’t seem to have had a problem waiting for me to recognize that experience for what it was…

Any of you have any favorite stories of finding God or God finding you?

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