Saturday, June 4, 2011

God has done great things!!

My Dear Remembered Readers and anyone who happens to stumble upon this blog,

I know this blog has been left stratified in time and left untouched since last February, but I assure you it was not just random neglect, but rather very intentional. But now I have come back with the whole story, to satisfy the curiosity of the last year and a half's absence. However, though I am popping in here with my story now, I am not in the season of being a regular blogger again. I have not closed the door completely on this little blog, but instead have left it there, ready to fulfill it's purpose in my life, occasional though that may be. So knowing that I have not abandoned this blog altogether, rather post on it when it seems suitable to do so, I now share with you my story.


I,  Julia am honored and excited to share with you the most exciting news... I am engaged to Joseph L!!!
God has truly blessed us with His most unfathomable goodness and has guided us through this relationship every step of the way. Our prayer is that in this time of engagement and preparation that all our thoughts, words, and actions may glorify Him and be united to His perfect Will.

Since some of you may not know the full history of our relationship to this point, I thought I'd better start at the very beginning. It was a cold January morning in 2010. After going on the Tulsa Walk for Life with a large group of family and friends, we all went to Chipotle for dinner. (Joseph) Joey and I were towards the tail end of the line, and so when we were ready to sit down, most of the tables were already full. Because the tables were bolted to the ground, sitting in smaller groups was a necessity, so Joey and I happened to end up sitting at a table together. I said a quick prayer for God to guide our conversation, as this was really our first conversation of real substance. He most definitely heard me, because that was one of the best conversations I have ever had in my life. :) We talked about everything, really, but especially about my passionate interests and pursuits, which throughout the conversation I realized were also especially his: Catholicism, the rebuilding of Christian culture, natural and simple lifestyles, ranching/ farming/ homesteading, etc. You could say that it was like the spark that started the fire and I think we both knew it.

After that, he started to make more of an effort to talk to me at various gatherings. He also offered to do some of the work that my family desperately needed help with, and I started to see a lot more of him. Our first project was working on fencing my family's pastures. One of the things I really wanted to do when coming out to OK was to learn how to do some real work. I had read and studied for years all about homesteading and regaining the skills of country life, and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to work with someone with his experience. Working together was just what we needed. We were able to see a lot about each others personality by having a non-awkward reason for spending time together and the ability to have a lot of good conversations. After that, and many, many other projects we did together, as well as a lot of time spent hanging out with family, it seemed clear, in a non-verbalized way, that we were definitely interested in each other. That was a huge time of trust for us, praying and trusting, praying and trusting some more, that God had a perfect plan for us and that He would make it known at the right time. Neither of us had said even a word about it yet, and I, especially, was praying that God would make "things" happen if that was His will.

Then one day I knew something was going to happen when Joey kept asking when my dad was going to be coming home from one of his trips. :) This was during Holy Week, a fitting time indeed. Then finally the bright light of Easter came and shone through all the haze, uncertainty, and struggle of emotions. Joey told me at last of the unspoken feelings that had been growing since January, feelings which were mutually felt but not communicated. God had brought us together, we who have SO many shared interests and goals (most of which are completely culturally who would intentionally want to live with less technology anyway? :P :), who agree on pretty much everything, and whose personalities balance one anothers in just the right way. So...the next 14 months was an incredible journey, full of innumerable joys and blessings, but also many, many opportunities to grow as people through struggles, challenges, and plenty of hard work. It was a process of learning what it means to truly love another person, and trying to love as Christ loves. It is amazing looking back at that time and realizing how God was teaching us exactly the lessons we needed to learn about ourselves and how He worked through one of us to help the other become a better person.

Starting this past October, Joey began building a house (or what is affectionately called "the cabin" because of its small size). As we got more and more serious and sure about our future, we worked together more earnestly on building it. It is now almost completed, we are just finishing up the wood floors and trim, with plans to build over the next few months a porch, and an addition out of more natural materials (we want to learn more about alternative, natural building methods). It has been an amazing experience - building our future house together, debt free and resourcefully (yup, amazing...$3 windows that Joe retrofitted), and I thank God for all the ways it has benefited our relationship.

Then one day after praying the rosary, Joey and I started talking, as we had on many occasions, about marriage, time frames, and the future. But this time especially, we looked at our situation as a whole, reflecting on all the different particular and practical aspects of what would be the best time to get married. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, the whens, the ifs, and the hows, and really wanted to pray a novena for guidance. After a good talk with my wonderful, encouraging mother, I knew that was what we needed. It just so happened that that day was exactly 9 days (usual novena length) before the feast of the Queenship of Mary (Joey and I, since the very beginning of our relationship, have had a very special devotion to Our Lady, so this was a pretty perfect "coincidence" :). So we started our novena, unsure of what would be the conclusion. As each of the 9 days went by, the answers and confirmation got clearer and clearer, going from a complete haze to ever increasing clarity. On the last day, the feast day, we were both very sure, very much at peace, and very confirmed in numerous ways that we should get married this year.

The next day we talked to the priest that is guiding us, and as positivity and peace were the result, I knew that it would be just a matter of time before our engagement. (Yes I know that some people like the "popping the question out of nowhere" type of surprise, but I am not one of them, so having a little forethought and prayer was just what I needed.) However, I definitely wasn't expecting it to happen the very next day. :D With the mask of his sister nonchalantly inviting me, Joey planned a hiking trip to Eagles' Bluff. This is an awesome cliff edge with a beautiful view that is well loved in Clear Creek (this is as close as OK can get to a mountain. :). As I mentioned earlier, Joey first asked me to be in a relationship in the early morning of Easter of last year up on Eagles Bluff. So because of this, I was "slightly" suspicious.

We headed out early in the morning with some of his siblings and a friend. We had a lovely time up there, eating breakfast and talking. Then just as they had on Easter, Joe's siblings left quickly, leaving me to realize what was about to happen. And then it did... the moment of every girl's dream, when her prince charming gets down on his knee and speaks to her eloquent and beautiful words about self-giving love finding its greatest fulfillment in the sacrament of marriage, and saying those timeless words, "Julia, will you marry me?" :D :D :D He then put the most beautiful ring I have ever seen on my finger... and there it was shouting out love, and shining for all to see - bright and beautiful, peaceful and perfect... we were engaged.

Then all of a sudden it was 10:02 and we were late for Mass. The other most perfect thing was that it was the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord. Remember our relationship began on Easter, and now our engagement on the Ascension. :D Everything was so much a fulfillment of that first Easter morning, and now we were heading over to offer it all back to God at Mass. (And guess what, because of a long procession before Mass, we walked in 5 seconds before Mass started. :)

So now do you agree that ours was pretty much the most perfect engagement ever? (Yes, of course you married ones out there are saying, second best... naturally. :) All I can say is the four words that were so tangibly felt all day long... God is SOOO good! This is in fact the resounding theme of our relationship. In the words of our very own Blessed Mother, Queen of all Hearts and of the whole Universe... "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has done great things for me..."


Friday, February 5, 2010

(Sojourns)...of the Soul

Instead of the usual Friday- Affections of the Soul, today I am announcing that I will be taking a temporary blogging break. It is not that I am sick of blogging (yet,) or need a break or anything like that, but that I will be traveling. I will be gone until the third week in February, at which point I will hopefully continue blogging (easier said than done though, that's for sure.) So while I sojourn in far away states, you have a wonderful three weeks and always remember...

Life is beautiful.

(There, now I actually have a Friday quote...;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Affections of the Soul

"The word is a sign or symbol of the impressions or affections of the soul." ~Aristotle

I did not actually think I would be able to write this today. For the last two days we have been preparing to lose power-- all electricity for an indefinite period of time. No, it is not that we decided we would rather choose to live without it for any moral reason, but rather that the weather has foisted it upon us unwillingly-- an ice storm  to be exact. We do still have electricity and power, but with the lingering knowledge that at anytime as I write this, it could go. But as I prepared, cooking and cleaning and filled jug upon jug of water, I saw the need to reevaluate things, reevaluate my relationship and dependency on technology. As I looked at everything that is a part of our life, I realized that I could not go on living in any semblance of normalness without electricity. We would not even have our first most basic need- water, and as we went down the list: heating, cooking, lighting, cleaning, everything that are and always will be human necessities, were being jeapordized by one storm, breaking one little electric line. There is a reason it is called power.
So, as I found these quotes, they particularly resonated with my thoughts and very real experiences of the last few days; and while you may not be about to lose your electricity, it is worth it for everyone to read them and truly think about their significance. 

Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology” ~ John Tudor

Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn't have to experience it." ~Max Frisch

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." ~Albert Einstein


Friday, January 22, 2010

Affections of the Soul

"The word is a sign or symbol of the impressions or affections of the soul." ~Aristotle

I had lofty aspirations of having an interesting and thought provoking post ready for you today, but I fear (unless I stay up until all the wee hours of the night) that it will just have to wait, as I have only just begun reading about those ideas and thoughts (which is of course the first step in the long ordeal of posting... at least it is for me, since I am as much a neophyte at blogging as is possible to be.) So my Friday post today will be merely a quote that epitomizes my current writing conundrum.

"Ideas are the cheapest part of the writing. They are free. The hard part is what you do with ideas you've gathered." ~ Jane Yolen

Come to think of it... there are too many good quotes about writing to pass up, so while I'm on that topic, might as well indulge...

"I do not like to write - I like to have written. " ~Gloria Steinem

"All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients. " ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one."  ~Baltasar Graci├ín

"Every writer I know has trouble writing."  ~Joseph Heller

"If I'm trying to sleep, the ideas won't stop.  If I'm trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. " ~Carrie Latet

"Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."  ~Gene Fowler

"What things there are to write, if one could only write them!  My mind is full of gleaming thought; gay moods and mysterious, moth-like meditations hover in my imagination, fanning their painted wings.  But always the rarest, those streaked with azure and the deepest crimson, flutter away beyond my reach."  ~Logan Pearsall Smith

i never think at all when i write
nobody can do two things at the same time
and do them both well
~Don Marquis, 
Archy's Life of Mehitabel, 1933

"One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment."  ~Hart Crane

"I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head. " ~John Updike

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."  ~E.L. Doctorow

"A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. " ~Charles Peguy

*Disclaimer* These quotes were posted by a tired, tired, and (did I mention tired) attempting-to-be-a-writer writer, they do not necessarily represent the true sentiments of the one who posted (ahem, laughed) at them. 


Friday, January 15, 2010

Affections of the Soul...

"The word is a sign or symbol of the impressions or affections of the soul." ~Aristotle 

Well I am back after an "unannounced Christmas break," (a.k.a my excuse for not posting... :)
I am sure most all of you have heard this quote at one time or another, but because it is as timeless as the world it comes from, you can always gain something from it.

"Frodo, ' I wish none of this had happened.'  
Gandalf, ' So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil... And that is an encouraging thought. "


Friday, December 18, 2009

Affections of the Soul...

 Trust... it must guide our every thought and action and breath, our very life. It must not be us working for ourselves, but God working through us.  We are his instruments. Can a cello or piano play itself? How glorious a melody our lives could be if only we would put it in the hands of the Musician and Composer of the universe.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says, the Lord... to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Affections of the Soul...

This is a short one for today, but it is something that I need to be constantly asking in order to renew my determination to groggily force my tired self out of bed at 6:15 every morning, bury myself in a million layers and stumble out into 10 degree frostiness... to participate in one of the most incredible and yet profoundly overlooked things that man could ever do... to go to Mass.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” (William A. Ward)