Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Sprinkling of My Life (Paris & Lebanon, Oklahoma living, and a whirlwind of grace)

Hello, everyone! The other day, after reading Christy's great post about blogging every day life, I realized that I don't do it enough anymore, in a flowing, stream-of-conscious way. So today, as I sit here on my couch, all sleep deprived and full of delicious food, I present you with some of my latest thoughts on life in Oklahoma, on the tragedy in Paris, and on God's whirlwind of grace. 

Exploring France as a college student.
First off, I want to assure everyone in France of my love and prayers. Several months ago, a wonderful reader of this blog reached out to me from France, and I realized that we can easily connect with people who are all the way across the globe (a blessing of technology!). I find it hard to convey my shock, horror, and sorrow at the utter terror that has been gripping France this year from terrorist attacks. I have been to Paris several times, and it is very unsettling that the streets which I have frolicked along are now been covered in blood, broken glass, and dead or injured individuals. I find joy in God's goodness, love, and mercy, and I know that He is caring for all of the people of France in this time. November is a month where Catholics pray in a special, purposeful way for the souls of those who have died. While I am deeply sad that so many people have died, I believe that they died during this special whirlwind of graces and prayers.

Unfortunately, the devastation is not in France alone. On Thursday of this week, at least 41 people were killed by bombers in Beirut, the capitol of Lebanon. This bombing is said to be the deadliest in Beirut since the end of the civil war in 1990. The sorrow and destruction in Lebanon has been tremendous, and I also want to assure the Lebanese people of my prayers. While I have never been to Lebanon, I also have a special soft place in my heart for the people of that country. For several years, I have been a huge fan of the Maronite Catholic Church, which first flourished in the mountains of Lebanon many centuries ago. Many wonderful Maronite saints lived and died in Lebanon. I know that God is holding their whole country close in this time, and that evil will not prevail. 

Now, I don't really go political on this blog very often, but I feel that I just need to get this out of my system real quickly: Dear President Obama, please, please recognize that the Islamic State is a huge, growing, terribly destructive force. I don't care if you think they've been "contained;" they are--and have been--quite active and growing for several months. They've claimed responsibility for the attacks in Lebanon and Paris, so can you please call them out and take action against them? 

As the souls of the departed in Lebanon and Paris are swept up in the whirlwinds of grace, we also have special blessings in the intercession of the saints. St. Maria Goretti's relics are travelling throughout the United States this year, since in a few weeks, we begin the Year of Mercy! On Monday evening, my husband and I crammed into the overflow seating of Christ the King parish (seriously, why did they not pick a bigger church???) as our archbishop celebrated Mass in honor of St. Maria Goretti. I was so glad and grateful to be there, even though I did not get to touch the reliquary. Plus, 2 1/2 years ago, Jacob and I got to spend time with St. Maria Goretti's relics in Nettuno, and we had her all to ourselves :) 

A few days after the excitement over St. Maria Goretti, I found out that on Wednesday and Thursday of this coming week, the relics of St. Charbel will be here! St. Charbel is an extremely epic Maronite Catholic saint who spent his days striving for holiness in Lebanon (so pray to him for the Lebanese people right now!) in the 19th century. Several miracles have been attributed to him, and for the first several years after his death, his body was incorrupt. Apparently St. Charbel's relics are now making a pilgrimage to Maronite churches in the U.S.A., which seems fairly out-of-the-blue to me. But I'm not going to complain! He has long been a good intercessory friend of my family's, and I'm extremely excited. For any of you Okies out there, St. Charbel's relics will be at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Norman, Oklahoma, on November 18-19. You can find more details on the archdiocesan calendar! I highly encourage everyone within driving distance (who doesn't have a Maronite church closer to their home) to come on down for this awesome event! If you don't know much about Eastern Catholics, then it's a great opportunity to learn more about our brothers and sisters in the East! 

Other than the saint epicness and praying for those suffering at the hands of terrorists (also for the terrorists themselves), life has been moving along pretty steadily and peacefully over here! As the weather has finally started getting colder (we're talking 60 degree days, people!), all that I feel like doing is getting cozy under blankets with library books, instead of working on writing I've been slacking off a little bit, but I'm still managing to be slightly productive with a few projects I have going. Carpe diem, right? :) Last weekend, my husband built a computer (intense!), so I happily curled up on the couch to watch him-and read. And I am proud to announce that last night was our first time ever going on stream! I mention this from time to time, but my husband is a competitive gamer. So, when he built his computer, he specifically had streaming his gaming adventures in mind. If any of y'all are inclined to watch me make a fool of myself in Mario Kart 8, just check out his stream channel! (I apologize for the light and sound quality. We-okay, my husband, since I don't know how this stuff works-is still working out the kinks)
Along with my huge platter of migallas,
I had this luscious, gorgeous looking papaya
smoothie. It was basically a fruity, sweet, delicious
milkshake :) 

Today, our parish's young adult group went out to Mass and brunch (it's a regular event we have each month), which was pretty fabulous. I love going to Mass, and getting to know other awesome Catholic young adults-while supporting the local community-is fantastic. This morning, we journeyed to Cafe Kacao, which was awesome. The food was so good, and the portions were quite large. I'm a fan! 

On that note, I should probably go take a nap. Lots of good food + late night streaming=sleepy AnneMarie! 

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