wow, this weekend was beyond words pretty freakin’ awesome! 🙂 what a great time, had by all, on so many levels! michelle and the students were so wonderful in throwing me a surprise birthday party on friday afternoon after school…from one of the student’s delicious strawberry cheesecake that probably weighed like 15 pounds – covered in like 50 strawberries and the strawberry glaze!…to the chocolate birthday cake made by one of the other students with beautiful writing that said “Happy Birthday Ms. Catalan!” to all of the students that stayed after to join in on the surprise, to the birthday poster that said “Happy Birthday” and included winnie the pooh stickers, to the flowers from one of my students, to the graciousness of EVERYONE…it was just so good! haha i clearly didn’t know what to do with myself…i was like walking along the wall. haha, such a surprise! how beautiful it was! yay!
friday night, since it was still the eve of my birthday, i celebrated my friend’s birthday which fell on 10/9. she’s my friend from san diego, and i was also her sponsor for confirmation, so it was so good to spend time with her and our other san diego friends in new york! and THEN! some of my other best friends arrived – charles, andrew, and lena! they came into town from boston! oh soo good to see them! it was like a mini reunion! we went out for a little bit, and then saturday happened! happy birthday to me!
slept in until 9:30ish, and then went straight to the kitchen! it was time to make pancit! and who joined in on the fun? oh! the amazingness of that which are my sister housemates, michelle, mary, and michelle’s friend, matt. yay! it was so good! however…situation in that when i was boiling the noodles in the chicken broth, i realized, shoot, i should probably start adding in some maggi and soy sauce…yeah, project fail. BUT! the redemption came later when we ended up making so many noodles that we realized, hmm we should probably separate this dish into two different pots so that everything gets cooked correctly! woohoo! we were successful in smelling up the whole house with traces of garlic, and sauteeing the chinese sausage, and chopping up the vegetables, and making lots and lots of delicious pancit! woohooo! yay!
then, the party happened! it was wonderfully complete with my college friends, JD, poor ryan couldn’t make it, my sis, the GSV kids, and the sisters! yay! oh it was so good…and then they got a tour of our humble abode over here, and then we went out to piano’s. the usual. 🙂 yay! oh such a great time. for my first birthday away from home, it was pretty wonderful! such a blessed weekend! oh!! and while we were making pancit, the doorbell rang, and it ended up being a chinese delivery man…my mom ordered our community chinese food for lunch, to celebrate my birthday! 🙂 who would have thought she could be so high tech nowadays. haha love her!
and then sunday happened and i got to spend time with my friends before i dropped them off at their bolt bus. haha i love that we are all teachers, or were teachers at some point! after brunch, we spent a good time sitting in central park, just enjoying each other’s company and catching up…i think it was just awesome just being in each other’s presence – there wasn’t any need to really, really catch up and go on such a deep, deep level, having one-on-one conversations… i think, just because it was just so good to be around people who are already familiar, and who are pretty much like family. it was just such good, quality time…then after i dropped them off, i ventured off to church then saw my sis and ryan in BK. gotta love it. 🙂
today i met with my spiritual director for the first time, and i am so excited about the ignatian spiritual exercises and my involvement in this experience. it is going to be so wonderful and i am looking forward to the graces that are to come and for what will be made visible to me during this time of prayer and discernment. woohoo! i spontaneously led prayer tonight for some of the sisters, and after an awesome discussion over dinner inspired by one of the sisters here, i read Isaiah 41:10 and played “in this place” and “strength for the journey.”
it seems that everyday i am here, i am reminded – even if i wanted or tried to forget, i don’t think it would be possible – that God is everywhere, and even when He places us at unexpected places during unexpected times, He is still there, still moving, and still everso present. as i continue to live my mission here in NY, i am given time to also reflect on my everyday here. what am i spending my time doing? who am i spendng my time with? what is God’s plan that He has in store here for me? through it all – through the struggles, the questioning, the not hearing answers sometimes, and the joy, and tears, i see that God also has blessed us with companions on our journey, and thank God for that. thank God for the strengths and weaknesses that we each have.
on one of the retreats i went on in college, we always held hands interlocking our fingers, to symbolize that our weaknesses are covered by one another’s strengths. thank God that we do not all have the same gifts or talents, and that we have all been given a gift and a strength and weakness that complements our neighbor. we are able to be strength to one another on this journey of life, and we are all joined together by the Spirit that wills it to be as it is. it’s such a beautiful blessing, and i think that when i actually give myself some time to think about it, and sit in that idea and that feeling, it all comes together, that truly, God’s plan is just so apparent.
i am finding that when we share parts of our lives with one another, and listen to each other’s stories about how they ended up being missioned here or there, versus other places, or versus where they thought they would be missioned, in the end, or somewhere along the journey, it all seems to come together, like a beautiful story. like a hand crafted storybook…like, it leaves you with the feeling, this would not happen if God did not exist, and if He was not so present.
i suppose in a way, sometimes looking back, i truly have felt the hand of God just moving me right along. i think that’s at least how i see it with me being here in new york. and with that, God is just so good. it’s really pretty awesome that we are not perfect, because i feel like if we were, we would be missing out on the many graces and gifts from God – which are so rich!
as our feet become Christ’s feet, we go forth with the grace…of the power, and the spirit, that is here, in this place…