Tag Archives: home

Beautiful Now

Salvation is a hard thing to understand, let alone, explain. This morning I couldn’t sleep, so I read an article about how God just wants us to be ourselves. God loves us just the way we are. He created us, he knows who we are, and he doesn’t expect us to be anything other than who we really are. Whether we know it or not, we have a tendency to put on a facade a lot of the time. Even around our best friends, we emphasize certain things about ourselves, and hide others. God loves even the worst parts of us.

Our family recently bought a house in Naples Maine. My mom has loved this house for five years, and at first, I had no idea why. It looks like it’s about to fall down. We officially owned it last Friday. It’s not exactly wheelchair accessible yet, but I can get into three of the rooms on the first floor as it stands. Last Friday, I went into the house for the first time. It smelled. Everything was covered in dirt, dust and mouse crap, and it was filled with trash that had been left there by the previous owner.

The house hadn’t been lived in for twelve years. The guy who lived in it before was an alcoholic, and just let everything fall apart before eventually leaving. While he was there he had said he wanted to fix the place up, but had only really managed to pull some things off the walls. His drinking habit was evidently so bad that he had literally lost track of where he had stored away some of his beer.

We stayed there for a couple of hours on Friday and began cleaning some things up. I had brought my rosary with me, so I hung out in the kitchen and went through the Divine Mercy chaplet, which is part of a devotion that was first introduced in the 1930’s. In one of the rooms I couldn’t get into, my mom found a broken piece of something that had a piece of one of the psalms written on it. It read something like, “He who puts his faith in God is safe.”

This past weekend, my dad went up and camped in the house to start cleaning it up some more. On Tuesday, my mom and I went up to see how things were going. We had hired a clean-up crew to just get everything out of there, and they spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon there. My dad had kept the windows open, so the place already looked and smelled significantly better by the time my mom and I got there. On Wednesday someone came to see if the septic system was going to work for the house, and he said it would. Later, the architect came to see if the house itself could be “saved” and remodeled for what we need. He said it can. He’s already started working on plans, and my mom has enlisted her cousin, who is a builder, to take care of a lot of the work.

When my mom first saw this house she loved it. She wanted to save it. She wanted to make it her own. I didn’t get it for the longest time. A while ago I wrote a post about how we were debating about buying a house in a town closer to our family, or in Portland. My mom kept coming back to this house. When we finally decided on this one, and we were coming closer to buying it, I realized I wanted it, too. I was getting excited, but I still didn’t really know why. Now that we do own it, I can truthfully say that I love it now. I obviously don’t want it to stay the way it is, but I love this house, and I can’t wait to see how awesome the finished product is going to be.

This house to me is what salvation looks like. It was broken and empty before, but now it’s got people who love it living in it, and we’re going to fix it. Obviously it’s not a perfect analogy because we’re not there all the time, but I think now the house has hope in it. I recently wrote a post about what home is. Home isn’t just where a person’s primary residence is. Home is found in people and memories and various places all at once. I’ve barely known this house, and quite frankly, it’s still disgusting, but on Wednesday I sat on the porch in the sun, listening to music, and I definitely felt at home.

God asks us if we will let him into our souls, even if we’re really messy; even if we’ve said “no” to him time and time again. God loves us just the way we are. He always wants us to be better; Jesus said, “Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” but he knows it’s a process, and I expect he loves the process, just as my family is already loving the process of fixing up our house. It’s easy to feel like we’re not good enough, and therefore, wonder how we can let God in, and even if we do, how we’re going to hide the ugly things from him. The fact of the matter is, we don’t have to. The ugly stuff is what makes the finished product so beautiful, and the fact of the matter is, God made us. He thinks we’re beautiful now.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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Welcome Home

My parents and I have been arguing about where to buy our second home (their retirement home–I can work from wherever I want). We know we want to live in Maine where most of our extended family lives. My mom has fallen in love with a falling-down farm house in Naples, and though Naples is quite close to my godparents and Mom’s cousins, I think Portland would be better in terms of accessibility. My dad seems to like Portland better, but we’re all just going back and forth really.

A lot of people my parents age seem to be talking about buying a second home–another place to hang out and live. However, for years now I’ve felt like I have three homes. The first is obviously the house I live in and, by extension, my little neighborhood that goes around a loop, so there’s barely any traffic. The second is the music studio where I learned to play guitar and recorded eleven songs. In a way, I also learned to pray there because my teacher and later, producer happened to be Christian. The third is the church that I couldn’t stand as a kid, but am now seemingly magnetically drawn to. To be fair, I still think it’s the ugliest church in America, but the priests are awesome, the other volunteers and parishioners are really nice, and it’s just about a mile from my house so it’s easy to get to.

About two years ago another one of the teachers mentioned Eucharistic Adoration to some of the older kids around Lent. He didn’t elaborate much about what it was, but for some reason I thought it sounded interesting, so after a little while, I decided to go. The truth was I had never heard of it before. I went that week, and I honestly don’t remember what happened in particular, but I decided to make it a habit to keep going. I’ve been going almost every week now for the past two years.

Our parish also offers confession during that time, and at some point, for an inexplicable reason, I felt I should go. It was the first time I’d been since I made my confirmation, which meant it was the first time I’d gone in several years. I don’t remember what I confessed that night, but I do remember it felt like a humongous weight had been lifted off my shoulders. After that I got a little crazy and probably a little paranoid and started going about every two weeks, and sometimes more than that. Now I go about once a month, sort of like a check-up.

Going to Adoration is never quite the same from week to week. Sometimes it feels a bit futile, like there’s a tiny voice in the very back of my mind wondering why I’m there. During those times I pray anyway, but it kind of feels like I’m talking to myself. Other weeks, amazing things that I can’t explain happen. Last night I went as usual, not really knowing what to expect. I almost didn’t go because I was in the middle of working on one of the stories for my mythology, but I got a little distracted, and somehow came across the bit of Scripture where Jesus says, “Can’t you wait with me an hour?” So I decided, yeah, I’ll do that.

When I got there, I grabbed the little pamphlet with the prayers on it for the end, found my spot, put my phone away and waited. I’ll try and explain exactly what happens at Adoration the best I can since I know many of my readers are not Catholic. Catholics believe that the Eucharist (consecrated bread and wine) are literally transformed into the body and blood of Christ. Some people take issue with this because it sounds like Christ is being sacrificed again. However, what it does, is it allows people to be present in his once-and-for-all sacrifice. That’s what happens at communion. Adoration outside of Mass is when the consecrated hosts are exposed so that people can look and sit and be in his presence.

I was a few minutes early last night, so I was totally ready to go by the time our priest came out and set everything up. For some reason I felt slightly awkward at first and I wasn’t sure why. It was like both of us (me and the Lord) were waiting. The thing is, when I’m nervous or scared, I ask Jesus to stay with me; just to be with me. Unfortunately, I forget to promise to do the same for him. There was nothing on my mind at all really for the first thirty seconds to a minute while I was there, and then I remembered why I had come in the first place, so I said, “Well, I’m here. I’m with you, Jesus,” and then one of those amazing things that I can’t explain happened. I couldn’t really think for several minutes after that. It was kind of like really seeing someone you love for the first time and fully understanding how much you love them and how much they love you and how awesome they are. Then of course I couldn’t shut up.

I sometimes have trouble praying at Adoration. Part of the reason I go is because it forces me to leave my normal life and sit still for an hour, and sometimes my mind just wanders. Last night I didn’t have trouble, though. In fact, I almost wished we had had a few extra minutes before the closing prayers that we all do together. I don’t know how much time it really was before the Katie in me kicked back in. It felt sort of outside of time. It could have been fifteen minutes, it could have been three. All I know is that whatever I felt brought me to tears.

Actually, at the beginning of this post I talked about the places I think of like home to me, but the truth is, they’re really just buildings. I think it’s really the memories and people associated with places that make them home. Really I could probably list off a whole bunch of places that could be home to me, including the camp ground we’ve gone to since before I can remember, Portland Maine itself, and the movie theater a couple towns over. Again, though, these places are home to me because of the memories and people I associate with them. I know that what I felt last night felt really good, and maybe it was God’s way of saying, “Welcome home.”

 

 

Trust

I trust everyone. Honestly, I assume that everyone has good, or at least mostly good motives, and really does want the best for the world and for others. That’s not to say I trust everyone 100%. I’m not naive. I know people have evil in them, and I know there are dangerous people in the world. I’m just not afraid of them. From my experience, 999,999 out of 1,000,000 are trustworthy. I believe this for a number of reasons.

I’m young and grew up in a safe suburban town, went to school at a Christian college in the middle of nowhere, and still live in the aforementioned safe suburban town. I’m an optimist. I simply want there to be good in people, and I choose to see the good. I’ve never really encountered any truly dangerous people. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and if I get hurt, I believe that some good will eventually come of it; I’ll learn something from it. I’ve never been disappointed when I give someone the benefit of the doubt, even if I’ve been a little unsure in the beginning.

My contemporaries and I were taught when we were kids not to talk to strangers. We were taught that evil was lurking around every corner. I don’t know when where or why our parents got this notion. To me at least, it seems entirely unreasonable to believe such a thing. You would constantly be living in fear. A friend of mine has told me that it’s better to be a pessimist because you’ll always be right or pleasantly surprised. However, I don’t necessarily view “bad” experiences in a negative light. One must either take responsibility for these experiences, or one must assume that these things were meant to happen and things will eventually get better.

I do believe in destiny to some extent. I don’t think it conflicts with the idea that humans have free will. God has a plan for each of our lives, and we can choose to go along with that plan, or we can choose not to and hope for the best. The trouble is knowing what God’s plan is in a concrete sense, especially in the day-to-day details. It often doesn’t seem to make any sense at all from a human perspective, and the truth is, this can get annoying.

In a recent post I wrote about how I want to belong only to God, and I’ve been exploring the possibility of becoming a Sister or a nun (apparently they’re different). I’ve also been trying to find someone to play music and write with. I’ve mostly been looking on Craig’s list, and haven’t been able to find anyone. I was supposed to meet someone at Starbucks today, but my parents wouldn’t let me. They didn’t trust him for several reasons, but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I live with my parents because of my disability, and it would be too much of a hassle to figure out how to live on my own. The fact of the matter is, however, that if I did live on my own, I would have met my potential musical copilot this afternoon.

When I was a kid I liked my quiet neighborhood. I could play in the street with my friends and a short walk around the neighborhood was long enough for me. I desperately want to move to a city. I want to be able to go places without having to get a ride. I want to be able to just wander off with an actual destination in mind when I’m bored and need a change of scenery. I want to be able to actually go somewhere for work. Right now I spend my entire day in my bedroom. I work in here. I write in here. I play music in here. I pray in here. I sleep in here.

A few nights ago I was doing research about religious life and for some reason it was making me anxious. Part of me wants to do this because I want to formally dedicate myself to God (i.e. I want to take some kind of vow), but at the same time, I’m starting to feel like that isn’t the life for me. I’m almost certain by now that God wants me to remain single, and I’m really okay with that. However, now I find myself asking “Why?” If he doesn’t want me to be a “religious” person, what the heck does he want me to do?

I’m still working on finishing the New Testament, and it’s like he’s drilling into my head: “Tell people about me!” I desperately want to, but I just can’t find the right words. People don’t want to hear the same old message. People don’t want to hear for the hundredth time that Jesus saved them from their sins and I don’t want to tell them that. I want to tell them about how I never feel alone. I want to tell them what it feels like to really be peaceful. I want to tell them how it feels to not worry or to not be scared. I just can’t figure out how to put the feeling into words.

I was briefly mad at God this afternoon. I was mad because he made me the way I am and landed me in this town. Being angry about it isn’t helpful, though. It doesn’t change anything. Because I live in this town I belong to the church I do, and I love my church. I love the people there, I love the priests there, I love teaching and volunteering there, and I love all the quirks that come with it. My church is definitely quirky. If I didn’t live in this insufferable town I wouldn’t have the friends I do. We wouldn’t have perfected our epic commiseration skills, and we wouldn’t be the people we are today. If I wasn’t born with MD, I most likely would not be nearly as empathetic as I am. If I didn’t live in this town I would have never discovered the culinary masterpiece that is Colombo’s Pizza. Actually, I probably wouldn’t be a confirmed Catholic. It was my music teacher who unknowingly convinced me to go through with it, and I wouldn’t have met him if I didn’t live in this town.

As I said, I trust people, but it’s way more important to trust God. I might just have to accept the prospect of never having a musical copilot. I don’t intend to make music a career, anyway. There’s no point in being mad at my parents either. I just started doing research to start a business with my dad. I think we will work well together. I’m learning a lot about the business world, and I’m finding it surprisingly enjoyable. I’ve hit a roadblock in my novel, and I need to do some reading to help me with that. Strangely enough, I’m finding that I’m busy lately even when it feels like I’m getting nothing done.

The future actually seems much more certain than it did last summer. In May I will have been out of school for a year. I still don’t entirely know what I’m doing or where I’m going, but I have a much better idea. I can comfortably say that I’m an artist, and hopefully I’ll be able to say that I’m a successful entrepreneur in the next few years. Time is a weird thing. It feels like it’s dragging on slowly until you look at it in retrospect. It’s taken me almost a year to get to where I am now, in terms of what I want to do. Realistically, that’s not a long time.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The True Meaning Of Mobile Home

I just read a blog post by a friend of mine from school. In the past year he took a semester abroad, specifically in Oxford England. In the spring we’ll both be graduating and he’ll be headed to grad school. I mention all of this because his post was about disorientation. He was talking about how he has lived in so many different places in a short period of time, and now his subconscious is losing its idea of where Home is. At the end of his post, my friend posed a question which I have expanded on: what exactly is home? can you take it with you? is it a physical place? What does it take to consider a place or a thing home?

I have a small bag with several compartments hanging off my wheelchair so I can reach it easily. During the school year, it’s generally filled with pencils, pens, folded up handouts that I have yet to file away, etc. However, right now it’s filled with a lot of other things. Right now it’s filled with a small, stuffed frog that I’ve had since I was five, several guitar picks, my notebook that is slowly being filled with new and old song lyrics, my special leopard pen, and an empty assault rifle shell that was used to decimate a pineapple yesterday. All of these things have either good use or happy memories attached to them, and I wonder if in a way, that makes them home.

My family and I got home around 11:30 last night after spending a week and a day camping in Maine. It’s usually very nice to come home from camping, but for some reason, it seemed like the week went by so fast that we weren’t quite as desperate to return as we usually are. Perhaps this is because camping has become the only time of the year we see some of our relatives. My cousin Amber, who is attending Mcgill University, has spent the past three summers there as well, and has decided to permanently plant herself in Montreal. My cousin Chris is now an EMT in Vermont, though he used to live in Maine. My Mom’s cousin Eddie comes down from Bangor Maine. The list goes on.

Sometimes things are very much the same from year to year, and some years we have a whole lot to catch up on at Camp. I have been doing this since I was a year old, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. I hope that one of these years I’ll have a wedding to talk about, or maybe an apartment or house of my own. Maybe I’ll have a job, or maybe my music career will have taken off.

My brother doesn’t really love camping, but I hope he will continue to come once our parents have no more say in it. I hope he brings his wife and kids years down the road (if he has them, of course). He intends to become a brain surgeon, so that will make things interesting, but everyone has to take a vacation, right? One week during the summer seems reasonable.

All this is to say that I think I wasn’t completely thrilled to come home last night because in a way, Camp is home. I just read a blog post by a friend of mine discussing that particular issue: i.e. what is Home? His post came about as the result of a dream he had. In the dream, he was wandering around a familiar library in a completely unfamiliar place. The city in his dream was a strange combination of Boston, Oxford, and New York, where he has or will be living over the past several years and in the near future. He posed the question of whether or not the concept of Home is dependent on place. He talked about how so many people have no transition period between high school and the “real world,” and this results in a serious reality change that can cause real emotional damage in some cases.

One of my cousins went to a counselor a year or two ago, and he told my Mom that he learned something very helpful: there are essentially two types of people in the world: there are what the counselor called “sails” and “anchors.” An “anchor” he said, was someone who is very stable and will always be there for people. For me, this would be my parents, my brother, and a few of my friends. I know they love me, and I know I can depend on them for anything. I think it could be said that these people are Home.

I have a little pouch with several compartments hanging off the armrest of my wheelchair. This pouch is currently filled with a menagerie of things. It’s filled with my cell phone, my wallet, several guitar picks, a notebook that is slowly being filled with song lyrics, a small, awkwardly heavy leopard pen, a tiny stuffed frog toy, and an empty assault rifle shell from yesterday that was used to decimate a pineapple. My pouch is filled with different things at different times, but so is my life. For me, my pouch is Home. I always know that whatever I need at a given time is in there, even if it takes me a while to find it.

My friend asked the question in his post: can you take Home with you? It depends on what Home is for you. My house, among other things is Home for me, so in that sense no, but in other ways, absolutely. I love my bedroom, with its somewhat tacky color scheme, it’s purple and orange lava lamp, it’s multicolored pillows, its miscellaneous bookshelves, and its assortment of collected things, both worthless and expensive. Songs have been written in here, homework has been done in here, things have been celebrated in here, and tears have been cried in here. I pray in here and sometimes I eat in here. If there was a mini-fridge and a toilet I could live in here. My bedroom is absolutely Home.

I will probably always consider the house on Haverhill Street Home, even though I really don’t like living in Suburbia. I will always want to come back here for Christmas and Thanksgiving, even if, and when I have my own family, my own career, and my own house/apartment. I guess my response to my friend is: yes, Home is dependent on place, but for your own sanity, make sure you can take it with you, too.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

My Pictures

These are just a few of the pictures I’ve taken since I got my camera. I have more, but these are the coolest. Once I have enough to make a long enough slide show I’m going to post them on Zenfolio and put some of my music to it so that you guys can see and hear my stuff!

My dad and I saw these 2 in the parking lot while we were getting sandwiches on the way to Maine
My dad and I saw these 2 in the parking lot while we were getting sandwiches on the way to Maine
I took this last night with the lights off. I thought it had a cool effect.
I took this last night with the lights off. I thought it had a cool effect.
Hey look! Snow happens in Maine.... go figure!
Hey look! Snow happens in Maine…. go figure!
My friend, Lydia drew this on a chalk board in my Kitchen. I edited it a bit for fun.
My friend, Lydia drew this on a chalk board in my Kitchen. I edited it a bit for fun.
This lamp always makes cool shadows on the wall in our living room.
This lamp always makes cool shadows on the wall in our living room.
The first entry into the "Piles" project
The first entry into the “Piles” project

Well, that’s about it. I’ve also made many pictures from scratch. These are just 2 of my favorites.

A2

I made this one using Paint.NET. It’s free and pretty fun to play with. I basically drew all the shapes around the heart with different shades of blue and purple and then blurred them all together.

FLYINGUINEAPIG

The namesake of my blog…. This was really fun to make. I got a picture of a guinea pig off of Google and used a color changing tool to make it green. Then I got a picture of wings that was black and white at the time and used different shades of green that were in the guinea pig’s fur to fill it in. Then I cut the guinea pig off of one canvas and pasted it on top of the wings on another.

Happy Christmas!

I slept obscenely late today. After the holidays I’ll get that back under control. Anyway, I would just like to say “happy Christmas” to all my readers. I hope you will all be warm and happy and with your families for the holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I just hope that this is a time of joy and goodness and giving for everyone.

I also hope that this will be a time of remembering for people. I hope that you will remember the simple things, remember love, remember those who may not have what you have and remember what this holiday really means.

I wish you all the best. Happy Christmas and happy New Year! 🙂

The “Piles” Project

This one will be quick, but I feel compelled to write. I thought I’d mention an interesting project that I intend to work on over break. I’m calling it “Piles.” I’m basically going to take stuff I have just lying around the house and maybe some things from nature, and I’m going to make literal piles and photograph them. Some of them will be “themed,” but some will just be random piles. For whatever reason I’ve started taking interest in photography. I saw something in one of my classes today that would have made a cool picture. Someone had wrote the word “true” on a whiteboard in one of my classrooms. A girl in my class sat in front of it without knowing it was there and sat in a perfect position with a perfect expression on her face. I wanted to take out my phone and take a picture, but that would have been weird on many levels, I suppose. I don’t have a good camera. My mother insists on buying me an iPhone for Christmas even though I told her I don’t want anything. Supposedly the new one has a good camera, so I suppose I’ll see if she actually gets me one. I don’t know if she’s getting me one or not for sure, so if she doesn’t I’ll just splurge for once and buy myself a nice camera. My cousin’s girlfriend is into photography so I could ask her what she has. Once I have a few pictures I’ll post them. I’m going to make at least one Christmas themed pile. I have a lot of other ideas already. I only have a week of school left, so the end is near! 🙂

Well it’s about time to go to class, so that’ll have to be it for now.