Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Duets with Mick...

What awaits me at the end of my commute...

I listen to Mick Jagger every morning when I drive to work...

I'm sure it's not the play list of everyone who works in religious education.  When you pass me on the road; I'm belting out the lyrics to "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Beast of Burden", "Sympathy for the Devil"  or even "Satisfaction". It's my morning therapy, I get everything out, all my stuff/worries for the day. And get ready to launch myself into the best day ever!  I have a personal rocking party on my 15 minute easy-peasy commute.  I have to be careful when sunroof and all four of my windows are down, I turn into the tranquil and peaceful mission grounds. I don't think anyone else has their sound system as loud or is singing with my intensity. Just me chill-axing with Mick.

I turn the music down, really low and gently pull into my parking place. I close my windows and grab my bag and start my day by greeting as many people as I can with a big smile!

My job title is Coordinator of Religious Education, some folks know it as its more formal name DRE: Director of Religious Education.  I'm in charge of the children's religious education for the parish. I work with the priests, parents, volunteer teachers and my favorite part--all the amazing Beauties of the parish. That's right, I get paid to hang out with kiddos! Teach them about God, the Church, and faith. I'm the Julie McCoy of religion. I get to be a cruise director of kiddos. (You are so welcome for the Love Boat reference!, younger readers, go ahead and Google it.)

It's as if the best job in the world fell out of the sky just for me! I love what I do. Every morning, I wake up with a smile on my face and thank God for creating a place where I get to be me. Where the very Kathryn-ness of it all get's to find a home. I'm tasked with helping parents raise their kiddos in the faith, that is such a part of me, it's not something I can separate. I can honestly say, I've never been happier.

And finally scoring the Religion award in school makes sense! All that education has come full circle. I'm the girl who had to download the Pope's document on the family Amortis Laetitia the "Joy of Love" and plowed through it the same day. Hello, geek alert! Next time I'm going to figure out how to get press credentials to read it in advance of the public release!

For some of you who know and love me, this job makes you giggle. Of course that is what Kathryn is doing. It makes sense. It's what I feel called to do, in the same way I knew I would marry Jeff or have the Beauties or that Santa Barbara was going to be amazing. I have found inner peace.

But, you may be asking, "how do I, find that in my daily life?"

If I can. You can too.

I'm not sure where the phrase follow you heart comes from. But, it really should be, follow your soul. When you begin to trust your heart, your gut, which thoughts are really your soul trying desperately to get your attention. You will find that these opportunities begin to appear. It's not luck--I promise you. It is your soul connecting with the Divine and you listening to where you are called to be. The voice isn't loud at first. It is this series of what some like to call coincidence that just keep happening. They are the bread crumbs of the Divine trying to get your attention. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you keep walking away from something, you eventually have that hammer moment where you realizes you should have been here all along?

I often think that for women, we struggle to claim what is ours. To say, yep I'm good at that, I want to do that--to put ourselves first. We make excuses why we shouldn't try something new or convince ourselves that we need to just keep doing what is safe. That it's not practical, now isn't the best time or one of a hundred other excuses.

Life isn't always practical.

What ultimately gives us joy? That sometimes takes trust, a leap of faith, digging deep and making it all work. Is that hard, even scary? O'my goodness yes. It is all of that and more. But the rewards... They aren't measurable.

For the longest time, I thought I was supposed to write a book. A book that would share what chronic disease, my Beauties, and my marriage have taught me. How my faith shapes my journey. Maybe, in time, that is what the Divine has planned for me. But, today I'm called to be Ian and Norah's mom, to help some beautiful families nurture their faith and to share that journey with all of you...

And the New York Times bestseller? Oh that may still happen, just not this week. The Divine has sent me off on a different path.  It may still happen and if the time comes, I will trust my gut (and the Divine) and jump in with both feet.

May you find the peace in the journey, jump in with both feet and feel the sunshine warm on your face.

The Divine in me bows to the Divine in you... Always.

Kathryn
PilgrimageGal

Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on FacebookInstagram or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence... and I'm always glad to meet another traveler. 

Photo Credit: PilgrimageGal

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Do You Believe in Coincidence?...

Coffee and the Holy Spirit

Do you believe in coincidence?

I don't.

You see for me, a coincidence is an encounter with the Holy Spirit. When you start to recognize the amount of special moments that occur in your life, moments that others call a coincidence, you open your mind to seeing the Holy Spirit actively moving in your life.

Let me give you a real world example.

This week on my way to work, I stopped at Starbucks. As I approached the door, I noticed oodles of young kiddos; 13-14 year old middle school-ers. Our local middle school is just a quick walk from the Starbucks; a perfect place to dash in for a sugar loaded, whip cream topped, caffeine infused faux milkshake on the way to first period. As I opened the door, I realized I couldn't walk in thanks to the line backed up to the door as I opened it! It was dilemma time; I neeeeeeded coffee and as I turned to walk away to find another coffee vendor with shorter lines--I realized the line was forming behind me. I was stuck. Standing in front of me, two young girls discussing girl's gossip and behind me a young man about 13 texting.

As I waited, I admit I couldn't help myself, I started to chat with the young man. After covering what he was ordering (an egg, bacon and Gouda sandwich), we discussed his first period English writing assignment and his future goals...  This charming young man asked me about my job, and I shared about my family, I shared that my kids went to a different local elementary than he had and how I worked for the Mission. We got up to the counter and I told the perky barista that I would be buying this young man his breakfast. I told him I couldn't recall a more delightful conversation with a young man. I can honestly say, I have never done that. And I honestly just couldn't help myself... The words just fell out of my mouth when I got to the barista. You can imagine his shock... A somewhat normal looking, but clearly crazy mom was trying to buy him breakfast.

In an effort not to appear any crazier... we exchanged formal greetings. I told him my name was Kathryn and he told me his name was "N".  "N" then went on to say that he was shocked that I had bought him breakfast. I told him that he was too kind and polite not to be rewarded with a free breakfast. He told me another time he would, "pay me back."

I explained, he already had.

My drink was ready first and I wished him a good day and good luck.  And I walked to my car.

Now as I walked; I instantly thought of his mother. If that was me, I would have been worried. Was I a stalker or crazy? It's hard at times to see the good in the world. And I said a little prayer that the mom would opt for interpreting my act as nice, not crazy.

The next morning after working for several hours the phone at my desk rings. A lovely voice on the other ends says something to the effect of:  "My name is "L" and you don't know me but I think you bought my son breakfast at Starbucks. I'm calling to say thank you."  How crazy is that Pilgrims.... right?

Well L was even more lovely than her son. It wasn't hard to realize where he got it from. We both laughed and I just told her she and her husband had done an amazing job raising their son. I only hoped to do as well with my two children. We chat for several minutes where we discussed whether she thought I was crazy (only for a second.) Besides, she really trusted her son's ability to read character and she trusted that a Mom of two and someone who works for a church was more nice than crazy. Thank goodness, right?, (but she still called to check, right?...)

As we were delighting in each other, she mentioned she wanted to meet me and that she would come to the mission for a formal introduction. She shared that she was a teacher at the other elementary school. I went on to share we had recently moved from DC...

L suddenly stopped and said, "This is going to sound crazy Kathryn, but do you have a daughter named Norah and does she play tennis?" I burst out laughing... Yes! She said, "Kathryn, I KNOW YOU!"  I'm V's mom!"

Turns out, we had several lovely chats during tennis lessons last summer when our girls were taking lessons together. I had that moment when my cheeks hurt from smiling.  L is one of those girls you meet and wish she had been your college roommate because she is so kind and loving.  L went on to say: "Of course it was you who bought breakfast for my N. Wait till I tell him-- I know you! I love the small town of living here!"  Her daughter had an injury over the summer and had to stop playing tennis. Norah and I missed these two. We discussed getting together and re-connecting...

Coincidence?, I don't think so...

Just the Holy Spirit reminding me to do a little something, a little act of kindness, like maybe buying breakfast for a polite young man.

A little act that takes just a moment, but grows into the best thing that happens all week.

Peace be with you,
Kathryn
PilgrimageGal

Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on FacebookInstagram or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence... and I'm always glad to meet another traveler. 

photo credit: Coffee break - Wellington via photopin (license)