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Archive for November, 2011


At anytime its important to step back and take stock of life. So I did that when I went home for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was great to go home after three months. Everyone from my family, friends, and others were so welcoming to host me and hear about my adventures. While home I rediscovered many things and got some new direction. Putting it into words is hard but I feel like some things make more sense than before. Yet the message is still unfolding and each time a portion of it is revealed or I have an insight. I suppose part of the magic of my FrancisCorps experience is having the environment and support to find those answers. Its odd though many times when we are looking for insights they appear when we are not thinking or looking for them. And I think that is happening with me here. The answers come when we don’t always look, the trick is having the awareness to look when we don’t look. If that makes sense.

On another note but similar note today marks the beginning of the season of Advent. The season of Advent in the Catholic Christian tradition invites us to await and look for the coming of Christ in our lives. Advent is the time before Christmas where like in ages past we await the second coming of Christ. Yet in the present we are asked to seek Christ in the daily actions of our lives. I suppose for me Advent is a perfect time to continue some of what I started when I was home for Thanksgiving.

Even as I write this blog I am watching the movie “Field of Dreams.” For those familiar with the movie, at times we get the  messages to “go the distance” or “if you build it he will come.” Likewise Advent can present us with similar messages we hear and feel the urge to follow. Even if we follow them we don’t always know where they will lead. That is we discover the answer was in front us all along; it just took everything previous to see it. Funny how things come together (including this blog post). So this Advent season I think I’ll try best to find Christ and heed the message but not too hard otherwise I might just miss it.

By the way if there is anything whomever reads my blog might ever want me to write about or have any ideas about blog topics never hesitate to let me know. I am always open to ideas or commentary.

 

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Giving Thanks


Every past Thanksgiving I have always tried to give thanks for all that I have and will do again this year. Taking a step further I have learned with my time at FrancisCorps on how to give thanks everyday for all of my many blessings. I know that’s easier said than done sometimes on certain days when we feel angry, frustrated, tired or sad. However, even through those downsides there is still so much I and several others can find reason to be thankful. And in many ways the lows and downs are  part of those blessings in many ways whether or not we can understand them or not.

So I hope all who read this blog will pause and give thanks on Thanksgiving but also learn to give thanks everyday even in the lowest of moments. If my FrancisCorps has taught me anything its how to give thanks everyday for everything regardless…

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One more week until I come home. Nearly three months have passed since I first left Kentucky for central New York. Many things have happened to me and I am sure equally much has come to pass at home. The greatest thing about coming home is that I will be seeing my friends, family, and girlfriend. I wonder if they will notice anything different in me than before I left because it seems to me I have changed. I will be home from Monday to Friday for the Thanksgiving holidays and hope to do as much as I can with the time allowed.

One of the highlights of the week will be getting to share my FrancisCorps experience with my old friends and fellow students at my school’s campus ministry. I plan to give them a presentation about my time in FrancisCorps thus far and to showcase the value of Catholic Christian volunteer service. It is my hope that it will be a worthwhile event and maybe even entice some students to consider doing a service year in the future. I feel most of my peers do not know about opportunities like FrancisCorps or other Catholic volunteer service organizations. In general I believe many Catholic students at public universities are unaware about Catholic volunteer groups. Perhaps public universities like my alama mater can be sites of future recruitment? Pray that I do a good job!

While I look forward to coming home I am also trying hard to establish a sense of home in Syracuse. Its hard to do this since I am only going to be here for one year. Yet there is so much I can do here and experience over the coming year. I already have done and seen much; however, I still think there is room to keep growing. The challenge remains and the frustrations come and go at times. Progress will come with time and things will unfold as they should. I just need to remember that and stay open.

One unexpected event happened this week that reminded me of home in an ironic way. One of my roommates celebrated her birthday last night and she wanted to eat KFC for her birthday meal. Funny how eating fried chicken, biscuits, and mashed potatoes from KFC made me feel a certain sense of pride in my native Kentucky home. Its the little things that count I suppose?! The greatest blessing of all is that I will  have a great homecoming and keep building a new fulfilling homestead here in Syracuse this year!

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Often times we get so much information each day and we have to process it. I can literally look up almost anything with the Internet or contact anyone in the world in the blink of an eye to ask them one simple question. I can way the pros and cons of a certain course action or dilemma I might be struggling to overcome. Even, however, with all the information in the world and decision making abilities at my disposal I cannot expect to know the right course of action. That is unless I have the wisdom to know how to pursue. Throughout my FrancisCorps experience I often find myself wondering what to do with my time here and how to make the most of the experience. Everyday I learn many new things and want to know how I can further use that in my discernment for the year.

Its frustrating to hit a roadblock or to be caught off guard by an something unexpected. Yet even through all of these struggles I have been slowly learning the wisdom. I came to FrancisCorps slightly hoping to get all the right information I needed about myself and to form my future plans. Along the way though I have slowly been surprised at what I am getting instead of information is wisdom. Instead of learning what I need to know I am learning how I am supposed to find what I need to know. This revelation has been coming to me for a few weeks, but only today at mass when this week’s Gospel readings were read and the priest’s homily given did the wisdom present itself. Wisdom not information is what I will come to find. Not what I need to know is important but how to seek the wisdom I need.

As I talked about in my previous blog post it was a week of harvesting vast amount of carrots. Well the carrots were quickly outmatched by 2300 or a ton of donated squash. Never before in my life have I seen so much squash and my job continues to be an adventure everyday! Last  night we welcomed back our former FrancisCorps director, Brother Jim Moore from his sabbatical in Italy. It was great to see him after almost two months, to hear his stories and for us to share our experiences with him. Another week begins and the adventure to learn the wisdom continues!

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So its been a couple of weeks since I last posted a blog. Things have been very busy and there has been little time to post. Plus writing a blog is not easy and since I do not want to disappoint my readers with bad blogs. Anyway so much has happened over the past couple of weeks. We had our fall retreat a couple weeks ago in Fonda, NY where we stayed at the shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. It was a great weekend and time to get away from Syracuse to reflect and grow further in my faith. This past weekend I worked at Northside Ministry’s annual fundraiser, “Sweet Sensations.” The event drew over 200 plus people and I got to be waiter/server for the first time every in my life. Fundraisers like these are very important for the wellbeing of nonprofit ministries like the ones I work with.

One of the best parts of my job has working with local farmers and collecting different types of produce from their farms. Today for instance I and a two others went to another local farm to pick carrots and beets. We picked far more carrots than beets and let me tell you these carrots were huge! Never have I seen such big orange long carrots and there were so many of these carrots. You might ask why carrots? Well there are good for fresh produce and are very versatile vegetables to cook in many dishes. At the food pantry we try to serve hot food and distribute fresh healthy wholesome food to our clients. Its great to offer people more than just sandwiches and bread. Not that those are not necessary staples for people; yet, it adds an entirely new dimension to a food pantry. Not only do we offer more but local farmers have the opportunity to donate their products to help fight hunger and serve a good cause. Making connections and working to solve local community problems is often neglected by most communities.

It is hard to believe but in three weeks I will be coming home for the first time in three months. I am glad to be coming home soon for a visit back home during the Thanksgiving holidays. Coming home will be great and rewarding to have so much to share with others about my time here in Syracuse. However, I still have much to do here over the next several days before I return and to post in this blog about those happenings.

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