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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Life Update: Twists and Turns

Life has certainly taken a lot of twists and turns. For my readers who follow my blog you may have noticed that for a while I was pouring a lot of my energy into my ministry and specifically into a blog that I established for that ministry but that too quickly diminished. However, this is no excuse for my absence in writing. So you may be asking, where has our friend Katie been over the past months of her non-existence in the cyber world?

NEW JOB: TEACHING 

There has been so many changes that I don't know where to begin for fear that I will write too much at once. Let me take you on a journey back to August of 2015.  In mid-August of last year I received an exciting and surprising phone call from a local parish school. A Catholic high school which is only one city over from where I reside was in desperate need of a long-term substitute theology teacher. As I reminisced about the countless applications and interviews I had had in the previous two years which resulted in no full-time ministerial positions for a recent post-grad graduate, I couldn't believe it, I thought to myself it must be fate. I had been getting so discouraged that I would not find a position like all of my classmates had. Wouldn't you know that this phone call changed my life! After a brief conversation over the phone with the school principal I was offered an interview and then before I knew it I was a high school theology teacher. I scrambled over the next week trying to quickly put a curriculum together, literally picking up the puzzle pieces as I went. I was alone in my dismay to figure out my own teaching style and how I would present the curriculum to my students. This entire opportunity laid on very unusual circumstances. Therefore, I had almost no guidance from the contracted teacher because he needed to have open-heart surgery.  Despite the odds, I refused to give up the opportunity of a life-time. I faced my fears head-on, buckled down, prepared myself for the worst and I took on groups of unruly teenagers. It was such a rewarding experience. One phone call opened a new career path for me.

Right around five weeks into the school year and just shy of the first quarter, the contracted teacher returned to school. I was bumbed. I had my hopes that this would turn into a full year contract. Little did I know that the Intervention Specialist at the school was interesting in hiring me to teach theology to students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder and students with a wide range of learning differences. Upon my release from my duties as a mainstream theology teacher in the high school, I became a special education teacher teaching theology to elementary students and high school students alike. Once again I had to quickly adapt to my new atmosphere and create a curriculum that was appropriate for the students I was ministering. This position brings on its own challenges too but just in a different way but I would not change what I am doing for the world. Working with kids with autism is so invigorating and I learn something new everyday!

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: SINGLE, SINGLE, SINGLE, SINGLE

The inevitable happened I met someone! The year 2015 must have been the year for love at least in my world it seemed to be. Before I tell you about my man, let me tell you why my relationship status went from being single, to being in a relationship, to being single again, to being in a relationship so fast! Early on in 2015 I took the leap into the world of online dating. Side bar: Online dating isn't what the line refers exactly. Online dating is merely a tool to meet other people so that you can begin to get to know someone without making any commitments right away. Obviously a person cannot get to know a person entirely from chatting online or even talking over the phone but with patience and a little knowledge of what to look for and look out for a man or a woman could find their true love by meeting online. I found my manual as it were at Half Price Books Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating I highly recommend that you check it out if you are interested in learning about the challenges as well as the opportunities online dating provides. I will not lie to you, I chatted

with many men who were looking for casual sex or a hook-up. One of the greatest things that online dating provides is anonymity, no one knows more than what you allow them to by limiting the information you provide to them in your profile and in communicating with them. I met two men from online before I met my man.

The first guy I met seemed nice but I was really looking for someone who was both Catholic and educated. We had one date and then we went our own ways. The second man I met lived out of state, 2.5 hours away which created its own difficulties. This guy was Catholic and we shared a lot of interests. Over the course of our 8 month relationship I began to realize that he wasn't who I initially thought he was and by the end of relationship looking back I realized that throughout the relationship he was actually slowly, showing me subtle clues about himself--clues that led me to realize that he was not worthy of me. Ladies, listen to your parents and friends they will tell you things that you cannot see for yourself when you are blinded by what you think is love.

Ironically the man who I call mine, now at last, was under my nose the entire time. For five years we were both members of the same church and I never noticed him. For those of you who don't know my story, up until July 2014 I was discerning my vocation to the religious life so men were not on my radar. It's ironic, or at least my mom and I like to say it is that I have always said I would not find a man near where we live. That's the irony, I did. Josh is everything I could have ever asked for. He is not only a good, practicing Catholic, but he is an educated Ag. Engineer, a graduate of The Ohio State University. He also has a career working for the National Truck Pullers Association (NTPA). He is the kindest, caring, considerate man I know besides my dad.

I believe he is just the man my parents always prayed I would meet and marry one day. Let me say here and now, we are not hearing wedding bells just yet and we are trying not to count our chickens before they hatch, as we have only been together for five months. Our friends seem to think we are good for eachother. Our next biggest obstacle is making it through the summer, as Josh drives the scoreboard around the country for truck and tractor pulls so he will be gone for one, two, and three weeks at a time and only home for a couple of days in-between. This will be my next biggest upheaval with my depression and anxiety.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH 

I'm not ashamed to admit that I struggle with depression and anxiety. It sucks. Some days I can't get out of bed. My depression was so bad one day that I had to call off work because I could not stop crying. Unfortunately, there is an awful stigma about emotional health. In 2005 there were nearly 15 million people who had diagnosed major depression disorder. This was 10 years ago, I can only imagine what the number is at today in the year 2016. In my mind what is sadder than the number of people who struggle with depression is the number of people who are not compassionate and or do not try and understand depression. There are too many people who think that depression is something we can control or as if we are faking our medically diagnosed chemical imbalance. In the case of these people all we can do is pray. Pray that God gives them the gift of compassion and pray that they have a change of heart.

I mentioned above while talking about my new blossoming relationship that Josh's summer schedule is going to be my, our, biggest upheaval in our relationship. I say this because we have already noticed that I become agitated and sometimes emotional when talk about the summer arises. Even though we are not married, nor engaged, I feel great attachment to Josh. Maybe attachment isn't the correct word to use, perhaps bond is more accurate. Currently, Josh and I are able to spend almost every day together. We not only enjoy each others company but we have many activities that we like to do together such as cooking, woodworking and watching tv and movies. Josh is my human-sized teddy bear. When he holds me in his arms I feel instant comfort and on my worst days his warm body against mine soothes me as we cuddle on the couch. To me it's the grown ups version of being swaddled in your mom's arms, or sitting/laying in her lap as you grow older.









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