Is God Using Rap Artists to Give Me a Message?

Okay, now that’s just unfair!  🙂  God knows that I like listening to pop music, including some things which are not very healthy for me to be listening to.  But now, He has gone and inserted His message into them.  What do they say?  “God will find you where you are”?  Apparently.  But, there’s got to be something really wrong with me if Akon is teaching me a lesson.  Seriously.

But, I am (oddly enough) an American culture major, so I like to examine these things.  I’ll give you the lyrics — I don’t think there’s anything really profane in there — and then try to dissect out of that what I think God is trying to tell me.

What You Got
by Colby O’Donis (featuring Akon)

Konvict, Konvict

Oooh Oooh Oooh Oooh
Oooh Oooh Oooh Oooh

(Verse 1:) Colby O’Donis
I peeped you on the phone
Just showin’ off ya stones
And notice that that pinky ring is right enough baby

I know you’re not alone
But I could just be wrong
The way them fellas houndin’ and sizin’ you up baby

(Hook:)
And I like the way you take advantage of every man you love
I see, I seem to know your game girl
But I don’t mind if ya come and play ya thug just don’t talk too much
I see, I see it so you don’t have to say a word
Yeah those guys wanna come treat ya right
Cause you’re sweeter than apple pie
Everything that you want you got
Girl you know that you need to stop
Most beautiful thing in sight
Always takin’ on the spotlight
Always in the club lookin hot
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Chorus:)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Verse 2:) Colby O’Donis
Girl I can tell you want something to love
That’s why you hold on to everything that pass you by
Can’t resist girl one can’t lie
Now tell if you are here for me
Or everybody watchin’ you shake from left to right
The way you move got me hypnotized

(Hook:)
The way you take advantage of every man you love
I see, I seem to know your game girl
But I don’t mind if ya come and play ya thug just don’t talk too much
I see, I see it so you don’t have to say a word
Yeah those guys wanna come treat ya right
Cause you’re sweeter than apple pie
Everything that you want you got
Girl you know that you need to stop
Most beautiful thing in sight
Always takin’ on the spotlight
Always in the club lookin hot
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Chorus:)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Oooh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Oooh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Oooh)
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Verse 3:) Akon
Our eyes away from you girl when you get on the floor and do what you do
And errbody wanna come back to that bod and kind of remind myself I’m like you
Be sure that type drive a man crazy and snatch him away from his lady
No matter how hard the man hold back he’ll end up callin’ you baby
And they never really know what to do once you expose that thang you do
Ya had him crawlin’ on hands and knees and ya find a way to get him out that cheese
And why ya thinkin’ that you the only dude she off in the mall livin’ off of you
Lettin’ errbody know she got you but now you feel like a fool

(Hook:)
Yeah those guys wanna come treat ya right
Cause you’re sweeter than apple pie
Everything that you want you got
Girl you know that you need to stop
Most beautiful thing in sight
Always takin’ on the spotlight
Always in the club lookin hot
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Chorus:)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop

Okay, so first, it is talking about this girl who seems very sweet, but who uses men to get what she wants.   While I don’t think that I am quite as bad, perhaps, as is portrayed in this song, I can certainly see, especially when looking at my past history, how I have been irresponsible in this regard, and even a little manipulative.  I had quickly found growing up that you can just look at a boy in a certain way, and smile at him, or even tease him and challenge him, and typically you will get whatever it is that you are after.  Sort of like an art form, you have to do it to the extent that it produces results, but you have to be very careful not to go too far, or to do this too much, or the boy in question (along with others around you) will catch on to the fact that this is about useAnd you wouldn’t want to be labeled as one who uses others.

While I do try to (and have in the past, even when I did more frequently act in this manner) respect people and not use them for my own ends, this kind of behavior, when positively reinforced with getting what you want (reward) is very addictive.  You tend to fall into this pattern of relating with other people, which is extremely unhealthy.  This is a sick culture, and I’ll be the first to admit that most of my failings as regards loving others comes from a very deformed view of myself, who I am, what relationships are supposed to be like, and what it means to really love.

Basically, I need to be whapped upside the head with the Theology of the Body on a daily basis.  But, I’m working on it.

Lesson 1:  Stop flirting to get what you want.  Be authentic and direct and do not see another person as an object or as a means to your own ends.  People are not tools.  People have unique dignity and should never be seen as useful.

“Always talkin’ ’bout what you got.”  Everyone who knows me knows that I like to talk a lot.  I am an oversharer.  🙂  What’s my basic problem here?  I am looking for love and approval.  And if you are going to reject me, I’d rather that you have all the information about me up front, so that you can reject me sooner rather than later — before I get a chance to be really attached, because that would hurt more.  Several fundamental problems here. 

First, I should be concerned primarily with what God thinks, and not so much with what others think, although I have to love my neighbors. 

Second, I need to trust and know that God loves me regardless, and that I am his precious daughter.  Too often, I think that I have no value, am worthless, or that I haven’t done enough to make people love me.  That’s not how relationships are supposed to work. 

Third, I think in here is a caution to not be so self-absorbed.  I should pay attention to me, to the extent that I can evaluate how well I am responding to what Christ did to me on the cross; however, I should be more concerned day to day with trying to die to self and live to pour myself out to others.  For it is in a gift of self to others that I am truly alive and happy.  It is what I am made for.  And if I am not making of myself a gift to others, what am I doing?  Swimming in the sea of the culture of death, most likely.  Time to stop playing in the sea and head for home.  If you never get out of the water, you will eventually drown.  And I’d rather have eternal life, thank you.

Lesson 2:  Live the way God has made you to live.

“Always in the club looking hot.  Girl, you know that you need to stop.”  Ah, perhaps a shorter one, but basically goes back to the Theology of the Body and a proper idea of one’s worth, versus what the culture will tell you is the measure of your worth.

Lesson 3:  I have to learn that my value does not come from how good (or bad) I look.  Physical attractiveness will both come and go, but it is your interior person that matters to God.  How does my heart look?  Do I resemble His Son?  That’s the question to ask.  Not, “does my butt look fat in these jeans?”

“The most beautiful thing in sight.”  Another shorter thing here, but in this way of mistreating people for their usefulness, I think, is another danger in that you can easily come to think that you are better than others, because you can get your way.  Ooh, what a dangerous thing to play with — pride.

Lesson 4:  Be humble and authentic.  Live with integrity in all that you do.

It’s very interesting the way I have been seeing God everwhere lately.  I can only hope and pray that I will be able to live my life in a manner pleasing to Him.  And I should have known by the opening words of the song, what it would have in store for me.

“Konvict.  Konvict.”

And God has certainly convicted me through it.  Let’s see how well I respond….

Speeding and the Mosaic Law

Yesterday, I got a chance again to attend Fr. John’s Bible study.  We are currently going over Galatians.  Particularly yesterday, we were talking about being justified through faith versus being justified by following the Mosaic law.

 With a law, there is the concept that if you break the law, you will incur a penalty.  The example given was that the speed limit is 70 on M14, and if you happen to go 90 and get caught, there is a stiff penalty.  (Of course, he says that he doesn’t know this from personal experience….)

Hmmm….  Now, I do happen to speed along M14…daily….  Keeping that in mind, let’s continue with our studies, shall we?

He goes on to say (not verbatim, but in essence) that a law makes you aware that you need help.  That there’s nothing wrong with the law in itself, but something wrong with my capacity to keep it.  And also that a bad place to be is to live under the illusion that I’m fine.

Oh great.  So, nothing wrong with a speed limit, but there is something fundamentally wrong with the fact that I habitually do not observe it.  And that I think that my action in this regard is okay, is a deeper sickness within me.

Ouch.

Déja Vu, All Over Again

Have we as a society just given up on any sense of morality? I don’t typically read news articles. I don’t subscribe to the paper. I rarely look online at news sites. There’s so much depressing news out there. So, I figure that if there is something really important going on that I should know about, I will hear about it either at church or at work. Otherwise, I really don’t need to marinate in the culture of death that surrounds us.

But, I do leave on my web browser homepage a little box that will give me the top stories of the day, and sometimes I look at that little box. Today, there was a headline which actually made me read the entire article. Apparently, a group in Israel burned a bunch of New Testaments. The head of this group said that it was an unauthorized event, that he was merely trying to round up all of the [problematic] “Christian propaganda” in the city. Oh boy. Haven’t we been here before? At least the last time there was such an event as this, the world actually cared and took notice.

However, we are living in an age where scientists have taken to creating animal-human hybrids. Once, this would have been an inconceivable thing to do, and it would not have been tolerated. Now, why not? Sure, there are articles talking about the controversy and some people are speaking out against it; however, with our lovely consumeristic society, you can buy a T-shirt. Seriously. There is something, really, really, really wrong here. And we aren’t reacting. Or seeming to react. We should be horrified. Seriously. Horrified.

From LifeSiteNews came this (you can read about LifeSiteNews’s mission statement, as it were, here to see what their slant is in news reporting):

In his State of the Union address in January, US President George W Bush condemned the practice. “A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners and that recognize the matchless value of every life,” he said. “Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research, human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our creator, and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.”

I agree with that. Please pray with me.

Who I Am, A-Z….

The theme for this meme is: using the 26 letters of the alphabet, express who you are, what you do, your interests, what matters to you etc. You have to write it within 26 minutes.  Taken from Kasia:

Am a/an:
A. Avid talker
B. Bouncy
C. Competitive, Candid, Catholic (but not competitive in my Catholicism per se, no Rosary-making prayer-writing competitions in my immediate future; however, I *am* candid about my Catholicism)
D.  Dancer, especially in my pajamas or in the street late at night or, you know, both of those… 🙂
E. Enthusiastic individual
F. Friendly person
G. Giggler
H. Health-challenged
I.  Inquisitive
J. Jenniebean, Jaibee, Jennifurball (but only to John)
K. Kind, on my better days
L. Loyal
M. Mischievous
N. Nut
O. Obsessed with order, so much so, that if I cannot find a place for something to “live,” it ends up in a heap until it can be properly categorized, labeled and arranged — end result being that I look as if I’m a slob; however, you can have lots of fun repeatedly messing up my colored pencils and watching me put them back into proper order according to wavelength
P. Photographer; Present-giver
Q. Quirky
R. Reckless (this is what my confessor told me about me)
S. Starbucks patron; Sassy; Sharer
T. Thrill-seeking
U. Ubiquitous, and stealthy — figure that one out!
V. Voracious reader
W. World Youth Day pilgrim
X.  XO – second in command, my favorite position of power
Y. Yearning — for many things:  a deeper relationship with/understanding of God, children, peace
Z. Zoo patron – formerly

How My Car Teaches Me About God, Parenting and Myself

I went to Mass this morning in a pretty good mood, about half-way into my trip, I put on a Podcast talking about what happens during Mass.  I am actually not sick today — feeling pretty good physically; so that helped my happy mood, too.  I was running a little late and walked into church just a few seconds before Mass began.  Literally, I walked in the chapel just ahead of Fr. John and probably caused him to have to wait for me at the baptismal font.

I usually have a very difficult time with distractions during Mass.  Not that I don’t want to be fully engaged, but Fr. JJ thinks that I may have a little bit of ADHD, and I keep having to bring myself back to what is occurring in front of me.  My mind wanders so very easily.  But today, I managed to stay mostly focused (by the grace of God, certainly).  As Mass continued, I became increasingly joyful, almost to the point of grinning.  (I try not to do that, though — wouldn’t want Father to think I was laughing at him or something.)  I became so joyful, that I was worried about after Mass for a moment, because I intended to ask Fr. John about the outcome of the vote in the Michigan senate (?) about partial-birth abortions, and it just wouldn’t do to be smiling when one asks about that sort of thing.

After Mass, I caught him and he asked how I was doing (“Very, very good!  You?”) and then he paused when I asked about the partial-birth abortions and said that he hadn’t heard anything other than they were supposed to vote on Wednesday, but didn’t, then they were supposed to vote yesterday, but didn’t — and to keep praying.  He started inching towards the door (and his car) again, while I remained behind to talk to a friend whose wife is due in just a few weeks with their second child.

As I left and approached my car, I saw something concerning.  I stopped and looked at the passenger side and there was one — no, two — vertical dents in the door.  Obviously, someone had hit my car with their door.  My car is not quite 5 months old, and it’s the first new car I’ve ever had.  I stood there for a second, feeling the dents, waiting to feel anger — for surely that has always been my response to things like this — a visceral, self-righteous hatred of the negligent offender.  To my surprise, that anger…never came.  I was still happy and joyful, and I didn’t understand why.

So, I pondered this.

First, I thought about how even though it was important to me, it was just a thing.  And things will come and go.

Second, I don’t have control over anything other than my own actions.  I can try to protect my car, but there is going to be a time (quite frequently) where I am not around and it is going to be on its own, for better or for worse.  I have to learn to let go and not try to cling or control all situations.  Worry and anger aren’t going to change anything, and they aren’t going to prevent anything — so, why be anxious?

Third, as I looked at my car, I felt sorry, and I think I actually said something to it like, “I’m sorry this happened to you, but I still love you just the same.”  Now, I’m not really in love with my car.  Certainly, I like it and I enjoy it, but I’m not obsessed with it or anything like that.  So I thought about what I said and realized that in a way, this might be how God feels about us.  He may be sorry that bad things happen to us, and sorrowful when we sin, knowing that we are hurting ourselves, but He loves us anyway — despite our dents.  And in the end, when we go home, we may look at one another and see all of the dents that we have and praise God all the more for His mercy and His grace and His aid to help us through all the rough patches during our pilgrimage here.

Fourth, I wondered at the power of the Eucharist, for certainly this grace that was given to me to look beyond myself and my interests had to have come from Him.  It *had* to be due to the presence of God dwelling within me.  What an amazing thing that is!  I hope that I am always open to having Him work through me, and to be able to reflect His love onto others.  To not only work towards, but to desire to conform myself to Christ.

Finally, I prayed for the person who dented my car.  Perhaps they were having a really bad day and they need prayer to help with whatever situation they were/are in.  Perhaps it was an accident and they felt horrible about it, and they need to know that it’s okay, that they can slip up and still be loved by God and by their neighbors.  Perhaps they were just negligent and uncaring, in which case I pray that God will open their hearts to a sense of communion with others and work on their heart to make them desire to fully be a part of the Body of Christ.

Then, I looked at myself, and wondered if maybe this wasn’t just a small beginning into understanding what it means to lead a Christian life, and to want the good for others and to die to self.  For certain, it is only a very, very small step, but just maybe I’ll be able to take something away from this experience and be able to apply it in the future in a positive way.

Have a joyous, blessed day!  🙂

Roasted Shallots

Roasted Shallots

Originally uploaded by CadyLy
I’ve never made shallots before, and I’m about to use them in 2 recipes for dinner on Saturday. I thought I would try roasting one first, just to see what it tasted like. Mostly, like onions.

This is also going to be my first time having one of my priests over for dinner. We will be a party of five. I hope I learn how to cook between now and then! 🙂

Translation, please!

Okay, I had to go to the store before going home today.  Since the grocery store which I have been shopping at lately is right by my church, I thought it would be a great idea to stop by the chapel for a little while and “waste some time with the Lord.”

After praying for a bit, I decided to grab a Bible sitting in the pew.  One of the ways He speaks to us is through scripture, right?  So, I pick it up and open it, not knowing really what I expect to read, and then the thought comes into my head, “Hey, why not something from Sirach today?”  I agree with that, and flip to Sirach.  Then, this leaps off the page at me:

Sirach 30:14-17 
[14] Better off is a poor man who is well and strong in constitution
than a rich man who is severely afflicted in body.
[15] Health and soundness are better than all gold,
and a robust body than countless riches.
[16] There is no wealth better than health of body,
and there is no gladness above joy of heart.
[17] Death is better than a miserable life,
and eternal rest than chronic sickness.

Now, just what is He trying to tell me?!?!?!?!

 And that’s not all!  After this, I head for the grocery store, still internally squawking, and start my browsing for dinner-type items.  Then, I notice what’s playing on the radio/grocery sound system….

A song I’ve never heard before, which is mostly repeating the same line over and over….

“Baby, just let yourself go.”

And every once in a while, to mix it up is a, “I’ll be coming for you.”

Perhaps I’m just a little paranoid over my medical tests….  🙂  But seriously, He couldn’t have given me a “Do not be afraid for I am with you” or even “It’s a beautiful day” ??

Mmm… Ice Cream!

You’re Mint Chocolate Chip.
Mint chocolate chip ice cream wakes up people’s taste buds, and you do the same thing when you walk into a room. The chocolatey bits represent your sweet, flirtatious side, and the minty flavor represents your high energy level. You are smart, witty, and you make a great first impression. Your friends value your advice, because you tend to see things from a fresh new perspective.

Hmm. I don’t personally find mint chocolate chip to be my favorite flavor, but I do like this description of me! 🙂

Humor of the Day

1.  In our catechism class last night, we were talking about some of the new teachings of Jesus, compared to the Jewish Law.  Which, of course, prompted thoughts like this to circulate within my head, “If you even look at a Big Mac with lust, you have already added calories to your butt.”  Curse you, large, splashy billboards!

2.  Excerpt from yesterday’s dental appointment:
Hygienist:  “Do you really go to Mass every day?”
Me:  “No.  I just made that up because I thought it would make for a good story.”
“What?!?  Seriously??”
“No.”
*Her eyes get big, stares at me*
I continue, “No.  Really.  I go every day.”
Her:  ” ‘I just made that up because I thought it would make for a good story.’  Whoo!  Personality like yours, you aren’t going to stay single for long!”
“And just today, I got my annulment in the mail….”

3. Christine comes over to ask me for help with the label printer, since I have (basically) a NukeE, EE, and Master Lab Tech qual.  How does she know the printer is working?  Somehow…. there are labels printing out that say “Jenn is Wicked Ninja!  :)”  Don’t know how that happened….  🙂

Schism

Yesterday, as I was in my parents’ kitchen talking to them, a little body comes flying in the door and hugs me.

“I didn’t know you were here!” says Vanessa.  Before I could say anything else, she accuses, “And you went to see the Pope!  And you didn’t take ME!”

Here’s the part where I stand here and look a little stupid.  Why?  Because, 1.  I had no idea Nessie would want to go with me and 2.  Vanessa (her mother legally changed her name to Vasaliki a few years back) is Greek Orthodox.

I’m not so sure her mother would want me to take her 9-year-old little girl to see the Bishop of Rome.  But how to explain this to Va?  So, I tell her that our churches are very similar, but there’s a difference in that her church doesn’t see the Bishop of Rome as her head.  (Don’t they look to the Bishop of Constantinople?)  She looks blankly at me, then says, “Oh!  I know the bishops!  We see them all the time!”  Mmmm.  Not quite what I meant.  Let’s try again.

“Do you know about the filioque?”
“The what?”  (Yeah, I predicted that answer….)
“Well, we believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son; your church believes that it just comes from the Father.”
“Right!  Father, Son and Holy Spirit!”
“No, no.  I mean that the Holy Spirit comes from both, not just the one.”
“Right!  The Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son!”  (Oops!  I may have just bridged the schism.)

And, Vanessa’s reflections on Mass, “Sometimes, the priest will talk really fast, and I can’t understand what he’s saying, so I’ll just sit there and think about what I will do for the rest of the day.  I’ll be like, ‘Do I want to ride my bike, or watch TV?’.”

And on speaking Greek:
“Okay, Ness, my priest speaks Greek, teach me something I can say to him.”
“Like what?”
“I don’t know.  Maybe something you say to your Mom.”
She says a phrase that I repeat.  “Okay, what did I say?”
“I love you.”
“Um, maybe teach me a different phrase?  I’m not sure he’d take that too well.”
She says another phrase, which I repeat.  “And what’s that?”
“Good morning.”
“Well, that’s better.  Hmmm.  I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to know that I can now say ‘Good morning!  I love you!’ in Greek!”

 And then, my Orthodox-corrupting is interrupted when her brother, Petros, comes in to tell her that Grandpa needs her to come home to help clean the fish (calamari).  🙂