Sunday, October 4, 2015

I Thought You Fell Off the Face of the Earth

My journey out of the blogosphere and back to it has been an eventful one.  

1. I packed up my life and left Hawai'i, a land whose culture and people I came to love and adore.

"Aloha ʻoe, Aloha ʻoe,
The charming one who dwells in shaded bowers
One fond embrace,
'Ere I depart
Until we meet again"
-Queen Liliʻuokalani
Photo courtesy of Andra Drake
2. I spent the summer at our Motherhouse and had a fantastic time! Sister Mariella taught me how to do calligraphy and I got to be a pallbearer in a good friend of mine's funeral. Sister Cecilia Marie was 106-years-old. Amid my tears of loss, I was also grateful to the Lord that I was home when she passed, and got to sing to her while she was on her death bed. Sister Cecilia Marie, lover of music, pray for us.

Photo courtesy of Mom.

3. I have been busy teaching, having fun with my local community, taking Bible classes and loving life in Tucson, Arizona. 
We enjoyed watching the eclipse from the bell tower. Photo courtesy of Sister Mary Ann.

So there's a quick, brief timeline. It's good to be back in the blogosphere. Meanwhile, we are enjoying watching the Packers beat the 49ers on the Feast of St. Francis. It has been a wonderful celebration. Yesterday, I went on a daylong pilgrimage to Magdalena de Kino in Sonora, Mexico with some of my friends from the Tohono O'odham nation. It was a day full of graces. We made it back in time for the Transitus and a special procession in the Church. Mass was just as special this morning.
Happy Feast Day! Photo courtesy of Manny Martinez.

Monday, April 6, 2015

An Unofficial Spiritual Aid for the Morning

I am a coffee lover. Outside of Dunkin' Donuts, and of course, the Speedway gas station, my favorite coffee is Kauai Coffee. (Don't knock Speedway coffee until you've tried it!) I remember drinking Kona coffee and thinking it was alright, but Kauai coffee is so ono!

In an earlier entry, I wrote about visiting a coffee shop to learn about fair trade coffee and I remember thinking it would be cool to go to a place where coffee is actually grown. Jesus said, "Ask and you shall receive..." (Matthew 7:7). I don't think I bothered to ask though.

As a local community, we decided to go on an outing to the Kauai Coffee Company for their free guided tour and coffee tasting. Since Kauai Coffee is fully grown in the United States, there are no fair trade issues.

This is one of the Gardenia blossoms. They were all over the trees and will later be replaced by coffee cherries.
The cherries have already been harvested but they left some unpicked for us to see. The coffee bean is inside the cherry. It's the seed/pit of the cherry.

These machines drive over the trees to collect the cherries. They don't need to hand pick the cherries.
The cherries go into this structure. There is water in it. The cherry surface is weakened and the beans get separated. The poor quality beans float and the good quality beans sink. This allows easy separation and removal.
The beans are then dried. You know they are done with the drying process when they resemble peanuts like what you see here. Now they are ready for roasting!
The longer you roast coffee the less caffeine it has.
Dark roast has more body and medium roast has more caffeine!

To get decaf coffee, the beans are sent to Canada where there is a water treatment process. One of our Sisters tried their decaf vanilla macadamia nut blend and loved it! (So, Elmer, if you are looking for gift ideas...)
I took this picture for Sister Caritas. :)

This was my favorite sign!

If you are still reading this, you might have an interest in how things are made. My students and I highly recommend this Mister Rogers video on how crayons are made.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sledding on Kauai

The year 2015 started off with a "bang" for me. I spent time with some friends here, lighting off fireworks. (See what I did there?) It was great fun...and then the fun did not stop from there. I felt like I was a kid again, being pushed by one of my uncles so that I could go flying down "Big Toe" a mammoth-sized hill in my late Grandma Beechnau's backyard. The weeks and months have blurred together as I've soared across the hill of time. 

Updating this blog has always been in the back of my mind, albeit buried under a stack of papers, so to speak. 

Our school was awarded an awesome grant that enabled each child to have a Chromebook to be used at school. While we have had a lot to learn, I am a computer geek by nature, so I have loved using them in the classroom, and more importantly, our students have, too!
Father Arnel held an all school blessing, so we could pray for the holy, safe, and good use of the Chromebooks. We were celebrating St.Valentine's Day on the same day, which is why you see all the pretty clothes!

We have also spent time celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life by giving vocation talks and by inviting people to our convent to encounter our life in a deeper way than they usually do. 
Sister Janet enjoyed taking our visitors to our chapel in Saint Theresa Convent

I had a chance to spend a weekend in Wisconsin for the annual Initial Formation Weekend. This year was extra enjoyable because we were there the same time as an discernment retreat! I loved getting to know the women who were coming to see what our Franciscan life is all about!

A selfie after breakfast with Sister Natalie. She's our Community Director, but she was also the novice directress for Sister Pamela Catherine (perpetually professed), Sister Regina Rose, and me. It was nice to catch up with her!

I am always praying for those who are discerning their vocation, so if you are discerning, know that you are in my daily prayers. Actually, you are in my mom's daily prayers, too. :) 

Speaking of discernment, I have a good friend, Amanda, who I spent time discerning with before entering the convent. We would get together frequently as she was preparing to marry her husband, David, and I was preparing to join my Community. Everything came full circle as Amanda, David, and their youngest child, baby Mercedes came to spend a week with us Sisters in Hawai'i. We loved having them, and Amanda did some really awesome performances! 

You might have heard her speak or perform if you attended Catholic conferences where she has been at. If you are unfamiliar with Amanda Vernon's music, you can visit her website at I personally cannot stop listening to her acoustic CD!  She travels all over the place giving concerts, so don't hesitate to contact her if you would like her to come to your parish or venue! 

The following is an interview she did on EWTN's "Life on the Rock":

What else? Lent has been amazing for me. I love this time of renewal and extra time for prayer. Well, there isn't extra time per se, but I allow myself to devote extra time. One of my favorite stories of my Confirmation Saint, Mother Teresa, was of her Sisters informing her that they did not have time for the required hour of personal prayer. Their duties to serving the poorest of the poor were simply too great. Mother Teresa responded by increasing the personal prayer time to two hours daily. In fact the Missionaries of Charity still commit to two hours this very day! There is so much wisdom in that! I can tell you time and time again, that whenever I've felt like I didn't have time to pray, after praying anyway, God has increased my productivity to where I accomplished more than I thought possible! He cannot be outdone in generosity! 

If you are looking for some spiritual resources, my mom has been telling me about some amazing talks that she has gotten to listen to at our home parish for their Lenten Mission. I trust her judgement, so I am posting the links to the recorded talks before I get to listen to them myself. You might beat me to them if you listen to them before Friday! Their visiting priest was Fr. Patrick Martin, and his theme was "Mission Possible."

Once you click on the the links, scroll down to listen to the podcasts: 

At St. Theresa, we had our own visiting priest, a Capuchin Franciscan named Fr. Bob Udulutsch. He helped us to develop our understanding of the models of the Church and reflect on them as well as grow in prayer. We will miss him. 

I suppose that's about it. God bless you as we enter into Holy Week.