The Mount

Moments that remind us God fully exists
“The Mount” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

I blog.

Blogging is a lifestyle, not just a practice involving drafts, HTML, and comment boxes. When you blog, you start seeing life through the scope of your writing capabilities.

Bloggers get to a point wherein every lesson they learn must be assessed: can I share this with the world on my blog? Will I do it justice? Should I just jot down this thought on my napkin while no one is looking?

That point sneaks up on you until one day you have a really great cry, or your talking with your best friend about something you’ve never discussed with anyone, and you think, “I need to blog about this.”

It’s a similar problem that plagues Christians (the bloggers and non-bloggers alike) in their daily lives. I know my mind is littered with mental notes of the “perfect” analogy, or the “best” examples of Christian living, set aside to pull out in the middle of a discussion.

We get so wrapped up in the path we took to grow our relationship with Christ and want to share it with others that we forget that the Holy Spirit is at work all day, everyday. We start to judge, accuse, get comfortable, get lazy, and go through the motions.

In cases such as these, in His infinite wisdom, God provides for us His vast expanse of nature.

Mt. Rainier (I don’t own this picture)

When I traveled to Seattle and my beau joined me for a four day Northwestern excursion, we spent an entire day around Mt. Rainier. Upon arrival, the day was chilly due to cloud cover, but not enough for a jacket on the hike.

It’s no mistake that much of Jesus’ greatest work was accomplished outside, e.g., feeding the 5000, Beatitudes, Crucifixion, etc. The great outdoors opens the scope for larger crowds and a reminder of Original Man’s surroundings.

Rather than slipping into an 8th grade poem about crisp air, clear blue sky, white mountain tops and … oops, we’re already there.

There is no virtual reality game for hiking or walking around without the whuushhh of cars rushing by while you stare off the edge of a cliff in the presence of a snow-covered mountain in July.

It would be like trying to describe the vast experience of a conversion or enlightenment by explaining the wallpaper in the room one was sitting in when it happened.

“Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound…” 1 Kings 19: 11-12

When we ascended the mountain, with the iconic Rainier peak to our left and green-carpeted mountain piles on our right, a warm wind picked up. It slowly nudged the clouds over our heads and beyond our sight.

The sun emerged without threat of straggling cloud when we started descending the other side of the trail, illuminating the landscape and strengthening the color contrasts. In one [panting] moment at the high point of the trail, I felt God in the wind.

I grabbed a pen (still not free of the blogger’s crutch) and wrote this down, my leg as my clipboard:

He makes it so obvious to us and people still won’t recognize Him. Post about spiritual dry spells vs dry rainforests. You don’t realize how you could not see Him when it’s wet. The opposite when it’s dry.

I certainly don’t have it figured out and my homage to the spiritual jump-start I got that day at Mt. Rainer is to avoid describing it. Rather than belittling it, I just encourage anyone who is physically able to climb away from daily life, to do so.

Go somewhere you can watch out for Him and listen for Him.

Bright Maidens: Little Moments

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

Topic: Moments that remind us God fully exists
Elizabeth at Startling the Day
Check out our Facebook page for guest posts!



There are lots of little moments that remind me God exists:
I experience Him very strongly when I’m taking care of and playing with children.  I hear an echo of His voice in theirs when they whisper, “Can I tell you something?  I love you!”  And what joy I experience when I say those words back to their shining little faces!


When I’m reading a book and get that “A ha! I’m not the only who’s thought that before!” triumphant feeling!


At baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, weddings, and funerals (especially at funerals of my loved ones)!

Some of my siblings & cousins

When I’m hanging out with my goofy, beautiful, imperfect family!


In the friendships I’ve been blessed to have – both offline and online – with people who get me instantly and are always there for support!

When I think of the circumstances of a romance I never could have planned or dreamed up.  Happy five months!

When I think of the lives of the saints – how daring, how bold, how devoted, and how totally themselves they were!  Their love for God and faith in His existence pushes me forward in my own faith.

Examine the human body and tell me that was just an accident! 

Lots more but I am writing on my lunch break!  What are you moments?  Please share with us!

Let the Rain Fall

TBM Topic 20: Moments that remind us God fully exists

“Let the Rain Fall” by Julie Robison
“Little Moments” by Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
“The Mount” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!

You could say I was lookin’ fly. Rain boots with sailboats; orange soccer shorts; a navy blue raincoat pull-over. Correction: I was lookin’ super-fly. I was all set for an impromptu walk in the rain with my boyfriend and his family’s dog.

We walked around his neighborhood, talking and occasionally calling to his dog. We returned to the house wet and happy. It was the end of another fun weekend together. We talked about our future and its possibilities; we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company; we looked at each other and knew we are blessed.

In this past week, I’ve read a couple Why I’m Catholic stories. When non-believers read such conversion stories, they are generally unconvinced. The responses I usually see are “lame” and “unbelievable” and “that person probably wasn’t a real atheist.”

When our Protestant brethren talk the Real Presence of Christ, they are not referring to Transubstantiation. They are talking about knowing Christ and thus recognizing his presence in the sacredness of the ordinary.

My sister taking pictures on the Marienbrucke in Germany

Take rain for instance; it can often have a negative connotation. For instance, the phrases “raining on my parade” and “It was a dark and rainy night,” Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” and the Allman Brothers’ “Bad Rain”, and the fact that rain’s usual company, overcast weather, tends to depress people.

Rain can also be renewing. Rainbows come after the rain, as does puddle jumping, more vegetation and horticultural growth, and, as one 11 year old optimist put it, “It makes you appreciate the sunny days that we get and makes them more enjoyable!”

I happen to love the rain. I love walking in it, I love being in it*, I love listening to it, and I am grateful for it. Rain is a blessing, literally from above.

My senior year of college, in my last few weeks, my beloved Aunt died. My thesis was due and the time crunch was too severe, so my family told me not to come down for the funeral. The day of the funeral, I wrote a poem entitled “The Rain.” It rained in Michigan the day of my Aunt’s funeral. I imagined it was God’s tears. (Sentimental, I am.) It is not a great poem (the blog published version is its first draft form), but these last lines partly captures my appreciation and love of rain:

and here I am, still at school, no time to think about leaving,
no more time to cry while my heart still mourns,
but instead relish in the rain: people are running
from building to building and all I think
is how she can no longer feel the rain hit her face
or get cold, or smile, or walk, or skip,
and so I do all of these as I move through the rain,
my funeral procession of one,
the still living.

As I walked through the rain with B. last weekend, I could smile because I am alive. In the rain, I am reminded of God’s covenant with his people. In the rain, I can understand why grace can hurt. Every year on Good Friday, my family prays together on the steps in Mt. Adams for two hours, and every year it rains. Not always exactly at noon, but between the hours of 12 and 3 p.m., the time of Jesus hanging dead on the cross, the sky grows dark and the earth shakes. And then it rains.

My sister and I in the rain as wee tots

It is when it rains that I know God fully exists. It is when I am praying, eyes closed and hands clasped; asking, seeking, knocking – I come before God in faith alone. There is nothing more I can often do but trust. There is nothing to be gained through holding the weight on my shoulders, when Christ already paid the price to have such pains airlifted. In the rain and the discomfort of being wet, I am most receptive and aware of the importance of offering it up to God, whatever “it”** may be for each individual.

Without trying to disconnect my theology from my naturalistic experiences, I’d like to add that rain reminds me of God because we cannot know the ways of rain. It can just as easily be a foe and turn to sleet, hail or ice as it can beautify one’s garden and grass. Rain gives no reason for its coming and going, nor offers sound logic for its patterns. But rain does not answer to me, and neither does God.

During the times when studying theology becomes more theory and less love affair, it is the physicality of rain that appeals to me, just as my physical reception of Holy Communion is necessary, and spending time with our Lord in Eucharistic adoration. It is in Christ that I am alive, and his presence – made actual through the Liturgy or apparent through his world – I cherish, as I grow to know him deeper and in different ways, and so have more Love for him.

Edith Stein once said that God shows himself too much; that he offers too much proof of his existence. I believe that. I think the power and grandeur of God really is too overwhelming for us to truly comprehend. God shows himself, as Jesus said in the Gospel on Sunday, in the poor, sick, homeless, and imprisoned. I think he also shows himself through the beauty of art, music, science, the wideness of the galaxy, and the intrinsic complexity of the world. This world says to me, there is a God and he is good, because he made this for us. God did not make evil, which taints the world, but he can sanctify it.

In this same vein, I believe rain is a sanctifying agent in the world. It renews. It revives. It gives hope. It can tear down in order to make us build up again. It takes away so that the Lord may giveth. Rain, so ordinary, is so sacred. With every drop of rain comes a blessing to be counted, and I’m thankful the rain reminds me of God’s graciousness and from whom all blessings flow.

What do you think of the rain? What kind of moments is God fully alive to you?

*My sister may correct me here; walking up a huge hill to a castle in Germany in a downpour with our tour group was not an overly agreeable experience; if only I had remembered my rain jacket!
**For some, it is shrubbery!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, dear readers! Here is some extra reading: “The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis

On Sundays I’m Shameless: FOLLOW ME! (I Changed My Twitter Handle Name Too)

Hey y’all! I’ve changed my Twitter handle from @juliemrobison to @thejulieview for FIVE reasons:

1. It connects my Twitter account more to my blog (The Corner With A View)
2. It takes out my last name, which I’ll eventually change legally anyways
3. It has a nice ring to it, ja?
4. It is shorter, so people can say more to me (From 125 characters to 126! YEAH!)
5. Branding! I’m so savvy.

FOLLOW ME! 

Two of my siblings and me during intermission of another sister’s play. We’re a fun bunch. (Follow me.)

Also, if you read my blog but don’t subscribe, could I make a request? Make yourself known and subscribe? I know you’re out there. Yes, I’m talking to you.

I’m on Google Plus too.


More shamelessness:

Two more websites you should all read are The Imaginative Conservative and Virtuous Planet.

I’m one of the three Bright Maidens, which sponsors conversations on any topic pertaining to women, The Catholic Church, and fun times. Feel free to follow us too!
The Bright Maidens’ Twitter Account 
The Bright Maidens’ Facebook Fan Page 
My counterparts: Elizabeth is on the Twittah and so is Trista!

Thank you! Much obliged to you for humoring me, folks. Have a blessed Sunday!

PDA: Pets, Drama and Attention

TBM Topic 19: PDA in the Digital Age

“PDA: Pets, Drama and Attention” by Julie Robison
Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite – on a blogging break of sorts
“Hold your tongues” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!

Allow me to begin with a male friend’s sentiments on the subject of Facebook PDA: “It is an abomination. It’ll probably earns you time in Purgatory, which I don’t believe in- but if I did, it would earn you time there. LOTS of it.”

We were discussing pictures, mostly, as well as wall posts of “Hey. I like you.” and other, much more discriminatory sentiments. I gathered more intel- my few friends are generally ambivalent to the occasional show of couple cuteness. I tended to agree with them. I felt my thesis collapsing. Then I had a terrible realization: I am guilty.

No, not with my boyfriend. We’re always smiling, with the one exception of him surprise kissing my cheek. No, I am guilty with Heidi, the beloved family pet. There are few things Robisons enjoy sharing more than adorable pictures of our mutt. For example:

Halloween Heidi! Photo and costume credit: my sister Kato

That’s not all. In this past week, while cleaning my room and writing, Heidi chilled with me. I took advantage of the situation:

I captured the puppy!

Typical.

 

Zoolander faces.

Snuggle-buggles!

I know. This is getting shameless. You might have even skimmed over the last ones. I don’t blame you. Our mutual love can be overwhelming!

Now, imagine if these pictures had been with humans. A big theme in Catholic romance is protecting one’s heart. The reason FB PDA bothers me is because I see it as exhibitionism. Constantly writing on FB about how much you love your significant other may be a sweet gesture, but it can easily become annoying and trite. I think there are very tasteful ways of doing it as well; one of my engaged besties has a far-away shot of her kissing her now-fiance after they got engaged. (His sister was taking pictures from afar!) I love seeing that sweet moment captured.

But what about the make-out albums? Oh, you know the ones I’m talking about. Scenic picture, kissing picture, smiling picture, kissing picture, kissing picture, kissing picture, scenic picture, smiling picture, and so on. It’s very true that one does not need to look at them. Like some terrible whirlpool, you the viewer get sucked in, unable to look away, fascinated by the endurance and amount of saliva being exchanged with the passing of each frame.

Then you go on to live your life, pledging to never post pictures like that on FB.

But Julie! You just posted an obnoxious amount of Heidi pictures!

True. But only the first one was on FB; the rest are from my private collection. They are also of my pet, which I think makes a slight difference. Perhaps not in principle, but in practice. Pet pictures do not encourage drama. Human pictures of relationships do, be it couples or friends. Pictures of girls in suggestive poses, even if it is meant as a joke, can be provocative for the viewer. Pictures of couples kissing can be overwhelming in reaction.

If the intention is to show off the relationship or prove something (as another friend pointed out), the picture serves to attract attention, not affection or “d’awwwws!” We humans are not islands, and FB’s purpose is to connect people. The very pictures being shared can serve to disconnect people.

I have no rules for engagement. That’s up to each person’s individual reason and prudence to decide. Kindness towards others is not just how you act towards them, but how you display yourself. Your self-image is how people gauge what kind of person you are and how they should act. Affection can be shown reasonably and tastefully, but is can also be lessened when shared with too many. A special moment is more often felt than shown, and too much FB can be voyeuristic.

From earlier this year: can you tell how much we love each other?

Happy Friday!

If you need me, I’ll be at the zoo

Yep, you read that right. The Zoo (zoo-zoo! How about you-you-you?).

Two of my sisters at the Cincinnati Zoo

I am posting my Bright Maidens post on PDA in the Digital Age late to encourage all of you to do so as well (contributions may be posted on our FB wall!) Actually, I started another job to help pay for the bills and future bills, and I am still organizing my time accordingly. Mea culpa!

To make up for my delinquency, I am sharing two videos of great songs Mumford & Sons have covered. They are one of my FAVORITEST bands; they are uber-talented and have a lot of Christian allusions in their songs. Enjoy!

Here is a video introduction to their awesomeness:

I really am going to the zoo today with the 3 year old and 9 month I now nanny a few days a week. I’m so excited!!!

Happy All Souls Day, friends!