Friday, September 30, 2011

7 Quick(ish) Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 144)
1) I was just watching a show in which a character injured her ankle.  One of the characters looks it over and pronounces, "Well, it's red, so that's good."  The first character asks why that's good, and she elaborates. "If it's blue that means you tore a ligament, but if it's red, it's just sprained."  Aarggh! The nonsense!  First of all, you don't usually see any color in the ankle in the first day or so, just the swelling.  Then it turns reddish purple, then more of a purply-blue and finally that beautiful sickly green-yellow.  (If you've actually sprained it.)  That's just what that kind of swelling does, and it doesn't matter which structure you've injured!  Second of all, moron*, do you know what a sprain is? DO YOU? I'll answer.  No, no you do not or you would not have been such an idiot.

Sprain. 1) an injury to a ligament when the joint is carried through a range of motion greater than normal, but without dislocation or fracture. 2) to cause a sprain of a joint.**

There are different grades of sprains (grade 3 being a complete tear of the ligament) but a sprain is an injury to a ligament, so stop trying to differentiate between the two.

2) I've been thinking that I should really try to do a better job of conditioning for climbing.  Or, you know, maybe do a little conditioning. Either way.  To that end, I got a book about some specific exercises for climbers.  The second chapter makes you do a self assessment to figure out where you are, conditioning-wise. It was suh-weet.  I am "below average" on their little scale.  In my defense, it's because half of their questions were things like "how many pull ups can you do in a single set?" Then you pick from a scale like

1- None to one
2- Two to four
3- Five to nine
4- Ten to twenty
5- More than twenty

I was looking for something more like:

0- Pull up?! You mean with my arms? BWAHAHAHA!!  By "single set" do you really mean "how many have you ever done in your entire life"? Because the answer is still zero!!

I may have some work to do.

3) I was going to go to a photography seminar last weekend.  You know, to Expand My Horizons. And possibly Meet People, and maybe even Learn Stuff.  But then I ditched it, even though I had paid a fee that I couldn't get back, because you see, the mountains were calling and I had to answer. I haven't been able to get out and explore in about a month, and that was not okay.  Even at that, I didn't go far, but I had to hike, so hike I did.  The first part of the hike, I didn't even try to push myself.  I meandered and breathed in the woods.  There is something in that early morning hush that makes you believe in Magic and Fairies and Elves, even when you don't believe in them. (If that makes any sense to you at all, then you and I, my friend, are kindred spirits.)

4) When I started out to be a part of the RCIA team, I had a goal not to flake out. Three weeks in, and my flaky side is showing.  Last week I went to a different meeting instead of RCIA (not an important one, just an interesting one).  This week I was going to go, but I had a work function that overlapped a bit, and then ran late and overlapped a lot, so I didn't go. Then there's the meeting.  The team leaders were supposed to get together to help decide the topics and who was going to lead them.  I was looking forward to that meeting, actually.  We originally set it for yesterday.  I didn't hear anything more, but it wasn't too strange.  I showed up for the meeting, and there was NO ONE there for my meeting.  There was another meeting, a scarier meeting that was also going on in that building.  I don't know what group was renting space, but they were on the rough-looking side. I got out of there rather quickly.  The next day I got an email about how we needed to have another meeting to set up topics, and that we would be meeting on Saturday morning. My graceful response was: You mean the meeting we were supposed to have last night? You meet on Saturday morning! I'm going climbing! (Only in my head; I didn't really say that to anyone.)

5) So, I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to go climbing this weekend.  The stuff we're going to do is a little different than the little bit that I've been doing.  I'm almost ready for weather to take over so we can't hit the rocks and I can stay in my comfort zone in the gym.  That makes no sense, but then I rarely do make sense.  It's just the getting outside the comfort zone thing.  Sometimes I'm all for venturing out into new and exciting adventures, and other times I just want to curl up on the couch with my blankie.*** (Figuratively, people!) However, then I realize that my comfort zone is nice now, but is starting to get a little restricting, so I will go. (Besides, if I stay home, I have to go to a Saturday morning meeting.  Oh, the humanity!)

6) I may have spent last weekend being a little stalker-y and reading blogger archives.  I find that I sometimes do that if someone has a story to tell, but if they crack me up, then I'm really all over it. Begs the question of what I'm going to do this weekend.  Anyone have any good suggestions of good reads? I don't think I'll have quite as much time this weekend, but you never know.

7) I have not lost any weight since Easter (when you have a crazy sweet tooth like mine, Lent can be good for the waistline as well as for the soul), which is fine, because I haven't been trying to or needing to.  (Although I did add a few pounds that finally have gone back away again.) However, I seem to have misplaced an inch or so.  Maybe not, but pants seem to be fitting differently. So that's my little brag to finish**** up with!

Have a wonderful weekend, and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

*I can call her that, because she's a fictional character.  (Though I guess if it's fictional, it does beg the question about why I get my panties in such a twist over such stuff... I know the reason.  Because she's WRONG.)

**Stedman's Concise Medical Dictionary (Take that fictional character with not so much as a fictional medical background!)

***I wrote this before going climbing Thursday on the rock, and it went great.  So now my thoughts about the new experiences are: Bring it!

****About time on the whole finishing thing, eh? (Don't answer that!) I would like to note that this post has to win a post for the most parentheses and asterisks that I've had in a LONG time. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prayer Buddy Reveal!

First of all, can I just say again how much I LOVE prayer buddies? Thanks again to these lovely ladies for organizing!

It was my privilege to pray for Meghan and her beautiful family.  It was so great to "meet" a new blogger, but so hard not to comment on the posts... Especially this one!!! I prayed for them every night and at any of the Masses that I went to. You'd better believe that I will continue to be praying for them over the next several months as well!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In Which I Hope

There is no particular reason for this hope.  It is the same hope that I have had over and over, but that never comes to fruition.  The hope that maybe today will be different and I will meet Someone Special.

There are no "signs" that make me hope any differently today versus the other days.  It's just that I thought about it and I choose hope.  You see, a lot of times I choose realism.  I choose this sort of cautious "hope", but with the understanding that probably nothing will happen, so that I don't get too crushed when it doesn't happen.  I am always afraid that one of these days I will not be strong enough to deal with unfulfilled hope, and so I don't allow myself hope at all, or maybe only just a little bit.

You know why I think today is different? Here's a hint: it has nothing to do with what may or may not happen today.  It has everything to do with what has happened and will continue to happen whether today is the same as every other day, or if it is the start of something completely different for my life.  It is because of all you who have hoped and prayed with me and for me.  It is my family, my friends, my prayer buddies past and present, and all of you reading this.

Your prayers and your hope have made me realize that not only can I hope, but I can survive hope lost and live to hope again.  I can embrace it and love it because hope is awesome, and lost hope is simply an opportunity to feel deeply and live fully and pray for someone else.

It's funny.  Being single and all that has gone along with that is not something I have enjoyed (I will not link all the posts to prove that because A-don't have the time, and B-once was more than enough for some of those posts), however, there is very little I regret looking back on it.  I do not regret the times that I was angry, sad, hurt, or messy.  I do not regret the ways that it has made me wrestle with God and grow closer to Him, even when some of that growing was when He felt the farthest away.  I do not regret the times that my only recourse seemed to be going to Mass... whether because I received comfort there, or whether because even though I felt nothing, I knew it was the only place I could go to see me though.

There are only two things that I regret.  One is all of the times where I became very self-absorbed in the midst of all of it.  And even then, I'm glad to know how small and messy I am, so that I can know that when I am not being small, it's because of grace and not because of how amazing I am.  (Because left to myself, I'm whiny and sometimes bitter and self-absorbed and impatient, and oh, yeah, I'm still taunting my sisters- but that last one is unrelated to singleness. That's just me.)

The other thing that I regret is not allowing myself to hope more often.  Or stuffing it down to more reasonable levels should it peek its little eyeballs out from the recesses to which I banish it for safe keeping.  Hope is not for the faint of heart.  It is a truly scary prospect.  Without you, I am not strong enough for hope.  Whatever else may be out there, I can probably pull up my big girl pants and pretend like I can do it by myself.  Not with hope, though.  I really can't do that one alone.

Today, though, because of you and your prayers, I can and do choose hope.

Because of the God who loves us, I can and do choose hope.

Hope, not for what will happen, but what could happen, and because of what has already happened.

There is no reason today should be any different.  I will not be hiding out in my apartment all day, so it is reasonable to assume that I will be running into people, but that happens most days, and so far that has not been enough to change my singleness.  I am the same person as always, the one that has a hard time getting to know new people, and definitely have the potential to be highly awkward (whether with new acquaintances or old.)  However, when I try a hike that I am unable to complete for some reason, I have never regretted trying, regardless of how I feel about not finishing.  And I'm thinking that if today is no different than the rest, I will not regret hoping.

My Beloved and I, today our dance will be a dance of hope, whatever may come.


Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 144)

1) My sisters are not impressed with my trials in life.  I had to work 4 whole days in a row this week.  Now, don't get me wrong, I know that most people work 5 days in a row or more.  I know that I really can't complain.  I simply told them that it was absurd that it was so draining to work 4 days in a row when you usually only work 3 in a row (I do four 10 hour days).  They agreed that I was absurd.

2) One of them was a little extra unsympathetic, so I had to explain that even though it was my day off, I couldn't go spend any time in the mountains today because my massage is in the middle of the afternoon. And I still didn't sympathy.  Okay, I know.  That was just mean, but... Hmm, I can't think of a single good way to rationalize this.  You know what it brings to mind? When my friend's 4 year old would show his 2 year old brother some toy or food that he had no intention of sharing (and when the 2 year old would do it to the 6 month old).  Apparently I'm not very mature.

3) Seriously, the massage is necessary.  You know that place between your shoulder and neck that always gets tight?  Yeah.  I get to work on that area on people every single day, and while I do it, I feel that same area tightening up on me. Can't wait, so yay for work discounts!

4) I am now the owner of a blu-ray disc player.  I used to have a plain old dvd player.  I was happy with that, but it decided that it no longer wanted to open the disc tray anymore. I had to take it apart to get to the dvd that was still inside.  There are surprisingly little guts in those things.  I guess I expected it to look more complicated.  Now I'll have to get the HDMI cable to get the most out of the blu-ray player and the TV.

5) I am going to take a little photography seminar with a coworker this weekend.  I think it should be fun.  The main point is to show us more what we can do with a camera when we take it off auto mode.  I'm kind of thinking it'll show me how much I could really use some different lenses, but I'm going to try to ignore that.

6) On a serious note, my SIL's dad died of cancer yesterday, and their family could use some prayers if you could spare a moment.  I only met him a couple of times during their wedding and such, but he was a really nice guy, and their family is really close.

7) Have a wonderful weekend!

For more Quick Takes, head over to Jen's.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Dance

God's plan, eh?  So you're telling me God has a plan.  Is it part of His plan that a six year old dies?  Because that seems like a great way to comfort that child's mother.  Tell her it's all part of His plan.

Is it part of His plan when tornadoes tear apart towns and families?

Is it His plan for earthquakes and tsunamis to kill thousands?

Is it His plan for some nations to die of starvation, while others die of obesity?

What part of His plan calls for some couples to struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss, while other women, despite drug use and all around poor choices, seem to have no problem getting pregnant?

Why does His plan allow some people to have absolutely no one to go see on the holidays?

I know all the pat answers.  I know "He'll bring good out of suffering." I know "He doesn't make bad things happen, He allows them to happen."  I know those.  I've used those. They just seem so inadequate.  It doesn't make sense to me to have God plan suffering in order to redeem suffering.  (And whether He makes it happen or just allows it to happen, if it's part of His plan, then it still doesn't make sense.)

Maybe I have too strict a view of God's plan?  Maybe He doesn't really plan all these things, maybe His plan is more of a general overview kind of thing.  The plan is to get us to heaven, but maybe He didn't plan every little moment along the way.

Only, do you know what is far more scary than the idea of God planning everything (even suffering)?  Look into the eyes of a mother who has lost a child, and tell her that there's no plan after all.  That her pain was not part of a plan that will work out for good in the end. That even though God is around and He cares and He'll get you to heaven, He's standing on the sidelines as this happens.  That's not what I want either.  I want Him to be in control of this, even when it makes me angry at Him for not doing a better job.

Do you see why I question?  How does it make sense for an all powerful, loving God to plan suffering, and also how does it make sense that He wouldn't have a plan?

As with so many things, the problem really lies in my thinking. It is not a problem of how God is handling things.  It is a problem of how I am understanding them.  A few years ago, I blithely assumed that everything was a part of God's plan.  All of the timing about how everything worked out, all of it.  The problem with taking such a thought too far is that then I was treating God as a sort of divine puppet master.  Not that I ever thought of it like that, of course, but if He is in control of every little detail, then that's what He would be.  If suffering happened, it would be the puppet master making it/allowing to happen.

However, another mother, who lost an 8 month old, put things more into perspective. She wrote that she had to decide whether God had taken her child, or whether He had received her child.  Such a difference.  Those two words suddenly made me see that in my "puppet master" view, it would mean that God had taken the child; a real problem.

What if, instead, I take a step WAAYYY back.  All the way back to Genesis, in fact.  What if I take a look at sin and death and problems entering the world.  And what if God, who is NOT a puppet master, but a loving Father, who knew that we needed free will in order to be truly free to love, gave us free will, even knowing what pain and suffering we would bring down on ourselves.  After all, the goal here on earth is not whether or not we suffer.  It's whether or not we love.

So if sin, death, and everything else is because of the problems of an imperfect world, then it's not because of God that it happens.  Nonetheless, God has a plan.  Just as He started to reveal His plan of salvation the moment that Adam fell, He has a plan for each of the things that happens to us in life.

He did not make miscarriage happen.  But He does have a plan for it; a plan to receive that child into His waiting arms, and a plan for healing for the parents of that child.  He has a plan that will redeem that suffering and give it a meaning and a purpose.  That may be down the road, and even though He knows the beauty of the ultimate plan, He is still weeping with those who weep.

He is not a puppet master.  Perhaps it is more like a dance. He is leading us each step of the way, guiding our steps, but not forcing us. In dance, there is a call and response between partners and so in life.

Maybe God's plan is much messier than I gave it credit for.  Not because He is messy, but because we are messy and life is messy and rather than pulling every string, He makes us a partner in the dance.  He could bring salvation without suffering, but because there is suffering, He brings it out of that (and out of the good things as well).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, that's a really long post, and I can only hope it makes sense. Kudos* if you made it all the way through!  The thing about subjects like this is that there will never be complete answers this side of heaven.  I know that there are a lot of things that I am missing or places where I may be a little off, so please add any insights you may have!


*I know what the expression means, but what, exactly, are "kudos"?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Food

Last month I mentioned that I was trying to eat vegetarian for the month. It was an interesting experiment, and the part that surprised me the most was that I really didn't miss the meat. Now there are certain things that I don't want to try meatless, like lasagna (don't worry, Elizabeth, I won't mention any names), but unless you're craving a dish that actually needs meat, the meatless meals are pretty great.  Not to mention that there are more vegetables in them for people like me that sort of ignore that end of the food pyramid.

I didn't even attempt to do vegan, so I was still eating dairy and cheese, but what surprised me is that I found myself eating less dairy and cheese and not really missing it.  That was a fascinating discovery. It turns out that I will not die if I don't have cheese! Who knew?

It went so well, in fact, that I went out and bought a vegetarian cookbook last week, even though it's no longer August, and I'm eating meat again.  The thing is, I find myself liking the more plant-based meals, so I figure that I might as well eat them more often.  I want to have more options for those rare occasions that I actually decide to cook from scratch.

One thing I have thought about is those meals that call for meat where you really want meat.  Like my favorite spicy cheeseburger soup.  I mean, now that fall is here, I have to think about things like that!  That's a meal that I have to have at least once or twice in the fall and winter months.  I could use meatless crumbles, I suppose, but what I think I would really like to do is get the more expensive grass-fed beef for times like that. If you don't eat it often, it would seem that you could pay a little (sometimes kind of a lot) more when you do get it.

I will say that I have made my first couple of recipes from the cookbook.  One is a hot cereal that tastes way better than plain oatmeal with no added sugar (except the fruit that I throw in), and the other is a tempeh curry.  Yum!  I had no idea what tempeh was, but apparently it's related to tofu.  I like it better because I like the texture better.  Anyway, apparently I was in quite the cooking mode, because it was all  fresh ingredients, including fresh cilantro and ginger.  So good!  I'm not sure how often I'll do it though, because cooking for one is a little difficult...

I know! Who wants to come to dinner? (I wish.)


Note: Just as a heads up, you're not through with the food topic yet.  I've been reading a book, so there may be a book review in the future.  You've been warned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Seriously Not Fair

Okay, I know that it's wrong, but I admit that I've done it before and will most likely do it again.  Most women I know are amazing people, and it gives me joy to see them with their spouses and children.  But every once in a while I see that woman, the one that is severely lacking maturity, or is a horrible nag, or something, and I see them with a really nice guy, and I think, "Really?! How did she manage to snag someone while I linger on in singleness?" Of course, if he's got his own issues, then I don't think too much about it.

A great place to see these women is on shows like TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress", or "Who's Wedding Is It Anyway?" Nothing like glimpsing a 1/2 hour segment of someone's life when they are super stressed to make you wonder, "How the heck did she get someone to pop the question?"

However, all this was brought to mind today by a woman that you all know, or at least that you all should know. If you don't know who she is, then email me and we'll do some sort of intervention ASAP.

I speak, of course, about Princess Buttercup.  Seriously, Westley?  True love must be blind after all!  First, she's a complete snot because she thinks he's beneath her, and sadly that's when she's at her best, because at least she shows some sass. Then she's a wet rag that would settle for a pompous bore.  I do like her when she pushes the dread pirate Roberts down the hill before she knows who he is, but she loses all my respect in the Fire Swamp.  The whining and crying about all the danger I can understand.  It's her pitiful performance against the R.O.U.S.'s that kills me.  She watches, horrified but immobile while it attacks Westley.  She doesn't do anything.  Again, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if she was simply in shock, but when one comes after her, she whimpers for him even though he's still fighting them off himself.  Eventually she does some wimpy poking at one with a stick, but again only because it's coming after her.

Look, I don't really care if she's a wimp, and I really like it better when a guy does the rescuing.  I just want her to show a little gumption!  Is that too much to ask? If only she had done her ineffectual prodding to at least try to get the R.O.U.S.'s off Westley, then we could have been friends, even if it didn't really help things in the slightest. Of course I don't have a problem with her attempts to defend herself once they come after her, I just can't stand that she watches until that point.

It is true that she earns back some respect when she finally tells off Humperdinck and believes in Westley, but she loses it when she gives in to despair and plans to kill herself.  I also get a little annoyed by her lack of perception throughout the movie, but I can be a little dense myself, so I can forgive that.

Sigh.

Well, if Westley's happy, then more power to him, I guess.

Have I complained about this before?  I feel like I have, but it amuses me every time.  Anyway, still LOVE the movie, even if Buttercup and I can only be acquaintances and never the best of friends.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Surrender

I've been thinking some about surrender recently.  I went on a hike a few weeks ago, and I was trying to make it to a lake, but I never made it.  I have never been to this lake, and no one has told me that I must see this lake.  It was just a hike that seemed doable and I wanted to do it.  The one picture that I saw led me to believe that it might be a pretty lake, so it all sounded good.

It was a gorgeous day, the weather was beautiful, the flowers were beautiful, but the avalanche debris over the trail was not so beautiful.  It wasn't too hard to get over it, and I'm sure you could pick up the trail on the other side if you'd done the hike before.  However, I'd never done the hike, and I couldn't find the trail, and so I had to turn around.  I don't believe in getting lost while looking for trails.  It goes against my religion or something.

Anyway, turning around was really frustrating and disappointing.  It was kind of a long hike and I was kind of close to the end when I got turned around. So close to the dang lake, and still so far away.  I was sulking a little at first, and stewed a bit about how that hike was like my life (never quite getting there), but then I stopped.  I remembered that a couple of days before I'd had some sort of nasty summer bug and didn't want to get off the couch.  I had to remember that my primary goal had not been to hike to that lake, but to find a hike to do to get myself out of the house.  I had to think about how I'd gotten to soak up some sunshine and see some beautiful flowers and a great view.  Pretty soon, I was okay with it.  I was fine about how the hike had turned out, because I'd hiked.

Then I thought that maybe I could apply some of these thoughts to my life of singleness and see if I could reach a point of greater "surrender".  You know what? I couldn't.  The reason is that I was looking at surrender the wrong way.  Like the hike, I was trying to find a way to "be okay" with all parts of being single, but I can't.  I can't "be okay" with something that's not okay.  I am not living out a vocation that I am called to.  That's not okay.  I can't make it somehow right when it's not right and it doesn't fit.  It's not as much about having no one there for me as it is about not having someone to give myself to.

If I am single forever, that's not okay.  I believe that I can still find peace and happiness and fulfillment if that were to be the case, but there would always be something that was missing.  A part of me that would be stunted rather than finding its full potential.  I don't think that surrender means "being okay" with things that are not okay.  I think that surrender means being willing to accept it all, including the pain of the part that is not okay. (I have to thank this blogger for helping me to understand that a little better.)

I have to say that by the time I made it down the mountain, I was feeling pretty relaxed.  Not only had I had a fantastic hike, but the pressure was off to somehow do a better job at being single so that I would "be okay" with it.  It is so much easier to accept pain as part of the surrender, rather than to will it away or try to make it stop hurting.  I'm not totally okay with being single.  And that's okay.

Avalanche debris







Monday, September 12, 2011

The Smile

I sit amidst beautiful chaos, surrounded by people I love and their wonderful kids that I also love; the smile is ever present, mostly real, but sometimes pasted on.  I never imagined that it could be so easy to smile on the outside while dying on the inside.  How can it be that there is no place I'd rather be, and I would rather be anywhere else? The joy of seeing everyone is real, but the pain of not having my own family in the middle of the pandemonium is also real.  At times, I am worried that the smile might look more like a grimace, but -almost- no one seems to notice and none of the kids seem scared, so it must be good enough. I look up at the ceiling, willing the tears to go back in.  Heaven forbid that they should fall.

What I want to do in that moment is slip out the door and run.  It doesn't matter where, as long as the road is long and can take me away.  Anywhere works.  Someplace is also good.  I can't do that, though, because someone might wonder or get worried.  Plus, I wore the wrong shoes.  Nonetheless, the impulse to run is strong, the desire to fill up my insides with the burning of my lungs and to leave no room for anything else.  Maybe it would help.

Only, I've had that urge before, and I did run. It didn't work.  The pain was stuck.  It was not a separate entity that I could get ahead of, it was a part of me.  The faster I ran, the more I realized that I couldn't outrun the ache anymore than I could outrun my legs, or lungs, or heart. The pain was still there, it was just harder to breathe. It wasn't merely the good shortness of breath from activity; it was sucking air around the tight and growing lump in my throat.  I remember this, but as I sit, I can still barely control the compulsion to run.  My flipflops and the fact that I can't be invisible while I go slightly nuts are the only things that keep me still.

I have no choice. So I do the only other thing that is available to me.

I smile.





Friday, September 9, 2011

I just had to share this.  Sometimes kids see the truth so much more clearly than we do.  Fair warning, it makes me cry every time (the part after the funny/cute stuff).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Labor Day Fun

About the middle of the summer hit and I realized that I needed to see my friends in the Midwest.  I am addicted to them, you see, and I needed a hit. Badly.  I love it out here in the West, but I sometimes wonder what I am doing here, because they are there.  On the other hand, as much as I creepily* attached to them, I have to remember that we do in fact have to each live our own lives.

Anyway, I started to think about the fact that Labor Day is a long weekend, and if I took Friday off it would be an even longer weekend, especially when combined with the Thursday that I already had off.  Not only that, but one of my friends had a birthday earlier in the week, and my parents' anniversary was on Friday.  Perfect weekend to head back? I think so.

So another friend and I hatched up a little plot to surprise the birthday girl, and we decided to surprise everyone else, too, just for the fun of it.  Wednesday night I was off to the airport, ready for the weekend with friends. It was beyond wonderful to see them all, and we definitely surprised them! I also got to practice taking pictures of kids instead of mountains.  The kids don't hold still quite as long as the mountains do...

It was so good to spend long days chasing butterflies, playing whatever little games presented themselves, talking about anything and everything, going out for sushi and frozen yogurt and going to said friends birthday party.  And food! Besides my favorite sushi place, the weekend included things like french dip sandwiches and oreo delight.  Surprisingly, I'm up two pounds.

I loved to visit, I hated to leave, but I also remembered why I am here and not there. For now, as much as I hate missing out on so much that is going on "back home", and as much as I really hate not seeing family and friends more often, for now this is my place to wait.  Every time I leave, I leave little pieces of me behind with them, but I also don't know how I could leave my mountains either.



*Inside joke. I'm really not too creepy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Need a Little Help with Catholic Practices

Next week I'm supposed to help teach RCIA about common Catholic practices in church, particularly at Mass.  The only problem is, going to Mass is a little like breathing, and so you just do it.  It's hard to remember the specific things that you might be doing.  I want to look at the sign of the cross (including with holy water), genuflection, and... What else should I remember to talk about??  Is there anything that we do as Catholics at Mass that I should remember to tell them?  Especially if you're not Catholic, but maybe have been to a Mass before, is there anything you wondered about?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

About that Waiting Thing...

I was thinking about waiting, and I thought that even if that wasn't what I wanted to hear, at least I had it made in the shade, right? If I'm waiting, I don't have to actually do anything, do I?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about being active during the wait.  Believe me, for the last 10 years, I may have been waiting to find a spouse, but I have not been waiting for life to begin. I've gone to school, I've taught RE, I've been on the parish council, I've spent amazing time with great friends, I've worked a great job, taken some fun road trips, learned to rock climb, grown deeper into my relationship with God, and so on. I've also tried to be proactive and open in trying to find someone, but that just doesn't seem to be happening.

Anyway, this time it's a little different.  Always before, when I would look for something to do and some way to grow, there's been an opportunity waiting.  Now when I look, I just hear crickets.  This was frustrating at first, because I am a very impatient person and there is not much that I hate more than waiting unless I can be doing something useful or fun while I wait (on the other hand, if I'm not waiting, I have no problems with wasting a LOT of time).

However, since there doesn't seem to be much to do while I wait (besides just daily stuff), this time I just figured that I would just be, I guess.  I don't know what that really means, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of choice right now.  Then one day in Mass, the reading was the parable of the ten virgins.  That made me think about the foolish ones compared to the wise ones.  All were waiting, but the wise ones were prepared while they wait.  I don't know what else I could possibly do to prepare, but it just struck me that if I'm waiting, and that if I believe that God is in all this somehow, then I had certainly better be waiting with an attitude of readiness. Lamps? Check. Flasks of oil? Check.  Ready at any moment to light them.

Then, there's this sweet little old lady that always gives me newspaper clippings about gardening (she doesn't know that I am a champion plant killer, and keep all plants away from my house for humanitarian- plantitarian?- reasons; for some reason she thinks I like gardening).  Anyway, along with the clippings, she hands me an old church envelope from November.  She didn't realize it was there, but the verse on it jumped out and smacked me in the face. Unfortunately, I can't find the verse now, but it  was something about watching and being ready.

Waiting, even when there's not something to actively do, is still about watchfulness and readiness. Once everything is done to the best of your ability, it is now time to watch, to be ready to open the door when whatever it is that we are waiting for finally shows up.

There's one other situation right now that is teaching me about waiting.  At the moment, I'm all excited about planning a surprise.  I'm a little giddy right now as a matter of fact!  Waiting for this is so much fun because I have so much anticipation.  (More later.  As I write this, I still have a couple of days to wait.  By the time you read this, all the surprises should be out in the open.)  Waiting with anticipation does not have to be a drag, and can actually be part of the fun.

Okay, so that's about it.  Once all the excitement calms down, I may get a little annoyed about the waiting again.  For now I'll see about trying for an attitude of watchfulness and readiness.