1) Happy weekend, everyone! I hope your weekend is going well, I know I'm enjoying mine. Yesterday was more cross country skiing with friends. We skied under a gondola at one point and we watched the people riding up the slope for downhill. We figured they were probably thinking we were nuts for skiing where we have to do all the work ourselves and you don't go nearly as fast. Whereas, we were very happy to not be them because we like our workout, the fact that it's cheaper than downhill, and that it's safer than downhill.
2) I was out with two friends who were in my ski class last year. We're a lot better than we were, but when we watch the experienced skiers fly by us, we know we still have a lot of work to do. We determined that we are no longer rank beginners, and have advanced to being just beginners. It's pretty funny sometimes the way we creep down hills and then get all excited if we make it to the bottom still upright. One way that you know I still have a few issues with speed is that sometimes I'll be going a little too slow down a hill, so I start poling, but I don't reduce my snowplow. Don't want too much speed!
3) Then today I had a yummy breakfast and it was good to have a relaxing morning to get ready for Mass. Then I was talking to my friend in Germany via sky.pe. Here's the best part of that conversation. She's going to be in town in a couple of weeks, and I had planned on being out of town that weekend. I'm disappointed that my travel plans didn't work out, but I'm very excited to get a chance to see her. Only, we decided not to tell her that I'll be around. So there were interesting moments when she's telling me that she misses me and really wants to see me, and I'm trying not to bust out and tell her that I will be seeing her soon. I'm really hoping that she will text me on her way to the restaurant where everyone's meeting up. Where I will either be waiting for her or about to join her. Should be fun. I get to finish the weekend with a birthday dinner for another friend.
4) Obviously, I am not giving up the internet for Lent, but I've limited it. (Part of the reason that this post is not so much on a Friday.) It's a little tough, but kind of great. By having to be smart about how I spend my internet time, I am still getting to most of the things that are important to me, but I have more time to be structured about other things in my life. I'm not getting sucked down all sorts of little rabbit holes. Sometimes the rabbit holes are fun, but they can take a lot of time. I had one very productive morning without the distraction of the internet and found myself thinking, "Look what all I can get done! I can't wait to blog about this!" Yeah, I'd say it was definitely time for some limits. :) Although I will be less limited about it after Lent, I can already see some ways that I could be more balanced even after Lent is over.
5) I know that we're not supposed to "brag" about what we're giving up for Lent, but I do like to see other peoples' posts of what they're giving up. It gives me more ideas and I also love to see how things differ from one person to the other. It's interesting to see because every person is different, their spiritual needs are different, where they are in their journey is different. So it's great to see the number of ways that all these things fit together for each person. Like when it comes to food, for example. Some people, some sort of fasting from food is extremely beneficial and can break some of the bonds food has. Other people for health reasons cannot or should not be giving up food. Other people know that it is best for them not to give up food so they don't get too caught up in image. I love that there is no right or wrong answer; simply that everyone should do what's best for them in that stage of their life. I know what I've done for some Lents is not right for others. It seems like if I spend some time being thoughtful about it and praying about it, it usually leads me to things that end up being surprisingly beneficial.
6) I was just thinking the other day about some of the differences between Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Both have faced increasing health problems and both have addressed it different ways. I was trying to figure out how to put my feelings about it into words, but then I found an article that did it for me. I consider both of these men to be fathers, pastors and servants of God in the best way possible, and I love what they said about the lessons that both of these men teach us in different ways. I also really liked the video that Leila posted here. Listening to people like Cardinal Arinze, having had a chance to go to a Mass and talk by Cardinal Schonborn, being in the diocese where Cardinal DiNardo first became bishop and seeing what kind of a man he was there, and, of course, thinking of men like Cardinal Dolan, these men are shepherds. Even while we are briefly without a pope, we will have strong leadership. When you are picking from a pool like these men, I am confident we will have another pope that will leave faithful Catholics rejoicing and mainstream media wailing and gnashing their teeth.
Of course, plenty of prayers are needed, for Pope Benedict, for the conclave, and for the new pope, whoever he will be. Many of you already know about the novena you can sign up for here that will start this week to pray for Pope Benedict in his last 9 days in office, and I believe there will be a follow up novena for the new pope as well. I have prayed novenas from this site before, and it is so helpful for me to remember to pray them when the prayer gets delivered to my in box each morning.
7) Sorry about the not at all quick takes! Head over to Jen's for quicker takes, and to make up for it, I'll shut up now and leave you with a photo instead. It's a couple years old, but somehow I don't think I've ever posted it before.