Thursday, March 31, 2011

thy will be done

One of the beautiful traditions of Catholicism is lighting candles.  Candles are a sacramental - something that points towards Jesus.  Symbolic because they bring light into darkness; they give of themselves and are consumed to bring light; the flame is active, always moving.  The smoke that is given off is symbolic of our prayers rising to heaven.

So there is this deal with the house and accompanying property that we have found.  One day it looks as if it may go through.  The next day, not so much.  Then it looks good.  And then not.  My prayer is simply that God's will be done.  If it is meant for us to be there, then let it work out.  And if not, no regrets.  To that end, we have done everything that we could do.

Tonight my dear husband called from the road.  Apparently our real estate agent had called and told him that the other party had obtained a letter of credit from the bank and was doing inspections on the property.  So it looks like it is likely that they will close the deal.  His suggestion to me was to "go light a candle".  We have done this before in impossible circumstances, and it has "worked".

So my boys and I journeyed to the church near my school tonight.  Our parish is in the "hood" and is always locked when Mass is not going on.  This church has a coded keypad that allows access after dark.

We entered, whispering.  We bought a candle (they are kept in the lobby) and then proceeded to the candles surrounding a sculpture of the Holy Family  They lit the candle, and we knelt and prayed.  St. Joseph, you know the value of a home.  If this is supposed to happen for us, let it.  If not, then help us to be happy with what we have.  Help us be a Holy Family.  We visited the Tabernacle, too, and said "hi" to Jesus.  I will tell you that praying with your teenage sons in a dark church is priceless.

Thy will be done.

Editing to add:  This house deal did not work out for us.  But on April 29, we made an offer on another house - the "right" house.  We closed on June 13, and made the big move on July 7.  I could have never forseen how God would answer this prayer.  There are pictures scattered throughout the blog in May, June, July, etc.  But take a peek to see see my favorite housewarming gift!    :-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

catching up

Nothing really exciting going on here.  No burning need to blog.  Not wanting to bore people to death and all.  Which probably means it will be a post without much focus.

Lent it going relatively well, I suppose.  This week and last have been rather unremarkable, but that's OK, I think.  Working on the procrastination.  That will be a life-long project.  Still enjoying my adoration time before school a couple of mornings a week.  Doing fairly well with saying the Rosary daily, though some days, it might run a decade or two short.  Kind of slacked this weekend, but my intentions were good.

I've done some reflecting about prayer.  For the past 3 or 4 years, I've prayed the Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours on a regular basis.  Took a break last summer.  Taking a break right now.  There have been times when I've felt guilty about skipping an "hour".  But right now, I'm feeling peace about my prayer life.  I go to Mass when I can, which is most mornings.  But beyond that, time for meaningful personal prayer is just limited.  Key word - meaningful.  If I just run through the motions of saying a Rosary while I'm driving or reading through the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours, is it quality or quantity?  Prayer or just mumbling words?  I might not "get through" much sitting in the dark church, but there is such a peace.  Today I had a good bit of time and said the Rosary.  Other days I just have 20 minutes or so, and I might journal, reflect on the homily for a bit, or say a few decades of the rosary. 

I don't feel like a prayer slacker.  Is it peace or complacency?  Right now I'm going with peace.

We had Bible Study tonight.  It was on patience.  It might just merit its own post.  Patience is something we can develop.  One small choice after another.  I remember asking my confessor if anyone ever really "got" patience before they died.  He said it was more a matter of enduring...something about being patient with ourselves and our impatience.  Which kind of makes it sound like he was giving the green light to impatience, but that wasn't it at all.

School has been pretty calm lately.  Less tension.  Less stress.  We have about 35 more days.  Let's hope it continues. 

I won't bore you further...except to say that we are resubmitting the offer on the house.  It looks to be a roller coaster ride.  We all *really* like it.  I am putting it in God's hands, with St. Joseph running interference.  There were some positive signs yesterday.  But who knows what tomorrow holds?

As I said...I won't bore you further.  Check back in a couple of days.  ;-)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

sunday snippets

Each week, R'Ann at This, That and the Other Thing, hosts a meme for Catholic bloggers to showcase posts that other Catholic bloggers might be interested in. 

Here are my recent ramblings:

assigned seats - You do it, too, don't you?  Sit in the same place every week at Mass?

so be it  - A little mixture of several things going on last week in my life.

10 down 30 to go - Personal Lenten Reflections.

adoration - Kind of self explanatory.

oh yeah...about that - Are you a procrastinator? 

These are listed newest first.  So if you like a chronological read, the first shall be last....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

assigned seats

One evening, as the first Bible Study in a series concluded, Father looked at us and asked, "Now you do realize that you will be sitting in the same spots you are now, 10 weeks from now?"  He wasn't assigning us seats...just commenting on the tendency of Catholics (do others do this?) to stake out their claim on a seat and stay there.  He says that when he comes out of the confessional in the back of the church before weekday morning Mass, he can tell who is there just by which spaces are occupied. 

It's true.  For daily Mass, I sit in the "wing" on the right side.  Third row from the back (or fourth from the front)  on the left end of the pew...but never right on the end...I leave room for a friend.  R sits two rows in front of me.  Two older ladies sit right behind me.  One of them fixed the tag on my shirt the other day.  :-)  A man who's wife sometimes comes with him sits on the same row as R, but on the far right.  Etc.

But then Lent comes.  And you know what that means?  More people come.  Father said one of his regular daily Mass goers in another parish compared them to vultures or some such thing.  Sounds kind of uncharitable doesn't it?  Like maybe Daily Mass wasn't having it's full effect on her.  Those extra people... they aren't aware of the pre-existing seating charts.  

I am always glad to see extra people during Lent.  That's when I started going to Daily Mass, and I know that I discovered a great treasure there.  Confession:  I'm glad to see all the extra people EXCEPT the lady who sits in my spot.  She was there last Lent, too.  Just like a bird that's come back to the same tree to nest.  Oh yeah, I'm charitable, too, aren't I?  Some mornings I hurry to get out of the house sooner, so I can get there before her.  God probably looks at me and says, "Really, Karen?  I call you to be child-like.  Not childish."

So here's the deal.  I'm giving up my assigned seat for Lent.  Even if I get there first.  Maybe God wants me to see things from a different view point.  Or maybe He just wants to nudge me out of my comfort zone in the third pew from the back.   Maybe there is still room for Daily Mass to have it's "full effect" on me.  "Fertile ground for redemption", I am. 

UPDATE on the house:  Not only was Saturday St. Joseph's feast day, but he is the patron saint of house-hunters, my younger child informed me.  However, things have not worked out thus far.  We can not close as quickly as they would like - and another offer that was submitted after ours was accepted.  So for now, dear hubby has chosen to withdraw our offer.  I'm still praying though.  Trusting that God knows what is best and knowing that he has reasons for what he does, but persevering.  St. Joseph...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

so be it

Dear hubby and I have lived in our house for a long time.  Me, since our marriage; him, for many years before that.  His ex-wife put up some of the wallpaper from what I understand.  Home improvements have always been pretty low on the priority list. Money has been scarce much of the time.  Outward appearances aren't a big thing, and we have been reluctant to pour money in when the return was uncertain.  In any case, it is under-sized and over-filled. We have looked at other options during the years, but nothing appeared that was in our price range, etc.

Monday after Mass, I was chatting with a friend, and she told me that she and her husband had taken a ride to another parish on Sunday and then stopped to see a piece of property on the way (above).  As she described it, it sounded interesting to me.  She said that they would never afford it.  However, there is a transaction in the works that may possibly make it feasible for dear hubby and I.  I found it on the internet, looked it up,. mentioned it dear hubby.  He liked the sound of it, and mentioned it to his real estate guy.  Friday evening, DH and one child and I rode out to see it. We really liked what we saw. Saturday morning, our real estate guy met us, we looked around, and signed an offer that afternoon. 

We are excited about the potential, but trust that God will put us where we are supposed to be.  If it works out, it works out.  If not.  So be it.  Almost all traces of previous habitation had been removed, but as we looked around, I ran across this in one of the buildings: 

It's St. Joseph.  Not sure exactly why he is there.  I didn't realize until today that St. Joseph's feast day was Saturday.  Perhaps I should ask St. Joseph's intercession?

Speaking of feast days, my sweet little Godchild turned three on Saturday.  I think he is about as cute as they come.  Although my 3 siblings and I all have blue eyes, he is the only blue-eyed grandchild of the six grand kids.  Happy Birthday!

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Friday, March 18, 2011

10 down, 30 to go

Is Lent really 40 days?  Or is it just kind of a symbolic number?  Pretty sure that Sunday's don't "count".  And it ends the evening of Holy Thursday.  So does Thursday count or not?

In any case, it's about 25% gone.  We are 10 days in, and so far, so good.

My prayer before Lent was that God help me to listen and know what He wanted.

The homily the day after Ash Wednesday was about Lent not being about making temporary changes that would be over and done in 40 days.  It was about identifying the "spiritual cancers" in our lives and submitting to the treatment - God's merciful love.  So I prayed to be open to the quiet voice of God, and to be willing to let go of the things that He identified.  I went into Lent with only a couple of resolutions, but with the idea of being open to anything else God pointed out.

He didn't wait long to point something else out!  Friday, I sat in the quiet of the empty church before school reflecting on the homily at my parish which had been about fasting.  Fasting has nothing to do with dieting, the good Father had said.  Fasting is about glorifying God; dieting about glorifying self   He went on to give a beautiful explanation of authentic fasting.  Authentic fasting leads us away from ourselves, out of our comfort zones, and towards God in prayer and fellow man in almsgiving.  Surely that is a process to get to that point.

As I sat there, I felt that quiet voice of God, pointing out my procrastination habit.  If I would have blinked, I would have missed it.  Or dismissed it.  Of course I procrastinate.  That's news to no one.  But I saw it in a new light. 

Confession was Saturday, and the priest was so encouraging.  He didn't address anything specifically, but said that we need to look at our lives as "fertile ground for redemption", that God never tires of us coming to Him, and basically to keep working!  I'm not sure why he was so encouraging - I didn't think I was discouraged - but I know enough to know that the Spirit works through him, so I just sat back, shut up, and listened.

Monday (pi day....3.14) was the gospel about "whatsoever you did for the least of did for me."  Who are the least?  Well, that would be US!  We are the ones who hunger and thirst (for the Lord), who are sick and imprisoned (in sin), who stand naked before him in shame.  We can look into our lives, he said, and see how we fit in each and every category!  (And I always thought those people were someone else...)   But he feeds us, frees us, cures us, proclaims our dignity as his beloved.  We in turn must do the same for others.  We have no right to withhold that which has been given as undeserved gift!  So says my pastor.

Today - Friday - another "wow" homily.  Jesus expects more from us than just going through the motions.  our hearts must change and that journey starts at the foot of the cross.  There we see that those who need forgiving - who need love the most - deserve it the least.  Again, that would be who?  Well, us!  And in turn, we must do for others.

What I really started this post to say was that I have scratched some things off of my procrastinated "to do" list.  I got my car inspected and ordered heart worm and flea meds for the animals (I need a second job now, but that's another story.)  I've returned unread library books and cleaned (a relative term) the bathroom counter.  And more.  ;-)

Prayers that Lent continues to be fruitful!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


A few years ago, I mentioned something to a friend - a life-long Catholic - about Adoration, and she looked at me like I had two heads.  What's that?  But it hasn't been that many years that I've discovered the wonderful gift that it is.  I don't ever remember attending Adoration during my growing up years or Catholic school years.  I was a child of the 70's...maybe that explains it.

(This picture was taken while visiting the Monastery where my BFF lives.)

Somewhere along the line, though, I got an inkling of what Adoration was.  I think I even went once during our college days with my friend who is now a nun.  I remember sitting in a big room with the monstrance in front.  I got bored after a while.  There's only so much you can do while you're sitting there, right?

After that, it was years, maybe decades before I experienced Adoration again.  I knew that a church near me had a perpetual adoration chapel, but I was always scared to go.  I guess I figured everyone would turn around and look or I would do the wrong thing.  But my sister-in-law, after visiting the chapel with a friend, invited me along one day, and that was all it took.  (That evangelizing thing...) 

As Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.  It's not a symbol.  He is really there.  And thus, when the Consecrated Host is present, Jesus is really there.  I am no longer bored in the presence of Jesus.  I am awed and humbled.  I am comforted and challenged.  I am thankful and sorrowful.  Confronted and affirmed.  But never bored.
No one gives anyone else a second glance at the Adoration Chapel.  You might get a smile or nod of the head, but most everyone is focused on their own conversation with the Lord.  There might be 4 or 5 or more other people, but you can spend an hour in utter, absolute sacred silence.   I sometimes substitute at this chapel when someone can't make "their" hour, but most often, I just drop in, when I've had one of "those" days or when I just want some time with the Lord.  The only bit of etiquette that I picked up, is that when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, it is proper to genuflect on both knees (think kneeling in the aisle). 

I've had some wonderful conversations with the Lord.  It is so quiet there that I can hear Him.  Or maybe, it is more that I can feel Him.  I often take my journal.  Sometimes I write, and He speaks to me through the written word.  This time, I was kind of unfocused, and in spite of my lack of artistic talent, I sketched.  Some pray the Rosary.  Some read.  Sometimes when I know that confession is in the near future, I will ask the Lord to help me find the things that need fixing.  It still amazes me how well this works when you listen.  Sometimes I just sit and listen.  
Sometimes Our Lord is exposed in a monstrance.  A priest friend told me that another word for a monstrance is "ostensorium."  It's rather ostentatious, isn't it?   

But some are simple.  This picture was taken at a retreat with Immaculee.  In this context, Adoration took place with us kneeling on the floor in the convention center.  A priest, blessed with the gift of healing, slowly processed the monstrance around the room, stopping every few feet and blessing those present with it.  One of those things that can only be described by experiencing it, I think.   You will notice his hands on his stole.  He used the stole to hold the monstrance - not touching it directly with his hands.  A way to show reverence and respect. 

But Jesus need not be in a monstrance for Adoration to take place.  He is also present in the Tabernacle, and I have found that when it is not convenient to go to the chapel, I can visit him at the church near my work.  It is open all day, and a couple of the doors have coded key pads, so that one who knows the code can also visit at night.  What a wonderful, wonderful thing!
 This is the tabernacle at the church that I visit before school.  I stay 20 minutes or so.  It is quality time.  I usually just sit or kneel in a pew at a distance, and usually I am alone.  One morning, though, a lady came in and marched right up to the tabernacle.  I thought maybe she was going to open it and remove a host to take to a homebound person, or some such thing.  But, no, she just stood in front of it, and spoke quietly to Jesus.  She says she comes every day. 
I once saw a youtube video (and I might have included it in this blog in the past).  It was a Catholic version using MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine" 

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?....I can only imagine....

The bottom line was that you don't have to imagine.  Jesus waits for every hour of every day in the Blessed Sacrament in churches and chapels everywhere.  We can be in His Presence.  Give it a try!

Monday, March 14, 2011

oh yeah...about that...

I've been meaning to get around to that!

My name is Karen and I'm a procrastinator.  Like it's any big secret to those that know me.  I mean, it's not a crime or anything, is it?

But the other day,  as I was sitting in the church (I really like the 15 or 20 minutes that I have to reflect in the mornings) just about to leave, inspiration hit.  Divine inspiration?  "It's the procrastination," the 'voice' said.  Wasn't really a voice - just a "knowing".  Somewhat out of nowhere, because I don't think I was praying for much of anything specific.  Just kind of sitting in the Presence.

I've approached this Lent with a spirit of openness..."tell me what you want me to know, God".  So for God to tell me that I procrastinate, that wasn't any big news.  I've always "worked better under pressure."  I don't think I've ever seen "Do you procrastinate?" on any examination of conscience list.  Maybe they haven't gotten around to putting it there yet? (just kidding...)

And in that moment - it really didn't take long - because I was getting ready to leave (and since I'd waited until the last moment to leave...there wasn't much time to spare) I knew that procrastination IS a problem in my life...something that needs to change.  Something that God can help me change.  Something that I can fast from.

It permeates just about every area of life.  I have library books in the back seat of my car.  Why not just take them back?  Bills that don't get paid on time.  (Although payroll deduction is the best thing since ice cream for that.)  Paperwork that doesn't get turned in on time.  Messes that don't get cleaned up.  Stuff that doesn't get done.  Because it is too overwhelming to know where to start.  My vehicle inspection is expired.

Is it a sin?  Does it come under sloth?  I don't know.  Probably.  But I know that it makes my life less than what it could be, and that is what I said when I went to confession the other day.  It is something that I need the help of the Divine Physician to heal.

Why did I not think of this before?  It really is pretty obvious.  I  think that God shows us bit by bit according to what we can handle what we need to know.

So the accompanying Lenten idea was to make a list of things that I've been putting off.  I have a cool "sticky note" app on my iPad for that.  (So you can't really see it here, but you can get the basic idea...)   Each day I will do something towards something on the list.  Maybe I won't get it all the way scratched off.  But progress counts for something.  Forward momentum. 

Prayers for success?

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Maybe I'll get to this post tomorrow.  Maybe....... ;-)


For all the many unfavorable things that I may say about my school, there is one wonderful thing for sure...our campus is beautiful.  We have a team of custodians who work hard to keep it tidy and well-groomed, and we have attractive landscaping and foliage. 

Each spring, there are these trees that flower.  I am not sure the variety.  When I asked our custodian the other day, he said, "That's one of those 'fake pear' trees."  So whether it is some kind of ornamental pear or whether he's just pulling my leg, I have no idea. 

But the white flowers are so beautiful against the blue spring sky. 

So I documented!  (That's what I spend a great deal of time doing as a teacher...documenting...)

The tree above is outside the church near my school. 

 The neighborhood view from the parking lot at the church.  I like the variety of colors.  In a month or so, summer will be here, and everything will just be green, green, green.  I get tired of green. 

These close-ups are from the trees at school.  It's the contrast against the blue sky, I think, that appeals so much to me.

I was back at church in the evening to drop off my Boy Scouts for an activity.  Thought the trees were pretty at night, too!

No point at all to this post.  Just sharing some beauty.  Appreciating God's handiwork!

sunday snippets

It's Sunday, and that means it's time to link up with R'Ann at This That and the Other Thing where she hosts Catholic bloggers each week. 

With the approach of Lent and time off from work to celebrate Mardi Gras (and Ash Wednesday), this week saw a few more posts than recent months.

fertile ground - I really like this post.  Every once in a while, it seems like the Holy Spirit just speaks and the post gets right to the point instead of rambling along searching for a point.  This was one of those.

evangelization - This post hits upon some of the simple things we can do as Catholics to "evangelize" those in our families or in our work places.  Sometimes those who are most in need of our evangelization efforts are other Catholics.

turning towards lent - Some pre-Lenten reflections.  What does God want from you this Lent?  Our priest told us today that God wants us to be "like Him, with Him".  Contrasted with Adam and Even who wanted to be "like Him, withOUT Him". 

And that was that for this week.  You could find older posts here, and just scrolling down....if you were having a lazy spring day.  :-)


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

fertile ground

I wonder if so many religious communities garden because of the spiritual aspects of it.  It was a beautiful day today, and I was able to get a few things done outside.  It is quiet, and my mind wanders... 

Maybe this is what our spiritual life looks like by the time Lent arrives.  
There's decent soil underneath, but there's also a lot of junk piled on top, weeds growing, dead stuff...

No doubt there's some good things there. 
Like this strawberry plant left over from last year.  
But before it is going to flourish, some cleaning needs to be done, and maybe some compost needs to be added.

The leaves that have fallen need to be brushed away.  
Then the weeds need to be pulled out...roots and all.

Some of them are easy enough to pull out bare-handed.  
But some of them are clearly going to need more than MY bare hands to pull them out. 

But when all is said and done... you are left with fertile ground.  
A place which can bear fruit and nourishment.  
Something to sustain us.  
Something that we can share with others.

Perhaps that is how Lent is.  We dust off our souls, take a good look, assess what might need to be done.  Then we set to work - all with God's help.  We might need to add some things...prayer, time spent in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, or spiritual reading.  We might need to remove some things that are choking off what growth we need to do.  Some of those things can be removed easily - giving something up.  But some things need a little extra help....the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We might need to give of ourself.  The end result - hopefully - is a place in our heart where the Word of God can put down roots.  Growth.  Sharing with those who hunger.

Prayers for a blessed Lent and a bountiful harvest!

 3.12.11  Would it be too much to edit this post to add that I went to confession this afternoon.  Very nearly the first words out of the priest's mouth by way of encouragement were something about seeing our lives as "fertile ground for redemption".  I've heard him use that terminology before, so I wasn't totally awed and amazed.  More like God sending a wink and a thumbs-up my way, and further confirmation that the priest is a pencil in God's hand. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The word "evangelization" evokes images of pushy people knocking on doors and trying to sell their own brand of religion to those around them at any cost.  Yet, as Catholics we are called to evangelize, and most shy away from it, I think.  I know I have.  I'm happy as a clam with my religion, but surely don't want to step on any toes.

Gradually, I've come to realize that we don't have to go far to find people to evangelize.  I don't need to knock on doors or push things on unsuspecting strangers.  There are people in my own family who could use a little support in their faith.  Sometimes it might just be a little encouragement or a conversation.  There are so many people who are life-long Catholics who don't know about things like Adoration.  (Probably a good bit of my generation, since I don't ever remember hearing about Adoration in 9 years of Catholic school and 3 or 4 years of CCD.)  I have a friend who sometimes shows up at daily Mass with me.   She will frequently have a question about something that we do in the middle of Mass (like that funny thing we do before the Gospel is read - scratching our head and our lips and our heart).  "I'll explain later," I say.  Sometimes it is a phone call to a reluctant someone to see if they need a ride to Mass.

One of the churches that I sometimes visit had "Little Black Books" available in their vestibule for $1.  I bought a handful of them, and then passed them along to people at work whom I know to be Catholic, but who may or may not attend Mass on a regular basis.  Maybe the Holy Spirit will use something there to speak to them.  My church offers a couple of  wonderful musical programs during Lent and Stations of the Cross on Friday afternoons.  I've invited people to both - my way of evangelizing - and they have come.  Once again, the Holy Spirit has a job to do.  I think it might be less threatening for someone who is not an active church-goer to agree to attending something that is not an all-out Sunday Mass.  Something where you just watch or follow along in the book.

In a public school, there is very little in the way of religious conversation that you can have with students.  But I try to remember that my actions speak.  What I do can give God a "good name" or a "bad name".  Kids know when someone treats them with dignity and respect.  That might be the closest they get to seeing the Gospel lived out in their daily lives.  Some mornings I go to a church across town.  It is located right next to a school for kids who have been expelled from their regular schools.  A couple of times, I have been spotted entering or leaving the church by students or parents who are dropping off a sibling at the adjacent school.  They can put two and two together and know if you are living out Christian values in your daily life... or not.

Evangelizing need not involve stepping on toes or insulting others of God's family. 

This Lent, our Diocese is adopting the Catholics Come Home outreach program.  There will be commercials on the local networks playing many times during Lent.  I have said before that nearly everyone in this area is either a Catholic or a former Catholic.  Let us pray that those who have been away from the active practice of their faith feel welcome by our actions  and words and consider returning home 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

turning towards lent

Mardi Gras is in full swing here!   It comes on parades and culminates its own season - beginning on the Epiphany and ending at 11:59 pm on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday.  Not quite a liturgical season...but almost.  I thought today that Father's vestments  - green with gold accents worked well with the "season".  There are King Cakes made in the shape of a crown, with a baby (the baby Jesus) hidden inside, decorated in the Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and gold.  There are balls, complete with kings and queens. There are beads - like things of this world - a cheap imitation of the gifts of great value.

Lent sneaks up on no one in South Louisiana, but for years, Ash Wednesday would appear, and I'd begin to think about what I might do for Lent.  Kind of late at that point, and it usually led to some spur of the moment decision.  Not all of those were bad, however.  About five or six years ago, we were already immersed in Lent and I was still looking.  Something (the Holy Spirit?)  told me that I could probably make the 6:30 a.m. Mass that was offered at my parish 3 days a week.  Just to make sure, I approached my pastor who was helping us with our preparations for the upcoming Mass with our Cub Scout Pack for Scout Sunday.  "How long is daily Mass?" I asked.  "It depends on if I've had my coffee or not," was the friendly reply.  So I took a chance and showed up.  The rest is history.  It's not really a penance, but a joy, and something has had such a positive effect in my life.

Now as Lent approaches, I find myself considering what I might "do" for Lent.   I hear people say that they don't give something up, but rather add something.  It's all good.  The giving up is a discipline - even with things like chocolate or television.  There is some spiritual benefit just in denying self.  Giving up things like foul language, complaining,and gossiping benefits many.  Adding something is beneficial as well.  Additional time spent in prayer, in worship, or in helping our fellow man.

I was reading something this morning, and it noted that we all seem to have some resolutions that we keep in the back of our mind to pull out for such occasions as Ash Wednesday.  Last year, I had several things that were on my list for Lent.  A little bit of the "more is better" mentality, maybe.  And when Lent didn't turn out the way I thought it would - how dare God not follow MY script - I had to stop and consider why?  Was it not enough?  Not sincere enough?  What went wrong?

Ultimately, I think I concluded that it was my expectations that went wrong.  I had *my* plans for Lent, and God had His.  There were many good things that happened in my vicinity, but I nearly  missed them because I was wondering where God was.  God doesn't work like a vending machine.

So this year, I've reviewed my mental list.  I've sat in the dark church before school, and asked God to give me some idea of what HE might want from me.  Strangely, I don't feel all that called to give up chocolate - a Lenten standby for several years.  I happened upon  a post in Jenny's blog a week or so ago about complaining, and think that might have been God guiding me in that direction.  (Made even more clear when Jenny became one of my 'followers' the next day.... even though I hadn't left a comment).  And the Rosary...that's been a developing "thing" the last year.  I'm not sure where I'll fit it in, but perhaps that will be part of the journey.  Today I got an email from Immaculee suggesting that we (I) join her in a Novena of the Seven Sorrows Rosary starting on Ash Wednesday until the retreat we are attending on April 15.   God's suggestion?

Uncluttering was another of the things on my mental list.  My house is so badly in need of it, and it is overwhelming.  I am wondering if the grace of lent would help me accomplish what I can not/have not accomplished by myself.  But I haven't felt too much leading me in that direction...

And so that's where I am in my Lenten ponderings.  I will continue to attend daily Mass whenever I am able.  That is a blessing.  And Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at my parish. 

What about you?  What is God asking of you during this season?  What are you offering to Him?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

things i've seen

First of all....I survived the week!  Hooray!  The waters rose, but I floated!  Four IEP meetings in three days!  One student was moved to a more structured setting, which is in the best interest of all involved.  How amazed was I that common sense triumphed?  Another student moved to a different campus.  He never gave me any trouble, but the same was not true of other teachers and other settings.  Two other "routine" meetings. 

How much teaching did I do?  In four days, I taught about 1.5 classes.  My trusty assistant took over my job, and at least got homework checked with each class, and a few "daily math" problems done.  She also got to use the Promethean board, though I think that comes under love/hate relationship.  I would gather info, type, meet, come back, gather, type, meet, tie up loose ends, type, meet....  My new, red-headed co-worker was also very helpful to me.  She helped with some of the information gathering, the behavior plans, and had the right thing to say during a couple of the meetings.
My dryer smells like wet socks.  I'm not sure why.  So this morning, I took off the cover in hopes of finding the source of the wet sock smell.  I found a lot of lint.  Or is it lent? But no wet sock smell....

In and amongst the lint, I recovered 61 cents, a BB, a piece of lead, a washed match stick, a bead, and other things that come under the Cajun term - grah-dieu.  

I could not ninja myself around the corner to disconnect the power source, and I don't think we own a vacuum cleaner, so I cleaned it as best I could (quite a heap of lint) and resealed the lint tomb.  There is still a funky smell.


Near my church, there is an apartment complex for elderly and disabled people.  Some mornings, after dropping off my offspring, I drive past, and there is a trio waiting for the school bus.  A kindergartner, along with her blind mother, and a wheelchair-bound friend are at the corner.  You can see Jesus there working in those lives.  The blind lady pushes the wheelchair lady.  The wheelchair lady makes sure they all get where they are going safely.  It makes your heart warm.


There is a picture that I wish I could copy and paste, but I can't.  I mentioned in Monday's post about a priest in my parents' hometown who was cleared of any charges of misconduct.  His return to his parish after ten months was celebrated with a special Mass.  There was a picture taken of him with the 31 priests who attended standing behind him in the sanctuary.  He was in his chasuble, and they were all in varying albs and stoles.  It kind of warmed the heart, too.


My boys were with me at Mass today seated next to each other.  At 14 and 15, I don't think I should have to sit between them to keep the peace.  Then there was the hand-holding at the Our Father.  I don't generally hold hands with other people, but we do as a family.  About the time Father got to "...and grant us peace in our day..." there was a "smack".  One child was squeezing the other child's hand a little too tightly and the victim remediated the situation.  I was afraid the Sign of Peace might not be too peaceful, but all was well....


And that, my friends, are things that I've seen (and heard).... 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

[almost] wordless wednesday

No, I could never have a totally wordless post...

What is it, you ask?  Well, the past few days, my 15 year old has strolled out to his bus-stop at the end of the driveway with a cup of coffee.  And what do you do when the bus is coming?  Put it in the grass next to the driveway, of course!