Friday, June 29, 2012

blogging from the ipad

Something I have never done - at least not successfully.

My laptop, which I use for blogging, went dark one day last week. The brains still work, but the display - not so much. And hooking it to another display, makes it more of a desktop than laptop.

Have never had any success in adding images to a post using an iPad, and that still holds true. Even trying to use a URL from dropbox, the blogger software sends my image to someplace I have never located.

It has been a long week, but is ending on a good note. Had a great day yesterday visiting parents, grandfather, sister, and Godchild. My sister works at a library bookstore, and I visited and came away with some easy-reader findsnfor my classroom library and some possible spiritual reading for my library. I am most excited by one that I have been looking for -- The Little Prince! I read it in HS, and have been wanting to reread to see if I can catch some of the deeper meanings.

I am sending off the deposit and paperwork for Retrouvaille weekend. Very excited about this. When I saw it in the church bulletin last weekend, I had *that* feeling. Dear hubby agreed readily enough to the weekend, but balked at the follow-up sessions, which ticked me off. However, the local folks said that - while not ideal - I could attend the follow-up sessions alone, and that perhaps after the weekend, he would be more willing. So we are going with that for now.

Quite disappointed by the Supreme Court decision on the healthcare mess. I say pray. And hubs says we need to change the nation. I say prayer is how that happens, and you start with yourself, and go from there.

One of our air conditioning units was out for about a week. It has been replaced (thank you, home warranty), so we are glad about that. It has been hot, and when it is so hot, one feels like doing nothing.

But, alas, the laundry and the dishes, and whatever else await. So I will send this off to cyber blogdom and see what it looks like when it reappears on the other side...

Monday, June 25, 2012

a holy orders kind of weekend....part two

The next requirement for our Ad Altare Dei group, after attending an ordination (or reading the rite from the back of the book), was to interview a priest, deacon, or bishop about the effect of Holy Orders on his life.  The idea, hopefully, for the boys to see the ordained as a regular person and to possibly open the door to them considering such a vocation.  I didn't have to beg too much for our good priest to attend our meeting yesterday afternoon, so the boys could interview him.

He showed up at the appointed time (and we showed up 15 minutes before the appointed time) dressed in "regular" clothes.  Khakis and a blue shirt.

The boys, in turn,  posed the questions provided in the book...

What was meaningful to him about the Sacrament of Holy Orders?  First, he clarified that it wasn't a past tense kind of thing, that he continues to live the sacrament.  But then he spoke about the day of his ordination, all those many years ago.  About being prostrate on the floor of the church during the Litany of the Saints while the entire Church (those present, those in Heaven, the whole Mystical Body) prays for you!  The tender affection of Imposition of Hands, first by the Bishop and then by every priest in attendance.  The Sign of Peace, a fraternal greeting by every priest present.  And finally, saying the words of Consecration for the very first time.

Why does he feel called to be a priest?  He doesn't, he said.  He trusts that God has called him, but he doesn't feel it.  He trusts because of "the data"; because everything in his life points to the fact that it works.  Does he get tired or frustrated?  Sometimes.   But over all, he is happy and fulfilled in his life as a priest.

How does he help the Church as a priest?  The Church helps him, he says.  Yes, he baptizes, confirms, absolves, anoints, witnesses marriages, counsels, teaches, feeds with the Eucharist.  But the Church helps him to become a better man of God.  It is not a job, but a life.  We point others to Christ, in a mutual kind of way.

How has Holy Orders helped you to grow in and witness Christ's love to others?  He is able to bring to people what others can not.  People open their souls to him as a minister of the Lord's mercy. (And he has the gift of forgetting what people tell him in that sacrament)  He is part of people's lives at privileged times (weddings, funerals, deaths, reconciliation). 'With all due respect, would you go to confession to your mom??  But you come to me.'

How does the Sacrament of Holy Orders help you live out your Christian commitment to our community?  Holy Orders takes what began at Baptism (the priesthood of Christ that we are all part of) and fulfills that grace.  He feeds us so we can go out and feed others.  He shared with us the prayer that he prays each and every time that he elevates the Host at the consecration:  Help me to love You ever deeper, and through the intercession of Your Mother (and mine), create in me a clean heart and a steadfast Spirit.  And after Communion, he prays, Lord, take my hands, my feet, my heart, my mind...

After the required questions were out of the way, and because he didn't seem in a hurry to go, we asked others.  Those questions you've always wanted to ask a priest....
Is Anointing of the Sick a 'straight shot to heaven'?  Sometimes.  There is an Apostolic Blessing that is given when death is imminent that pardons/absolves all remaining temporal punishment (what Purgatory does).  His mother recently passed away, after lingering for about a month.  He said that she received that Blessing three times.  I surely hope that's available to me when it's my time to go!

When priests go on vacation, do they sit in the pews like regular people?  Most of the time, yes, and he related a couple of experiences he has had while on vacation.  

Why was Jesus, who had no original sin, baptized?  In solidarity with us.  Jesus took on our sins and failures.  The innocent, standing in for the guilty; the Suffering Servant.

If you're in a hotel room on a Sunday, can you say your own Mass?  Can and have! Do you say it out loud or in your head?  In a quiet voice.  No homily?  Just a quiet time to reflect after the readings. How long does it take?  About 15 minutes, depending on how much quiet time after the readings.  The dialogues with the people (Peace be with you, etc) are skipped.  What do you wear?  An alb and a stole.

I had told him it would take about 30 minutes, but he stuck with us for more than an hour, sharing some of what makes up his life.  We are so blessed to have him.  Often, in our Rosary group, we pray for our priests - those from the past, the present, and the future.  Thank you God, for our priests.  Keep them close to you. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

a holy orders kind of weekend... part one

For the past year and a half or so, my two sons and two other teen boys have been working on the Ad Altare Dei award.  It is a religious award that Boy Scouts can earn.  Many hours have gone into this, as we have worked our way through the sacraments.  Baptism.  Confirmation.  Eucharist.  Reconciliation.  Anointing of the Sick.  Holy Orders.

As we opened our books a few weeks ago to begin learning about Holy Orders, we realized that we were nearing the end (only Marriage remains), and that our timing was perfect because our Diocese was ordaining a new priest soon.  One of requirements gave us two options - attend an ordination or read the rite from the back of the book.  [For Anointing of the Sick, we had done the read-from-the-back-of-the-book option, and I was afraid someone was going to need some actual anointing by the time they were done.  The "sick person" kept punching the "priest" as he attempted to anoint him and lay hands on him.]

So Saturday found our little group of 4 teenage boys and 3 moms of teenage boys nicely dressed, at the Cathedral to witness the Ordination to the Holy Priesthood of a new priest for our diocese.

My younger son and I had once attended an ordination of a young man to the Transitional Diaconate, but the ordination of a Priest was a first for all of us.  

Different things caught our attention.  The music was key for some.  The laying on of hands moved others.  I think all of us moms were taken by the youthfulness of the seminarians who were present.  Some of them looked like there were not much older than our teen sons sitting in the row in front of us.  Holy Communion found us receiving from "the new guy". 

Although there were varying degrees of enthusiasm among them (moms of teenage boys will understand)....we were there about 45 minutes before it was scheduled to start, and it lasted about 90 minutes....all survived.  Here is a picture to prove it - taken in front of the 500 + year old Cathedral Oak.  It as hot, and they were looking into the sun, and one shirt was untucked as soon as the final notes sounded from the organ, but they can all say that they attended an ordination.  :-)

Today, at our regularly scheduled meeting, our good priest dropped in so that the boys could "interview" him.  More on that next time.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

a few pictures...

Mostly sharing a few pictures.

Summer is well underway.  Though nothing much is happening.  A shortage of funds has us hanging close to home.  There is a neighborhood to ride bikes in and a pool to swim in.  My children are so stir-crazy they were ready to come with me to the funeral home for the funeral of a friend of my sister-in-law today. 

I love my camera's zoom...the squirrel was running away from an attacking bird on the neighbor's roof.

Was trimming shrubs the other day.  All was well until one of these  ^ horrid things stung me.  I retaliated with wasp spray.  A paste of vinegar and baking soda on the sting did amazing things.  It was almost gone the next day.

Dear husband and I survived our first joint counseling session yesterday.  We got a few hurried tips on communication techniques.  I guess for us to practice them, we will actually have to have a conversation of some substance.  There is so much I would like to tell him, but I hesitate because I don't know what the reaction will be.  It is emotionally safer to keep it to myself. But the journey begins with a step, and we have taken it.

These roses are about 8 feet in the air.  There bush is obscured and over-shadowed by a lemon tree.  But the rose didn't give up.  It reaches - up, up, up - until it breaks out over the citrus tree.  Beautiful.  There is a lesson in there somewhere about not giving up - right?

Looking up.  The palm tree has what we guess are seeds or seed pods.

We saw a bird building the nest in the shrub next to the garage the other day.  Today, son #1 (who is taller than the rest of us) peered in and saw eggs.   I held the camera up high and aimed down.

And that is the excitement we are dealing with for now!

Friday, June 15, 2012

still here....

I find myself here - not yet willing to give up my little corner of the internet quite yet.  Writing and photography are two of my favorite ways to express myself, but I find little that seems worth writing about these days.  And not that there is a lot of traffic.  I think most people that find their way to this blog do so because they've done a search for a certain paint color in a bedroom.  (See the #1 ranked post on the sidebar.)   I've been getting my blog fix here...a new little project of mine.

This has been a lazy, lazy summer.  Last summer we closed on a house (a year ago Wednesday) and spent most of the summer doing the hot, dirt, backbreaking work of moving 30+ years worth of accumulated stuff either to the dumpster or across town to the dream house.  There are still things in boxes.  I spent yesterday rearranging the closet in the guest room and bagging things up to get rid of.  Today was an errand-running kind of day.  Took one kid for a haircut, took the other kid to the Boy Scout Office to drop off his Eagle project proposal, and had both + a friend ride along while I dropped off papers to refinance our house at the credit union. 

Side note:  Y'all!  The interest rate has only dropped a percent since we closed last year (we thought we got a good rate last year), but we can save about $150/month on our payments if we refinance.  Over $55,000 over the life of the loan!  Got a mortgage?  Check it out!  Side, side note:  I signed my name 19 times on those "planning to refinance papers". 

Counseling is going slowly because hubby's work is going slowly.  He hasn't had a job in over a week.  I hated for him to miss a job because we had the appointment, and you have to cancel the appointment 24 hours in advance.  So I rescheduled.  Story of my life.  I went by myself last week.  It was good, because I was able to talk freely, but she really didn't have much to offer just me.  She said my coping skills seemed to be good, and she had hope that the marriage could be strengthened.  Things had been going better here....a little nicer attitude, but today wasn't really a good day in that department. 

I had a couple of "a-ha" moments today, though.  The first came at Mass during the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer.  (I love the new translation.)   Today was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The responsorial psalm was, "You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation."  Nice image.  I'm sitting there picturing a nice little gurgling brook in a country meadow somewhere.  Then came the preface before the Eucharistic Prayer.  It was a special one today for the Solemnity.  In part, it reads: 

For raised up high on the Cross, 
he gave himself up for us with a wonderful love
and poured out blood and water from his pierced side,
the wellspring of the Church's Sacraments,
so that won over to the open heart of the Savior, 
all might draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation

I picked my head up and smiled to myself.  "A-ha!  The Spring of Salvation is not some little babbling brook.  It's the Sacred Heart of Jesus!!  And the water that we's Living Water, isn't it?  It's the Lord's mercy and compassion!  

After I got home, and someone was having a "moment", I decided to go for a walk.  The dog and I.  I love living in a neighborhood where I can walk, and this summer, I am taking advantage of it for really the first time.  I have mapped out a route that is almost a mile, and the dog and I wander easily along.  She doesn't talk much, and so it is quiet.  I would like to pray the Rosary more often, but I often fall asleep when I sit (or lay in bed) to pray it, and I find that popping in a tape and mumbling along with the words when I drive isn't really all that prayerful.  I also feel a little self-conscious strolling through the neighborhood with my Rosary beads (maybe in time I will get over that).  But I have a rosary ring...and today I prayed with that.  It worked out quite nicely.  The dog and I enjoyed the walk.  The Blessed Mother was good company, and I think that maybe the Holy Spirit has just shown me a way that I can pray the Rosary more often.  Good thing, because "A Fortnight 4 Freedom" is right around the corner, and along with that, the opportunity to join Human Life International in praying a Rosary for religious freedom each day!  Join us?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

seek and surrender

For several months, I had "seek and surrender" as the signature line on my iPad.  It was a reminder to me that we are called to seek God and His will for our lives (not just wait for it to show up), but to also surrender to it.

Since things are a little slow here in the creativity department, I am trying a new little project - a new blog, Seek and Surrender, with a collection of the little snippets of wisdom I have collected during the past several years.   If you are looking for a little bit of inspiration, try clicking on the tab that says, "Bits of Wisdom."

Most of these posts are fairly short and to the point.  They come from notes I have taken during homilies, personal prayer, and spiritual reading, and where possible, I have tried to give credit to the source.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit will take that opportunity to speak to you through one of them.

Give it a click!