Rollerskating with St. Anastasia

For our end-of-the-year Religious Education celebration, we rented out Skate World! I had wanted to go skating for quite a while and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go.

It was a lot of fun to be skating with the kids and other members of the parish.

Both Fr. Eric and Fr. JJ showed up (and showed us up!) at the rink.
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Fr. JJ out on the skating floor!DSCN2170

Fr. JJ claimed to not have been skating in quite a while, yet he was more than comfortable out there. Fr. Eric zoomed around the rink with ease, forwards and backwards, weaving in and out of little children. Towards the end of the night, I tried for my former practice of picking the fastest hot shot out there and passing him, but was unsuccessful — because I feared taking one of the kids out. 🙂 As far as the kids go, both Fr. Eric and Fr. JJ helped the kids with their skating throughout the night. Or was it the kids holding them up??? 😉

Fr. Eric and Fr. JJ each have a flock of kids to hold them up!

As for me, the first few laps were extremely painful and I had horrible foot cramps. But, thank God, these subsided and I was able to skate the rest of the evening (we were there for 2 hours) with only (mainly quadricep) muscle fatigue to deal with. Close to the end, Fr. JJ got this great idea for us to (in skates) pose for a picture while standing on one foot.

Fr. JJ and I, on skates, on one foot...

Do not worry! Neither one of us fell! At least at this time. Earlier, I was skating with Mya and she had crossed in front of me. I didn’t have time to correct her and we both went down. I was able to catch her as we fell, so she didn’t hit the floor. I had a hard time getting back to my feet again and fell a second time, before Dave helped me up. 🙂 I was pleasantly surprised that neither fall really hurt. So much for my falling fear, eh? 🙂

7 Quick Takes Friday!

— 1 —

Just Breathe

We breathe the same air.
The same breath.
Breath which sustains life.
God is this breath and this life.
The more of Him we take in,
the more of Him which lives within us.
You can hold your breath and try to keep Him out,
but your very self will cry out for Him
and fight
against your wrong will
until you relent.
And gulp Him in again.
What precious breath.
Which we take for granted
and barely recognize –
until there is too little of it.
Taking God within us
is as natural as taking your next breath.
And as necessary.
Breathe in.

We do not just breathe in,
but we necessarily must also breathe out.
We cannot hold our breath forever.
Even if we try,
we leak
and eventually it all comes out.
God’s life and grace comes into us
and it is natural for it to flow back out of us
and onto others.
To act differently
is to act contrary to how we are made.

Physiologically, even if we try
to empty ourselves
completely,
there remains breath within us.
There is no such thing as giving too much –
some grace always remains with us.
He resides within us forever –
from the first breath of Him we take.
So do not worry,
but breathe in
and breathe out.

— 2 —

I have been thinking a lot lately about my brothers in the military. We see things most people only have nightmares about. We undergo intense physical strain and discomfort. Emotional burdens far greater than we anticipated. Demands are made of us. Consequences are severe. Life is stark, raw, intense. Bonds are made between those who have been thrown into the common forge. These people are my family. I love them. I would give my life for them. They understand me and I them. Others don’t get it. We don’t try to explain. When we meet another current or former military member… Ah… Yes… I see me in you. And we know each other, even if we have just met.

— 3 —

Is there such a thing as too much empathy? Where you care too much, feel too much? Love too much? Want the good for the other so much that it pains you that you cannot give of yourself more?

— 4 —

Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes from the Didache,
“You shall not hate any man, but some you shall reprove, some you shall pray for, and some you shall love more than the breath of life that is in you.”

— 5 —

I finally put up my 2012 calendar. Yes, I know that 1/3 of the year is already gone. So, sorry to those of you who have birthdays or anniversaries in that first part of the year. I didn’t mean to pass you over. And I did still write you in. 🙂

— 6 —

I love plants. Yet, as my priest has confessed, I also have a black thumb. My home is like plant hospice. Where plants go to die. I wonder… is that an act of mercy?

— 7 —

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I think there really is something to the theory that cell phones are designed to die about two years or so after you buy them. Just when you are eligible to upgrade to the next generation of must-have phone. But before you actually save the money that you rationalized you would from the last upgrade you purchased. I bought my Droid about 2 years ago. I rationalized that I would make up the difference in the cost of the new phone because I wouldn’t have to pay the additional fees that I was paying to have a Blackberry. Now, my phone is acting all glitchy. Frequently, when I go to use the camera, it will flash as if it were taking a photo, yet not actually *take* a photo, and lock me out from being able to use it. Or when I go to enter some text, the keyboard will be replaced by a field of white. If I try to use it, words will appear, I just have no idea if I’m actually hitting the right keys or not until the word appears. And then I can’t see the backspace…. And this evening, I saw a boot screen or something that I’ve never seen before. I’m pretty sure that’s not good.
So, now there’s the eternal question: Do I buy a new phone or not? Another Droid, or do I cross over to the dark side of iPhone ownership?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

RCIA Volleyball 2012

After receiving the Easter sacraments, the RCIA group felt sufficiently full of grace to attempt a group sporting event. So, we booked the parish gym and set up for a game of volleyball. After all, nothing says “Catholic!” like a rousing bit of competition, right? 🙂

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I loved it! I really miss playing sports. So, even though I got rather tachycardic, broke a blood vessel on the anterior base of my finger, and bruised my thumb, I had a blast!

Here’s Fr. Eric bouncing off the wall:

I didn’t want the playing to end! But, alas, we had set an end time and arranged to have pizza afterward. Instead of meeting at The Gathering Place, we went over a fellow parishioner’s house and partied there until midnight or so. 🙂

We had wine, beer, pizza, cookies, cheese & crackers — all kinds of goodies! We watched the game, talked, played pool and Scattergories. Here’s one of the teams — note Fr. Eric’s game face:
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Another team, trying to scare us off!
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And two of my besties. Oh yes, they are ready for marriage!
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Lindsay’s Bridal Shower

Even though we are already at the Bridal Shower part of this engagement, I still can’t believe that it’s almost time for the wedding!!! 🙂

So expect a little (more) craziness from me when the date looms ever closer and I realize all that I have not yet done to get ready…

Oddly, I didn’t take very many photos at the shower. I blame it on the fact that I wasn’t sitting by the presents, I was facing the wrong way, I had another table of people between me and the engaged couple, I had had a really disturbing run-in with a neighbor on the way to the shower, Pam had gotten a brand-new camera and was taking tons of shots, and …

I’m not sure. I must have been sick, right?

Here’s Pammy and part of my table:
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This is the pretty cake that Pam made:
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It was yummy, too!

The cake table had various artifacts on it:
Little Mermaid and Prince Erwin [Eric]
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Green Lantern and Really-Pissed-Off Dietitian:
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As well as a collection of Little Lindsay statues, which were so cute!
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And, since this *is* Lindsay’s shower, we had to have something on fire!
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It was a lovely shower. A really lovely shower. But…

I can’t wait until the wedding!!! 🙂

7 Quick Takes: Friday the 13th!

— 1 —

God’s grace has been enveloping me this week. I am in awe of the gifts that He gives me and the way in which his is protecting me from my own sinful nature and deformed will, so that my heart may be conformed more closely to His. I supposed I shouldn’t be *that* surprised, since I pray for this all the time, but seeing Him answer that prayer is simply amazing!

— 2 —

Garden of Gethsemane

The most beautiful sight of the week has to have been the sight of my priest praying, prostrate, in front of the empty tabernacle on Holy Thursday evening. I stumbled upon this scene by accident, but it took my breath away. I couldn’t help but think of our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane, praying to the point of sweating blood — for us. To see my priest doing the same thing… What else could I do, but to be one of the apostles? So, I stayed some distance away and prayed (I *didn’t* sleep!). I prayed for him and for our parish, but I also spent quite a bit of time in prayer just to the Father. If he was praying in the place of Jesus, as an alter Christi, then I wanted to unite my prayers to theirs (his and His). I prayed at a bunch of altars of repose that evening, and I participated (as best I could) in many wonderful liturgies and events during Holy Week, but none captured my heart so much as those few quiet minutes of prayer in the garden.

— 3 —

Just a little bit of medical irony this week…. I had my follow-up appointment with my Pulmonary Medicine/Critical Care doctor yesterday. I was tachycardic, my blood pressure (instead of the nice 106/70 that it was last time) was 131/91, and my O2 sats had dropped from 99 to 93 (although the nurse, after trying a couple different fingers, saw it blip up to 95 momentarily and back down to the 93 it had been for about 5 minutes and recorded the 95).

So, even though my numbers were worse, apparently I was “good enough,” because he walked in and said that “healthy people can’t stay,” and told me that if I continued to do as well as I have been, I can stay out of the clinic until NEXT YEAR! 🙂

— 4 —

Wall of Books

Hi! My name is Jenn, and I am a book addict. I recognized this truth about myself this morning as I was walking in the dawn light to my parish’s library to return a book. Typically, I run up book fines like crazy, but I am trying very hard, at this library anyway, to return my books on time. Nevermind the fact that I am currently reading something like 40 books. Or that I already have 2 other books checked out from this library, one on loan from the book exchange at work, about 7 checked out from the library at my other parish and several books at my house which I haven’t finished. Nevermind all that. Because when I stepped into the library this morning, aware that I was there not 12 hours previously (and I read 2 books at that time), I had the urge to check out yet another book

— 5 —

Writer’s Block… Who would have thought that it would happen on a 7 Quick Takes??? I know that a lot of things have happened this week, but when the time comes to put them into a blog post, I end up staring at the computer screen for an uncomfortable period of time. Does this ever happen to you, too?

I have been thinking that it might be helpful to keep some Sticky Notes on me, so that I can write myself a reminder during the week to prepare for Fridays…

— 6 —

Is it odd that in this highly digital age, having several computers and a smartphone, that I am still enamored of Sticky Notes? I have them everywhere in my house, in my books, in my purse… And, even though I have a Kindle, for books which are not purely for pleasure-reading (which is most of the books that I read these days), I prefer to have a physical book in hand. I used to be very anal about keeping my books looking as pristine as possible, but it seems like I have entered the phase in my life where I want to underline or highlight things which strike me and am enjoying the idea of having books which look “lived in.”

— 7 —

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Speaking of Addictions…. I also seem to have a love for photography, which is perhaps not surprising to those of you who know me. I used to instruct photography. Probably the most useful Christmas present which I have received lately is a small point-n-shoot digital camera that my parents got me. I had mentioned wanting to get a small camera which I could keep in my purse, so that I always have one on hand.

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So, I now have a small, purple Nikon that I take with me everywhere. Granted, it’s a point-n-shoot, with all of the weaknesses of such a camera (which is occasionally frustrating), but the ability to take photos at any time is so awesome! Like yesterday, while I was visiting the parish library, and happened to notice all of the flowers… 🙂 Photos will be coming… As soon as I get home where I can download them! For now, you can see a few I took with my phone (the day before, when I had left my purse in the car… while visiting (again) the parish library… 🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

On a Friday Afternoon…

It was a nice, sunny, warm Friday after work, and I decided that I didn’t feel like getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the way home, so I tarried at Our Lady of Good Counsel for a bit.

My boss had given me her old pair of Rollerblades, and I’ve been keeping them in my trunk — you never know when you are going to have the opportunity to use them.

I parked the car in an unoccupied corner of the parking lot which looked relatively flat and popped open the trunk. I donned my new-to-me ‘blades and started skating around. I could only do 2-3 largish figure 8s around the car before I had to sit on the bumper and rest a bit, but it was a lot of fun!

As you can see, I haven’t yet gotten around to matching my socks and just grabbed the two which came closest to hand this morning:
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At least this is the current fashion for the school kids and I can just pretend that I did it intentionally to be trendy. 🙂

After skating as long as I could, I still wasn’t quite ready to leave and walked around with my camera taking pictures of various things.

There were these cute little blue flowers.
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I saw pictures of them on Google saying that these are bluebells, but I’m not sure… They’re very cute, whatever they are.

There were also these little berry things. I didn’t try to eat them. 🙂
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And a small flowering tree in the “wooded area” between the parking lot and the Garden of Gethsemane.
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Peter was still sleeping, so I didn’t try to wake him.
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Instead, I looked around and found a cool little stripey rock:
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I walked over by our Lord, and someone had placed roses by Him. Unfortunately, this put thorns right by His face.
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I wasn’t too crazy about that. 😦

I prayed and lit a candle for my intentions:
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I admired the oddly peeling bark of one of the trees:
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I then visited the other side, where we have the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. There was a bunch of new candles anxiously awaiting prayers:
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Our Lady had flowering trees, too:
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The Living Stones of OLGC:
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I’m sure that I wouldn’t be able to pick out which one was my stone if it was held up in front of me. But… didn’t I take a photo of it before I put it in the pile? Hmm…

There’s a little nook by the front entrance with a bench. It’s a little odd, seeing as there are floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides of you, so everyone inside the church can see you sitting out there, but no one was around on a Friday afternoon, so I sat for a little while. See? I even saved you a seat! 🙂
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While I was sitting there, I got to look at this statue. I think this is supposed to be Baby Jesus.
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As you can see, I’m quite talented at amusing myself. 🙂 As soon as some joggers started down the driveway, I decided that I had stalled for long enough and headed home. It was a pleasant diversion from the daily drive. 🙂 I love Church!

How to Make an Easter Basket for Priests

Making an Easter basket for priests is a very involved process…. One to be undertaken only after serious prayer and reflection, with love, charity and God’s grace! 🙂

1. Start with a boy-colored basket.
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2. Add boy-colored, non-sparkly Easter basket grass.
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3. Add golf balls (or other sports-related items).
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4. Add carrot shaped plastic Easter eggs, which will contain verses of Scripture and prayers.
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5. CANDY! (In this case, Mary Janes becausewe are going retro)
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6. More CANDY! (Again, retro lemon drops because I know they will get a boatload of chocolate)
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7. Make sure everyone gets an identical serving. We don’t want any fighting, after all! 😉
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