Thursday, April 24, 2014

A brief conversation with a toddler...

I snag a hard boiled egg from the refrigerator in a clandestine fashion, and carefully keeping my back to the table, tap it on the wooden garbage can to break the shell. In a flash, Anne materializes before me.

"Mommy, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

*freezes* "Um, nothing Sweetheart."

"Is the egg ok, Mommy? IS HE OK?!"

Anne apparently believes that eggs are *alive*, which is kind of creepy. She's always worried about something happening to them.

"It's ok, Honey. Remember? We eat eggs, this is their purpose in our house."

"But the BLUE ONE, Mommy, the blue one!"

I knew this was going to be a problem. This was the first of the colored Easter eggs to be sacrificed for my lunch salad.

"It's all right, Honey, I promise. We can color more eggs next year."

*sniffle*

All drama, all the time, in the household of the Catholic Librarian lately. :0

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Catholic Book Club: More Catholic Than the Pope


Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday of Easter! It's time for our April edition of the Catholic Book Club, and today we are slated to discuss More Catholic Than the Pope: An Inside Look at Extreme Traditionalism by Patrick Madrid and Pete Vere.

I'll give you a quick overview, for those who haven't read it: there are three sections to this book. The first takes a chronological and analytical look at the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), a traditionalist sect that many of us have at least heard of previously. The second part examines the SSPX's gripes against the Second Vatican Council, and the third part is a series of answers to frequently used arguments by extreme traditionalists ("Is the New Mass a 'Danger to the Faith'?"). The authors also include appendices of important documents mentioned in the book.

Ok, sooooooo... This is a well written book. The authors clearly did their homework and provide solid, well researched arguments (all cited back to their original source) for why we can all feel comfortable with our loyalty to the pope and to the licitness of the Second Vatican Council. This is simply a much more academic book than I usually read in my free time. No personal, humorous anecdotes sprinkled amongst a tear-jerking spiritual memoir in this book, to be sure. :) I did find the story of the beginnings of the SSPX and Archbishop Lefebbvre interesting, but the academic discussion just didn't make the reading as fascinating as I'd hoped.

 I bought this book last year, slightly after Pope Francis was elected and news stories were popping up about traditional Catholics being unhappy with Francis' spirituality and approach to liturgy. I became very interested in liturgical matters, and different Catholic interpretations of our faith. This book covers the topic admirably, and does so in less than 150 pages. The book does not bore us with unnecessary and tedious filler. But I have to admit to skimming a bit as I progressed my way toward the end. Although the topic is interesting, the book didn't hold my interest, if that makes any sense. It's certainly an excellent reference tool on this subject, however.

Who else has read this book and has thoughts on it? Chime in please!

Next month, I will be reading The Cloistered Heart, by Nancy Shuman, so a foray into spirituality and contemplation. In June, I'm super excited to be reading Jennifer Fulwiler's memoir, Something Other Than God, which will be downloading to my Kindle on its upcoming release date. It will be a summer of memoirs, since I'm putting Cari Donaldson's Pope Awesome and Other Stories on the list for July. (And psssst! It's on sale for Kindle today for $4.99!)

Talk to you all tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A beautiful Triduum - a tale of Holy Week happiness

Hello all! I'm very glad to be back and blogging with you. It's kind of rainy and dreary here today, but Easter weekend was sublime. Let us chronicle...

*makes tea*

I had a super long day last Thursday, working the evening reference shift, and thus was extra thankful that I had taken Good Friday off. I got to sleep in and relax in the morning, and pray with my Magnificat magazine. Despite my resolution to pray Morning and Evening prayer for all of Lent, that hadn't gone very well :0 until Holy Week. Everything just really gelled for me Holy Week, and that continued during the Triduum. My Magnificat had absolutely fascinating details about all of the Triduum liturgies that I pored over. How could I have been a Catholic my whole life without knowing all of this *fantastic* information?!

Due to work, I missed the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, but I was rearing to go on Good Friday afternoon. I almost didn't make it to the Celebration of the Passion liturgy, held at 3 pm at my parish, because Anne had a bad nap wake up and pitched a fit that could be heard for miles before we left the house, but I persevered. She had thankfully calmed down by the time we arrived, and was an excellent girl for the entire service. The only thing is (a) we were a few minutes late due to aforementioned fit pitching, and (b) the instant our butts touch the pew, she announces that she has to go to the bathroom. But we made it, and so I'll take it.

The entire liturgy lasted just over an hour. During the veneration of the cross, Anne was wide eyed as she watched everyone take their turn going forward, from little kids to elderly people needing help walking up. I could tell that that made quite an impression on her. I plan to make the Good Friday service an absolute must attend event each year, WOW does it pack a wallop. From the reading of the Passion in St. John's gospel, to the bare altar & empty tabernacle, I leave in tears every time.

As soon as Anne and I were heading out to the car, I was thinking about completing the Triduum with the Easter Vigil. We usually attend Mass on Easter morning, I'd only been to the Easter vigil twice in my entire life. Once before I realized how different the liturgy was on that day from every other vigil of the year, and once in 2011 when one of my best friends was baptized and confirmed and I was her Godmother.

*beams*

That was a very special Easter, obviously. After a spiritually dry year so far this year, I was loving my fruitful Holy Week and felt very inspired for the vigil Mass. So I made plans. This involved:

(a) staying awake, since the vigil starts at 8 pm and I'm usually ready for bed by 9:30. *snorts*

and,

(b) talking Henry into going with me. I thought it would be a special thing given that his First Communion is coming up in two weeks.

"It involves FIRE, Hank! But it *is* longer, so you have to be patient."

"Longer?! I don't think so, Mommy."

"But...FIRE!"

Let's just say that I prevailed.

At 8 pm Saturday evening, Henry and I were sitting in the darkened church, craning our necks to see the fire getting started outside. As our deacon processed into the dark church with the lit Easter candle, intoning "Behold, the light of Christ!" I thought to myself how very grateful I am to be Catholic. Our faith is truly a treasure.

I was teary as Hank and I had our candles lit, feeling so thankful that God is always there, even in our spiritual darkness. When the lights were flipped on dramatically as the cantor sang the Easter Proclamation, I could tell Hank was impressed. This indeed was different than any Mass he had ever seen.

Following the Blessing of Fire and Procession of the Candle, we moved to the Liturgy of the Word. This is the tough part with the Easter Vigil. :) There are 7 readings at this liturgy, each with their own Psalm and prayer, and Henry's agonized face as he flipped through his missal said it all. If I have a missal with which to follow along, *I'm* fine with that many readings, but feeling Henry's misery oozing from every pore was raining on my Easter parade a bit.

Well, at the pastor's discretion, the initial 7 readings can be pared down, and our parish ended up reading 3 of those, plus then the Pauline epistle and the Gospel, so 5 readings in total rather than 9. I thought that was an excellent compromise, and it soothed Henry quite a bit to see the readings dwindling.

Following the homily comes the third part of this Mass, which is the baptismal liturgy. Sublime! The litany of the saints, oh!

*ANGELS WERE LITERALLY SINGING*

It was so beautiful. We had 2 catechumens (receiving baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) and 2 candidates (receiving confirmation and Eucharist). One of the catechumens was a much older man, probably approaching 90 years old! I teared up during the baptisms, and then when the congregation renewed our own baptismal promises, it was just... Only when my good friend Irena was baptized, and when I got married, have I ever been that emotional at a Mass before.

When we moved on to the final part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I could feel Hank relax. He knew exactly how long we now had to go, and so he was cool with that. I think he just likes to know what to expect, and we just didn't know exactly how long we would be there. In total, our Easter Vigil was just under 2 hours, to my mind, an ideal length. When I returned from receiving communion, he leaned over to remind me that there was only one more Mass to go before *he* could receive communion, which made me smile.

When we got home, it was just after 10 pm. Although he was impatient at the beginning of Mass, I thought Henry did a great job overall, and I'm so glad he came with me. Next year, my goal is the entire Triduum, I don't want to miss Holy Thursday again!

I'm still smiling, two days into the Easter Octave. He is truly risen! How was your Easter? Leave me a comment!

Tune back in tomorrow for the April edition of the Catholic Book Club, when we'll be discussing "More Catholic than the Pope: An Inside Look at Extreme Traditionalism" by Patrick Madrid. See you then!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teeth & confession updates (oh joy) and Divine Mercy novena!

Hello! Happy Holy Thursday. :) I have to work the evening reference shift tonight, which I'm bummed about because it means that I can't attend Mass, but I'm persevering. It's going to be a LONG day to be sure.

However, it *is* the beginning of the Triduum, and I'm terribly excited. If the reference desk isn't busy, I may try and stream EWTN coverage of the pope's Mass or something, we'll see. :) And lots of good news to share! Let's see...

*settles in with tea*

Well, first, in secular news, I had one of two periodontal followups to check on my post-operative state. It went well. The tissue graft is looking awesome apparently, although I have to wait another 2 weeks to have any stitches that don't dissolve on their own clipped off. The roof of my mouth, however, is "looking sore," which I of course already knew, since it had been hurting like a *%$! :0 This roof wound was definitely tougher this time around. It is, though, healing, and yesterday for the first time I didn't wake up with it already bothering me and needing to take some ibuprofen. Today as well. I can feel definite improvement. They prescribed this special mouth rinse that will help the wound to heal faster. My honey is picking that up for me today, God bless him. I go back in 2 weeks, but I'm on the mend. The exterior bruising is also nearly completely faded.

So, that's that. After I finished with my appointment, I sped right over to confession. I could tell right away that my chances were good upon entering the church, because only a few other ladies were there. They were all waiting in a line, so I stepped behind them. We didn't move for a few minutes. I suddenly noticed a green light on above a confessional on the other side of the church. The lady ahead of me turns around:

"There's a confessional open over there. It's *just the screen* though."

She said that like it was a bad thing. :0 I much prefer using the screen rather than face-to-face, which is what they were all waiting for. I thanked her and hurried over, in and out of my screened confessional in a few minutes. I prayed for a spell and then got up to go. Those other ladies still hadn't moved. :0 That's the line I was in yesterday that didn't move. Must be a very detailed priest.

Pleased, I hustled out to my car so that I could drop off my prescription before going home for dinner, and I made it in plenty of time. Whew!

Before I go, I wanted to mention the next novena from Pray More Novenas.
http://www.praymorenovenas.com/divine-mercy-novena/

I am *super* excited. I prayed this novena last year, and loved it. And this year it is leading up to the canonizations of John Paul II and John XXIII! What a beautiful day that will be. As you know, John Paul II is a personal and much beloved favorite of mine. So I will begin praying along tomorrow. If you sign up with Pray More Novenas, you will receive an email each morning with the prayers, and it is extremely convenient. I also like knowing that I'm praying along with others worldwide.

So, join in! All right everyone, back to work for me. I won't be blogging Good Friday or Easter Monday, but I will return to you Tuesday of the First Week of Easter bright eyed and ready to relay my Easter adventures. Until then!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Confession adventures as we approach the Triduum...

Happy Wednesday of Holy Week, everyone. :) Mine is going along swimmingly, how is yours? Well, swimmingly in that I feel very spiritually happy and content, although I did have a bit of a snafu attempting to get to confession late yesterday afternoon. Let us chronicle, no?

#Catholicproblems

I've been wanting to get to confession for AGES, and just kept putting it off. I've talked about my spiritual dryness on this blog of late, and that was a big part of the problem. I didn't feel right about going if I was really forcing myself to go. I didn't feel a true *desire* for the sacrament, you know? Since Palm Sunday, I have been feeling worlds better, and yesterday, for the first time in months, I truly desired to visit the sacrament. The parish affiliated with Henry's school has confession on Tuesday afternoons at 4 pm (I know, random, right?) and thus I made plans to leave work early so that I could go.

I park, head toward the church, and plot a few minutes of prayer in front of the tabernacle before I actually head to the confessional. I step inside the vestibule. Apparently, Holy Week brings out a blitz in the desire to seek confession, because at least a dozen people turned my way. This gave me pause. What were they all doing there?!

*gentle snort*

Usually, you can hear crickets chirping anytime you go to your parish for the weekly scheduled confession slot. At least at my parish. Not this time. I dipped my fingers into the holy water font and headed to a pew to pray, also figuring I could use the time to sort out my approach. Most of the others present were clumped up on one side of the church nearest to the confessional usually put to use by the pastor. I see him approach the confessional, go inside, and turn on the green light. Someone hustles over to get inside and immediately a huge line forms.

Ugh.

I was hoping this was going to be a quick affair, because yesterday night I was scheduled to make chili for dinner. Mike has play rehearsal every evening during the week, and the chili takes about an hour and a half to make. I needed to get it started to assure that we could eat, clean up, and take care of everything that needed doing before he had to leave. I was on a time crunch.

As I'm contemplating my next move, another priest enters the sanctuary. Huzzah! He goes into a confessional on the opposite side of the church, nearer to where I was praying. I feel triumphant. As I stand up, however, several older men from the other line start to zip over to shorten their wait time. And by "zip over" I mean they hobbled with their canes as fast as their legs would carry them. It just felt wrong to rush over and get ahead of them. So I waited until they made their way over toward confessional #2. Another lady slips into line as I walk over.

As I step into line behind her, something happens that has never happened in all of my Catholic years. Someone was in the face-to-face side of the confessional, and hence the red light was on. One of the zipping older men apparently does not notice this and swings open the door to the screened side. The lady ahead of me calls out a warning to him, which he also does not hear. He closes the door and apparently gets comfortable in there. :0

We all stand there, not really knowing what to do. A few moments later, the well-intentioned interloper emerges, clued in by the priest, assumedly. He waits *right outside* the confessional door. The rest of us wait in line awkwardly.

By this point of the action, I'm getting antsy. I'm worried about getting dinner started on time, and there are now 3 people ahead of me, plus the person currently in the confessional. I glance at the other line. They have moved a tad, but the line still snakes like a leviathan. Penitents seem to have multiplied exponentially over on that side of the church. I glance up at the clock. It's now nearly 4:15, and face-to-face guy is apparently having a lengthy and intense conversation with the priest. We haven't moved an inch.

I wait about 5 more minutes, and make the difficult decision to step out of line. Confession just wasn't happening yesterday, as much as I would have liked it to. I hurried home to get the chili going, and we were able to get everyone fed and cleaned up before Mike had to leave, but we didn't exactly have any down time in there. I made the right decision.

When I called that church yesterday to make sure the confession time was the same, the parish secretary told me that they were also offering confession today from 4-6. I have an appointment with the periodontist at 3:30, so I'm hoping to stop on my way home (again :)). Mike is home on Wednesdays and is making dinner for us tonight, so I won't have the time crunch situation. Here's hoping.

Has anyone else gone to confession this Holy Week? Leave me a comment. *beams*

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Communion fesitivities preparation, and I can never resist Easter chocolate...

Morning all! Happy Tuesday of Holy Week. *beams* I've been very into my special Holy Week issue of Magnificat and it's lending a prayerful and serene feeling to my week.

My thoughts have been turning quite a bit this Holy Week to Henry's First Communion, scheduled for May 3rd. I have been excited for this for YEARS and it's hard to believe that the day is nearly upon us. You know how I am about planning events, which is to say fairly manic, and we have so much else going on that same day, with my hafla that evening as well as one of Mike's play performances. It's going to be a big day, for certain. And so how do I handle such things?

Well, poorly, to be sure. But more importantly, with lists! What do I need to do? I need to:

(1) Take Henry to adoration and have discussion about the Eucharist. A heavy hitter, to start off the list. I know that he's receiving religious instruction at his school, but it's my responsibility to assure that he fully understands his faith. This endeavor will have to be on one of the 2 weekends remaining before the big day.

(2) Invite guests to the post-Communion shindig at our house. Checked off yesterday. *halo*

(3) Plan menu for post-Communion shindig at our house. Partially done.

(4) Order cake.

(5) Buy Henry special occasion wear. He won't like this, but it has to be done.

(6) Procure glue to finish First Communion banner. Just haven't made it to the craft store yet, and I don't know when I will. :-\

(7) Order gift. Checked off yesterday. *angels sing!*

I was scratching my head over that one since I got him a very nice rosary for his First Reconciliation, he already has a missal, and I wasn't sure that he would regularly wear a scapular or necklace of any kind for a pertinent saint medal or crucifix. I did a little online shopping yesterday, and picked out a very nice St. Benedict style wall crucifix for his room, from The Catholic Company:

I'm quite thrilled and can't wait for it to get here. He's been asking lately about St. Benedict when we read our saint stories in the evenings, so this one struck me as soon as I saw it. The St. Benedict medal is rife with symbolism, and it seemed to me this would be a good thing to have in your room or on your person. We could all use to battle less evil, no? :)

So, I'm getting there. We're planning to take Henry out to the department stores this weekend in an attempt to outfit him for this thing, and we'll firm up the menu. It'll be lunchtime, so I'd like to do some tasty dips, finger foods, and cake. We're planning a peach salsa and some shrimp cocktail. We need to fill in the other gaps. :)

Yesterday while Mike was teaching, I took the kids to a local and quite beloved chocolate and gift store to admire the Easter selections. I can never resist this sort of thing, despite having already ordered a good amount of chocolate from Henry's school for their spring fundraiser. Since the kids already saw that chocolate, and they've been nibbling it for desserts, it wouldn't be a surprise for their baskets, kwim? So they wandered around while I managed to spend nearly $50 in jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. I mean, how does this happen?! This place has the *best* chocolate though, with more variety than just milk and dark, although I do so love milk chocolate. They offer peanut butter, orange (this is a regional thing I believe, and while most people wrinkle eyebrows in confusion at this one, I LOVE orange chocolate), cherry cheesecake and white chocolate. They even make a *dark orange* chocolate. *swoons* We had a good time.

During our escapades at the chocolate store, I made the unfortunate discovery, however, that Anne is entering that stage (seems to be the later 2's) wherein children develop fears of things, and previously established happy routines are shot all to abysmal pieces. Like, you know, sleeping in their own bed without freaking out, or going pee pee in the toilet. Suddenly, she is terrified of the sound of the toilet flushing, and is afraid that something is going to rise up out of the bowl and attack her while she pees. I'm sure you can picture the scene:

*Anne crosses legs*

"Anne, do you have to go potty, Honey?"

"Yes." *looks miserable*

"Ok Honey, here is the bathroom. We'll just..."

*Anne peeks inside*

"NO! No, I don't have to go, Mommy."

*Anne crosses legs*

Repeat from the top until you think you may lose your mind.

I will say, it *is* a very sweet stage, filled with lots of need for hugs and snuggles to reassure nervous toddlers. Precious.

All right, everyone. Wednesday of Holy Week tomorrow! I will report in then. How is your Holy Week going? Leave me a comment!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A blessed Palm Sunday...

Happy Monday all! I'm back at work and feeling pretty good. Quick health update so we can move on to less gross matters: *delicately clears throat* :0 I'm doing well. My mouth is still very sore, much more so than last time. But it's healing, and so far so good. On the up side, my face is a lot less banged up looking than last time. I'm sporting a yellow bruise with a few broken capillaries on the left side of my jaw, but it's much smaller than last time. That helps a lot, especially when I want to go out in public. :) I have a follow up appointment on Wednesday afternoon, so we'll see where things stand then.

So that's that, and I'm real happy to be back with you! I had a nice stretch at home, but if I'm being honest (and I always am, for better or for worse on here, ha!) the kids were very challenging this weekend. There are times in your parenting journey in which you feel like your soul has been sucked out with the latest round of a kicking and screaming child on the floor, kwim? There are times when they are angels with each other, and then times whey they deliberately strategize their every movement around the discomfort and annoyance of the other.

Related tangent (stay with me here, and yes, I promise to circle back to Palm Sunday, not that I've even talked about it at all yet, but you know what I mean, dear reader ;-)): Mike and I watched "Gravity" this weekend. I don't know that I loved it (not necessarily my cup of tea) but it was certainly a good movie and very thought provoking. In one scene, one character asks another:

"What is your favorite thing about being in space?"

and she answers...

"The silence."

BOOM. Yes, yes, I agree. Despite my vocation to marriage and motherhood, I love and crave silence. Obviously, silence is not the norm when you have children in your house. I do my best with it, but sometimes things can simply seem overwhelming. I'm certain all of you parents know and appreciate what I mean. :) It doesn't mean you would change anything about your situation, it just means that we are human and struggle sometimes. And so that was Friday and Saturday, to be sure.

Sunday, I was determined to have a better day. I told myself that even if the children were as challenging as they have ever been, I would be patient with them. And it was an absolutely lovely day.

I took both kids to Mass while Mike went to his play rehearsal. Getting coats and shoes on is always a chore, and so we were running a bit behind, but I tried not to fret about it. It was a gorgeous day, and it was Palm Sunday. I was determined to make Mass enjoyable again for myself, despite being a referee for two very active children.

Henry fetched palms for us as Anne and I got settled in a pew. As expected, Anne was delighted to be given a palm, and she did hold it lovingly and wave it a bit, but not in a way that threatened anybody's eyes, so I can live with that. Both children were actually *very* well behaved and didn't try to annoy the other, for a change. There was a brother and sister pair in the pew ahead of us clandestinely poking each other with their palms behind their mother's back. Picture this as my Palm Sunday in a years time, for sure.

Henry was being very cute, following along in his missal. I was thrilled to be using the special Holy Week issue of Magnificat, and loving every minute. Anne was a very good girl, enjoying the palm blessing ritual and putting our envelope into the collection basket. It was refreshing.

Now, I'm buckling down for Holy Week and really trying to do small things to stay focused on what we are remembering this week. I read Morning Prayer today in Magnificat and felt very grateful to have access to such lovely things that can help to guide my mind to God and my faith. I also prayed my rosary this morning with more concentration than I've felt in a long time.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

I plan to blog each day this Holy Week aside from Good Friday, when I'm taking the day off to attend the 3 pm service. Let's all share the spiritual nuggets that we glean this week with each other. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adventures in Periodontology, take 2...

Hello all! Reporting in from the sick bay. :) I'm doing very well though. Much better than last time. There's certainly something to be said for having experience.

Yesterday, I didn't freak out or take Vallium, both of which I did last time. :0 I arrived at the office in a good mood, and chatted chirpily with the dental assistant while she got me ready. Soon, the periodontist was at my service, and we were underway. Since I didn't have the relaxant this time, I was much more aware of everything he was doing. Translation: when you're a squeamish person, this isn't such a good thing. :0

Tiffany's Thought Bubble:

"What's that he has? Oh. OH. That looks sharp. Oh yuck, there's blood on his gloves. I think something just fell from the roof of my mouth? Oh. Oh God."

I will say that it passed the time quickly. :0

Pretty soon, he was stitching me up, but my Novocaine was beginning to wear off. This happened to me last time too, but last time I was loopy so I didn't care. He had already been stitching for some time, and it was only 2 teeth. How long much longer could it take? I'm tough, I told myself, I can take it. I'll just stay real, real still.

Well, see, this is what happens when you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. *gentle snort* Eventually, I made some sort of involuntary whimpering noise, and the doctor was horrified that I was in pain and he didn't realize it. He's just the nicest person, I tell you. Several more shots of Novocaine later, I was feeling fantastic and the stitching continued. Soon, I was all done and on my way.

I could tell right away that I was swollen, but what's a girl to do? It looks rather amusing because it's only on one half of my jaw this time, the other half is totally normal, lol. But I was fastidious with my ice, applying in 10 minute intervals throughout the day. And as of this morning, my face doesn't look nearly so "punched!" as last time. There's obviously a little swelling there, but I've mitigated it nicely. The jury is still out on bruising. Last time, I didn't develop that until the third day, so I suppose we'll see where we're at tomorrow. I've been applying my emu oil lotion, which is a natural anti-inflammatory, so here's hopin'!

The only other thing different this time is the wound on the top of my mouth, where the grafting tissue came from. Instead of being closer to the center of my mouth, it's way back behind my upper teeth, and it's deeper. (aren't you so glad you read this blog, for disgusting details just such as these?!) The dental assistant put what she called a "dressing" on it, which turned out to be a putty-like substance, to cover the wound and protect it. Well.

For one thing, it tasted terrible. *wrinkles nose* And secondly, I'm a bit of a, um...bad patient. I instantly hated the dressing and wanted it gone. It was lifting off at the corners and feeling all gooey, GROSS! I was instructed to eat soft foods on the other side of my mouth only. With such an instruction, who in their right mind would think it's a good idea to eat QUINOA for lunch?

Yes, your resident spacey librarian.

I slip a bit carefully into the right side of my mouth. As is so often the case, my mind immediately wanders, and next thing I know, tiny grains of quinoa are spread throughout my mouth, including stuck right into that slimy dressing. *gags* I tried to remedy the situation as best I could, but soon the dressing was totally dislodged and covering my teeth rather than the wound. Let's just say the removal was quite unpleasant.

*faints*

That was the only hiccup. The wound is fine this morning, and is already starting to heal.

I've been taking it easy, but being as active as I can be. I'm off from work until Monday. If I'm feeling up to it, I plan to go to dance class tomorrow. Don't yell at me, I can't help it! I told you, I"m a bad patient. :)

Ok all, off to swish more warm salt water. I doubt I'll blog tomorrow. Mike and I are planning to take Anne out for lunch and go for a walk in one of our favorite neighborhoods in this area. It should be lovely, and so I don't know that I'll be online much. Aside from to send out some ridiculous Tweets periodically throughout the day. ;-)

Rest assured, I'll be back Monday! I'll update you on my condition :), and likely on some dance stuff. Since I have new skirts. And they are FABULOUS! Talk to you then!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Adventures with First Communion preparation...

My little Henry is 8 now, can you believe it?! Seems like just yesterday that he was born and I nearly became comatose from all of the sleep deprivation. Come to think, thank God he's 8 now. :0 And he's in *third* grade, and about to make his First Holy Communion May 3rd. My precious pumpkin!

Since he is enrolled in a Catholic school, Henry gets religious instruction every day. I have quizzed him on his understanding of the Eucharist, can't take these things for granted. :) He's excited about finally being able to come forward and receive, after so many years of waiting. Henry is very tall for his age, and a few times Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have tried to give him communion, since he looks old enough to receive. I started encouraging him to wait for me back in the pew while I go forward to smooth out this problem. :) After all this time, he's very happy to move to the next step.

We read saint stories every night before he goes to bed, and many of them were devoted to the Eucharist. I always try to drive that point home when I read, especially if the featured saint was a child when they died. I'd like to take him to Adoration with me one day before the First Communion Mass, I think it would really solidify for him exactly what we believe about this sacrament.

And so, as the day draws closer, I knew there was one thing left to tackle: The First Communion banner.

*long suffering sigh*

I am not crafty. I can knit and crochet, but glue and felt are not my friends. And one of the things that the coordinator of religious education at Henry's school asks the children to do is create one of these banners, an artistic rendering by the child of their faith and the sacrament.

All I can say is thank God I have this blog and whine on it regularly, prompting the miraculous comment by the fabulous Cristina that there are kits out there that will come to my rescue. KITS. The religious education lady did not mention kits, gentle reader. She simply gave us a raggedy piece of burlap with photocopied sheets of letters and faith symbols that we could use to sketch and cut out our own shapes. I was petrified. I mean, can you *imagine* the mangled chalices and grape vines that would have resulted from this endeavor? And that would be from MY efforts, let alone Henry's, who has every POSSIBLE genetic scheme working against him with regard to artistic ability.

And so I ordered one of these aforementioned and blessed kits. The felt shapes are all cut out for you, you can just pick which ones you want to use and arrange them however you like.

Glory.

And so Henry and I got to work Sunday afternoon. He got really into it, excitedly going through the symbols and choosing which ones to use. He arranged them all by himself, and even added some embellishments in the form of glitter glue, which did make things interesting at the kitchen table for a time:

"Why is there gold glitter in your hair? Oh. You guys are working on the banner."

"Yes! Doesn't it look good?" *angelic beam*

"It looks great. What's that...on the host?"

"A cross. Doesn't it look like a cross?!"

*amused eyebrow arch*

And so, da da DAH!!! This is the result of our efforts:



We just need to glue down the other side of those top pieces so that it can be hung. But I'm real proud of him, I think he did a great job.

We still need to get him a special outfit to wear for the big day, and I need to plan a little party for him. And a gift. He already has a rosary, that I gave him for his First Reconciliation. Other ideas?

All right everyone, I'm off from blogging tomorrow due to part 2 of my dental surgery. :( I will report in sometime on Thursday. But in the mean time, I'm sure I'll be on Twitter, acting all pathetic. Talk to you all then. Yay?

:)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fifth Sunday of Lent and battles with spiritual dryness...

Lent is absolutely flying by, no? This Lent has been different for me in that my spiritual dryness (mentioned previously here) really hasn't abated, and the sticking to my Lenten resolutions has seemed to go more poorly than usual. :0 I do, however, at this stage of my life, have confidence in the method of just plugging ahead. Things always turn around, they just do. Whether it be that the situation actually changes or just that your response to it does. I have experienced this in many arenas of my life, including the spiritual realm. It's all good.

So I've been plugging ahead in my Lent, recognizing that a huge component of this is seeking out the sacrament of reconciliation. It's not like I have something major to confess, but I haven't been in many months, and that always takes a toll, whether you see it or not. And I don't even know WHY I'm procrastinating on this. I have this weird love/hate relationship with confession. I always dread it, despite how fantastic I feel after going. This seems to be a common struggle for Catholics.

And so going to Mass lately hasn't brought me the spiritual serenity it used to. Like I mentioned though, I persist, because it's the right thing to do. Plus, I need to set the right example for my children, despite their being the reason why I often don't get as much out of Mass as I'd like to. :0 It's hard to focus on Mass when you have these little people demanding your attention all of the time. Exhibit A, which occurs weekly:

*innocently reads missal*

"Mommy. Mommy. MOMMY. I have to use the potty!"

"You have a diaper on sweetie, you can just go."

"What?!" *scandalized look* "No, Anne can't. I have to use the big potty, Mommy! I have to GO PEE!"

Naturally, none of this takes place as quietly as I'd like it to.

However, I'm pleased to report that yesterday morning, I woke up excited to go to Mass. It's not that I've been dreading Mass, I just dread the exhaustion the children can bring to the experience. But yesterday, something was different. Nothing was at all different in terms of my responsibilities at Mass itself. Infighting during the coat and shoe putting-on process, a whiny ride in the car, Anne "needing" to use the potty the instant the opening hymn fades away, Henry annoying Anne, Anne annoying Henry, Anne wanting to dance out in the aisle, Anne loudly dropping her sippy cup...All of that still happened. But suddenly I felt soothed and happy to be at Mass again, despite all of these distractions. I felt excited to bust out my Magnificat to follow along, even though I knew the chances of it staying out with Anne in my charge were unlikely.

The sun was out during our drive, the wind finally didn't hold the bite of this past winter. Henry read cutely along in his own missal for the readings. Anne was well behaved. After Mass, Henry asked to light a candle, and I gave him the go ahead to get one of the big guns (i.e. the large size that will burn for 7 days) to pray for his intentions with his First Communion coming up in exactly one month.

It was lovely. And I was thinking that even at this late date in Lent, with Holy Week slated to begin next Sunday, it's not too late to get back on the horse. If you've stopped doing one of your resolutions, pick it back up now. It will make for a really meaningful Holy Week

Later Sunday afternoon, Hank and I broke out the kit to make his First Communion banner, a requirement of his religious education class. For someone who regularly hot glues her fingers together, this was sure to be a challenge. How did it go? Tune back in tomorrow. :)