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Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Dinner

Here is the menu for Christmas Dinner - just the four of us, so we'll have lots of left-overs!

Double-berry salad (raspberry gelatin/cranberry sauce)
Herb-roasted turkey with Glazed Carrots (fresh sage and the last carrots from the garden)
Sausage dressing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Buttermilk biscuits

Two-tone Pound Cake

I'm getting started today, since I'm the only one who cooks, and tomorrow Christmas Mass is at 1pm (we only have the one option here), so that ends up right in the middle of prime cooking time.  Though Father may end on time so he can catch the mid-afternoon ferry back home. :-)

Oh, and I can't forget, I'm also making chocolate chip cookies for Santa. 

If I'm feeling bold tomorrow, I'll post pictures of dinner, a la Fr. Z! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Covering My Head

I've recently begun to wear a head covering to Mass.  I already did this for times I spent in Eucharistic Adoration, and occasionally for prayer - the chapel veil helps me to keep focus.  Kind of like blinders on a horse, the veil allows me to focus "straight ahead" and not let distractions bother me.  I do not wear a chapel veil for the Mass, though, just a small expandable head band.  Perhaps one day I'll have the courage to wear the veil, but as it is now the small covering is all I manage.  Even in wearing this, I notice some of the more progressive (mostly women) people of this already progressive parish looking askance at me, and some even avoid eye-contact with me. 

I am the reader for Christmas - will I wear a head covering when I read?  I'm not sure yet.  I am praying about it.  What is my motivation?  Why do I want to wear something on my head?  In one way I am trying to lead by example - lead people "back" to a more traditional/orthodox expression of the Faith.  But on the other hand, I am doing it because it helps me and reminds me where I am and in whose presence I am sitting.  Do I have to wear a head covering to remember this?  No, but it helps - and most weeks I need all the help I can get!

Merry Christmas!   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


He has drawn me closer and closer to Him,
Encouraging my independence from creatures
And my dependence upon the Creator.
He has pulled me further and further in,
Showing me His hand, gentle and strong,
Inviting me to rest within His embrace.
He has called me and helped me to answer,
Not leaving me on my own but always staying with me
Carrying me just as I take a step forward,
Gracing me with strength, courage, wisdom.
He has shown me that I have nothing, am nothing,
Yet am full of all that He is,
Full of all that He has given me.
So why do these tears haunt me?
Why do these questions weigh down my heart?
Why can I not just take what He offers,
Giving myself completely to Him,
Knowing that when I do,
He will give everything to me?

Monday, December 17, 2012

"I Have Sent Your Children to Heal You" (with minor changes)

I don't know how a parent recovers from the loss of a child.  We, parents, are supposed to die first - it is the "natural order".  It is expected that our children will live long, healthy lives years beyond our own.  A parent shouldn't attend their own child's funeral.  These are some of the thoughts that have gone through my mind in the days after the shooting in Newtown, CT.  My heart is broken over this tragedy.  I have found myself in tears, feeling sadness - yes, for the children, their parents, the adults killed, their families, the shooter, his family, the town, etc...  But also for something far deeper and bigger - what is going on with this world we live in?  I have asked this question so many times over the past several months.  I have been thinking of death a lot, and am working on an article which has required me to think of death, hope, faith, suffering....  There are days it is too much and I just want to curl up in a corner and cry.

I must be careful and aware of my internal emotional state.  I tend toward depression and despair, so when things begin feeling "normal" I have to stop and take stock.  It seems my default setting is depression since I have suffered from this illness since my youth.  It is said this can be hereditary, but I wonder how much is nature vs. nurture since both my parents self-medicated with alcohol and though never "diagnosed" with any mental illness, it is quite evident to me that we as a family suffered from one or more psychological conditions.  When a child is brought up in a situation like this, it is "normal" and so any other state seems abnormal.  Is this caused by genetics or is it just a reflection of the environment to which one is exposed - or a combination of both?

It is only in the past three years that I have risen out of the grip of depression.  As I made my way back to Christ, as I re-found my true Father in God, I began to feel a strange sensation:  Hope.  What a wonder hope is!  Hope was not something I remember having much of as I was growing up.  But as long as I can keep my eyes focused on the Cross I can fairly easily find "hope" and that seems for me the key to maintaining a grip on the joy that we are all meant to possess.

But there are times when this hope escapes me - I try to keep my eyes on the Lord but just can't seem to gather the courage - like the past few days.  It all seems so senseless - and it makes me think of the research I have been doing for my article.  This tragedy sends my mind thinking of abortion and physician-assisted suicide.  I am left wondering, praying, doubting, seeking, grasping....

There are logical and rational and practical considerations, but right now they are all out the window.  The idealist in me is devastated.  And I am reminded of something which came to me a couple of years ago in prayer: "I have sent your children to heal you."  This was a personal message for me, and it has personal implications and meanings, but as I have thought and felt and cried my way through the news of this tragedy, this "message" returned to my thoughts and I began to wonder --  what are we to do if we are killing our children?  How shall we ever be healed?  How deep is the evil ingrained in us when we turn on our own children? Our future? This pain I feel is the same pain I have felt when considering the numbers of children who have been killed by their own mothers - the pain I have felt when trying to gather people together for pro-life prayers, and none have come - the pain I have felt wondering what this world is coming to if we cannot protect and cherish and love the most precious and innocent life there is.  It is a pain I am unable to bear on my own - a pain which runs deep - a pain which threatens to engulf me.  A pain which can only be mitigated through prayer, and a practice of and trust in Faith...Hope...and Love.