Monday, August 29, 2011

After a Couple of Months...

This is the interior of the Vail Interfaith Chapel.  I attended Mass there last weekend because I was in Vail for a half-marathon.  It was a wonderful Mass despite the rather generic surroundings.  The marquee outside lists the services for many different religions, it was nice that I could get to Mass while out of town.

So, I haven't posted anything for a couple of months.  I have resumed my old blog.  It is frustrating, but I have been told that others have found it helpful.  I get much too opinionated on it, and try to temper that.

My life has truly changed due to the fact that I have been dating someone since May.  We are truly "dating," it is nice.  We have gone to Mass together which is wonderful.  But this takes time.  And it takes a lot of energy.  I pray every morning that I am willing to accept God's will for this, and that I not force my own will.  I am not someone who has a history of going slow into relationships, but it might be something I could learn.

One Saturday evening we had a date and I wanted to get to Mass a little early, so I went to the church just up the street that I don't like to go to.  The homily was absolutely horrifying.  The deacon told a "cute" little story that went like this:

A man and his dog had died.  They were walking around in the clouds.  There was a pearly gate and the man asked where he was.  The gate attendant said "this is heaven, come on in."  The man asked if his dog could come in.  The gate attendant said no, so the man kept on walking.  A bit later, there was another pearly gate.  The attendant said "this is heaven, come on in."  The man asked if his dog could come in and the attendant said "sure, there's dog food over there, and water dishes over there."  Then the man confessed his confusion.  He said he had just been told the other gate was heaven.  To which the gate attendant said, "That was hell, it is there to filter out people who would deny their friends for their own selfish desires."


Let me get this straight:  There's a fake heaven set up to trick people.  That loyalty to a dog is more important than love for God.  That wishing to be with God is a selfish desire.  I could go on and on.  I was horrified.  This from the pulpit in a Catholic Church - at Mass!  How many people, including children, might have bought this phony message.

On this past Saturday, I went to my parish.  Good priest, good homily, but the music was absolutely dreadful.  Hymns with drum rolls, flute, and a swinging beat... which women were head bobbing and hip swaying to.  Really?

The sad thing is that I know I am in the wrong here.  I cannot go to Mass to judge people.  But honestly, I feel like I need a place to go where Mass is actually "holy."

And as I write this, I know where that is.  It is about 10 miles away, but it is a thriving parish with three priests, a Catholic elementary school, an Adoration Chapel and Perpetual Adoration, and confession before every single Mass.   I have never heard silly music at this church.  I have never heard a ridiculous homily at this church.

I hate to switch churches again, but maybe I will.  Is that the right thing to do?  Opinions are welcome.

Thank you.  I miss you guys.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I finished my icon yesterday afternoon, after eight days of work.  Work that was as tiring as "work," but definitely a lot more fruitful.  At the end of each day I said I would write and post photos here, but I was absolutely too tired to do anything!

I have some news that I don't want to post in the same entry as my icon.  So, I will write it later, and probably date it earlier - so it doesn't come up on top.

God bless you all.

Life is uncertain...

Last Saturday night, I went out for dinner with the man I have been dating and his friend.  I wrote about it the next day.  It was a glorious, shining night.  Laughter, great food, nice people.  I like the man I am dating, and it is always nice to meet the people close - it gives insight into the person.  I liked his friend, I felt the friend liked me.    

Early in the week, the man called me.  He was in Nashville on a business trip.  When I asked how he was, I could tell immediately there was something wrong.  Then he told me.  They had a great time on Saturday night.  On Sunday morning, they went to the gym.  As they were stretching, the friend keeled over and died.  On the spot.  Dead.

The friend was on his way from California to New Jersey.  So, my "fella" was grateful he didn't die on the road.  Or in a lonely hotel room.  Or in his car and injure or kill someone else.  He was with his friend.

He is suffering.  Mourning the loss of his friend.  Also having to deal with all of the details.  In possession of a car and a bunch of possessions he needs to get back to CA or NJ.  And a body.

Oh, it is sad.  Also a good reminder that we do not know the hour.  I hope he had been to confession recently.  I hope he was ready.

But I am glad we had strawberry shortcake for dessert.  I can't imagine skipping dessert at your last meal.

Say a prayer for Mike, please?

Thanks.  And I am going for a walk with my "fella" after Mass this morning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Icon Update

Today I spent several hours doing some preliminary work on the icon.  I wish I had taken a photo of the plain white board.  But I didn't.  As you can see, I am doing Theotokos, Mary Mother of God.  So, I am given the drawing and transfer it to my board by tracing the drawing with graphite paper beneath it.  When I am done, I have the outline on my board.
Then the next step is to engrave the drawing into the gesso on the board by using a sharp object to engrave each line.  
You can barely see it, but it is engraved.  My teacher drew the halo for me, it is precision work.  

Tomorrow I will work on it some more.  And I will take photos as I go.  

Oh, I am so thrilled to be able to do this.  What a gift!  

It is such a prayerful activity.  We are downstairs from the chapel, and I can go for adoration whenever I would like.  I will likely be able to get to Mass every day this week.  This wouldn't sound like much of a vacation to most people, but it is beyond my wildest dreams.

And then I had a date tonight with the man I have been seeing.  As I was getting ready, I was nervous about how I looked, so I took a photo and sent it to my daughter.  She told me I looked fine, so I was reassured.    His friend is visiting him from California, and we all went out for dinner.  It was lovely, lovely, lovely.  I was a little nervous because I felt that he wanted to see what his friend thought of me.  We had fun, great conversation, I told them both all about the icon class - and they actually seemed interested - both Catholics, you see.  When they dropped me off at home, I said goodbye to the friend and he hugged me.  Since he is probably in his 70s, I thought the hug meant he liked me.  I hope to see this man, the one I am dating, more.  I am a bit smitten.  

And thrilled about the icon.  What are the odds I will sleep tonight?  Not good, I'd say.

God bless you all.  I will probably be posting every day while I am in my class.  I want to post the photos here.  I hope you like to watch the progress....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Icon Class

On Thursday morning of this week I got an e-mail asking me if I was still interested in the icon class that starts tomorrow.  I won't go into all of the details, but it became possible for me to attend - thanks to the efforts of several people.   I was able to talk my boss into letting me take a week of vacation with virtually no notice - while there is a huge deal going on at the hospital that is essentially my job.  I have two meetings next week that I absolutely have to attend, so I will miss a morning and an afternoon, but I think I will be able to make up for what I miss.

I am so excited about this.  I will get to spend seven or eight days writing an icon.  It is called "writing" not painting because it is not a creative process, but a transcription process.  The icons are considered a window to the saint portrayed.  What an honor and blessing it is to be able to be used this way.  

About the blog, I apologize for disappearing.  I feel like a hack in the Catholic Blogging world.  I am not that great of a Catholic.  I want to be.  I am trying to be.  But I am so far from the kind of holy souls who blog about Catholicism.  

At the graduation of Biblical School, they really stressed that we need to fulfill our calling.  I thought about it and as far as I can tell, my true calling is to work with drunks.  I wish it was something more glamorous than that, but working with alcoholics is something I can do, and I can do as well as I think it can be done.  This is not something I am paid to do, it is something entirely different.  And I have to be anonymous about it, if that gives you an idea.

So, I restarted my old blog, which is about recovery from alcoholism, after a 6 month sabbatical.  It is satisfying and frustrating to write on the blog.  But I think I have a voice there that is actually needed.  

I love the people I have met through this blog and I will probably continue the blog, but not posting as often.  I  appreciate your support over the last six months.  

Say a prayer for my class?  I appreciate it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3

I couldn't get signed in to this account on blogger for several days, and then I felt I had nothing to say.  I think I am in mourning for Biblical School.  It is sad to not have an assignment, nothing to write, no books to read.  I could sign up for Catechetical School in the fall, but I think I just need to be done with school.  If it were free, I would have no second thoughts about another 2 years of school, but at the price it is, I need to not do it.

I went to "mass" this morning as I always do on First Friday, but it wasn't a Mass - for lack of priest I imagine.  It was a communion service.  I am grateful to be able to receive communion, but I so wanted to go to Mass.  I guess I can think about what it is like for people with no priests at all.  I am so blessed to live in a large metropolitan area where I can get to Mass every day if I make the effort.

I have a half-marathon tomorrow.  And I have my 8 month old granddaughter all day Sunday.  I bought a little swimming suit and pool for her.  We shall have a great time.  And then I took a day of vacation on Monday, because I will likely need a day in bed to recover from all of this!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Blogger won't let me upload a photo, so no photo of my front porch with its big flag flying in the breeze.

I am having a day off - no one is here.  I have no plans.  I have already had a two hour nap, have gone shopping for garden stuff at Target, and have done the work associated with that.

I think I am worn out from having a couple of dates with a man.  It puts my brain into over-drive.  I am not good at this - at all.  I thought a break of years might have made me better able to handle this, but apparently not.  Last night we went to see "Pirates of the Caribbean" in 3D!  I had never seen a 3D movie before.  It was fun.  At one point, I got such a start, I screamed (quietly), and my date laughed.  It was funny.

We went out for dinner at (another) expensive restaurant.  Although I love good food and fine dining, I am a bit uncomfortable with the fact that this man has spent $250. on our dinners and movie in the last week.  Honestly, I am just not good at this.  I paid for the popcorn and pop last night - but I had to insist. Is that so wrong?

Oh, who knows how to behave?  I don't.

I was a bit disturbed (again) by the role of the lead woman in the movie.  Increasingly, women in the movies are just men with breasts and big, glossed up lips.  Penelope Cruz is beautiful, but really, who would believe she could best a man in a fight?  That is just stupid.  I wish we would stop teaching our children (collectively) that women are "just as strong, just as tough" as men, and kick any man's ass in a fight.  That is just wrong, conceptually, and factually.

Women are beautiful and strong, but God help us, we have a different kind of strength than the brute strength of a swashbuckler.

I will pray that God will be with me as I am trying to live my life.  That I listen and not turn my back when it is convenient.  I keep praying for Him to "Bless it, or block it."

Thanks for your prayers.  As you can see, I need them.