Wordless Wednesday 

One last summer pic before the switch over to fall, which currently is my favorite season. (Although if you ask me next April, yes, spring will be my favorite season…in June, I most likely in will say summer…and of course there is one season being left out which will remain nameless, although I love it in December as long as it brings us pretty, fluffy snow for Christmas.)

wordless wednesday, catching up, Xmas edition

Gulp. I just realized that I haven’t posted since November. Granted, I’ve had a lot happening in my life, but shouldn’t I be blogging the most at times like this? Instead I drew into my turtle shell. However, since this is Wordless Wednesday, I will skip the writing and catch up using photos!. Pictures of Christmas, that is; I had the flu–influenza flu, not tummy flu–and George had to work both days, I missed my family horribly, but I had plenty of reading for school:

philosophy companiontheology booksBut I enjoyed our decorations, and our tree:

reheaded angel(Like the redhaired angel above, a gift from my friend Monica. Looks a lot like me when I first wake up in the morning…)

xmas ornament--GermanOur first Christmas ornament, hand-blown German glass (above)handmade starA crocheted star by one of my grandmothers (above)tree 2013, 1and bw xmas tree(Funny the way this black and white version reminds me so much of my childhood Christmases.)

And speaking of childhood Christmases, my favorite part was always Midnight Mass.inky at xmasIt was very hard to miss Midnight Mass at Incarnation, the church where I grew up, buried my dad, made my First Communion, Confirmation, and got married (a friend took this picture). actually, we tried to make it, after George got home from work. After driving 45 minutes in near-blizzard conditions, we arrived at Incarnation at about ten minutes before midnight, only to discover that Midnight Mass is now at, um, ten pm. Next year, we are going to the Basilica!

But still, we got a couple of “family portraits” and I managed to get most of our cards out:

Marincel xmas 2013And here is the black and white version:

black and white Xmas 2013So, I leave you with this quote. It is about Christmas, but it applies all year-long:

“That is the joyful message of Christmas night: if the little child who was born in Bethlehem is truly the Son of God, then from that moment on everything becomes possible”–Cistercian Abbott Andre Louf

Which reminds me that I almost forgot to add our little creche, complete with a cocker spaniel come to adore the Baby Jesus!

our crecheBelated blessings of the season to all of you!

Wordless Wednesday at Create With Joy

final friday five for 2012

As usual, credit for everything below–except my answers, that is–goes to the wonderful gals over at RevGalBlogPals. And I owe them a hearty “thank you” for giving me a some much-needed writing inspiration!

I should mention that I did have my neck surgery last week and the surgeon said the procedure went “swimmingly.” I find this reassuring because those raw and burnt nerve endings feel, well, raw and burnt. Not a pleasant sensation. My usual brilliance is most likely lacking today since I’m on pain killers and muscle relaxers, so bear with me. 

 

The FINAL Friday Five for 2012: Recycle, Re-Gift, Reflect

As we take a breather from the busy weekend of Sunday/Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, it’s time to reflect on the past year. It’s hard to move out of this holiday season with its delights and celebrations. Here at our home, we’ve barely finished the eggnog. The tree is still up and our cats delight in knocking off the lower (unbreakable) ornaments. As we are rounding the final turn on the year 2012, I hope you’ll play along with these questions. 🙂
RECYCLE:
1. What is some “old news” this year that you’d like to repeat for 2013?
Saturday lunches and outings with my birthmom, Judy. We try to do this on a fairly regular basis, although it has been difficult to get together for much of this year because of her hip surgery and my neck surgery. My lack of a car doesn’t help, either. But we have a lot of fun spending time together. Plus, I finally know where most of my idiosyncrasies originate! Here I though I was eccentric all by my lonesome, only to discover that I inherited most of them from the Lubys! (The others come from growing up a Resch of course.)
2. What “new thing” have you started that you want to keep going in 2013?
Not having neck surgery!  Making an effort, through journaling, meditation, prayer, reflection, and reading, to really observe Advent, as a season of waiting and preparation for the gift of the Incarnation.
RE-GIFT:
3. What event, experience or gift would you just as soon “Return to Sender”? Maybe it was a disastrous sermon, a congregational kerfuffle, a vacation nightmare, or your own mis-step. It can be funny or sad.
I would gladly surrender the experience of running a stop sign and crashing into another car this past June! The gentleman driving the other car, luckily, wasn’t hurt, but I would up with whiplash and neck surgery. And my darling little GEO Metro was totaled! It wasn’t damaged that badly, but the repairs would have cost more than my 16 year-old baby was worth. Monetarily, anyway, disregarding my love for my first car. So we are in the market for a new car, but all we can get for our money is junk. But I can’t drive now anyway, temporarily at least!
REFLECT:
4. Share the brightest bit of joy that was a part of your year.
George and I celebrated our ninth anniversary this October. I think the joy comes from the reassurance of being loved, truly loved, for myself, along with the realization that in nine years we have been through more than many couples endure in a lifetime, and we are still together. And I love him more with each anniversary that goes by. When we got married, I thought I could not possibly love him more than I did, but as time goes by, I find that my love for him grows and evolves, teaching me to appreciate the feeling of contentment that washes over me before I go to sleep, when I see him and Fiona (our dog, naturally) sleeping beside me. Or the simple pleasure of playing frisbee in our backyard together on lovely summer afternoon.
5. Share a picture that says far more than words. (You can use it to illustrate one of the above.)
George and me at Kieran’s Irish Pub after I lectored at the 4:30 Mass at The Basilica of St. Mary
BONUS:

Share a recipe! I’m in the doldrums and need some healthy eating options for my menu planning. Soup, stew, main dish, side dish or a healthy dessert – any and all are welcome!

This is where I need help, too, desperately! I’m hoping a reader will come to my rescue with a nice slow-cooker recipe, perhaps? Please?!

too, too much

 We all reach times when we suddenly feel that we have more to bear than we can handle. Thank goodness I’ve lived long enough to know this is fact, because for many years, I thought I was all alone, that I was the only one who ever felt inadequate, or selfish, or so overwhelmed that all I could do was crawl under the covers and pray that morning would be a long time coming.

Tonight is one of those times. I tell myself I am being silly, as I sit here typing away next to our Christmas tree. I remember every single ornament: who gave it to us, or where we bought it and where and why. There were presents under the tree, until Fiona started trying to unwrap them. (They now repose in an undisclosed location until Christmas morning.) Every day more Christmas cards from friends and family arrive in the mail, reminding me that George and I are part of a whole community of friends and family.


Yet all I can do is cry. Last Friday, as we all know, a very sick young man killed 20 children and 7 teachers at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. I’ve been immersed in discussions/disputes about gun laws, treatment of the seriously mentally ill, grief for the parents and families left behind, as well as for those little darlings who will never graduate, not even from grade school, never travel, go to college, get married.

And for some reason I am having an even harder time than usual dealing with the absence of my own parents this year. My dad was like a little kid about Christmas; he and I always had so much fun together, decorating the the tree (always the day after Thanksgiving), going downtown to see all of the Christmas lights and the mechanized displays in the department store windows, especially Dayton’s. Caroling with mom and other parishioners from Incarnation. And every year, until I was 24, sitting between mom and dad at Midnight Mass, hearing the ancient words “For behold I bring you tidings of great joy…” Going up to the Creche afterwards to see the Baby Jesus lying in the manger, and in later years the Choir always sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah immediately after the conclusion of Mass. Holding hands with mom and dad as we prayed in the “words our Savior taught us, Our Father who art in heaven…” and most of all, singing the old, familiar carols, especially my favorite, Silent Night, Stille Nacht, written in Germany so long ago. Now there is new family, warm, loving, caring family. I have a husband, whom I love very much. But I haven’t been able to go to Midnight Mass since I lost my mom.

This is, without a doubt, the hardest time of year to be childless. We keep running into one roadblock after another with our efforts to adopt, until I have to shut myself alone in our bedroom so George doesn’t have to listen to me crying in hysteric despair. Yes, I feel selfish bringing up our loneliness for a child when I know parents out in Newtown are grieving their lost babies. But grief is grief, and it deserves to be honored and spoken of, regardless of the circumstances, or who is doing the grieving, or why.

I’m particularly overwhelmed by my upcoming neck surgery. Less than two days to go now. And I feel so alone, I guess everyone does when they are facing surgery or something similar. Because no one can experience it with you. George is spending the day with me; Friday he’s taking me over to  my Aunt Jo and cousin Melinda’s house, so they can fuss over me, and Sunday my birthmom is coming over to baby me. Plus, I am receiving the Catholic Sacrament of the Sick from one of my favorite priests tomorrow. So I have all of my ducks in a row, so to speak. but I still feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it. Part of my issue here is, yet again (this question has been popping up everywhere the last few days) is WHY. Damn it all, I am sick of being in pain every single blasted day of my life. Why do I have to endure more? Yes, I know other people have it worse. but I have have never understood why that is supposed to make me feel better. I’m supposed to be happy and grateful that at least I’m not suffering the way other people I love are? I don’t think so. 

I guess this is one of those times of, maybe not doubt, so much as feeling so desperately alone. This is why I ask for prayers, because right now I’ve lost the ability to form the words myself. I guess my tears and my writing tonight will have to be my prayers.

I guess a partial answer lies in something I told a friend the night of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, when we were struggling with the question of why, of how, an event so hideously, cosmically wrong could happen:

 You just sound upset, that’s all, hon. Don’t apologize for that. As to why this happened…can there possibly be a satisfactory answer? We live in a violent society. We can work for peace and justice. But does that help right now, at this very moment? All we know for sure is that God weeps with us, and that in the end God will wipe away all of our tears, and we will all be together again. And I always remember that Jesus wept when Lazarus died. He understands our feelings of grief and loss, because He experienced it too.

Amen.

o tannenbaum

In happier news, the house is (mostly) decorated for Christmas! We finally got a pre-lit tree so poor George didn’t have to get tangled in the lights, swearing and cursing. Although watching him was one of the highlights of my holidays every year since we got married (nine years in October!!) I don’t think George particularly enjoyed it. So we went with the easier solution for him, bless his heart.

Here are my not-so-fab instagram pictures:

I bought this at a little German imports Christmas shop in Stillwater with my birthday money from my SIL Beth. It’s an angel (not so easy to see from the picture!) saying “Happy Christmas (Frohe Weinachten) in German.
The new tree, shown here in all its glory. Except that you can’t see the star on top, or the bottom. Better luck next batch of pictures!

the work of christmas

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoners,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.
–Howard Thurman