Daybook No. 78

Outside my window::

Sunny with some clouds, and definitely seasonal–it was almost 80 on Monday and we might have snow this weekend. The weather is ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Wearing::

red cashmere sweater, jeans, grey flats.

Reading::

The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Little Town on the PrairieLeaving Time (again).

Pondering::

“In our culture, the concept of hospitality has lost much of its power and is often used in circles where we are more prone to expect a watered down piety than a serious search for authentic Christian spirituality. But still, if there is any concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential, it is the concept of hospitality. It is one of the riches biblical terms that can deepen and broaden our insight in our relationships to our fellow human beings.”
– Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out

Creativity::

Working on this knitting project.

Writing::

NaNoWriMo 2014 is only days away! Yayyyy!!!!  I am really excited for this year’s novel, and I’m doing some research this week.

Around the house::

Dishes and polishing the furniture in the living/family room.

From the kitchen::

Having a friend over for dinner on Saturday so I am planning that meal, as well as reading Ina Garten’s new cookbook (LOVE)! Dinner with my parents tonight and then fending for myself tomorrow and Friday, so I need to figure out what to make!

Fitness::

Back to the gym. I am finally feeling better and getting up at a decent time, so I’m glad to be back there. (Never thought I’d say that!)

Plans for the week::

Dinner and movie night on Saturday; CCD and brunch with my brother on Sunday.

Yarn Along No. 11

It’s baaaack!

So, I’m making a cowl (I hope I have enough yarn for a cowl, might just be a scarf!) for myself. I was inspired by one of my knitting books, where I read that men’s knits are often done on smaller size needles for a “bouncy” quality, and I thought, well, I need to do that! Because I want some bouncy knits!

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The yarn is a discontinued Knit Picks color (Chroma Impressionist), and while I like the Chroma colors, the fact that the yarn thickness goes from bulky to fingering is sort of irritating, and makes me glad I’m doing this on smaller needles (size 6, KnitPick’s Caspian needles) instead of the 10 or 11 I’m “supposed” to use with it. I really do love these colors, though.

I’m working my way through my pile of “to read” books, and picking up the one that’s at the top of the pile. So the winner here is The Hummingbird’s Daughter.

Things I think about Part II: The Catholic Edition

OK, Catholics, listen up:

  1. You do not leave before Mass is over. That means the hymn is done. The only possible exception to this rule is if the choir is obliviously singing all 14 verses of O Sons and Daughters. Then you’re forgiven (unless it’s Easter Sunday, then you’re not). People. DO NOT DO THIS. The first person to leave the Last Supper? Yeah. Not good.
  2. Corollary: You do not get to leave after communion! Geez Louise, would it kill you to go back and pray?!?!??! The Mass I was at tonight was about half empty after communion (not lying), and 95% empty before the hymn was finished.
  3. You do not dress for Mass like you are going to Skull Session. For those of you not from OSU-lumbus, that’s this:
    It's all scarlet and grey sportswear. And jeans. (I'm not talking 'bout the band.)

    It’s all scarlet and gray sportswear. And jeans. (I’m not talking ’bout the band.)

    This is NOT appropriate for Mass. Now, yes, I’ve gone to Mass in jeans, but it’s really rare that I do that. When Saturday night Masses look like the above photo every week, in and out of football season, there’s a problem. Could we please dress somewhat nicely for Mass? Pleeeeaaaaassseeee?

  4. And please genuflect? PLEASE? Do not just schlump into a pew! ( And yes, this is true even in a church where the Eucharist is somewhere else. Genuflect to the Eucharist and then go into your seat! (Or do a profound bow. As in, not something that looks sloppy and half-a**ed.)
  5. Do not schlump back after receiving communion! You just received Jesus Christ! Show some respect, please! I tell my CCD kids that I never want to see sloppy hands or slouchy posture when they go to communion and when they come back. You have just received God, body, blood, soul, and divinity into yourself. That should mean something.

I’m sorry. I had to get that all out. Whew.

If you’re not Catholic, you can ignore this. 🙂

Things I Think About

A list of random things that are occupying my brain:

  • Does anyone else think the Comeback Canyon on Biggest Loser isn’t working? It’s like it’s always week two over there. The person who is the newest is always going to win. It’s a decent idea in theory, but in practice? not so much. (Much like many government policies!)
  • I’m always glad when people come out to see a show that I’m in. Heck, I’m glad when people support live theater in general! But if you’re going to come, don’t play video games. Don’t play with your phone. Don’t hold conversations in the middle of a big musical number. We, the actors, can see you! We can see the light from the phone, and we can see you talking! It’s distracting! It’s RUDE! STOP IT! You paid money to see a show–how about you, I dunno, watch it? A few random whispered things, like “I’m leaving to answer the phone, because the President is calling”, that’s fine. But these people were having a multi-person conclave across an entire row. Folks….just don’t. This is especially true in smaller theaters. It’s not like you’re at the Met and you’re in the family circle. You’re right in front of us!
  • My dad is a really funny guy. Proof here.
  • James Levine celebrates his 2,500 conducting outing at the Met today. That’s amazing, as is the music he leads. I’ve got  one of his Ring cycles on DVD, and one of his Otellos, and man….that’s good stuff. Bravo, maestro.
  • I wish it was November so I could start writing my novel, but I’ve got about a week of planning left. NaNoWriMo, here I come! I’ve got the family trees roughly sketched and a (rough, of course) timeline, and I think I need to start making some character notes, just so I have an idea. I don’t generally plot the end of my books. I like to see where characters take me.
  • In CCD tomorrow I’m teaching the kids about Abraham and Noah. Actually, that should be Noah and Abraham. I think. I always mix up who comes first. Thank God for the book. 🙂

Daybook 77 and A Saint for All Times

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Outside my window::

Overcast and chilly. It’s definitely fall! But that’s OK! I have a lovely bouquet of red roses in a mason jar on my counter and they make all my mornings better. (My parents gave them to me for opening night of Dolly! They’re really gorgeous.)

Wearing::

PJs, and drinking Mystic Monk coffee. 🙂 My body has been demanding lots of extra sleep lately so I’m trying to obey it, even though it makes me grumpy, because I’d much rather get up at like 8, and not 10. But….the body wants what it wants.

Reading::

I just won a book from Goodreads, so I’ll be starting that today (It arrived yesterday) and then blogging about it, so look for a review soon! Reading Benedict XVI’s general audiences on prayer as well. Really, I have a bunch of books I want to start/finish but I just haven’t yet, which is inexcusably lazy on my part.

Pondering::

The pontificate of St. John Paul II.

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I was so, so lucky to spend the majority of my life under his pontificate, which also meant, sadly, that I didn’t really appreciate it until he had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. (Well, one doesn’t really appreciate the pope when one is a small child, to be sure!) He was elected pope on October 22, 1979, just a few months after my parents were married. My siblings and I were all born during his reign. I received all my sacraments while he was pope. His writings, so rich in so many genres (he wrote plays and poetry), and his life, so rich in so many ways, are a source of inspiration and constant study for me.

I vividly remember feeling like I was losing a father when he was dying. My father is still alive–praise Jesus–but I thought this is what it would feel like. He had always been there, always faithful shepherding the church. He had done so much to bring Christ to the world, to “open wide the doors to Christ”, and he did so much to change the world! A pope from a Communist country, who helped bring about the defeat of Communism? Prayer works, indeed. It was unimaginable for so many people. I remember the night the Berlin Wall came down. We watched it on TV in our family room. But I really didn’t understand what was happening–I was only seven and a half. But as I studied history and became more mature, I marveled at it.

For me, personally, I have only admired him more as I’ve gotten older. I ask for his help before auditions, since he was an actor. I ask for his help when writing, since he was a writer (yeah, I ask St. Francis De Sales too, but John Paul II is more immediate for me). His fearless attitude, his call to “be not afraid!”, echoes all the time in my heart. And of course, his great devotion to Our Lady, as he entrusted his entire papacy to her.

I don’t think theologians have even begun to mine the brilliance of his writings, and what they mean for us. I’ll really always consider him “my” pope, like so many other people in my generation. It wasn’t just the length of his pontificate, but the way he spoke so intensely to young people, and even remembered them on his death bed: “I have looked for you. Now you have come to me, and I thank you.” I was a young person during his papacy; I was about to turn 23 when he died.

Watching him in prayer was an intense experience. I never got to see it, personally, but I’ve read accounts and seen video. He had such intense communion with God, such a deep prayer life. You could see how it imbued his mission, how vital it was to him.

And of course–his suffering, the idea of redemptive suffering which is so unique to Catholicism–was on display for everyone to see. As a sick person, this also inspired me. He showed us that life has worth always, even when fragile and failing. His spirit never faltered.

There’s so much that could be said about him. If you want to learn more, I suggest George Weigel’s monumental Witness to Hope

Around the house::

(I really need to reorder these when I have such a long pondering!)

Sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor today, and dusting the furniture in my bedroom.

Creativity::

Working on my NaNo2014 novel–getting the prep done before it starts up November 1!–and also it’s the last weekend of Dolly. Come see it!

Daybook 76

Daybook 76

Outside my window::

Totally clouded over. It was really pretty but really humid yesterday, and I think it’s raining outside now. Not that I mind rain and clouds, because they’re good knitting/reading/tea days.

Wearing::

Jeans and an Oakland Zoo (Pitt) t-shirt. I’m being lazy right now.

Reading::

Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time comes out today. I was very lucky to snatch up an ARC (advanced reading copy) at an event a few weeks ago, and I have to tell you, this book is amazing. Read it. I want to write more about this book but not until more peeps have read it, so….get on it. 🙂

Taking up Swann’s Way again as well. During Tech Week/Performance weeks I load up my bag with books I’ve been meaning to read, and this is on the top of the pile. I re-read The Joy Luck Club earlier this week and found I really didn’t like the book as much as the movie! Also re-reading Outlander, and I’m on An Echo In The Bone.

Creativity:

A lot on this front. Dolly opens on Friday–gulp gulp double gulp. NaNoWriMo 2014 is live, so I’ve been drafting out my novel for that–thus far it involves opera and Italians (a good combination, of course!). And I’ve also been knitting. I can purl fine when I do an entire row of purl, but when I start with a knit stitch border it all goes to hell. Ideas? I really want to start a basket weave scarf but I can’t if I can’t manage to knit and purl in the same row!

Cooking::

Well I have lots of plans but this week is a mess with the cooking…so busy. Trying valiantly and possibly failing to get it under control!

Family::

my sister is in town! She moved to Texas over the summer and this is her first trip back since then. Her birthday is on Friday so we celebrated early on Sunday at a local restaurant. Yesterday we had lunch and coffee together before I had to run to a doctor’s appointment. It’s been great to see her!

Theater::

Well, Dolly, really, all the time. We’re in dress rehearsals now. I’m hoping on of the lovely ladies in the cast can do something with my ridiculous hair….I am so hair impaired it’s not even funny.

Health::

I went to the dermatologist yesterday. Part of post-transplant life is making sure that you take care of your skin with sun protection, because we are super photosensitive (meaning we can burn a lot faster than other people due to the meds), and getting regular skin checks. I go about every six months. Nothing out of the ordinary at this appointment so that’s a good thing. We have a much higher risk of cancer compared to the general population, and skin cancer in particular, so it’s very important to stay on top of these things. Fortunately I’ve never been much of a sun bunny.

Around the house::

Today is a house day, meaning I’m going to clean and tackle some projects here (filing, bill paying, etc.) that I need to do. This gets super important during tech week because otherwise the house can become a monster of utterly terrifying proportions due to neglect. 😛

From the iPhone:

chalk ohio

During a local shopping district’s chalk art festival–isn’t this great?

Grace will lead me Home

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about Brittany, the girl in Oregon who is 29 and has decided to end her life in a few weeks, because she has cancer.

I was going to write about this. But then Ann Voskamp put this on her blog, and…all I can say is yes.

Yes, five thousand times yes.

Suffering is pain. Suffering is darkness and doubt and horrible things, and there are times when in that suffering and pain we want to end it all, to end in on our terms.

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve almost said no so many times. So many times I wanted to close my hands, like Ann says in her book, and say no, God! No God, I will not take this from your hand! 

No, no, no. I will not.

But the thing is…..that’s where the pain all comes from. From saying no.

What kicked Lucifer out of heaven?

Saying, no, God. No, God, I will not do this. I will not serve. 

And finally….

Thousands of years later….the world was healed and saved with yes.

Yes, God. Yes, I will do your will. 

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

–John 6: 38

I have laid in the bed, in the dark nights, with tubes in my body and pain in my mind and thought I can’t.

I have fought against that will. I have wanted to stop.

But then I realized that God is in all those details. He knows when I sit and when I stand, and He has marked out my day aright.

There is a plan…it’s just not one I know, all the way to the end. But to end the story before it’s really over? To deny myself, and others, any of the precious days that God gives?

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I can’t.

We have to–all of us have to–trust in the plan. Open our hands and say “yes” to whatever is placed in it.

God is always good. Always. No matter what is happening.

In the suffering is the good, the glory…its beauty.

And I say that as someone who knows it, and who has wanted to run away from it and deny it and has wished for something that would be easier.

But that’s not His plan for me. His plan is for me, right here, and right now, with this body.

When He calls me, I’ll go. But until then….He’s the author of my story.

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