Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 40

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I.

Shamless promotion: Last post in the Lent series went up today. If you missed the earlier ones, you can read the entire series here. Lent starts on Wednesday, so get thy plan in gear!

II.

So, as we know from the post that went up today (yes, I’m making you all read it, bwahahah!), my Lent has basically been decided for me, with GI tests, rehab, and med changes, but I have some plans of my own. I can’t entirely abandon facebook, because people will want medical updates, so I’ll still be there, but it’ll be limited. I’m going to switch my lectio divina from the OT to the NT, starting with the Gospel of Matthew. Of course being dedicated to my office and going to Daily Mass as often as possible are givens. With all the waiting for my tests, I’ll be able to get a good chunk of reading done. And I’ve also given up book buying, so I’ll be reading only the books I have–in “real” or “e” form–already on March 5.

III.

Anyone else using Verbum software? Any tips or tricks? I love how many books are in the library (I have foundations). Just reading Bl. John Paul II’s encyclicals will keep me busy for a good long while, and I’m also using their Lenten devotional plan.

While we’re on the topic (sort of), here are some of my favorite Lenten resources: Magnificat’s Lenten companion; Death on a Friday Afternoon  by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus; B XVI’s Way of the Cross Meditations.  For additional Lenten reflection this year, you can also read the Pope’s Message for Lent 2014.

IV.

What I’m reading right now, incidentally: City of God, St. Faustina’s Diary, An Echo In the Bone, Pickwick, and Therese, Faustina and Bernadette. A real emphasis was placed on the Divine Mercy devotions and chaplet at the Women’s Retreat last weekend, so I’ve been inspired to delve back into it.

V.

The conference! Holy cow, I didn’t tell you about it. So I will now. 🙂

2,600 Catholic women from all over the diocese (and beyond!) were crammed into our building at the state fairgrounds. I got there around 7:15 and hit up a book vendor (Of course, come on, it’s me) before heading into the main conference area to find a seat. The rosary began at 7:30 and Mass began a little after 8:00. The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter was that day, so the readings and homily reflected that. Our bishop gives excellent homilies, so it’s always a treat to hear one (soundbite: When Jesus walked toward the apostles on the stormy water, after the Resurrection, and came into the boat, “he told them to calm down!”)

VI.

After Mass, we had breakfast. Our first speaker was Sr. Miriam James, SOLT, who gave a talk that had just about everyone in the audience in tears (showing Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed A Dream” didn’t stop them, for sure).  She talked about the “holy longing, holy desire” that we have for God, and our desire to be seen and noticed by the one who loves us. Part of desire is stretching, wanting to desire God Himself, who wants to fill us with Himself. A woman’s body and spirit reveal God to the world and emphasis receptivity, openness, and grace. The beauty of body and soul speaks to the longing for eternal beauty that everyone desires. A woman’s attentiveness to the person, recognizing the inidivudla, intuitiveness, nurturing spirit and being the guardian  and bearer of life make the world more humane–more fully human. Sister spoke about the toxicity of culture, and that outré mission to authenticity is to love and be loved. Christ wants to touch us and heal us, if we let him.

A priest spoke about Divine Mercy and the Sacrament of Confession, leading to so many ladies lining up for confessions. Forty priests were on hand to hear them! I got lunch and did some more book shopping, because we have abundant confession at my parish, so I didn’t want to deny someone who may not have it a chance to go.

VII.

After lunch, Kimberly Hahn took the stage. She spoke about the Proverbs 31 woman, and how we can work those qualities into our lives by being Godly, a woman of excellent, a woman who feast the Lord. To fear the Lord means to have reverence and awe for the God of the Universe who is our Father (I loved this definition.) This fear leads us to a faithful and faith-filled relationship with Him. God lavishes His love on us–we are His beloved daughters! We must hope in His steadfast love, because He made us, and bought us back–we are His twice. Kimberly encouraged us to let Jesus reside in our hearts, and to pursue purity and holiness, and know that God delights in each one of us.

The last speaker of the day was 2006 Olympian Rebecca Dussault , who talked about health and holiness–a great topic. (Her new book is excellent as well!) She talked about how FIT is an acronym for Finding Interior Transformation–I really liked that! Discipline in our prayer life leads to discipline win other areas. “It’s not that we win,” she said. “It’s that we take part.” (also liked that, although I do love to win.)

At 3:00, we said the Divine Mercy chaplet, and a period of adoration was offered, but, to me, was marred by overenthusiastic singers who wanted us to “participate” instead of praying in silence before the Monstrance. So I left around 3:30.

Overall, it was a great conference and I saw so many women I knew, and met some new ones! And I have so many great resources–CDs of the talks, books, and other things–to use for Lent. I feel so well prepared. 🙂

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Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 48

Outside my window

A glorious sunrise this morning, all sherbet pink and orange and purple and deep blue. One nice thing about the sun rising later–I’m awake to see it!

Wearing::

Grey pleated skirt, black flats, emerald green wrap top, and silver lotus flower earring. They were my Christmas gift to myself, those earrings, and I wear them almost every day.  (They’re the ones Natalie Portman is wearing in the photo below)

(and yes, I got them because I saw them in Black Swan. I am weird like that)

Books::

Over the weekend I had a stomach bug so I did a bit of reading: I finished Charles Dickens (he was not a nice man. I’m sorry. But he wasn’t. Or let me rephrase that: he was nice to everyone except his wife and most of his kids. He had a great heart for charity. Also, the author’s insertion of her opinion about the novels is sort of irritating.) and Renewed, and The Invention of Wings (which was good, but the narrator jumping back and forth was a bit choppy at times). This week, more City of God and I’m finally reading Michael Pollan’s Cooked. Reading the Dickens bio also made me want to read more of his early stuff, including Dombey and Little Curiosity Shop, so I might have to track those down.

Memorizing::

ThisTalking about the first verse on Wednesday! Join us?

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From the kitchen::

Tonight: Cacio e Pepi–pasta with cheese and pepper. Lots of pepper.

Tuesday: Lazy bolognese on penne (two pasta nights in a row? I try not to do that, but sometimes… 🙂 )

Wednesday: Salmon

Thursday: No idea. Need to find something.

Friday: Out

Saturday: Meatloaf, a  new recipe. I’m looking for my favorite one.

Made a lovely pork chop with mustard, onions and apples (and apple cider) last night, though. Very easy.

Around the house::

The usual Monday things–trash out, vacuuming, dusting, etc. According to Fly Lady we’re in the master bath and one extra room this week, so that’s my bathroom and the office/book room.

In the CD player::

A mix CD I made ages ago.

1000 gifts:: 

Up to No. 143. 🙂

This week::

ENT appointment at lunch time tomorrow. The sinuses need checked out, for sure.

Pure Barre tonight, W and Thursday–getting back in the class groove.

Teaching CCD as usual on Sunday.

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 29

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I.

So last night was Opening Night for “And Then There Were None.” Here are some pictures from Tech Week, with me and my lovely stage husband. We had a great crowd, including my parents, last night, and everyone did a wonderful job onstage. So I think we’re all quite pleased. Backstage we had a rousing discussion of literature (one of my favorite kinds of rousing discussions!) and travel. It was much fun. I get some reading in while the others are finishing Act I, because no one else disappears until the end of the act.

The show has five more performances–two this weekend and three next weekend–so if you’re local, come on out!

II.

Books: I’ve read Emily Freeman’s Million Little Ways, which I really liked, and now I’m into Madeline L’Engle’s “O’Keefe Family  trilogy”, which deals with Calvin and Meg from the Wrinkle Quintet and their kids, especially Poly (who’s name is really Polyhymnia–egads!). I finished The Arm of the Starfish and am about 1/2 through Dragons in the Waters. I’m also almost done with A Feast for Crows. One nice thing about dying early–reading time! 🙂

III.

The Christmas scarves near completion. I think that may be tomorrow’s project backstage–finishing the Christmas scarf. Then I want to start a sort of scarf/wrap for me, because it’s definitely getting colder here. I think it’ll be like 45 today and it’s raining. Not that I mind–that’s great stay in weather, and my fireplace is going, and I have coffee–but it does mean scarf for Emily time. I’ve got some lovely Quince and Co. yarn that I can’t wait to knit up for me.

IV.

I missed my pure barre classes this week because of tech week, but I’m back at it on Monday. I’ve actually missed going to class. This is weird. Fortunately I’ve gone to enough classes now that I have an idea of things I can do at home, so I don’t want to be totally lost when I’m back on Monday.

V.

In CCD this week, we’re talking about Adam and Eve. This is actually week one of two weeks on Adam and Eve. I guess we want to make sure the kids really get the story. The Fall is next week, so this week is about how great Eden was, and what God gave Adam and Eve to do, and so forth. Have I mentioned I love my class? Because I do. They are a bunch of great kids.

VI.

One of the “hot spots” (as the FlyLady says) in my house is my kitchen table. It tends to just be a mess. So this week I decided that maybe if I have flowers there, it will look better? As in, I can keep the table clear? So far it’s working. I’ve got golden chrysanthemums, some snap dragons, tiger lilies, and two roses in a green mason jar for a vase.

VII.

A huge pet peeve of mine is stores other than grocery stores that are open on Thanksgiving. Really, guys?

I live in a section off a street that has a Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc. on it. And every Thanksgiving I see people skipping time with their families to buy cheap video games and washers and dryers and TV sets. This really gets my goat.

These stores should not be open. The employees are going to have to get up at the crack of dawn anyway for Black Friday. They should have a day–a few hours–with their families before the commercial madness.

And the consumers in line? SHAME ON YOU. Really. You “need” an item so badly that you’re going to wait in (what is usually) crappy Ohio weather for it? ARE YOU INSANE?

Yes. The answer is yes. And every year, I hate this.

Today I read an article that said JCPenney is opening at 8 PM on Thanksgiving. This is wrong. So, so wrong.

People: please. Don’t shop on Thanksgiving, unless it’s to buy a new turkey to replace the one you ruined. Please.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 38

A sunday version, this week. 🙂

I am wearing::

A grey BR pleated skirt; a Boden sweater w/ a Peter Pan color in navy and plum (plum at the collar, waist and wrists); tiny sparkly earrings from Touchstone Crystal. I taught CCD today and the girls like it when I wear jewelry. 🙂

Outside my window::

Sunny and blue skies, low sixties. It’s a lovely first day of Fall here.

In the CD player::

Joyce DiDonato, ReJoyce! Let me tell you: her “You’ll Never Walk Along” is stunning. Go give it a listen.

Reading::

The Last Olympian; Back to Virtue; Relish (which is so much more than a cookbook, it’s got some great tips in it.)

Crafting::

Christmas Scarf No. 5 in a beautiful cobalt blue yarn. I just love it.

Being healthy::

I’m taking my first pure barre class tomorrow. Gulp. We’ll see how this goes! One of the girls in the show works here and she told me all about it. I know I do better in a class when I can’t just quit early, and when I have to be accountable for it. So I’m a bit nervous but also excited to try this!

From the kitchen: 

Tonight is Ina Garten’s weeknight bolognese, which I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. Also this week are some new chicken and pasta recipes that I’ll share as I try them out. Also planning a menu for a Saturday night dinner party!  (Small–only two other guests–but still fun!)

Around the house::

Clearing out the closet and sifting through clothes I could donate; vacuuming; clearing off the kitchen table.  I’ve got friends coming over for dinner on Saturday so we have to have a place to eat!

Praying for::

Thomas Peters

my friends who are pregnant

Syria

Wendy, a member of my third order chapter, who is having a biospy in the near future

The kids in my CCD class

Plans for the week::

Lunch w/ my dad tomorrow

My parish’s 160th anniversary is on Wednesday, so I’m planning on attending the special Mass that evening.

Another Pure Barre class on Thursday

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Show rehearsal!

Saturday: Dinner party

Sunday: CCD class. ALSO the Master of the Dominican Order is visiting our parish and concelebrating the 9 AM Mass, so I will make a special effort to get up for that!

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 32

Wearing::

A Boden skirt from a few years ago; BR royal blue tee.

Reading::

And Then There Were None, in preparation for an audition on Saturday; Nothing Daunted; The Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena.

In the CD player::

L’Angelus “Sacred Songs”

Around the house::

I’m doing a massive organizing/clean out of the house. It’s time to get rid of the stuff I don’t use and don’t want. Yesterday I made progress in my book room and loaded up some bags to take to Half Price Books. Today’s (and probably tomorrow, too. And maybe Wednesday) focus is the living room. There will be sorting and cleaning.

From the Kitchen::

I’ve got some more Rachael Ray recipes on tap. Haven’t decided precisely which ones, yet.

Being healthy::

The back feels better so we’re on to ballet beautiful workouts this week–an hour, hopefully, each day (M-F). We’ll see how this experiment goes! It’s a very high-intensity workout for the muscles, so even if I can’t do the entire hour, it’s still a fantastic workout.

Being creative::

Well there’s that audition on Saturday. And knitting. I’m on bookmark no. 3, but I’m hoping to cast on a scarf before this week’s Yarn Along.

Pondering::

This, all about lectioand how to do it. I am lugubriously bad at lectio. This, however, really seems helpful.

Praying for::

Thomas Peters

Some special intentions that people have asked me to pray for.

Plans for the week::

Saturday: Audition and Crew (they’re our MLS team) game with the Capital Alumni Organization

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 23

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I.

This is the transplant anniversary and Les Miz post. 🙂 On Monday I went to Children’s for day one of my annual testing. This included blood work, chest x-ray, PFTs, a six minute walk, and a bone density scan, as well as a talk with my doctors, the social worker, and the dietician on the team.

The social worker can help with any sort of insurance questions, family support, etc., that you may need. I had a few questions regarding the Finance Office, but other than that, I’m easy for her. 🙂 The dietician and I touched base about my activity level and diet. My doctors are very pleased with how I’m doing. My PFTs are stable, and my bone density is actually normal! Go cheese !

The only thing that wasn’t normal was my triglyceride level. I’ve always had high triglycerides, as do a lot of people in my family (on my mom’s side), so this is genetic and also medicinially based (the immunosuppressants give you high cholesterol, no matter what.) We’ve tried lots of statins (drugs to reduce your cholesterol, like Lipitor) and I just can’t tolerate them. I have awful bone pain and extreme lethargy.

So the team was powwowing about the results and one of my docs said, “Let’s try red wine.” No, I’m not kidding. So I’m supposed to have one glass (maximum) of red wine a day. That’s a prescription I an willing to try, right? 🙂 So–here comes the wine!

II.

The transplant anniversary is always a mighty powerful day. It’s a day of resurrection, of new chances, of celebrating being alive. (Cue the song from Company)

(yeah, video clip!)

Or, as Emily Webb said in Our Town: “Do humans ever realize why they live it? Every, every minute?”

III.

This year the transplant anniversary fell on our last day of Les Miz tech week. We were warming up, preparing to go on, when my friend Bethany steps up and starts talking about me….and I turn bright red. One of the girls gave me a bouquet of flowers and Doug, our Javert, led everyone in singing happy anniversary to me. I was so touched by this. My friend Abby and our director, Robin, were also behind this scheme. I felt so loved. Afterwards a lot of people asked me questions (including the 11 year old playing Gavroche), and I was happy to  answer them. I just felt so wonderful. Thanks to all of you (again!)

IV.

Also on my anniversary, I got to have lunch with my transplant nurse, Karen, and her precious little girls. I just love spending time with her. She was a great nurse and she’s also a fantastic friend. Her little girls are 5 and 2, and they are adorable and fun. They also have two Westies that I adore (except for when one of them brings me dead Rabbits that he’s killed, but that’s another story…) And Karen’s husband is pretty awesome, too. Basically I just love that family. A true gift of Transplant has been getting to know them!

V.

So this year was the 8 year anniversary. That’s a pretty darn good milestone, given that only about half of the lung transplant patients make it to 5 years. Lung transplants are not done nearly as often as other organs, so we’re still setting precedents, in a sense. 🙂 There’s so much we still don’t know about transplant science, in general. So I’m very glad that I’m doing so well.

VI.

Opening night for Les Miz was last night. We had a full house (really. Full house) and got an immediate standing ovation after the finale. I clutched hands with the girl next to me–we were so happy and proud and excited. It was truly a memorable night. Tomorrow and tonight are the last two performances.

VII.

A few fun transplant facts for you: My surgery was over 12 hours long; My lungs were too big for me, so my center trimmed them; they came from Minnesota, from a 50ish year old woman who died of a brain aneurysm. I am so thankful to her and her family for giving me the ability to sit here and type to y’all. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 22

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I.

I hope all my American readers had a Glorious Fourth! (I’m assuming not all of you are Americans…I could be wrong in this) It rained on and off here, which lead to a crazy packed movie theater. My brother, his girlfriend and I went to see Despicable Me 2, because sometimes you need minions in your life.

minions

minions

If you haven’t seen the first one, that’s OK. This isn’t a movie that requires you to have seen the first one, although I do recommend it, just because it’s super-cute.

After the minions, my parents and I had dinner at Max and Erma’s. Nothing quite says the Fourth like a big cheeseburger and a cookie. I finished the day by making a raspberry cream pie and watching 1776: “This is a revolution, damn it! We’re going to offend somebody!”

II.

Today I also have off, so I’m cleaning, cooking, reading, and then going to Act II music tech rehearsal tonight. Music tech is where you just practice the music without costumes, lights, all that stuff. Sometimes it’s called a sitzprobe, but we don’t sit. We block per usual. But the focus is on the music, first and foremost. Also in music tech, we’re working from the top down–meaning the numbers with the biggest number of people, down to the solos. (In a sitzprobe, you sing through the whole show, in order.) So since I’m only in the Finale, I hope that this means short rehearsal for moi. Because tomorrow starts…

III.

Tech week.

Tech week is where all the parts of the show come together: lighting, any special effects, costumes, scenery, music from the pit. Everything at one time. Now, we have really been ahead of the game this year in that we’ve been doing lights, moving scenery and props in and out of the scenes, and even incorporating some costumes, for the past week. So I think it will go more smoothly than tech usually goes for a show of this size. At least I’m hoping so. We start at 9 AM and go until we’re done. People usually bring lots of food so we can fortify ourselves when we’re not on stage. 🙂 I probably won’t be in full costume tomorrow–just some pieces, but will start full costume next week. We’ve got a pretty quick change between “At the End of the Day” and “Lovely Ladies”–just “I Dreamed A Dream” is between them–and the LL costumes are fairly elaborate.

IV.

Speaking of LL costumes–yesterday I made my hat! I’ll have pictures up later, but basically I took a star hat frame and added a ribbon, feathers, and a cluster of flowers. It’s so adorable. I love it! Maybe I should’ve been a milliner?

V.

Pope Francis’ first encyclical is out today. Read it here. It’s been called and encyclical written “with four hands”, because B XVI began it, so I’m really interested to read the final result. (Which I will do after this is up) In other church news: two new Saints! Bl. John Paul II and Bl. John XXIII are going to be canonized. Rock on!

VI.

Books I read this week: Kisses from Katie; started Jane Austen: A Life In Small Things, and Love Walked In.

VII.

Monday and Tuesday are my annual testing-palooza at the resort (AKA Nationwide Children’s). Let the fun begin! I’m sure most of the tests will be fine; I’ve been feeling great. But one never knows.