Daybook No. 83

Daybook No. 83

Happy birthday, Jane Austen!

Happy birthday, Jane Austen!

Outside my window::

Well, it’s raining, but that’s OK. It’s been in the 50s the past few days–I actually had the windows open in here yesterday. Amazing!

Wearing::

Jeans, t-shirt. Nothing interesting, sorry. 🙂

In the CD player::

Messiah. Because it’s that time of year!

Reading::

I started The Miniaturist last night, and it’s been REALLY hard to put down so far. I’m a quarter of the way through and I’m loving it. I also have Some Luck, which was an early Christmas gift, and of course all my Advent books. And since it’s Jane Day, I may open one of hers, like Persuasion, which is a bit shorter than the others, and I love it. (Well, I love them all. How to choose, people?!)

Around the house::

Normal weekly cleaning today–dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, etc. Working on cleaning the master bathroom as well.

From the kitchen::

Today I’m having dinner with my parents, but lunch will be a salad, I think. I need to check out my meal plan ideas for the rest of the week.

Health/Fitness::

Lost a pound at clinic yesterday, WIN. Everyone generally pleased, go back at the end of January. I’ve also been noticing that I’m getting a wee bit stronger, so that’s a good thing. Still going to the gym 3-4 times a week. I’ve been having some muscle cramps in my legs which is inhibiting the working out, but we think it’s a problem due to low magnesium levels in my blood (this is a pretty common post-transplant problem), so we’re upping my mag doses to see if that helps. It should.

Church::

I made life promises on Sunday. 🙂 It was a pretty great day. I’ll write more about that in a separate post.

Plans for the week::

Not a whole lot, actually! No CCD because we’re on break, so it’s a nice, wide-open week. 🙂

Praying for::

  • Elizabeth’s son Patrick, who’s having surgery today
  • Courtney, and her family.
  • A woman in my Lay Dominican chapter who may have a recurrence of her brain tumor.
  • Elizabeth

Adorable Photo of the Week::

Prince George. Look at those cheeks!

Prince George. LOOK at those cheeks!

Pondering::

JoyIsAlwaysPossible

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Seven Quick Takes No. 61

Seven Quick Takes No. 61

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I.

This week felt like it flew by.It’s that time of year again, when it just gets closer to Christmas and there’s so much to DO and not enough time to do it! Totally the theory of relativity, right? As a kid, you remember these days going so slowly. And now? Gone so quickly. It’s amazing.

II.

This is partially because there’s a lot going on–tomorrow I’m going to a Penguins/Jackets game with my parents (in which I will be happy with the outcome, because one team I love will win!). On Sunday, it’s the last CCD class before the break, which basically means a video on St. Nicholas and bingo games; then we have a catechist meeting; then there’s a Third Order meeting which concludes with life promises (EEEEK), and then dinner with Mary and lessons and carols at my parish. WHEW. And Monday I have a doctor appointment with all that attends that, and an audition that night.

III.

So, life promises. Yes. Basically, this means I’m a Lay Dominican forever and ever (amen), I promise to live by the rule of St. Dominic for the rest of my life, and be a good Lay Dominican. 🙂 The rule requires that I say morning and evening prayer of the liturgy of the hours, attend Mass as often as possible during the week, go to confession once a month, say a daily rosary, and perform individual religious study. None of these are bound by pain of sin. If I miss vespers one day or something, it’s not a thing I need to confess. But these are the “pillars”, so to speak, of my life, forever, after Sunday. I’ve been in formation for five+ years now, and I’m so glad to be making this final step.

IV.

My Christmas shopping, however, is 98% finished. I still have to get something for two more people, who are hard to shop for. Sigh. I’m hoping to come up with magic inspiration over the next week.

V.

My 2015 calendar is starting to fill up–January has good things (a Symphony concert!) and some unfun/fun things–a colonoscopy (Oh YAY!). Yes, my friends, I need to have one, and the hospital, of course, is freaking because I have a PORT, and we’re going to USE IT, and OH MY GOSH!

Really, guys, it’s not that hard. They don’t even have to access me–mom can do it. All they have to do is push the lovely happy meds into the tube. I do not understand the freak out. It’s an adult hospital I’m going to, but they treat cancer patients, so a port isn’t some exotic medical things they’ve never seen. Sigh. I guess it’ll be a “teachable moment” for them. AS long as they don’t break the port, I don’t care. Just give me the fun meds and do what you have to do, doc.

VI.

in 2015, revision on THE BOOK will begin in earnest. Yes. I have left the draft alone for a few months, I’ve gotten some feedback from my beta readers, and in January it will be time to start massaging it into shape again, and bring out the long knife of editing. Oh yes, my friends. The knife is coming out!

VII.

Next week has two of my favorite days! JANE DAY, her birthday, on Dec. 16, in which we shall all drink tea, watch the Wet Shirt video, and read her books, and Dec. 17, which is Beethoven Day (it’s the day Beethoven was Baptized.) Such great genius!  They were born five years apart (Beethoven in 1700, Jane in 1775), and died ten years apart (Jane in July 1817, Beethoven in March 1827). So on Beethoven Day we will listen to much Beethoven and rejoice in his genius. (Yes, he’s my favorite composer, why do you ask?)

HipsterBeethoven-51735

(Side note: people: stop using this to mean “pounds.” I See it all the time: “The fish was 8#!” REALLY?!?!?!)

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Daybook No. 82

Daybook No. 82

Outside my window::

Cloudy, a good day for staying inside with the fireplace on and the tree lit.

My Christmas Tree, 2014

My Christmas Tree, 2014

Wearing::

Jeans and an IBM Innovate conference long-sleeved shirt. (When we’ve gone to Disney the past two years, this is what we went for–that conference. Dad and I have matching shirts. 🙂 ) And fuzzy Life is Good socks, because it’s chilly!

Reading::

Love Does, Seeking Spiritual Direction. And of course my Advent books.

In the CD player::

Renee Fleming’s Christmas in New York. I’m really loving her version of “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

Around the house::

This week I’m working on the kitchen–cleaning out the fridge and freezer, stuff like that. I’m trying to stick with the Zones, with some adjustments, because I want to polish all the furniture on the first level before Christmas week, sow hen people come over it’s pretty. 🙂

From the kitchen::

I’m working on some recipes from Mad Hungry. Yes, it’s for “feeding men and boys”, but man there are great recipes in here. Dinner is chicken and a side salad. Lunch is–tentatively–a meal-sized salad.

Health::

Clinic on Monday. Scheduled a colonoscopy for January–happy new year to me, eh? 🙂 Currently my stomach is acting up and refusing food, so we’ll see if it changes its mind later. It might, it might not. No biggie. I mean, not currently a biggie. If it decides to act up more, I will be displeased, but at the moment, it’s kosher.

Plans for the week::

Hockey game on Saturday night–Pens/Jackets. A tough night for cheering–but either way, a team I love wins! Sunday, I make life promises!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!

Pondering::

This amazing blog. People. This mom? This family? This shows us grace, and how God works. How He is good all the time. I love this family. These are my sorts of people!
Click over? Read the story? (You might want to start here.)

Really, it’s all grace. Overwhelming grace, God’s grace, the gifts we get every day. This family, this mom, gets that.

SometimeTheProofThatGodExists

I try to live my life this way. And God knows, man, I fail and I fall and I flounder around going, Where is the burning bush?! But the older I get, the more I realize that grace is just everywhere, abundant, and that trust is how we find Him.

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 58

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 (I meant to schedule this for tomorrow morning. So “tonight”=Friday night. 🙂 )

I.

OK, so good news first: I’ve been accepted to make life promises with my Lay Dominican chapter! Yay! I will make them in December at our monthly chapter meeting.

agnes yay

I feel like Agnes with her Fluffy Unicorns. 🙂 🙂

II.

So I am super excited about that. I am also super excited that I got to read Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of LOTS of awesome new books that are coming out! This week I got to read Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult’s new book which comes out October 14, and Alexander McCall Smith’s The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe, which also comes out in October. I love these authors, and I adore these new books. You must read them!

emily's book reviews button

I’m not going to say too much about these because I want y’all to read them yourselves and then we’ll talk.

Tonight I also read Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar, which comes out January 13. As an avid Virginia Woolf fan, I really liked this novel, especially since it was told from Vanessa’s Point of View, as the title tell us 🙂 I’ve read almost all of Virginia’s novels, and The Hours is always one of my top five movies. Highly recommend this one.

The last one, which I haven’t read yet, is A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison. This one also comes out in January (1/27).

How did I get these? A local public library had a rep from Random House come in and talk about new releases, and there were lots of ARCs available for us to read. Part of that is drumming up interest, and no, I didn’t get paid to read these, so I can tell you, without bias, that the three I’ve read so far are great.

(ARCs are basically the finished novel, but “uncorrected proofs”, so there may be small typeset or editing errors that will be corrected before the final copies that go to bookstores.)

III.

I’ve also been cooking a lot this week, mostly from The Chew‘s first cookbook.  I’ve made General Tso’s Chicken, Mario’s Restrictor Plate Chili, and Eggs in Hell thus far this week (and my hands are still stinging from chopping the jalapeños in that last one!). These recipes have all been really great, and I’ll try to post links to them on my cooking blog.

IV.

Speaking of blogs: as part of the BOOK PROPOSAL, I need to develop a “platform”. So I’ve got an “author” web page, which has links to my Twitter and Facebook Author Page. (Yes, I have one, yes it feels ridic to have one, but….) If you would be so kind as to go to my page here and follow both those things (and the page!), I’d be super happy. 

The page itself is still under construction, so there won’t be too much activity there for right now. But it is important in this digital webby era to have BRANDING ALL OVER.

So, I’m trying.

(I hate selling things, by the way. I hated selling Girl Scout cookies. But I really want the book to get published, so I’m selling myself for my book. :-0 )

V.

In the world of writing, it’s almost NANOWRIMO time! This will be the third year I’ve participated. I wrote more about it here.  Come join? 🙂 It’s fun!

VI.

Dolly rehearsals go hard core this week. Dancing is tonight.

I’m nervous about that. I don’t really….dance….

On Saturday we’re running/blocking Act I, and on Sunday, Act II. I’m not teaching CCD this week, it’s my co-catechist’s turn. The topic? The rosary. The first Sunday of October is Rosary Sunday at my parish, so we’re going to teach the kids about this very Dominican, very important devotion.

So it’s a weekend with Dolly and teaching, and dinner with my friend Mary.

VII.

And finally:

This is an awesome look at OSU’s Wizard of Oz halftime show.

Daybook No. 68

Outside my windows::

It’s cloudy, it might rain. It’s very cool–about 75 or so, I think–which is really cool for Ohio in July! But I’m not complaining.

Wearing::

Jeans and a blue v-neck t-shirt.

Reading::

The Way of Perfection; The Better Part; Pride and Prejudice; Acedia and Me. As usual, lots of books going. 🙂

Fitness::
Rehab is going well. I sort of had a meltdown yesterday about the inability of my body to do what I want it to do, but my therapists were very understanding and we talked about how no one can do things right off the bat, and we work toward things with modifications, adjustments, etc. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. Then I went and did 5.5 miles on the stationary bike, which is a personal best for me. So yay body.

This was also because I went to Hocking Hills with my friends over the weekend, and my body can’t do things theirs can do, like do 4 mile hikes (uphill, yeah, no), and do other things. I just can’t. And it’s really frustrating to be sitting out and watching people do things I wish I could do. People really don’t understand what it’s like to want to do things and have a really uncooperative body. Some people are more sympathetic than others. But, in general, there was some “I hate my body” happening, but I’m trying to get past that.

Creativity::

The first draft of my memoir is DONE!!!!! And sent to Cristina, my very first lovely reader!. And I’m knitting again! Yay! I finally learned a better cast on and it’s helped me immeasurably. So we’re doing Yarn Along this week! YAY!!!!!!!!

I also purchased a handmade, lovely pottery yarn bowl while I was in Hocking Hills. I’ll have pics tomorrow for Yarn Along. 🙂

Church::

CCD rapidly approaches. I can’t believe it. I’m really excited to meet this year’s crop of kiddos!! And I miss teaching so much.

There’s a Dominican Rite Mass at my parish on Sunday (8/3) in honor of ST. Dominic’s Feast on 8/8. It’s going to be AWESOME, and afterwards my Lay Dominican chapter is going out to dinner.  We also have our annual Day of Recollection in August, which is always edifying and exciting.

And we’re getting a new friar next month, because Fr. Gregory is going to Oxford to do some advanced studies. I am jealous, and I will miss him muchly.

Around the house::

Still digging out from the show and vacation. Whew. It’s crazy over here.

Food::

Veggie stew tonight and then some other goodies–meatballs, turkey burgers, etc.–later this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer in the Little Oratory–Chapter Five

The Little Oratory

 

(All of the Summer in the Little Oratory posts can be found here) This chapter is one of my favorites in the book. We’re going to talk about the Breviary! (Or the Liturgy of the Hours–LOH for short!)

I’ve always been attracted to this prayer. I remember as a teenager going through prayer books and reading about the LOH, and trying to replicate it with a notebook and the Book of Psalms. Needless to say, it didn’t quite work. This was before Internet shopping and Amazon, so I had no idea what these books looked like, let alone how I’d get one. But I loved the idea of prayer all through the day, and praying with the entire Church. And this desire was one of the big things that drew me toward my Lay Dominican vocation, because as a Lay Dominican, we’re required to say at least lauds and vespers daily. (It’s not binding, like it is for a priest–if we miss, it’s not a huge deal. But we’re supposed to make it a priority in our daily lives.)

At first, I know–the LOH can seem crazy complicated. You get this huge book (or books, if, like me, you have the four volume set), and it’s got all these parts and colored ribbons and how do you know where you’re going and what is happening?!

There is–believe it or not–a general outline to the office. It looks like so, no matter what is happening that day–Easter, Christmas, St. Benedict, whatever:

  1. Inventory (Morning prayer only). This is Psalm 95 (most of the time–you can use two other psalms if you want, but I always use psalm 95)
  2. Three psalms and canticles. Usually two psalms, one canticle.
  3. A reading
  4. Responsory
  5. Another canticle: in the morning, it’s Zechariah’s prayer from Luke, in the evening, it’s the Magnificat (both, coincidentally, are in chapter 1 of Luke)
  6. Intentions (pre-set in the book–you don’t have to make up your own!)
  7. the Our Father
  8. Concluding prayer

That’s it. Eight parts.

What makes it confusing is….what precisely goes in those eight parts.

Stick with me. 🙂

The best way to learn to say the hours is to have someone teach you. That’s how we do it in our Dominican chapter; the office is one of the first things inquirers learn to do, in an hour long class dedicated to it. It’s also helpful if you have the book in front of you. But I’m hoping my pictures will give you some idea!

 

My office books

My office books

This is the current LOH book. I use the 4 volume set. This is the third volume, for the first part of Ordinary Time (the second one is green).

 

Ribbons in binding

Ribbons in binding

Each volume has these ribbons in the binding. (You can see I also use post-its because I do not think they give us enough ribbon!)

You can use these to mark different parts of the book. Everyone has their own way of using the ribbons. I use mine to mark the Office of Readings, the morning canticle, the current day in the psalter, and feast days.

 

First section: Office of Readings

First section: Office of Readings

The Ordinary

The Ordinary

When it’s time for the office, this is what I open my book to (Post inventory. I have that memorized)

Daily psalms (in the four week cycle)

Daily psalms (in the four week cycle)

There’s a hymn. This is optional, but if I know it, I like to sing it. 🙂 During Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter there’s a section of appropriate hymns in the beginning of the book as well.

So, I sing the hymn, and I turn the page to:

morning prayer continued

morning prayer continued

The psalms/canticles. In the book above you see the end of the canticle, the last psalm, the reading, and the responsory.

After the responsory, it’s time for the morning canticle, which is above (marked with red ribbon.)

Then I flip back: Intercessions and closing prayer.

morning prayer end

morning prayer end

 

The cycle is roughly the same for evening prayer as well. For Office of readings, it’s three psalms, then the readings.

For Feasts, like today, you have this:

Feasts (marked with purple ribbon)

Feasts (marked with purple ribbon)

 

You have the saint’s name in bold under the date. The red notation underneath tells us what it is: A feast, a memorial, whatever. St. Bonaventure gets a memorial. There’s a short paragraph about the saint.

Then see that red writing? That’s where the prayers for today come from. Since St. Bonaventure is a Doctor of the Church, he’s really complicated. Doctors the Church are the most complicated, I think, because you have two different sorts of things to juggle. But usually it would just say “Common of Virgins” or “Pastors” or whatever. There you get antiphons, etc that are particular to the saint.

After that you see Office of Readings in bold. Following that is the second reading proper to the feast. So instead of reading whatever the second reading is for Tuesday, July 15, I’ll read this.

For complicated feast days, you can use divineoffice.org, which I love.  Also, if you get lost in  where you are in the office, this site will tell ya.

So that is the office. I love it. I know it sounds complicated, and some of it is out of date now (the prayers are the old translation of the liturgy, and they don’t have saints like St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Hildegard as Doctors of the Church), and some of the saint name spellings are wrong, but I still love it. It does take some work to learn. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! But it is a wonderful way to pray with the whole church, and get into the liturgical rhythm of the year, learning about each saint as his or her feast day comes by, and really loving that cycle

 

Retreat 2014 notes

I made my annual retreat over the past week. I say “annual”, and usually it is, although there are years where all I get in terms of retreat are my Lay Dominican chapter’s day of recollection around St. Dominic’s Day on August 8. Not that that’s bad, but it’s not the same as a weekend retreat, especially a weekend silent retreat.

 

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This year I attended our Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s retreat, led by Fr. Ezra Sullivan, OP, who is stationed at St. Gertrude’s near Cincinnati (where our province novitiate is). The theme of the retreat was “Mary, Mother of Sorrows/Mother of Grace”, and how those two titles aren’t mutually exclusive.

As much as I love to talk, I also love–crave–the silence of retreat. How is God supposed to be heard over the noise of daily life? Remember, Elijah didn’t hear God in the earthquake. He heard Him in the “still,small voice” (1 Kgs 19:11-13). The silence isn’t absolute. It usually starts after dinner on Friday and then there’s an optional Saturday social, with the silence ended after Mass on Sunday. You can also ask questions during conferences. But, in general, silence is the rule, so that everyone can spend time immersed in God, listening for His voice, and spending time in prayer. Continue reading