Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Doing Our Best!

Tom and I are doing our best to raise great kids. Part of that task is discerning what they eat. I shudder to think back on the variety of "new foods" I ate while growing up. I turned out okay. But, back then all we were dealing with was foods that were mishmashed into new forms. The threat today extends down to the genetic background. We make our own choices, and this is where I am a huge advocate that foods need to be honestly labeled. If someone has deemed that I "need" to eat corn that has been genetically modified to resist pests, I want to know. I have no need for a "nanny" to tell us to just "trust us!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Friday

It all started with the peaceful close to our Good Friday.  We had been busy with house cleaning, sorting, and other quiet activities.  By 2:40 we were on our way for services.  Wow!  Plenty of folks were already at the church.  Tom dropped us off, and went on to find a parking spot.  After services we walked 4 blocks to where he parked the car.  During services we were in the overflow area, watching via television the services taking place just above our head in the main sanctuary.  

Beautiful, prayerful, deeply moving service.  I was moved to tears by the day's observance of the crucifixion of Jesus.

So, we return home.  Here in Ontario, by law businesses are to be closed.  Sometimes I just wonder about the laws.  While I totally agree not to shop myself on sacred days, I find it such a puzzler in this socialist society that Good Friday is given the same mandate as "Family Day" back in February.  Not complaining, just puzzled.

Once we returned home it was time to fix our meal to break the fast.  If I remember, I'll post the delicious salmon patties we created.  It was an inexpensive meal, but tasted as if it was much more costly.  Of course, our fasting might have contributed to our perception!  

Afterward, after going over travel plans for May and July (graduation and wedding) I proposed that we all take a drive out to enjoy the remainder of Good Friday.  Tom one upped me and proposed that, instead, we use our "new to us" bicycles and take Mary and Peter on a ride around the neighborhood.

Now, these bicycles are something Tom has wanted for quite some time.  We found a gentleman here who refurbishes bikes, and after looking at them bought two for $90.  Of course, I didn't give mine the test drive it probably needed, since I have never had much of an athletic bone in my body.  Tom, on the other hand went through three before finding one he liked.   I am one of those that should never buy a car on her own!  When the man we bought them from suggested I just keep the left shifter in one position, because I really didn't need the other gears, I actually thanked him!  Well, duh, the shifter didn't work, and I spent the first half of our ride trying to get it into a gear I could actually use!

It was so nice to be riding our bikes.  The weather is still a bit nippy, but nice for getting out into the fresh air.  Perhaps because of the holiday, most folks were either gone, or staying at home, so traffic was not heavy.  Mary and I fell a bit behind because Tom and Peter were in a quiet competition to see who could outrace the other one.  As we came around one corner we saw that they were beyond a road barrier, on new streets for a new portion of the subdivision.  Mary asked about how we got around it, and I thought that if they were that far they must have just ridden their bikes around.

As Mary came up, she commented that she thought it would be better to walk our bikes around it.  Foolish me!  I said, no, we could just steer around it like the guys did.  (Found out later that they had walked theirs, too!  I wonder who is guilty of competition?)  

As I began to steer past the barrier my depth perception, and confidence suffered.  Mary, wisely waiting to see me make it watched a piece of construction debris kick up under one of my wheels. I veered, and the bike lurched from under.  I fell pretty hard.  I think the third worse moment was right before I fell, knowing how hard it would hurt.  

And hurt it did.  My right knee, head and hands took the brunt of the fall.  If I had just fallen on plain dirt, it would have hurt.  But because I fell onto a jumble of broken concrete paving, rocks, etc. I had plenty of contact with surfaces far harder than my head!    

The pain was intense, to the point I thought I might just pass out.  When I looked up and saw Mary's fear, though, my mind rallied.  It took a bit to get past the deep, deep shock and pain of my knee and head.  Slowly, I was able to stand.  Mary wheeled my bike out, and we decided to just leave the guys and ride home.

On the way back, I felt shocky.  Nausea and pain made me keep breathing as deep as I could.  By then my knee was numb, but other parts of my body began to call in their distress.  After almost being backed over by a teen driver darting out of his driveway, and avoiding another car insistent that he owned the road we got back home.

Tom and Peter of course, by then, realized what had happened.  They all pampered me!  My right knee was skinned up, though my jeans were untorn.  At least no imbedded rocks.  Can't quite say that about my hands!  I even had rocks falling from my hair as I was getting ready to take a nice, hot soak in the tub that Tom had drawn for me.

So, lesson learned!  I'll get back on board.  Praise be to God!  I offer my discomfort, aches and pains.  I also thank God for this family that took care of the Mom!  

I hope your Easter is the season of hope it is for your own family and life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Slippery Monday of Holy Week

Last night was my last meeting with a beautiful group of women.   I've come to know each of them just a bit, and have received a deep reconviction to return to and deepen my prayer life.  The study we used was "Women of Grace" by Johnnette Benkovic.

When I first mentioned beginning this study to a friend in Houston, all she shared was that it was quite challenging.   I puzzled in my mind exactly what she meant.  Now I know.  If you aren't afraid, and you need not be, check out this wonderfully affirming and challenging study.

Our Holy Week begins with more icy rain and snow.   While growing up in rural Nevada, and living there again with our children it was never unusual to have a snowy Easter.  In fact, for the longest time I really believed my Dad that the reason we color Easter eggs was so we could find them in the snow.  Of course, we did get to experience plenty of glorious springtime weather for many Easters!

Last night I drove through light rain mixed with snow to my meeting.  When I came out of the church to return home, I almost lost my footing!  The parking lot was covered with a slick icy coating.  It reminded me of the ominous black ice that could be present on Nevada roads in wintertime.  Looked dry, but definitely was trecherous!

After I slid to the side of my car, it was covered with ice!  Fortunately, my trusty scraper was still in the pocket of my driver's door.  Unfortunately, I had neglected to keep my gloves, thinking foolishly that spring meant no more scraping.   My hands really were none the worse for having to clear the windows.  When I got home, it was nice to remember that today our activities were confined to inside the house for most of Tuesday and Wednesday.

I hope Easter springs up bright, warmer and beautiful.  Whether the weather cooperates or not, I do know that Easter will arrive.  Now to concentrate on making the most of our Holy Week!  The Triduum has grown to be one of our favorite times to celebrate being Christian, especially Catholic.  Holy Thursday Mass, opening with the presentation of the sacred oils, joyfilled songs, and closing with the solemn reposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Waiting, adoring silently, and then leaving for home in silent reflection.  Good Friday -- having the solemn service, venerating the cross, praying for so many, trusting that the Passion will always lead us to the Resurrection.  Holy Saturday, preparing our Easter treats, having food blessed.  Then dressing for Easter vigil.  Wearing our new clothes, waiting in the dark for the Easter fire to be lit!  A glorious sweep of light -- hearing the readings leading us through salvation history -- the light!  Watching, praying for and celebrating with catecumens anxiously awaiting their baptisms, first Eucharists, and  Confirmation!  

We watched one year as a young woman, who was also one of our engaged couples, danced with hard to suppress joy through each part of "her" Easter vigil.  Her exhuberance will be firmly planted in our family's memories!

Easter morning, still setting up the Easter egg hunt, always one egg missing (we learned to count them early on), helping with overflow crowds at Mass, praying silently that each heart is touched and that they know how welcome they are all the time!  Returning home for our family tradition of sweet almond bread and coffee.  Preparing our Easter meal, enjoying not just our chocolate bunnies, but each other's company.  

Celebrating and embracing each day of the Easter season with some small treat, some small rememberance, sacred music, candle-lit dinners!

Well, you can see that I'm definitely looking forward to Easter this year.   Our family hopes that each one of you can and will embrace the remainder of Lent, seek out Triduum rites, and continue to seek our Risen Lord!