And a happy new year!

December 31, 2009 at 8:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I missed Christmas somehow, at least blogChristmas. I hope it was happy and merry and not a completely commercial giftathon at your houses.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We did pretty well over here, although it was still so many presents that the baby lost interest half way through and had to open the rest the following day. But still and all, it was lovely to hear my six-year-old sing in the choir at mass, lovely to spend some drama-free time with my extended family, lovely to be warm and cozy snuggled up with the kids whilst sledding, lovely to see the Nutcracker, to eat Chinese feast, to drink wine, to recall old family memories and create new ones.

And I hope that 2010 brings more of the same! I know that 2009 was a rough year for a lot of folks, but we were more fortunate, and I will remember it very fondly as the year that Lucy learned to walk, that Henry learned to read and that Riley learned to ride a two-wheeler. We had wonderful vacations that took us from coast to coast. We made new friends and reconnected with old ones. So, as always, I am a little sad to see the old year go, but look forward with eager anticipation to what the new one will bring.

Peace and much love to you all.

OH! And in case you are actually awake at midnight, and you need the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne,” this is what I’ve always sung. Happy New Year!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
for old lang syne…

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Protect us from all anxiety, part two

December 16, 2009 at 7:25 pm (Uncategorized)

The interwebs being what they are, who knows whether the information you find is accurate or not, but I’m desperate, so here you go. This is Saint Dymphna, an Irish lass from the middle ages whose dad went insane, tried to rape her and then decapitated her, which explains why she is the patron saint of those with nervous disorders. I’m praying for the worrywart in my life. If you’ve got a second, maybe you could do me the very great favor of doing the same.

Saint Dymphna

Saint Dymphna

Lord, our God, you graciously chose Saint Dymphna as patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders. She is thus an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who ask her intercession. Please grant, Lord, through the prayers of this pure youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all suffering such trials, and especially those for whom we pray. We beg you, Lord, to hear the prayers of Saint Dymphna on our behalf. Grant all those for whom we pray patience in their sufferings and resignation to your divine will. Please fill them with hope, and grant them the relief and cure they so much desire. We ask this through Christ our Lord who suffered agony in the garden. Amen.

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Think pink!

December 13, 2009 at 10:14 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent and if the happy pink candle and the priest’s Barbie-pink chasuble didn’t clue you in, we are supposed to be rejoicing, dagnabbit!

Henry's play dough Advent wreath

Henry's play dough Advent wreath

I have awfully fond feelings about Gaudete Sunday…In fact, I made my first communion the third Sunday of Advent, lo these many years ago (although I didn’t get to wear the fancy white dress and the veil…my mom bought me a green velour pantsuit with a sprig of holly pin, which was very cute and seasonal, but I am STILL bummed about not getting the fancy white dress etc…) And of course when I was a kid, there was a certain amount of jockeying between my sister and myself to be the one to light the pink candle.

We went to mass yesterday evening, since Riley was singing in the children’s choir. I loved Father Jerry’s explanation for our rejoicing today…it’s simple math! For the first time during Advent, there are more candles lit than unlit. Light is winning, darkness is beaten back.

It’s the season for festivals of light, I guess. In my Jatholic household we celebrated Hanukkah Friday night with friends, latkes and basil gimlets. OH! and I spotted this amazing car on my way to Winkie’s to get gelt. It’s a rotten picture, but check out the menorah on top. I have never been much of a one for wearing your faith on your sleeve, but on your vehicle? Spectacular.

Hanukkah car

Hanukkah car

Anyway, back to mass…the readings for today are fanTAStic. The first is from Zephaniah, 3:14-18a:

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! Yahweh has repealed your sentence; he has turned your enemy away. Yahweh is king among you, Israel, you have nothing more to fear. When that Day comes, the message for Jerusalem will be: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp. Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Saviour. He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by his love, he will dance with shouts of joy for you, as on a day of festival. I have taken away your misfortune, no longer need you bear the disgrace of it.

Dance, sing, shout, rejoice, exult, happy, festival…my mood is lifting a little for some reason!

The second is none too shabby either. From Paul’s letter to the Philippians, 4:4-7:

Always be joyful, then, in the Lord; I repeat, be joyful. Let your good sense be obvious to everybody. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

I need that fourth sentence tattooed on my brain, I think. How lovely.

Things get a little heavier with the gospel reading, which is from Luke, 3:10-18:

When all the people asked him, ‘What must we do, then?’ he answered, ‘Anyone who has two tunics must share with the one who has none, and anyone with something to eat must do the same.’
There were tax collectors, too, who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than the appointed rate.’
Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’
A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to wonder whether John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’
And he proclaimed the good news to the people with many other exhortations too.

Wait, but this is the season of getting stuff! Who wants to give away her extra cloak! Who is content with his pay? Then again, I really want to be the wheat, not the chaff. Maybe I do need to go through the coat closet, both the literal, overstuffed coat closet, and also the spiritual (also overstuffed) coat closet. I’d love to get rid of the anxiety, doubt and darkness that is bogging me down…not to mention some of the fashion misfires gathering dust on the hanger.

Happy Hanukkah friends, and happy rejoicing! Enjoy the light.

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Christmas list

December 10, 2009 at 5:41 am (Uncategorized) (, )

‘Tis the season, right? I’ve been reasonably nice this year…I mean on balance more nice than naughty I think…so maybe I’ll get something on my list this year:

more prayer
more faith
more patience
more yoga
more music
more love
more writing
more reading

oh. and a puppy.

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Don’t fence me in!

December 9, 2009 at 2:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I had this moment yesterday where I was drinking a latte, telling a friend about a “fantastic” article in the New York Times, and I realized that I was a liberal, latte-drinking, Times-reading elitist.

But phew! At least I’m a Catholic, so you can’t pigeonhole me completely.

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Salve Regina

December 8, 2009 at 7:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation for Catholics. Lucy, Henry and I made it (barely) to the 8:30 am mass at school. I was glad we did, since the sixth graders I’d helped with the Advent play were in charge of the liturgy, so it was nice to see those kids and give them a thumbs up.

(It occurred to me as I wrestled with two different backpacks, snowboots, hats, mittens, various and sundry toys etc that mass with small children is not for the faint-hearted. I joked with the mom next to me that it’s a marathon not a sprint. It’s hard work wrangling babies AND listening to a homily…Let’s just say that it’s a very physical spirituality.)

Whoops, I’m off track.

Anyway, as I said, it’s the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I want to clear something up on the off chance that someone finds this via Google or whatever. The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the birth of Christ – that’s the Virgin Birth. The Immaculate Conception refers to the fact that Mary was born without the taint of original sin that stains the rest of us.

Okey-dokey, you clear? Good. Now go to church.

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Roller coaster

December 1, 2009 at 7:20 pm (Uncategorized)

Highs and lows, up and down, you get it, right? I go from being thankful to wondering what it’s all about. In the past week, our parish buried its oldest (106) and youngest (seven days) members. And I’m fresh out of…everything.

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