Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday



Because boys {on college visit trips} just wanna have fun...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palms in our Palms

It's Palm Sunday


And  yes, as seen in the post directly below, it IS our anniversary.  This year our anniversary falls on Palm Sunday.  Which isn't quite as  humbling and embarrassing as when it falls on Holy Thursday or any such thing, but gee golly, it's close.  

You see, as Catholics, we don't really do sacraments like Marriage during a penitential season such as Lent.  It's not done.  Because it's a season of penance.  Right, quick now, stop.  No jokes about marriage and penance...cmon, tooo easy.  Get your head out of the gutter!  Besides, we are talking about MY marriage which is a gift, no penance, all right?  Right.  But I'm digressing through my digression...ahem.  I am going on the record that we got married in Lent first of all, because we were simply stupid and ignorant.  Second of all because it was spring break, Tom was in med school and we just couldn't wait.  Because we were madly in love and couldn't wait another minute, another day or month or season.  That's my story and I"m sticking to it.  But, really, secondly, because we are pushy and obnoxious and pushed the our favorite priest to go ahead and perform the ceremony because this was the only time we had to get married (ya know, spring break).  So he surely figured it was better to marry us than to NOT and so, he did.  {I wonder if I should confess being a near occasion of sin for him, oh so long ago? Hadn't thought about that, hmmmm...not entirely kidding....}  Third and last, but most obviously, we got married during Lent because we were obviously NOT living Catholic lives.  Not paying attention to the good stuff or details at all.  Doh.  And thus now....we are living our penance annually by having our anniversary during Lent.  Sigh.  It serves us right.  Talk about perfect justice.  Sheesh.  
Anyhow.  So.  Back to post.

It is Palm Sunday today.

Which means of course, that this is the beginning of HOLY WEEK!  Finally.  Already.  Oh my.

And this means that it is one of the hardest Masses of the year.  And the longest.  This is the Mass where they pass out Palms for us to hold, to re-enact in a tiny way Christ's entry into Jerusalem.  This is the Mass where small boys in the pews have mock sword fights with the palms as their mother tries to ignore and/or redirect them.  This is another nice connection to the liturgy my Marta knows, as they too pass out palms in her church (Orthodox) in Ethiopia.  This is familiar and known to her, reinforcing her connections in faith, both backward and forward. 

This is the Mass where the gospel passion of Christ is read, with different readers for each part: the Pastor reads Christ, the deacon or seminarian or another parishoner might read as narrator, another will read the part of Pilate/Herod, and then the congregation reads the part of the crowd.  So, yes, exactly, that means that we have to stand there in Mass and say, choke it out, "Crucify Him!"  It is harder than it sounds.  It is the hardest thing to do.  And yet, we must. Because of course, we did.  And do still.  I can't do this justice.  But Deacon Greg did in his homily for today, so I'm gonna lift a chunk of it, below.  Go read the whole thing tho, if you'd like a good read to step into a mindful Holy Week. 

 Because this is it.  It's almost done, this tough season.  It might be a tough week.  Instead of cringing, a dear priest, Father Luckas, has advised to face it head on, as a challenge to keep stepping mindfully forward.  To Christ  himself.  And so that is what I thought about in Mass today, as I held my palms in my hands, in my palms, and I also had to say "Crucify Him." And, "Jesus, Remember me, when you come into  your kingdom.."  And blink back the tears.  
Just as it should be.  

From Deacon Greg: read, begin Holy Week:
This week is the only time that the gospel is proclaimed by someone besides a priest or deacon - every individual in this church takes part.
It's a great privilege. And it - literally -- gives us a role in Christ's passion.
But what do we say? What lines are we given?
"Not this one! Barabbas!"
"Hail, King of the Jews!"
"Crucify him!"
"Take him away, crucify him!"
We cry out for vengeance, and we accuse his disciples, and we gamble to see which of us will get his cloak. We mock him.
We are the mob. And we cruelly assist in condemning Christ to death.
And the great irony, of course, is that we do it while clutching these palms.
They are a reminder - and an indictment. While we were standing here, crying out "Crucify him!," we were clutching the branches that we used to sing out "Hosanna." The palms reveal our very human duplicity. How easily we turn. How quickly we pivot from faithful, to faithless ... from belief to doubt ... from being disciples, to being betrayers.
We start out acting like angels, singing "Hosanna." And we end up just being the mob.
It can sometimes be that way throughout the church. The headlines this week have told the story. Men called to holiness can be guilty of appalling sins. Sins of abuse. Sins of neglect. Sins of dishonesty. Sins of betrayal.
And yet, to be a part of the body of Christ is to be with him on the cross. The Catholic writer Ronald Rolheiser has put it powerfully. "To be a member of the church," he wrote, "is to carry the mantle of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul....because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves."
And all we can do sometimes is echo the words of the one thief, words we heard just a few moments ago: "Jesus, remember me." That moment is the only one in any of the gospels where someone calls Jesus by his given name. Maybe it is because it is at this moment - the hour of his death -- that he is most like us. He hangs there, stripped, beaten, betrayed. He hangs among thieves. This is what we have done to our God. And this is what we continue to do, even today. 

 

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Song on a Sunday: Anniversary Edition

This is something of a blast from the past, but it has special meaning to me today.  This was from an anniversary of ours four years ago...spent at the high school talent show....because our two oldest boys were playing together.  Right there, how cool.

So, because I'm sentimental, and because I like this low-end video...very, literally, home movie-ish...I'm posting it.  Listen closely at the beginning, they wish us Happy Anniversary.
Sweet boys to remember a sweet special day.




Happy 23rd Anniversary to my dear husband Thomas.  
What a life we have!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lets Talk Chocolate!

cc photo by Kirti Podar

This is a frivolous post about a serious subject: chocolate. Well, maybe not so frivolous after all.  Folks get pretty worked up over chocolate loyalties and the almost primal memories and reactions it dredges up.  So, we all love chocolate right? Right.  Ok, maybe not all of us, and if not, then this post probably isn't for you....unless you are of a mind to thrill someone you know who is especially nice and deserving of a faboo treat.  Then, by all means, read on!

Tis the season...by which I mean, Lent - almost Easter.  And while Lent is now in it's most difficult phase - the last week and the beginning of Holy Week -  it is also high time to do some prep work for the fun part.  Yeah, you know what I'm talking about: the chocolate!

Here is my feeling about chocolate.  It's practically divine.  And if you're gonna indulge, just like with most anything but especially ice cream and chocolate, for heaven's sake indulge in the good stuff!  Don't waste the money effort guilt and calories on the kind of pasty mouthy filmy stuff.  Now, that's just my opinion, but still...unless you are gonna possibly, right now, hurt someone for a choco fix and need something immediately, wait for the best. It's worth it!  {And yes, I am diabetic but gosh, that sweet dark chocolaty goodness calls to me, with the choir of  most sugary yummyness joining in, all the time.  I can't help it, this craving. I can only work hard against it, and fail too often....}

That said, here is something I have to put out there.  Two things, actually:  
First: See's candy for Easter baskets, the jelly bird eggs (Ok, I know, not chocolate, but SOOO Easter), and the Scotchmallows....May very well be the best candy ever!!  

Just.  Yum. 

Second: Here is my not so secret secret score for the best caramels: Monastery Chocolates.  Oh my goodness.  If you like just a simple pure chocolate covered caramel, well, these babies are for you.  I can't resist them.  (I think the dark chocolate is best, IMHO ).  They are very simple, don't look too fancy, but they are just about perfect.  Which makes total sense as they are made by lovely Sisters, in the Monastery (hence the name, it's real)...who have ample time to also hold up the world in prayer AND perfect these taste treat delights.
What's not to love?


So, I'm just saying....these are the best for pure caramel yumminess.  The scotchmallows are the best for pure Easter delight (ok anytime, really, hint hint).  And I just kinda had chocolate on my mind this morning.  
'Nuff said. 


Dear Lori talked recently about "joyful things."  These are some of my tasty tangible ones. 
Enjoy, or prepare to enjoy, Easter approaches!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Annunciation

 Painting by John Collier.

It's the Solemnity of the Annunciation.
Now you all know that this feast just resonates with me.  For me.
I wrote about some of the obvious reasons, here, last year. 
Really, I could and probably should, meditate on this feast, these images for a long time, oh...for the rest of my days.  Maybe I'd be a better person.  Surely, I'd be a better mom. Surely my faith would grow.

Because this feast is all about the letting go. 
It's about the letting go, in blind faith...the kind of faith I can only dream of, reach toward, and pray for a glimmer. 
That kind of faith, that kind of willingness to "let go" and accept challenging, don't know the road ahead but I'll keep on and do my best without whining endlessly and relentlessly nagging questioning sort of faith just astounds me.  Humbles me.  Blows my mind.  Still.  Ever. 

But she did. 
Mary was a girl, a mere girl.  Not old, with decades of life to measure the probability of it turning out ok in the end, or to compare to another girl she heard of in the same spot.  She had no measuring stick but faith.  And she was able to hold her breath, think about it for a moment (Because she was not programmed like a robot, she could have said 'no,'....Indeed, we are taught that all of creation held it's breath.)...and say, "fiat."
Fiat.
Ok.
I'll do it.  "Thy will be done, not mine."

 Painting by Henry Tanner.

Ok, right there, there it is again.  That hard stone to trip over; the one that lands me flat on my face, every time.  "Your will be done, not mine." "Your will."  "I'll go with it."
Simple, right?
Seems so. 
Should be.
But no.  Oh my, no. Not at all.

And she was surely scared, and unsure, and didn't understand, and thought it's impossible, c'mon.  But, somehow, her heart of hearts, her very soul twinged and twanged and she knew.  She KNEW, that this was the real deal - the realest deal.  And so she bowed her head.  She said "ok." "Yes." Maybe one of the most beautiful words in language, top ranks for sure:
"Fiat."



And so, ever still, I look to her as an example of  how to do it right.
I look to her for inspiration that it can really be ok even when it seems impossible and  you just don't know how to move ahead and you're stepping into the dark without a light to read this new map you've been given.

 One of our referral pics, he was so small!

I look to this feast as a reminder and connection to my own Gabriel, my Gabriel Tariku... and how scary that was and how amazing that unknown can be.

I look to this feast, that fiat, and remember that we all get the chance, again and again, to say "Fiat."

I see another young girl who has done that, again and again. 
And who does so, every day as she navigates a new huge world, full of wonders and hard confusing things both, struggles to learn and adapt and grieve and heal and grow and reclaim joy all at the same time. 
And I know she says "fiat."
I think she whispers it, but oh, I know she does say it, again and again. 
And she is a little mini annunciation for me, every day. 
Will I carry her? Will I love her? Will I teach her? Will I let her teach me?
I know she says "Fiat."
And so, so do I.  

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed
is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Unshaken: Look again

It's World Water Day.
And it's still lent.

Which means, as we are traveling through the far side of the desert and are feeling all "parched"...this day and what it means, in real tangible, corporeal life, is oh so apropos.
It's World Water Day.
People are Thirsty.
Not only for renewal of their heart and soul...but truly, literally, thirsty for clean safe water.
I really like this charity. They do good work, and thus, I want to show you this, today.
Charity:Water. 


Please watch, open your hearts, it's Lent.  We are called to care.  We are called to give alms...and what better way than to provide safe water where we can.  That is what lent is all about.
Look, again.  Haiti needs us.  Look, they are thirsty. Help.


Unshaken - charity: water's campaign for Haiti from charity: water on Vimeo.
Lent is waning, Easter beckons.....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cool Convergence

 So how cool is this? This is one for you Chris, and you Tom, and you Marta....and all you Ethiopian adoption folks.  This is a nun, now living in Jerusalem, who is Ethiopian and also a pianist.  So in this one woman we have so many of the interests and passions and parts of our family: music, piano, Ethiopia, faith, prayer, Holy Land, religious life:



Read below from BoingBoing (or go and see for yourself):

"Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou is a nun currently living in Jerusalem. She grew up as the daughter of a prominent Ethiopian intellectual, but spent much of her young life in exile, first for schooling, and then again during Mussolini's occupation of Ethiopia's capitol city, Addis Ababa, in 1936. Her musical career was often tragically thwarted by class and gender politics, and when the Emperor himself actually went so far as to personally veto an opportunity for Guèbrou to study abroad in England, she sank into a deep depression before fleeing to a monastery in 1948. "

"Today, she spends up to seven hours a day playing the piano in seclusion.  A compilation of her compositions was re-issued on the consistently great Ethiopiques label. You can read more about her life at the Emahoy Music Foundation."

And more on her religious/music life from the Emahoy Music Foundation:

"Young Yewubdar secretly fled Addis Abeba at the age of 19 to enter the Guishen Mariam monastery in the Wello region where she had once before visited with her mother. She served two years in the monastery and was ordained a nun at the age of 21. She took on the title Emahoy and her name was changed to Tsege Mariam. Despite the difficult life in religious order and the limited appreciation for her music in traditional Ethiopian culture, Emahoy worked fervently day and night. Often she played up to nine hours a day and went on to write many compositions for violin, piano and organ concerto."

nee, Yewubdar Gebru c. 1940

Celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem

I love a convergence like this.  It just reminds me how very small the world is in some ways.  The piano solo is beautiful (I LOVE the piano).  I don't know her of course, but still....there's that connection of touchpoints.   And it's cool.  
{h/t to Anchoress, and boingboing}

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday, seeing beauty

Too often I fall into the trap of only seeing the kids, especially the girls, in the light of the current swell of activity on any given day.  


By which I mean, too often I'm just evaluating the state of their rooms, or the chores, or if they are dressed appropriately (not to sound like a Nazi, but you know, "No flip flops, it's snowing.  "You cannot wear that to Mass, put on something nicer." "Your uniform is stained, find a new shirt, please." etc).  It's a easy trap to step in; don't we all sulk a teeny bit when our husbands step into this very trap and stop really "looking" at us (well on our good days....)?

It's all too easy to get caught up in the surge and swell of the tidal pull of any given day.  It's all too easy to stop paying attention to the fleeting nuances of expression and capturing them, both in photos and our memory.  

 
When they were small, we did it, showing the pics off with abandon, because they were just SO cute, so beautiful.  Now they are older, and it's not as seemly somehow.  We are not supposed to 'go on' about our children.  We want to protect them from the outside world a bit more yes, but that can then become a box of "less."  It's more complicated now. 


Are they not beautiful enough to comment anymore?  Is this the message they internalize as we protect them from dangers outside and in?...Because so too, I tend to not want to go on about their beauty too much out loud so they don't get the "big head." Then again, it is important that they know, really know, that I see their beauty, inside and out. 


But Sundays are a day to relax.  A day to see again, with clear eyes.  To notice the beauty given to us in this world, it surrounds us.... all too often, without our notice anymore.
 
I don't always manage it in my task oriented nature, but some days, for a moment or more, I do.  
 So, permit me to put it on the record, and go on for a moment (whether it's pc or not) about my girls.
 Because I want it on the record (especially for their sake) that I see them; they are so beautiful. 


My girls.  

I might be biased, but, they are - simply - beautiful.



Each and every one.

(Pics courtesy of my photography nut daughter, Hannah Banana)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feast Day of St. Joseph!

Ok, we've been doing the novena...now we have the feast!! Yay! 
Its the feast of St. Joseph!!
I love a feast, everything about it..food, fest, fete, remembering, commemorating, celebrating...it's all the good stuff wrapped up into that one word, isn't it: FEAST.  Yay.  We Catholics, we love a feast!



Anyhow, you had to see it coming...ya can't do a novena without then marking the feast day, can  you? Never!  So, last year I also did a post on this great saint, on his feast day.  And since I can't redo my words or thoughts, and don't really want to, please go here to get a bit on dear St. Joseph.  As my mind continues to decline and muddle, best to return to my older posts that might be a bit more um, clear.....always!  

Anyhow, last year I wrote all about my adoption links and issues with St. Joseph.  Not HIM actually, but rather others perception of him.  I mean, give the guy some cred! He's the dad!  Ok...I begin to digress. Go read my post if you have a spark of curiosity about this from an adoptive perspective.  

This year, I just want and need to think about dear St. Joseph as dad.  As father.  As a faithful humble man, who served his God, his family, his child and community.  He didn't get a lot of attention for it, except for some seriously negative opinions and sniping in the beginning of it all regarding his bride.....  So he didn't get the kudos, he didn't get the understanding.  He was and is still misunderstood.  But, and here is the key for me: he didn't stand up and correct everyone and make sure they understood just what he was doing.  He didn't. He just went ahead and did the next thing, lived and loved deeply as the dad.  Every day.  In his little town, doing his regular job, no status, no notice, no blog.  Just, day to day, keeping on.  

So, I wonder.  He was  human.  Did he ever want to stand up on one of those tables he made (sturdy, no doubt) and holler at his little townspeople or neighbors, "Hey, I know you have all sorts of ideas about what is going on, but you're wrong.  I love her.  I love him.  He's special.  Yeah, God told me it's ok, it's right even.  So. Stop judging.  It's SO much more than you know."  Ya think???? Ok, probably not.  But, I wonder sometimes.  He's a saint, but he was human.  He's a saint not because God made him extra perfect and different than us.  He's a saint because he was faithful, even when he didn't understand.  

Saint Joseph and the Infant Christ, c. 1670-85 Giovanni Battista Gaulli

And that, that is like a whack in the head to me.
He was faithful, even when he didn't - couldn't - understand.  Because it all didn't make sense.  But he still accepted.  And gave in to this plan.  And did what he was called to do.  And he didn't whine and whinge on about it all.  He just did it.  Every day.  Every night.  As long as he was called to do it.  And that, I struggle with that.  Every day lately.  Because I always fall into the narcissistic trap of "it's all about me."  I don't think St. Joseph did that.  Which blows my mind.  

So yeah,  he's one of my heroes.  He's still misunderstood.  But, he has much to teach me.  

St. Joseph, pray for us!
Happy Feast Day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 9

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 9
Final Day!


Ninth Day
PATRON OF A HAPPY DEATH
Saint Joseph, how fitting it was that at the hour of your death Jesus should stand at your bedside with Mary, the sweetness and hope of all mankind. You gave your entire life to the service of Jesus and Mary; at death you enjoyed the consolation of dying in Their loving arms. You accepted death in the spirit of loving submission to the Will of God, and this acceptance crowned your hidden life of virtue. Yours was a merciful judgment, for your foster-Son, for whom you had cared so lovingly, was your Judge, and Mary was your advocate. The verdict of the Judge was a word of encouragement to wait for His coming to Limbo, where He would shower you with the choicest fruits of the Redemption, and an embrace of grateful affection before you breathed forth your soul into eternity.

You looked into eternity and to your everlasting reward with confidence. If our Savior blessed the shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, John the Baptist, and others, because they greeted His presence with devoted hearts for a brief passing hour, how much more did He bless you who have sanctified yourself for so many years in His company and that of His Mother? If Jesus regards every corporal and spiritual work of mercy, performed in behalf of our fellow men out of love for Him, as done to Himself, and promises heaven as a reward, what must have been the extent of His gratitude to you who in the truest sense of the word have received Him, given Him shelter, clothed, nourished, and consoled Him at the sacrifice of your strength and rest, and even your life, with a love which surpassed the love of all fathers.

God really and personally made Himself your debtor. Our Divine Savior paid that debt of gratitude by granting you many graces in your lifetime, especially the grace of growing in love, which is the best and most perfect of all gifts. Thus at the end of your life your heart became filled with love, the fervor and longing of which your frail body could not resist. Your soul followed the triumphant impulse of your love and winged its flight from earth to bear the prophets and patriarchs in Limbo the glad tidings of the advent of the Redeemer.

Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Help me to spend each day in preparation for death. May I, too, accept death in the spirit of resignation to God's Holy Will, and die, as you did, in the arms of Jesus, strengthened by Holy Viaticum, and in the arms of Mary, with her rosary in my hand and her name on my lips!

*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
MEMORARERemember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Bday to My Baby Bro!

Today is my Baby Brother's Bday!!
Yup.  Let's see, he's....um...we are all SO old that I can only remember how old we all are by tallying us up in relation to each other.  Does that make sense?  Maybe not, but it does to me!  So, let's see, John is 44.  Whoa.  Yeah, and he's my BABY brother.  Yipes.


Anyhow my wonderful dear funny kind fantastico brilliant brother, John is celebrating his bday today in his brand new locale: Micronesia.

Yup, read that again: Micronesia.

Yup.  Sounds like a state of mind, no?  And, one could argue, with John, that it could apply quite well, somehow, if it was an actual state of mind.  Does that make sense? No? Well, maybe not, but it does to me and I KNOW it does to him too!

John makes me laugh.  He is a gift because he is crazy kind, but he is more so because no one else can make me laugh so very hard.  Til I cry.  Of course, it's all lies and twisted memories... but they can make my sister and I just howl with laughs.

And today I want to tip my hat to my little dear brother.
Because it's  his birthday.
Because I love him so much.
Because I love his gorgeous family: his beautiful Parisian wife and his stunning brilliant daughters (my nieces!).
Because he has bravely grabbed a brass ring that flew by and just moved, radically, to Micronesia.
Because he is now a grand poohbah in Micronesia: a muckety-muck in the Attorney General's office...either the Assistant Attorney General of Micronesia or the de facto Attorney General or the Gofer Attorney General or something of that sort.
But I know it's a big deal because they sent a cargo container to move his family's stuff over the ocean to live in Micronesia and work.
He's an old pro at this, having lived and loved living in Vanuatu years ago.
Because he's a surf rat and tennis pro at heart, under that pin striped suit.
So I think he will fit right in and be immediately at home.

And I am wishing him a happy happy paradise of a birthday, with foofy tropical drinks, sparkling sun, and great waves to surf today.
Because he's my baby brother.
And I break into tears whenever I see him (because it's never often enough).
And then we both laugh.
And I hug him tight.

Happy Happy Birthday John!
We love you!
Catch a wave, surf's up!

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 8

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 8



Eighth Day
FRIEND IN SUFFERING
Saint Joseph, your share of suffering was very great because of your close union with the Divine Savior. All the mysteries of His life were more or less mysteries of suffering. Poverty pressed upon you, and the cross of labor followed you everywhere. Nor were you spared domestic crosses, owing to misunderstandings in regard to the holiest and most cherished of all beings, Jesus and Mary, who were all to you. Keen must have been the suffering caused by the uncertainty regarding Mary's virginity; by the bestowal of the name of Jesus, which pointed to future misfortune. Deeply painful must have been the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the disappearance of Jesus at the Paschal feast. To these sufferings were surely added interior sorrow at the sight of the sins of your own people.

You bore all this suffering in a truly Christ-like manner, and in this you are our example. No sound of complaint or impatience escaped you -- you were, indeed, the silent saint! You submitted to all in the spirit of faith, humility, confidence, and love. You cheerfully bore all in union with and for the Savior and His Mother, knowing well that true love is a crucified love. But God never forsook you in your trials. The trials, too, disappeared and were changed at last into consolation and joy.

It seems that God had purposely intended your life to be filled with suffering as well as consolation to keep before my eyes the truth that my life on earth is but a succession of joys and sorrows, and that I must gratefully accept whatever God sends me, and during the time of consolation prepare for suffering. Teach me to bear my cross in the spirit of faith, of confidence, and of gratitude toward God. In a happy eternity, I shall thank God fervently for the sufferings which He deigned to send me during my pilgrimage on earth, and which after your example I endured with patience and heartfelt love for Jesus and Mary.

You were truly the martyr of the hidden life. This was God's Will, for the holier a person is, the more he is tried for the love and glory of God. If suffering is the flowering of God's grace in a soul and the triumph of the soul's love for God, being the greatest of saints after Mary, you suffered more than any of the martyrs.

Because you have experienced the sufferings of this valley of tears, you are most kind and sympathetic toward those in need. Down through the ages souls have turned to you in distress and have always found you a faithful friend in suffering. You have graciously heard their prayers in their needs even though it demanded a miracle. Having been so intimately united with Jesus and Mary in life, your intercession with Them is most powerful.

Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to suffer for Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to bear my suffering patiently for love of Jesus and Mary. Grant that I may unite the sufferings, works and disappointments of life with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass, and share like you in Mary's spirit of sacrifice.





*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.

MEMORARERemember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Joseph Novena, Day 7

St. Joseph Novena, Day 7

Etching, Flight into Egypt, by Sebastien Bourdon

Seventh Day
PATRON OF WORKERS
Saint Joseph, you devoted your time at Nazareth to the work of a carpenter. It was the Will of God that you and your foster-Son should spend your days together in manual labor. What a beautiful example you set for the working classes!

It was especially for the poor, who compose the greater part of mankind, that Jesus came upon earth, for in the synagogue of Nazareth, He read the words of Isaiah and referred them to Himself:  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor..." (Luke 4:18). It was God's Will that you should be occupied with work common to poor people, that in this way Jesus Himself might ennoble it by inheriting it from you, His foster-father, and by freely embracing it. Thus our Lord teaches us that for the humbler class of workmen, He has in store His richest graces, provided they live content in the place God's Providence has assigned them, and remain poor in spirit for He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).

The kind of work to which you devoted your time in the workshop of Nazareth offered you many occasions of practicing humility. You were privileged to see each day the example of humility which Jesus practiced -- a virtue most pleasing to Him. He chose for His earthly surroundings not the courts of princes nor the halls of the learned, but a little workshop of Nazareth. Here you shared for many years the humble and hidden toiling of the God-Man. What a touching example for the worker of today!

While your hands were occupied with manual work, your mind was turned to God in prayer. From the Divine Master, who worked along with you, you learned to work in the presence of God in the spirit of prayer, for as He worked He adored His Father and recommended the welfare of the world to Him, Jesus also instructed you in the wonderful truths of grace and virtue, for you were in close contact with Him who said of Himself, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life."

As you were working at your trade, you were reminded of the greatness and majesty of God, who, as a most wise Architect, formed this vast universe with wonderful skill and limitless power.

The light of divine faith that filled your mind, did not grow dim when you saw Jesus working as a carpenter. You firmly believed that the saintly Youth working beside you was truly God's own Son.

Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to work side by side with Jesus in the carpenter shop of Nazareth. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to respect the dignity of labor and ever to be content with the position in life, however lowly, in which it may please Divine Providence to place me. Teach me to work for God and with God in the spirit of humility and prayer, as you did, so that I may offer my toil in union with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass as a reparation for my sins, and gain rich merit for heaven.
 


*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
MEMORARERemember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Joseph Novena, Day 6

St. Joseph Novena, Day 6


Sixth Day
PATRON OF FAMILIES
Saint Joseph, I venerate you as the gentle head of the Holy Family. The Holy Family was the scene of your life's work in its origin, in its guidance, in its protection, in your labor for Jesus and Mary, and even in your death in their arms. You lived, moved, and acted in the loving company of Jesus and Mary. The inspired writer describes your life at Nazareth in only a few words: "And (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them" (Luke, 2:51). Yet these words tell of your high vocation here on earth, and the abundance of graces which filled your soul during those years spent in Nazareth.

Your family life at Nazareth was all radiant with the light of divine charity. There was an intimate union of heart and mind among the members of your Holy Family. There could not have been a closer bond than that uniting you to Jesus, your foster-Son and to Mary, your most loving wife. Jesus chose to fulfill toward you, His foster-father, all the duties of a faithful son, showing you every mark of honor and affection due to a parent. And Mary showed you all the signs of respect and love of a devoted wife. You responded to this love and veneration from Jesus and Mary  with feelings of deepest love and respect. You had for Jesus a true fatherly love, enkindled and kept aglow in your heart by the Holy Spirit. And you could not cease to admire the workings of grace in Mary's soul, and this admiration caused the holy love which you had consecrated to her on the day of your wedding grow stronger every day.

God has made you a heavenly patron of family life because you sanctified yourself as head of the Holy Family and thus by your beautiful example sanctified family life. How peacefully and happily the Holy Family rested under the care of your fatherly rule, even in the midst of trials. You were the protector, counselor, and consolation of the Holy Family in every need. And just as you were the model of piety, so you gave us by your zeal, your earnestness and devout trust in God's providence, and especially by your love, the example of labor according to the Will of God. You cherished all the experiences common to family life and the sacred memories of the life, sufferings, and joys in the company of Jesus and Mary. Therefore the family is dear to you as the work of God, and it is of the highest importance in your eyes to promote the honor of God and the well-being of man. In your loving fatherliness and unfailing intercession you are the patron and intercessor of families, and you deserve a place in every home.

Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of living in the Holy Family and being its head. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain God's blessing upon my own family. Make our home the kingdom of Jesus and Mary -- a kingdom of peace, of joy, and love.

I also pray for all Christian families. Your help is needed in our day when God's enemy has directed his attack against the family in order to desecrate and destroy it. In the face of these evils, as patron of families, be pleased to help; and as of old, you arose to save the Child and His Mother, so today arise to protect the sanctity of the home. Make our homes sanctuaries of prayer, of love, of patient sacrifice, and of work. May they be modeled after your own at Nazareth. Remain with us with Jesus and Mary, so that by your help we may obey the commandments of God and of the Church; receive the holy sacraments of God and of the Church; live a life of prayer; and foster religious instruction in our homes. Grant that we may be reunited in God's Kingdom and eternally live in the company of the Holy Family in heaven.


Novena to 
St. Joseph

*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.

MEMORARERemember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Joseph Novena, Day 5

St. Joseph Novena, Day 5
St. Joseph Photo in Buffalo NY, by Geraldine Liguidano


Fifth Day
PATRON OF THE CHURCH
Saint Joseph, God has appointed you patron of the Catholic Church because you were the head of the Holy Family, the starting-point of the Church. You were the father, protector, guide and support of the Holy Family. For that reason you belong in a particular way to the Church, which was the purpose of the Holy Family's existence.

I believe that the Church is the family of God on earth. Its government is represented in priestly authority which consists above all in its power over the true Body of Christ, really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, thus continuing Christ's life in the Church. From this power, too, comes authority over the Mystical Body of Christ, the members of the Church -- the power to teach and govern souls, to reconcile them with God, to bless them, and to pray for them.

You have a special relationship to the priesthood because you possessed a wonderful power over our Savior Himself. Your life and office were of a priestly function and are especially connected with the Blessed Sacrament. To some extent you were the means of bringing the Redeemer to us -- as it is the priest's function to bring Him to us in the Mass -- for you reared Jesus, supported, nourished, protected and sheltered Him. You were prefigured by the patriarch Joseph, who kept supplies of wheat for his people. But how much greater than he were you! Joseph of old gave the Egyptians mere bread for their bodies. You nourished, and with the most tender care, preserved for the Church Him who is the Bread of Heaven and who gives eternal life in Holy Communion.

God has appointed you patron of the Church because the glorious title of patriarch also falls by special right to you. The patriarchs were the heads of families of the Chosen People, and theirs was the honor to prepare for the Savior's incarnation. You belonged to this line of patriarchs, for you were one of the last descendants of the family of David and one of the nearest forebears of Christ according to the flesh. As husband of Mary, the Mother of God, and as the foster-father of the Savior, you were directly connected with Christ. Your vocation was especially concerned with the Person of Jesus; your entire activity centered about Him. You are, therefore, the closing of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New, which took its rise with the Holy Family of Nazareth. Because the New Testament surpasses the Old in every respect, you are the patriarch of patriarchs, the most venerable, exalted, and amiable of all the patriarchs.

Through Mary, the Church received Christ, and therefore the Church is indebted to her. But the Church owes her debt of gratitude and veneration to you also, for you were the chosen one who enabled Christ to enter into the world according to the laws of order and fitness. It was by you that the patriarchs and the prophets and the faithful reaped the fruit of God's promise. Alone among them all, you saw with your own eyes and possessed the Redeemer promised to the rest of men.

Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the Patron of the Church. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to live always as a worthy member of this Church, so that through it I may save my soul. Bless the priests, the religious, and the laity of the Catholic Church, that they may ever grow in God's love and faithfulness in His service. Protect the Church from the evils of our day and from the persecution of her enemies. Through your powerful intercession may the church successfully accomplish its mission in this world -- the glory of God and the salvation of souls!

*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.

MEMORARERemember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 4

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 4
El Greco (I love El Greco's paintings)


Fourth Day
FAITHFUL SERVANT
Saint Joseph, you lived for one purpose -- to be the personal servant of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.Your noble birth and ancestry, the graces and gifts, so generously poured out on you by God -- all this was yours to serve our Lord better. Every thought, word, and action of yours was a homage to the love and glory of the Incarnate Word. You fulfilled most faithfully the role of a good and faithful servant who cared for the House of God.

How perfect was your obedience! Your position in the Holy Family obliged you to command, but besides being the foster-father of Jesus, you were also His disciple. For almost thirty years, you watched the God-Man display a simple and prompt obedience, and you grew to love and practice it very perfectly yourself. Without exception you submitted to God, to the civil rulers, and to the voice of your conscience.

When God sent an angel to tell you to care for Mary, you obeyed in spite of the mystery which surrounded her motherhood. When you were told to flee into Egypt under painful conditions, you obeyed without the slightest word of complaint. When God advised you in a dream to return to Nazareth, you obeyed. In every situation your obedience was as simple as your faith, as humble as your heart, as prompt as your love. It neglected nothing; it took in every command.

You had the virtue of perfect devotednesswhich marks a good servant. Every moment of your life was consecrated to the service of our Lord: sleep, rest, work, pain. Faithful to your duties, you sacrificed everything unselfishly, even cheerfully. You would have sacrificed even the happiness of being with Mary. The rest and quiet of Nazareth was sacrificed at the call of duty. Your entire life was one generous giving, even to the point of being ready to die in proof of your love for Jesus and Mary. With true unselfish devotedness you worked without praise or reward.

But God wanted you to be in a certain sense a cooperator in the Redemption of the worldHe confided to you the care of nourishing and defending the Divine Child. He wanted you to be poor and to suffer because He destined you to be the foster-father of His Son, who came into the world to save men by His sufferings and death, and you were to share in His suffering. In all of these important tasks, the Heavenly Father always found you a faithful servant!

Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being God's faithful servant. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to be a faithful servant of God as you were. Help me to share, as you did, the perfect obedience of Jesus, who came not to do His Will, but the Will of His Father; to trust in the Providence of God, knowing that if I do His Will, He will provide for all my needs of soul and body; to be calm in my trials and to leave it to our Lord to free me from them when it pleases Him to do so. And help me to imitate your generosity, for there can be no greater reward here on earth than the joy and honor of being a faithful servant of God.




*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.

MEMORARERemember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Friday, March 12, 2010

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 3

Novena to St. Joseph, Day 3


Third Day
MAN CHOSEN BY THE BLESSED TRINITY
Saint Joseph, you were the man chosen by God the FatherHe selected you to be His representative on earth, hence He granted you all the graces and blessings you needed to be His worthy representative.

You were the man chosen by God the Son. Desirous of a worthy foster-father, He added His own riches and gifts, and above all, His love. The true measure of your sanctity is to be judged by your imitation of Jesus. You were entirely consecrated to Jesus, working always near Him, offering Him your virtues, your work, your sufferings, your very life. Jesus lived in you perfectly so that you were transformed into Him. In this lies your special glory, and the keynote of your sanctity. Hence, after Mary, you are the holiest of the saints.

You were chosen by the Holy Spirit. He is the mutual Love of the Father and the Son -- the heart of the Holy Trinity. In His wisdom He draws forth all creatures from nothing, guides them to their end in showing them their destiny and giving them the means to reach it. Every vocation and every fulfillment of a vocation proceeds from the Holy Spirit. As a foster-father of Jesus and head of the Holy Family, you had an exalted and most responsible vocation -- to open the way for the redemption of the world and to prepare for it by the education and guidance of the youth of the God-Man. In this work you cooperated as the instrument of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the guide; you obeyed and carried out the works. How perfectly you obeyed the guidance of the God of Love!

The words of the Old Testament which Pharaoh spoke concerning Joseph of Egypt can well be applied to you: "Can we find such another man, that is full of the spirit of God, or a wise man like to him?" (Gen. 41:38). No less is your share in the divine work of God than was that of Egypt. You now reign with your foster-Son and see reflected in the mirror of God's Wisdom the Divine Will and what is of benefit to our souls.

Saint Joseph, I thank God for having made you the man specially chosen by Him. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to imitate your virtues so that I too may be pleasing to the Heart of God. Help me to give myself entirely to His service and to the accomplishment of His Holy Will, that one day I may reach heaven and be eternally united to God as you are.



*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
MEMORARERemember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Detours

This is a post about detours.

***
And apropos of this theme, I have a detour before I start blathering on about detours:

As I've been stewing about this post, this subject...a great lot of um, stuff (this is a G rated blog, right? right) has hit the fan in the Ethiopian adoption world. And I have a fair bit of thoughts about it rumbling through my brain...but those are for another post(s). {New requirements, across the board, for all families to travel twice - complicated and difficult and possibly good in the long run but a huge hurdle in the short for so many} For the moment, I offer my condolences and my ears to hear and heart to hurt for all of the children and families affected - for the cold slap in the face of worry that this news brings. But again, it's too easy to slide into the tempest of this news and start fretting aloud and repeating everyone else's words, and those who are in it, right now. And I'm not. I don't own those words. So I won't go there, not today. Maybe another day, ya never know! But I will probably also go off on a tangent or two...as I said, this just opens up so much fodder for pondering and processing, for me anyhow, which means, of course, for you!

***
Back to current post:
***

Anyhooo. As I said, I've been stewing about detours. It's hard to write all this because it's close. It carves right under that spot in your chest, right in tight to your heart and lungs. So if you cut too close you kind of gasp and can't breath, and you hold your breath as you talk closer to it, so that you can be really careful. Because you need to protect your own heart and also the hearts and breathing of the ones you love. I don't know, it's hard to make this make sense. I know I'm not making sense, and yet, this disclaimer must be put out first. Because its a raw spot. But it's also a spot that needs to toughen up, heal, move forward and that only happens by bringing it out to the light and looking at it, and thus, this post.

Right. Now that most have clicked away out of confusion and impatience, it's just us friends. Hey there.


So. A few times in my life, parenting life mostly, I have had some detours.
Scratch that: Ok, any life, my life, yours, we all have detours because no life goes as we initially plan it. Then it would be dull and boring and unsatisfying.


But I'm talking about the hard turn detours. The ones that have you ending up somewhere you never dreamed, parenting wise. Others have written beautifully about all this. I don't seem to be able to (again, hence this post). Probably the best known piece on this is here, known as "Welcome to Holland."

So, I've been to Holland, figuratively speaking. And you know, while the place has it has it's beauties, it's still a tough landing. And we have found ourselves detoured there once again, recently. And you know, this "Holland" is a complicated place. And like all control freaks (me), that detour thing?.....it makes you (ok, me) want to kick and fuss and whine.

Because I don't like detours....because they weren't in "THE PLAN." And that PLAN, well, we are, were, supposed to follow it. I mean, I had it all mapped out, you know? Knew where the bumps were, the turns, the scenic spots. Knew the time to get to our destination, and the best roads to follow. Heck, had even traveled it once or twice before. And when you are sent on a detour, even to somewhere with it's own intrinsic beauty, well, we control freaks kind of um, freak out a bit. Maybe we get frantic, or very quiet, or very deeply indigo blue. Maybe we stop trusting. Maybe we question if we ever did. Or do. Maybe we stop looking out, because the view has changed. And we get stuck with the rut of "but." As in, "But it was supposed to be Italy, not Holland." Or, "But, it was supposed to be in the PLAN, page 42."

And maybe it takes some time to realize that those detours are for us.
Those detours are for us.
Those detours are given to us by God himself.
Not as a punishment (because they are challenging, sometimes very hard, so it is easy to mistake them as such).
But as a gift.
A gift.
To call us back to Him.
To love Him better, right now.
To call us out of ourselves.

To save us from ourselves.

Those detours are not to deprive us/me of Italy.
That detour, this Holland, is to break our/my grasp on my own deadly vision: Us. Ok, me.
Finally, I realize that my struggle with this detour is me.
Of course.
Ever.
It has been ever so painfully shown to me (thank you Fr. Luke, ouch) that struggle is in my unwillingness to look....beyond my own miserable me. My plan. My day. My feelings and desires and needs. Those very things are what drag me into the indigo abyss. And that is not where I wanted to be or choose to stay.

And I forgot my prayer.
I - not so long ago - literally prayed this: "Save me from myself, Oh God, send me a child, the one you choose."
I forgot.
And He did what I asked.
Eight times.
Oh, dear, how could I forget that prayer?


This detour is for us. For me.
It all just IS for the child -- They haven't detoured. I have.
And they are waiting, pretty patiently for the most part, for us/me to step off the plane and start walking with them.
Really. Not grudgingly. Not counting the steps.
They are waiting to show me Holland. Again. Or - their Italia.

This blog, this post, helped me realize that it's ok to get frustrated with the detours.
But it's also ok to say the heck with it all, and we can make our own "Italy" right here.
Really?
Whoa.
I knew that, right?
Yeah, on the good days.
But I keep forgetting.


But, you know what?
I want to go to Italy.
I love Italy!
And who says we have to be stuck anywhere.....because detours are all about seeing new places with new eyes.
And I want to create some Viva Italia, starting now.