Addio, Papa

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grazie Benedetto XVI.

7 Quick Takes Friday!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Linking up with Jen and Company today!

1. Last weekend I found some cards at Target that say "Happy Bunny Day" on them. Now, I realize what these cards are trying to say is Happy Easter, but I bought a bunch anyways because when is it NOT a Happy Bunny Day in this house?

Got a 3-year-old bunny starting to learn to read here, folks. 
2. Speaking of bunnies...

Are you dying?!?

3. I was cleaning  my house earlier, and I found a bottle of bubbles I got as a prize a while back at Billy Bob's.* I thought maybe if I  blew some bubbles while I cleaned it would be like that scene in Cinderella. And it kind of was. :)

4. I was reading some archives of a blog I recently discovered, and I'm so glad I did because I got the neatest idea for a party... and I'm throwing it Sunday! It's called Glams and Jams, an Oscar Party. You wear your pajamas decked out with your fancy jewelry and watch the Academy Awards! (When I say "fancy" I feel like I'm six years old.) My friends Melissa, Sarah and Jenna and my sisters Erin and Emma are coming. I am so excited! I have ballots for us to vote on what we think will win and we're going to have lots of great food. Celebrate the little things, I say!

5. I realize that I'm like eight months behind everyone else, but the Mumford and Sons album Babel is outstanding. My sister Erin burned me a copy months ago, but I misplaced it in my car so I never got to listen. I found it recently and have been listening to it nonstop. There are so many good songs it's impossible to pick one. However, there's this one line that I loooooooooove on their song "I Will Wait": Raise my hands, Paint my spirit gold. PAINT MY SPIRIT GOLD. I love that! And if you are anything like me, if you find a song you like, you listen to it over and over (and over) really loud while driving in your car. THE BEST!

6. I'm in the Junior League of Huntington and every year we do a Character Breakfast. (Kind of like the ones at Disney World, but with a bunch of different characters in this big ballroom.) For the past couple of years I have assisted by working the ticket table, but this year is a whole new ballgame -- I'm playing Merida from Brave! I am so excited because that movie is so good AND I am going to be popular! (Popuuuular.) My costume is really cool, but the local costume shop didn't have the right color wig. (The one they had is like Ariel red, not Merida orange.) So I ordered on on ebay... I am praying that it will be here on time. It HAS to be here. I will cry if I'm not 100% authentic.

7. My sister Emma (18) is in town for the weekend from where she goes to college three hours away, and apparently my brother Alex (23) told my other sister Erin (26) that he really wants to hang out with all of us. (?) So me, my sister, my sister, my brother Alex and Alex's girlfriend Alex (no, not a typo) are all going to dinner tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to it!

7a. This seems so poignant to my life lately:

*Billy Bob's Wonderland is a poorly named Huntington, W.Va. version of Chuck E. Cheese. It's been around since I'm not sure how long, as I used to go there for friends' birthday parties when I was a kid. 

I had a Ball

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Last night I had so much fun going to the Museum Ball with my dad! This is the first year that I've attended the Ball not working. The previous two times I attended was while I was on staff at the Museum and had done a lot of work planning the Ball. My dad and I had a really nice time, and my friend Sarah went too, which was great. The theme was "Here's Looking at You," and anyone who knows me knows that the 1940s/1950s era is absolutely my wheelhouse, so it was a great theme for me! It's about once a year that I actually get really dressed up to go anywhere nowadays, so this was really fun.

These are my H by Halston shoes I got a couple of years ago while on a trip to Columbus with my mom. These shoes, in gold, were worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the first Sex and the City movie. They are a half-size too small, but I had to have them! 

This red, tea-length dress has been sitting in my closet unworn for several years. I got it at Macy's for something like $11. It was fun to wear and very comfortable. 

I Get It Now

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I just finished watching a broadcast of the Ash Wednesday service -- Pope Benedict XVI's last -- from the Vatican. Toward the end of the service, the camera panned in really close to his face, and I looked into his eyes.

To be honest, although I loved and revered Pope Benedict XVI, I can't say that I loved him like I loved Pope John Paul II. When Pope John Paul II died my mom said, "It's like losing my grandfather," and I could not have put it more perfectly.

However, as I stared into the face of Pope Benedict XVI as he said his last mass, something moved in my heart. I saw the face of a man so holy, so in love with God and the Church, that the depth of his holiness is unimaginable to me. Pope Benedict XVI doesn't know me, but he cares for me and loves me as the human stand-in for Christ. He also loves and cares for me -- for all of us -- so much that he humbled himself, admitted his humanity and stepped down as the leader of our faith due to his advanced age.

I don't think I truly ever realized the depth of difficulty in the job of the Pope. To be sure, I understand how much work is involved. However, I really don't think until Pope Benedict XVI retired (instead of died) and people began talking so much about everything the Pope does, that it really hit me. He speaks a million languages and often has to bounce back and forth between them, can you imagine how that would exhaust your  brain? He has to travel the world, author documents, counsel cardinals and bishops, say masses, baptize babies. He has to lead the over one billion Catholics around the globe in an age when NO ONE likes Catholics.

Blogger Simcha Fischer wrote this blog post the other day, which was perfectly stated and outstanding. There was, however, a comment I read yesterday that someone posted on her post that I can't seem to get out of my mind:

Oh, Simcha, you make me cry again. I love these two men equally. They are both holy, and therefore utterly lovable.
How tired, indeed, must Joseph Ratzinger be, as he has the gifts in his hands outstretched to save the world from itself, and the world assumes it knows better! It kills me to hear those supposed “nuns”, for example, “correct” him! 
It is the story of Jesus all over again, as it always is.
Thank you for your beautiful writing. Our loss is very very great indeed.

Specifically the line: How tired, indeed, must Joseph Ratzinger be, as he has the gifts in his hands outstretched to save the world from itself, and the world assumes it knows better! 

The gifts in his hands outstretched to save the world... yes, how truly exhausted he must be from the rejection he faces from so many billions on the globe. How exhausted Christ must have been as he hung on the cross, gifts in his hands outstretched to save the world.

It reminds me of that song I love by Abandon, "Hero." It says:

There he goes -- a hero, a savior to the world.

As Simcha said, Goodbye Papa.

Killer Pie

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

While at the grocery store earlier this evening I bought myself a personal-sized frozen berry pie. I like pie.

I just went to microwave it and on the back the directions let me know that I needed to be SURE the pie was cooked thoroughly before I ate it. In order to make this determination I would need to insert my food thermometer -- in several spots -- to see if it had reached 165 degrees.

Let me just say -- if I was the kind of person who owned and/or ever used a food thermometer would I be microwaving myself frozen pies? I think not. I think I'm just going to throw caution to the wind and eat the pie.

The Man With the Cardboard Sign

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

If there's one thing I've learned in my 28-and-a-half-years of life, it's that second chances don't come often. When we're given another opportunity to do something or say something we should have the first time, it is such a blessing. And can change a life.

A week or so ago I got into my car to leave work and head to school. Down a slight hill from my office is a red light that intersects a busy road, and that red light is my way home. And that red light is LONG.  That day, I started down the hill and near the stoplight there was a man holding a cardboard sign announcing he was homeless and looking for work. There were also no other cars waiting at that light. I knew that if I drove down that hill as I always did, I would have to wait out that long red light stopped just beside the man with the cardboard sign.

Now, I am not wealthy nor any type of big-time philanthropist, but I do give as much as I can when I can. I know that sometimes people holding signs aren't really homeless or needy, but my philosophy has always been that what I give them is between me and God and if they're being dishonest that is between them and God. But I am also incredibly sensitive and these types of sights (and also things like abandoned animals, abused children and neglected elderly) really affect me in a major way. I see or hear anything like this and I cry. I had also been told by my dad, as he rolled down his window and gave cash to another man with a cardboard sign years ago -- actually not far from where I was that day -- that it was okay for him to do that, but if I was ever alone in my car, it was not something that would be safe.

I am not proud to admit this, but instead of driving down that hill and stopping at that light, I took a left into the parking lot of the CVS. Although there was no other way to access my route but by that light, I thought maybe if I detoured through the parking lot, someone else would get in line for that light, or it would turn green, and I wouldn't have to stop close to the man with the cardboard sign. However, as I made that turn I realized that what I was doing was not only cowardly, it was insulting to the man. I knew in that moment what I had done was wrong, and God was disappointed in me, as I was in myself. It was broad daylight in the afternoon with several cars around, nothing bad would happen if I rolled down my window and gave some cash to the man with the cardboard sign. I turned another corner to get back on the road near the light, and two cars pulled in front of me, neither of which handed any money to the man. I stopped my car to wait, third car in line, and reached for my wallet. At that moment the light turned green, and several cars were in line behind me, so I drove through the light and went on my way. I had missed my chance.

 I thought about what I had done -- or more correctly, what I had failed to do -- a lot after that incident. Although I drove that way every day, twice a day, I never saw the man with the cardboard sign again.

Until today.

I saw him just like I had the first time, holding his sign as I was driving down the road to head for school. There were already two cars in line waiting. This time, I prayed that the light would stay red so that I would have time to speak to the man and give him what I had. I stopped my car and he was slightly in front of me. I pulled out a couple of dollars from my glove compartment and a couple from my wallet. All I had was five $1 bills, nothing at all really, but I rolled down my window and waved to him. He came over to my car, and I handed him those five dollars.

"I'm sorry, it's not much, but it's all I have with me right now," I said.

"It's plenty. Thank you," said the man with the cardboard sign.

"You're welcome. God bless you.* Have a good day," I said.

The light turned green and I drove away.

As I drove down the road I teared up as I thanked God so much for giving me a second chance to make good on what I should have done the first time. We hardly ever get second chances, and I was so, so, so grateful that this opportunity had come my way.

*I am not a typical "God bless you" type person. Unless someone sneezes, that is just not something I normally say. I have no idea why I said it today.

Donuts, the Beach and Parties

Sunday, February 3, 2013

So I recently started reading a blog by someone that I've quickly come to admire. Her name is Kelle Hampton and she writes the most articulate posts and takes the loveliest pictures.

She has two stepsons, two daughters and another little boy on the way. At the moment of her second daughter's birth, Kelle and her husband found out she had Down Syndrome. Kelle's blog, Enjoying the Small Things, chronicles her family's life.

There are so many reasons I admire her, but the main one is, I think we really are kindred spirits. However, she does a much better job of actually living her spirit than I do. She celebrates small things like they are big things and I LOVE that. She will randomly decide that she needs to throw a pumpkin carving party, throw it together in two hours, invite people and surprise her elder daughter when she comes home from school. She'll accept a friend's invitation to take their kids for milkshakes after ballet even if that  means cancelling something else she had planned. She decorates for every season even though she lives in Florida and it's usually always warm. She lets her kids use up all the dish soap playing in buckets of water on the driveway. Everything she does seems colorful and so sunny and warm.

I am like this too. I really like celebrations for things that don't always matter. I enjoy any reason to be excited about something and throw a party. I really like things that are colorful and fun. I like the sunshine and the ocean. I love nights that end with midnight trips in your pajamas to somewhere fun.

The biggest diference between me and Kelle? She DOES all this stuff. I just think how I'd LIKE to do it. I read her blog and am full of excuses -- I don't have kids to do magical stuff for, I have no yard or outside space to play, it's freezing cold and snowing right now in West Virginia. So many excuses. But I really should start doing these things, even if it's just for myself. I should paint a wall a bright color, I should throw a Super Bowl party for my friends, I should invite people over for donuts and mimosas some Saturday morning, I should pick up my sister late at night some time and make her eat pancakes with me at IHOP, I should show up to teach ballet one night using music that's funky and fun instead of the usual. I need to send people cards just because or texts to say hello and I'm thinking of them. I really need to take more pictures. (And print them out. My grandmother asked me to print pictures and send them to her. I asked what she wanted pictures of. She said WHATEVER YOU PUT ON FACEBOOK. Oh, so she also just wants to see pictures of Snicks laying about? I can do that!) For those of us who are single, we need to go to the beach with our girlfriends. We need to take our sisters to New York City and visit our best friends in Tulsa. I can do all these things. I don't need kids to do them for. It doesn't have to be summer. My little apartment is a fine place to host a person or two.

This may be hard to see, but this is Snicks holding my hand with his paw. :) 

I really think that it is moments like this that make life magic.

It's so very easy to caught up in the routine of going to work, going to school, going to dance, going home, doing homework, taking a shower, doing it all again. It's easy to go a whole day without doing something fun for anyone. Doing nothing to make someone else's day brighter. Doing nothing to make my OWN day brighter.

I'm sitting here watching the Super Bowl and thinking I should have thrown my own party and see who came. Maybe no one. Maybe I would have eaten nachos by myself. But I bet not. I bet someone would have come. Life can change so quickly. Maybe I'll be watching the Super Bowl next year with the love of my life. Maybe I'll be sitting here watching it at my apartment again with Baby Snicks. Who knows? It's funny to see what can change in a year, using things that only happen once a year as markers.

Point is -- God gave us all a life. One. One life. We can't sit around and wait for things to happen to us. We can't say "I'll do this when..." or "I'll do this if..." We have to do this NOW. We need to have midnight hot chocolate and ice cream for dinner and donut parties on Saturday morning. NOW. This minute.

The Train has Pulled in to the Weekend Station!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Joining Jen and the Jen-ettes for another week! It's a special edition of "You know you're Catholic when..."

1... Your most recent likes on Facebook are Marcus Grodi, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and Abby Johnson: Pro Life Advocate.

2... Whenever you hear anyone complain about anything, you really just want to scream at them to OFFER IT UP.

3... You get really confused when you walk into a Protestant church building because between the parlor and the kitchen and the offices, you can't, for the life of you, figure out where the sanctuary is.

4... You always want to end the pledge of allegiance with "Amen."

5... You think memes like this are hysterical:

6... You have an official countdown going to the first Fish Fry of the Lenten season. (13 days, 11 hours and 28 minutes.)

7... You start sentences with "Mother Angelica said..."

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