still at the house my brother has been building for my gram. it's habitable but the upstairs has lots of work and the finishing touches are incomplete. kind of reminds me of us human beings and a t-shirt i once saw "please be patient, god isn't finished with me yet".
have seen my dad - he's frail, bed-bound for the most part, with almost no muscle mass to be seen. there is a hospital bed in his living room and he holds court from there. he says that he is slowly improving. he's finshied his course of hyperbaric chamber treatments and his physical wounds are slowly healing. but he still has so much wrong in his body that it's a battle to keep his medications in balance with each other. he was having fainting spells so they reduced his blood pressure medication, but that could adversely affect his kidney function etc.
my gram is stable, spends most of the day sitting in her chair reading her horse race mysteries and occasionally pottering around the house. my brother goes from room to room finishing this and that using tools that make interesting noises.
saw my eldest son last night for dinner (sushi place). he's getting ready to move closer to where he will be going to school to finish his undergraduate program. and from there, eventually, grad school. a late bloomer, like his mom.
will be having dinner tonight with a childbirth educator friend. tomorrow brunch with a couple of my siblings-in-law, and later that night on a plane to head back to my dh, who I haven't seen for 10 days. boy do i miss him. and my own bed, too, for that matter.
alicia: April 2006 Archives
still at the house my brother has been building for my gram. it's habitable but the upstairs has lots of work and the finishing touches are incomplete. kind of reminds me of us human beings and a t-shirt i once saw "please be patient, god isn't finished with me yet".
I just know that I will get back to the office and everyone will ask me "How was your vacation"? I think I will need a vacation to recover from this trip.
Many bright spots - I had the chance to meet Mimi and we spent some great time together just conversing. Her boss was gracious enough to let her leave early so that we could meet up for a couple of hours over coffee, tea, and desserts at a local to her eatery.
Let me back up a bit and run you through my itinerary so far.
Saturday 4/22 I was on my 24 hour call at the hospital. It was crazy and busy even though I didn't have a single labor patient of my own. I went to Mass Sunday morning on my way home and had the chance to hear a rarety - a homily on the benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation - as part of the Divine Mercy Sunday events. Went home afterwards and handled the minutiae of getting ready for a prolonged road trip. When I checked in on-line, I realized that I would be sitting in the middle seat at the very last row on the longest leg of the trip - and being already sleep deprived AND facing a 2 hour drive at the other end of my journey, I did something that I have never done before. I cashed in most of the frequent flyer miles that I had been painstakingly accumulating over the last 20 years - and bought myself an upgrade to first class. It was worth every mile that I spent. I am not one who can usually sleep on a plane, but as soon as Narnia was over I was fast asleep until nearly time to land at PDX. Let's face it, the nice fruit and cheese plate and the free drinks certainly helped a lot, too! I could really get used to flying first class.
Landed in Portland OR and picked up the rental car, drove down to Eugene to my son's where my youngest had already been hanging out for a couple of days (she not having to work and not wanting to miss any time of her school break) and somewhat incoherently crashed out on his couch. Got up early later that morning to take dear daughter to Willamette University, went on a tour, met with an admissions counselor, and left her there for the visit classes/overnight stay. Met with a midwife friend Pam and had lunch at the Coffee House Cafe. Talked about midwifery, politics of;christianity and midwifery, raising kids, staying competent, and all sorts of midwife stuff.
Then I went back to Eugene, stuck my head in at the NPR station there (but there was only one person in the office who I knew), went to Costco to buy groceries that I can't get in NH, went to Fred Meyer (ditto) and then back to my son's place. (I pack very lightly to go out to the west coast and I bring an extra suitcase to haul home the goodies). What I haven't figured out yet is how to safely bring home Pollo Loco. I am under instructions to bring home YumYum donuts and/or Western Bagel. We shall see. I am pretty close to my weight limit already.
Had dinner with both my Eugene children (the son who hosted me and his next sibling, a daughter). Went out to dinner, and daughter got carded by the waitress because, although she is nearly 24, she still doesn't look much over 14. This runs in the family - I think that my 30 something daughter still gets carded on occasion. The funny thing is that since D doesn't drive, she uses her passport as her primary ID. Took the waitress aback a little bit.
Slept a few hours and then packed up my stuff and left to pick up B at Willamette. Got on the road and drove north to the University of Puget Sound, where we were 5 minutes late for the 2 o'clock tour we had scheduled. Oh well. Sorted things out with the staff at the admissions office (who, btw, were not nearly as friendly or organized as the same staff at Willamette U.) Left B there on campus and arranged that I would be there at noon the next day to pick her up. Finalized my arrangements to meet up with Mimi( 1/2 drive south). Was finally reached by a midwife friend in Kennewick who invited me to come out there and tour her birth center. So I made a last minute change of plans and drove the 221 miles one way from Tacoma to Kennewick. Until I knew what time B would be through on campus, I couldn't really finalize things, and if she were to have been through at 0900 I wouldn't have been able to make that run. In retrospect, I wish that there had been another day in there so that I could have driven up to see my daughter in Idaho but it just didn't work out.
Left Mimi, called the friend that I had originally been planning to overnight with and let her know, and drove and drove and drove. When you look on the map you don't really realize what that drive is. Because of this feature called a mountain range, it isn't possible to drive as the crow flies. Gotta go north or south before you can go east. Drove through some truly awesome mountain country and was very glad that is wasn't winter. Got to Kennewick sometime before midnight, toured the birth center, the hospital, chatted for a few hours and went to sleep, only to be awakened because my friend had a mom in labor. So I headed back to Tacoma as the sun was rising. It was a beautiful but exhausting journey.
Stopped to see another midwife friend and barely made it in time to pick up B. Never made it to see yet another childbirth person because we couldn't make our schedules mesh.
Drove back to Portland so that B could visit with two of her cousins - one who is a few months older and the other who is a year younger than she is. Had dinner with her uncle and cousins, then drove her to the airport to catch her flight back to NH. Went back to brother-in-laws house to sleep for 4 hours before catching my own plane to Los Angeles. Never made the connection with my other brother in law or any of my Portland friends.
Got into Los Angeles yesterday AM. Saw my dad, and am staying at my grandma's house that my brother is building. Still unsure as to the rest of my intinerary here, but will probably see my elder son tonight.
I pretty much grew up in Los Angeles (spent 6 of my first 18 years living there), came into the church there at the hands of a wonderful Jesuit (thank you Fr. Randy Roche), met and married my cradle Catholic husband there, and gave birth to 5 of our 6 children there. You know the Randy Newman song?
I love L.A. I truly do. I just can't live there any more.
There was about a 3 year period (1984-1987) when my husband and I, and our children, basically stopped going to Mass on a regular basis. We certainly weren't following the church's teachings on some pretty important stuff, and part of it was that we could go to 6 different Roman rite Catholic parishes within a 10 mile radius (and one Eastern rite, too, though we never went there) and hear at least 20 different opinions on what teachings were necessary for salvation and which were prudential judgement. The local Spanish language parish was run as a mission church by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Mission San Fernando was also nearby, and there was a huge mega-parish (7 English language masses per weekend - 2 vigil and 5 sunday) associated with the diocesan High School.
Eventually we came back, and 3 of our children ended up making their First Communion at the same time (one on time, the other two being caught up). And we tried to be more than just pew warmers. But there was not any challenge to really live out our faith in the hard ways. Even being involved with Marriage Encounter and music ministry there was a sense that some topics (the 'hard teachings') were the elephant in the living room. Being part of music actually made it worse, I think. The power of catchy tunes combined with theologically unsound lyrics is a powerful way to subtly attack basic theological truths.
It wasn't really until we left California for Oregon, and later left Oregon for New England, that we began to shed the scales from out eyes.
I really pray for the bishops of southern california. they really need out prayers. Like Karen Hall, I didn't become Catholic to become a Protestant.
So I didn't manage to locate the CD for this morning's commute - which was really too bad as I got stuck for nearly 1/2 hour due to a rollover down the road.
We went once to the Divine Mercy Shrine a bit of a ways down the road in Stockbridge MA - nearly 2 years ago it was. I'm not normally much of a tourist but this was different. It reminded me just a little bit of all the cathedrals I visited the year I lived in France as a kid - Soissons, Rheims, Laon. Just that peace that comes from the presence of prayer and Sacrament.
I think that it would do me good to visit a few more shrines. Hanceville AL where Mother Angelica built a shrine to the Divine Infant was also a wonderful and prayerful experience. I've heard wonderful things about the shrine of the North American martyrs, and I would love to visit the shrine for St Gianna some day. It seems that the physical act of pilgrimage is a metaphor for the journey that we are all on, hopefully one that culminates in the arms of the Savior. Meanwhile, I guess that we each need to keep on keeping on.
Over a year ago my husband bought a CD with the sort of gospel version of the sung chaplet. We know now that the trip home from the Perpetual Adoration chapel is almost long enough to get through the whole chaplet in the car. When we took our road trip/vacation last year, I burned a few CDs to take with us so that I didn't need to worry about possibly losing them on the road - and one of them was the Divine Mercy chaplet. I think it ended up on the same disc as some John Michael Talbot and some Latin Catholic classics.....
I've lately gotten out of the habit of praying it in the car on my way to work. But I think that tomorrow, I will try to find it in the mad morning rush, and put my heart and soul in the right place to face my day in the office. I already know that my schedule is booked solid, with a few double bookings, because I will be gone from the office from 4/23 through 5/2.............
My trip will take me to Portland OR, with trips to Salem OR, Eugene OR, and Tacoma WA. I will also spend a few days in the Los Angeles area. Anyone living in that area who might want to try to touch base with me, send me an email. I can't promise anything but that I will try. This trip isn't exactly a vacation, but neither is it exactly business.
And if you are praying the Divine Mercy chaplet, will you say a decade for me? thanks.
An article from where I used to live in Oregon, about pain, suffering, and the mysterious gift of grace.
I miss Oregon, almost more than I miss California. I will be there next week, but only for a few days. Taking the daughter to check out college campuses, so that she can make her final choice. Hard to think that the nest will soon be empty - but my children at least are still with me in this world. Far away, living their own lives, not always being or doing what I had thought they would - but here and living and growing.
Oregon has one of the best practice acts for both nurse-midwives and midwives without a nursing background.
Oh, and check out the earrings the midwife is wearing. Are they cool, or what?
I listened to the Divine Mercy chaplet on EWTN for the first time probably a little over five years ago. I didn't know much of anything about it, I just knew that I liked what I was hearing. I went to the Catholic bookstore and asked if there was a 'Divine Mercy' chaplet in the collections of other chaplets - dumb me, didn't know that it was said on ordinary rosary beads, had never heard of St.Faustina, knew nothing except that I had heard this prayer on EWTN and that is hit a chord in my heart.
The Catholic bookstore had a packaged trifold and a one decade rosary that it sold as a "Divine Mercy Chaplet". I think that it was around Easter of 2002 that I bought it. I took it with me to Atlanta for the ACNM conference and ended up losing it (along with a favorite suit coat) at the hotel or possibly in a taxicab. I was so very bummed. But somewhere along the way, I realized that I really didn't need that crutch to pray the chaplet. And I remember that eventually I saw in the missalette that the Sunday after Easter was to be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. I also remember my disappointment that little or nothing was said about this from the pulpit or in the bulletin.
I love the rosary, but I have also developed a love for saying the prayers of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I can say them, I can chant them, I can sing them. It helps me a lot to meditate on the great gift that God gave us in His Mercy.
Almighty Father, I offer you, the body and the blood, soul and divinity, of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Holy God, Holy Mighty God, Holy Immortal God, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
When we left the house this morning, I noticed that the last of our bulbs had bloomed. Our front yard is cheery and that helps me.
Morning Mass today was wonderful, even the music was mostly well chosen. It was definitely well-played - there was a small string group with back up from piano or organ. Two cellos, a few violas, several violins - and all of these were played by teenagers who gave up big chunks of their free time to rehearse and prepare. Standing room only in the church. Incense, a sung Gloria, the dialogue chanted. I wish that more just plain Sunday Masses could have some of the beauty that is pulled out for Easter. But then I imagine that my family would appreciate it if I would pull out all the stops for just plain Sunday dinner more often, and not just on Easter! food for thought......
This year, instead of my traditional lamb, I cooked a turkey. We had in the freezer a free-range organic local turkey. I marinated it while it was thawing. I used a mixture of oil, white wine, garlic, salt, turmeric and various herbs. It came out very well, if I do say so myself. I pulled out my personal favorite relish - the sorbet style one with cranberries, onions, horseradish, and sour cream. Accompaniments were mashed white potatoes, brown sugar sweet potatoes, steamed carrot coins, asparagus, and broccoli. I made a loaf of challah bread, and John and I shared a small amount of Asti Spumante - mostly because I had it on hand! Later tonight we will have lemon icebox pie (a family recipe) and pumpkin pie (at the request of the girl-child, I made it using almond milk instead of cream - we will see how it turned out). Also ice cream and sundry other goodies.
Hope you all had blessed and yummy Easters.
Yesterday started the novena for divine mercy sunday, and I thought about posting something thoughtful and meaningful, but I didn't. By the time I got home from Good Friday Liturgy, scrounged something small to eat, and read Dawn's blog (which, by the way, you need to read also) I was tired. It seems lately that I spend way too much time being tired, anyhow. Fighting for the culture of life at work, trying to persuade my professional colleagues to quit harassing the patients to make the choices that the colleagues think the patients should make, trying to meet the nearly impossible production goals that our grant funding entities think are reasonable (seeing 2.8 patients/hour which means that you have to book 3 patients per hour because so many of them just don't show up - except that lately mine have all been showing up AND needing much more than the 20 minutes per visit). And then the computer system that we are transiting into using for all the office visits except prenatal has crashed twice in the last week.
So I guess that I'm not going to commit to anything that requires daily posting, not even something as dear to my heart as the Divine Mercy. The only reason I am even online now is that the 17 y/o has several friends over to color Easter Eggs - an annual tradition of hers. The music is way too loud and I have retreated upstairs to my room, where I can watch the bluebirds from my window and hear the chirping from the nest beneath the window air conditioning unit.
The Divine Mercy is something that I learned about from EWTN. Before we moved to NH, I had never seen nor heard EWTN. I'd heard of it, mostly negatives, but the whole time we lived in OR and our last few years in CA we didn't have cable. I'm not a TV person, anyhow. I prefer radio. But when I started taking call at the hospital, there was no way I could get a radio signal inside those thick walls and I had limited access to a computer with internet access. So I ended up turning on the TV in the call room for background when I was sleeping. (can't sleep too soundly on call). I was looking for something that would have quiet music, and thought I might have luck finding gregorian chant on the Catholic channel. Instead, I happened to turn it on during a chant of the Divine Mercy chaplet. I was hooked. (more later, gotta get changed to run to the Easter Vigil liturgy - my favorite liturgy of the year though I am afraid that this new parish administrator will cut it as short as he thinks he can get away with).
As a convert, I get a real kick out of reading the conversion stories of others. And at this time of the year, there are so many wonderful stories out there.
Owen is a talented artist and a clergy convert. I have sitting in front of me a work of his - right on my desk where I can see is. Rosary Madonna is a limited edition print (I have 7/20) of his acrylic on canvas work) and it is right here where I can contemplate and meditate. And yet to be framed, I have his pen and ink drawing "Here is my soul". Knowing Owen through the internet and the blogosphere had been a wonderful blessing. He created this beautiful icon to welcome those (including himself and his family) who have come home to the church this year.
There are so many! Dawn Eden, whose blog I have been reading almost as long as I have been blogging.
My British blog-buddy UKOK's mom is coming into the church also.
So many wonderful stories, and yet so very much pain. Those of us who have walked this path have come from so many different places to get here, and yet we are all also still on the journey. And even those cradle Catholics who never left the church, the reverts, those of our Christian cousins and brethren with whom we are in imperfect communion - we are all trying to walk the same path with our Saviour - even when that path is the way of the cross.
I never had any doubts that there is a God. And the only God that made any sense to me was the God of the Jewish/Christian tradition. I actually looked very closely at the Jewish tradition – I babysat for a year for an Orthodox Jewish family and I learned a lot about their beliefs and practices. Ask me about that sometime if you are interested. However, I became convinced that the evidence of history and scripture proved that Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, was indeed the Christ, the Messiah, the everlasting son of God. And eventually, I came to believe that this Jesus did indeed intend to found a church and that church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. And here I am. It's been more than 32 years now - a lifetime for some. My biggest regrets were the years that I spent in rebellion as a cafeteria Catholic. Would that I could take them back! But I know that I am forgiven and I pray that my time in Purgatory with be short.
I do have a question/concern. I know that there are 'ripple effects' from some of my sins of the past. What is the best way that I can try to mitigate them? Prayer and fasting are key - but is there anything else?
Another phil ochs song. I am not fond of labels like liberal, conservative, radical, reactionary - at least not the way these words are used in the contemporary USA. Labels can be useful, especially on canned food - but they can so easily get in the way of real conversation. Feminist is another label that gets my ire. Hippie, Yuppie, DINK, labels and categories and cubbyholes - I think that these can deny each of us our humanity. Things just get so very twisted.
Some one that I get email from has a signature line that is cited as a quote from Jack Kerouac "I am not a beatnik, I am a Catholic." But even that self-identification can get distorted. I would like to think that I am Catholic and that Frances Kissling is not. But the reality is that anyone who was baptised Catholic is Catholic, just some of us are bad Catholics and some of us are worse. We are all sinners, after all.
I remember hearing several times that the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. I have to admit that in my pharisaical self-righteousness I get angry and upset with those who simply warm the pews at Sunday Mass, or worse yet, use the church I love as a bludgeon while openly defying her truths. But I've been there too.
What was it that Matthew said about whited sepulchers, hypocrites, etc? Here it is, Mt 23:13-39
Is it Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday? Or is it Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday? inquiring minds want to know.
Also, are parishes getting better or worse about following the Maundy Thursday rubrics? I wince every time I see women's feet being washed.
On the immigration issues that are getting big press. I am not happy with the current situation but I worry that the proposed laws are a worse solution than the problem. If one of the parts of the law passes as written, I run the risk of being convicted of a felony for simply doing my job. I have no way to know if some one who comes into the clinic for prenatal care or into the hospital to have a baby is legal or illegal. And if 'aiding' an illegal immigrant becomes a felony I could become a target.
Life is very busy and a little overwhelming lately.
Stolen shamelessly from the Happy Catholic
Lent is almost over and this Sunday is Palm Sunday already! I thought it would be fun to share what we do special to commemorate the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord.
1. What do you do with your new blessed palm from Palm Sunday?
Fold them into palm crosses that I then use as bookmarks in the appropriate books.
2. What do you do with your old one from last year?
Bury or burn them.
3. What do you do during Holy Week in preparation for Good Friday?
Monday, choir rehearsal. Everyday, read some scriptures and pray with my husband. Attend Mass as often as possible, especially the Maundy Thursday liturgy. Try to be forgiving of those who ignore the rubrics for the washing of the feet.
4. How do you commemorate Christ's Passion on Good Friday?
Fast, stations of the cross, liturgy of the presanctified gifts, adoration of the cross.
5. When do you color Easter eggs?
Sometime before the Easter Vigil mass on Holy Saturday
6. When do you buy Easter candy?
Whenever I can.
7. What is the first thing you plan to do Easter morning?
feed the cats (like every day). Make a pot of tea. Start something for brunch, and get dressed to go to Mass. It's hard to get up on time after the Easter Vigil liturgy but we manage. This year DH and I are doing music for the vigil and our daughter is playing cello for the Sunday Mass.
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Prosecution of Midwife Casts Light on Home Births
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Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday
ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome
ROME, MARCH 28, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: I understand that it is in fact liturgically incorrect to have the main celebrant at the Holy Thursday Mass wash the feet of women. Correct? -- J.C., Ballina, Ireland. During the Holy Thursday liturgy at our parish, there are a number of foot-washing stations set up around the Church, and the people in the pews get up and bring someone else to one of the stations and wash their feet. Most of the people in Church take part in this, washing feet and in turn having their feet washed. It takes quite a while. Is this liturgically correct? Are there any norms for foot-washing during the Holy Thursday Mass? -- B.S., Naperville, Illinois. On Holy Thursday, at the washing of feet, the people, mostly youth, after having their foot washed, preceded to wash the next person's foot. Then they placed four bowls of water and four places before the altar, and the congregation was told to come forward and have their hands washed by the same people who just had their foot washed. We didn't. Everything felt out of order. -- E.K., Freehold, New Jersey
A: We already addressed the theme of washing women's feet in our column of March 23, 2004, and the subsequent follow-up on April 6.
Since then, there has been no change in the universal norm which reserves this rite to men as stated in the circular letter "Paschales Solemnitatis" (Jan. 16, 1988) and the rubrics of the 2002 Latin Roman Missal.
No. 51 of the circular letter states: "The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came 'not to be served, but to serve.' This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained."
About a year ago, however, the Holy See, while affirming that the men-only rule remains the norm, did permit a U.S. bishop to also wash women's feet if he considered it pastorally necessary in specific cases. This permission was for a particular case and from a strictly legal point of view has no value outside the diocese in question.
I believe that the best option, as "Paschales Solemnitatis" states, is to maintain the tradition and explain its proper significance.
This means preparing the rite following liturgical law to the letter, explain its meaning as an evocation of Christ's gesture of service and charity to his apostles, and avoid getting embroiled in controversies that try to attribute to the rite meanings it was never meant to have.
Regarding the place and number of those whose feet are to be washed, the rubric, which has remained unvaried in the new missal, describes the rite as follows:
"Depending on pastoral circumstances, the washing of feet may follow the homily.
"The men who have been chosen are led by the ministers to chairs prepared in a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers he pours water over each one's feet and dries them."
The number of men selected for the rite is not fixed. Twelve is the most common option but they may be fewer in order to adjust to the available space.
Likewise the place chosen is usually within or near the presbytery so that the rite is clearly visible to the assembly.
Thus, the logical sense of the rubric requires the priest, representing Christ, washing feet of a group of men taken from the assembly, symbolizing the apostles, in a clearly visible area.
The variations described above -- of washing the feet of the entire congregation, of people washing each other's feet (or hands), or doing so in situations that are not visible to all -- tend to undermine the sense of this rite within the concrete context of the Mass of the Lord's Supper.
Such practices, by greatly extending the time required, tend to convert a meaningful, but optional, rite into the focal point of the celebration. And that detracts attention from the commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, the principal motive of the celebration.
In other circumstances, such as retreats or so called para-liturgical services, it can be perfectly legitimate to perform foot-washing rites inspired by Christ's example and by the liturgy. In such cases none of the limitations imposed by the concrete liturgical context of the Holy Thursday Mass need apply.
American College of Nurse-Midwives reply to cesarean paper.
(PDF format, needs acrobat reader)
Coverage of the event by several major media organizations -- including The Washington Post, NBC's Today and Nightly News programs, and others -- presented women with a distorted view of the National Institute of Health's State of the Science findings, released yesterday.