Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christ The King & Rite of Welcome

This past Sunday was "Christ the King" Sunday. Two years ago, I received the Rite of Welcome from the Catholic Church on Christ the King Sunday. This caused me to go back to my "other blog" and remember the occasion. Now, I am sharing those thoughts with you, here:

I wanted to recount a little bit of the Rite of Welcome service. It was so powerful and beautiful - beyond anything that I had expected. What exactly I had expected, I'm not sure. But I didn't think it would be so powerful or captivating. Certainly, Sister Lorraine had kept back most of the details because she wanted us to be caught up in the moment. As a few of us "planners" were lamenting this prior to the service, (because we need to plan to be spontaneous) she was right. We needed to NOT know all the details, so that its beauty could captivate our senses.

As she described it, we would each state what we ask of God and His church; then we would all grasp the cross; then be signed with the cross. Bada-bing, bada-boom, done. So, we thought the hardest part would be coming up with something to say. (Which wasn't that hard, it just required really thinking about, "why am I here?") I said something to the effect of, "to share in the fullness of their faith and for a place to serve, to give, and to love." Of course, I could've said much, much more - but we were limited to a sentence. (see how I joined two sentences with that lovely conjunction "and"? Yep, always getting around those rules, I am!)

As a group (there were 10 of us), we grasped the cross in response to the question, "Are you ready to take up your cross and follow Christ?" Then, we moved onto the signing. I thought it would just be a one-time sign and we'd be done. But noooo...

Our sponsor (someone who is already a member and will serve as a mentor for us through the next phase) signed us with the cross. The priest would read what I am about to write, Mary would sign me, and then the choir would sing, "Christ will be your strength, learn to know and follow Him."
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your forehead. It is Christ himself who now strengthens you with this sign of His love. Learn to know and follow Him."
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your ears, that you may hear the voice of the Lord."
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your eyes, that you may see the glory of God." (at this point, as Mary signed my eyes - I felt such heat and was reminded of something that a friend prayed about my eyes once.)
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your lips, that you may respond to the word of God."
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your heart, that Christ may dwell there by faith." (which reminded me of the time I was in 1st grade and wanted to see Jesus, so I closed my eyes and 'looked into my heart' and saw Him calming the waves.)
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your shoulders, that you may bear the gentle yoke of Christ."
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your hands that Christ may be known by the work you do."
"Receive the sign of the Cross on your feet that you may walk in the way of Christ."

After each sign, I would look out at Mary - and the joy that radiated was incredible. The joy that radiated from me was incredible. I really have no way to completely capture what I felt - but I have never felt so welcomed, so loved, so connected, so much a part of something so much bigger than myself. As I took part in this, I really felt connected to all who have gone before me, throughout the centuries, those now, and those to come.

I truly feel part of the Body of Christ. I know that, yes, before this I was a Christian and I was a part of it...but, trust me, I now KNOW it deep within...that I am connected to the communion of saints, which has strengthened my bond with the head, which is Christ.

To close, an appropriate Psalm for today:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come into His presence with singing!
Know that Lord, He is God; it is He that has made us - not for ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him and bless His name.For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations!

(Psalm 100)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mother Goose & Michi-Gander visit

Dan's parents have been visiting us for the last ten days. It's been wonderful spending time with them and catching up. Here's a run-down of a few of the things we've done.

  • Welcomed them to town with a dinner at Reilly's Pizza - wood-fired, gourmet pizza in a revamped funeral home. (You could never tell what it'd been it's past life.) DEEElicious!
  • Celebrated my birthday with a home-cooked meal.
  • Watched Lincoln on its opening weekend. EXCELLENT. You must go see the movie!
  • Took in our first opera. One of my students gifted me with 2-free tickets to La Traviata. It was a first for all of us - and maybe not a last for all of us.
Dan and I after the opera.

  • Enjoyed being treated to home-cooked meals and not doing dishes....
  • Treated Dean to some Papa Murphy's Take-and-Bake pizza.
  • Made 2 pies (pumpkin and pecan), green bean casserole, and Grandma's cranberry salad for our Thanksgiving feast at my aunt's.

  • Attended mass - 3 times this week.
  • Scrap-booked (finally got that wedding one started) and crafted for the girls.
  • Watched football (including atteding the UA-ASU game) for the guys.
  • Checked out breakfast at Frank's - always a treat to enjoy good breakfast on a patio in November.
Good ol' Franks by Day; Francisco's at Night. I got to have 1 banana and 1 chocolate chip pankcake - delish combo!

  • Visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Definitely worth many happy returns.

Michi-Gander and Mother Goose are enjoying the balmy "fall" weather!

Whew! Tomorrow, they're on the road to California for a few days...and we're going to relax. :)
Some of us have already started relaxing....

Gallery Shelves: DIY + 3 others

Have you seen these gallery shelves on Pinterest under the heading: DIY?

Pinned Image

Well, I did. A friend had pinned it; I took note of the idea - but didn't pin it. I should have paid closer attention to the picture AND searched for the pin - because my project could have been a lot easier. Alas, shoulda-woulda-coulda. Instead, this project turned into a bonding experience, what could be better than that?

For some reason, I thought they used moulding. According to the picture above, they used 1x2s and 1x4s. At any rate, Dan and I headed to Home Depot (it's close to us), picked out some molding that has at least a 1" flat spot, a lip on the edge and pretty decorative backing. We cut out 3, 3' pieces and kept the 17" remaining. (Who can't use a shelf, right?)

We bought Kona Brown, high gloss spray paint. I spray painted all of the shelves. I was UBER excited to get this project completed before our in-laws came. We bought sawtooth hangers to afix the shelves to the wall.

The next weekend, Dan was out of town and I afixed the sawtooth hangers. I hammered in 2 nails. I put the shelf on the nails. ...and it hung at 45-degree angle...not ideal for putting any picture or figurine onto.

I did what any girl would do; I called my dad. It was rather difficult to explain the problem - and understand (on my part) possible solutions. The next day (the Sunday before the in-laws arrived 4 days later), I went to Home Depot and bought (and cut) 3, 3' L-shaped moulding pieces - and kept the remaining 12" for the spare 17" piece from above. I sprayed these with the Kona brown - and bought wood screws.

Then, I chickened out. My dad had explained ways to afix the L by drilling a hole, then screwing in the woodscrew. Truth is, I've only used a drill once. I wanted these to work, so I really didn't want to screw these up. So, I waited until Dan got home (the day before his parents came) - and there wasn't time in that day to finish these up.

Therefore, the first weekend that Dean and Linda were here, Dean and Dan set to work to finish these shelves. The result? Awesomeness. They drilled 3 woodscrews through the L-shape into the top piece of moulding. Then, they drilled the shelf into the wall through the lower L.

After such a great bonding experience, Dan felt the need to crawl up in his daddy's lap. Dean was...thrilled....


This picture was my birthday present from my mom (and dad).  This picture and shelf is now located in our "tv" cubby hole.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Proud to be an American

Well, it's the day after. How are you handling your Election Day hangover? Some are elated; others are nursing their wounds. And me? I am...content.

It's interesting to be content after an election. I'm not talking about "content because my guy won." [Honestly, other than the Presidential election, I have no idea how the candidates I voted for did.]  That's not contentment, anyway. That's joy, happiness, adulation. I don't feel that. I also don't feel bitter, angry or despondent. I feel...settled; peaceful...whether or not my candidates won.

I feel content for a few reasons.

1) Americans exercised their right to vote. Many Americans voted for the first time. This is great reason to rejoice - even if they vote for your guy or not. We have been given the privilege to participate in our government - to have a voice in the laws that regulate our activities - and people are freely choosing to participate. That is awesome.

2) My students voted. In my 301 course, Applying Critical Thinking to Critical Discourse, my goal is to assist my students in developing their critical thinking skills by analyzing issues. One of their assignments is analyzing an opinion piece (usually political). Their analysis needs to include the author's crediblity, the intent of the article, the claim and evidence used to support the claim. Then, they reflect on what they learned.

Most of the students in my class share that they don't really think about politics, "so I learned a lot." Many of my students reveal at the beginning of the class that they get political information from their parents. Their lack of political information was evident from their second writing assignment where they described their American dream and then were tasked with explaining how their dream relates to their political choices. While students could describe in great detail what they wanted their future to look like, they couldn't connect that to political issues or stances, much less, candidates. [At this point, you begin to wonder if age and citizenship should be the only two factors necessary to vote.]

But, then a funny thing happens on the way to the voting booth.... For my students' third presentation, as a group, they had to choose an issue, evaluate the issue's arguments and counter-arguments, choose a side, and defend their stance (with evidence!) to the class. They did great. The pieces are starting to click. They can identify positions and defend them.

Yesterday in class, their roll call was to share if they voted, and if not - why. 90% voted; the few that did not had good reasons to abstain (lack of information about issues).

Because they can identify positions and defend them with evidence, I have hope for the future, regardless of how they vote. We may not see eye-to-eye on issues all the time; we may question evidence used to support positions. The promise is that they can reason and consider other points of view when establishing their own.

3) States are not just red and not just blue. I really enjoyed the election coverage highlighting voter break-down in the "swing states." The fact that many states are not overwhelmingly one color or another signals this (to me): we're not a one-color country. We. must. compromise. in order to serve our country.

In my students' American Dream papers, many indicated that they're independents. They don't want to pick sides. They think there is value in thinking about an issue and choosing the best course - not being tied to the party's position. There is such promise for America. What if we could discuss the merits of an issue without disparaging the merits of the person presenting the idea?

My students' growth gives me hope that maybe one day in America, we can discuss the merits of an issue or policy. That American government will be "of the people" - meaning that many will participate (not just vote) in a manner that is respectful of individuals for the good of our country and its citizens.

Therefore, I will leave you with my favorite American song: God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood.