Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Week In A Nutshell

Hi everyone.. I've been so immersed in other things that I have neglected my blog and my friends horribly. Please accept my apologies.

What an amazing week it has been. It started out last Sunday with attending what is called a "Rite of Election". During Mass on Sunday, those of us in my RCIA class were introduced to the congregation and asked to sign a book. The book was then brought by our priest to the official "Rite of Election" on Sunday evening, at a very large church here in Dayton. I, along with my fellow candidates attending this service along with our sponsers. We were called up by parish, and our sponsers were asked questions about our preparedness. We were asked some basic questions and then we all prayed. It was an incredible event. This was one of 4 such services within the Cincinnati Archdiocese. There were 2 in Cincinnat and two in Dayton. Between the 4 services, over 1000 people are in the process of becoming Catholic. That number amazed me!!!

During the week, I took part in what was called "A Busy Person's Lenten Retreat". It was... awesome. It began with an opening prayer service on Monday afternoon. I was assigned to a spirtual advisor, with whom I met for 30 minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There was a lunchone on Wednesday and a closing ceremony on Friday. My Spirtual Advisor was Sister Mary Louise, and we had some amazing discussions. I got some good feedback and she gave me some wonderful tools about how to pray, and how to connect. I know that the will help me greatly.

Tuesday brought snow and then ice. Way too much ice for my liking. The University cancelled morning classes and we did not have to report until noon. Of course, Russell wanted to go in early. That was fine, because I had reading I wanted to do. In addtion to all my reading for RCIA, I have also begun reading the Harry Potter series... and I'm enthralled with them.

Thursday, of course was Valentines Day. The morning started out on a wonderful note. Russell and I had lunch with a friend, and then on the way home discussed what we were going to do for the evening. After calling a 1/2 dozen restaurants, we decided to wait to have our Valentines dinner until Sunday or Monday, when they wouldn't be so busy.

I had lunch with Karen, my sponser on Saturday and then visited with my Mother. I took her a dog book for her valentines gift. She has been asking for one. I don't think it was the one she wanted, so I may be taking it back. Saturday night saw us attending the Annual Banquet at our local dog training club. We teach their ever week, but have not been as involved. So it was very very good to catch up with alot of old friends!!!

And that, in a nutshell was my week. Hugs to all my friends. Have a grand day and hopefullly, I'll be able to stay in touch more this coming week. And in closing.. good luck wishes to Dale Ernhardt Jr at today's Daytona 500!!! Goooooooo Junebug!!!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


As many of you know, I am currently undergoing one of the most incredible journeys of my life... I am currently going through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). In other words, I am becoming a Roman Catholic. I have regularly been attending Mass with my husband for the last two years. This past Wednesday, was my very first experience in receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday. It was a very powerful experience, one that I embraced deep in my heart. It was also the first time I've fasted on Ash Wednesday. Fasting is never fun, or easy... but I noticed that it wasn't as difficult as when I need to fast for other reasons! I believe that my reason for fasting helped me endure and embrace the experience, and to stay positive!

As I was walking to the Chapel for the Ash Wednesday Mass, I noticed a hawk, sitting at the very top of the cross on the very top of the chapel. Intrigued, I got a really good look and was easily able to ascertain that the hawk was a red tailed hawk. This distracted me for a few seconds, and then I hurried inside. The chapel was full.. it was standing room only. So I found a spot at the back of the chapel and waited for Russell. He arrived a few minutes later, and I whispered to him about the hawk. After Mass, we looked and sure enough, it was still there. In sharing this with friends, I learned that Native American lore says that the presence of Red Tailed Hawks are good luck. They ward off evil spirits and protect from dangerous weather! Of course, the nation was currently being ravaged by horrible storms, blizzards and floods. We were spared for the most part here in Dayton. So I wonder if there's not something to this folklore. Either way, it added to my wonderful Ash Wednesday experience.

In addition to not eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Friday's of Lent, I've decided to give up sweets (candy and desserts). Visiting my Mother is always filled with eating candy. She has tons and tons of it, and it's in little bowls all around her room. Knowing this, I got into the "right mindset" as I prepared for our weekly visit. I was able to ignore her candy with ease. I felt no desire for it. I prayed a prayer of thanks, and asked for continued strength in my resolve. Will power has never been my strong suit. I also manged to ignore all the valentine's candy displays at the grocery.... it's all over, and I typically fall prey to at least one of this displays. However, I stayed focused on what I was looking for and checked out without any feeling any temptation. Thank you, God!

Yesterday, being Friday, meant "no meat". Russell and I met for lunch at the Faculty/Staff dining room on campus. The Chef was serving the loveliest pork roast. I looked at it with longing.. pork is my favorite. I mentioned this to the manager, and he groaned. He wanted it to. He told me laughingly that they had really messed up the menu, and didn't think about this being Lent. Of course, it's a little more astonishing, because this is a Catholic University. He was pretty chagrined and I giggled and said, well.. just don't take it off the menu because it didn't sell. He assured me they wouldn't.

So I chose the fried shrimp, and a cheddar garlic biscuit. And then I went to the salad bar and scooped up a large dish of napa cabbage salad... and then walked around and generously sprinkled sunflower seeds and crumbled bacon on top! I didn't even realize what I had done until Russell pointed at it in mock horror. It took a minute for my brain to click and I too gasped in horror.. more real than his. So, after we sat down, i proceeded to scrape off all the bacon. Our table was right next to another, where two priests, both of whom I am good friends with, and who know that I'm going through RCIA, were sitting. Fr. Teddy immediately noticed, and started laughing, asking me if I had put bacon on my salad. I groaned and grinned at him. Fr. Joe laughed and and Fr. Teddy said that they could give me a dispensation. I looked up from my scraping, and said "really?". I was so mortified and sad that I had messed up. Russell grinned at them and said "that's a rookie for you!!!". They both laughed and told me not to worry about it. Finally, I thought I had it all and took a bite. NOPE. I told Russell there was bacon mixed in... so I went and got a lid, and brought it home to eat this weekend. Another Priest, named Fr. Bert came over to say hello. I told him what I had done, and he was very sweet and told me that not to worry, that it was an honest mistake. He then went back to his table and came back once more and said, don't worry... one of the Brothers forgot and got a cheeseburger on Ash Wednesday! That definitely made me feel better!!!

These are my first "Lenten" experiences... and I may share more as time passes. If you are taking part in Lent, I'd love to hear about yours.