Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Words Can't Express

We just received some very sad news. Our beloved retired pastor Fr. Charlie Chesebrough died this morning. He has been a part of my family's faith life for the past fourteen years, as more than pastor. He was a friend, confidant, mentor and all around great example of what a servant priest should be.

When I was a member of the Parish Council I was pregnant with the angelbaby and because I was secretary I spent many many hours working closely with Fr. Charlie during my pregnancy and after she was born. He had a special bond with her. As she grew up, whenever I would have errands at the parish office the minute she burst through the door she would make a b-line for his office (sometimes bursting in on conversations he was having with people) to give him a hug. They always had a very special bond.

I am at a loss. I realize that this last year has been a great struggle for him health wise, and really ever since he retired two years ago every day has been a gift, because his lungs were so compromised by emphysema, but I still feel such crushing loss to think that I will never see him again.

Please join with me in praying for the repose of his soul and for consolation for his family, (his brothers, and their wives and children, as well as the parish families he brought together in his nearly forty years of priestly ministry.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Life is in the details

So we have had a busy weekend. . .

We found a car for son-and-heir to drive and purchased it. It is a nice older model Honda sedan. A much smaller car than anything he has ever driven (to date he has driven an old Chevy truck and our Pontiac Minivan), He is happy to have something that won't eat up so much of his paycheck in gas, and we are happy to have his transportation issues sorted out long before we have to leave.

Our oldest daughter's car was broken into outside her boyfriend's apartment. She had left the money from the paycheck from her second job loose in her purse on the back seat, but had taken her billfold into the house with her. The thief got away with about $120 in hard earned income. She was in tears when she told me about it this morning. She called the police and reported the break in and was informed by the police receptionist that she herself had a car broken into in the same neighborhood. Sadly, another hard lesson about how to handle money learned by our dear daughter. Now she has to work twice as hard this week to make up for the money she lost so that she can pay her bills (like rent on the apartment she isn't living in, but that is another sad tale).

Our beautiful autistic daughter (the one in the middle) has spent and exhausting year since she graduated from High School trying to find a job and unfortunately for her no one in this liberal and progressive college town would give her a job. She must have filled out fifty applications and went on interview after interview, but nothing turned up after almost an entire year of trying. In trying to make lemonade out of this whole mess, we have decided that she should come with us to Florida for the summer, and then we can continue the job search when we return in August. Much to my delight she went to the website and applied for admission to the local community college and was accepted all on her own and will be taking classes there in the fall as well. In many ways this year has been one of a lot of growth for her. The adversity and rejection has made her much stronger and more determined to make it on her own terms.

Graduating daughter decided that she wants a party, so the day before we leave for Florida we are going to have an open house (call me crazy but I think she should get some sort of party no matter how crazy the timing may seem). I am planning on saving myself loads of trouble by catering in all but a few of the food items -- mrangelmeg will man the grill for burgers and dogs, and I will make brownies the day before for dessert -- the rest will be from our local deli.

The angelbaby is going to miss her week long religious education class, which is the bulk of her mandatory hours for the year in the program at our parish and is always scheduled for the first full week after the school year is over. If she doesn't go she is supposed to be held back and not allowed to register for the next grade level in the fall. Although when we read the bulletin this weekend the wording about this exact topic was vaguely ambiguous (I believe the exact phrase was that missing the week would render your child unprepared for the next level of study or a sentiment similar to that, which is much more open to interpretation as to whether or not the child is actually held back or allowed to progress unprepared. I sent a letter to the DRE with a cc to the Pastor suggesting that since I have my Catechist certification and a Masters in Theology I would be willing to present the fifth grade curriculum to my daughter while we are away so that she doesn't fall behind. We plan to make it a part of our schedule, a bit each day exploring the topics that the Archdiocesan Curriculum suggests that fifth graders should know.

I have spent some of the weekend scanning pictures of the kids when they were very small for a surprise for graduating daughter's party. I am going to put together a slide show of pictures of her throughout the years to run on the computer during the party. It has been a lot of fun looking at all these old pictures and remembering when the kids were that small (especially since all but the angelbaby tower over me now).
Mrangelmeg and I are in our twenty-fifth year as man and wife. Our vocation is stronger every day because of the little details we share. Yesterday we went to the YMCA together for a workout (he on his own, me with my trainer) and then home to putter about doing our jobs around the house. After dinner we actually got to spend some time watching television together. We enjoyed the first part of the new The Andromeda Strain and are looking forward to the second part tonight. Although I will say that some off the digs at the present administration were a bit heavy handed, the additions to the story to flesh it out to a four hour mini-series have been at least creative and fun to watch. Or maybe it was just because I got to spend two hours sitting with mrangelmeg. Who cares, I get to spend another two hours tonight sitting next to him while we watch the final two hours. Sounds like a win-win to me.
My week is packed with details leading up to graduation on Friday, Party on Saturday, leaving on Sunday (and making sure that my two adult children who are staying here have all the instructions they need to be safe and secure while we are gone). Hope you all have a blessed week.

Monday, May 19, 2008

RIP to a member of the family . . .

Our Van Died.

Or rather it will cost way more than we are willing to pay to get it runing again, so at present I am back to playing Taxi service to my children until we can get my son another car to drive to work.

In the blessings column, nothing spectacular happened when it stopped running, it just quit on him and he made it to the side of the road without incident. Our mechanic knew someone who was willing to take it off our hands, so it is all taken care of.

Oh joy, I get to go car shopping on Friday.


The Reality Is . . .

when mrangelmeg is taking a Masters Class called Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making (and way better him than me on that one) the same week as our 25th wedding anniversary he has to make the decision that . . .

I become statistically irrelevant. (at least for this particular week).

When you consider all of the concessions he had to make so that I could complete my Masters Degree, I have to give him some slack on this one.

Hey, it could have been worse, He could have been TDY somewhere else in the country this week. This way at least if his homework load isn't extremely heavy on Wednesday evening we might be able to go out to dinner.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Hit 20K

and I don't even feel tired!

I can't believe it; since August 2004 when I started this little experiment in writing down my radom thoughts this site has received over 20,000 hits. I may not be an Amy Welborn, but it feels pretty good to know that someone somewhere is actually reading what I am writing.

Thanks to all two of my loyal readers.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

When Life Just Doesn't Make Sense

Today I attended the Funeral Mass of a 20 year old young man who died of an accidental overdose. He had been at a party with "friends". He had probably partied with these friends before, he had probably taken this drug before, who knows. Unfortunately, this time his young heart couldn't handle the load and he went into distress.

Unfortunately for him though, because of fear, no one at the party was willing to call 911 or drive him the few blocks to the emergency room that might have saved his life. He died on Mother's day because of fear or insecurity or whatever.

His poor mother and father are left to try to figure out how and why this horrible tragedy befell their handsome son. The church was packed with young people. He never met a stranger, and had the kind of personality that drew others to him.

I was so impressed by the forcefulness by which Fr. spoke of not letting this young man's life go meaningless. Fr. said that we could honor his life by making sure that no one else came to the same sad fate. We must be our brother's keeper, we must make sure that none of our friends are living on the edge. We must be willing to stand up and say STOP THE MADNESS! We must be willing to do what is right.

It is too late for this young man. But maybe, just maybe it won't be too late for all the other young men and women in that church today. Maybe that is the legacy that his short life will leave.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tony Blair's Promising New Career

I love this song, but now I will never be able to hear it without thinking of this connotation of meaning.

h/t to UkOk for the link.


One more picture

In this picture you can see the heart on the front of my I Love Jesuits T-shirt and you can see my way-cool class ring. This was taken at the campus bar, called the Unstable (Benedictines take a vow of stability, get it?) Do I look tired, by this shot I had been up for 17 hours and counting. A long fun filled day.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Pictures from a Graduation

This is a picture outside Abbey Church just after Graduation Mass

Processing in with the Candle (that is me on the right and Susan on the left)
The only person in front of us was the Crucifer John Hopewell a Seminarian friend
Behind us was a very very long line of priests, deacons an Archabbot and a Bishop

My kids waiting to watch me receive my diploma
I am so proud of the fact that there isn't one MP3 player
or Gameboy in sight.

I'm smiling because I looked inside the folder and know that my diploma is official, signed off on and everything who wouldn't be happy. A few seconds after this picture was when we walked through the hallway lined by our professors.

Perpetua (Diane on the left) and Thekla (me on the right) with Deacon John in the middle. He had these Icons painted for us as graduation gifts. So much more meaningful because of the special meaning of the names themselves. But that is another story for another day.


Some Thoughts on Gradual School Graduation

The weather was awesomely beautiful considering it was rainy and cold on Friday AND Sunday. All day Saturday it was Sunny with a nice breeze. We were really happy to have the great weather.

Our friend Felicity couldn't be with us because her father passed away on Friday. Please keep her in your prayers. We will share her joy next year when she walks for her graduation.

I got to be a Candle bearer for the processional at Commencement Liturgy in Abbey Church along with Susan (a colleague I have known from Diocesan work since before we started at St. Meinrad). As we were standing outside preparing to enter we both realized we were the only two women in a very long line of men of men. (all the monks who teach in the Seminary/School of Theology concelebrate the Mass with the visiting commencement speaker: The Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless, DD, Bishop of Sioux City Iowa.)

My dear friend John and his wife were able to join us because of a slight hitch in his recovery schedule. Claudette said that his first thought after being momentarily upset that his bone marrow transplant would have to be postponed was that he would get to share the day with Diane and me. They even got to the Hill in time to sit in church with us.

The angelbaby's comment on the resplendent liturgical vessels used in the Abbey Church: (said, wide eyed, just after she returned from receiving Communion): "Mom, really little hands, great big cup."

My kids who drove down Saturday had a really scary encounter with a gravel truck (we see a lot of those around these parts) but the only damage I have is a chip to my front windshield, so I feel very blessed.

There were extra places at our lunch table (Diane and I shared a table because we had so many common friends we wanted to invite, so we got to allow one of our professors, the associate director of our program and the administrative assistant in her office to sit with us at lunch. This was really great.

I had little boxes made up at a place here in town called The Chocolate Emporium that said:

Admit it

You'll miss me.

on top and each box was filled with a dark chocolate truffle. I painstakingly signed each and every box (now I wish I had taken a picture of at least one of the boxes). These I handed out at the luncheon to all of my friends, professors, the monks in the administration, Father Abbot Justin, and the seminarians that I have known since I have been coming to the school. The story behind the saying is that I am the one who brought chocolate candy to every class (to ensure that my chocolatarian side wouldn't starve on the weekends) they will miss me when I am gone.

I was very good at lunch, and even though the wine selection was top notch, I only drank one glass so as not to embarrass myself at the convocation.

I will freely admit now [mostly because 1) I have the signed diploma in my hands, and 2) the President Rector busted me after the convocation when my Pops got a picture I will post as soon as I get a copy]: that I actually wore my I love Jesuits t-shirt under my gown to the convocation.

I made it across the stage without tripping or hurting myself. I will admit to checking inside the diploma, just to make sure it was duly signed and official. My friend Diane, hadn't yet gotten her final grades and was expecting to get an empty one with Psych written inside, hers was signed too.

The Bishop's address was a bit offensive to me, the nicest thing I can say about it was at least it was short. I happened to be sitting in the front row of the auditorium and since it isn't air conditioned the outside doors were open on either side of the stage and I was smack in the middle of a very brisk cross wind and getting colder by the minute.

When we processed out of the auditorium we walked through a hallway lined with all of our professors who were clapping as we passed. If anything that happened that day was a moment that made me start to cry, that was it. Seeing my favorite professors, Damo, Clayton, Ryan, Fr. Richstatter, Br McDreamy all standing there wishing me well, was more than I could bear.

We sat with friends and drank champagne (not nearly as nice a spread as last year's) and chatted for a long time. I got some really cool gifts. Deacon John had Icons made for us: Diane is Perpetua and I am Thekla (it is a very long story, remind me to tell you) It was such a thoughtful gift. Every gift I got was thoughtful. Diane gave me a rosary bracelet from the Vatican Museum gift shop from her recent vacation in Italy. She has a matching one from Assisi. Pops and Pat got me a Harry Pickens CD (we have a mutual admiration for Jazz and specifically Harry Pickens, whom we have heard in concert together twice.

My kids got me a talking card of Vizzini from The Princess Bride saying that my achievement in graduation was "Inconceivable" and a copy of The Philosophy of The Office" Which may be the only Philosophy book I will ever enjoy reading. My kids; where do they get that sarcastically cruel streak?

In the evening we had a small dinner gathering of some of our lay student friends. We ate sandwiches and yummy home made potato salad and salsa and then we sang Karaoke. It was lots of fun.

I will post some pictures when I have time, but today is my library day and we are starting inventory and the librarian is out today (she took a surprise visit to Georgia for Mother's day to see her mom) so I have to get going so I can get things started.


Friday, May 09, 2008

After all this effort . . .

I should at least get super powers or something.

My graduation is only a day away now. I would be really excited if I weren't so darn nervous about forgetting something for the trip down there. Not only do I have to pack for myself but I have to make sure that the kids all have nice clothes, and then I have to make sure that everything gets packed for our little party on Saturday evening.

I have been dyed and mani-pedied and shaved and am even planning to actually style my hair (this is something I haven't done in years I am telling you).

I have new clothes to wear and promised mrangelmeg that I would be on my best behavior, meaning not too much wine at lunch, until after I walk across the stage in the afternoon to receive my diploma. Then I get to relax and party a little.

One of my close friends and I are planning a dinner party for the evening so that all of our friends from down there can party with us (including our professors and the monks). That should be fun, I am bringing my karaoke machine.

I had better get some sleep now. I will post some pictures of my big day when we return.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

GO: Theology Thursday: Spirituality and Knitting

I have been doing quite a bit of knitting since mrangelmeg began his new job and has had to travel so much. It really gives me a sense of purpose and keeps me calm and centered. It also gives me something other to focus on than being without him. The fact that eventually I have something to show for my work helps as well.

I started out making simple scarves and then ventured into even more adventurous items like shawls that had patterned stitching and intricate instructions that had to be followed.

Then when I got more confidence in my ability I even attempted a hat using circular needles. My first attempt was less of a hat and more of a mobius strip though, because I forgot to take care in making sure that I didn't twist the stitches when I knitted the first round.

What does all of this have to do with theology or spirituality you might ask? I discovered that when I am knitting I am in the same state of mind that I am in when I am practicing meditation or contemplative prayer. I am mindful of nothing in my surroundings except for the needles in my hand and the yarn passing through my fingers. My mind becomes free to engage in prayer (I often pray for the person who created the yarn I am using and the person who will use the garment I am making.)

Sometimes I am overcome by a deep wordless connection to God in the act of creation that is happening as I manipulate the needles.

I wanted to explore this a little further, so I did what any. literate person would do, I went to the library. There I discovered a wonderful book by Bernadette Murphy called Zen and the Art of Knitting. Mrs. Murphy, a knitter and writer (I love this woman already) talked to many knitters from many faith traditions and many backgrounds about the connection between knitting and spirituality. Within the pages of this book my own feelings have been confirmed.

If you love the creative needle arts, and want to discover how they fit into your spiritual life this book is a great read. I need to get back to my praying/knitting, I want to try to get the sweater done for daughter's graduation at the end of the month. With God's help and mrangelmeg's travel schedule I may just have enough prayer time to fill to get it done in time.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Stuff Catholics Like

A few weeks ago I started reading Stuff White People Like. It is a pretty funny take on why we white folks seem to like the stuff we like.

Well now someone has come up with a Humor Blog to top that called:

Stuff Catholics Like.

The posts have tons of information on Catholicism given in a very creative way, and are extremely funny. I just about lost it at the idea of a

Anyway, check it out for yourself.

h/t to
adoro te devote for the link.