Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Monday

Today is Dyngus Day , a traditional Polish day of festivities after the long Lenten Fast.  If you live in our near a Polish Community you are lucky, because the food is amazing.  We are blessed to have a Dyngus Day celebration at one of the local parishes, complete with all those great Polish delicacies:  beet horseradish and hard boiled eggs,  pirogies, polish sausage, sour kraut, and of course beer.

Fortunately for me, most of those foods would pass muster with my new eating plan,  but unfortunately I have band practice tonight, so if I go it will be a quick run it to grab a bite before band and not a leisurely stay to visit with friends as it has been in the past.

One of the best things about Dyngus Day is that it reminds us that Easter isn't just a Sunday.  Easter is a Season.  We celebrate the Easter Season for 50 days, from now until Pentecost.  Each day should ring with the sound of the Alleluia of recognition of the risen Lord's saving action in our lives.

After all, If Christ conquered death for us what other response could there be except to celebrate?

How will you celebrate these 50 days?


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday Reflection: Rise!

Part of my Lent was spent in a very depressed state.  I was dealing with a lot;  multiple health issues, the death of my mother months ago and then the death of a very close friend on Ash Wednesday.  I was so deeply depressed that I was incapable of helping myself.

Most people who saw me outside of my house would have never known that there was a problem, because for a short amount of time I could put on a happy face and do what needed to be done, but those moments took so much energy that when I was home I was usually sleeping or laying on the couch incapable of doing much of anything.

I thank my husband and children for pitching in around the house, because without their help it would have been really bad around here.  But I realized that I couldn't help myself, and asked for help, not only from God, but from my Dr.

I have been on anti-depressants and a new diet for a month now, and while I am not completely back to my old self, I can certainly tell the difference.   When I told Fr. Bill last night after the Vigil Mass how much better I was feeling he gave me a huge hug and said. "She has risen!"

I had never thought about it that way, but I see now.  I have risen from the depth of my despair and and can see that my life has joy and meaning and purpose again.   Like Christ rising from the dark tomb;  I am rising to new life.  My resurrection may be a much slower process than His, but no less miraculous.

Where is resurrection happening in your life?


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday: Waiting is The Hardest Part

We went through the entire season of Advent waiting for Christ to be born as a human child.

Now we wait again.

This time, the Christ has just suffered and died for our sins and is in the tomb.  And we wait.

It isn't fun to wait.  We feel as though time moves more slowly. We hope in the promise that Christ would rise, but the reality is, we wait.  We hope and we wait.

This day, Holy Saturday is a day for preparing for the resurrection,  so we spend time in prayer and contemplation.  We clean our houses for guests, because with the Resurrection of Easter tomorrow will be celebrations with family and friends.

And, we wait.

What is your hope this day as you wait.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday of Holy Week: Good Friday

I have really bad knees, one is worse than the other, so I favor my left leg.  For probably fifteen years or more I have been standing with more weight on my right side than my left side and it has caused serious problems with my left hip, knee and foot.  I have lived with varying degrees of chronic pain over the last few years.  Finally with a combination of physical therapy, exercise and acupuncture the pain is pretty much handled, but I still have to be very careful not to stand with all of my weight on my right side (old habits die hard).

What does this have to do with Good Friday, you ask?  The entire time I have been going through all of the years of pain and suffering I would think about Christ on the cross, suffering for my sins and not once did it cross my mind to ask "Why me?"    In fact in the face of that great love that Christ poured out by offering his life as reparation for my sins, I am able to say "Why not me?"  Why shouldn't I be willing to carry this cross?

I work really hard at keeping my leg in shape, and for each incremental increase in the strength of my leg I begin to see the person that God intended me to be.  The person that is capable of doing what God has set out for me to do.

As Christ did the will of God by carrying His cross  and dying for all.  I can do God's will by carrying my cross and living for all.

What cross are you living with this Good Friday?


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday of Holy Week

My very good friend John had a lump on his breast bone.  he went to the Dr. to find out what it was.  He was trying to remain upbeat and to leave the concern in God's hands.  A week later he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma,  It was a devastating diagnosis.  What was the first thing he and his wife did after hearing the diagnosis?  They went on vacation.  They would deal with treatments and drugs and surgeries later, but first they would enjoy each other's company.

My friend John died a few weeks ago.  I miss him so much.

To me,  Holy Thursday reminds me of my friend John.   Jesus knew what was coming on Friday,  but on Thursday he had a dinner with his Apostles and enjoyed their friendship one last time.  He took Peter, James and John to the Garden with him.  He wanted his friends around him as much as he could. 

Holy Thursday is our time to revel in those moments of Christ and the Apostles together.  The calm before the storm if you will.  The music is so beautiful during the Holy Thursday Liturgy (and I am not just saying that because I sing in our Church Choir).    Pange Lingua has to be one of my very favorite hymns and we are singing Durufle's  Ubi Caritas as well.  

And tonight at Liturgy, I can be with John at Mass,  because the Mass is the one place where all people who have ever been to Mass and all those who will ever go to Mass are there in that moment of Kairos (God's time).    

I love The Triduum.  Holy Thursday is the celebration of that first Liturgy.  Enter into it with all of your senses.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If There Isn't A Lock-Out

Colts 2011 regular-season schedule
Week 1 - @ Houston Texans, Sun. Sept. 11, 1 p.m.

Week 2 - vs. Cleveland Browns, Sun. Sep. 18, 1 p.m.

Week 3 - vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Sun. Sep. 25, 8:20 p.m.

Week 4 - @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mon. Oct. 3, 8:30 p.m.

Week 5 - vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Sun. Oct. 9, 1 p.m.

Week 6 - @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sun. Oct. 16, 1 p.m.

Week 7 - @ New Orleans Saints, Sun. Oct. 23, 8:20 p.m.

Week 8 - @ Tennessee Titans, Sun. Oct. 30, 1 p.m.

Week 9 - vs. Atlanta Falcons, Sun. Nov. 6, 1 p.m.

Week 10 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Sun. Nov. 13, 1 p.m.

Week 11 - BYE

Week 12 - vs. Carolina Panthers, Sun. Nov. 27, 1 p.m.

Week 13 - @ New England Patriots, Sun. Dec. 4, 8:20 p.m.

Week 14 - @ Baltimore Ravens, Sun. Dec. 11, 1 p.m.

Week 15 - vs. Tenneesee Titans, Sun. Dec. 18, 1 p.m.

Week 16 - vs. Houston Texans, Thu. Dec. 22, 8:20 p.m.

Week 17 - @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Sun. Jan. 1, 1 p.m

NOTE: » The opponents' combined record is 133-123, a schedule that ranks fifth-hardest in the league.
hmmm  curious

Wednesday of Holy Week

Did you know that this day of Holy Week used to be called Spy Wednesday?  It is a day when the Mass readings talk of betrayal.  Betrayal hurts,  Jesus was not only betrayed by Judas, but also Peter denied even knowing him while he was being tried, scourged and put to death.

We all feel betrayed, by friends, sometimes by family.  It leaves deep wounds that sometimes  never heal and leave us unable to trust.

I am experiencing a type of betrayal that I suppose is true for everyone,  my body is failing me.  I have arthritis,  and sleep apnea.  I have bad knees,  and asthma.  I suppose it just means I am getting old, but it is worrisome to know that if the day is cold and wet my body will ache and I will not be able to feel warm no matter what I do.

It bothers me to think that without a machine I might stop breathing in my sleep, but at least there is a machine that will keep me breathing, right?

I watched an amazing story on 60 minutes the other night about a profoundly autistic young woman named Carley who finally has learned to communicate with the help of a computer.  To the world she looks completely and totally disabled, but deep inside a body that constantly betrays her is a mind that is fertile and funny and forgiving.  She has now started a weblog and a twitter feed to share her thoughts, which are not bound to her damaged body, with the world.

The point of all of these betrayals though is that no matter how many things we lose us.  This is what Jesus remembered at the end when he commended His Spirit to His Father from the cross.

We may feel betrayed, but we are never forsaken, no matter how deep the wounds are.

If you can't do something one way, learn to do it another.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday of Holy Week

In the past two weeks I have gotten two birthday presents in the mail.  They have both been wonderful surprises, especially since my birthday was over a month ago.    My children think it is really funny that I just keep getting gifts even though my birthday is long past.   I just enjoy them, and feel very blessed.

God's grace is quite the same as those unexpected birthday gifts.  If you live in a sense of awareness of God working in your life,  everything is gift (grace).   Every day in little ways and sometimes in very grand ways God reveals his love for us through graces in our lives.  Which doesn't mean that when we make ourselves aware of God working in our lives everything is sunshine and rainbows.   Sometimes, in the words of one of my favorite authors Flannery O'Connor God's grace can be "dark and disturbing" too.

Sometimes God's grace comes in a way that makes us realize how much we need Him.  It is revealed in our weaknesses and our failings, which bring us to our knees in prayer and turn us back to His loving arms.

I am sitting here this morning on a cold rainy morning, which makes my arthritis flare and every joint in my body ache, waiting for it to be time to go to my Zumba Class.  I know that it will take all the energy I can muster, and a little extra grace from God, to make myself go to Zumba this morning,  But I also know that in God's dark and disturbing way if I do go there will be a benefit for my overall health and well being.

How will you be aware of God's grace in your life today?


Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday of Holy Week

I belong to a band made up of parents of children at the school where my daughter (previously known as the angelbaby, until she hit her teen years) is in the 8th grade.  Some of us have been playing an instrument for years, and can easily read music, and others are relatively new to the instrument they are playing and are just beginning to get the hang of reading music.

We practice together once a week.  But those of us who don't practice more often than that feel as though we are falling behind, myself included some weeks.  We have to work at our own parts so that when we get together we can work at sounding like a real band sounds and not a group of people who are trying to play instruments they are just learning how to play.  We have also found that when we play with enthusiasm and joy,  our sound is much better than when we play like timidly.  

I think the same thing is true of the spiritual life.  We are all at a different point in our spiritual life, and when we come to a point in the Church year like Holy Week, the more time we have put into our own spiritual development, like we should have been doing throughout the 40 days of lent, the more We will come together as One during this week.

Don't just sit back and let Holy Week happen to you,  enter into it with all of your enthusiasm and joy, and not with timidity.  Even if you haven't been practicing as much as you wish you had been the last 40 days.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Reflection for Palm Sunday

 G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Birthday Gift

How lucky am I?  My birthmonth was over 12 days ago and I got a birthday present in the mail today.  One of my Gradual School friends sent me a book by Richard Rohr about Spirituality for the second half of life.

Now,  I realize I am getting older,  but I actually laughed when I saw the book.  The second half of life,  I guess that means I get to live to be 100 if I look at it with the most positive light, so I have that going for me.

On the serious side, I started reading it today and like other books by Fr. Rohr, it is very well written and talks about both halves of life, so I can still pretend to not have crossed over into the second half when I want to delude myself.

I will write a review of it when I finish reading it, which probably won't take long since mrangelmeg is off on one of his long trips and won't be around for weeks.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Surrender Means Not Wanting What you Can't Have

In my ongoing attempt to understand all of the changes in my life I am constantly finding a spiritual lesson in most things.  My big aha moment for this weekend was that it will be much easier to live with the changes in my diet if I learn to not want the things I can't have, like alcohol or processed foods or sugar.

I have been reading all of lent about surrender.  If not eating these things will make me healthier then surrendering my will to the improvement in health I will gain from not wanting or craving those foods will make me stronger.  It doesn't make it easier to do it this way, but if I look at is as a spiritual exercise, what I am gaining is even greater than what I am giving up.

So, my mindset is changing.  It isn't an easy or immediate change, but each day as I make good choices and don't crave or whine because I can't have something I would have just mindlessly eaten a few weeks ago I know that God is leading me.  And I can see by the numbers on the scale and the way my clothes fit that my lifestyle changes are making a difference.   I think of those things as signal graces that I am on the right track.

I hope my journey can inspire others to take charge of their lifestyle and health and make good choices.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Lifestyle Changes and Obedience

So the Dr. says I need to change the way I do things in order to be a healthier angelmeg.  I have known this for a long time and have been working on small changes for about two years now, but only with half  a heart really.  Now it is get serious about it time or I will be dealing with major health issues later on.

One of the things I need to change is how I plan and eat my meals.  I am one of those people who can skip breakfast and then go till maybe three o'clock before I actually sit down to eat something.  Even when I make good food choices this is not a good plan.  So that has to go.  No more skipping breakfast or lunch.  Regular meal times with good lean protein at every meal (it's a liver thing).   I need to eat more vegetables too, because I do eat veggies, but not enough of the dark green ones that are really good for me.

Because of my food allergies I am already pretty limited on carbohydrates, but I do tend to indulge in potato chips, or French fries because "I'm not allergic to potatoes".   Those are out of my diet now.  Nothing fried for a while at least.  and only really good oils in moderation.

No refined sugar either,  which pretty much means no chocolate, unless it is really dark very high cacao content (because they have less sugar).  For the first two weeks of this new diet, no chocolate at all.  Then a little (like one small piece every four or five days) after that.  Now that will be the hardest thing.

I started this new meal plan on Monday afternoon, and I'm not gonna lie,  I actually feel better already.  It is amazing how well your body's engine runs when you give it the right fuel.

The next hurdle is to tackle a vitamin D deficiency.  This one is a little harder for me.  I need to get out in the sun more often.  The problem is, I can't stand the cold and it really has only gotten sunny lately.  So,  Now, whenever there is a sunny day I need to take my work outside if I can, or take a walk, or find some other way to be out in the sun.  Maybe this year I will actually get my flower beds in shape.

As I was thinking about all of the things the Dr. is asking me to do to improve my health it occurred to me that it all comes down to obedience.  God gave me this body in order to do His will here on earth. If I don't take care of this body I am not at all effective in doing God's will because I am ill or just too darn tired. Just think how much more energy and vigor I will have when I am not dealing with all of the potential health issues that are looming over my head right now.

When I put my lifestyle changes into that kind of perspective it makes the doing of them a little easier.  I can look at them as a form of prayer and praise to my creator.  I am growing closer to being the person that God created me to be before my own willfulness got in the way and led me astray.

So, with each new change, no matter how much I am resisting it, I praise God.  Even for roasted beet salad,  I will praise His holy name, because I know that if I am eating good fuel I will be stronger in His service.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Butler Basketball’s Success Has Nothing to Do with the Score of Last Night’s Game

"That’s the Butler culture. The winning is nice, but a school should be about graduating kids ready to meet life’s challenges, and that doesn’t simply mean making bank. Butler does that exceptionally well."

Read the rest: