Headline says it all. It’s going to be one of THOSE weeks. Between my out-of-town travel for a weekend retreat and the holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I am totally thrown off. I’d like to put out a blanket apology for any appointments or events I miss today — or this week — because it’s going to happen. I will be one day off until next Monday. So here’s how things stand on this Twisted Tuesday.
Bookshelf: I finally have my own hardcover copy of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, which kept surfacing and resurfacing in my life until I finally figured I should borrow it from the library. After one renewal and lots of notes, I decided that this was one to have on my shelf for handy reference and so Dennis can read it when I’m done. Good book about doing what’s most important in life, not setting a long list of priorities that make everything equally important but picking the ONE thing at that moment that is MOST important. Hard to do because it always means a trade-off or a sacrifice.
GPS: I was blessed to be the leader/speaker of the 22nd annual Christian Mothers’ Retreat at Christ the King Retreat House in Syracuse this weekend. Our topic was my favorite: “Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved: Learning to See Ourselves through God’s Eyes,” and, as always, I got more than I gave. At least from my perspective. What a wonderful group of women and so inspiring. They started this retreat on their own 22 years ago with no parish or diocesan or organizing group as a sponsor. Just a bunch of moms who wanted spiritual nourishment and community. They are like one big family — godparents to each other’s children, best friends, encouragers, supporters, listeners, pray-ers. We talked about our brokenness and our belovedness and how to fit prayer into our very busy lives. And we made collages, my new favorite activity. Here are some of the ladies at work in the dining room.
Menu: Last night we made a Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. All of the yumminess of Thanksgiving with none of the stress. And we have enough leftovers for another mini-Thanksgiving during the week. I highly recommend doing this some time during the year if you love Thanksgiving but never feel like you get to relax during the meal. And we always have something to be thankful for, right?
Spiritual Signs: Although I love to pray and write a lot about different prayers devoted to the saints, I am not one to go to the saints very often. In particular, I never pray to St. Therese of Lisieux. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love her and her story and her Little Way, but I’ve just never felt compelled to call on her intercession. Then on Friday, I was reading about Pope Francis and his penchant for calling on St. Therese to take up his prayer needs and give him a sign. And the sign St. Therese is said to leave is roses. Again, it’s just never been part of my prayer life. But on this day, as I headed to Syracuse with some special prayer needs, I decided to call on St. Therese, hoping for a sign but not expecting one. I got to my retreat house room, put my bags down and looked for someplace to hang my clothes. I slowly opened the only door that could be a closet in the beautiful old room with a fireplace and enormous old-fashioned bathtub. I was worried I might be going somewhere I shouldn’t, like another person’s room. As the door swung open I could see hangers and stepped in all the way, and when I did, I was floored. There to my left, in what amounted to a big storage closet, were four giant vases filled with red roses. Velvet ones, mind you, but roses nonetheless. I have to say, she got my attention and I will not be so quick to ignore her in the future. To top it off, the next morning, when I told two of the women sitting in the conference room about the experience, one woman pointed to the wall behind where I was sitting, and there was a picture of St. Therese. Okay, I got it. You’re listening. I may have to go back and re-read her Story of a Soul.
Viewfinder: Two spontaneous shots to share with you, and by spontaneous I mean not quite in focus or thought out in advance.
Here’s the gorgeous sunset from the driver’s seat as I returned from Syracuse on Saturday evening. It was so jaw-droppingly beautiful I couldn’t help it. I just picked up the iPhone that was in the cupholder next to me, aimed it out the window and hoped I managed to capture even some of the magnificent sky. Here you go. Sunset at 65 MPH:
Meanwhile back at home…Olivia took out the garage-sale guitar we picked up for her a few years ago and decided to give it a try. So I tuned it up and showed her a few chords. I love this photo of Olivia playing and Chiara in the background in our living room. I have to admit that this photo of Olivia reminds me of myself when I was her age and played guitar day and night. Makes me smile:
Soundtrack: A little music for your Tuesday. This one is a new (to me) favorite: “Shelter” by The Strange Familiar.