Thursday, January 3, 2013

Seven Hungry Takes

I haven't done SQT in a long while - it's always fun, and if I could remember that it rolls around each and every Friday, and that Friday comes after Thursday every single week, I'd never miss it.

This week regular host Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary has handed over duties to Hallie Lord under the unfortunate circumstances of a serious health condition and hospitalization.  Please pray that her recovery is speedy and complete.

Here we go!

  1. I'm hungry, like starving chew my arm off hungry.  It is a wretched tentacle of gluttony that over-indulgence often leads to craving.  Craving sugar, starch, and all the things I know are only temporarily satisfying and ultimately destructive.  Note to self:  look up definition of insanity and write it backwards on your forehead.
  2. My husband is joining me, of his own initiative, on a New Years health reboot.  We enjoy playing tennis together and are making it a regular Saturday date along with one weeknight.  I'm hoping to sub in some league play this spring, so the practice will be great for my game as well as my waistline.  He's really good, so I'm going to have to throw a few left hander tricks at him to get him running a bit.
  3. After tennis, I'm really hungry. I don't experience the appetite abatement that a lot of folks do after working out.  I will say though that I notice I don't want anything but good food after honest exercise or hard work.  Interesting how that works - when I'm slothing around all I want to do is eat Poppycock and drink Diet Coke.
  4. I cooked my butt off this holiday season, a lot of which resulted in whiny take #1.  I did manage what I consider a masterpiece Christmas Eve dinner, which I'm declaring my standard meal from here until we get tired of it.  It was very simple, but it was festive and delicious without being nutritionally corrupt.   More on that next week.
  5. Does anyone have experience with Zaycon foods - in particular, their fish?  We're determined to have fish on Fridays and at least one other night a week, and they seem to have excellent prices for wild catch.  We use their bacon, but I was just wondering if there was a yay or nay someone might share.
  6. School starts back next Tuesday for the kids.  I pack their lunches everyday, but I'm passing the torch to them for the spring.  I'll have to have some things ready, but they're up to the challenge.   They're also going to each be responsible for planning and helping to prepare a meal one night a week.  I see a lot of bacon chicken in my near future.
  7.  It occurs to me that a good focus for us this year will be charity and hospitality.  Sharing the good stuff - and food is so so good - makes it so easy to see it for the gift it is, instead of an occasion for  ingratitude and the creation of a false burden.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What I Hope To Learn

I fell off the Saint wagon a while back, and sometime around Thanksgiving I couldn't stand it any longer and wandered on over to Conversion Diary and the Saints Name Generator to pray for an open heart and spin the wheel for a Patron Saint to study and to ask to pray with me in this New Year. It's a great tool, not to be confused with a for your Patron sort of thing as insofar as we know it's completely random, but a chance to get to know a new figure in the Church.  These were real men and women in this world, many in what we would consider the modern time.  It would seem that some Saints are more likeable or desirable or fantastic, I guess, than others, but they are all, were all, entirely human - not a perfect angel in the lot, but men and women of faith who struggled with their own brokenness, often physical, more often spiritual, and looked to The Cross anyway.  Like the rest of us mere mortals, sometimes they ran to it, sometimes they crawled, sometimes they just lay in the road while they gathered the strength to lift their eyes to look upon it again.  It is this common imperfection coupled with their encounter with the miraculous that draws us to them.

God uses the imperfect to impart miracles.  The martyrs fortify us with our their own unfathomable courage, the early Doctors both satisfy our yearning for the concrete and delight our curiosity through their devotion to practical truths, the visionaries and mystics remind us that we are not dealing with only words on a page or a statue behind a stone altar but The Most Divine, moving through the planes of time and space, beyond all Earthly understanding, in ways only possible for the One True God.

Studying a single Patron for a given time offers a history lesson, at the very least, an example of devotion to follow and strive for, and in certain seasons, a prayer partner whose own earthly experiences have something relevant and valuable to teach us.  Whether or not their circumstances mirror our own isn't really the point, though often those connections can be readily made - either way, it is a profound opportunity to experience intercession, to live the habit of asking others to pray with us, for us, and us for them.

My Patroness for 2013 is St. Bernadette.  You can read more about her by clicking on her photo (yep, real person, got her on film) on the right. 

Short version:

- she was continuously and chronically ill and died fairly young
- she was a nun and a mystic who experienced visions at Lourdes, and immovable in her accounts of them
- she was utterly certain that healing comes about through faith and prayer

It took me some prayer and contemplation, but her being my Patroness this year isn't only a course of study, it's a perfect fit.   Now if that's not just like the Holy Spirit I don't know what is.

My prayers this year, spiritual resolutions I suppose, are for:

1) compassion and empathy, particularly for those who suffer lingering and chronic illness and pain
2) a less cynical heart, open to the unexplainable
3) strengthened belief that prayers and faith can and DO lead to healing


If you haven't taken the opportunity to study the Saints, I hope everyone, Catholic and otherwise, does so and is able to learn from their lives and their examples of faith.  It is academically enriching as well as spiritually encouraging, and sometimes just plain interesting.