1. This weekend I went on a fabulous retreat at my parish given by Fr. Jacques Philippe (http://www.frjacquesphilippe.com/). Amazing. Can’t say enough good things about it. He did such an incredible job of preaching the truth in a simple and inspiring way. But it is definitely one of those weekends where you leave with so many things that it is going to take some time to reflect, sort out, and pray on all of it. I can highly recommend his books, the recordings of the retreat which will be on our parish website in a couple weeks, and going to a retreat with him if you ever have the chance. Seriously. In the meantime, he talked a lot about embracing our weakness with peace (something you may have guessed I’m not very good about), living the life we are called to live today, and asking God what the act of faith and act of hope he is asking of us today (and not getting stuck regretting the past or being anxious about our future). So. Good.
2. After retreat on Sunday afternoon, I installed a light in my garage (hooray) and went through a lot of boxes looking for the winter clothes. Alas, no winter clothes were uncovered. I found a lot of other things that I wish I had a place to put away… I want to be so much further in this process than I am. But as Fr. Jacques said over and over again, part of our call to holiness is accepting our weakness, our poverty, and embracing that in our weakness, God’s power is made perfect. Right now, the state of things over here on the hill has a lot of room for God’s power.
3. Two weekends ago I went to the greater Chicago area to spend a weekend with my cousin. It was fabulous. We’re both busy enough it took us over a year to find a mutually agreeable weekend. Once the weekend approached, I started stressing about whether or not it was a good time, feeling overwhelmed by everything in flux at home. I was asking a wise brother what I should do and he said “So what’s the problem with going this weekend, just the time?” And just like that, I knew it was the right weekend. Because honestly, relationships are important to me. There wasn’t any sort of major obstacle to going- just committing the time. I’m thankful for the people in my life who can simply remind me of that when life feels overwhelming.
4. The weekend with the cousin was awesome. It was low key. A gorgeous fall weekend. Got to meet (and love) his girlfriend. Spend some quality time and conversation with the cuz, and unwind a bit. And hey, there were puppies by the curb- so we stopped and snuggled and fell in love (and then left them behind). It was all very, very good. Went into the city with him and while he warmed up for a concert, I found a Mass nearby. And then of course, went to his concert, which was fun. And on Sunday, while my cousin was busy in the morning, I spent two hours trimming his overgrown rosebush- which sounds weird but it completely therapeutic for me. It was a great weekend and I am so thankful for the gift of family who are also dear, dear friends.
5. As you may know, I teach Religious Education at my parish and am teaching the 6th grade girls this year. Sometimes it is tough when you can’t quite tell if you’re making connections. I mean, teaching this year still feels overwhelming (but hey, it’s been an overwhelming year) and a bunch of my girls are pretty quiet– hard to know if you’re getting through. Anyway, Sunday at the retreat I talked to two of my students mothers. One thanked me and told me her daughter (who has a really good poker face) loves class and asked if I can be her teacher for the rest of the grades too. Awwww. The other mom just shared a little thing her daughter did on her own that goes back to what we’ve been learning in class. Seeing fruits of our labors is rare in this ministry but so incredibly encouraging when we get a glimpse. And this overwhelmed girl really appreciates the glimpse.
6. While I was weekending near Chicago, all of the leaves around the Homestead fell. I left and all the leaves were colored. When I got home, all of them were down. And then it snowed, not enough to stick around for a long time. We got some big storms this weekend and now it is getting very cold again. Apparently winter isn’t joking around. And for the record, I need to get some storm windows (which is a long process) and also make some insulated curtains- cause it’s a little drafty over here. In my head, it should still be mid-summer but reality is telling me otherwise. Ready or not, winter is coming!!
7. These two are trouble. I’ve been gone the past two weekends and just plain too busy recently and they are not happy. Have you ever noticed how dogs have an incredible gift for letting you know when your priorities are off? (Or at least when your priorities haven’t been spending enough time at home). Anyway, I’m looking forward to a weekend of being home with these two, doing some projects, and then a long holiday weekend coming up to spend some time at home and some time with loved ones.
Life is good, I am so blessed (and yes, still tired).