Friday, October 19, 2012

Continuing on...

Since I last blogged, I've attended (and participated in!) two more RCIA classes. It's been a long time since I could say that I'm right where I need to be, but each Thursday night, that's exactly how I feel....gathered in the cry room at Church, sharing and learning about our faith. It's exactly what I need right now. Two weeks ago, we talked about how Catholics interpret the Bible. We had a great conversation and I really enjoyed learning more about the not-so-literal interpretation of Scripture. Last night, we talked about the meaning of Mass. Now, to be honest, I have not been great about attending Mass on Sundays. I have countless excuses (no one to go with, taking Sophie by myself, nervous about putting Sophie in the nursery, feeling a little out of place - not taking Communion, not knowing all the right times to stand and kneel and all the right responses). None of those excuses are really worth missing the weekly Mass. I knew that Mass was important in the Catholic faith, but I don't think I realized just how important it was until last night. It is one thing that will connect us all - not just the people in the church that I attend, but truly the entire body of Christ - all around the world. That being said, I am going to be more intentional in getting to Mass and really taking part in this new community. I shared last night that the most uncomfortable part of Mass for me has always been Communion. We spoke at length about what Catholics believe about Communion and what happens on a spiritual level when we take the cup and the bread. I'm very much looking forward to the Easter Vigil when I will finally be able to partake. 

One of the RCIA team members recommended reading the book "The Mass is Never Ended" by Gregory Pierce. If I can stay on top of book club reading and find some spare time, I plan to order this book and would love to read it. Here is the excerpt that was shared last time that I found especially inspiring:

"Stick close to the Mass," he writes "Allow it to forgive you, to prepare you, and to send you forth. Leave the church as if you had been shot out of a cannon, embrace your mission to make this a better world, and develop your own spirituality of work to sustain you." 

Monday, October 8, 2012

My first RCIA Class

I went to my first, real RCIA class last week. I was a bit nervous as I've never really been a social butterfly and walking into situations where I don't know anyone can be intimidating to me. Thankfully, I have gotten better at this over the past few years, but it can still be a struggle. All that to say, the class was great. It was so great to meet a few new people and talk about Church that I will be a member of. This week, we discussed what it means to be Catholic and talked some about the Bible - and the Catholic beliefs about the Bible. It was so refreshing to be with a group of people and just learn from them. I really do love learning new things and challenging my personal beliefs and do feel that this will be something really special for me. 

As difficult (in some ways) as this decision has been, I am so excited to be a part of this particular group, at this particular time. Funny how God works. During the session the other night, one of the members shared about a friend going through a particularly rough time and feeling as though God had forsaken her. We were also discussing why the crucifix is such an important symbol in the Catholic church (absolutely more so than in my faith tradition). I hadn't given much thought to why you see the crucifix so often. Our group leader speculated that many protestant churches feel that using an empty cross as a symbol is more appropriate, as the story of Christ does not end on the cross. The group leader shared that while this is true, we cannot forget the suffering that Christ endured on the cross and seeing a crucifix is a reminder of this. That we are not alone in our suffering. That even Christ felt forsaken by God. But - that's not where the story ends. There is life beyond the suffering. 

Wow! It was absolutely what I needed to hear. Now, don't get me wrong. None of this is "new" to me. I grew up in the church, I have a minor in religion. I know what the Bible says. But on that night, I needed to be reminded that there is a purpose to our suffering and that we will rise again. 

I'm so excited to continue this process and so grateful that my in-laws are willing to keep Sophie for me. It's so wonderful to talk about faith with a group of adults with minimal distractions. 

Meal Planning

Last week was the first time that I've really implemented a "meal plan" and stuck with it. We are really, really back on Weight Watchers (well, I am, so Danny is by default - at least while he's at home). I loved planning out all of the meals for the week, shopping just for those meals and knowing what we were having each night. From Monday to Friday, I had lost 4.8 pounds! So, it's proof to me that if I continue to be thoughtful about our meals, it will pay off. That was with no exercise - just planning what to eat every day.

I made some really delicious recipes last week. I'm going to post them here so I don't forget. Sunday night was Santa Fe Chicken. It was great. It was so easy to throw together and cooked in the crock-pot all day. I served it over white rice, with a little bit of reduced-fat sour cream. It was even better for lunch on Monday. I also made this Chicken Tortilla Soup. Oh my. It was so good! We've put it on the menu again this week. I made white chicken chili for work as we were supposed to have a chili cook off. That was cancelled, so we kept the chili for ourselves. It's a recipe I've posted before that's really delicious. I also made "meatloaf muffins." They were pretty good, but for some reason, they were completely unappetizing to me the next day. Danny and Sophie both enjoyed them, so that's the most important thing. I made an enchilada casserole that was just okay.

All in all, a good food week at our house! This week, we have the Chicken Tortilla Soup on the menu again, plus Buffalo Chicken sandwiches, pizza pinwheels (these we had last night and they were really good!), Cheesy Chicken and Stuffing and turkey hot dogs.

What has been really great is that I've made dinner each night, but then can have leftovers for lunch the next day. I've been packing my lunch the night before, which helps tremendously and setting some aside for Danny to eat when he gets up.