Friday, March 29, 2013

Almost there.

I realize that it has been more than two months since I last updated on my RCIA process. So much has happened and life has been so busy (really, though, when is it not?). In February, I celebrated two more rites - the Rite of Sending at my church and then the Rite of Continuing Conversion at St. Patrick's Church. That was a special day, spent with the other members of my RCIA group and my family. In March, I celebrated the Rite of Reconciliation. Yep, confession. I attended a Lenten Communal Reconciliation service at St. Margaret Mary. I was terrified - I didn't know what to say or do. The priest that I spoke with was wonderful. After confessing to him, he said "Your sins are forgiven. Leave them here and go in peace." 

This past week has been full of RCIA related activities. Last Saturday, I attended an RCIA Retreat Day. It was really great to spend the day with the friends I have made in this process and to just focus on this conversion process. The first activity we did was to make a timeline of this process. We were instructed not to make a straight/traditional timeline, but to actually draw the highs and lows of the past several months. It was difficult to remember all that has occurred over the past 6 months. After we completed our timelines individually, we shared them with another person in the group. I enjoyed this process. It's interesting that it has become so easy to share such personal, spiritual experiences with people I barely know, but have come to know in such a deep and meaningful way. Following the timeline activity, we read the passage from John about the woman at the well. Our leader related our Thursday nights to the well of Living Water - that we continue to come back each week so our thirst will be quenched. I couldn't have agreed more with the analogy. I will miss this process. I will miss the time to devote to spiritual growth and formation. I hope to find something else to become involved in in order to continue this journey. We then watched a video about the life of Jesus, from the perspective of a childhood friend. I've searched for a link to the video, but can't find it anywhere. It was a moving portrayal - a monologue written and performed by a priest. We then had a long break for lunch. After lunch, we read another passage ("The Sending of the Seventy Two") and then spent some individual time in thought. We reflected on a few questions regarding this journey. It was a nice, cool day so I spent some time sitting outside and thinking about this journey. At the end of the day, we gathered in the church and participated in a sort of closing ceremony. There were a few readings and prayers. Sal, who lead the retreat, then walked around the semi-circle, pausing at each of us, saying "Lizzie, you have been called by name. You shall be called God's delight, because your God rejoices in you!" It was a special time, celebrating this journey and sending us forth to celebrate Holy Week. 

And what a week it's been! We attended Mass on Sunday - Palm Sunday. Something strange happened during Mass and I had to leave - I wasn't feeling well. I was very hot and there were a lot of people there. I had a couple of girlfriends over for dinner this week and shared with them that I was feeling very emotional about this whole process. And I was right. I went to my first Holy Thursday service. Danny's parents also attended, but Danny stayed home with Sophie. I really, really enjoyed the ceremony. The reverence, the incense, the tradition. It was really very touching. During the homily, the priest shared the following thought: "We come here for nourishment so we can go wash feet." That quote really stayed with me through the remainder of the Mass. The priest then washed the feet of several parishioners, including one of the women who has been in the RCIA group. A very touching, humbling moment. 

Today, I attended the Good Friday service. It was quite different than any other service I've attended. It was a very solemn service (of course). A lot of silence, a lot of kneeling and praying, a lot of genuflecting. I told Danny this evening that I didn't know that they were going to bring in a large wooden cross AND that everyone would come forward to offer the adoration for the cross. What a touching moment! Seeing young children and the elderly (and everyone in between) going forward and kneeling before, hugging, and kissing the cross was quite powerful for me. We also read the Passion again, as we did on Palm Sunday (thankfully, I didn't feel like I was going to faint or get sick this time). Following Mass last night and the service this afternoon, we all left the service in silence. 

I cannot express how excited I am about tomorrow night - the Easter Vigil. This has been my focus for the past 6 months and it's hard to believe that it's actually here. 

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Picture Update

Sophie holding Ms. Jillian, born 2-28-13.

Riding her new ATV!

Finger Painting

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Wild Child

Trying on sunglasses

This is Sophie telling (a very funny) story!

Baby Shower

I hosted a baby shower for Ashley a few weekends ago. It was a lot of work, but absolutely worth it! It was a fun day, but I spent a lot of time preparing for it over the past few weeks.

I made this tissue paper "poofs" to help with the decorations. The "theme" was really just pinks/purples, so I made 2 pink and 2 purple poofs to hang in the kitchen. I also bought a pack of paper lanterns from the party supply store, and I think they all went together well. 

I made pink and purple cupcakes for the baby shower. They were a hit! 

The cousins - anxiously awaiting the arrival of baby Maggie!

My beautiful sister!

Let me just say...thank goodness for Pinterest! It has really inspired me to become a better hostess and more thoughtful gift give! I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be perfect for the shower. This was the "guest book" for the shower. Each guest signed one of the circles/balloons and I glued them on to the page. At the end of the shower, I placed it in a frame so Ashley could remember that day. 

I didn't have any games for people to play - I wanted people to eat, visit, and not feel forced to play a game that they didn't want to play. I did ask the guests to participate in one activity. I made 21 note cards and numbered 21 envelopes 1 - 21. At the shower, I asked each person to take a card and an envelope and write a note to Maggie to open on the corresponding birthday. (The person who got the envelope with an 8 on it, wrote Maggie a note to open on her 8th birthday.) Again, I can't take credit for this idea. Several years ago, I attended a baby shower at work and the hostess introduced this idea. 

And here I am with my beautiful sister! I still cannot believe she will be a Mommy in just a few short weeks!

Sophie's 2!

It's official...

This little girl is 2 years old! We celebrated her birthday this past Saturday with our families and a few close friends. Sophie loved the decorations and really enjoyed herself throughout the whole day. 

These are the cupcakes I made! White cupcakes with blue and red(ish) buttercream.

A close-up of the cupcakes

Such a little diva! Unfortunately, she was so excited for her party that she completely bypassed her nap!

Relishing in everyone singing "Happy Birthday!"

Blowing out the candles

Sophie's cousins and our friend Lucy enjoying the cupcakes

Sophie had a lot of helpers while opening her presents!

Sophie and me after the party - what a happy girl!

Danny surprised both of us by bringing home this trampoline. Sophie loves it!

And this is the birthday girl around 7:30 that evening...absolutely worn out!

We are working on making her room more of a big girl room and less of a nursery (tear). I have no intentions of painting the walls. I figure that by the time we decide to have #2, Sophie will move into the other bedroom and this will go back to the nursery. Sophie's other present was her bedding- Minnie Mouse sheets, comforter, and pillow case. We went out yesterday and bought Sophie the shelves in her room. We still need to get a new window valance and lamp so we can retire the nursery theme....for now anyways.

The party turned out pretty well. We decided to have a hot dog bar in honor of "The Hot Dog Dance" from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I found a few websites on Pinterest where people suggested cooking hot dogs in a crock pot. I needed a way to be sure that all of the hot dogs were hot and ready for everyone and this seemed like the perfect answer! I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out. They weren't over cooked or dry at all. Each of the websites I found said to just put the hot dogs in the crock pot, put the lid on, and cook. No added water or anything. I set out onions, mustard, ketchup, pickles, relish and cheese for the hot dogs.  I also tried to make a copycat Skyline chili recipe. It was okay - I think the recipe called for a little too much cocoa (yes, cocoa in chili), but I also think I let it cook for too long. Typically, we think that chili gets better the longer it sits, but I don't think that applied to this recipe. It was edible, but not my favorite recipe. 

After all the planning and preparation for the party, I'm pretty sure these balloons were the biggest hit!