Friday, September 25, 2009

Falling and Springing

From Rev Gals! It's a Fitting Fall Friday Five for me! Why?

Because it is my favorite season and I leave at 11:45 tonight for nine months in Chile where it is rising Spring. I'll still have access to the Internet and will be chronicling the experience in one way or another. The nine months will be followed by two months back here and then off to Rome for five months with other Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who have been on their international experience. We will make our final vows in January of 2011.

For now, Fall!

1. Share a Fall memory.

Augh, so many. Walks in the woods when I was a child, the SMELL of the leaves, the cool, the soil. Coming back in to a house that smelled good because something was in the oven or on the stove, the clarity of sound as the air cools...

2. Your favorite Fall clothes--(past or present)?

Hands down--kneesocks, jeans, turtleneck, sweatshirt. But, for work--khakis and a corduroy shirt. Soft, snug, just the right temperature.

3. Share a campfire story, song, experience...etc.

Um, not really a campfire story, but I remember lying on my back in a Wyoming fall and looking up to the cosmos with a (detached, naturally) rifle scope of my father's. At that moment, I understood for the first time why it is called the Milky Way. SO stunning, inspiring, freeing, and humbling to look at it all!

4. What is your favorite thing about this time of year?
The feeling of being snug but cool outside and coming in to warm. It's a season for walking and crunching around, a season for beauty! The leaves! Augh!

5. What changes are you anticipating in your life, your church, the season changes and winter approaches?

Well--my ministry, my community, my continent, my primary language of use, pretty much everything! But, it is rather fitting, actually, that I am headed into Spring for the journey feels much like that--new discovery, new becoming, possibility, revelation...

The Bonus: Fall Food

Three things immediately come to mind-- Chili, homemade vegetable soup (with saltines crushed up on top just before eating), and apple cobbler. Funny how these things are specific in my mind-- not just any old, but those versions specifically created from the recipes used by the women in my family.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Things seen

I was returning from the post office this afternoon and saw these two little scenes.

The leaves and bright ticket caught me...the arrangement on the sidewalk, yes, but also the components and chance of them being together... where would that ticket take someone who picked it up? Where did it already take someone? Where will the wind lift it next?

The plant is a force of life! Not a smidge of dirt to be found but such a commitment to growth! It boldly puts roots where it can, gripping to the binding force of life in spite of odds and challenges. Go for it, plant. Grow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh. My.

This is the unsophisticated thought that has been running through my head since picking up my Visa yesterday and realizing that I am actually leaving for Chile on Friday evening and God willing, arriving in Santiago at noon the next day.

I am at once quite mellow and exceedingly wound up. I am filled with a depth of gratitude only surpassed twice in my life. I am both worried that it all won't get done and confident that by the time I go, things will be in place. I feel grounded and free and on various levels aware of the both the gift and cost of that feeling.

This is not a trip I am taking from which I will return to what I had known and been doing. A larger unknown now begins. Chile, back for two months of visiting and rearranging suitcases, Rome for five months of "Probation" and Final Profession, and then...?

Am I ready? Ready for what will be asked? Ready for what will be offered? Ready for what I do not know? Ready for revelation? Ready for encounter and question and awe and silence and loneliness? Ready for others to go their way while I go mine? Because, I am not alone in my journey.

I am blessed tremendously by having others around me who are also making their way. Sometimes we share a map for a while, come to know one another. And you look at one another and say, for now, I need to head over here for a bit. You keep going and we'll circle around again, I am sure. Because, the point of convergence is God. The center drawing us down, the love inviting us onward, the reflection of beauty, the welcome table, the rest and cool drink, the challenge, the laugh, the one who knows all of the constellations.

Somehow, believing that helps make this all the more amazing and all the more real. Because mystery is amazing and mystery is real. Not easy. That's sometimes the way it is and often how discoveries are discoveries are made and revelation happens and fullness becomes.

Friday, September 18, 2009


From RevGals... a most thoughtful Friday Five

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up,
And isn't down.
it isn't in the nursery,
it isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
"It isn't really
It's somewhere else

— A. A. Milne
“Halfway Down,” When We Were Very Young

Thinking of your childhood as a stairway, when did you feel (and how did you feel then)

1. at the bottom?

Have to say, I wasn't really aware of being at the bottom. I had no idea what was going on around me, sometimes, but I considered getting out of bed and having a new day ahead of me to read and learn and wonder and explore another stair on the journey. I suppose, though, I felt a certain sense of desperation for that journey. Wanting to experience and know in the bones that what I believed was true--there was more to the world than what I saw and heard around me, that there was a place where I could be and do who and what God had given me as gift and call...and not be alone. There would be others on the staircase with me, to stop sometimes, to look, to comfort and encourage.

2. at the top?

Not there yet--don't expect to be until I'm walking into that most amazing vista with no horizon...

3. halfway?

What a gift! To be able to look back and say wow, I walked THOSE stairs to get here? Those stairs strewn with both obstacles and openings to naviagate? Whoa. To see what I left on those stairs and what/who I brought with me. To be able to look ahead and say WOW! I'm walking those? What will happen? What will I come to know? What views await? What people?

4. At this point in your life, where would you place yourself on your own stairway?

Don't know, really. I'm just walking and looking and saying Wow. A lot. Wow, isn't it amazing and Wow, the tragedy. Stairs don't only go one direction. I know this personally and by familial association.

5. Identify a place for you that "isn't really anywhere" but "somewhere else instead."

Writing, creating, praying space! The loose space where I and the world and God sit together in flow and conversation and being. Love that space.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Upon First Seeing

For a video of the renovations being done and more info--click here.

This is an excerpt from my journal after first being back in the main Church. I couldn’t find a place to sit that allowed room for the expanse of feeling moving around within me so I went to the back. And then out came the sacramentals of pen and paper… sometimes, you simply must pray.

Wow! Life! Light! Crispness and Clarity! As though I once was blind, but now—ah! The singing we do here these first Sundays feels like it is beginning to seal the work that has been done. New layers of life and living and feeling and glory and humanity’s reality are being offered—in a way, a chrism of praise is being applied to the freshly revealed…
I love that!

The bounce of the feeling in here begs for dancing. I can’t find a place to sit where I am comfortable because there is too much to see… not that I am in constant motion here in the back, but it feels free-er to me to be standing with space around—especially in this “new space” that is Xavier. Which, really, isn’t new, but simply re-awakened. Before, it was like being tucked in under blankets whose warm weight was secure and reassuring. Now, though, that weight has been lifted—much like when one moves from warm slumber into the stretching deep breath of wakefulness. Both feelings are wonderful, though different from one another.

Amen for the new day dawning!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, to whom St. Madeleine Sophie Barat dedicated the Society of the Sacred Heart in a tumultuous time of our history.

May the ones whose hearts have been pierced and yet found life be a source of love, understanding, compassion and consolation in a suffering world.

Friday, September 11, 2009


In a Jam with RevGals....Friday Five Time!

As the weather cools off into a lovely fall, my son and daughter are rediscovering their joy in cozy footed "pajammies"

Without going to TMI land, share with us your sleepwear memories and preferences....

1. What was your favorite sleeping attire as a child? And did you call them pjs, pajamas (to rhyme with llamas), pajamas (to sort of rhyme with bananas), jammies, or ???

Funny, I have no idea what I specifically wore, but am certain it fell into the same category of my choices today-- Nothing to confine, wrap around, make you feel bound in and less than free. HATE that feeling.... Regarding pronunciation, PJs or pyjamas, to rhyme with llamas.

2. Favorite sleepwear put on your own little ones, or perhaps those you babysat? (Bonus points if you made it).

No answer here--though wee bitty pjs with feet are darn cute.

3. How about today-do you prefer nightgown, pajamas...?

Cotton tee, stretchy fleece shorts. OR, in coldest winter, a men's flannel nightshirt. V-neck, no elastic at cuffs, shorter than women's (important when you're 5'2!). Rather Jack Be Nimble, but it works!

4. Silky smooth or flannel-y cozy?

Cotton until the depths of winter then flannel. Also depends on the sheets. Flannel on flannel is like sleeping in velcro!

5. Socks or bare feet?


Monday, September 7, 2009



Let the rain fall through me,
let me be refracted by the sun until I glow;
Let the soil release me,
the wind rearrange me,
and the moon turn my face
toward the tide of heaven

over and over
yet again!

What I want is to rise
loosely and freely;
to move each step
in the certain sway of grace
that is knowing God in and in between
my every mystery-laden molecule.


Saturday, September 5, 2009


I have a list in my mind of all the expressions I could string out on the page right about now that could describe my current state of mind... Lemons? Lemonade. Door closed? Window open. Etc.

But, instead, I'll say this... Breadcrumbs. Far more accurate, and, pleasingly, far more creative an opening to the story leading up to why I used it!

I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for the FBI to clear my fingerprints so I could apply for my Visa to go to Chile for ten months before making final vows. My ticket is for 11 September. The paperwork only got returned to me this past week while I was visiting my grandparents for three days. Yesterday, I gathered all of my other papers which I'd already put together, added the new sheets, got my money order, my photos, and headed to the consulate. Turned everything in and in talking to the gentleman who is now my contact there found out that they mail the paperwork to Chile first and they decide there whether to issue the Visa--another three to four week process.

I have been working on all of this now for several find out I might be waiting yet another month simply makes me grumpy. To say nothing of the uncertainty of when exactly I'll be going and therefore not being able to tell those expecting me when I will be arriving! And, knowing that the possibility exists that the Visa will not be cleared.

However, while I was waiting to be called in to the offices, I watched a video playing about the Lake District in Chile--stunning, informative, and I'd even say lyrical. One of the topics they covered was food--making particular mention of the German influence in the area. A pastry chef went through the process for making the most delicious looking apple dessert with a topping he made by melting butter in a pan and adding sugar and flour until all the butter was soaked up and the mixture turned crumbly. That he then sprinkled by hand over the top of his apple lusciousness.

I'd never seen the topping done that way! But it makes great sense to me--the butter will melt again in the heat, help keep the crumblies moisturized, and let everything get toasty brown without flying away when you take it out of the oven. As a side note, I also learned in this video that it is the sulfuric acid in an onion that makes you cry. Who knew? Neither of those things would I have expected to learn on a trip to the Chilean consulate at the UN Plaza in New York City.

Fast forward to me being the cook for dinner tonight and deciding to do homemade mac and cheese. Spending time alone in the kitchen is a great way for me to relax and think and be creative all at the same time so the fact that I was doing it today after finding out that it might well be another month until going away was a good thing. I'd sauteed diced onion and mixed that in, diced some tomatoes and chiles, mixed those in, added cheese, mixed more, poured an egg-milk custard on top...and then had a culinary AHA!

Breadcrumbs on top! No, no, not shake them on and hope they stick and! We were going to melt the butter first, mix in bread crumbs until the butter was absorbed, crumble the mixture with a fork, and spread them over the top! Ha! Crusty goodness on mac! Incredibly satisfying! I love learning something new and being able to use it myself to see that whoa! Yes, it really does work when it's my hands doing it!

The wonder is in the science, in the materials used working together...not entirely in the hands of the one doing it. This is something I know, but I find it endlessly fascinating to watch it happen.

And I would not have known about it unless I'd gone to the Chilean consulate and had word of a delay in my journey.

So, back to the opening... sometimes, when one thing poses a challenge, you learn about breadcrumbs.

How delicious a way to grow in patience and understand more clearly what so many in our world go through all of the time.