Monday, October 27, 2014

The Latin Mass

I'm sure I will get the phrasing wrong in this, but please bear with me.

Yesterday we attended a mass in the Extraordinary Form, known commonly as a latin mass. It was the first time that any of us had attended such a mass.

I knew it would be very different than the Novus Ordo masses we usually attend, so I tried to prep as much as possible. I watched a couple You Tube videos of parts of a High Mass, found a latin-english missal online with the Ordinary of the mass and read through it. Plus, I bought the book The Latin Mass Explained by MSGR George J Moorman. Great book. I wish I had read more of it prior to us attending the mass.

Despite my preparations, I was still quite lost during the mass. I spent far more time trying to follow around and follow the people around me in standing, kneeling, and sitting, than I did focusing on God. That is not too surprising since it was my first time attending, I was very nervous, and it was all so new to me.

A large part of me didn't like the mass. I felt like I wasn't getting much out of it other than observing what was going on. But therein lies something that also sticks with me.

It was extremely clear that the focus on the mass was NOT about me or about what I got out of it.  The focus of the mass was very clearly the sacrifice offered to God. As MSGR Moorman called it, the mass is the great drama; The priest approaching God to offer Him the highest form of worship, a sacrifice. The sacrifice of the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the Eucharist. We, the lay people, participate in this offering together as one body. We are there united as one body, one Church, before God. We are not there to stand alone as individuals and think of ourselves.

Of course, this is the case with every mass. But the sacredness, the beauty, and the words and actions of the latin mass drove home that point very clearly.

It would be nice to be able to attend that mass more often, but it is a 45 minute drive during nap time. The result is an extremely over-tired and cranky baby.

On the way home we had a good conversation about the seal of confession. I take great comfort in knowing that not only can a priest not tell anyone what I said to him during the sacrament of reconciliation (confession), he is forbidden from even acknowledging to anyone that I went to confession. He must keep the seal of confession even at the threat of jail or death.

Joe of course brought up the argument about murders and child molesters confessing something during confession and the duty to protect others. I did my best to summarize this article for him:

Overall, I think attending a latin mass was a good experience for us. Perhaps someday we will make it to another one.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday To-Dos

How is it that Monday always seems to bring with it a to-do list a mile long? Thankfully, Monday occurs after Sunday - a day of rest.

This week is a busy and stressful week for Joe. He is handling the jobs of three men, two of whom are senior to him, while they are away for the week. Needless to say, he has been dreading this week a lot. I hope to make it to daily mass at least once this week, offer up some struggles of my own for him, and also make him spicy lasagna on Saturday.

The spicy lasagna was originally going to be our meal on Friday evening, but then I remembered that we signed up to run a 10K on Saturday. The 10K is practice for the 1/2 marathon we are signed up for later in October. I know that I can run a 10K without a problem, but the 1/2 marathon may be a different story. Joe has his heart set on it, however, so I will be out there will him.

Ava went down for a very early nap this morning. She normally doesn't take a nap until around 10 AM, but this morning she fell asleep just after 8 AM. I am a bit nervous about how such an early nap will affect the rest of the day.

Ava's awake. Maybe today will be a day of three naps...

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Canceled Plans and Little Sleep

Dear Ava,

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day for both of us. Neither of us got enough sleep last night. Then, I interrupted your morning nap by trying to put you down in your crib while you were asleep. Normally I hold you during your naps because you seem to sleep best that way.

Holding you while you sleep is both a blessing and a cross to bear. I would love to have that time to nap myself, get showered and dressed, or work on my to-do list. When I focus on myself and what I could be accomplishing instead of holding you, it becomes hard to bear. When I instead focus on my prayer time, studying scripture, and studying theology while you sleep peacefully in my arms it becomes a time of peace and renewal for both of us.

Most days I try to let you sleep as long as possible during your naps, but this morning a friend of mine was supposed to come over for coffee. She and I have been trying to get together for months now but our schedules never lined up. A couple Sunday's ago you and I finally made it Mass at 11 AM and my friend and her family happend to be sitting two rows it front of us. It was the first time she and I had seen each other since we graduated from West Point in 2005.

Twenty minutes before she was supposed to arrive I was still in my pajamas. I tried to put you in your crib so that I could get dressed, but you of course woke up. Sadly, right after that my friend called to let me know that she didn't feel too well and thought it best to stay home. We have tentatively rescheduled for a day next week and I am really looking forward to seeing her and some much needed social interaction. I hope she is feeling better, none of her kids get sick, and that you and I are able to get plently of sleep beforehand.

Despite you getting a much longer afternoon nap, you were still quite tired the rest of the day. I let you play in one of your favorite places quite a bit since it kept you happy. What could be better than sitting in a bin full of toys?


Time Change Planning Fail

Dear Ava,

I messed up big time when making our travel plans. If I had thought about daylight savings time prior to scheduling our trip to see Grandma and Grandpa P we would travel to see them the week prior to daylight savings time. As it currently stands, we will hit daylight savings time (jump ahead 1 hour), then a few days later travel one more time zone ahead (jump ahead an additional hour), then a week later travel back home (go back 1 hour), followed by a few days later traveling to see daddy/Joe (jump ahead 14 hours). Had we traveled the week prior to daylight savings time, the time zone where Grandma and Grandpa P and daylight savings time at our home would line up perfectly. I hope that isn't too confusing.

The take away of all of this is that the sleep schedule you finally have settled into will change completly in a week and then continue to keep changing until you adjust to the Korea time zone.

The past month of us not travelling was wonderful. I wish it was not about to end, though I can't wait to see Joe again. If only we did not have 20+ continuous hours of travel followed by 2-3 weeks of jet lag to deal with as a result of the trip. At least we will get to be together as a family of 3 for our longest stretch yet.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nap Time Thoughts

Dear Ava,

You have given me a wonderful gift as a result of your morning nap - long stretches of time to pray, meditate and reflect on God's word and what He has done and is doing in my life, read the Bible, and delve deeper into my faith.

He is developing in me an even greater love and knowledge of Him, the Church, the sacraments, as well as leading me down a path that I believe leads to developing and using the gifts of the Holy Spirit that He has given to me.

During all of this, I often think of all the things I want to tell you and pass on to you. The ways I have seen God work in my life and in the life of friends and family. I also want to share with you the incredible desire I have to worship God both here on earth and in heaven. To abandon myself fully to Him and lay before His throne in awe and praise, joining all of heaven proclaiming:

"Holy, Holy, Holy, is The Lord Almighty. Who is, who was, and who is to come."

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Six Months Old

Dear Ava,

Happy Half Birthday! You were born six months ago today! I can't believe how fast the time has flown by.

In my facebook post commorating yoru 6 month birthday I included the following list of accomplishments and things you enjoy:

  • Easily rolls from back to tummy and tummy to back
  • Sit unsupported for 5 minutes
  • Weighing about 13 lbs and is around 26 in long
  • Like to stand (supported)
  • Loves frozen blueberries (in a baby feeding teether)
  • Also enjoys eating avocados, bananas, and acorn squash
  • Has flown on a plane 10 times
  • Has visited South Korea
  • Quickly smiles at new people, but only if they don’t try to hold her
  • Enjoys riding in the jogging stroller as long as it is in motion
  • Loves bath time
  • Has experienced temperatures of both 105+ and -40F (without windchill)
  • Likes to grab my hair, nose, glasses and anything else that is within her reach
  • Believes my camelback water bottle is a great teething toy that belongs to her
Your first genuine smile was on September 24th. I was trying to take a picture of you to send to Daddy at that exact moment and I was lucky enough to capture the smile on camera.

The first time you rolled over was on January 16th and it was from your back to your tummy. On January 21st, your rolled from your tummy to your back for the first time.

Your first solid food was avocado, which you ate on February 3rd. You enjoyed it, but didn't eat a whole lot of it.

Blueberries are by far your favorite food, though I generally only let you have them when you are due for a bath.
It is so fun to watch you grow and learn new skills. We love you!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Be Still and Cease Striving

Dear Ava,

Tonight is a rare night in that you are asleep for the night and I still have enough energy to be up for a couple hours of precious (and very rare) alone time.

There are so many things I want to accomplish during these hours, but I often end up sitting in a chair with my feet up enjoying the quietness of the house and thinking about whatever is on my mind.

Tonight the topic on my mind is Psalm 46:10.

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (NIV)


"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (NASB)

Back in December during one my my prayer times, God pointed me to that verse and indicated that He wants me to focus on living out that verse during this season of life.

The verse flows perfectly out of what I felt God kept saying to me during the last year.

Trust Him.

There were so many things I was worried and anxious about, but that word kept coming back to me as I prayed. Trust. Turn all of my worries and concerns over to Him.

As I gave my worries and concerns over to Him I saw things fall into place. I was able to easily give up command without any issues. I found a new place to live with plenty of support (with Grandma and Grandpa F). You were born without any issues and Joe/Daddy was able to be there for your birth. You were baptized.

In the midst of all of the changes, I kept striving to hold onto my career, to find ways to do more, to keep up with my peers.

I thought I had it all planned out for what I was going to accomplish during this next year. Sure, there were some bumps, but I was certain that I could overcome those. The ILE course, the job in DC, projects here at home I wanted to focus on, things here I wanted to do.

But life wasn't going as I had planned. You weren't interested in a bottle. The milk I had frozen developed a metallic smell/taste very quickly and you refused to drink it. Your separation anxiety kicked in at an extremly early age and hasn't seemed to improve. I was having trouble focusing enough to even accomplish easy ILE course work. I was stressed and worried about how I would accomplish the tasks and goals I had laid out for the next year.

Then, God spoke and told me to Be Still. Cease Striving.

Give up my pursuit of my career for the moment. Give up trying to keep up with my West Point peers.

Instead, focus on Him. Focus on Knowing Him. Focus on Exalting Him.

And with that, focus on who He has called me to be: A wife and a mother.

Giving up the pursuit of my career was not easy and took a lot of trust in God. Over 12 years of my life have been centered around the military. I had just been promoted ahead of my peers this past summer. I had some people telling me that giving it all up, even if only for a short while, was a big mistake.

I had to trust that if God wants me to continue my career at some later point, He will make a way for it to happen. I had to trust Him with what felt like giving up part of my identity. I had to trust that He knew what He was doing.

And He does.

In trusting Him and being still, ceasing to strive, I gained the freedom to focus on you and your needs; to spend a lot more time visiting Daddy in Korea this spring; and most importantly, the ability to move to Korea this spring/summer.

Had I continued to strive towards my own goals, I would not currently feel the same freedom to move due to work obligations.

Our moving is still up in the air, but we have one less major hurdle to think about because of what God told me to focus on during this season of life: Be Still. Know that He is God. Know that He is/was/and will be exalted.



Saturday, February 08, 2014

16 More Months

Dear Ava,

Two nights ago, after you had already fallen asleep, Joe/Daddy told me some bad news. A much hoped for assignment for him fell through. The assignment would've allowed us to start living together as a family this July. As it currently stands, we have another 16 more months apart from him.

16 months. You will be just shy of two years old. We will be about to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. 16 more months.

You daddy and I started dating in the summer of 2010. Our whole relationship has been long distance; only seeing each other for a few weeks with an average of 3 months between visits.

On a run together in Korea during a visit in November 2010

Every year I tell myself that next year we will be able to be together. Having it not only fall through, but also be even longer apart than I planned, is hard to take.

I am still holding out hope for us being able to start living together this summer. More accurately, every part of me is clinging to that hope.

It would involve us moving to Seoul, South Korea. We would only be able to take what I could fit into 2 suitcases. I've already started to mentally pack those suitcases.

I am not ready to accept no as an answer.