Archive | November, 2010

Updates!

29 Nov

Thanksgiving was delicious. Not terribly big on the rest side of things, but it tasted good.

Friday was a memorial for my older half-brother’s grandfather. He was a truly great man, served as sheriff in our county for almost half of his life, and was the definition of an incredible grandfather. His love and support meant the world to my brother, and for that, more than any other accomplishment in his life – and there are many – I will hold him with respect and gratitude in my heart. His wife spoke at the end of the service and finished with “He got the last word in our marriage, but he had to die to do it”, with her characteristic Texas woman grin. I can only hope that one day I can develop the same honest candor, strength, and love for justice that this couple has shown.

Eli and I drove back up Saturday, and my roommates weren’t back from their Thanksgiving camping trip yet. So, I made Eli walk through the house before he left to make sure it hadn’t been broken into and that Ted Bundy’s successor wasn’t waiting in the shadows somewhere.

Yes, I’m paranoid and neurotic.

I grew up in a household of nine children and many, many dogs, so last night was the first time I ever stayed in a house 100% by myself with no humans or animals present. I may or may not have called Eli once or twice in the middle of the night just to make sure he was still alive and breathing and able to run to my rescue if need be.

How was your weekend?

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Rite of Acceptance and Bidding Adieu.

21 Nov

I’ve been waiting for this day for a long, long time.

The first official declaration of my intent to become a full-blown, regular Papist.

Standing in the back of the vestibule, gathered around the baptismal font, I stared down the aisle, and up at Our Lord. I expected to feel overwhelming joy, excitement, or nervousness – but all I felt was an absolute peace. An emptiness. Silence. But not darkness.

I was content.

An entire year that contained almost all of the most dramatic ups and downs of my life, and much more time than that mulling over the possibility that maybe – just maybe – there was something more to this Catholic Church. It was all about to end, in ten or twenty short minutes.

Families entered the sanctuary, little toddlers performed macarena-style Holy Water dances (with utter and complete piety), my dear friend Becca hugged me and promised her prayers, Kimberlie took her place in the church, Eli squeezed my hand, and I simply stood there. Silent.

And in that moment, I found sadness. It was a moment of farewell. I was about to offer the beginning of my yes, and I was shutting the door to my past behind me. I was being accepted and welcomed, but leaving my home behind. I was reminded of when I was packing to leave for college for the very first time. I was excited about what was ahead of me, but I was heartbroken over what I was leaving behind. I knew it wouldn’t ever be the same again. It was a good and necessary thing, but the growing pains were rough. And there, around the holy water, I felt the same thing. I knew that what was coming was good and beautiful and right. But that moment of farewell was painful.

But walking down that aisle, with Kimberlie’s hand on my back, and the welcoming smiles of the Faithful greeting all of us entering that day, I knew that I wasn’t forsaking one for the other. I was simply entering the Fullness of the home I’d found first.

And in that moment? I found joy.

 

It’s kind of official!

20 Nov

Well guys, the Rite of Acceptance was tonight. I’ll blog more about it later, but just wanted to let y’all know so we could all celebrate together! 😉 Have a great feast day!

7 Quick Takes vol. 7

19 Nov

1. I’m a big kid now!

My blog is now http://secretvaticanspy.com. I’m having geeky fits of glee over the fact that I own a domain. Don’t judge me – I’ve wanted one since I was ten years old. No, really. I was always a nerd.

2. Join the resistance!

Earlier this week I mentioned Project Vatican Hit List. I was going to upload the preliminary list tonight, but quite frankly, I left the grease-stained notebook in my car and it is in the thirties. I am nice and comfortable in my warm cozy bed, and do not feel the slightest bit compelled to run and retrieve said list. I have a few books that are calling my name, and they shall get the attention they so desperately crave as soon as I upload this post.

All that to say, we would love to have you join us. Several of you mentioned not being able to commit to daily mass, because you have to do trivial and carnal things like, oh, I don’t know – RUN HOUSEHOLDS AND RAISE BABIES. Pssh. I jest. There will be alternatives, and tomorrow when the sun is shining and I am no longer tired, grumpy, and literature deprived I will throw a few suggestions out to y’all.

3. Best song ever.

Skip ahead to 1:11 if you want to skip the introduction. It’s cute, guys. The rosary line is my favorite.

4. Speaking of rosaries. . .

I’ve been making rosaries for the Vatican Hitlist. I’m getting pretty good at them, which is surprising because I’m, um, how you say, completely uncrafty in almost every possible way. I’ll add pictures later.

5. I was wrong!

The Rite of Acceptance is THIS Saturday, which is all sorts of goose-bump inducing – it is exactly one year TO THE DAY that I decided to give this whole Catholic thing a go, and asked my soon-to-be-godmother if I could accompany her family to Mass the next day (Christ the King Sunday). I can’t believe it’s already/only been a year.

6. My boyfriend is awesome.

Eli has been writing like a mad-man over at Practical Catholic. I mean that in the amount written and time spent doing so sense, not the gee-I’m-dating-a-wild-man way. You should stop by and say hi. He’s far more articulate than I am.

7. It’s Thanksgiving season!!

I can already taste my momma’s absolutely sinful Thanksgiving dinner. I wish I had a TARDIS so I could revisit Thanksgiving day every single day of the year.

Visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

 

The Secret Vatican Hit List: Conversions, boondock style.

16 Nov

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, not so much on the stormy side. But it was still dark so it counts. I was conversing with Secret Agent Eli over a lukewarm, slightly stale plate of Chinese food. We were discussing politics, and I mentioned how dumb it was for Catholics to write off certain political commentary from Glenn Beck just because he was Mormon – even when the message itself was at the very minimum thought provoking. I reminisced about my early junior high days when I would sit in our driveway with Talk Radio 570 KLIF playing, taking eager notes and laughing gleefully over MorOn Trivia and Freak Jury (yes, I realize I am branding myself as a complete nerd, and exposing my hardcore Evil Conservative Upbringing) – my favorite time of year was Christmas when the Politically Correct Christmas Songs would air. I was such a Beckky that my sister wrote Glenn Beck when I graduated from high school and had him mail me an autographed poster.

If you are not steaming out of the ears by now or staring aghast at my idiocy, then please, by all means, continue reading.

It was in that moment, while breaking into a musty, soggy spring roll that I made an offhand comment –

“I’m going to add him to my Catholic hit list.”

Eli gave me a wary look – I had also just expressed an intense interest in studying Krav Magra, and recently watched The Boondock Saints for the first time, so the combination of these three things led him to half-way question my capacity for violence.

“My conversion hit list.” I amended.

Having assuaged my border-line Hauerwas-style Pacifist boyfriend’s mind  – although, though he’ll never admit it, he secretly MIGHT be okay with Glenn disappearing forever – he asked me to expound upon this delightfully violent sounding idea.

Through a series of lectio divina sessions that had transpired over the last week or so I have been compelled to do something specific for the conversion of certain people in my life. I won’t go into the details on this blog (until they convert!) because, quite frankly, it’s scary and difficult and almost-impossible and if there’s one thing my daddy taught me, it’s “Don’t share your dreams with people who’ll tell you it can’t be done”. But, that particular personal revelation inspired something else in me.

What if we spent a year praying for the influential people in our society?

Eli talked about it, and began to tongue-in-cheek make a “conversion hit list”. We made a list of every important person that personally shaped our families, our cultures, our media, and began to play a really awesome game of What-If?

What if Dr. Cho and his church converted to Catholicism and ALMOST 1,000,000 PEOPLE ENTERED THE CHURCH AT ONE TIME?

What if Brian and Bobbie Houston of Hillsong Church in Australia converted? With Darlene Zschech?

What if BILLY GRAHAM CONVERTED?

What if Barack Obama converted?

The names and the hypothetical situations flew. Almost four hours later we had the whole world Catholic, a unified church, liturgical reform, and no abortions to boot. I call that dating with purpose. (That’s a joke, ladies and gentlemen).

We wrote the names down, no matter how crazy or controversial, as we thought of them, and decided that no matter how long it took us (we calculated about 8 and a half years), we would dedicate 30 days of daily mass and prayer for each of the names. Yes, we are crazy.

BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!

I thought that other people might like to get in on the spiritual sniping too! We pared the list down to 100 (not counting our personal petitions), and decided to post an Open Mission for all you fellow Vatican agents out there. Here’s how this will work:

  1. Each month (or 30 day segment, however it works out) will be assigned 10 names.

  2. You can choose one name off the list as your target for the month.

  3. Attend Daily Mass with special intentions for your person that month.

  4. Leave it in the hands of God.

You can participate for just one month, or all ten months, or just pray for the people who are participating. We’re wanting to start in January. None of these people may ever step foot into a Catholic church for the rest of their life. They may die blaspheming the name of Christ with their dying breath. This isn’t some holy, Get-Catholics-Fast ponzi scheme. The jury’s out on whether or not it was whispered into our subconscious by the Almighty or just the brainchild of two overzealous converts. WE AREN’T CLAIMING DIVINE REVELATION, HERE. But really – since when has daily mass for the intention of conversions of souls been a bad idea??

Never, that’s when.

So what do you think? Is anyone interested in participating with us?

Waiting.

9 Nov

It was wet-marshmallow sticky, and hot, hot, hot in March 2007, in Hefei, Anhui Province, People’s Republic of China.

We’d done it.

We made it.

With four international adoptions in five years, life had been a little rough for our family, but we survived, and we were on the other side of the world standing in a Civil Affair’s office that smelled of old books, bureaucracy, and sour laundry.

“Gotcha” Day was here.

Xiao Dian and Xiao Zhong were about to become Aeren Renae and Trenton Allen. Their short lives spent drinking recycled sewage water and living on the side of a mountain, five hours from the nearest village, in an almost-forgotten orphanage were about to be traded for a family. A home. A community of faith. Friends. Food. Water. Texas and Dr Pepper.

Aeren, who had been left to waste away in a hospital bed with no mental stimulation to speak of after facing death from unsanitary living conditions would get the medical treatment she needed. The cerebral palsy that destroyed any hope for a normal life five minutes before she crossed into the office would instantly morph into a starting point, not a finish line.

Trent, born without a foot and so heart-breakingly ashamed of his “deformity”, would finally be able to wear two shoes. He would be able to run. To play. To be a boy.

My parents fought hard for them. My entire family sacrificed – but not out of a sense of “doing our Christian duty”. We fought because they were US. They were Rutherford’s. They were our brother and sister, daughter and son – we were called to them. But they weren’t the only ones waiting that day.

A young boy who was about 5-years-old had arrived before any of the rest of us. He was sitting at a table, next to a representative from his orphanage, clutching a small photo-album until his knuckles turned white. It was a simple photo album, filled with pictures of his soon-to-be Forever Family. As soon as we entered the room he stared at our faces. He was disappointed we didn’t match any of the faces he had most likely spent countless hours burning into his mind, waiting for the day when they’d arrive and say,

“Hello, son – welcome home”.

But it didn’t damper his excitement for long. Soon he was running to each of us, grabbing our hand and pointing to the one picture that mattered more to him than any of the others.

“Mama!” he shrieked, over and over, “My mama is coming!”

It was one of the only English phrases he knew – but it was all he needed to tell us.

Children like these. . .


Are waiting for us to stop groveling in our despairs, to stop worrying about whether we can afford the latest car, the best higher education, the hottest clothes, to leave our failures and our mistakes behind us and push forward.

To bring them a future, and a hope.

What are you waiting for?

Please contact me if you are interested in these children. Their cases are classified as urgent.

7 Quick Takes Vol. 6

4 Nov

This week? The Bomb.

I promise that this 7QT will be an election-free zone. I’m still assimilating everything so I can’t say that will hold true for my blog at large, but for right now? Mum’s the word.

Visit Jennifer Fulwiler at ConversionDiary.com for more 7 Quick Takes!

1. Pray for my friend.
My friend Roxanne had surgery Thursday morning – I know a lot of you have been praying for her, but please continue to lift her and her family up in prayer.

2. I ripped my thumb nail off.
Okay. That was hyperbole (I love that word). Hyperbolehyperbolehyperbole. I did, however, rip it backwards and bruise my nail bed in a freak OMG-you’re-late-for-school-throw-backpacks-in-the-car accident. I did not realize how much I use my thumbs until that happened.

3. I’m going to be an aunt!
My oldest brother and his wife are expecting their first child, a baby girl! I’m ridiculously excited, and placing my bid for Favored Aunt. She’ll have six to choose from, but I’m the oldest and the only one with a steady job. So THERE. 😛

4. Rite of Acceptance is next Saturday.
I’m excited. Easter seems so far away, and I’m not entirely sure I can wait much longer. The Liturgy of the Eucharist gets harder and harder to sit through, and I feel desperate for Christ. I’ve been going to Adoration, and it only fuels my desire for Him – which I suppose is the point, no? At least after the Rite of Acceptance if I die in a freak acorn throwing tournament at the hands of a herd of rabid squirrels I can have a Catholic funeral.

5. Can squirrels get rabies?

6. Nanowrimo. Nanowrinot.
It is Day FOUR of Nanowrimo and I still have less than a page written. On the upside, having something else pressing to do means that my blog is a means of procrastination. Meaning, I’m getting way more blogging done than I did when the blog was my primary means of expression. Weird how that works. But I am still set on completing Nanowrimo this year. No, really.

7. I deleted my Facebook!
And I’m not looking back!