Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Remember the old confessionals? I call them old I guess because I don't see them very often any more. The don't build them like they used to. This one is ominous looking isn't it? Makes my knees shake just looking at it.
I can see the space in between Father O'Reilly's two front teeth behind the mesh grating that was supposed to protect my identity. Paaallleeeezze. If I can see him - he can see me!!! Besides, everyone saw me go in the confessional and everyone saw me come out. There would be no secrets. The jig was up and I had to tell the priest all my sins. I remember barely getting the words out. 'Bless me Father for I have sinned. This is my first confession. These are my sins. I fought with my sister, I didn't clean my room and once, I lied'. Gulp!
Father O'Reilly smiled and handed out the standard penance of five Hail Mary's and two Our Father's. Whew. Piece of cake. It would be a few years yet before I'd have to do hard time staying behind to dust pews and clean the convent. LOL!
For the past thirteen years Carmella has made a huge fish feast for the family on Christmas Eve and Jim Sr. hasn't missed a beat. On Christmas morning, he cooks a great prosciutto, egg, potato, bacon, sausage, toast, coffee and juice feast. He never cooks so this is special. I absolutely love the tradition. This year we had the added bonus of going to hear the men's choir at St. Lucy's Church in Newark. Jim's been threatening to sing with the choir and we think we saw his lips move once - but we're not sure. We thoroughly enjoyed midnight mass together. Who knows? Maybe a new family tradition is starting? As for the choir, I should've video taped some of it - but hey - it was late - we did have a little wine with the fish feast, I was lucky to get this shot with Jim's phone - the perspective is from the upstairs choir room. Pretty huh?
I don't remember laughing harder than when my brother Tony gave my Dad this jacket. My Dad absolutely loathed it! Check out the videos below. The lighting isn't that great, but they're hysterical.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Jim and I were inside for only a few minutes when we realized the congregation was celebrating Advent of course, as well as the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
I took some pictures inside the Basilica because I could, but you're not supposed to. I just couldn't resist.
We then drove from Phoenix to Sedona, a pretty long drive. We were only in Sedona for half a day and one night and then onto Nevada. Personally, I would've liked to have stayed in Sedona for a lot longer, but it was not meant to be. When I posed on this rock for a few minutes and closed my eyes - tears came so fast - but I held them in. Not sure what that was all about.
Jim and I learned a lot on this trip. We were reminded that we love to see the world and travel together. We learned that not everything is as it seems. You sometimes need to pull back some layers to get the whole picture. If you don't, you might find out some things that you'd rather not know.
Thankfully, we're home now, all unpacked and exhausted from a two day mad rush for a Christmas tree and presents for family and friends.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
We were there because my Dad was working on the Sopranos at the time and Jimmy is such a huge Nascar fan, Dad invited us. We met Reid at the very next Nascar race that we attended and we attend a lot of them. This was a few years ago already. We met and became fast friends.
Lee and Reid make sure to put us on the guest list in the event we can make it.
We will always make it Spencers. It is such a huge privilege to be invited to this party for the third year in a row. We danced and laughed and had a few libations.
Jimmy saw Clint Boyer, a few other drivers and his favorite Nascar sideline reporter besides Lee, Krista Voda. She gets honorable mention here because he teases me about her all the time but she's just been taken off the market. Krista showed us her engagement ring last night so, sorry Jim.
The first bottle was consumed at the club by just about everyone. The Spencers received some serious VIP treatment and shared all of it.
We graciously benefited. Thanks Spencers for a great time. Next stop Sedona.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Some people believe that creation is holding a thought long enough in your head until it materializes from nothing into something. That creation is believing really, really hard that something exists, even though it doesn't.
As for God having a plan for our lives - He has given us free will. That in and of itself puts a monkey wrench into the best laid plans. Our will vs. His will? Sure He should win, but while we're here on earth - not so much.
So does that mean that we're all going to hell because our free will has taken us off course from God's divine and holy plan for our lives?
No. Not even close.
Creation and 'God's plan' are one in the same for humanity. 'God's plan' for our lives is that we realize we are one with Him in creation and in fulfilling our lives destiny. Our destiny is to create.
All's we need to do is get in line with what we want to create and create it.
Create what? Well, everything you see for one. We've been quite busy creating. Sometimes we take the credit and at other times we place the blame - but we're all responsible for the state of affairs on this planet, good and bad. All of us.
We live on an incredibly hospitable planet in a universe that is ever expanding with parallel universes and things the mind cannot even imagine, let alone comprehend.
We've been blessed with life and every opportunity to create whatsoever we want.
A life of creation is an incredibly joyful gift, a monumentally important responsibility.
What will we create then? God has given us back the blueprints of our lives and said "Here, go create a destiny for yourself and for those that you love".
How will we create the spaces we live in, the relationships, the communities? How will we overcome what we've created in stresses and illnesses and dis-ease and depression?
But, we can always change our minds.
God's plan for us is to rise to the occasion. To be light in a dark world. To be love in a loveless society. To create a life that is in line with divinity, grace and love.
Things do not pop into and out of creation unless someone orchestrates them. If you envision an improvement on the ever popular wheel, you had best get out your chisel and hammer or else the improvement will just stay a thought in your head.
Now, go get back to creation.