Sunday, December 23, 2012

ADVENT joyfully concludes... Photos!

Hey everyone! 

Time flies when fun is had... and I have been having fun!!

Here are some photos taken in the past couple months :D

Lots of love! 

5K that I walked with one of the residents at SMH; pictured with another resident and her son
"Walk for the Well of It" 3-mile walk in Ridgely

Halloween trick-or-treating with the daughter of a SMH resident

In D.C. with a Minnesotan friend

Along the mall in D.C.

Beautiful-- in honor of women & nurses

First Lady's garden on the White House lawn

Monday, December 10, 2012

More ADVENTures

Over Thanksgiving and the weekend I went to Charleston, SC to visit friends!  Katie and I graduated together from St. Ben’s, and she lives with her husband Karl in Charleston.  We shared a delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal and company of friends.  The weather was fantastic when I was there (they had rain all week before I arrived), so Katie and I spent much of our time outdoors.  We walked around downtown Charleston two different days; again another place so rich in history.  I enjoyed a few tourist experiences as we paddled a small boat through Cypress Gardens, visited a slave mart—the original building still standing, and toured a plantation outside of Charleston complete with a tour of the main house and self-guided history in nine slave houses.  I appreciated being able to put real images to the history that we—especially as mid-Westerners—only read.  Charleston is a city of authentic and original cuisine, so Katie and Karl treated me (as their first visitor!) to a few of their favorites including unique tacos, Indian, Southern comfort food, and also brunch at the Farmers’ Market. 
Life at the monastery is and has been wonderful!  Mostly I am not around here as much as I’d like to be.  Or when I am around I am running to and/or from someplace else which is not conducive to conversation or quality time.  Lately some nun-life adventures include beautiful preparation as we are moving through the season of Advent.  I have my flute here and have loved contributing to the liturgy, especially because of Advent hymns.  Scarves, scarves, scarves!—we had a very successful sale and received many orders from staff and parents of Benedictine.  The race has been on to complete scarves to fill these orders.  I will admit that I took quite a long break from knitting, but have jumped back in and do what I can.  I spend many of my volunteer hours in the evenings which reduces my evening communal television and knitting time. 
I thought I wrote about this already, but I didn’t—I visited Washington D.C.!!  I have had some wonderful touring experiences with a couple friends in the area.  We went to D.C. for a day early in November and saw all of the monuments and memorials.  I am itching to get back to see the museums—a couple at a time since I have the time to do so!  It was a chilly, windy day, but we got lots of walking in.  We also walked by the White House and saw the First Lady’s garden.  I am so grateful to the many friends and acquaintances generous with their time and keen on contributing to a full experience for my time here. 
Another experience to add to these—Handel’s Messiah!  Just Saturday night Sisters Patricia, Jo-El, Mary Elizabeth, and I had the privilege of attending Messiah put on by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with guest soloists; it was held at Chesapeake College.  It was incredible, beautiful, breathtaking, and more!  I hadn’t ever heard the full 2½ hour oratorio, and the bar was set high for any future performance of it.  I am so blessed. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My ADVENTures!

Wow!  The end of November already!  Time certainly has flown by for me.  I cannot believe I’ll be traveling to MN in less than four weeks.  I definitely have lots to share from the past weeks I’ve left you without updates of my adventures.  This is your fair warning that this will be a long post and/or one of two…  =)
In November my childcare hours increased, my days and schedule at the (Benedictine) school have changed, I’ve had new projects related to the Barn, and I had many wonderful days of relaxation and reflection.  I took one of the St Martin’s House residents along with her 18-month-old daughter trick-or-treating a couple days after Halloween.  Many towns rescheduled the town trick-or-treat because of Hurricane Sandy that week.  It was Lucy’s first time out on Halloween and she got scared right away by the costumes, but we had a fun time and of course got a little candy. 
I had an opportunity to stay at a condo in Ocean City, MD for a couple days.  The Sisters were given one week of a timeshare there and Sisters Colleen and Patricia invited me to join them!  It was chilly (low 40s) when we were there, but inside we enjoyed the company of one another, shared meals, reading for pleasure, and the presidential election updates.  It was a perfectly timed get-away. 
The following weekend was a holiday bazaar in Ridgely put on by the joint parishes of Ridgely and Denton (another nearby town).  The bazaar has a 5K run and fun walk as well, this year being “Run for the Well of It”—the money raised went toward providing clean, drinkable water for communities in Ghana.  Some of the House residents, their children, and I had a great time walking three miles in the crisp, sunny morning.  Anthony who’s nine turned it into kind of a competition and ended up speed walking ahead of us, finishing almost ten minutes before the rest of the group!  We were very proud of his ambition. 
Speaking of the Saint Martin’s House children—oh, so many stories and misadventures I could share!  As I mentioned, I have been doing childcare for the House residents (in the evenings when they’re at college classes or meetings) quite often.  Just this week I planned to care for Lucy and (Anthony’s four-year- old sister,) Rosie but also had to do transportation for the residents that evening and night.  So I set out from the House with the two residents on their way to college night class and Rosie who has to ride along because I’m in charge of her.  On our way we pick up Lucy from day care; after singing songs about November and the other months of the year Rosie falls asleep in the backseat.  We arrive at the college to drop these two women off and pick up Lucy’s mom who had an afternoon class.  Upon returning to SMH (St Martin’s House), Rosie sleepily gets out of the car while I’m waiting for the second she snaps out of it to instantly be wound up for the entire night… 
Next we heat up Rosie’s dinner and Lucy’s mother leaves with me Lucy and her own dinner.  The two are sitting and eating as I get distracted by the 11- and 12- month olds who want my attention and run around finding drinks and activities to bring with us as I had to leave shortly to be out driving for the rest of the night (again bringing Rosie along).  Next thing I know Lucy’s whole plate of food is on the floor, she’s crying about her hotdogs, while a ball bounces and babies continue to crawl and walk through it.  Alright, I guess we’ll make a new plate of dinner for Lucy!   Oh, and did I mention that somewhere in there Rosie is running around with the second half of her pork chop hanging out of her mouth?  Yep.  [I wasn’t going to mention it, but some of the Sisters insisted.]  Rosie, sit down if you’re going to finish eating and yes, you do need to wear more than a t-shirt, leggings, and sandals when we go outside…
Those were the events of that evening, but really life is never dull!  My mom was here visiting for over a week—right before Thanksgiving!  She was able to come along with me to my service sites and she survived through hours and days such as these.  She really got a super-condensed version of my life here, especially in just the first two or three days of her visit.  We stayed very busy and enjoyed our time together doing just what we love: health food stores and a farmers’ market, exercising, the state park and all of nature (there are many more leaves on trees here than in Minnesota), baking gluten- and egg-free goodies, and lots of visiting and catching up.  I got to show off how well I know my way around the area, things I’ve discovered, and all I’ve grown to love, especially the community of Benedictine Sisters.  It was great to have my mom here!