Friday, July 25, 2008

How Appropriate!!!

Friday Five: What You Absolutely, Positively, Can't Leave Home Without
We will be at a chaplain's convention when you all are answering the Friday Five Questions. I'll look forward to reading your answers next week when I get home. At the moment we are trying to get the car loaded so we can hit the road, so this will be a simple F.F. This running around madly in order to leave has me wondering: what are the five things you simply must have when you are away from home? And why? Any history or goofy things, or stories?

I say "How Appropriate" because I myself am away, and I myself had the frenzied moments of getting everything pulled together before hitting the airport {along with the list of online stuff like bills to tend to once I'm mooching my parents' computer!}. This current excursion involves a couple days at my parents' house in the DC area before heading off with them and the 82,000 siblings, siblings-in-law, & nieces/nephews to the Delaware beaches for a week {purely coincidental timing .... had no idea .... quite upset that I have to go along with them .....}. Thusly, this trip is a little different than others, in that I know I can mooch off fambly for stuff .... but, it provides a framework!

Basic and most honest answer to what I feel I must have and therefore try to pack: WAAAAYYYY more than necessary. Even this time, I tried to do better, but .... ummmm .....

But, in no particular order .... some things currently with me and others not ....
1. Journal ~ Comes with me, everywhere in fact (even in my schoolbag), yet rarely gets opened. Hmmmm. It's kinda like all those blog posts I've been creating in my head over this past year — and yet, if you look back at my archives .....
2. Stuffed animal ~ Some, often small, variety of furriness. Not really sure why {maybe because I still sleep with my big teddy bear}, but there's always something tucked into a backpack pocket.
3. Camera ~ Old-school all-manual Pentax K1000, with a favorite lens of a 75-300 mm zoom. I'm all official-looking, what with my photo vest with 82,000 pockets {ok, so maybe it's more dork-looking, but whatever}. Unfortunately, I've gotten out of the photog-thing, and really need to get back into it .... but, if you think about the concept of inertia .... well, it seems to just travel so cozily in its little case that it never even emerges. Didn't even come with me this time, although a smaller point-and-shoot {SIGH!} digital did. So, we'll see. But you can't do photography with a point-and-shoot. Take pictures, yes. Create a shot, not quite. Yes, I admit it, I'm a camera snob!
4. Books ~ Again, generally far more than necessary. Tried to do better this time, though. And, with it being beach time, there's a good chance they might actually get opened. Generally, too, I'd bring some semi-holyish book that I end up not even pulling out of the bag because of company or whatever, so I didn't even bother with those this time. We'll see the progress and/or success/failure of the current journey's book selection. {Though I DID get more than halfway through one just on the plane!}
5. Tunesy & Palmy ~ Palmy's especially great with its WiFi abilities .... and will be even greater once I ever achieve my goal of figuring out the best way to configure it so that it will really help me get all organized and orchestrated. {Because, of course, it has to be perfectly set up, with no changes as time passes!} But it will happen. Maybe I can brainstorm it while on the beach.....

So, that's my off-the-top-of-the-head list. And yes, you may have noticed an absence of things like underwear and toothbrushes, but ..... well ..... that should give you a sense of my priorities, no?

Peace out .... I'll eat some ice cream & fries for you!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Steph by any other name ....

I figured this might be an easier one to manage, provided that I can use my former {sniff} blog for most of the answers .....

1a. So how did you come up with your blogging name?
Well, coming up with my blogging name required a good deal of work and effort, and at the same time, a good bit of spontaneity. You see, as of approximately thirty-five years ago exactly, the blogging names in the works were Cecilia and some other currently-escaping-the-brain possibility. However, as of thirty-five-years-minus-three-months-and-eleven-days {give or take .... it's summer, my brain can't handle math!}, an unknown was pulled in from the minor leagues, and thus the Stephanie was created.

However, in the previous now-swimming-with-the-fishies blog {can I say "sniff" again?}, I did often claim for myself the title of "The Reluctant Nun" that was bestowed upon me by ellipsis. Who knows, though ..... as I begin to re-emerge into the BlogO'World, perhaps I'll create something new. But, as with trail names, I feel that it's something that will need to evolve and develop, rather than a quick grab-bag choice.

1b. And/or the name of your blog?
Old blog: Narrow at the Outset, at Rationale came in the first post, which I'll copy/paste at the end of this.
New blog: An Unseen Hope. Some commented early on that it actually looks like "A Nun Seein' Hope", which I suppose could also be appropriate, but I'm not going to look at that piece right now. It actually comes from Romans 8:18-27, with the naming verse up there under the title. The whole idea of hoping in that which is not seen has really resonated with me over the last couple years, and especially considering all the challenges of this new-life-in-transition .... well, it seemed kind of appropriate. So, I tried all sorts of variations until Blogspot told me that I had its permission to use "anunseenhope" .... and here it is.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?
This one's really too new for any of that .... The Roommate should be pretty self-explanatory, and ACertainLittlePumpkinhead actually isn't code either -- the real name is Sophia Pumpkinhead. Madame Sophia Pumpkinhead when I'm feeling official. And no, she's not orange. {Great story .... kids first semester knew all about her, because she was a not-even-five-week-old kitten found under the assistant principal's car right before school started. Second semester I used her in a PowerPoint early on -- new kids would ask the name and then get confused. In one class, though, someone asked "Is that Whiskerface?"; a classmate turned with an expression of utter "How stupid can you be?" and said, "No, it's Sophia Pumpkinhead." As if SP was a more normal, explainable, and understandable title. I DID like the idea of Whiskerface, though....}

Main one I can think of from the old blog was The Dude of Bigness, courtesy of eb, in reference to The Man Upstairs.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?
Well, I would have to say right off the bat: Narrow at the Outset and An Unseen Hope. Other than that, though, I've so woefully neglected the BlogWorld out of guilt for my own absence {I don't feel it right to read other people's blogs if I'm not allowing them to return the favor} that I feel I must abstain. At least at the moment, anyway. Perhaps I'll come back to this later ...

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog, of course!
Ummmm, well ...... see number 3. Lots I was devoted to, lots of connections that I kinda miss at times, but don't feel I can count them as "devoted" {devotees? devoters?} if it's only been in my head.

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?
I think the one that gave me the biggest push was SusanRose. Seeing her write her discernment journey made me wish there had been something like that when I was discerning {more in the if-I-ever-finish Story of a Vocation}. While I wasn't in those most-initial processes at that point, I could at least give a window into the world of a new kid in religious life. Plus, it helped promote my community, share what life in our modern-day monastery looked like, and helped dispel whatever nun-myths might be out there. All things in which I hope I was successful.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks?
Natty ~ Came to the monastery for a Benedictine Life Weekend back in October 2005.
SisterChrister ~ Met up for breakfast when visiting my brother in July 2007.
LoremIpsum ~ Went to dinner and a movie in February 2006 and then a few other meet-ups. Yet another woeful absence, this one all-the-sadder because she's right here in town. {I'll rectify it, I promise! I'm just not sure I have your info anymore.} By the same token, though, I only know her by her BlogName. I mean, I know her real name; I just can't associate her real name with her. She'll always be Lorem in my mind.
Sophie'sDaughter ~ December 2007, March and June 2008, at various RSCJ discernment things.

Plus, there are other folks I know who blog, but I knew them before the blogs started, so I'm not sure if that really counts. And I'm really hoping I didn't forget anyone, but am hoping that you'll (a)remind me and (b)forgive me.

Narrow at the Outset

Cross-posted from previous blog, August 22, 2005:
Therefore we intend to establish a school for the Lord's service. In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome. The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love. Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.
~ from the Prologue of the Rule of Benedict

A little over a year ago, I used the second part of this quote (beginning with "Do not be daunted") as part of the cover artwork for my first monastic profession. And now, as I think about blogging my Benedictine experience, that one part in particular keeps coming to mind. Not that I'm a complete newbie -- I've been in community three years now. But, at the same time, I'm just beginning the mix of full-time ministry and smaller community life (away from the monastery). So, in some respects, I am just beginning once more.

But that's one of the things I love about Benedict. He doesn't expect perfection. He acknowledges that it might be a little tough in the beginning .... "but hang in there." For me at least, that's a whole lot more encouraging than the images of holy perfection floating on clouds.

"Sure, it'll be tough, but if you can just stick it out ...."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Question about women's ordination

Watching "Bless Me, Father" from the library while sorting through random boxes of WAAAAYYY old stuff ..... great logic to remember for school, though I'd probably get in trouble to bring it up in the classroom:

Can I ask you another question, Father?
Provided it is about the Mass, Mrs. Rawlings.
Alright ... why can't women say Mass?
The Church doesn't ordain women as priests.
But why not?
Well ... ah ... our Lord himself only chose men priests.
But he only chose Jews, didn't he?
[stops to think] So?
Are you Jewish?
I'm thinking about it.

Maybe THEN my kids'd catch on to the idea that Jesus was Jewish, and that his message was not controversial because it taught this new-fangled idea of a single God.