"... they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland….But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."
I have to tell you today about the embarrassingly bad business deal I recently made. I want you to learn from my mistakes. Never make a promise to pay for a service when you have no idea what that service will cost you! Though the work I wanted done is completed it will cost me more than two times what it should have. Seriously, be careful when you make a deal with a shrewd businessman.
So, my story starts a month ago, after our move to Texas. As you know, the moving company likes to mark the items moved with little colored stickers. Well, we have learned from past moves that those stickers are stubborn things. In fact, we still have stickers and marks from stickers dating back to our move to England in 2006. I didn't want that to happen again so I was determined to get every last sticker off of the furniture and other items that had been tagged. My plan was to offer D money for each sticker he could find. I knew with a little incentive he would find many if not all of the stickers that were left.
The mistake I made was not having a clear idea just how many stickers may be left and how much it could cost me if I gave him a generous amount per sticker.
I wanted him to be motivated. And I wanted the job done in a timely manner. So I offered him….wait for it….SERIOUSLY! WHAT WAS I THINKING!!….I promised 25¢ per sticker.
Yep. Your Mama is that naive. In retrospect, a dime a sticker would have been a great amount. But no, I said a QUARTER!!!!
In order to keep the job under $50 I had to eliminate the garage as a possible location for finding stickers. (To be fair, I never meant to remove stickers from every box and piece of junk in the garage!)
I also had to set a deadline. He had till Sunday evening close of business (i.e.: bedtime) to turn in his stickers.
Shrewd Businessman alright!
So, Mister D presented me with a bill for 100 stickers. A clean 25 buckaroos! Pretty good for a kid who has never had more than a few bucks of tooth money in his pocket, huh?
He says he is going to buy himself a big belt buckle at the rodeo.
Ummm…yes…we have become TEXANS!
Now Papa says I have to skip Starbucks for awhile to make up the difference!
A, posing with the new family car. Seriously. We sold the mini-van in favor of this ...umm...yellow thing.
We are now in the midst of preparing A for her First Confession and First Holy Communion. I should be clear though. We started all of you on your First Sacramental preparation when you were just babies. We always considered your early catechesis to be a catechumenate of sorts, a preparation for life in the Church. A liturgical life. A sacramental life.
Of course we had to start small, so step one was getting you Baptized. Then, step two was taking you to Mass often. And step three has been the main part of your catechesis so far in your young lives. I call that step "Whisper Catechesis."
Starting when you were just babies I began whispering in your ears during the Mass. Sometimes it was my own prayers I whispered. But there are also lots of little phrases that have grown over the years.
For example, at the moment of consecration I usually whisper "It looks like bread, but its Jesus". At the moment, A has her own response to that phrase: "It looks like Jesus to me!" she always says back to me.
We have also used some of the great moments we were blessed with while living in the UK. For example, when we went to Rome (each of the times, but especially the first) we focused on the tabernacle. We stopped in every church we passed (which is a lot) and we looked for the tabernacle and practiced our genuflecting, bowing, sign of the cross and any other liturgical movement we could think of. That is also when we started our "Tabernacle Prayer". It has had some variations over the years, but it usually goes something like this:
O Jesus, I know you are truly present in this Tabernacle. Some day I want to receive you in Holy Communion. Please help me to be ready.
Sometimes Whisper Catechesis has turned into theological discussion. Although I try to be sensitive to those around us, I also try not to miss those moments when questions arise. We have discussed the nature of the Trinity ("Does God have a brother?"), Heaven and Hell ("What is final dalmation?"--no that is not a typo), and many others. We talk about what is going on at the Mass, why the priest is doing certain things. Of course, sitting in front has facilitated that, but it has also made the "whisper" part really crucial.
This week A has been doing some narrations from the Faith and Life book, and this has led to discussions about why Jesus was baptized since He is God and doesn't have any sin. A also wanted to know if Jesus took on all of our sins on the cross, does that mean He sinned? What great questions!
I hope when you are grown and reading this, you are still asking questions like that.
That is all for today…I must get upstairs and see what mischief y'all are up to now. (See? We are Texans now so we can say "y'all")
I have been trying to write this blog for a few years now…since I got my first Apple in Aberdeen. I meant to chronicle some of our adventures in the UK. And I did. Some. Then, I meant to just chronicle my life with you, or was it my thoughts?...maybe the funny things you said? Or I said?
At any rate, it hasn't been a regular thing, or what you might call a roaring success.
But, today, I had an idea. When I thought about things I wanted to write about, I tried to think about my audience. I mean, who reads this little blog? I have my friend at Reasons For Chocolate (Hi Patty!), and I am sure your Grandma and maybe an Aunt, Uncle or cousin, or two, read it. There may still be a few people out there who have read it in the past. A very few.
So, again, who is my audience? Who motivates me to write?
Well…you do! You three Kennedy kids.
So, today (and maybe from this point forward. We will see.), I wrote to my grown-up kids. The wonderful young adults you will be some day.
My hope is that you will laugh, learn…maybe even cringe a little…and we will have a conversation about all this stuff around the dinner table.
Today, I end with a quintessential A moment:
From the first reading last Thursday at Mass:
"This is the commandment we have from him:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother."
From A immediately following the first reading last Thursday at Mass: