Monday, April 19, 2010

Crafts, surly preschoolers, ideas on becoming involved in parish life, and hark...a rosary!

I started off the day kind of down this morning, because I knew that a mountain of work awaited me at the office. Then I logged in and discovered that I had won the rosary giveaway over at A Woman's Place... and all seemed better with the world :) Of course, my husband will ask (ok, he's *already* asked) with arched eyebrows, "do you really need another rosary?" And he asks this not because he disapproves of rosaries, but because I am a bit of a rosary collector :) It's true, I own quite a few rosaries. But I love them, and this one holds special significance because Cam, whom I admire greatly, made it by hand :) I'm super excited.

In other handmade items news, I've been busy with my crocheting lately. I finally finished the shawl I was knitting for my sister Shauna'h:

This baby took me quite a while to create. You can't really see any detail in this picture, but the pattern creates a striped effect, and its quite long. I knitted my brains out for several weeks. I didn't realize when I took up knitting that it takes quite a bit longer than crocheting. This is hard on those of us who are attention span challenged. I am afflicted with GBE Syncrome- Gets Bored Easily. You heard it coined here first. But the nice thing about knitting is how solid the texture turns out. This shawl is *warm*, it's almost like a coat.

Anyway, I've also been obsessed with dish cloths lately. I made this one:

and this one:

as well as this one:

for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day. I secretly covet the middle one, the knitted buttercream multi-color. I'm going to make one for us too :)

I did make this green/white one for us because it matches the accent colors in our kitchen:

but I didn't love the pattern. It was one of those wherein the directions are so complicated that you have to keep looking back at them time and time again, you can't ever get into a rhythm. The others I included above are from a pattern book entitled "2 Hour Dishcloths." 2 hours is about all the time I want to spend on a dish cloth. The attention span thing again.

I have a bunch of projects in the works, including a summer set of placemats and a table runner for our dining room, a spring/summer shawl, and some queued up afghans.

It's not exactly craft related, but I figured it fit here to mention that I test drove the Jessie Steele apron that my good friend Irena gave me at Easter:

There I am, making Aloha Chicken in my new apron. I was thrilled :)

So, for my 'Catholic Stuff' segment I thought I'd relate my struggle with trying to find a way to get more involved in my parish. When we first moved to our house, I switched my membership from the city parish we were attending near our apartment (and that I loved), to one of the nearby parishes. 2 were within easy walking/driving distance. They were about equidistant from our house, so I felt free to select the one that best suited our needs. At the time, Hank was just over a year old, and I can feel the sympathy vibes now, those of you with children at (or just past) that age all want to hug me. That's a tough age to expect children to remain quiet for an hour. And many Sundays, Mike does not attend Mass with me, so I'm kid-wrangling solo. Of course, Mike is happy to watch Hank at home should I feel that it's best to leave him behind, but I tried (and try) to limit that as much as possible. I feel that children belong at Mass as much as practicable.

To make a long story (*snorts*) short, I chose the parish with a cry room. I figured, oh great! This way I can attend Mass without worrying about Hank causing a disruption. Well.

I think cry rooms can be useful. But here's the thing: inevitably, people without a raucous toddler in tow will sit in the cry room, for reasons that I simply cannot begin to explain. And the cry room at this parish was *tiny*. TINY. You get two families in there, and oxygen is running in short supply. As well, I think oftentimes, when parishes have a cry room any parent that chooses not to use them are often made to feel bad. And that shouldn't be. They are there to fulfill a need, but they should not be mandatory for anyone. I was quickly realizing that despite not having to worry about Henry disrupting Mass, I loathed being behind a wall from the rest of the congregation.

And so it went. After a few months, I noticed that I was getting depressed when thinking about going to Mass. I finally admitted to myself that I found that little cry room stifling and isolating. I wanted out.

So I went back to my old parish, in the city. It's a spectacularly beautiful old church, with wonderful priests. And no cry room. But the pews have that little divider in the middle - voila! Instant toddler gate. My depression lifted immediately. I was back in the congregation! I felt part of a community again! It was wonderful.

Last year, the pastor changed the Mass times, and since I had to drive longer in order to get to that church, the changed morning Mass time wasn't working in our morning routine with a 3 year old in tow. So I decided to re-explore the 2 local parishes. I figured as well that with Hank soon to start CCD, it would be nice for him to attend with children from our local neighborhood.

I tried the other parish, the one I didn't select last time because of its lack of a cry room. And I found that I loved it. It's an old parish, with long, established ties in our village. A beautiful church building with all the traditional Catholic elements that I love. I quickly felt at home.

So here I am, a year and a half later, and I still love the parish. But I'm beginning to feel that I'd like to be more involved than simply attending Sunday Mass. I keep scouring the weekly bulletin, looking for something to catch my eye. There is a parish woman's group, but it meets on an evening that Mike teaches, so I can never attend their meetings. I kept wondering what to do, when finally the answer came to me: I should stop worrying about it and just pray that God lead me wherever he wants me to go. So, now I feel better.

Yesterday, I arrived at Mass with a cranky Henry in tow. I scoured the bulletin again, and nothing caught my eye, so I figured I'd try again next week. One of these days, something will present itself, and I'll know that it's the right opportunity. In the mean time, I had to deal with Henry, who grumpily declared that he didn't want to attend the Children's Liturgy of the Word this week, he wanted to stay in the pew with Mommy. Sigh.

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