Everything Else

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 13: Getting Back on Track Edition

First of all, my prayers are certainly with Jennifer during this dreadful, uncertain time.¬†Let’s petition all of Heaven for the protection and care of the Fulwiler family!

I’ve been absent from the blogging world for the last few weeks. The holidays were busy, busy! In addition to endless Christmas shopping, and running around, I decided about a week before Christmas to get a jump start on my fitness goals for the new year. So, instead of blogging, I’ve been using what precious little time (and energy) I could muster to jump around the living room like a maniac so I could feel the burn! The result? Now, 5 days into 2013, I’ve already increased the length and intensity of my workouts . Woot!

I did so well last year. For 6 months, I worked out, and I was training to do a 5K, but…life got in the way and I got off track. Then, I started having health problems and didn’t want to risk making things worse. Well, not working out hasn’t made my health any better, so I’ve decided to work through the pain. In the 6 months that I did manage to stay on track last year, I learned a lot, so I’ve decided to pass on some of those lessons with 7 things I recommend for getting in shape.

1: Shoes. Proper ones.

When I started working out, I wore 10$ sneakers from Walmart. Within a few weeks, I was on cloud nine. Every day, I could feel myself getting stronger, I had more energy, and I just felt….better! Then came the pain. Shin splints. The worst part about shin splints is that there is no gradual progression. One day, perfectly fine, the next you’re in screaming agony at the slightest exertion. Walking becomes strained, squats and lunges become painfully difficult, and jumping jacks? Jogging? Butt kicks? Ha! No way! I ended up having to decrease the intensity of my workouts for a few weeks to allow myself time to heal. At a time when I was moving forward so brilliantly, to have to step back was a slap in the face. Not knowing very much about shoes, I bought a pair of Skechers Sport sneakers for 50$. After some heavy mileage, I recently ordered a replacement pair through Amazon, that are pretty much identical, but with pink trim! They came with pink laces, too! ūüėÄ



I’m sure a good many people would say they weren’t up to snuff since they didn’t cost an arm and a leg, but the difference was amazing. My feet not only felt supported, they felt loved. I also used a calf support, and continue to use it to prevent further injury.

Bottom line: GET SOME DECENT SHOES!!! And using a calf support from day one probably isn’t a bad idea. Having to dial down your intensity when you’re making progress sucks.

2: A Fitness Plan

You simply can’t just jump around your living room doing random exercises and expect consistent results. Last Christmas, I bought my husband an XBox 360 (which he was DYING to have) and I bought a Kinect as nice little add-on for the both of us. Oh. My. Gravy. It was money well spent, let me tell you! I bought a bundle that included my choice of game, and since I was being such a generous Santa, I chose a game for myself!

I highly, highly recommend The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout for Kinect! ¬†Having Bob as a virtual personal trainer is just fantastic, and there are just so many ways to customize your program. You choose the length, (As little as 20 minutes. I mean, come on. You can start out at 20 minutes, right?) the intensity, and the muscle focus. You can also set it to utilize equipment you have, but I don’t actually recommend that. I set it to use my resistance band, but it didn’t use it for a few weeks, and then when it did, I was scrambling through the house searching for it while Bob was screaming at me to get with the program.

Overall, it’s fantastic. It’s like having 100 workout DVDs in one, but better. Bob constantly gives me feedback (sometimes quite unwelcome) when I fall behind, when I’m not kicking my leg up high enough, and when I’m nailing the routine. Really, it’s also safer than regular DVDs because if I’m arching my back when I need to keep it straight, Bob always lets me know so I can avoid injury.

If you don’t have an XBox, you can still make a plan! Here are some ideas:

  • Workout DVDs:¬†I’ve used “The Firm” workouts in the past and they’re great.¬†
  • The Gym:¬†I’m way too introverted to work out in front of people I don’t know and take the chance of running into people that I do know! However, it’s the best way to get access to a wide range of equipment. A few hints: Do some research online and build a plan for what machines you want to use and what kind of routine you want to do. Also, be sure to utilize the staff and don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s what they’re there for! It’s better to risk looking silly for not knowing what you’re doing than to get hurt or not get what you’re paying for.
  • Spark People:¬†Whatever your plan is, tracking it via Spark People is a great way to track your success, get motivation, tools, and support.
  • My Fitness Pal, My Net Diary, and probably a bajillion other smartphone apps:¬†I really love My Net Diary, but it’s not available on my Kindle Fire tablet! So, I’ve been using My Fitness Pal, which is working out pretty good for me so far. The bottom line: look around and try a few out and see which one works best for you.¬†
  • Endomondo:¬†Endomondo doesn’t track your meals, strictly fitness, so I put it in a different category. If you’re running, biking, hiking, walking, Endomondo will track how fast, how far, and how many calories you burned. It’s great for competing against yourself, and seeing how far you’ve come.

3: A Heart Rate Monitor

The Biggest Loser Ultimate workout estimates calorie burn, and so does Endomondo. But there were times when I felt like my efforts weren’t accurately recognized. Especially when my Kinect sensor couldn’t see me doing my hiplifts because my living room is so small it couldn’t see me on the floor. At the end of the day, I wanted to know for sure. I looked at different products, but my research led me to the conclusion that the heart rate monitor was the best way to check my calorie burn.

It’s so much more than that!

Just knowing my target heart rate zone and where I am has made a big impact on my workouts. I can just glance at my wrist and know when I need to dial up the intensity. It’s also nice that an alarm will sound if I’m about to have a heart attack. We fat people worry about that. Knowing when my intensity level is dropping and knowing I’m not actually dying has really helped me to give my best at every workout.

I use an online calculator to check calorie burn based on average heart rate because the monitor seems to calculate calorie burn based on me being male. And it’s pink.¬†It turns out, though, that I do burn more calories than the game and apps tell me.

‘Cause I’m intense like that.

5: Nutrition

Last year, I was dead set on dropping pounds. I used Weight Watchers at first, because that’s what’s always worked for me in the past. As the weeks went by, however, despite sticking to my plan and working out regularly, the pounds were lingering, and I started having trouble getting enough energy to do my workouts. I looked over my food journals and checked the details. Turns out, points aren’t enough. It needs to be a little more complicated than that.

I wasn’t getting enough calories, for one thing, even though I met my points goal. I also wasn’t getting enough protein, hence the workout lag. I upped my calories, upped my¬†protein¬†and dropped some pounds!

The last few months, however, I’ve learned a lot more than that. Since I’ve been having health issues, I’ve started looking at food a lot differently, and focusing on getting the right nutrition. I only eat meat once a day, and make sure to get at least 5 servings of vegetables daily and 3 servings of fruit. More energy? Absolutely. Despite pain, pain, and more pain, I have the get up and go to get through my workouts because I’m cutting out the crap and cramming in the good stuff. There are some exercises I couldn’t get through before even after months of working out that I can do now. Eat your veggies! Cut out the processed crap! No sugar!

Well, that and…

6:QUIT SMOKING!!!!

I have not once had to stop while working out because my lungs were searing. I still need a break after an intense exercise, but I no longer need a break after every exercise.

7: The Right Motivation

Vanity is a powerful motivator, but it’s not strong enough for most people, and the rewards aren’t very meaningful. Focus on improving your health, your mobility, and extending your life. Do you want to walk with the greatest of ease when you hit 80 or do you want to hobble around at 50? Do you want to die at 50? Or do you want to run your 50th 5k at 50? I’ve lost a lot of weight since I was my all-time heaviest and the biggest victory I had wasn’t fitting into a pair of jeans or turning heads. It was the day I realized I could get in and out of my car without struggling.

I know my 7 must-haves are hardly exhaustive, but I hope they help you on your journey to better health! And head over to Moxie Wife for more quick takes with Hallie!

Note: While writing this post, I realized I was linking to a lot of Amazon stuff. So, I joined the affiliate program. If you should click on one of the fine products featured here and buy something, I’ll make a tiny bit of money that I’ll probably just spend on more stuff from Amazon.¬†Anything recommended here is the exact product I own. (Except the calf support. I have it in EXTRA large, not large as featured.)

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 12: ELVIS! FIRE! PARTY!

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The hardest part about Christmas shopping is wrapping up all the awesome stuff you bought and giving it to someone else. Today I bought just a bajillion bottles of lotion at Bath & Body Works because there’s not a lady on my shopping list that wouldn’t love it.

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Then I started to notice how awfully dry my skin is. It’s downright painful. And how do I know for sure if anyone else will like these scents? You see, I picked them based on what¬†I¬†think smells good. These would make terrible gifts! I think I should hang on to them and just suffer through using them all.

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St. Veronica’s Guild had our annual Christmas party! We adopted a local family to buy presents for, decided where to spend the rest of our monies, played dirty Santa and ATE! These ladies take these things very seriously, so I was not surprised to receive a phone call a few days ago to see if I was coming and advise me that there were to be no gag gifts in the gift exchange, only nice gifts. Bath & Body Works is nice, right?

I was also not surprised to see the amount of decorating that was done:

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And no one should have been surprised at how cute the cupcakes I brought were.

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Of course I made them myself! I made the toppers, too…out of old Christmas lights! Don’t worry, the mercury level is quite low!

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Dirty Santa was played with extreme adherence to policy. We are Catholic, after all. Each gift could only be stolen twice. No gifts were to be opened until everyone had chosen a gift. Therefore, any thieving was done based on wrapping, which could be deceiving, you can imagine. Once all gifts were picked, they were to be opened one at a time, in the same order as before.

Now, as soon as I saw this present under the tree, I knew I had to have it!

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And, lucky for me, it was stolen once already when my turn came, so I went and stole it again and it was all mine! I didn’t even care what was in the box, but…

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It was still a wonderful gift! Oh, I’ll be getting some use out of this, with the pain I’ve been having in my arm! Plus, I’m going to start working out again very soon, so it will come in handy for injuries, too! I think I made out pretty well!

Now, I was a little worried about my gift not being up to snuff, but I took two bottles of lotion and I think it was right on par with the other gifts. I just didn’t want anyone to feel jipped! But nothing could really compare to ELVIS, right?

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I sent Scott a picture of the Elvis ornament and he was just ecstatic, too. We both just love Elvis and we keep saying we need more Elvis stuff. Prove it, you say?

Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B:

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Or maybe that’s proof that we can’t agree on anything since we couldn’t agree on 1 Elvis to take our picture with? Whatever, we have an AWESOME new Christmas tree ornament and a FABULOUS body wrap. I guess it pays to sacrifice one’s lotions.

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Have you downloaded Advent at Ephesus yet? It’s just wonderful! I downloaded it on my new Kindle Fire and let me tell you, those nuns sing with the voices of angels! I started listening to it while I was doing dishes and my Sylvia plopped down right in front of the Fire so she could listen. She just loved it!

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This is the same cat that runs over to the Advent wreath when it’s time to light it, and lays down beside me when I do prayers. She’s a CATholic!

So, don’t take it from me, take it from Sylvia: Advent at Ephesus is worth every penny!

(Sylvia and I just LOLed at that because our other cat is called Penny.)

Don’t wait another moment, go download it today!

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Seen at the mall while Christmas shopping….

When I got into Jr. High school (7th grade) we were suddenly grown-ups. Why? Because we had a tampon machine in the ladies room. That’s what grown-up ladies expect when they go to the bathroom: the last minute opportunity to obtain a tampon or sanitary napkin (which I was horribly¬†disappointed¬†to learn was no more than a mere maxi pad). Today’s woman needs more than that. Yesterday’s woman may have found herself in the bathroom and suddenly realized her Aunt Flo was in town. The tampon machine was her solution. Today’s woman may find herself in front of the bathroom mirror and suddenly realize her hair is horrible.¬†What is the solution to this conundrum?

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Third option from the left: Hair extensions for $0.75 each. “When life just can’t wait.”

Wha? Why? Ugh…

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In regards to my previous mention of my Kindle Fire…..let me break it down for you.

  • Scott and I bought each other Kindle Fires for Christmas.
  • Kindle boxes are very distinctive. Even wrapped up, it was obvious it was the same present.
  • Scott approached me a few weeks ago with, “So, a buddy of mine wants to get a tablet, but he doesn’t know anything about them. You know about that stuff, what kind of tablet would you want?”
  • Yeah, he thought he was being real smooth.
  • One year we bought each other matching bathrobes without planning it. So, we had a feeling such a thing would happen again.
  • Fine. I’ll admit it. I got on Scott’s Amazon account to see which tablet he got me.

So we went ahead and opened them up. We love them! I already buy so much digital content through Amazon, it just didn’t make any sense to get anything else. Plus, with the Fire, you get more than what you pay for, because Amazon expects to make money from digital purchases, not buying the tablet.

We love them!

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People are asking me what I’m going to do with my Kindle e-reader. I’m going to read with it! I still love it, two years later!

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Why do I keep taking pictures there? It’s just such a pretty spot, what with that lovely¬†table runner and all. Who made that gorgeous thing? Somebody with a lot of talent!

I guess we can add “pride” to the list for my next confession.

But wait, there’s more! Head over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!
I know, it’s like it’s Christmas already!

 

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 11: Food, Food, Food, Blog, Advent, Nails, Nails.

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In my ongoing saga of health issues, I still don’t have a lot of news. All we know for sure is that I have a bulged disk in my neck, but my neurologist doesn’t think that’s causing all my issues. About 3 weeks ago, I watched a few documentaries and did some pretty extensive research and decided to take on a “healing foods” diet. Lots of veggies and fruits, lots of water, no sugar, no white bread, no white rice, no white potatoes. The focus is lots of foods that reduce inflammation, and avoiding foods that cause it. At the time I started it, I was exhausted and in constant pain. Every morning, when I woke up, my arms and legs were so numb, I had a hard time getting out of bed. Since starting the plan, I have a lot less pain, but I’ve still got a long way to go. The onset of the holidays has not helped. Thanksgiving was a huge curve ball, and then with family stuff, I’ve eaten out probably 4 or 5 times in the last week. I know, I know, I can just have a salad when I go out to eat, but I have such a hard time doing it. I mean, I don’t want to pay 10$ for a salad I could prepare for myself, from my own garden, even!

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To maximize my intake of raw vegetables, I’ve been having green smoothies for breakfast and lunch every day. I can get 5 servings of vegetables and 4 of fruit in just 2 smoothies! Plus, I also have a salad and some veggie-heavy soup with lunch, so any dinner veggies are a bonus! The problem with the smoothies and salad, is that I’ve been spending about half an hour a night rinsing and chopping vegetables and preparing my food for the next day. And I have to fix supper, too, so that’s another 30-60 minutes. And then there’s clean-up…so I spend about 2 hours in the kitchen every night. So, I took all the fruit I had, and measured it out for 10 smooties and put them in the freezer, and then did the same with my greens and put them in the fridge. So now, making a smoothie is as easy as measuring some almond milk and juice into the blender, grabbing a bag of greens and a bag of fruit and dumping it in! 5 minutes!

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21WerujkJiLNow, onto dinners. With my “special diet,” I’ve been fixing dinner just for myself and when Scottie comes home (at 2am), he’s on his own. Occasionally, I’ll make him some hamburger helper (do not judge!) but I’ve been spending enough time in the kitchen as it is!

So, I started looking at Crock-Pot freezer meals. Seems simple enough. Prepare 20 meals at once! Just put everything in a freezer bag, freeze it, then pop a bag in the Crock-Pot in the morning, and come home to dinner! It’s a little tricky to find food I can have on my plan, not to mention I really should be eating mostly fish, but…I think we’re going to give it a go.

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And now, for something completely different! There are certain blogs that, when I see new items in my Google Reader, give me the sensation of the guiltiest of pleasures. There’s nothing wrong with any of the blogs I follow, or I wouldn’t follow them, but when I see…

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I smile, snicker, then sort of look around to see if anyone’s watching before I click on it. Where else can you get a “Rebuttal Up in Hurrrrr!” that is eloquent and thoughtful without being stuffy? Who else will admit that disasters make us just a little bit happy, which then gives us license to consider why? After reading Marc’s¬†ponderings¬†about Andy Warhol, I was just breathless. I cannot recommend this blog more.

The reason I bring it up today is because of this article, about the Guttmacher institute, which made me sick to read. If you didn’t know, Guttmacher is the¬†propaganda center for Planned Parenthood, and they are top notch at spitting out lies. It’s just disgusting.

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Week 1 of Advent is winding down and I’m a little sad. Scott is working nights so I’m lighting the candle by myself every night, and doing the Jesse tree devotions on my own. It’s oddly appropriate, though. Advent is a time when we don’t celebrate, not quite yet, but we prepare in anticipation of the joy that is to come. Advent teaches us to wait.

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I got my annual Christmas manicure! My favorite manicure of the year!

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Well, it usually is. I still look at my Hawaii manicure with great affection.

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Did I love the manicure for what it was…or for what it was for? That’s the eternal question, right there.

As always, there are more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!

 

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7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 10

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My first thought upon seeing Jennifer’s 7 Quick Takes in my Google Reader queue was something along the lines of “What the crap are people doing on the internet right now?!?!?!?!?!?” I’m utterly brain dead after two days of non-stop baking, driving, and eating. Of course, a look around at Jen’s blog shows that dozens of bloggers are posting their takes. Good gravy. Now I feel obligated.

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Yes, I’m one of those obsessive people who weighs myself every morning, especially on mornings when I know I won’t like the results. We attended a grand total of 3 Thanksgiving feasts between Wednesday and Thursday. Between Wednesday morning and Friday morning….I gained 4 pounds.

The scale don’t lie.

So there’s the bad news. The good news (or really, horribly, terrible news, depending on your point of view) is that I thought it would be worse…

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Scott and I watched all 3 (REAL) Spiderman movies in the last week. We watched that pitiful excuse for a reboot as well, which is what spurred the marathon. Had to wash the taste of the reboot out of our mouths. Now, when I saw the 3rd movie in the theater, I hated it. In fact, I don’t think I ever watched it again, and someone bought me the DVD when it first came out. However, it was better on the second watch. Much better than the reboot.

I’m sorry, but Sam Raimi’s Spiderman was perfect–for 2 movies, anyway. It was somewhat less than perfect, but still wonderful, for a 3rd.

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I’m redesigning my blog to make it more sortable! So, up top, you can go straight to Daily Mass Readings, Daily Prayers (which, sadly, are posted far less than daily), or to Everything Else if you want to skip straight to hearing my psychotic babbling about the Catholic Church, food, and whatever else pops into my line of sight.

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2 years ago, I was able to get a free printer from the employee rewards program at work. It’s this one here, to be specific.¬†There were several printers available from the program, and I did my research, and made sure I got the best one. We’d been through several printers, but when it came to printing photos, which was my #1 wish, we never quite got the quality we wanted. At the time, (I have no idea if it’s currently true) it was the highest rated printer on Amazon. I was so excited when it came! Of course, we were moving, so I left it in the box. For the next few months. I had to hook it up to print out income tax return information. And then I printed coupons from time to time. Printed out quite a few papers for our trip back in September. A few months ago, I had to replace the ink, and it dawned on me that we had not printed a single photo!¬†Just documents! How boring is that? So, a few days ago, I bought a 12$ collage frame at WalMart and printed out 7 pictures from our vacation, added a vintage postcard and voila! I finally used my printer! Then, I took a hasty, blurry picture of it with my cellphone…

…and sent it to my sister in the hopes that she could¬†feel the picture quality without being able to really see it. They actually turned out very well! Good to know how well the printer works after having it for 2 years.

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Yes, that’s a picture of Scott and Elvis. And the picture above it, that you can’t really see because of the flash? That’s me and a different Elvis.

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I keep telling myself I don’t need to go to the store, I mean, ANY store today. My brain, however, is just convinced that I must. Pete’s sake, I’m working until 9:30pm (gotta love retail holiday hours), so why would I want to go to some overcrowded, overshopped store? I guess since I work right next to WalMart, the marketing vibes are hitting my brain every day.

Brain: Hey, I need to go get some more green tea after work.

Me: What the? Dude! We have, like, 4 boxes of it at home!

Brain: But I don’t know how much of the mint I have left.

Me: Ssssh! Whatevs! If we run out, we can just make of the plain tea and put some toothpaste in it!

Brain: Fine. *1 hour later* Hey, we need to stop and get some fruit!

Me: Seriously?!?!?! We bought 20 pounds of fruit only a week ago! We’ve still got tons to go through!

Brain: But I don’t know that I have enough blueberries.

Me: Pete’s sake! We have at least 15 bananas and who knows how many bags of strawberries! We’ll get by!

Brain: Fine. *45 minutes later* Hey, let’s go get a new picture frame after work!

Me: What?!?!?! No, no, no! No more picture frames until I get some more pictures printed off!

Brain: Fine. *Half an hour later* I need yeast! What if I want to make some homemade bread?

Me: OHMYGOSHYOU’REANIDIOT!!!!!!!

And we go back and forth like that pretty much all day.

We being…me. And me.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Only a week and 2 days left until Advent! I hope it will be merry and bright for all!

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The Eucharist: The Real Presence of Christ

 

Who was it that told me the story? I think it was Father Bruce Neili. Saint Juliana of Liège was gazing at the moon one night, and it gave her such an intense longing for the Eucharist. That night led her, of course, to petition for the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi.

A longing for the Eucharist? Convert is not impressed. Convert is willing to concede that the Eucharist is the Real Presence. Sort of. Mostly. But to long for it? Why? It doesn’t taste very good. Wanting to go to Mass seemed perfectly reasonable, but to long specifically to take Communion seemed a little unbelievable.

That was 3 or 4 years ago. Since then, what’s changed?

When I’m sick, just as soon as I feel the tightness in the back of my throat and the sniffle in my nose, I want a bowl of hot soup. I long for it, because I know it will make me feel better. Lately, I’ve had that same longing every week. I want to receive Communion, and I long for it, like…like I long for hot soup when my body is sick. As the days go by, my soul starts to feel sickly until I long for nourishment. After receiving communion, I return to my pew feeling lighter, relieved, and so very grateful.

6 years ago, I was a bit put off when I was first introduced to the image of the pelican as a symbol of Communion. The thought of the bird striking its breast to feed its own blood to its young was macabre. At some point, it became a comfort. To think of Christ, nourishing us with His own Body and Blood. Giving strength to us by giving Himself to us.

There really aren’t words to describe the emotions involved in receiving communion. The act of kneeling and bringing to mind my sins, placing my trust in God to forgive me once more, asking for the strength to do what He asks of me, and finally receiving the Blessed Sacrament. It’s overwhelming, and emotional and so very fulfilling. More and more often, I find myself kneeling back at my pew after communion, just overflowing with such gratitude and appreciation for this gift.

Again, what changed? How did I go from “Totally not the Real Presence” to “I guess you might be right” to “Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him¬†who takes away the sins of the world!”

I suppose conversion doesn’t end at confirmation, and I don’t think it ever will end. I’ll probably continue to turn slowly toward God for the rest of my life. It was hard to become a Catholic, I mean, seriously, mind-numbingly hard. I was raised my whole life to believe that these people were horribly and unforgivably wrong; that they believed a bunch of ridiculous, ritualistic mumbo-jumbo. I heard and believed every ugly thing I ever heard about the Catholic Church. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be joining the church, I would have laughed in your face.

It all came down to a tiny seed that somehow planted itself inside me. It started as a curiosity, an appreciation for the beauty, but it turned into something else the moment I went to my first Mass. It became a pull, a tug, and a constant reassurance that if I just followed along, it would all make sense. “Seeing is believing? No! Believe and I’ll show you!” the voice in my heart whispered. I had to let go of the idea that everything had to pass my test of authenticity; I had to submit myself to the authority of the Magisterium.

Isn’t that the nature of faith? Sometimes it’s a leap into the unknown, but more often, I think it’s just following, learning to submit, and receiving graces every step of the way.

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else, What the Catholic Church Teaches | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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