I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chicago-ation - Food, Friends, and Fr. Barron...

Spent the past weekend in Chicago - I guess I ended up being grateful that Marisa needed that haircut...

We made the quick trip home from Notre Dame on Friday afternoon, getting in early enough to grab dinner (at a place I'd been dying to try) with two friends (who happen to be sisters) from Church. One had been on a recent trip with others from the Archdiocese to Kenya, and the other sister has been busy with summer school around town. When it came time to order, it was variations on a theme, let me tell you - we all got the chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries, but we all had slight alterations - no onion, no sauce, no cheese, no cheese or onion... The waiter probably got a good laugh for the night...

Marisa and I had planned to run on Saturday morning, but, as luck would have it, we had quite the thunderstorm. Nothing like snuggling up with a good book (yes, I continue to get my fill of teen literature) and a cup of coffee instead, eh? (I also watched part of the #Potterhead marathon on ABCFamily, no big deal.)

Around lunch time, I got the urge to go to Michael's craft store - Can we say BLOWOUT SALE?? I got quite a few nice items for the classroom and made it out of there for less than $30 (using my teacher discount, of course). As my stomach reminded me of how good lunch would taste, I decided to go to a local bookstore (right around the corner) first. It turned out to be Chicago's Independent Bookstore Day - who knew? 10% off - I'll take it! I also entered a raffle for a tote bag. (On Sunday, I got a call I had won - and, wouldn't you know, I also got two books thrown in. Sweet!)

I finally got around to lunch, which I brought back to my apartment and ate while watching more of the Harry Potter marathon. (I don't think it ever ends...How many hours are all the movies together, anyways?) I read some more of my book, and then it was time to meet up with some ladies from Church for sushi. (Let's just say I spent a lot of money on food this weekend. I can't wait for the end of summer when I can start cooking again... My Pinterest recipes are really starting to pile up...) After sushi, we ambled over to the park to see if they were doing Movies in the Park - but, apparently, it had been rained out. However, we were not about to let our visit be cut short! No, my dears, we found our way to the nearest Forever Yogurt, where we sat and chatted for a little more time.

When I woke up this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the forecast had changed to "cloudy, giving way to sunshine later in the day", so I was able to squeeze in a short run before Mass. Now, for the record, it was not just any Mass - it was presided by Fr. Robert Barron

And (as if that was not enough, right?), it was the parable of the sower and the seed. His homily touched on a few points, but the one that stuck with me was that seeds were a commodity - we're talking precious stuff! And Jesus tells his listeners to scatter the seeds (of the Father's love) lavishly, not caring where they fall - letting the seeds fall on every (and any) thing/one. Reach out to everyone. Be prodigal with God's love! (It was also neat, I might add, to imagine Jesus on a boat on the Sea of Galilee - we were right there! I also imagined myself as a fisherman on another boat, looking over at Jesus and the HUGE amount of followers, wondering what the heck was going on with so many people...)

After Mass, we made sure to go and speak with him. [I told him that his Catholicism series and YouTube videos provided excellent points for discussion and opened doors for my eighth grade students this year - whenever they asked a particularly tough question, I would a) go to my friend in the seminary with the question(s) and b) go to YouTube and see if Fr. Barron had anything to say about it. He saved my life more times than I can count on my fingers (and likely my toes, too).] 

Well, Fr. Barron was such a good sport, that he posed for a picture with us - I am SUCH a fan of all his work/reflection:

Mass (at which we ran into many fellow Holy Land pilgrims) was followed by lunch with two of Marisa's coworkers (such a great visit!), and then it was time to say goodbye to Chicago (for now) and head back to Notre Dame.

I find myself so uplifted and energized by all of my encounters and visits this weekend - it really was incredible... Thank you, God, for putting such special and faith-filled people in my life...

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