At this time next week I'll be in Chicago adjusting to the HUGE climate change.
I realize that it's been quite a while since I last updated and a few sisters have reminded me that I left you all hanging... wondering if my immediate surroundings had been charred. That answer is NOPE :) *I'm still standin'* The fires did get close and that smoke and ash was around for quite a while. I realized that in the Midwest, we love the wind to relieve us from the humidity. Around here, the lack of humidity dries everything out and the smallest spark from a cigarette out the window or whatever ignites hundreds of acres. Wind is the enemy around here and even though my hair dislikes humidity, I found that I can probably put up with it if it helps prevent the spread of fire and devastation.
Since last time, a lot of end of the semester things have been happening. Each novice had the task of writing a mid-year assessment which included topics like my relationship with: Self, God/Prayer, Community, Congregation, Ministry, Classes, Vows, Balance, and Director. Our director, whether it is Ann or Bernie here, also wrote an assessment of us on those topics and we discussed each of them yesterday. It was really in-depth and time consuming but at the same time it requires you to be reflective on all the areas of life and realize what might need a bit of tweeking for the future.
Our home directors and Kathy McCluskey, the federation director, will all be arriving on Sunday. So from Sunday-Wednesday, we'll be sharing reflections and prayer with them about the last few months. All together there will be 18 of us. At the beginning of next week as well, we each meet with our home director and our director here together in order to talk about the assessment that I wrote about above. Lots of sharing, lots of energy needed but it will be fun to have some new faces and different people around as well. Kathy and I will be flying back to Chicago together on Wednesday afternoon.
I'm looking forward to a break, I wish it could continue to be in warmer weather but oh well! I'm looking forward to seeing some people in Chicago and sleeping in my own bedroom, taking a nap in my own bed and cuddling up on the couch because it's cold! I'll be able to visit family and the sisters in the Detroit area when I'm there between December 22-28. I know that my mom and dad are looking forward to me coming home. In fact, I just got a cute card from my mom today talking about how they're "impatiently waiting" :) I hope I can have time with the sisters and friends that I know around there as well. I know it's a busy time for everyone and being that I'm only going to be there a few days, it might be hard to squeeze everything in but I'm hoping it happens! There's a lot to do in a little time but God will provide every experience I need... maybe even the time to gather enough information while I'm home for my CSJ history presentation that's due in February!
Also since I last checked in with you, we celebrated Lynn's unbirthday. We decided when we got here that even if your birthday wasn't between August-May, that we were going to celebrate it anyway and November 23 was Lynn's day! We went to Balboa beach (which currently ranks #3 on my Top 4 list (which will hopefully be Top Ten in May)). We had a hamburger picnic, used the swings, played in the water, and watched the sunset before coming home to Thuy's first chocolate cake ever. Pictures are below:
We also spend Wednesday night - Sunday afternoon last week at the beach house that the Orange sisters own on Seal Beach. It was a very nice weekend being that close to the water and taking it all in before starting to pack for home. It was very relaxed and we all participated in the making on Thanksgiving dinner. Karen got elected to make the Turkey since she'd taken a class on it. Who woulda thunk? Glad someone was willing AND able! SO we relaxed, finished papers, walked, toured the town and just had fun.
I hope to get back to all of you before returning to Chicago on Wednesday... but no promises! Happy Advent!!!
I entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph on August 4, 2006 and entered the novitiate on July 26, 2008. This is an amazing journey that I wish more people my age had the knowledge of because I know that there are a lot of people out there the crave the things that the CSJ are offering. I am looking forward to the opportunities that our new Congregation of Saint Joseph is going to bring about for each of its members and for the many people in the world that need a positive presence in their lives.