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I’ve just embarked on another new year in my life, another year older and hopefully wiser.  The birthdays seem to come more rapidly each year.  But I don’t mind.  I like growing and maturing.  That’s all it is–just me, the same as always, only better.  More myself, more comfortable in my own skin, more appreciative of life and being part of the world, more joyful and more grateful.  Especially at this time of year!  Autumn is finally in the air here in Texas, which means I’m feeling rather high-spirited.

Perhaps it’s the combination of maturing and becoming energized that have made me start thinking about dreams and pursuits that I have not yet seen through.  One of these is acting.  The only time I feel really good and really confident about expressing myself orally, out loud, is when I have a part to read and a character to be.  Becoming somebody else, putting somebody else’s words (or my own) out into the world to be heard is such a wonderful, liberating, transformative experience.  I want to give it a try, in a public way.  If for no other reason, I want to do it just so I won’t have to regret not doing it.

I guess that’s also why I enjoy Halloween so much, and costuming in general.  This year was really fun.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I love Doctor Who!  And so, I decided to be a female version of the Doctor!

         Doctor Heather 2

As you might know, my clothes were inspired by the 10th Doctor.  The snacks I brought to the office party, however, are the 11th Doctor’s favorite snack (as well as Dalek-threatening ploy):

Jammie Dodgers

I suspect that lots of people didn’t realize I was actually in costume that day–but that made it all the more satisfying when I encountered fellow Whovians who got it!  I ran into a few people who apparently thought that my costume was a librarian, and were rather amazed that, in fact, I am a librarian in real, everyday life.  LOL!

Real, everyday life is plugging ahead.  I can’t complain about a thing, but just try to make it even better.  Before we know it, Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas will be here, and another calendar year will begin.  But for now, I just want to recite Shakespeare, wear cozy clothes, and drink warm things!  Happy Autumn, everybody!

It just occurred to me: today is my blog’s birthday!  Happy birthday, blog!  I can’t believe you’re already 3 years old!

Also, I realized a little while ago that I had mis-remembered the anniversary of my return to the Catholic Church.  Somehow, I had it in my head that the date was 11 May.  I began this blog in honor of my 3rd anniversary as a practicing Catholic.  But the real date was actually 12 May.  Doh!

Oh well, more celebration tomorrow!  :D

This is a sweet feast, the feast of those who already live in God, those whom we have loved and who have attained to happiness and light; it is the feast of eternity. And what a fine idea to make the feast of the dead follow so soon! During these two days a vast stream of prayer and love flows through the three worlds: between the Church in Heaven, the Church on earth, and the Church in which souls wait and expiate. The Communion of Saints seems doubly close and doubly fruitful. We feel that all souls and all those we love are close to us in God; and this living dogma by divine grace gives life to many souls on earth and in Purgatory. Not one of our tears, not one of our prayers is lost, and they have a power that many people never suspect.

~ Elisabeth Leseur, November 1, 1905

Also, I am 34 years old today. :)

A blessed All Saints Day to one and all!  I just love this feast day, because it helps turn our faces toward Heaven, toward our goal and destination.  It reminds us that we are never on our own.  It reminds us that the way of sanctity is not impossible.  It reminds us that there is so much to being human that is not bound and restricted to this world, to this vale of tears.  What a great blessing!

I feel especially blessed that I was born on this feast day!  I feel like I have the patronage of all the saints in Heaven!  It’s like winning a spiritual lottery.  :)  Heaven knows I can use all the help I can get.

It’s been such a beautiful day.  As always, I’ve been inundated with kind well wishes from family and friends–that’s the best part.  And some lovely gifts as well.  I’m now the proud owner of a Nintendo DS Lite in metallic rose–it’s the most adorable game system ever!  My beloved friend and past college roommate generously sent me several books from my Amazon wishlist: Questions and Answers by Pope Benedict ; The Privilege of Being a Woman by Dr. Alice von Hildebrand ; and Ironies of Faith: the Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature by Anthony Esolen.

This morning, I went to All Saints Day Mass.  Our pastor had invited a priest who works at the local seminary to celebrate Mass for us and talk about priesthood and vocation.  He brought our 3 seminarians from our parish to serve at the Mass.  It is always wonderful to see them!  We’re so proud of them.

I also visited the old Calvary Cemetery, the original Catholic cemetery in Dallas.  It is not very large.  It’s mostly immigrant families.  I walked up and down it, praying my Rosary and reading the stones.  There were several priests and sisters buried there, and among them was our “martyr priest,” Fr. Jeffrey Hartnett.  In 1899, there was an epidemic of smallpox in the city.  Fr. Hartnett went to the “pesthouse” to care for the sick and dying victims.  He contracted the disease himself, and died.  Visiting his grave and reading his story really brought All Saints Day closer to home for me.

I was rather sad that I was the only living person in the cemetery–living in the earthly, mortal, physical sense.  I did not feel lonely at all.  As I quietly prayed my Rosary, I could almost hear the chorus of those souls whose flesh had returned to dust in the ground below!  I offered the Rosary and my visit there for the poor souls in Purgatory, of course.

I hope everybody had a beautiful day!  :)

Today begins a new year in my life!  I’ve lived 32 of them now.  I’m not one of those ladies who stops counting at 29.  On the contrary, I’m filled with wonder and gratitude each time I complete a trip around the sun!  When I think of where I’ve come so far–good places and bad, brilliant places and horribly dark, happy places and mournful–I just feel so amazed and so very blessed!  Sometimes I can’t believe how far I’ve come, and how very good God has been, and always is!

He gave me a most beautiful and glorious day.  I saw more trees with turning leaves.  And as I was driving home this evening, there was a beautiful sunset, with a crescent moon hanging out with the beautiful planet Venus.

I didn’t do much today.  Just relaxed.  Went to Mass.  Visited some stores.  Ate some sushi and drank some beer.  Bought myself a little birthday cake too.  It’s been a good day!  I’ve been needing the rest.  So, I’m really going to enjoy the extra hour of nighttime tonight!  That may be the best birthday gift of all, LOL!

Actually, I’ve received many wonderful gifts.  Many lovely cards and kind notes–it’s wonderful just to know that I’m in people’s thoughts and prayers!  Mom and Dad gave me some clothes money, and I bought some really nice and much-needed new clothes–3 skirts, 2 blouses, and some new shoes!  My sister made a donation to one of my favorite charities, Aid to the Church in Need, and is sending me another gift, which I am looking forward to!  My dear friend from college gave me a copy of the book Thy Will be Done, which is a collection of letters written by St. Francis de Sales–one of my favorite Saints and favorite writers!  He always offers such practical and helpful advice!  I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time.  A dear co-worker gave me a beautiful little porcelain statue of Mary holding some roses; it has a little light inside, and glows beautifully!  I look to her while praying my Rosary.

Today was also All Saints Day, of course.  The Saints are a true family to me, a very important part of my life, especially since I live alone.  Whenever I’m lonely, sad, or need to talk, they are always there.  I just think about them, call out to them, and there they are.  I can truly feel their presences!  Most often, I will call for our Blessed Mother, or for my spiritual father, St. Dominic, or for my guardian angel and/or St. Raphael.  If I’m in a particular situation, I might call upon an appropriate Patron Saint, or else a Saint who perhaps dealt with a similar situation in his or her life.  I find that all the Saints are very experienced and wise, and sometimes I just call upon whoever cares to listen.

I was thinking earlier today that we Catholics (and other, Catholic-like Christians) are so blessed in the Communion of Saints!  When you think about it, it’s quite a wonderful notion: that we have people in Heaven who know and love us, who counsel and comfort us, who help us in many wonderful ways.  I don’t know that any other religious tradition provides such an understanding and such a rich and living relationship with the dead (who, for us, are even more alive than we are!).

Our understanding and relationship with the dead stems naturally from our understanding and relationship with the living and loving God.  I know that even some Christians reject the Communion of Saints and the ways in which Catholics interact with them… they seem to think that our relationships with the Saints somehow detract from our relationship with God.  They might as well say that our relationships with people on Earth detract from our relationship with God–but that would be untrue and pretty absurd.  God created us to relate with each other and to know and love and help each other.  In fact, we can’t have a good relationship with God if we don’t have good relationships with each other.  And death does not have the power to change that!  God frees us from death.  The Saints are living proof of that.

So… why shouldn’t we talk to them and form relationships with them?  They’re exactly like people on Earth… only better!  And they can help us to be better people.  They can teach us to know and to love God better, to pray better, to live better.  Far from distracting us from God, they actually direct us to Him, just as they themselves were directed during their earthly lives.  They are such a blessing!  May we follow in their footsteps.

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(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

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