We had a safe trip over the weekend to spend time with my mother and brother. Our trip started with a late night Friday night as my mother hosted a group of Catholic Young Adults who were attending the Christopher West Seminar. We waited up to help them set up camp in various parts of her house. We got some fast sleep, then off to the seminar which was from 8-4 on Saturday.
A wonderful talk!! I greatly enjoy reading Christopher West and have watched his 8-talk DVD series, but to spend time with him in person was a great joy. He is a very engaging and dynamic speaker who takes Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and gives a little more clarification. JPII is quite philosophical, so it is nice to have analagies that speak to us in the current societal context. My mother joined DH and I for the seminar and said she highly enjoyed it. It was her first experience with Theology of the Body.
After the seminar ended, we packed the Catholic Young Adults off for their drive home, and then we went out for dinner to celebrate my brother's 21st birthday. His BDay this year falls on Ash Wednesday, so we decided to celebrate before Lent starts. He picked a Japanese restaurant that is his all-time favorite place to go, which says a lot as my brother is training to be a chef.
We had a great dinner with family and friends (total of 7 people). This restaurant does all the cooking in front of you at the table and the chefs are quite talented. They are also quite funny. Our chef had extra shrimp from one of the orders so he decided to throw them at my brother. Little did he know that my bro. is quite the master at catching things:) So my brother caught 5 shrimp in a row, one from a behind the back toss, and two tossed at the same time. Wow!
Sunday morning, we headed to early Mass which was celebrated by a friend who was ordained last summer after studying in Rome. He said a beautiful liturgy, our Deacon gave a great homily, and the music choices were better than anticipated. My childhood church is notorious in town for poor music, but we were pleasantly surprised with a cantor with a simple, sweet voice that was easy to follow and some "better than usual" music choices. A good Alleluia closing hymn that played into it being Alleluia Sunday. Have to get them in before Wednesday.
After Mass, DH and I met with my father to have lunch. It was tolerable as can be. Very sad to see my father so far from the Lord. He is wounded in ways he doesn't see and doesn't want to address. We continue to pray for him.
After lunch, DH, my mother, and I went to the pro-life women's clinic that I used to volunteer at during the summers I was home. They had offered us a free ultrasound the next time we were visiting, so we decided to take them up on their offer. We have just passed the 13 week mark, but have not had an ultrasound previously or had a chance to hear the baby's heartbeat.
My friend, the technician, told us we might not get good images as the babe is only 13 weeks, but we were all pleasantly surprised when she found the babe right away! The babe was dancing all over the place, stretching out (at one point looked like a backbend), and playing with his/her hands. The heartbeat was 143 BPM, which is good. We had a chance to hear and it was nice and strong. She printed out a quite a few pictures for us to take home; she said she was very impressed to get such good pictures at 13 weeks. Hurray!
I remember when I helped there and my friend, the technician, would turn the volume up extra loud on the heartbeat monitor when there was a young lady who was abortion-minded. She did it: 1) To confirm to the mother that there was heartbeat, and 2) To let us in the office know that this was an abortion-minded woman and to pray extra hard for her.
I was always so moved to hear those heartbeats; it was the same this past Sunday for this babe. These past 13 weeks, we've had the nausea and other pregnancy symptoms, but haven't noticed too much belly change and, of course, no feelings of flutters or kicks yet. So there is still that wonderment and question almost of whether is for real. Lord, are we really being called to be stewards of a child?
Seeing Mackey dance around on screen, hear a good strong heartbeat, and look at my DH's face as we took everything in, was AWEsome! Thank you Lord, for this beautiful gift of life.