Rainn Wilson, the actor who plays Dwight Schrute on the NBC sitcom The Office, recently presented at the 2012 South By Southwest Interactive in Austin, TX. He surprised many in the audience when his talk took a spiritual turn. He said, “I believe the Internet is the future of spirituality. It’s a spiritual act to share a beautiful photo on Instagram. It’s a spiritual act to sell something beautiful you’ve crafted on Etsy.”
I immediately thought about the rosaries handmade by Melanie (aka The Rosary Chick) and her company Trendy Traditions. Melanie’s designs are spectacular as she brilliantly blends trendy style with sacred tradition. In other words, these ain’t your grandma’s prayer beads! And you gotta love that Melanie donates 10% of all profits to these worthwhile ministries.
Okay, so now on with my story …
Most nights, Joel puts Lucy to bed and together they have a nighttime prayer ritual that includes praying the Holy Rosary. Lucy prays along, as best as a 3-1/2-year-old can, counting the beads on the rosary that Melanie handcrafted. Earlier this week, Lucy crashed hard before finishing prayers. When Joel carefully tried pulling the rosary from her fingers, she clutched the crucifix even tighter. Which then made for this pretty terrific photo opp. Thanks for the blog post material, kid!
(Click on any picture to expand view)
I can’t quite remember how Melanie and I first met, digitally speaking, but I’m so glad we did. We have discovered a handful of things in common, including we both have sons named Jude. Sadly, Melanie and her husband experienced the perinatal loss of their Jude a little over a year ago (read their beautiful story here). Shortly after I gave birth to our Jude this January, I received a package in the mail from Trendy Traditions. Excited to see the contents, I ripped the package open and literally wept when I saw this beautiful rosary.
Melanie transformed a small part of her loss into this tremendously beautiful gift of charity, a spiritual heirloom for our Jude, which she undoubtedly replicates every time she handcrafts a rosary. Melanie intuitively understands that a rosary is not some thing but that it is for somebody. I am still overwhelmed by her kindness, generosity, and unselfishness. I don’t know if I would have extended the same gesture had the roles been reversed. Melanie and her Jude happily have a special place in our hearts.
Desperate to quiet your fussy 8-week old? Set him in front of Mother Mary holding baby Jesus, of course! Joel had a deacon formation class last Saturday, and I thought it would be a breeze to bring Jude along. WRONG. He was a tad out of sorts and couldn’t get comfortable for most of the day. Or maybe I was a tad out of sorts and couldn’t get comfortable? Funny thing? Jude was most peaceful while sitting here in front of our Blessed Mama. Could this be the beautiful beginning of a strong Marian devotion?
Along with eight other men discerning the diaconate in our diocese, Joel was formally installed as a lector last weekend. From his Cathedra (chair), Bishop Pates handed Joel his Bible with the specific instruction to go out and faithfully proclaim the Gospel. While the Rite of Lector places Joel one step closer toward ordination as a permanent deacon, we still have two more years of formation. In our diocese (Des Moines), the deacon candidates’ wives are required to attend all the formation classes and retreats, and I’m allowing anxiety to get the best of me while trying to figure out how to make this work for two more years.
The fact this one and only picture I took of Joel receiving his Bible from Bishop Pates is blurry is apropos for how the last couple months have been for me. A blur. A really big blur. And I’ll take all the prayers and support you’re willing to give.