Friday, April 20, 2007

Engaged Encounter

To satisfy our Pre-Cana requirements for our Catholic faith we were required to go to a day long seminar or a weekend long retreat for engaged couples. We opted to do the weekend as we thought we would get more out of it an intimate weekend with 19 other couples than a hectic day with about 40 or so... So, on April 13th Leonard and I headed off to St. Therese's Retreat...right down the road...for our Engaged Encounter weekend. We actually even got into an argument on the way there because I had Leonard get off at the wrong exit...and I was already a little unhappy that we had to go there. Little did I know what was in store of us...

The retreat was to be held from Friday - Sunday afternoon...ending with Mass. We were not told what to expect with no agenda of the weekend. We were told that the sleeping arrangements were dormitory style and to bring a robe because the showers were down the hall. We were also informed that we would have 3 meals on Saturday and 2 on Sunday...and to bring a 2-liter of something to drink and a snack to share as there was no meal for Friday night. That was it. The evening began promptly at 8pm, with registration and time to get settled at 7:30pm. Here I'm thinking we would be introducing ourselves, given an agenda and head off to bed. Boy was I wrong! We were led by a team of couples and a priest. There was a senior couple and a junior couple. They all introduced themselves and briefed us on the particulars of weekend. We were told that the basic format for the weekend would be a talk by one of the couples and the priest on a specific topic, a time for individual reflection/writing and then a time for we to meet up with our fiances for a discussion on our individual reflections. We did this 3 times before the night was over...heading to bed around 11:30pm. I was EXHAUSTED. I usually am in bed by 9pm half the was so hard for me...but I always looked forward to meeting back up with Leonard and talking with him about my thoughts.

Of course we had separate sleeping quarters and I found myself hiding my pregnancy all weekend long. In the back of my mind lingered the thought, "I wonder if anyone can tell?" (Sleeping without Leonard actually was the worst part of the weekend.)

The next day started with a meeting in the chapel for prayer and breakfast. At breakfast Leonard noticed I was hiding my left hand because I did not have my ring. (My ring was at the jewelers getting having a mold made from it for my wedding band.) All of these women had such BEAUTIFUL rings and I didn't have mine! :( It sucked... So, in addition to the pregnancy...I ended up covering up my hand every moment I was aware of it.

After breakfast started a couple of more rounds of listening, reflecting, and discussion... And just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, we played a game. We actually did a couple of activities that were outside of the normal format and it made the weekend more bearable.

A lot of the topics/questions were items that were on our FOCCUS questionaire. It was nice to be able to sit with Leonard and discuss them in more detail. Our discussions never lasted long...and we usually had time left over in the 20 minutes or so they allotted for the rendez-vous. At those times I would take advantage of being alone with my love and just laying in his arms or joking around with him until they ring the bell for us to return.

Saturday night was about an hour long group discussion over questions we anonymously put in a box and a prayer service for us couples before heading off to bed.

One of our last exercises was to write a bethrothal to our future spouses...a love letter of sorts as well as a promise or contract for our future marriage. This was the easiest and the hardest thing I had to do all weekend. It was easy because I knew exactly what I would write...but hard because I couldn't write it without getting emotional. I was crying as I wrote it because it made me so happy to know that I had someone like Leonard in my life...and to tell him how much I love and adore him. As I read it to him, I broke down even more...bahling like a baby. (As I did when he read me his...) And they had the nerve to ask us to read them at mass? LOL No way. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle it... Alas, it was perfect close to a perfect weekend.

Overall, we learned so much about how in tune we are with our relationship. I believe we had a good understanding of each other as individuals...but never really acknowledged how solid our comprehension of our relationship was. We have such a deep connection and our weekend was literally a confirmation of how genuine our love is...and how we truly are meant to be together.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Weird Day

For the past few days I've had a pain in my back...closer to my neck than anything, but I can't pinpoint the cause nor how to remedy it. I just know it hurts!! It's pretty much where my cervical vertebrae ends and my thoracic begins. (For those who don't know much about anatomy, that a little lower than my shoulders.) I could barely move last night...and getting dressed this morning was horrific. Moving my left arm in any direction/position sends a shooting pain through my upper back. I really don't know what to do. But, by time I got to church, I actually started feeling sick...not sure if it was nausea or what, but enough to take my mind off the pain. Since it is Palm Sunday today, the Gospel was the reading of the Passion and that's an awful long time to be standing. Normally, I would be fine. I broke out in a cold sweat and actually had to sit down. From that point forward I felt miserable...sweating, dizzy and uncomfortable.

So, Leo went to the gym and I stayed home to rest.

This has actually been the most restful weekend I've had in months. I got to sleep in for the first yesterday (a Saturday) since January. (And I still was up by 8am!) But, I didn't HAVE to do school, no work, no show. It was great. I made breakfast and cleaned the kitchen.

Wedding plans are coming along, slowly but surely. There is still much to do! My bridal showers are getting coordinated...(one is for work, the other for family.) I ordered the wedding favors on Friday. Last night I organized the wedding music and took it to our music director at church. I sent Leonard the information for getting their tuxedos. We still need to find a photographer...because the more and more I think about it, I want a pro. Also, we need to get the decorations and programs together. Most importantly, the production of the invitations is on hold until we can be sure that we can marry in the church. The Catholic Dicoese of Columbus is still reviewing my petition for the Pauline Privilege... My witnesses have been served letters and at this point it's a waiting game until all of their responses are in... I really don't want to speak much on that because it gets me really stressed, but I'm not really happy about that situation.

I'd much rather be doing baby stuff and preparing for our new addition. **sigh** But, first things first...