-My Bible, a pre-wedding gift from John. It's New International Version (NIV) because that's what I was used to at the time and that's what I wanted. It's leather bound and engraved with my name and our wedding date on the front, also at my request. Note John said that he had a most difficult time finding a company to do the engraving.
-"Mother Love," a gift given to me by a person who now greatly dislikes me. Anyway, it seems to be an extensive book of various Catholic prayers for use in various situations. It's published by the "Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers."
-"A Severe Mercy" by Sheldon Vanauken, a book my Catholic therapist has been after me to read forever. I never get around to reading it because I know it's gonna upset me or something.
-Saint Faustina's diary....initially a gift from John's mother (who died on All Soul's Day this past November, but I never talked about it on the blog.) She gave it to me as a wedding shower gift, but that's not the copy I'm taking. A few years ago, John gave me a copy for our 5th wedding anniversary? Well, whichever anniversary you're supposed to get leather as a gift. I received a leather bound copy from him, and it's much smaller and handier to carry around. My therapist has been after me to read this as well, but I balk because Saint Faustina sees visions of hell and I don't want to hear about it.
-"Foundations of Education in the Home" by Father Joseph Kentenich, the founder of Schoenstatt, which is the organization that is giving the retreat. If you've never read anything by Father Kentenich, he will blow you away with his simultaneous depth and simplicity.
There was another book I wanted to bring along written by Mark Shea - I bought it from him when I met him - it's about prayer. But I can't find it!
Of course, I'm not going to read all these this weekend! But I assume the premise is that you bring along a bunch of stuff and see where the Holy Spirit takes you.
Oh, there's another book I'm packing, which is one of the favorite Christmas gifts I got this year - an adult coloring book. It has pictures of annual and perennial garden flowers, along with correct scientific names, etc. I'm bringing my box of 96 crayons that Alan isn't allowed to touch, and if the mood strikes, I'm coloring. Years and years ago, a secular counselor suggested that coloring is a help in relieving anxiety. Since then, I've met one or two people who got the same advice.
What else I'm packing? A ton of low-carb food to stick in a fridge somewhere. I talked to someone who's been on a bunch of retreats at the same place, and she confirmed that it's all carb-o-licious there. And homemade! Gotta protect myself.
Well, I leave in a couple of hours.