Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I am loved

That is a weird statement for me to say. It sounds conceited and I am anything but. I've mentioned on more than one occasion how it is difficult for me to accept compliments, praise, and love. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't feel as if I've done anything to warrant them. I'm just being me and how can being me elicit that?

The thing about love within a friendship is that you know how much you love the person but you truly don't know how much you are loved in return. You don't know what scale other people measure there love on. So, usually, I just say 'thank you' and I downplay how much people love me. Again, the opposite would be conceited to think that I am loved more than I really am. Yes, truly I have a dizzying intellect (shout out to the princess bride!). I can tell you without reservations that George loves me a lot. We have been together ten years. He puts up with all my failings and faults and still hasn't run screaming for the hills. (side note: why is it people always run screaming for the hills? How come they never run down the street or to the store or even downhill for that matter?) That is love.

Then, there is Carol. We have been best friends for five years. And, she too has not gone screaming. I know without a doubt how much Carol loves me. Just as much as I love her. There is nothing she wouldn't do for me. I just have to name it. And, she gives the best 'everything is gonna be okay, I'm here' hugs.

Then, there's the people from St. Jude's. I run into them everywhere. People I don't see very often like Lisa Harvey. She saw me shopping today and made a point to stop and say 'hi' and tell me she loves me.

~a little background here~ Yesterday turned out to be my last day at work to the shock and awe to all of us who work together. Next week was suppose to be my last day. So, no cake for me (not that my backside needs more cake, l0l!). Needless to say, I was heartbroken. I even called my friend this morning to tell her to get my friend his morning coffee. It is a routine I have been doing for the past 6 months at least. And, although I'm starting Olive Garden in a couple of weeks, leaving my friends behind made me sad. So, while I was out and about today I headed to adoration. After all, He is the only one who truly understands my heart. I lamented about missing my friends and the 'we'll keep in touches' and how people rarely do. Then, God got to work.

I was out and about and got a call. I didn't look to see who it was, I just hit the bluetooth and said 'hello'. I was greeted with "Hola, Mami!" It was my friend from work who we dubbed Papi. He was calling to tell me how much they missed me at work today; how his son who works there wished I was there; that it just wasn't the same. Then, he heard the sadness in my voice and told me not to cry (I wasn't yet, but I was getting there) and how much he loved me. That made me feel loved. I told George "I've been gone a day and I am heartbroken." "To know that after that same day, they miss me too makes me feel loved." It's amazing how fast God works!

There are other's who love me, this I know (Kim, Tina) while I am learning to accept it, it still boggles my mind. I am the one who loves people, not the one who is loved. I am the one who is there for people. It is one of those anomalies that you don't know why things are, you just accept that they are. Like in binary code one plus one equals three. You don't understand how or why, you just accept it. Actually, you have to accept it or it throws of the whole course and then you'll fail computer programming in college ;)

So, while it is hard for me to say (aside from George and Carol and Tina and Kim), I am loved. It is the most wonderful, awkward feeling.

That is what Christmas is all about. It's not about the presents (and we all know how much I likey my presents!). Yes, it's about a baby in a manger. But more than that, it's about how much that baby loves me. How He gave his life for me. How He loves me no matter what. Talk about not feeling worthy of you guys' love, His is on a grander scale! There are so many days where I don't feel worthy of His love and every Sunday, every single one, He tells me over and over how much He loves me and that He makes me worthy.

That is Christmas.

Until next time,
Snuggle with your family, enjoy the cool weather and I'll see you at 10pm Mass on Thursday.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Story of the Nativity...it's not what you think

I am picky. This is not news. I looked for years for a Nativity that I liked. They're not all alike. They have different faces. Sometimes Mary looked a little 'off'. Sometimes the wise men don't look exactly wise either. So, imagine my delight two years ago when I *finally* found a Nativity that I not liked, but LOVED! And, I found it after Christmas, and it was *deeply* discounted!

Now, last year Christmas sucked. We were all numb with the passing of Mom. Not only did we have a hard time, so did the Nativity. Jesus lost his head. I had the Nativity on the fireplace. Who uses their fireplace in Texas (today notwithstanding)? One of the stocking holders fell off the mantle and took Jesus out. (I've tried gorilla glue and a glue gun, but it's not working). Then, Maria amputated one of the wise men's hands. Apparently, he didn't need to bring a gift to baby Jesus!

So, here we are today. We are decorating the tree. I take another stab at gluing baby Jesus' head back (it didn't work and I think I got glue in my eye, l0l). You can have lots of fun with the headless baby Jesus. First comes the chorus of 'Mary had a baby and his head popped off'. There are a few linda blair jokes one could make. One could make. One might have made. But one would *never* tell, lol. Now, we have an angel we put on the tree every year. We've had her for ten years. The only think breakable on her is her face. It is George's job every year to put her on top of the tree. A) b/c he's the head of the house and B) b/c he's truly the only one tall enough to reach without a ladder (He does however stand on a chair, lol). So, picture this if you will. My loving husband reaching his arm up to put the angel on the tree. He sits her ever so gently on top of the tree. And........she takes a header tumbling down the tree clinking ornaments as she goes and wait for it.....she takes out the shepard boy of my Nativity!!! I now have a headless shepard boy, lol! And, if that wasn't enough, the angels face is now in four parts and we had to finally get rid of her. Luckily, we have a small angel that we put on top. So, clearly this Nativity that I was so picky to find and was so excited to get is a lesson. I'm thinking it's not to be so picky on my Nativity b/c their not safe in my house! lol But, I think the lesson is just to not be so picky and so full of myself as I get sometimes. As a dear friend of mine likes to say "it's not about me!" lol

Speaking of Nativities, as I was unwrapping some of the ornaments, I came across my Christmas present from Mom and Dad from last year. The last one I'll ever get from her (they purchased it before she passed). Mom and Dad collect Hummels. It is the while Nativity set of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Boy, did I have a good cry over that one! You can rest assured, the Nativity is on top of the entertainment center where nothing will fall on it (unless the roof falls in) or knock it over!

So, Until next time,
snuggle with your honey to keep warm, keep your kids away from your Nativities, and enjoy this third week of advent. God bless each of you!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Peace Be With You!

What a day!!! I am *so* unbelievably blessed! There is so much I want to share about today.

First off, it is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! I *so* adore her! She is the best mom EVER!

Next, I talked to someone today that totally made my entire day. Do you guys know Jeff Kay? I'm sure you've seen him at church. He is George's best friend and husband to Kim whom I adore. Let me tell you about Jeff. As Kim tells it, he is like me in guy form. So, Jeff 'gets' me. I met Jeff almost two years ago and we got to know each other as he helped me plan George's surprise birthday party. He is such a great guy! I called to talked to Kim today and she wasn't there and talked to Jeff for a minute. I asked him if he would pray for George (as most of you know, George got laid off yesterday) and he said he would, but then he asked me for a favor. He asked me to relax. I said "Have you met me? lol" and he said "I know, that's why I said relax!" That made me feel so loved. Someone cares so much about my family. Someone knows that while I pretend to be calm, really, I'm not. That little bit of concern meant the world to me. Jeff rocks.

And, I talked to my dad today. He heard from my brother this morning. Joey is safe and okay! PRAISE GOD!!!

Then tonight, I went to my chrp zero Christmas Party. I had such a great time and left feeling so very loved and so very at peace (although that might have been the margaritas lol! j/k). When I arrived home there was a present waiting for me from three of my teens from Lifesavers. They came to sing and drop off a bottle of sparkling cider, homemade cookies, a candy cane, and their picture! Again, I felt so very loved. George said something months ago that I thought of this evening. He said that I am surprised that people love me and that I don't really believe them. It's not that I don't believe them, I just find it hard to believe that people who know *me*, the *real* me, love me. I chalk it up to childhood issues. I am also choosing to believe that with all this outpouring of love, it is a reminder of how much my mom, Carol, loves me. I am choosing to beleive that she is in heaven and see's how much I miss her. So, she is showing me through my friends just how much I am loved. At the same time, I belive it is also God, and Mary, my parents, showing me how much they love me! I am blessed to be so loved!

Tomorrow we are going to buy our Christmas tree!!!! Maybe then, I'll be in the mood to finish decorating for Christmas. I'm working on it.

Until next time,
Know that I love each of you deeply!


PS. Tina, Ready? 1-2-3!

Monday, December 8, 2008

What a day!


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It has been quite an interesting day! First, I wore light blue for the the blue movement (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=59538557048). It's a Marian thing :) Then, work was slower than molasses! I only served SIX salads today (we had salad on the stir fry line). So, I got to help my friends on the sandwich line and grill. On the way home from work, I stopped at the New Olive Garden in ALLEN!!!! WOOHOO!

I spoke with Rob the General Manager who remembered me! He looked for a guy and when he found him told him to get my application out of a binder and set me up for an interview with the other manager and then said...wait for it..."I'LL VOUCH FOR HER!!!" That was *so* awesome! Then Rob, the GM showed the the MASSIVE kitchen! So, prayers please as I have my final interview on Wednesday after work (3:15) and I also have to fill out a personality profile. As if there's a box on any form that I fit into!!! The NERVE! lol As you all well know, I do not fit in *any* box! I am a hexagon! lol

Then, this evening we (the family and I) went to Mass as it is the Immaculate Conception! As I'm singing in the choir at some point during mass, it dawns on me that exactly one year ago today I was at Mass for the same reason. Only last time, the kids and I and George were in tears. We knew at this point, Mom wasn't going to make it. We were passing the holding cross to each other and praying on it. It just so happens that I had that same holding cross in my hands all Mass. The great thing about this cross is that it traveled to Philadelphia last year, it has been prayed on by my family, it has been at my best friend Carol's for a little while, James carried it for Confirmation, my friend Kathy had it while she was in the hospital, and tonight, after Mass, I was taking it to my best friend Tina as her Grandma Kate is dying. But, I digress. Here I was stroking the cross when it dawns on me what today was. A year ago this week, my husband, my rock, flew up to Philly for what turned out to be his last visit with his Mother. And, as I am singing to my mother, Mary, I could not stop the tears.

Mary is the true model of motherhood. One of my favorite prayers to her that I have is when I crawl up on her lap, put my head on her chest and ask her to wrap her mantle around me and hold me. Thank you Our Lady of Guadalupe! Btw-her feast day is This FRIDAY!! WOOHOO!

"Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you: let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?" (Words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego)

What more can I ask for in a mother? Nothing, I tell you! So, I came tonight to worship my mother, Mary, and to praise her. In doing so, I felt the loss of my Mom, Carol, and then, I drew even closer to Mary. How blessed are we to have such a shinning example of motherhood!

The day is just about done. One kid is pretending to be in bed. Two others are heading off to bed and I am going to spend some time with my mother Mary.

Until next time,
Talk to Mary, Pray for my Olive Garden interview on Wednesday, and know how much I deeply, deeply love each of you!


PS. You haven't heard Breath of Heaven until you've heard it sung by Katie Lacy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Update: Peace, Love, and the Man from Crete

Wow! It seems like *forever* since I've blogged. This might be a long one. So, get some herbal tea, wrap yourself in your favorite robe or blanket, and lets catch up!


~sigh~ Aside from all the drama, the latest is I'm still waiting to hear from Olive Garden this week or next. I applied for the kitchen. Most people I've told so far suggest I wait tables as I'd be 'great with my personality' lol. I'll tell you what I told them..."thanks, but have you met me? I am so not coordinated. Me+walking+a tray filled with food=disaster!"

As for Dr. Pepper, here's what I know...or think I know as rumors have been swirling. They closed my salad station permanently. They put me in the gift shop last week permanently. This Monday, they put me back in the kitchen permanently. While the move back to the kitchen was an answered prayer, it's kind of funny that the Evil Troll doesn't know the meaning of the word permanently. And, at this point I am thankful for that!

Since my station is closed (permanently!) and they fired the guy who worked the stir fry station (it was deserved, but it could have been fixed and we're all bummed) I now get the stir fry station. The good news is this is a good culinary move as I go from cold foods to hot. The better news is that not just my co-workers, but my customers were extremely happy to have me back! And, they complained so much all week about not having salads that we had a salad today and I was able to have the chef put them on the menu next week with 3 days of salad and two days of stir fry! The bad news is that on Friday's we have to keep the taco salads. But hey, I'm gainfully employed and working with people I *adore* (evil troll and chef notwithstanding! lol)

Rumor has it that a new company is taking over the kitchen and will most likely roll over us current employees to their company. So, this is good!

So, thank you for all your prayers for my job situation! I'm asking for continued prayers as God's will be done! Oh! I almost forgot to tell you! Today, at work, one of my *favorite* customers comes up to me and says "I don't want anything but I wanted to ask you a question. Do you go to St. Jude's?!" I proudly told him I did! It turns out he happened to be at church Sunday and saw me. He said when he finally realized where he knew me from I was gone. But then, when he went to Mass (at 5pm) he saw me in the choir!!! SMALL WORLD! But it was a little smile from God today!

Speaking of Mass this week...

You all know how much I *love* to sing, right? I was born to be a back up singer. I love, LOVE being a background singer. Well, this past Sunday, it was Mike, Me, and a new girl. I was okay with this until Mike put me on the first mike to bring in the congregation. Instead of singing assuredly like I do most of the time, I became timid and was *so* not comfortable. I had a friend at work tell me today that clearly God wanted me to stretch out of my comfort zone a little! lol

So, in a nutshell, work is going okay at this very second. But that may change at any time.

This has been a emotionally tumultuous week. I knew Wednesday was coming. It was the one year anniversary of the day Mom was diagnosed with her pancreatic cancer. Also, there is the subconscious countdown to the one year anniversary of Mom's death (fourteen days as of this very minute). I wasn't looking forward to my weekly chrp meeting or the Cenacle on Wednesday evening. I knew it was the case of once I get there it will be okay, but I just didn't want to go. Sunday, at least four people asked me if I was going to cenacle and I hemmed and hawed. Finally, someone says they were having a good-bye thing for Mary Branson (she leaves in two weeks :( ) and of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

So I go to chrp on Tuesday:

They have us take a snack baggie and fill it with sand, one spoon full. I make sure to get the tiny blue shell in mine. I played with it all evening (we were suppose to hold it all night). Carolina and I sat next too each other (we're an awesome combination!) and we just giggled! Carolina is *so* funny and most of the time, so easy to make laugh and that's what I love to do. Make her (and you guys) laugh! I held up my sand and showed her and said "look! It's a poor mans' etch-a-sketch! lol
But, I digress. The sand represents our earthly treasures. My first thought was "this isn't a lot". Until we're told that each grain of sand represents one treasure. Emotional, physical, whatever. It's what is our own earthly treasures.

Then the evening begins with a story: The Man from Crete. It goes something like this...

There's this elderly man who lived in Crete all his life. It is his beloved country. He never left. Ever. He loved it so very much. Then, as he is dying he gets a hand full of the earth from Crete and passes away. When he arrives in heaven in front of the pearly gates (made of actual pearls) God comes out to greet him. "I'm so happy you're here!" says God "Come on in! I've been waiting for you!" and then God looks into the mans hand and asks what he is carrying. He explains to God that it is his beloved Crete. God tells him he cannot come in until he lets go of what is in his hand and that he'll be back later.

A little while later, God comes out wearing overalls with a beer in His hand and party noises wafting behind Him. He asks the man if he is ready to let go and come inside, but the man isn't ready. God tells him it's okay. Take all the time you need, I'll be back in a little while.

A little more time passes and this time the child Jesus comes out and asks the man to come in. He isn't ready to let go yet. So Jesus asks him what's in his hand. The man explains and the child Jesus asks to see it. Now, the man has been holding onto the Crete earth for so long that all the moisture is out of it and nothing is left but sand. He opens his hand to show Jesus. And, a wind comes by and blows it away. The man takes the child Jesus' hand and into heaven they walk and what is behind the gates? His beloved Crete!

The moral is 'what are we holding on to that is preventing God from giving us the gifts He wants to give us?' My answer was easy. Anger. I am holding onto my anger at losing Mom.

As the evening wound to a close we were to take some time and reflect and when we were ready to empty our sand back into the box and release whatever we have been holding onto that is preventing God from giving us what He wants.

This was the hard part. To say I was crying would be the understatement of the year, but I was being quiet about it shrinking myself into a corner as to not draw attention. But God, as usual, in His infinite wisdom, had other plans! Carolina came to me, leaned down, put her arms around me and talked with me. Then Mary Branson came over and the two of them talked with me and helped me do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Let. Mom. Go. I won't tell you our conversation b/c it is private and beautiful and I am going to be selfish and keep it for myself. But, in the end, b/c of these two women whom God sent, and with Carolina going with me, I emptied my sand and I let Mom go.

That night. Tuesday night, I had the best night sleep I have had in a very long time. And, since then, while it's only been a couple days, I have been filled with a peace that I cannot describe.

Again, God is continuing to show me on a daily basis how much I am loved. I don't think that is something that I'll ever get used to. Being someone who never had friends and always felt like I didn't belong to having friends show me on a DAILY basis how much I am loved is a beautiful feeling. And, if that wasn't enough, I had a friend tell me on Tuesday evening that they love me "with all their heart"! That just melted in my soul and will stay there forever.


The Cenacle was beautful and Mary (Branson) was the speaker. The one thing she said that stuck with me was about looking for Joy. No, it's not a lost child, or a cookbook. I can't recall her exact words but it had to do with looking for Joy in all things. So, since that was just last night, I figured I'd give it a whirl today and y'know what? Today was the best day! Maybe she's onto something!

Prayer requests:

Please pray for healing for Philip as he has a fever (not good!). Pray for the safe return for my brother from Iraq. We haven't heard from him in about eight weeks. And, please pray for healing for Tina's Grandma Kate.

Until next time,
What are you holding in *your* hands that is preventing God from giving you His gifts?


PS. Suzanne, I think you hung the moon! I love you so very much! Kim, ha ha ha welcome to the vortex, there is no escaping! Carol, thank you for being you. I love you more than you will ever know! Tina, EIGHT more days!! We'll take the RV to El Fenix and I can't imagine taking the road trip with anyone but you! Love you BACK! Carolina and Mary, I am deeply indebted to you. There is no way I can ever repay your generosity. Whatever you need, I am here for you forever!