Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Love is...

...knowing you can't do anything to make it better, but trying anyway.

...leaving 99 to find the lost one.

...being there not just because you want to, or because it's the right the to do, but because your soul needs too.

Please pray for my Julie. She's in ICU at Allen Presby with a blood clot on her lungs. She is stable. Now, we just wait. Bob, take good care of our girl!

Until next time,
Pray for all of those in the hospital who have no one.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Utter Chaos

I like nice things. I like things to have order. Let me rephrase that, I like my chaos to have order. My life, much like my head, has lots of chaos. But, I like order to my chaos. I like to have clothes that match, mostly. I have earrings that match, mostly. I have the occasional item of jewelry or clothing that is beautifully odd, that matches absolutely nothing that I own, but I love.

My kitchen is further proof of this anomaly. I like to have matching plates. I like to have matching drinking glasses. Coffee mugs, not so much. I've always wanted china. Fine china, the kind you get for your wedding and use like twice a year. Never happened. But here's what's in my cupboard...I've got about 7 everyday dish plates (matching desert and bowls in different numbers) from our wedding (not fine china). I've got about 7 holiday plate (red pointsetas) and various bowls and desert plates and then about 6 white plates with silver rims again with various bowls and desert plates that I got at Walmart after Christmas sales during various years for $3 each (not too shabby). I finally got my fine china this summer. Mikasa pattern service for 8 (no cups and saucers truth be told I hate those) and then another mikasa pattern only cups and saucers, dessert plates, creamer and sugar both sets for ten from aco. I've got various coffee mugs-mostly Cinderella and tigger as gifts from George and the kids (I love Cinderella and Tigger is so me!). Then, my very favorite mug is green striped. It's my Carol mug. We got it about three or four years ago. She got a blue striped one. We were on our way to St. Jude's coffee house to sing and realized we needed mugs so off to the dollar tree we went. Just in case you were wondering, we sang "Sisters" from White Christmas. And, it is not by accident that that song is her ring tone on my cell phone when she calls me :) It is my favorite mug b/c it reminds me of a good memory; makes me smile when I think of her, and, this is totally a pride thing, but Carol will be the first to tell you, I am the only one who makes her coffee the way she likes it (not even her husband or kids) so, it makes me feel good that I can do that for her!

I am constantly on the lookout for matching dishes. I want a complete set (why oh why do they have to come with cups and saucers!?!?!). It's a relatively inexpensive way to update my kitchen and I like to change the dishes with the seasons. This being Texas we get summer and not summer, lol. Anywho, I'm constantly on the lookout for new dish sets. Mind you, I can't just go to ACO and purchase whatever sets they have, they have to speak to me. Just like a shirt or jewelry. It's gotta speak to me. It's the OCD, ADHD, and the rest of the jumbled alphabet in me.

So, tonight as I'm setting the table for dinner, I look at the myriad of mismatched patterns and colors that reside in my cupboard. I don't get angry when Sarah accidentally brakes a plate (hey, it's not fine china and even if it was, it's a dish, not like it's my Carol mug, lol). But, I look in my cupboard at my plates and it strikes me that is some sort of metaphor for my life. Sure, I *want* fine china. I want a complete set of dishes (not cups and saucers! Really, what am I a college student starting out? And seriously, unless you're the Queen of England, who really uses saucers anyways?! Just give me the matching dishes and bowls!) But, I digress, I would love to have a complete set, many complete sets. But, then, I look at my dishes, my mismatched, chipped, four different patterns and I realize they are their own complete set. I look at them and see the many times Carol and her family came over for dinner. I look at them and see how the many mismatched plates are plenty when I have people over for Thanksgiving every year. I look at them and think that the pattern of my life is like the pattern of all my dishes..colorful, chipped, and quirky. It's like this, my cupboard is overflowing with dishes and bowls and plates, chipped and scratched. Each holding memories. Just like my life. It overflows with love and joy, happiness and yes even sorrow. It overflows with memories (mostly good).

Suddenly, my mismatched set of dishes doesn't seem so bad.

Until next time,
Have some tea and enjoy this season with your family. Me, I'm gonna go make some tea in my Carol mug. She must know I'm writing about her again, she's calling me as we speak! lol


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I'm not as strong as I pretend to be, which, truth be told, is just about all the time.

I am so very tired, all the time. I still haven't been sleeping. Last night, I went to bed a two. Tossed until 4:30. Then dozed here and there. There's so much going on that in my head that my brain just didn't want to shut off.

Friday is the second anniversary of Mom's death. Funny thing to celebrate, but I do it with my grandpa too and others who have gone before me. Grandpa however, didn't hit as hard as Mom. Also, I was a lot younger. Some days, most days, I am okay with it, but as the anniversary loomed on the horizon, not so much. I've become withdrawn and have retreated into my head. It's safe here. Albeit, not very quiet. I wondered to George if Mom really new just how much I love her and how very much she means to me. Which is funny b/c I told her and Dad (and still tell Dad) how very much I love them and how very blessed I am that they accepted me into their family, their home, and their hearts. How they are more my parents than my own parents. Not that I don't love my parents mind you, but there's is a whole different relationship. As I mentioned this to George, about loving Mom. Words of my Julie from a few years ago came back to me. We all know how easy (scary how easy actually) it is to believe when someone says something bad about us. Sure we don't like it, but sometimes we actually believe what is said. The good stuff, yea, that's hard to believe. Anywho, Julie's words were one of the greatest compliments I ever received and I hold on to them as if they were a security blanket ala Linus. She said to me "It is impossible not to be friends with Gina and not know how much she loves you!" That brought me great comfort many times and again last night.

I'm also missing Father Antony. I know, you probably think it's weird, but truthfully, I really don't care. He is my friend, my mentor and my spiritual guide. I knew that confession was going to be hard after he left. It went from being this beautiful sacrament to just something I need to do. Not exactly like a chore, but pretty close to it. I went on Tuesday evening and realized it had been four months. I used to go monthly. I needed the check-in. Heck, I still need the check-in but the last couple times I went I just realized it's not for me. Sure, I'll continue to go b/c I know I need to and it's one of the sacraments but it's more like my heart isn't in it. When I received absolution the other night, I felt nothing. Well, that's not exactly true. I felt cheated. I felt like a number, like cattle. Not intended, I'm sure, but it's how I felt.

Over the weekend I had a bad dream. It wasn't really nightmare status and a part of it I was happy, but then it was just bad and when I awoke I was filled with such sorrow and emptiness. I dreamed that Father Antony was visiting St. Jude. I was there so were lots of people and a high ranking holy person like a bishop or a cardinal. There were people everywhere and I kept trying to make my way to Father Antony. People were stopping to see him, but to also see the bishop/cardinal. Someone stopped me and asked me if I was excited to see the bishop/cardinal and if I knew his name. I said that I wasn't and that I didn't, that while it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I was more concerned with getting to say 'hello' to my friend, Father Antony. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get to him. I saw him greet his other friends and I'm not sure if he saw me or not (and somewhere in this dream I had a worm in my purse that turned into a frog, I have no idea what that represents so any dream analyst out there have fun with that and feel free to let me know!) but then, he was gone. I didn't get to hug him, to talk with him to tell him I loved him. But, because of Julie, I know that he knows how much I love him still and how much his friendship means to me. I awoke feeling sad and all alone. The Winterlude is coming up soon. One thing I loved about them was seeing Father Antony and after it was over, he would give me his beads from the evening that he wore. I still have them. I loved to go up to my friends and say "I got beads from a Priest! lol" What I do have, other than the beads, is that I have the memory of being the last person he gave communion to here at St. Jude's. That is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and that, brings me comfort. My friend and I sharing our own last supper together.

Getting older really sucks the big one. Everyone I love is leaving me, either dying or moving away. Y'know there's something to be said for not having any friends growing up b/c then you don't miss what you never had. But now, with having friends come into my life for days, weeks, years, hours, whatever the season, it hurts when they leave. It hurts when the friendship was so intense but was just for a few months and I still see them. It's like we digressed into Christmas Card friends. Mom died, Vicky died, Father Antony moved away. My Mema is slipping away. I don't care that 'she's 91 and has lived a long and happy life'. She is mine and what's mine I am intensely protective of.

Life is hard. Life is a balance and God gave me many gifts, however coordination and patience are not two of them. I just want to curl into a ball and cry myself to sleep and sleep for days. As it stands now, I don't sleep. I rest, I nap, but I don't sleep. I worry about things I cannot control, how much longer do I have with Mema, really, only five more years until all the kids are off at college, who is going to die next that I love dearly, when is George going to get a permanent job, when is George going to call the KOC insurance guy? Is my brother ever coming back to the faith, is he ever going to love me again, will I see my Mema before she passes away, will I get pregnant after the last kid leaves the house, do I want to go through all of that again, at my age? Wishing Dad would just move down here lock stock and barrel and then take his trips to Newfoundland from here. That way, he'd never have to be alone. He could live with us, or get himself an apartment. He could come to all the kids functions and dinners on Sunday or everyday! He could get involved with St. Jude's Good Timers, he could bring mom here and have her interred at St. Jude's. But, it's too hot for him here and he has his reasons for not moving down here (George's sister still being in Philly as one of them). And, while I don't like them one little bit, I respect them, because he is my father and I love him.

I miss my sister dearly. The trip this August home to see her and the rest of the family really brought us together. We went from talking a few times a year to talking every two weeks, sometimes every week.

I miss my brother more than I can say. He still hasn't emailed me back, but no news is good news. It's better than him sending me an email telling me to kiss off. I just want to see him. I need to see him. It's this inherent burning deep in my soul that I NEED to see my brother. I NEED to hold him and I NEED to tell him I love him. But I don't know if that day will ever come.

I trust in God with all these and more. But yet, I still worry, b/c as my friends so love to remind me, I am human. I know God has a plan, and I know He has me in the palm of His hand (shout out to chrp 4 and 5!!!!)

Until next time,

Merry Christmas

PS. George, I spell checked just for you ;p

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So, I've spent the better part of a month preparing for Dad's arrival and Thanksgiving. Those two came and went without a hitch. For preparation, I was a mad woman, well madder than usual. One would think I was pregnant with all the nesting that was going on in the house (note: sadly, I am not pregnant). The dinning room is now officially a dinning room. Not just a clean empty room, but a dinning room with my very first dinning table, chairs, and curio cabinet in! It is not my dream dinning set as that is STILL being held hostage by Anderson's Furniture for the ransom of $2700! lol But this set is from ACO. It is beautiful, affordable and works just as well! In order to restore order to the dining room, we had to move the computer to it's own place. This was fun as it started out in the kitchen on the makeshift desk that they put in kitchens. It was too hot, so we moved it into the dining room. Now the computer is upstairs in what was the junk room. That's right, first we (and by we I mean I) had to clean out the junk room. The junk room. We tried to make it a media room. That didn't work. Then, it became the catch all junk room. Now it is the computer room. And, I even hung pictures and decorated it a bit. Then, finally I tackled the garage. It is mostly organized and you can park the minivan in it. Will wonders ever cease! I found much peace in controlling the cleaning of these rooms. Yea, I can't control George's job. I can't control health insurance or lack thereof. I can't control my kids. I can't control other people. And, I can't control death. But, I can control my house (to some extent) and in controlling all these rooms, I found great peace.

That didn't last long, lol. I'm running again. I have to keep moving. I can't sit still. If I stop, nothing will happen. Nothing will be controlled and major chaos will ensue. George's job got extended until the end of the year (praise God). But now, it's other stuff. Still, George's job, my brother hasn't talked to me in two years. He's home safe in the states, but won't talk to me for only God knows the reason why. So, I emailed him the other night. We'll see what happens. I can tell you whenever I watch the Folger's commercial with the girl and her brother, I cry. Stupid commercial, lol. The only one better than that to cry with is the Coke commercial with Pittsburgh Steeler Mean Joe Green, lol. So you would think with all this cleaning, that the house is perpetually clean and organized, but alas it is not. I have three teenagers, remember? I can tell you that I am perpetually tired. I don't sleep much...our bed broke last week. But, I wasn't sleeping much before then. It was like sleeping on styrofoam, weeky weeky weeky weeky. Kept me awake plenty. And, if it wasn't the bed, it was everything else. I know of so many people who are having such a hard time. And, I pray and pray and pray. Still they are having a hard time. I know God hears my prayers. I know this because a) He is God and b) because I tell Him things over and over and over. lol. I know He's in control and I shouldn't worry about things (and for the most part I don't). But, every once in a while I can't help myself. I am but a mere mortal.

You'll be happy to know that in decorating the Christmas tree this year, the Nativity survived! I even taped the Shepard boys head back on! The only casualty was a Cinderella ornament. She lost her head! First Jesus, then the Sheppard boy, then the angel, now Cinderella I honestly don't know why it keeps happening. I'm guessing it's now a Schafer tradition to knock the heads off of the Nativity and ornaments! New to this years decorating was various shocking situations going on. Sarah shocked herself twice with lights and Maria only once. They both blamed the lights, lol. Stupid lights. James decided to be the lawn decorator this year. He's all about the lights outside. This worked out great at first b/c I didn't have to do it. But, I had to hear *every* decision and plan in great detail! "Mom, what if I do this!" Ah the wonders of the ADHD child, I wish all of you one for Christmas! They are full of great fun and bring hours of joy and laughter and are true blessings.

Work has been going okay so far. It keeps me off the streets and out of trouble, for now, lol. If I don't get to blog before Christmas (sorry this one took so long), I wish each of you much peace in your families, in your relationships, in your hearts. May your heart swell with all the love that Jesus has for you!

Until Next Time,
Merry Christmas,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Be still

It's been a busy two weeks here, and for all of you out there, I am sure. I've been running again. I don't know why I do it, but I do. And, the fun part is, I really don't realize it until God smacks me upside da head. Today's head smack was

The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.

I know it's a head smack b/c my first reaction when I read this in my inbox (it was on the St. Jude prayer chain. Carol Johnson (SHOUT OUT!) puts scripture after the requests, way cool!) I was reading today's prayer requests and it was at the bottom. But I digress, I know it was a head smack b/c my first reaction was "huh. I just. Have. To. Keep. Still. That means I'm moving. Ah crap I'm running again!"

You all know how I love to try and control the uncontrollable. And, I'm kinda back at it. I've been stressed over the last couple of weeks for many reasons. Then, one day last week, while I was sleeping, actually sleeping, I dreamt. The dream consisted of stuff that happened throughout the last couple weeks in some form or another. People, animals, conversations, etc. Then, there was a bird in a painting. A black and white sketched bird. The bird came to life and was trying to talk to me. It was Mom. And, of course, at that moment, I woke up. I was crying and totally unhappy, b/c I knew it was Mom and I didn't get to hear what she wanted to tell me. Was it "be kinder to the kids; go easier on myself; or just "hi"?" I don't know, but ever since, I've been blah. In thirty-two days it will be the second anniversary of her death. Wow. Two whole years without mom. It sucked from day one, and it still sucks on day seven hundred and five. Sooooooo, with all this uncontrollable stuff going on, I've decided to control the house. I am becoming a neat freak (with my adhd, I doubt that will last long), but I've painted the master bath (now if only we can fix the shower lol), moved the computer out of the dining room and upstairs into it's own room, I'm currently straightening the dinning room and itching to paint the family room. All before Dad comes on Monday of course! lol Doubtful, but still it gives me a wheel to run my little hamster self on.

Then, I read, I just need to keep still. I think I'll try that for a while.

Until next time,
Enjoy the cool weather!


Thursday, November 5, 2009


These last few days, I have been filled with great loss. Not just from my friend Vickie's passing either. December's coming. The two year anniversary of Mom's death is looming over me like a big black cloud. The kind that's in the cartoons. The one where it rains only on the one person and moves as they move. Yea, it's like that. Then, there is the loss of my beloved Father Antony. Fortunately, he hasn't died, he was just reassigned to India. There's the loss of my grandfather (13 years ago) who was a second dad to me. The loss of my friends Ann, Edith, and John. They have all gone before me. I don't know if it has to do with All Souls being this week or what, all I know is that I have felt such great sorrow and loss these past two days. What is a girl filled with such dread to do? I talked to satan. Yup, you read that right.

This morning was nothing out of the ordinary. Normal mom stuff, sleeping in a little since the kids don't have to catch the bus at o dark 30 anymore. And, they are pretty self sufficient. This insures me maximum snuggle time with my loving husband, George. That is how I like to start my day....lots of snuggles and then a rosary, lol. I realized I hadn't talked to my beloved Dad in a while (George's) and I miss him terribly. I used to talk to him every week, but I've noticed I've pulled away a bit. Sometimes I just want to cry to him over mom. How unfair I still think it is that she isn't with me. How I miss our phone conversations and the sound of her laughter. But, I don't want to have him hurt anymore that he does already, so I keep that to myself. Most days, I am okay, but there are those days where I can barely breathe because the loss of her is so deeply rooted in my heart. But I digress, we were talking about satan.

I went to work this morning and my boss calls me in her office and wants to know if everything is okay. I tell her 'yup'. We have a debbie downer/Eeyore in our group. Totally negative all the time. But, I don't mind so much. Apparently, this particular person told my boss that I am sad b/c 2 people I work with don't like me. WHA? My boss being smart thought she'd come to me first. I told her everything is fine. "I'm sad cause my friend died last week, but that's it". I told her everyone has been nice to me. And that was that. So I went into my head and stayed there for a while. It is here that Bob (aka the Holy Spirit) made me realize that I just might be being attacked. So, I had a talk with satan. Actually, I did the talking. I told him that no matter what he did, what he took from me, no matter how much it would grieve me to have more loss in my life that I would never turn from God. And, that no matter what he said, no matter what I did, or how I behaved, there is nothing that I could do that would stop God from loving me. Nothing. And, there is nothing more powerful than that.

After talking with Dad this morning, I was missing Fr. Antony something fierce. So, I sent him an email. Usually, it takes weeks to get a response. As I was leaving work, I checked my email on my iphone and low and behold there was a gift from God. A beautiful email from Fr. Antony! God is amazing. He truly gives us what we need just when we need it.

You know, while working with the Debbie downer today, as she kept lamenting, I told her to pray. I told her "pray for that person that's what I do". Finally, I told her, I didn't care if anyone liked me or not. "I like me and that is all that matters". She liked that. I can't wait till tomorrow to hear what she tells people I said today! lol So, I try to keep my conversations with her focused on work (this she has a lot to say about) and prayer. Safe topics for me :)

So, the last couple days, I've had a few panic attacks. So great is my sorrow. My favorite gift God has given me is one that I hate the most. It is my heart. While it is wonderful for loving (it overflows with great love) it is wonderful for pain and grieving. My heart feels everything. Especially, grief. At Vickie's memorial my friend Liz Brier gave me the greatest compliment. She wanted to check on me "because I know how you feel things from your toes!". Yes, I do. I am learning to love the sorrow that it brings. A lot of people can hide their true feelings. I cannot. Oh sure, I try every now and then, to no avail. lol My heart just isn't on my sleeve, it is on my finger tips, it is in every breath that I take. So, I thank God for the gift of my beautiful heart, sorrow filled and all. I know that it will not last long. Only for a season.

Until next time,
Advent is coming! Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I have friends. While this is not news to most people, it continues to bewilder me. I didn't have any friends growing up. Well, other than the Beaver, The Brady's and Sigmund the Sea Monster, lol. So, these last five and half years at St. Jude's has been life giving to me in so many ways. One of which is that it has given me best friends, spiritual gurus, spiritual soul mates, and friends.

The bible says to everything is a season under heaven. I'm positive that is for friendships as well. The friends I have made at St. Jude's have not only touched my heart, but they have taken up residence there. The friendships last sometimes years, sometimes months, weeks, days and sometimes hours. Yes, hours. It can take mere seconds for someone to touch my heart and permanently reside there even though our meeting was brief. There are friends like Carol who have been with me forever. We used to see each other ALL the time. Hang out ALL the time. But, life happens, and we still talk a lot, I just don't get to see her ALL the time. That doesn't mean she is ever far from my thoughts or heart. There's one of my spiritual gurus Tina Scheckel. She and I have a connection that is worth more than gold. She ministers to me daily without even knowing it. Yet, I barely get to see her or chat with her. There my Mary Branson, My Mary Boyle, My Julie, My Greta, My Patti, My Valerie, My Tina (Myers). All these women I have a connection with. A huge connection (well to me it's huge, maybe not so huge to them lol). The point being that with any one of these women (and a host of others), I can not see them for a while and when we see each other, it's as if no time has passed and our connection and love remain.

One of these such women, I met five years ago. Her name is Vicky Mower. Vicky is yet another in a long line of fabulous women I have been blessed to meet. She is one of *the* most Holy women I have EVER met in my life. Mind you, I have friends that are spiritual, and lead holy lives and are very righteous women. But, there are only a few who are as Holy as Vicky. Vicky was gifted by God with Fibromyalgia. I don't know much about it, other than to say it was a horrendously painful disease. She has suffered great pain through our entire friendship. And she smiled through it all. Vicky has been sick quite a long time. Then last week, she had a surgery that relieved her pain. For the first time in only God knows how long, was My Vicky free from pain! The doctors said that in 4-6 weeks she will be all better! Little did they know how close they were! This morning, My Vicky is permanently free from pain. Our Father, called her home!

Here's what's so cool. I found out after work (that's not the cool part). George had called me in the morning, but I had my phone on silent. So, I called him after work and he told me. I busted out into tears. Here comes the cool part...on my way to church (I had to go see My Mary Boyle), I praised God the whole way (about 7 minutes lol). Yes, ME. I praised God for bringing My Vicky home. Not only for that, but He gave her some time on this earth free from pain! He gave her body and her soul much needed rest before he brought her home. Now she is eternally pain free! How AWESOME is GOD!

After I had heard the news, I had thought of three people, Russ, her loving husband, My Sharon, and My Julie. They were very close with Vicky. I went to go see My Julie this afternoon. The first thing, she says to me is "did you hear?" I told her I did, and that I was coming to tell her. Then she says, "the first person I thought of when I heard was you". Meaning me. Wow.

There are very few things that amaze me anymore. God. He constantly amazes me. Him, and the fact that I have such a close knit group of friends who love me dearly. Both of those things will never cease to amaze me.

To My Vicky: Thank you for the gift of your friendship and your love. For teaching me there is healing in the suffering. For touching my life and my heart and for gracing me with your holy presence. Welcome Home my dear friend! Dance with Jesus and when you get a moment, tell Mom I said "Hi". Remember, I love you always!

This video is extremely fitting, it is one of my favorite songs of all time. Those of you who get this by email, please go to the website so you can watch. Please.

Until next time,
Forgive each other a little quicker, hug each other a little longer, love each other a lot deeper.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Growing up.

I think I've reached a new level in maturity despite my vasts attempts not too. On the St. Jude website they have forms where you can plan your own funeral. I looked over it a week or so ago and I wasn't all to excited about the readings that were listed as choices. Yea they're okay, but not my favorite readings. And, after all, it is my funeral, literally. And, a.s a control freak, I should have some control over my funeral, at least my wishes anyways. I hope so anyways. But, I digress.

I was at a funeral for a very dear friends Mom this morning, and came across someone in the know about such things who is on the staff at church. So, I asked her if we have to use those readings. she said 'no' and that they were just some ideas. I got all kinds of excited! WOOHOO, I can have my readings! So, I'm sure, that despite my best efforts, that has to be some sort of growth maturity wise, whether I like it or not. lol I mean, who else do you know who gets excited about their own funeral reading? lol

So, I'm at the aforementioned funeral and then it hit me. I couldn't breathe. Mom. George's Mom, MY mom (one in the same). It's been 22 months since Mom passed. Y'know I was commenting to myself the other day (what you don't talk to yourself in your head too? ) how it feels like forever since she passed and how maybe, just maybe, I'm over the grieving process. I thought it was bittersweet. Don't get me wrong, in the breath of a second, I can be back at her viewing. I can feel everything I felt that day. Every nerve ending, every breath, every tear, every thought, I can go right back. But there's something in the simplistic way that without you knowing it's happening, life goes on. Not at first mind you. It's awful! Painful even! When Mom passed, I felt it totally unfair. How can life go on without her here? But one day turns into another into another. And then, without you knowing, one day you find that you can breath. Even though in the beginning, you think it will never happen.

Then, I realized at the funeral, I will never, ever be over her death. And, that thought made me immensely happy. It was the realization that my love of her will never die and never be forgotten. That while my daily life goes on, there are those days, whether at a funeral or out and about, that I will have the wind sucked out of me, and I will feel, deep in my soul, the great loss of my Mom and one of the greatest loves I have ever known.

Until next time,
Resist maturity, it's overrated!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Are you really this random?

So, I'm out running errands today and I was at the dollar store. I love that place! Sometimes I go in there and find tons of goodies. Other days, I go in there and I get bupkiss. Anywho, today I went in there for a few things and at the register they have all this candy. And, I look at one particular box and am a little perplexed. So, as the lady is ringing me up, I ask her..."if they're everlasting gobstoppers, why are there so many of them in a box?". I thought it a good question. And, I'm pretty sure I can't be the only one who wonders such things. Her reply "are you really this random this early?" I told her yes, that I am random all day long and that it drives my husband crazy. I also told her you have to find the joy. You have to look for it. Shout out to my Mary B in Florida!!! I resisted the urge to get smarmy at let her know that it was 11am, not exactly 'early'. So, YEA ME! lol Donald Trump says you have to toot your own horn cuz aint nobody gonna toot it for you. Yea, I'm quoting the Trump and tooting my own horn.

My life, as of late, has been traveling faster than the speed of sound...or light. I can't remember which one is faster. I realize I haven't been writing on a consistent basis. I miss writing, and I miss all of you! Sharon, I miss your smile, your hugs, and your 'burg accent! Not much has changed, more running in place actually. If I keep giving God my running shoes, how is it they end up back on my feet? The most notable update is that I have a new job. Yes, another one. Feel free to groan. It's okay. Long story short, a few weeks ago, things at BJ's started turning. And, after a particularly bad few days IN A ROW, lol, I emailed my podmate, my guru, and spiritual soul mate, Julie. I lamented to her about what had been going on. She and I emailed and Bob gave her a message for me. I was to go apply at AISD and work in the cafeteria. OOOOOOkay. I thought of this a couple years ago before the Dr. Pepper job (which I miss very much. Not so much the job, as the people). The whole process was gonna take about two weeks. Not so much. I applied online and already had my app on there from before. I just had to update my work experience (lots of kitchen knowledge! lol). Then, the background check was suppose to take a week. It took 2 days (b/c I got one last year to volunteer at the school. God works fast when you're listening to His instructions!). Then, my fingerprinting took under 24 hours and this past week I started subbing in the cafeteria! I was at Ford and Lowery this week. Next week, I'm at Ford all week! YEA!!!! I love Ford. I can walk there. I get to see my girls, and the people there were very friendly :) The way it works is I'm in training till I get this sheet filled out (takes about 2-3 weeks) from the different schools I'll work. I can work as much or as little as I want. Then, when a permanent spot becomes available they'll ask whoever is next in line and viola! I'm hoping to get Ford part time permanent from 10-2 everyday :) That would be great!

You know what's really cool and what God showed me this week? My kids are proud of me. No matter what job I have, they are proud of me. I never caught on before. Sure they told their friends where I worked, but I thought nothing of it. Then, this Tuesday, when I was at their school, they both made a point to come up to me to say 'hi'! They were all smiles and so excited to see me. And, that's when it dawned on me, they're are proud of me! That made me feel so good. See, I never think of myself as doing anything for anyone to be proud of, let alone my kids. I'm the ogre, the witch, the drill sergeant. I'm the bad guy. So, I thought that that is how they saw me. Turns out, notsomuch :) I know they love me. It has nothing to do with love. I know I upset them on a daily basis. I didn't know I made them proud and that my dear friends, was WAY cool.

Other than that, the kids are all the same. Just taller and more ornery, lol. George is still George, the love of my life, and I am still clay.

Until next time,
Know that I am proud of you and I love you.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Rainbow Connection

Isn't it funny how you can hear a song, even part of a song, from your past and you are instantly taken back to that time? For instance when I hear a certain Billy Joel song, I'm back at my senior prom (mustangs rule! lol). When I hear anything by Prince, I'm back at one of his concerts. And, when I hear I could not ask for more, I am back at my wedding. Oh, don't get me wrong, while this can be great, it works with not so great memories too.

There's one song I've always liked. And, while the singer didn't have many hits, this one definitely was. I mean, after all, he is a frog. But, hey, inspiration can come from anywhere! I'm sure at some point you have heard the Rainbow Connection by Kermit, the frog. This is one of those songs that take you back in a good way. I can't remember the whole memory, if that makes sense. But I remember my friend Mike singing it to me. I say my friend Mike, but he started out as my sisters friend Mike eons ago. I'm thinkin I was 16. I can tell you why I liked him. Not just b/c he's Catholic (that's a bonus :), but b/c when I was younger, friends were hard to come by. And, while he and Tina (my actual sister Tina, not my church sister Tina's (Scheckel and Myers whom I adore) would hang out, occasionally with me, he made me feel special. Not like I walked on water or I was the only one in the room. More like, I was actually in the room. He didn't talk to me just to get in good with my sister. He was and still is a genuine person.

Mike and Tina and I all went our separate ways. Life happens. It's not good, not bad, but situations change, people grow, we mature (well, you guys do, I'm putting it off as long as possible). A little while ago, Mike found Tina and subsequently, me. Mike is a living, breathing reminder of what the power of God can do. He was really sick not too long ago. And through prayer and healing, he is great now. When we chat, he is a reminder of home. Home being Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, and hockey, and visiting my sister at college (at least once). And, the rainbow connection. He is also a living, breathing reminder of God. Of the power of God. How he works in our lives on a second by second basis. How He stretches us, pulls us, shapes and molds us into His own image. Sure, I love to whine and complain how hard it is. Then, sometimes, sometimes reality hits. He did this with His own son. He stretched him over the cross. He pulled him, proded him, poked him all for us. And, since we too are His children, can we expect anything less? We are called, we are created, we are breathed into existence in His own image. That's the easy part. The hard part is making and keeping our hearts in His image.

That said, here is one of my favorite lines from the song. Sure, I mean the whole song is great, how do you pick? But, here's one of my favorite lines...

Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
I've heard them calling my name
Are these the sweet sounds that called
The young sailors
I think they're one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
There's something that I'm supposed to be

Someday we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

Somehow, this reminds me of God. He's called me too many times for me to ignore Him. And, there's something that I'm supposed to be. Someday I'll find it, the Rainbow Connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.

Happy Happy Birthday, Mike! I hope your day is full of many blessings, you deserve each one!

Until next time,
What's your rainbow connection?


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PS 27:13-14

It's funny, y'know, I am forever trying to rush God! Even as a child, I wanted things "now", way before the 'me' generation happened, before the age of instant gratification. And, that has transferred to my prayer life. Not just mine either, I am guessing. If I would just be patient and wait, how much sooner would my prayers be answered? Truthfully I doubt any faster, as they are answered in His time.

This passage speaks to me. David was a smart one. He realizes...he *knows* that waiting is the hardest part (even Tom Petty will tell you that). David tells me to take courage! Courage--what does it mean? You heart it sometimes, but do you really know? I looked it up for you (and me). It means mental or moral strength to venture, persever, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty Wow! Mental or moral strength. That's big. So, David knew, that we need strength to wait for the Lord. So, I'm guessting that David wanted instant gratification for his prayers too.

So, as I pray my prayers, I will attempt to wait on the Lord with Courage. Ah, my sacrifice beads will get a workout this week!

Until next time,
Courage my brothers and sisters!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

You never know what you'll find

So, I must confess, I am not that great at cleaning. Let alone cleaning out my email inbox. I was going to send an email to a dear friend today and thought "when did I write them last"? Like I said, I'm not that great at cleaning and my sent folder goes all the way back to 2007. lol So, in the search, I found an email from them in my inbox from a couple days ago. Now, I can tell you, I was quite surprised and happy to hear from my dear friend. But, had I not been listening to Gabriel (my guardian angel) or Bob (the Holy Spirit), I would've not searched and missed this beautiful email. Here, I thought I would start my day by sending my friend and email and in turn, they made my day!

A few weeks ago, I was power cleaning the house. And by power cleaning, mean it got to the point that not even I could stand the minutiae that was all over the place and I began to really clean. Not the 'let's move stuff out of the way clean' but the 'let's throw it out cleaning'. It felt good. And, in the process, I found my favorite lip gloss (which I have lost...again, it's forever running away. I think it's in George's car), a favored charm from my necklace, and random change :) Wow!

So, I'm thinking that old saying 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' isn't just for cleaning freaks with a major case of OCD. God is calling us to clean out ourselves. Our temples, that are littered with the minutiae of our lives, the grudges, the judgments that we hold on to, and make room for Him. A new wine/old wineskins sort of thing if you will. You'll never know what you'll find!

Until next time,
What's in your inbox?


PS. Thank You so very much Jeanne! I love you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Me and Carol

I'm suppose to be studying for my BJ's test tomorrow at one. I'm too tired. I feel like I've absorbed all I'm gonna absorb and that I should bee absorbing more. So, in my quest to study, I logged on the computer (just to check facebook, lol) and I started thinking about my Carol. And, it dawned on me, it's been way to long since I've blogged about me and Carol!

Here something that you guys might not know. Carol walks on water. At least in my world she does (as does a couple of my very close friends). And, she was the first person to walk on water that I know of. Here's what's cool about me and her. Well, let me rephrase that, there are a ton of things cool about me (if you guys haven't noticed, lol) and there's a butt load of more cool things about her! And, yes, butt load is an actual unit of measure ;p. So, Carol's on vacation in Virginia/DC at one point, and she and I are iming. I tell her that the day prior was a Carol day...y'know when nothing is going right and somethings buggin you that only Carol's words of wisdom can help. I let her know that I worked through it. But true to Carol's form (and a lovely form it is :) she says spill...or was it what's up? I don't remember, but the point is, she wanted to know what was bugging me. Thousands of miles away, she wanted to know. Not, I gotta go, I'm on vacation you blockhead (she's peppermint paty, I'm thinkin I'm marcy). So, we talked, and of course, I felt better.

Then, while I'm on vacation, I check my facebook (I LOVE MY iPHONE!!!! BEST PRESENT EVER!!!!) I notice that she's back from vacation, so I call to welcome her back! It doesn't matter that I'm on vacation, in a car, with three kids, and my sister driving. Nope, all that was important to me at that moment, was to welcome my Carol back home. One year, a few years ago, the kids and I even decorated her house with balloons and streamers and signs to welcome her back. One year, I couldn't believe I made it a whole month without her, that on the day she returned, amongst running my errands, I rang her bell just to get a quick hug and welcome her back! But, I digress, where was I....oh, my Carol! Yes, yes, I welcomed her home.

What do you think happened when I called her after my vacation? Come on...you can do it....lol, her first words to me were "Welcome home!" Carol is my home.

Yea, home is relative. It can be a house, it can be a feeling. It can be whatever you like. For me, it is a few things. It is my church, St. Jude's. It is resting in the arms of my husband and having him hold me, it is in my very close friends, it is in my Carol....it is in my children. These are home to me. Home. Where I can be my goofy self and it is okay. Home. Where a hug means 'I love you, you make me laugh, I'm so glad you are in my life, everything is going to be okay, that person is a turd, a good friend will help you move...a great friend will help you move a dead body, I'm sorry you had a bad day, I'm happy to see you and I may not like the choice you made, but I love you...unconditionally'. See, a hug is never just a hug, lol!

I have yet to see my Carol since I returned from my vacation, but we have talked (and talked, lol) and I may not have given her a hug yet, but that's okay. She is home, I am home and even if we weren't we are only a phone call and an im away. There is nothing that can separate us from each other, not time, not distance, not pain, nor sorrow, nor anger, nor fear. For ours is a friendship that is rooted in faith. Ours is a friendship that was not only given by God, but blessed by Him as well. And, as the saying goes "what God has joined together, let no man put asunder" That's not just for weddings, you know. God joins us as brothers and sisters, and friends and colleagues, as mentors for each other. Each of you are beautiful gifts given to me by God which I love and cherish. However, my Carol will always be set apart b/c she was the first truest, bestest friend God ever gave me, George, notwithstanding, lol. She was the first person to go 'y'know, you're a little odd, and y'know, I happen to like odd! This is gonna be fun!" And, true to His word, it has been a blast!

So, by now two things are going through your minds...one, if you love her so much why don't you marry her (that's what George would say, lol). Um, I'm already married, a doi! Or two, wow, she really does walk on water! And, to that I say TOLD YA!

So, until next time,
Go meet Carol if you don't already know her. I'm not saying your life is incomplete without her (mine was!) But I am saying your life will be richly blessed!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm back

So, I am back from my 'vacation'. I got back late Thursday night. And, I am still recovering.

Looking back, it was a whirlwind trip, five states in six days...totaling twenty hours in a car and approximately 17 relatives visited.

I knew God was going to be with me on the trip. He even sent messages along the way. As I am boarding my plane (the first one) halfway down the isle is a flight attendant. He asks if I'm going home, I tell him 'no, I'm going to visit my sister and my parents.' His reply "GOOD, IT"S BEEN TOO LONG!" Yea, God, I hear you loud and clear. I couldn't help but chuckle when I got to my seat.

While I enjoyed the vacation, the overwhelming theme to me was stress. I was met at the airport on Saturday afternoon by my sister, Tina, and my nieces Rikki (14) and Kathryn (9 months). It was such a joy to see them! We then drove an hour to their home. During the trip, my sister went out of her way to make me feel loved, wanted, and accepted...things I spent my whole life trying to get from her. She and I have been a work in progress for almost ten years, and only over the last three have we gotten to be okay. Now, I can say, we are fabulous. She made two special trips to take me to Mass (as she attends a nondenominational Christian church). I say two trips because Saturday evening, masstimes.org said Mass was at five, and we roll up about 4:45pm to find people leaving. Turns out it was at four. I knew to call the church and confirm, but in my anxiety, I forgot. So, the next morning, we woke up at 6:30am to make it to the 7:30am Mass (yea, I called and confirmed, masstimes.org had it at 8, lol). She even attended Mass with me. She sang the songs too. However, she didn't receive communion, and this part pleased me. Why you ask? Because she hasn't been to the Mass in a very long time and therefore, she wasn't receiving unworthily. That made me happy. Hey, she's my sister, and her soul is important to me, as is all of yours.

We then go home for breakfast and head on to their church. It was two hours of singing and praising with preaching entwined. I even knew a couple of the songs. Then, in another God moment Pastor Jamie (I think that's his name) says "God meets you where you are". Yup. Yup He does Jamie. Then, in a move that made my sister giddy, they had communion. I say this made her giddy b/c it is only reserved for special occasions. And, she and I had talked about it. And, as the wafer and grape juice passed me, I let it pass. If I recall correctly, I cannot receive at another church, b/c I know it's not really Jesus. Is that right? I'd love clarification on it if you guys have it. But I digress, to my sister, it was cool b/c 'we just talked about it!" And, the cool thing about my sister is that her Catholic roots shine through whether she knows it or not. She believes it IS the body and blood of Jesus. She didn't even catch when the Pastor said it is a *symbol* twice. I did. She didn't have too. She likes all the singing. She left the church b/c her favorite priest left. I can relate. I mean, if Father Tim wasn't here after Father Antony left, would I have found another Catholic church? I can't answer that. I truly don't know. So, I understand why she left. But, eventually, she'll be back. She just doesn't know it yet. Another God moment.

Then, Monday morning, we finish packing and are ready to drive 6 hours to my dads in Florence, SC from Deltona, Fla. I finally tell her I'm a little nervous. "Why?" she asks. I tell her I haven't seen dad or Sarah in eight years. I don't know these people. In my head the words of a former olive garden colleague play in my head the day he got hired at BJ's and I was going in after him "just be yourself'". Tina said everything would be okay, and she'd be my buffer, and she was.

We arrived at my dad's house late afternoon. He gives his hugs and then comes to me, and in a move I wasn't expecting, he hugged me tight. This caught me off guard. Then as we settle in, the things I knew to expect came about...the tour of the changes in the house since I'd been there eight years ago, the infamous bathroom (they had planned to come down but had to change their schedule as the bathroom was being redone), and then the inevitable talk of why don't I go back to college or back to work for the government. Thankfully, God made those conversations short. lol

Then, as we were hanging out, he would do little things that caught me off guard. He found little ways to touch me. A hand on the shoulder, a rub of my head, a sideways hug, playing footsies. Anything to touch me. While these are beautiful, they were unnerving. So, that's when I emailed my chrp sisters for prayers. My nerves were frayed the entire time there. How, I asked my sisters, do I open up to God's plan for this trip and what He wants it to be, while remaining closed off to my dad and not get sucked in again? I wish I could tell you I was able to figure it out, but I wasn't. Throughout your prayers and emails, I was able to stay strong in my faith and keep turning to Him.

I stayed at my dads for three days. Tuesday we just hung out till the afternoon, and my sister, the kids (Randy (11), Sebastian (5) and Kathryn (9 months) headed off to my Aunt and Uncles in Summerville, SC about 1 1/2 away. I got to see two of my cousins and their wives and child. It was great seeing them, especially one of them, as he is my Godson. We stayed just a couple hours and then headed back to Dads. Wednesday morning, we just hung out. There were odd times where conversations were taking place between my dad, Sarah, and my sister, and I'm just sitting there. But, true to my sisters word, she buffered for me.

Wednesday morning, friends of my dad and Sarah showed up. They don't know me but are friends with my sister. I was left out for most of the conversations. However, Sarah surprised me and went out of her way to make me a part of the conversation. Then, in early afternoon, Tina and I loaded up the kids and drove about an hour to Longs, SC to see my mom and mema (10 minutes from Myrtle Beach). This trip was uneventful but beautiful. Seeing my mom and my 91 year old mema made me happy. We then drove back to my dads.

Thursday was breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then we got on the road for the 7 hour trip to the Orlando airport. We had a ton of fun on the ride back. And, she even mentioned how my dad had told her how nervous he was too. I don't think I ever felt closer to my sister. And, by 9:30 that night, I was back in the loving arms of my family.

The visit played havoc with my stomach and my head. Nerves. I think I'm good for another eight years on seeing my dad, my sister not so much. I've been back three days and we have had about that many calls. I'm sure it will taper off with her going back to work from her vacation, me starting bj's, and all the kids starting school. I still don't know what this trip was suppose to look like, or what it was suppose to be. I just know I was suppose to go on it. And, I did. I knew, even miles and miles away, that all of you were there. And, that made all the difference.

So, that was my trip, nerves and all. There are a ton of pictures on facebook if you'd like to see them!

Until next time,
Hug your family a little longer today


Thursday, August 13, 2009

I don't like change. I abhor change. And, that's putting it mildly. I mean come on, knowing I have the faces of dead people in my pocket and i put my hand in there! Is that a nose? Did I just poke Kennedy in the eye again? Okay, Okay. It's not that change I mind.

I don't mind change if I know what's going to happen. Then I'm all "good, I can deal with that!" As most of you know I am leaving my beloved cheddar's to go to BJ's. I am going because not only did God *ask* me to, He shouted and hit me over the head until I listened! So, last night, as I am leaving my last night shift (today was my last day) I had a talk with God that went something like this..."I know you are moving me for a reason, Dad. I don't know what it is. And, so far, I'm not liking it, but I trust in you because you know what you're doing. And, let's face it, I don't, lol".

God never does anything halfway. Here is the changes that are going on all at once:

Today was my last day at Cheddar's.

Tomorrow is orientation at BJ's from 5-7.

Saturday I leave to visit my sister, Tina in Florida and spend time with her that I have not had the opportunity to do so in years.

In addition to this great part of the trip, I get to go see my dad and Sarah, whom I haven't seen in eight years. Yes, you read that correctly, EIGHT years. Then...

I get to see my mom and mema whom I haven't seen in three years. Mema is 91 and it'll most likely be the last time I see her baring an act of God. (He's very fond of those acts I have found as of late).

Then, when I come back five days later, I start training a BJ's for the week.

I now have a Sophomore in hs. Wha?! I KNOW! The girls are still in middle school 7th and 8th. So I'm kinda good with that.

George's contract on his job is up in October! God has a plan, God has a plan, God has a plan.

So, the next couple weeks are all wonky and full of change that I don't like.

But amisdt all the change and the uncertainty that frazzels me here is what stays the same...

God's love for me.

Your love for me. Your friendship, your guidance, your sanity.

God knows what He is doing. He knows the plans He has for me...for prosper, not for woe. Although at times, I will lament WOE IS ME! lol

So, change, while it is not my favorite thing, happens. But the constants stay which makes the change not so bad.

Until next time,

Please pray for my safe travel and my sanity and peace during my trip!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

We're all Israelites

Or at least I am.

This little nugget of information came to me at Mass tonight. I was listening to Fr. Tuan and I was thinking about the Gospel. How God sent the Israelites manna. I was remembering how last year I was reading Exodus. The Israelites, the were not a happy group of people. God frees them from Egypt and mostly all they do is complain to Moses. And, if I recal correctly, there was some whining about "why did you lead us out here! No food, no water, yada yada yada". God gives them signs constantly, but it only holds them for a few seconds and then they're off complaining again.

That's when it hit me. I am no different. Sure, I don't ask for signs. Much. In fact, I ask God for billboards. I haven't for a while. But that didn't stop Him. He kept asking me for something over the last couple weeks. I wasn't sure I was hearing Him right, so I dismissed it. Then this week WHAM! BILLBOARD CITY! He let me know in know uncertain terms, I heard him right. And, now that I heard Him, what was I going to do about it? I chose to listen and obey. More about what He asked at a later time. But, I digress, the point here is that I'm no better. He answers my prayers (in His time) and then I'm all happy! Then, more crap happens. And, I start all over. Instead of 'why did you lead me out of Egypt!'. It's 'I need help with this please.'

So, here's what I've learned today. Whining goes back 2000 years! lol I'm also reminded that God is *always* here. He's always watching over me. Just like a Dad does. Just like He did the Israelites. And, even with all their whining, they got to see the promise land! And, if they got to see it, there's hope for me too!

Until next time,
Listen for your own billboards :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The word H E L L O means:
H=How are you?
E= Everything all right?
L= Like to hear from you
L= Love to see you soon!
O=Obviously, You are my friend...

May today there be peace within you. May
you trust God that you are exactly where you are
meant to be.

"I believe that friends are quiet angels
who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how
to fly."
I hope you are drinking from your saucer

I've never made a fortune,
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow
and I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.
Haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough
But I've got loving ones all around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.
So Lord, help me not to gripe,
about the tough rows I have hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
When the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

When I think of how many people in this
world have it worse than I do, I realize just how blessed we
really are.

Love never gives up,
never loses faith,
is always hopeful,
and endures.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The OCD in me

Number of days since Father Antony left - 20
Number of emails mentioning Father Antony - 36
Number of blogs about Father Antony since he left -4 (not including this one)
Number of tears cried - immeasurable.

Days till he returns 1806.

Just thought I'd update those of you who think I am obsessed. And to you I say "how long have you known me? lol"

Today is going to be a good day. I am convinced of this. I plan on going to adoration (always a good thing) and going to my study group. I am off work today (my one day this week). And, I'm going to spend the evening with my family. Anything else that comes my way is a bonus.

Carolina-I've decided that roses are more beautiful without the blooms.

Carol - Are you ever coming home? I miss you! We need to have your bday dinner!

Jules - From one teacup to another "OWWWWWWWWWWWW"

Mary Branson - Hurry home. I miss you and your smile. Every email, I can hear your soft voice telling me it's going to be okay. I'm working on the "joy" thing. Some days are better than others, but I'm working on it! You'd be proud!

Jeanne-Thank you for loving me. You have no idea how much I need you.

Tina - I'm switching flavors. Ben and Jerry's is way better anyways.

Tammy - your out of office replies let me know you're alive. That and that I want to go on a vacation with you :)

Peter - for being my rock. Hey, if he can be a good enough rock for Jesus, he's good enough for me!

Sharon, my cheerleader, my lifeline to all things burg related. Hurry home! Guess Jules and I will just have to pray harder!

George-b/c you continue to stay and love me.

I love you all.

Until next time,
Have a 'happy welcome to St. Jude' day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Good Riddance

I have a soundtrack to my life. I also have videos. All in my head of course. Have you ever watched a movie and there's a couple remembering something, maybe them walking the beach having a great time and music is playing in the background? I use to wish I could afford to have someone follow me with a video camera and video all the great times I have (which would be a ton) and put music to them, so when I am older, I can watch and remember what a great time I had. Alas, I could not afford such a luxury. So, I have my overactive imagination to keep me company.

My soundtrack consists of music at certain points in my life. Big moments, small moments. There's my wedding song "I could not ask for more". There's the song we used to sing to my grandpa "the candyman" b/c he used to bring us candy all the time. There's "sisters" which I sang with my Carol at the coffeehouse. There's my theme song (it's an Ally Mcbeal thing) which changes all the time. So far it's been 'brown eyed girl', 'make your own kind of music' and 'the world should revolve around me'. Currently, I am themesongless. There's the song I always sing to the girls when they can't sleep "I don't want to live on the moon" and "baby mine". There's the songs I've sang to my children when they were born, "my Maria" and later 'how do you solve a problem like Maria'. "Sarah Smile" "Amazing Grace", "sweet baby James", and "my name is James". And, there's "never alone' which I sing to remind me that mom is always here. And, as of late, there is "Good Riddance" which reminds me of Fr. Antony. I promise you it is a beautiful song by Green Day and nothing horrible as the title might lead you to believe. And there's a myriad of other songs. Hey, I've been here almost 40 years and I love music. I've got a lot of songs! lol

I also have video. I play little montages in my head. This is to the thanks of Grace. After mom died (may she rest in peace) Grace asked me if knowing I would feel all this pain and anguish, and I had the chance to do it over again, would I choose to love her. I of course said 'yes'. And, I go back and I play little videos in my head of my time together with mom. I do it with scenes from my childhood. Times with my Carol and now Fr. Antony. Sometimes, it is a little painful to remember, especially in the case of Fr. Antony when it is so fresh. But most of the time, it makes me smile. It makes me smile in happiness. That I brought someone else joy (MARY BRANSON, I MISS YOU TONS), and love. But, selfishly it helps me remember the love we share. And, in time it will get easier. I remember when Sharon moved back to PA. I remember she told me a few days before Holy Thursday. Then, there we were at Holy Thursday Mass. I was sitting in the main isle on the left. She was on the Mary side. We both were crying. Not just because she was leaving, but b/c the mass was amazing, lol. I didn't know what I was going to do without her! Would I forget her? Would she forget me? Would our friendship fizzle? I am proud to say none of those things happened. Quite the opposite actually. Our friendship has strengthened. We email and she is still one of my biggest cheerleaders! So, eventually, the pain of Fr. Antony leaving will diminish and life will continue.

The path that I am walking (ugh, more walking!) , the one that God leads me on, I do not have to walk alone. Ever. Yes, He is with me. But also, all of you (as I walk with all of you). And, that makes the walk bearable. Thank you.

Until next time,
have some tea in a screaming teacup and play some of your memories. I can't wait for Alzheimer's to hit, it's like meeting new people everyday!


PS. go to the blog (for those of you who get this emailed) www.chrpangel.blogspot.com to see the video.

Good Riddance

Music Videos by VideoCure

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


So, I went to adoration today. It was good to be there. And, in my state (state of panic, state of ick, state of doldrums, state of insane, take your pick) I needed to be there. In fact, He knew, unbeknownst to me, that I needed to be at church.

I know I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know I am emotional. And, I know I love my friends and family very deeply. There are times, when I try not to wear my heart on my sleeve. I try to pretend that reality doesn't exist. Mom's not really dead (okay, now she is, but 19 months ago, it worked for me), Fr. Antony is on a vacation. This coping mechanism works for me, or rather actually, I think it does, only to realize, yea, not so much. This has never been more true, or more evident then today. We all know how much I love Father Antony. How much he meant to me and still does. How much I cried when he left, and lets face it, even before he left. Even after getting an email from him, I cried. Going to mass, I can't help but feel the emptiness, and I cry. So, these last few days, I tried not to think about him and about him leaving, about the deep hole left in my heart. I thought I was doing okay. Thought being the operative word. Then, I went to sleep last night. I had a hard time sleeping. And, then when I finally did, my dream...

I don't know where I was. I was inside a big building that had gym mats and climby type kid things. There were kids everywhere. And someone said to me "I have a surprise for you, turn around" and there stood Father Antony, with a smile on his face. I gave him a huge hug, and said 'welcome home'. Only to have a faceless voice behind me say 'he's not home'. And, I awoke crying.

So, today, I decided no more pretending. It was good that I had the day off today (my only one this week). I decided to let the tears flow as they came no matter where I was. I cried at the hospital (Tina's husband was having outpatient surgery for small adenoid, big uvula, pray for healing please) with Tina, I cried at the tax office, I cried in the car, I cried in Hallmark (I also laughed too, some of those cards are hysterical!) I cried in adoration, I cried with Mary (Boyle), I cried with Rose (please pray for Mark as he was laid off yesterday), I cried with Liz, I cried at my Ignatius group, I cried with George. So, I might be a little dehydrated.

The point here was that God knew I needed to be at church. He had been calling me to Him for a while, and I don't always answer His call (on the other hand, I expect Him to always answer mine lol). Today, I was brought to my knees, and knew exactly where I needed to be, close to Him. So, I went home. I went to church. I stopped in adoration and spent some time with Him. I cried, and my my wandered. Not too far off. Magical things happen in the chapel (other than the transubstantiation). Especially, during adoration. I have heard that some people see little cherub faces. Me, I see eyes. Eyes and animals in the altar. See, I sit front and center on the floor in front of Jesus. I look up to my big brother, and I talk to God. And, I look in the altar. I see bunnies, bears, cats, a doe, and a lamb. All at one time or another. I also look at the Monstrance. But staring at it too long, the gold gets too bright and hurts my eyes. So, after I spilled my burdens to my dad, my mind wandered and I was filled with calm. I then said my goodbyes and went into the church.

There, God sent me to my Mary. Then, to Rose, and then to Liz, and then, He invited me to the St. Ignatius group that I haven't been to in a year. To walk into this amazing group of women and feel such love on such a dismal day was such a gift! It was like I had never left. Yes, God knew best. He knew where I needed to be.

I wish I could say I was done crying for the day, but I wasn't. I cried this afternoon with George. My heart is aching and truth be told, there is a comfort in knowing that I am not alone. That my Julie and countless others are having a difficult time dealing with the loss of Father Antony. In my small world, I know, God needed Father Antony to move on so that I would grow and stretch and learn some sort of lesson that I need to learn (b/c after all, it's all about me, right? lol) I just wish, that the lesson could of been taught another way, without the loss of one of my dearest friend, mentors, and advisor. I am a teacup. At least, that's what Julie keeps telling me. I will be okay, with lots of time, tears, love and all of you.

Until next time,
Pray for my Carol! It's her BIRTHDAY TODAY!!! Happy Birthday, my Carol. See, I blogged about you!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Lay 'em down

This kind of says it all.
Until next time,
go lay 'em down.


Lay 'Em Down by Need to Breathe

Come down to the river

Come and let yourself in

Make good on a promise

To never hurt again

If you're lost and lonely

You're Broken down

Bring all of your troubles

Come lay 'em down

All you sinners

And the weak at heart

All you helpless

On the boulevards

Wherever you are now

Whatever evil you've found

Bring all of your troubles

And come lay 'em down

We're all tied to the same old failings

Finding shelter in things we know

We're all dirty like corrupted small towns

We'll bring our troubles

We'll bring our troubles lay 'em down

All you rich men

And the high above

All those with

And without love

All you burdened

Broken down

Bring all of your troubles

Come lay 'em down

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Sometimes, I feel as if no one in the world knows me at all. Truth be told, those times are few and far between. But, when they come, I feel that no one, except God, that is, knows me. The very heart of me, and who I am. And, in that moment, I cannot help but feel utterly alone. And, sometimes, I just want to wallow. Wallowing can be good as long as you don't wallow for too long.

Most of the time, however, I am surprised at how well my friends know me. And, not just know me, but love me and are okay with the oddity that I am. Take for example today. I went to the 8 o'clock Mass. It was way early, way too early for me. But, it's Father's day and after work, we wanted to be able to go out to dinner without a huge wait. But, I digress. We went to Mass, and Fr. Tim was there, but Fr. Antony, as you know, was not. I was okay. We sat in our pew, then the singing started and it's like I got slapped in the face by reality. Not just slapped, but bitch slapped. Hard. I can't really explain it. All I knew is that I was not okay. Fr. Antony wasn't here. I'm still not okay. It's been three days. Grieving is different and has a different time span for everyone. Then, I spotted my Julie. After Mass was over, I went to say 'hello' to her and give her a hug. She asked me how I was and I replied "okay, you?" She said it was hard, but she made it through. It was comforting to know that a)someone knows me so well, and b) I was not alone in my still grieving process.

Then, as the day began to close, I got an email from my Carolina. It was about thorns. I'll add it in a few minutes for you guys to enjoy. But here's the thing I've realized as mysterious as I like to be, I am utterly transparent. And, there is a comfort in knowing that my friends know me so well. That even when I feel all alone, besides God, I really am not.

So to Julie and Carolina, thank you for being with me as I wallow and grieve. And to all my friends, thank you for knowing me so well.

Until next time,
Without further ado, I give you Thorns.



Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a "minor" automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss.

Troubles had multiplied.

Her husband's company "threatened" to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What's worse, Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

"She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder "Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered.. "For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended me? For an airbag that saved my life, but took my child's?"

"Good afternoon, can I help you?"

Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. "I . . . I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.

"For Thanksgiving? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories, "
she continued.. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"

"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."

Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you.."

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer....

"Hi, Barbara, let me get your order." She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped; there were no flowers.

"Do you want these in a box?" asked the clerk. Sandra watched was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.

"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.
"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said, as she gently tapped her chest.

Sandra stammered, "Ah, that lady just left with . . . uh . . .
she left with no flowers!"

"That's right," said the clerk. "I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today," explained the clerk.. " She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk. "For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel.."

"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.

"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly.

"I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, 'Why? Why me?!'
It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."

Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."

Just then someone else walked in the shop.

"Hey, Phil!" the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.

"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement, twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator..

"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously.
"Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks
like that?"

"Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced," Phil replied. "After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from "thorny" times. That was good enough for me.
I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us."

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"

"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life" Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too . . fresh."

"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love.... Don't resent the thorns."

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.

"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."

"Thank you. What do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart... The first year's arrangement is always on me."

The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."

It read:
"My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."

Praise Him for the roses;
thank Him for the thorns.

God Bless all of you.
Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.

"Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly,
and leave the rest to God.."

We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and Duct tape.
God did it with nails.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

He is not here

Y'know, I read the bible. Not as often as I did when I was in bible study, but I read it and I find comfort in it. Solace. Still, even in the studies, it was hard to relate to the apostles, the women, everyone. Oh, I've tried, and I can imagine what they felt. Today, however...today was different. I can totally align myself with Mary Magdalene. I can tell you, that I have felt almost the exact gut wrenching pain she felt when she went to the tomb and found it empty. I know b/c that's exactly how I felt today.

After little to no sleep last night, I went to Fr. Antony's mass this morning. It was packed! We estimated that there were about 900-1000 in attendance to say there goodbyes. And, lest you think I was the only one crying, there were plenty of tears to go around, and not just from me. I stood in the back, as I had a mission. I wanted to be the last one Fr. Antony gave communion to. And, I was. I know it didn't matter, but to me it did. And, it mattered to about 20 other people as well. See, Fr. Tim's line was short and Robert tried, to no avail, to redirect people from Fr. Antony's line. They weren't moving, and neither was I.

Fr. Antony was so emotional, he had Fr. Tim do the homily today. I think it was a good thing too, as Fr. Antony was crying too.

Today was an extra special day. People were hugging just a little bit harder, just a little bit longer. We lost one of our own. One who was really never ours to begin with, but one who became one of our own. And, yes, I am comparing Fr. Antony to Jesus. There is no way possible not to as everything Fr. Antony did was a shinning example of Jesus. You could not go to confession with Fr. Antony and not feel that Jesus was sitting across from you. It is impossible. Fr. Antony is funny and warm and loving and made those who truly know him feel absolutely special, like they were the only one in the world at that very moment. It would just be the two of you and he was in no hurry to be anywhere else. That my dear friends is Jesus. So, I do not feel in the least blasphemous to compare Fr. Antony to Jesus. Because after all, isn't Jesus the heart of all of us?

Today, after work, I stopped into adoration as I hadn't been there in a while, and who better to ease my pain, but my dad? And, as I pulled up to the chapel, I began to cry and then I heard "He is not here". No, he is not. He is not here, where he was just hours before. He is not saying Mass, hearing a confession, playing with children, talking, smiling, loving. He is gone. He is on a plane. And, that's when it hit me. The pain that Mary must have felt when she went to the tomb to see her beloved Jesus. The only difference is I know where Fr. Antony is and it was still a gut wrenching pain.

You know, throughout this whole ordeal of Fr. Antony leaving, I have been brought to my knees. A lot of us have. I have been brought closer to God. We all have a hole deep in our hearts that will forever be there. So, on this day, this very day, continue to love a little deeper, hug a little tighter, and hold on a little longer.

Until next time,
Pray for Fr. Antony, his safe travel, for rest on his vacation, for God to ease the pain in his own heart as he leaves all of us, and for his new mission in India.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

And they'll know we are christians by our love

So, it came and it went. Today. The day I have been dreading for five years. Father's Antony's goodbye party. I went to Mass this evening. I knew I was going to cry. But then, he did his homily and spoke from his heart at the end, and I lost it.

Then we went to his party. I was a wreck and that's putting it mildly.

But something amazing happened tonight. At the party, my friends were there. Most of them. And, they know how much I love Fr. Antony. They came up to me and would ask me how I was. Seeing that I was crying buckets and trying, albeit not very well, to hold it together. Then, I had said something to Terry Holliday along the lines of "I was fine until his homily" and Terry said the most beautiful thing. She said "oh, Gina, you were not going to be okay today at all!" lol

So, while I am mourning Fr. Antony, I looked around the hall, it was packed. And, all around this hall, was my friends, my family. I spoke with Deacon Ron for a while and he looked around the hall and said that it reminded him of the song 'they'll know we are Christians by our love'. He was so right. So, I looked around this room, filled to the gills, and there was my family. The people who know me best in this world and love me anyways (Julie, Carol, Shannon to name a few).

So, as I continue to look around the room, and see my family, my true family,I've seen how much I've grown. With each of you, by my side, I've grown. In my spirit, in my faith, in my life, in my love. Thank you all for loving me, embracing me, growing with me, and being with me as the stretching from my growing gets to difficult for me. In short, thank you for carrying me on my stretcher up to the roof. Not just today, but always.

I love you all!

Until next time,
Pray for Fr. Antony for a safe trip.



Carolina gave me a huge hug after Mass. I told her how I'm still irked that God took my mom, now Fr. Antony. She said that God thinks I'm ready to go it alone. I can't. I'm not that self sufficient, lol! For those of you in need of big hugs, Carolina rocks!

Friday, May 29, 2009

He did it again, Julie!

He amazed me yet again! lol

This week has been awful. Like, cramps of death, curl up in a ball, the haircut is too short, I put on too much weight, they're out of ben-n-jerry's horrible!

But here is what I have learned this week.

* I am a teacup (thank you, Julie :) )

* I am deeply loved by those who know me well (thank you Carolina :) )

* Why would I let people who haven't seen me in ten years define who I am or what I feel when they don't even know me (again, words of wisdom from my Carolina :)

* That even through distance, I can feel a go-limp-in- my-arms-as-I-hold-you hug (thank you, Sharon:))

* That God is here even when I don't feel Him (again, Sharon :) )

* That God's reasons are way better than mine. That He wants to give me my hearts desire but my hearts desire isn't always what's best for me. (thank you, Tina)

* That God wants me to come to him just as I am (thank you, yet again, Jon! You ROCK!)

* That every walk begins with a single step (thanks, Carol :) )

* That I am loved, just the way I am by all of you.


Thank you. Thank you all. For loving me. Just as I am.

Until next time,
Know that I love all of you very deeply and am always praying for yunz guys :)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's just a washer.

Today was not exactly the best day. And, that's putting it mildly

I talked to my dad. My brother's been home for a few weeks. My dad was suppose to call me when he got there. He didn't. My brother has issues with everyone except my dad right now and my dad said they almost got into it a few times and he was respecting my brother's wishes. What about my wishes? What about me wanting to know he was okay? What about a call that said "you're brother's here, he's fine, but doesn't want to talk to anyone". But apparently my wishes don't matter.

To make it worse, I asked him when he's gonna come to visit as I haven't seen him in about ten years. Yes, you read that correct. I haven't seen my brother in eight years or my dad in ten. But, I digress. He said the stock "I'd love too". But, then he told me all about his trip in October he and Sarah will be taking. Another cruise! A once in a lifetime transatlantic cruise to parts of Italy and Spain (and I think France) for 18 days! Then he regaled me with reminders of his trips last year. All which didn't include visiting me.

Just when you think it couldn't get worse, he tells me how if he hits the lottery (he already had 2 million what has happened to it I don't know, don't care) he would send my family and my sister's family on a cruise together. Then, he'd send me back to college. He didn't want to hear it when I told him that I didn't know what I want to be when I grow up so why go to college? Why pay all that money until I decide what I want to do? But of course, my dreams don't matter.

You know, going through St. Marks chrp, I came to the realization that I love my dad for who he is with him never changing. Then, in the spring, came the whole 'he bought me a washer' thing and while God used him to fill a need, I stupidly got sucked in and thought that he was changing for the better. Stupid me for closing my eyes so tight. It was a washer. God filled my need. While it was an act of God. It was just a washer. He's not changing. While he loves me in his way, it is never going to be the way that I want. I am never going to be good enough. I'm never going to be smart enough, rich enough, powerful enough. I mean, he hasn't even tried to see his own grandchildren, let alone his own daughter in the past ten years. Why this suprises me I have no clue. But it did. And, the fact that I am pmsing I'm sure made it much worse. But still.

Then, the envy hit. Yes, I know it's one of the deadly seven and probably my worst. But occasionally, it rears its head. What am I envious of you ask? My husband, Carol, Tina. All have awesome parents. Carol and Tina not only have awesome parents, but also have great relationships with their siblings. I have a mom who tries to hard and it always comes back to her; my dad, well, nuff said about that, my brother the most immature 34 yr old alive. Yes, yes, he's been at war, but the stories I could tell you would make you faint, curl your hair, pick your analogy. And, then I have my sister, Tina. Who is trying desperately to have a relationship with me now and we are working on it. However, with both our husbands jobs not secure, our financial situation are grim. So we cannot visit each other's families as she lives in Florida. So we email and call occasionally. But it's not the same. Then, I have Mom. George's Mom. We all know how *that* turned out. Still sucks. I have George's dad who totally rocks. But seriously, how much can I lean on him? He's not really the type of guy who likes to listen to the mundane office gossip. Y'know what I mean?

Father Antony is leaving. I haven't seen my therapist in months (that costs money that I don't have). The world feels like it's closing in. And, oh, that little gem that God put in the bible about asking for things in His name and he'll give it to you? Yea, that's a ruse. He forgot to add at the end, if He wants to give it to you. Or, if it's best for you. Trust me on this.

And, you know what the crazy thing is in all of this? It was Sarah's idea to get me the washer. Not even my dad's. I don't know what's worse, the fact that I got sucked in yet again, or the fact that it was just a washer.

So, here I sit with mom gone, working a lot. I couldn't tell you the last time I spent any time with my Carol, my house falling down around me, no permanent job for George in sight, Maria with bronchitis, Jaime failing Math, a dad who doesn't want to see me and a sister that does. I know God loves me. Truly, I do. But, y'know, today I'm just not feeling it.

Until next time,
Thanks for your ears.