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 :)