Friday, October 28, 2011

Soul Asylum

Today was not the best day.  It was alright, nothing special.  Lots to do, yada, yada.

There came a point in my afternoon when I lost it.  I lamented to my husband how awful things are.  I told him how I'm tired of God always saying 'No'.  I feel like I'm being smote.  I pray for x, nope.  pray for q, nope.  Y and z?  Nope.  Smite, smite, smite, that's what I felt like.  After I hung up with George, God asked me if I really felt that way.  While I wanted to say 'yes', my soul said 'no'.  My soul betrayed me.  Here I am angry at Him.  Well, more like really irritated.  My soul knew however, that it belongs to Him.  Even though I wanted to say 'yes, I'm tired of not getting anything I'm asking for!' (stomp feet like little child here)  "Why talk to Mary and the Saints and ask them to intercede for me if all you're gonna say is 'NO'?"  Whine more here. 

Then, immediately, God said "Here, I'll take care of this little thing for you".  No, it's not one of the big things on my list I've been praying for (and it's not even a huge list!) It was something small, but nice nonetheless.

I hate when I answer my own question.  Why do I pray to Mary and the Saints for their intercessions if God is going to do what He wants anyway?  Because.  Because Mary is my mother and I can lament to her about anything.  I can rest in her mantle and find comfort there.  I pray to the Saints because they have been where I am.  They know exactly what I'm going through.  They have struggled, just like I have.  I can pray to them and ask them to intercede.  And, should God's will align with my will, that's fabulous.  But, at the end of the day, it's not about me.  Yes, you heard me right.  It's not about my wants.  My Christmas list of things I'd like.  No, it's about loving God.  And, that I do.  No matter how irked I get, how angry, how sad.  I love Him and he loves me.  No matter how many sins I commit, no matter how bad I am.  No matter if I'm irritated at Him or not.  That is unconditional love.

So while my human side complains, my soul knows where home is.  My soul is my safe haven.  My place to draw into.  My asylum. 

Until next time,
Enjoy the lovely cool weather!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

God is not Santa Clause

Did you ever feel so lost, that you feel you can't be found?  Or rather yet, that you didn't know how you would ever be found?

Years and years ago, say about five.  It was right after I went through a Christ Renews His Parish weekend at St. Jude's.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it is 33 hours with just you and God and 30 or so of your closest women friends (men for the men's group)  My light didn't just come on, it exploded.  Yes, I'm a cradle Catholic.  Yes, I said my prayers.  But I really never knew much about my faith.  The how's and the whys and the how comes.  After this weekend, I started digging and learning more about different Saints and the Pope, Mary, and the Trinity.  During this time, and long after, I wanted nothing more in life, than another child.  I begged God.  I pleaded with God.  I prayed to Mary, to Jesus, to God.  To St. Jude, St. Therese, and St. Gerard and I think even St. Monica.  All for naught.  I used to say "God can open up every womb in the bible but he won't go woogy woogy with his hand over mine!"  I had my friends praying.  I wanted so desperately to have another child.  My friends were getting pregnant and having kids.  Not me.  We even looked into foster adopt but when my husbands job became unstable, it became a moo (yes, I know it's moot, it's in reference to a Friends tv episode) point.  Then, one of my gurus, Julie said to me something along the lines of "God knows what's best for you.  He's telling everyone whose praying for you (the aforementioned) that if "She asks for it again, just tell her not right now".  So, the aforementioned were interceding for me, just sometimes the answer is not right now, and some times it's a big fat flippin "NO"!

You guys already know, that I didn't get another child.  I begged God a couple years ago that if he wasn't gonna pony up with a kid for me, to take away the desire.  And, two years ago, He did.  There is something very freeing in that.

The other day, I was talking to you about my project.  It is truly, most certainly, a lost cause, like I feel most days.  But, I've been doing the novena to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.   So far, nothing.  But, I've started talking to St. Jude.  Really, it's a one way conversation.  It mostly goes like this "Hello, St. Jude.  I don't know how you'll do this.  Not that I don't think you can, but it would truly be a miracle.  There's no other way for it to happen other than Divine intervention.  And, I kind of feel like that's a crap shoot.  Let me explain that.  Yes, I wish it could be as easy as 50/50, but I don't think it is.  No matter how much I whine and cry and stomp my feet; no matter how much I beg and pray to every saint; no matter how many novena's are said, if the answer is 'no', it's going to be 'no'.  I just really don't like the 'no's or the 'not right now's'.  But, prayer really isn't about a wish list, and God is not Santa Clause.  I don't have to behave or make the nice list to get what I want.  Oh, how sometimes I wish it was that easy!  Prayer is about coming to God and sharing with Him my day.  Sharing with Him my joys and sorrows.  God gives me what He knows I need, when I need it.  Like my husband, for example.  Now, with all my kids almost out of high school, I can't imagine having to take care of a baby.  My puppy is tiring enough! lol  So, He does truly know what He's doing.  And, I guess that should give me some consolation.  And, truth be told, most of the time, it does.  It's just sometimes, when you want something so bad, so very bad that you ache for it (and inasmuch as I really, really, really want the project to work, I'm not aching for it, like I did a baby) and the desire for it almost consumes you, you really want the answer to be 'yes'.

And, in all the wishing and working and trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, I get a little lost.  But don't worry, I don't need bread crumbs to find my way back, just Hail Mary, two, Hail Mary...

Until next time,
Pray for JJ Pounds a 14 year old boy with two inoperable tumors in his head that are causing almost total blindness.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fraud Protection

So, the past few weeks I've been working on a project.  It doesn't matter what it is.  Only a few of you know.  That's enough for now.  So, this project, I've been praying on really hard.  And to all the naysayers I have been saying "It'll work, and if it doesn't then it wasn't meant to be.  God has a plan."  Remember a few zillion posts ago when I said how much I hate that saying?  I still do.  I am a fraud.   Even though I was saying God had a plan (which He does) with enthusiasm, what I meant when I said it was "God is going to see how much I want this project to work and therefore, it will work!"  See, I'm a fraud.

My husband, awesome as he is, let's me run with my little projects on my hamster wheel to churn and turn and expend my energy.  He knows I won't stop till my project is done (and my current project, though detoured, is not done).  We were talking today and I told him how depressed I was that said project isn't working out like I planned.  I finally told him how I had seen my plan going.  His response, said with compassion and love, "you really are a dreamer".

I do not expect things to always go my way.  I do not expect to get everything I ask for.  I should figured something was wrong when I asked for a sign and the song on the radio became "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones, lol.  However, I passed that off as a coincidence.  See, again I'm a fraud.  When I ask for a sign and it's in my favor, I think it's a sign.  When it goes against what I want, I think it's a coincidence.  And, the sad thing is I don't think I'll ever learn.  There has to be some sort of fraud protection, right?  I go to church every Sunday.  I say my prayers.  I brush my teeth, I wash behind my ears.  Why can't I get this right?

The funny thing in all of this is that while I'm a little discouraged, and realllllly tired of the "God has a plan, this wasn't the right thing for you", even though it's true,  I want someone to hug me and say "Yes, God has a plan.  Yes, it would have been awesome if it worked out your way, but I still love you, and we'll get through this."

It occurs to me, that this is a valley time for me.  That's okay.  I love valley times.  Sure, I'm a little down.  Sure, I feel irked, irritated, sad, that my project got a detour and didn't go as smooth as I would have liked.  And, I'm sure it will get a couple more detours along the way.  That's okay because God truly does have a plan.  And, technically, I'm not a fraud, just human.

Until next time,
Pray for amazing test results for all of those who took the ACT today, my son included.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Loaded Dice

So, a year and a half ago, I started a bunco group (for those of you who don't know, bunco is a dice game.  Very easy, very fun.  Google it)  I got tired of being a substitute for other groups and I got tired waiting for people to move, get kicked out, or die, to become a permanent fixture in a group.  Laugh, go ahead, but us bunco gals, we take our games seriously.  It's a monthly time to come together, roll the dice and talk.  We talk about husbands, kids, work, everything under the sun.  Nothing is off limits really.  We laugh so much, so hard, that today, my abs were sore.  That's my kind of exercise!!! lol

Yesterday wasn't the best day, by a long shot.  A project I've been working on for about three weeks didn't work out like I hoped it would.  At work, conotworker seriously got on my nerves.  My youngest decided this week that she's not gonna eat beef anymore (as I am making a big ol pot of chilli).  Something about how cows are raised blah blah blah.  I tell her you eat what I make or wait till breakfast.  She had cheese and chips which were technically part of dinner.  All week, she's been talking about wanting to eat a chicken salad with breaded chicken.  So last night I buy the salad stuff, buy Tyson 100% all natural chicken fingers all white meat breaded.  She'll be so excited, she's wanted it all week.  Yea, WRONG!  I got yelled at..."YOU BOUGHT THE WRONG CHICKEN!  THEY FEED THOSE CHICKEN CORN!!!  DON'T YOU WATCH WHAT AMERICA EATS?!" or whatever the show is called.  OH MY GOSH shoot me now!  SERIOUSLY!  She's been yammerin on all flippin week and I try to be nice and get yelled at!  Why did I want to have three kids again? lol

This brings me back to bunco last night.  I tell my friends about the situation which  brings us to the topic of organic food.  How it's good for you, and we'd do it if it wasn't so expensive to which I replied "Not me!  Give me all the preservatives and additives.  I wanna be here for a while, start the embalming process early!"  To which my friends just busted out laughing.  I wasn't gonna go.  I was tired, exhausted, emotionally drained.  But I knew that in the end, if I went I'd have fun, so I did, and I did.

See, when you have kids you pretty much have zero time for yourself.  Then as they age, you find a few minutes here and there.  My three are all teenagers in high school.  My bunco time is sacred.  We have been known to move the bunco day (usually a stand alone day every month) b/c of things that are happening with our families.  I make it a point never to miss a bunco.  That's my time.  I need it to keep me sane.  Well, relatively speaking.

My bunco friends, they're what make it special.  The subtle nuances that no one else would understand.  The code words we use for different things.   These ladies are awesome.  We celebrate birthdays and babies, and death.  We pray for each other, we genuinely love each other.  It is the most beautiful thing to see.  Then, one of my favorite parts of life, not just bunco is when I get home.  Usually, I carpool.  Sometimes it's with my favorite neighbor Cat, sometimes with my best friend Carol.  But whenever I carpool, we end up sitting outside my house and talking.  Sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for forty, it doesn't matter.  I think the best conversations, the real, honest conversations, happens in the car in front of my house.  What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but there are no video's made in bunco or my car for that matter.  It's almost sacred.

The women are amazing.  They're  teachers, and brainiacs, and goofballs.  Stay at home mom's, working mom's, and women who don't have kids.  There are those that are married or dating, or single.  They will give you the shirt of their respective backs.  They, my group of crazy bunco friends, they are the loaded dice.  They are the ones that once a month, no matter what's going on in my life, no matter how good or how bad my day has been, no matter how punch drunk I am, they are the ones that make me laugh and smile and feel loved.  They are loaded with love, compassion, and patience.  When God plays' bunco, they're all at the head table :D

Until next time,
Pray for a friend of mine who is struggling.


Monday, October 17, 2011

This past week my loving husband and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary.  To me, this is a huge feat.  For one, he hasn't run for the hills screaming. lol.  It's no surprise to those who know me well, that I am an acquired taste like brussel sprouts or broccoli and that's putting it mildly.  I rarely color inside the lines.  I'm a bit of a control freak.  I champion the underdog, I can't stand the cowboys and I eat weird combinations of food (potato chips and cool whip YUM!)  If you asked me what I'd expect in a marriage eleven years ago, I'd say I'd expect to stay together forever and that it was going to be constantly romantic like the movies.  That we'd be exactly alike and like the same foods and same things.  After eleven years I've learned that that marriage would have been very, very boring.

George and I have been through a lot in the last eleven years.  More than some, less that others.  And, through it all we've grown together and not apart.   Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to move away from friends and family and all that we know.  We only had each other to lean on.  Each other, and God that is.   This happened almost right after we were married.   We learned that we are stronger than we thought, that's for sure.  I credit that growing time and our time here at St. Jude's in strengthening our marriage (not that it was bad before, because it wasn't).  Thank God we don't think alike, or like all the same things.  That would be so boring.  I will sit through movies I think I'll hate and actually love (Inception), I will sit through movies I'm not a huge fan of (Star Wars).  He will sit through Funny Girl and watch Rhinestone and They Call Me Bruce.  The later two are two very bad b movies that just crack me up.

I've always said that our marriage works because when need be I bring him up in the clouds with me, and/or he'll pull me down and plant my feet firmly on the ground.  After eleven years, my husband still makes me homemade oatmeal every weekend, still surprises me with little things like cards or flowers, or pretzel m&m's from the store.  My husband knows me so well.  He knows that when I set my mind to something, I don't let go until after all options have been exhausted.  He knows when things are important to me.  He knows sometimes I have to chase parked cars, and he lets me.  I am free to be myself.  He deals with my anxiety and panic with love and support.   In turn, I know my husband.  I know how he likes to get on the computer before bed.  I know how he loves his draft day with his baseball guys that he's been in for over 20 years (HI ADAM!!!! Miss you!).   I know how he likes to wind down after a long week.  We love to tease each other and joke around.  We are big, big joke people.  We love to laugh all the time.  We say silly things, gross things, it doesn't matter.

Our children have witnessed it all.  They've seen us argue (sometimes) they've seen  laugh (all the time), they've seen us sad when family members pass.  They have inherited our goofy sense of humor.  And, they've inherited our love of God and St. Jude's.  But mostly, I am happy that they have seen our marriage as an example.  My husband is the best husband and father that I could have every imagine.  As I've said from day one, he is my guardian angel.  God sent him to me when I needed him most and I didn't know I needed him.  No, no, contrary to popular belief, he is not perfect.  I mean come on, the man eats tuna and likes mayo (EWWWW!) but in my eyes he is.  He knows what I need before I do (most of the time).  He is my rock.  He is my champion.  He is my husband.

So a mere eleven years have passed.  We have seen marriages, births, and deaths.  We have made great friends, and lost others.  We have celebrated and we have mourned.  We have lived and we have loved.  We have been us.  For better or for worse.  For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death us do part.

Until next time,
Please pray for those couples going through retro vie


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fear, Bruce Willis, and Angels

Things I have learned in the past week...facing your fears doesn't mean you've conquered them.  Angels really do exist, and God really does listen.  The last two I was never in doubt of.  The first one, I just figured would sort of take care of itself.  Let's begin, shall we?

Cue the Scooby Do flashback lines....

Last Saturday morning, George was leaving on a trip to Philly to spend time with Dad who just turned 70.  Those of you who live in Philly whom we love dearly that he did not see while he was there, please do not take offense.  This was purely a trip for him to spend time with Dad.  It was a quick trip that's all.  Hopefully, he and I will be able to make it up soon and see everyone.  But, I digress.  I have yet to drive to the airport.  We've lived in Dallas going on 8 years.  I've driven as far as Medical City, but never to the airport.  The ride scares me.  Why?  I have no idea.  It just does.  So, George and I leave at 4:30 am to get him to the airport.  Now, it must be said that my son was going to go with us so that he could drive back with me for company and/or moral support.  Said child complained in his best whiny voice as to why he had to go.  He was so tiiiiired.  I told him go back upstairs and not to worry.  He then said "you can't do this".  Challenge accepted there, buddy!  I told him yes I could and to go back to bed.  Funny how same kid can get up at five in the morning when he has to be to work at six, but when a parent asks him he's too tired.

 Let's fast forward to the airport.  I drop my loving husband off.  There are some things you need to know, if you don't already.  George's Dad is my dad too.  No, we're not inbred.  His Dad has been the most amazing father to me and I could not love him any more if he were my own flesh and blood.  I so wanted to go up to Philly.  But, it was homecoming weekend here, and with three teenagers....I got to do the mom thing, which I was excited and happy about, but was bummed I couldn't go, nonetheless.

So, I drop George off at the airport.  No lingering goodbyes.  I have a cell phone fully charged.  Almost a full tank of gas, I am prepared (mostly) to drive home.  Did I mention how I'm not a fan of driving from the airport?  And, away I go.  No time for tears, I'm too full of anxiety.  This next bit is the conversation I had in the car with myself and with God.

I have to merge out of the airport to the North exit.  "Dear God, where did all these cars come from at 5:30 in the morning?!"  There's a two lane merge.  I'm going to go when this van next to me goes.  Pleasedon'thitmepleasedon'thitme!  Ahhh, it didn't hit me!  "Thanks, God!" 

Next is finding the toll tag exit...ahhh there it is!  And I go thru.  How do I get to 635?  What do you mean there's no lines on the road!  I have to go diagonal!  Who built this road?  This is insane!  Dear God, don't let any cars come behind me (no one is there at this point) till I make it over to 635!  Ahhh, thanks again, God!  Okay on 635.  Speed limit is 60.  WHY IS EVERYONE GOING 70!!!!  Go ahead and pass me please!!!!  FINE!  I'll speed up.  Dear God, it's axe murderer dark!  Where is 75!!!!  How am I suppose to get all the way over there?!  Is the guy in front of me drunk or just trying to get in the next lane?  Please put a car in front of me....ahhh thanks!!!  Ahhh the mecca!  75!!!!  I know where I am!!!!!  Although, I've never driven this far down, I know where I am!  Man, my hands are hurting.  Didn't realize I was gripping the wheel so hard!  And, I make it home at 6:10.  Take that didn't think I could do it, son! HA!

Then, I spend part of my morning volunteering at the St. Jude carnival and then the afternoon getting all three kids ready for homecoming.  I marvel at the fact I faced a fear today.  Still a little wired though.  I can tell you this...come Monday evening, when I have to pick up my husband from the airport, I'm leaving early while it's still dark out.   No more night driving for me!

Do you know what a big sense of humor God has?  Fast forward to Monday evening.  George's flight was DELAYED until 11:30 AT NIGHT!!!!  UGGGH!  One of my very best friends and one coworker tell me to take 121.  "Straight shot!  No problem!"  I left the house at 9:30 PM.  I arrive at the airport at 11:30 PM!!!!!  I get almost to the airport and then I hit night construction!!!  It was awful.  There was a detour and I got lost for a minute or two.  I had the grand idea to follow the truck in front of me that had a police sticker on and a Marine one too.  I figure since he was in the airport lane, he knew where he was going and if something happened, he'd help out.  Never mind that he was in front of me. lol

Somehow, in all the construction we lost the Marine (we being Sarah and I)  we stopped at a McDonald's for directions.  The clerk said "never take 121! lol"  The whole time I weaving my way in construction all I can think of is the scene from Die Hard where Bruce Willis says "Come out to the coast...have a few laughs" lol  When we came out, there was a woman in a minivan, Becky getting directions from 2 construction workers.  I asked if she was going to the airport and was lost too.  Sure enough she was!  We decided to join forces and get lost together!  Fifteen minutes later, we were at the airport.  Sarah and I parked and made it in to get George with zero time to spare!  I still can't believe it took two hours to get there! lol

This was on Monday.  It's now Wednesday.  I finally let go of all the anxiety today.  I likened it to when your kid gets hurt.  You do what you need to do, deal with the situation and then, in the aftermath have your breakdown and go "Do you know how bad that could have been?"  or "My poor child!"  I was so on edge all weekend with the drive on Saturday and knowing that I had to drive on Monday that it just stored up.  Sure, George was now home, but it took a while to come down from all the anxiety.  And, to my Carol and Tina and of course my loving husband, who told me how proud of me they were, thank you.  That means the world to me.

So, finally today, all that anxiety finally broke.  I broke down to my husband.  Did I tell you how amazing he is?  He comforts me and makes me feel so loved.  Then, he brings me some chocolate cake!  Told you he was awesome!

So, now that I drove to and from the airport will I do it again?  I don't know, but I'll tell you I'm not in a hurry that's for sure.  But I will tell you that God is awesome.  He sent me angels a Marine and Becky to help me face my fear.  Keep in mind I said face, not conquer.

Until next time,
Remember, you are loved!