Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You can't circumvent God

A few years ago, I use to pray for patience.  I like to say God gave me many gifts, coordination and patience are not one of them.  So, I would pray for patience.  Then, I heard a few people say that if you wish for patience that God would give you things to test/work your patience.  So, I got wise and stopped asking for patience.  Yea, didn't really work.

I notice that I am kind of in a loop  (look kids, big Ben, parliament!) and I'm pretty sure I'm destined to stay on this loop for a while.  I give stuff up to God and then the next thing you know I'm back trying to control the situation.  Yesterday morning, I started a new novena.  Look to the right on the blog and you can pray it with me!  I decided to get wise.  Last time in the novena experiment my prayers for others came through, nothing for me.  So, I decided that I would only pray for my family this novena.  Yea, here's what you don't know, my family extends to my gurus and certain friends too.  A son of one of my gurus has been battling and infection in his hand and of course, I added that to my novena yesterday, fully aware that that was the one prayer request in my novena that will be answered and although it's not for me, I'm okay with it b/c I love my guru deeply,for good.  She is one of my soul mates I will always pray for whatever she needs. 

Today is day two of the novena.  And, in an email that the prayer comes in, I was asked to pray for the intentions of those thousands of people who are praying the novena with me.   Normally, this would not be a problem, and truth be told, it wasn't today either.  I was again betrayed by my soul.  I read that and my soul automatically prayed for their intentions.  And, my human side was all "awww, man!  Now my requests are NEVER gonna get answered!"  Then, I added an intention, for my son.  He's applying to college's this week.  What was his first choice in school is now down to his second choice.  I really want it to be his first choice and have him get in and go there.  So I prayed that God would put him in the college that He thinks is best for him.  As my soul is praying this, my human side had a power surge (i.e. the light bulb went off) and I realized, yet again, I am not in control no matter how desperately I try to be.  Yesterday, my son came home with graduation information on caps and gowns and invitations.  Talk about an arrow to my heart.  This year is going so slow and so very fast at the same time.   It makes it hard to breath sometimes.

Selfishness really isn't one of my best qualities.  I want what I want and I want it NOW.  I want my son in this particular school.  I want my kids grades to come up.  I want my husband to get a better job.  I want, I want, I want.  Then, I get an email this morning that smacked the BeJesus out of me.  This email was from an acquaintance.  It was a prayer request.  While the request was for her, the request was also for a tenant of hers who has had a string of bad luck for the last few years that, are you ready for this, SHE HAS BEEN PRAYING FOR!!!   How cool is that?  Prayer is a marvelous thing.  And, it's not about me.  My soul is the coolest thing about me, I think.  We'll that and my heart.  Sure, I like to be selfish and pray for my stuff, but like with this novena, sure, I'm praying for thousands of people I don't know.  But, you know what?  Those thousands of people are praying for me too!  And, it doesn't matter anyway.  While I'd like everything to go my way and have all my wishes granted.  Prayer isn't about wishing, it's about helping my friends, my family (including my guru's), and those I don't even know.

So yes, Virginia, I am not in control, and neither are you.  And, we can't circumvent God.

Until next time,
Please pray for my friends son.  They started a new round of medicine for his infection.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Barry Manilow, Mandy, and The Byrds

Three years ago, I was pretty much hating my life.  Well, my work life.  I was working in restaurants nights and weekends and never really seeing my family.  It takes it toll.  Sure, I have made work friends.  Friends I am still close with to this day (Sarah K, Sarah C, my David and Rachel just to name a few).  I rejoiced when they bought their house or graduated (finally!) from college.  These friends are never more than a text or a facebook away.  But generally, I was unhappy.  My family needed health insurance, I never saw my family, what's a girl to do?  I talked to one of my very favorite guru's, my Julie.  Julie, in a move she credits to the Holy Spirit, told me to apply at our school district to be a lunch lady.  Her good friend is a lunch lady and she loves it.  So, when Julie and the Holy Spirit talk, I listen!    I applied and before I started work three years ago Julie's conversation with me went something like this..."when you start, make sure you find said friend and introduce yourself.  She's awesome and you'll love her!"

So, day one of my job three years ago, I walked up to this woman and said "are you so and so?  I'm Gina, Julie's friend!"  Not knowing anyone or what I was walking into knowing this person had my guru's seal of approval, I knew everything was going to be okay.  Fast forward three (school years) later.  Julie's friend is my friend too.  We have had countless conversations about work, our kids, football and our families.  We have made each other laugh, we have supported each other.  And, most of all these conversations happened at work!  I assure you, work did get done too! lol   She has become someone very dear to me.  She's the one at work that everyone just loves.  You can't help it.  You just love her.

Well, in the crap storm that is life, next week is my friends last week at work.  Her husband got a promotion (YEA) and they'll be moving at the end of the school year (boo).  We have been praying for their house to sell (yea!) which it did (boo) and now, she has to deal with the packing and moving into a rental and everything that entails.  I am bummed.  And, that's putting it mildly.  Everyone at work, minus the conotworker, is majorly bummed.  Not am I loosing a good coworker, I am losing a very good friend.  And while good friends are hard to find, I know we will still text and keep in contact, but it bums me out nonetheless.  I won't admit to tears being shed in the privacy of my bedroom in front of my husband at the loss of my friend.  See, I know the whole 'some people are friends for a season' thing.  Have I told you how much I hate that saying?  I hate it just about as much as the 'God has a plan' saying and that's saying a lot!  So, Bob (aka the Holy Spirit) has been trying to comfort me and told me this is just a season.  I told him I want her to be summer in Texas, do you know how long that lasts?  like F O R E V E R!  But alas, it's not the world according to Gina.  I don't rule the world (be thankful, really!) So, I've been concentrating on what I have learned from my friend.  I've learned countless inside jokes.  I've learned to pick up others slack.  I've learned more about high school football than I ever thought possible.  I've even learned some of the kids names!  I've became friends with football moms.  I've learned things I forgot too, like not to take life and my job, too seriously.  I've learned that no matter where some friends go, we will always be friends.

So, I can't quote Barry Manilow here because the song really doesn't apply and that would just be majorly ooky.  I love her, I don't LOVE her lol!  But, like the Byrds sang "there's a time for every purpose under heaven".  And, this is the time for her to go and for our friendship to stretch (have I mentioned how very much I hate change?  That is unless I change into a size 3 overnight!) and grow and change.  And, I feel comfortable speaking for most of us at work when I say, Mandy, you will be greatly missed.  {()} Ahhh ha ha ha! 

Until next time,
Call your friend you haven't had time too and let them know you love them still :D


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Elton John and the Allen Eagles

For those of you who don't live in Allen, Texas, who have no family, no grandchildren, nieces or nephews in Allen, Texas you will not be aware that last night was a most important night for Allen.  Last night was the semi finals in high school football.  You can joke all you want how football, like everything else, is big in Texas.  You can joke about Friday night lights.  But unless you live in a small town like Allen, with an amazing football team like the Eagles, you just wont get it.  Last night, our undefeated team played our rivals, also an undefeated team.  Sadly, we lost.  Young men who put their pads on and headed to cowboy stadium had no idea that it would be, for the seniors, the last time they would put on those pads.

No, I don't have a football player.  I am a band mom.  I have gone to football games to see my daughter play.  Going to a football game is not like going to a professional game where you kind of watch the game and mainly hang out with your friends.  No, with the Allen Eagles you actually watch the game.  You cheer, you boo, you hiss.  You learn players names.  You sing with the band.   You are a part of something much bigger than yourself.  It brings people together.  No, I am not a football mom, but I have a few very close friends who are.  When they were dancing at the senior pep rally a few weeks ago, I was there to support them.  Not my son who is a senior in the orchestra.  Yes, it was his last pep rally, but I was there to support my friends.    Allen Eagle football is an institution.  It is a beautiful thing to be a part of and experience.

So, in the words of Elton John, "What do you say when it's all over?  Sorry seems to be the hardest word."  For those seniors, it is not the ending that they (or any of the players) wanted.  I could spout platitudes of how it's a great life lesson and how years from now they'll forget the feeling of loss and remember all the good times, but really, that's not going to help them this morning in the cold light of day.  No, what they'll remember is the senior football parents meeting them at the athletic facility after the game.  They'll remember going to one of the players homes and reliving a most awesome season.  They'll remember the city itself.  How you can't look on a facebook posting from anyone in Allen without seeing a comment of how proud this town is of it's boys in blue.  You can watch any sports film you want, Friday Night Lights, Rudy.  But they have nothing on our town of Allen.  Nothing.   The  town is a huge supporter of our team. 

So, thank you.  Thank you, Kyle and Chris and all the other senior players for a great season.  I can comfortably speak for the entire town of Allen, Texas when I say we are proud of you and we love you.

Until next time,
What are you thankful for?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Novena Experiment, Part 2

When last we spoke, I had two days left to go.  In asking for certain knots to be untied, I listed 11.  What can I say?  I was told I could do a whole bunch so I did!  lol  Out of the 11, four were for friends, three were for the kids and four were for George and I.

I was slightly irked after the novena was over.  Well, more than a little irked.  None had seem to have been answered.  Great.  There He goes again with His "big flippin 'no'" of an answer.  Really, Dad?  Really?  Out of eleven you couldn't throw me a bone?   Then today, I get the word that one of my eleven were answered.  I will share it with you.  I had been praying for a peaceful death for my friend Liz's Dad, Larry.  I met Larry years ago when Mom passed away.  He and I were in grief support at our church together.  His wife had passed.  Liz and I have been friends for years.  We are chrp sisters.  In fact, she was one of my dearest friends who comforted me after Mom died.  She is awesome.   Larry passed away yesterday, peacefully.  Exactly what I had been asking for.  Okay, now it should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well that my second reaction (my first being of concern for Liz and her family) was "Seriously, Dad!  Seriously!  Out of eleven you chose one that wouldn't benefit my family?" Which was almost immediately replied to with two things a:  "then don't put it on your list" and b:  "you wouldn't want it any other way".  My stupid soul sold me out again.  Yes, yes, I would  much rather help someone else than myself, most of the time.  However, there are those fleeting moments when I choose to be selfish and stomp my feet and go "Gimme! Gimme!  Gimme!"   Even if I ask nice "pretty please with sugar on top?"  I've bargained "I'll say a rosary everyday for a MONTH!".  Apparently, and, you think I would've learned this by now, you cannot bargain with God.

So, now I am gearing up for another novena, the Immaculate Conception Novena to be exact.  For those of you who don't know the huge misconception even among some of us Catholics is the the Immaculate Conception is when the Virgin Mary was pregnant with Jesus.  However, what it really is is when St. Ann, Mary's mom, conceived Mary and was pregnant with her.  Look it up, it's actually very cool.  You can go on my blog and look to the right and you can sign up for the novena and get them in your inbox.  Way cool!

So, what else has been going on?  How's that peace been working for me?  Meh, not so good.  The last two days I have been on edge.  I have no clue why.  Arguments have ensued.  Now.  Now is my favorite time.  I am sitting on my back porch, under a blanket, watching the last rays of the sun disappear over the house tops with my pinion wood wafting from the chiminea (thanks, Alyssa) which is almost out.  Thanking God for answering my prayers the way He sees fit and not the way that I always want them.

Until next time,
Pray for the repose of the soul of Liz' dad, Larry.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Novena Experiment

For those of you non Catholics reading, or for you Catholics who don't know, a novena is a specific prayer prayed for nine consecutive days.  Just google novena's and you'll get a veritable cornucopia of novenas.  Currently, I am doing a novena to Mary the undoer of knots...  I've heard this prayer to be very powerful.  So, I asked, 'do I ask for just one thing or can I list a bunch?' I was told I could list a bunch and so I have.  Today was day seven.  Here's what I've got so far:

The first day, I said the novena in the evening before bed.  This was rather difficult as I was in bed and very tired, but I prevailed!  Day two was said in the morning.  Lately, I find that I am going to bed earlier resulting in my awaking earlier.  So, I used that time to get up and dressed for work, then go downstairs and say the novena.  This has worked well so far.  I noticed about day three how I have been feeling very peaceful.  Which, is not something I am use to feeling.  It's not the 'I don't care' feeling that I sometimes get.  It's actually a very peaceful feeling.  Quite foreign to me actually.  Day six resulted in an argument with child #3.  I was quite angry with her and let it be known, rather loudly.  When George came home in the evening, I replayed the event with child #3 and was just as loud.  Other things happened during the night that left me in a bad mood.  In trying to explain them to my loving husband because he 'just wasn't getting it' I spoke louder and I'm pretty sure slower too.  Kind of like when you find out someone is deaf, you talk louder and slower thinking that's all they need.  After my outburst, I apologized to my husband.  I explained how frustrated I was over child #3 and the events of the evening.  And, I was yelling at him not about him.  He, being the loving husband he is, totally understood that I wasn't mad at him, just at yet another situation out of my control.  One of my thoughts as I was drifting off to sleep last night was 'where was the peace that I had been feeling?'  How could my emotions go so out of wack?  Well, that's easy.  Mother nature!  Women will understand.  Men will duck and cover. lol

So, today is day seven.  It's a new day.  Two more days to go.  None of my knots have been unknotted.  They're still there.  Maybe I'm going at it all wrong?  Is it like it's a wish list and I give my wish list over and hope all of them will be granted but be happy if it's only one or two?  Or, is it more of my faith in play here?  That I make my requests known to God through the novenas and I know He'll take care of them?  What happens if I get my whole list back and nothing is crossed off?  Well, in as much as I hate to say it, so much so that I can almost feel the bile rising, God has a plan.  And, no matter how many prayers I pray, no matter how many novenas I say or candles I light, if the answer is not now or no flippin way, that's the way it is.  Dad understands me better than anyone.  He understands that when my will doesn't match His will that I get upset.  I want this, I want that.  And, contrary to what some people might think, it's not always about material things.  It's for peoples health, for peaceful deaths, for comfort of friends, for better jobs for others.  For a good college for our children.  Not just to wake up one morning a size 5 or for someone to come knocking on my door wanting to buy my house.  I don't have an ivy league education.  Heck, I haven't even finished college yet, and at 42 I can honestly say, I'm not gonna.  What I can tell you is that while I get upset that I don't always get my way and His will prevails, I am smart enough to know that His will is what's best for me.  Left to my own devices I'd probably be wheeled in for liposuction while eating a large strawberry cheesquake from Dairy Queen.  (Seriously, have you tried those!).

So, here I sit with two days left to go in my novena experiment.  And I've got some peace happening.  I'm getting some rosary time, and I get to spend it with Mary, my Mom.  What can be better than that?  (seriously, Dad, if you're listening, just a couple things off the list, you pick!) lol

Until next time,
Pray for comfort for my friend who lost his Dad this week.  



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bears, roller skates, and referees

Being a parent is like wearing a kevlar vest with holes in it while holding a crystal ball that turns out to actually be a snow globe.

There's a certain time during the day when the kids come home from school and you don't know what what to expect.  You don't know whose going to walk through the door.  Sure, they look like your children, but there are way to many variables.  How did their day go?  What homework did they forget to turn in?  Who did they argue with today?  What drama unfolded to and from school, let alone while they were there?  This gets exasperated when you add more than one child to the drama.  More often than not, it goes something like this...

3:00 child #1 comes home.  Says there's no mail when it's actually in his hand and he's trying to be funny.  I ask how his day was and I get "fine."  Child one plops on the couch and stays there.  All the knowledge that he has received during the day has traveled to his bottom and he can no longer stand and is pulled by gravity onto the couch and getting up to do his chores or whatever homework he has is just physically impossible.  And, no matter how much motherly prompting I give, it cannot compete with the gravitational pull.

4:00 child #2 arrives.  With child #2 there is usually some sort of drama.  The minute she walks in the door, child #1 starts with her.   Child #1 likes to poke the proverbial bear.  Whatever child #2 says when talking to me, child #1 has to interject.  Child #2 then starts to talk rather loudly at child #1 about minding his own business.  This banter between them goes on for quite some time.

4:10 child #3 arrives.  Child three has drama sometimes, but generally creates her own, I think, just for fun.  Child three tries to talk to me about her day and then child #2 and eventually, child #1 start talking at the same time.  It should be noted that children 1&2 have quieted down and really have nothing to say to me until child #3 arrives.  Then there's a barrage of "oh, I forgot to tell you..." at the same time child #3 is trying to tell me about her day.  This leads to frustration on everyone's part.

There is no way to ascertain what moods they are going to walk in the door with.  There is no way to protect yourself from the blasts that you will incur.  Henceforth, the holes in the kevlar jacket.  Then after about an hour, everyone is all yelled out and quietness ascends on my home like a peaceful friend.  A peaceful friend who only stays for two whole seconds.  Life happens.  There's arguments over who gets on the computer, who did or didn't do their chores, etc.  Then, at some point before my husband gets home, one by one the children remember that I am here.  They remember that I am their mom and not a referee (as I like to tell them my uniform is in the wash and my whistle is broke) and they come to me and ask how my day was.  They ask "how was work?"  They are warm and compassionate and wonderful.  And, then that moment passes and the stepford child in them flees and they are back to themselves. 

One of the hardest things about being a parent, for me anyway, is balance.  Not the 'how do I balance work and family and church and best friend time?'  No, the balance I'm talking about is my children.  I want the respectful child I raised.  The one who out in public acts appropriately and kindly.  Not the one who flies off the handle at the littlest thing.  The child who after homecoming buys dinner not only for him and his date, but his sister and her friend as well.  The child who finds her sisters bandanna for boo bowl that was lost knowing how much she needed it.  And, the one who helps the other one for no reason.  And, in all the trying to balance, here's what I've come up with.  You ready?  There is none.  You try wearing roller skates, while on a skateboard, on a high wire.  Now, find your balance, that's parenting!  My theory (and there are many and they change...a lot) is that my kids ARE respectful and warm and loving.  They will give their friends the shirts of their backs.  They'll help you with your schoolwork at the detriment of their own grades.  When they come home, they are exhausted.  There's teachers who 'don't like me'; who 'don't understand me'; who 'didn't see so and so cheating off of me and I don't want to be a tattle but I hate it' drama.  Then, add in all the high school drama.  They come home.  Home to me.  Home to where they can let down their guard and blow off steam.  After all, home is where you are loved, unconditionally, no matter who you are.  So, yes, finding balance is important, I guess.  To me though, it's about my home being a safe haven for my children to totally be who they are, warts and all.  Just some days I wish it were more yoga and less MMA ring.  Now, where did I put my roller skates?

Until next time,
Pray for two of my dear, dear friends who's father's are in the last stages of their lives.