Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Just a little bit more.

I like my new job.  More than like, I love my new job.  A lot.  The downside however, is it really puts a crimp in my baking, cooking, emailing, facebooking, phone calling part of my day.  This is the first year that I have not had these two weeks off of work.  I had zero time to shop for Christmas presents.  I had such grand plans for this Advent.  I wanted to have some serious me and Jesus time.  I wanted to dig into scripture.  I wanted to do baking, and I wanted to shop.  Life, however, had other plans.

For the last ten years, my Christmas is kicked off on Thanksgiving day.  My Carol and family come over and we would spend the day perusing the sales circulars for black Friday.  Then, we'd get up about four a.m. and go shopping.  We had it down to a science.  It was so awesome waiting out in the cold lines, then in the hot stores.  People were so very kind (mostly) and it started the season off wonderfully.  My new job, however, requires me to work the day after.  No home made scones by my brother-in-law for me.  No shopping till I dropped.  Just work for me.  Then, my husband left for a week for work to the land of Detroit.  No time to shop or bake.  I was too busy running the kids around and working.  See what I mean about work getting in my way! lol  Then, he came home and it was the 13th.  We finally bought our tree a couple days later.  It sat outside for almost a week.  This is NOT how I do Christmas.  I bake, a lot.  I light Advent candles.  The tree is up and trimmed way before now!  This is not my Christmas!  I had yet to buy any presents, bake, or light even one advent candle.  And, my grand plans for all that scripture?  Just a dream.  No matter what I did or tried to do, I just could not get in the Christmas Spirit.  I tried not to focus on all the stuff that wasn't going according to my plan. I have a job I love, a family I love, yada, yada, yada I still didn't have a tree up!

Then, last night, we went to Mass.  My favorite place to be.  I was with my family, minus my son.  He's constantly working.  My husband and I both texted him to let him know what Mass we were going to, but didn't know when he was coming home.  I sat in the pew and tried to let the day just wash over me.  Then, I went up for the Eucharist.  And, then, quietly, as I'm walking towards the altar, suddenly, I was awash all in Christmas spirit.  The very one that I'd been missing for weeks.  And, as we were in the parking lot leaving, we saw my son.  He made it to Mass after all.

I didn't light my advent candles even once.  Didn't write out any Christmas cards.  Didn't get my shopping done or wrapped early, nothing like usual.  Nothing like I wanted, nothing like the traditions I was use too.  And, it didn't matter.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Today was spent with my big, loud, happy family enjoying the blessings that God has given us.  Each other.

Until next time,
I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gina and the No Good, Horrible, Very Bad Week.

I had the best laid plans for this Advent.  I researched a couple different prayers, got out my Advent wreath and was so ready to go!  Life had other ideas.  I have not yet got in the Christmas spirit.  I have yet to light even one candle on my wreath and this was the worst week in the history of weeks.

First, my beloved husband had to go to Detroit for the week for work.  This isn't such a big deal to most people, but we are one of *those* couples who loves being together and are not excited about being apart. We talk often, face time, and we deal.

Second, I got just about zero help from the kids.  I had such grand plans.  All the laundry would be done, the house would be spotless, everything would be beautiful when my beloved came home.  Instead of help, (mind you, I got less than the bare minimum) I got yelled at, at one point or another, by all three kids.  Not just yelling, but screaming.  The kind of yelling that if I ever did to my parents, I would not still be on this earth.

Third, my right arm.  Something happened Wednesday to the upper part of my right arm.  I've tried advil and icy hot.  Thursday, it hurt so bad all day, it was almost worse than labor pain.  The rest of the week/weekend, it's an on and off thing.  But, it is very uncomfortable and really throws off my day!  And, my husband smartly does not let me on Webmd.  I figure I pulled or twisted something and there's nothing that will heal it but time.

Fourth, my kids.  Yes, I know I mentioned them already but let me tell you more.  Friday, my husband was coming home.  This is great!  I couldn't wait, and I had butterflies in my belly (told you we were one of *those* couples! lol)  Well, the girls had plans, and so did I.  My beloved wasn't going to be home till late.  It was our annual bunco Christmas party and I needed to be there.  Yes, I said needed not wanted.  See these women are my heart.  These women love me unconditionally.  These women have seen me at my very worst and love me anyways.  These women let me rant and rave and then laugh with me.  These women see my sense of humor and lack of a filter as a good thing (most of the time) and never say 'oh, that's just Gina'  or pass me off like I just came from a sped class.  So, after the week I had, I just needed to be there.  But, with my son working, the two girls made plans and didn't exactly make them the best way.  My beloved's flight was going to be an hour late, the girls needed rides home, and I needed to be at bunco.  I had so many panic/anxiety attacks this week and now I was in the throws of yet another one.   I call my husband because he is my rock.  He calms my anxiety and we decide that the girls are old enough, they can figure out there way home.  I call my Sheila and ask her for prayers (she an awesome prayer partner to have!) and then, the party bus arrives.  I get in and knowing I had a bad week, they let me rant and rave and just about cry.  Much needed venting was done.  Then, we arrive at bunco.  Would you believe that the girls found their way home all without me!  All the thousands of text I got that day from the two of them.  All the confusion, all the anger, all of it gone.  They survived without me and I was truly where I needed to be.

Now, with all this horrible, horrible week brought, all this attacking by the devil, all the closing and locking of the doors.  There were windows that opened on God shown through.

Wednesday was a bad day.  It was a day that I got screamed at by all three of my children.  I needed to pick one up, the other one was sleeping and wouldn't go pick her up because "I'M TIRED!"  Apparently, as mom's we're not allowed to get tired.  I'm fighting a migraine and loosing and am about to cry, but that would blur my vision and not help my head.  I just talked to God.  "Dad, do you see all of this!"  "What am I suppose to do!"  "I'm at my wits end here!"  "HELP!".  Then, my phone rings and it's my Carol.  "How are you?"  she asks.  Not content with my I'm fine, she persists and I let everything flow out of me about what a horrible day I'm having.  She, being nothing sort of amazing, just listens and loves me and makes me feel better.  Then, when I arrive home, Yeller number two apologizes!  Wow!  Way to go, God!

Work was awesome.  Aside from my arm hurting and making it difficult to use, work was the one thing that didn't go haywire this week.  I got to learn different things in another department and I love learning so it was awesome.

I was reminded that it is okay to have time for me.  Even if it's when the kids need me.  They can actually take care of themselves.  I was reminded that I am loved.  Something I tend to forget regularly.

I can happily say that a great time was had by all and that my beloved is home safe and sound.  While my arm is still hurting more on than off, and I had a horrible week, I still can count my blessings and there are always too many to count.  Thank you 8.5 lb baby Jesus!

Until next time,
Don't be to hard on yourself.


Sunday, December 1, 2013


This has to be a first for me, not blogging for a whole month, but I was in hiding.

Why was I hiding?  That's something I really don't want to share.  However, what I did learn in hiding is that Carol always finds me, Tina holds my hand while I hide, and no one can do things like me, because they aren't me.  I'm trying to find a balance between what I want to be and what is and is not going to change.  This is very difficult for both my head and my heart.

Tomorrow starts week nine of my new job.  I am still loving it and finally getting the hang of it.  I've made a couple friends who I really, really like.  I'm very thankful for my new job and my new friends.

That is all I've got.
Until next time,
Happy Advent

Monday, October 21, 2013

Aaron, Hur, and Me

Some days at Mass, my mind wanders.  Some days, I'm truly present and can hear and comprehend absolutely every word.  Yesterday, was a mix of both.

The first reading, from Exodus I was truly present for.  Then, I was gone.  I spent the rest of the Mass thinking about that reading.  See, Moses was fighting a battle (aren't we all fighting some kind of battle every day?).  As long as he had his arms raised.  As long as he did this, they were winning.  When his arms grew tired and he put them down, they weren't winning so much as losing.  So, his brother Aaron and a friend named Hur found  a rock for Moses to sit on and hold his hands up.  Then, when Aaron's arms got too heavy, Aaron and Hur held his arms up.  Each on one side.  Spoiler alert, they win the battle.

Here's what struck me.  Just because your family doesn't mean you're going to help each other out.  Heck a lot of families don't even talk to each other (see my entire life up to this point if you don't believe me).  Then, there's the friend Hur.  To me, he represents the friends that become family.  Who else, but someone who loves you would take on such a task?  Okay, okay, so you're sitting there thinking "all they did was hold up his arms.  Moses had the hard part".  Well, let's look at this shall we?

Moses was sitting on a rock.  And with his arms raised, they had to be as high as Aaron and Hur's chest, if not higher.  Have you ever been to a prayer group where you hold hands in a circle?  Some people in chairs, some on the floor?  You're hands are all different heights.  You're supporting each other.  You look for ways to lean your arm on your leg.  And, sometimes you ask God to hold your arms up because they're just too heavy (instead of rushing the prayer along.  Never, ever, rush the prayer along.  It's a truly beautiful moment!).  I imagine that's what Aaron and Hur felt like.  Holding someone up is never easy.  It's not suppose to be.  Look at my favorite parable about the guy on the mat who gets lowered down from the roof.  His friends carried him on his mat.  Then lowered him.  This was a full grown man!  I'm sure he weighed more than a sac of potatoes.  So, I spent most of yesterday pondering on Aaron and Hur.  Did they hold up Moses' arms because he told them too?  Because they were his friends and family?  Because it was expected of them?  I think it's mostly all of them.  I think it has to do with their love for God and for Moses.

Change is never easy.  Unless it is happening to someone else.  Sometimes, it's very easy to support my friends and the choices that they make.  It's easy to say "it'll be okay!" when unwanted change happens to them.  It's when unwanted change happens to me that I get snippy.  Sometimes, however, there comes a situation where I cannot help my friends or my family.  I cannot lift up their hands.  I cannot lower them down from the roof.  I am helpless.  I hate the feeling of helplessness.  I can't fix it.  So, I love.  I lavish them with more love.  I hold their hand, hug them and sometimes just sit and be with them and pray.   How cool is it that Moses had Aaron and Hur to hold him up during this battle?

I have a small, close knit group of friends who hold each other up in much the same way as Moses was held up.  And, like I mentioned last post, being one of low self-esteem, it is wonderful to know that I have my small circle of friends to count on.

Until next time,
Give your friend a hug.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Still learning...

So, I've been at my new job for over a week.  I'm still liking it.  Of course, it's what I call the honeymoon phase of any new job.  The first six months.  Everything is new and challenging.  After six months, will the days still fly by?  Will I still love it?  We just have to wait, but I'm suspecting the answer will be a yes :D

I've been learning a lot about myself lately.  When it comes to myself, I'm a low self esteem Debby Downer. I don't know why.  Call it crap from my childhood (which is weird because in my late teens and my 20's I was awesome and could do anything, just ask me!) or daddy issues.  I feel I am nothing special.  Now, don't get me wrong, my mom has told me for years how special I am.  How smart I am.  But she's my mom, she has to say it.  Then, there's my husband.  He says the same as my mom.  He has to say it.  Then there are my friends.  They have to say it, they're my friends.  Then, there's God.  He has to say it, he's my Dad.  He's suppose to believe in me no matter what.

Last week, my first official week at my new job, was a lot of work.  And, from what I hear, it will take about two months to grasp everything until it becomes habit because there's such a plethora of information.  It's a lot of numbers (my favorite, actually.  Little known fact, I love math.  Basic math.  I love it and it makes me happy.  Algebra was was best subject.  Although, I've forgotten just about all of it. lol).  It's a lot to take in, but I'm getting there.  One day last week I told my husband and my mom how it was the first time in a while I actually felt smart.  Both of them lamented that they've been telling me that for years.  See, my problem is I don't think I'm anything special.  I'm no different than you.   Everything I can do, you can do.  But on the flip side, everything you can do, I cannot.  I have a ton of friends who are runners.  They run marathons, they run 5ks, they run laps.  Me, I run to the store or the fridge.  I have an easy out, I have arthritis in my knees.  I really can't run.  Trust me, almost two years ago, I did boot camp religiously.  I had to run, it was not pretty. I have friends who home school.  Yea, I am so not cut out for that.  But, you get the idea, everything I can do you can do.  Everything you can do, I cannot.  My husband and my mom put a little chink in my armor this weekend.  Apparently, not everyone can do my new job.  That's why they hired me.  Apparently, not everyone can do everything I can do.  Huh.  That's a little interesting.  As of right now, it's a little chink in the armor.  Some day, who knows, maybe the armor will be gone all together?

The one thing I do know about myself, the one thing I love about myself is that I love.  I love deeply, greatly, and unconditionally.  And, I love you!

Until next time,
Give yourself a hug from me.  And, remember God and I think you're pretty special!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I Am My Beloved's and My Beloved is Mine

Well, I've officially survived my first week at my new job!!!  It's a lot of learning new stuff and I like that.  I'm using my brain more instead of having it on auto-pilot which is good.  The drawback however is at the end of the week, I've had  a headache for two days.  Kind of like studying hard for a test and your head hurts afterwards.

I'm learning to adjust to little things, like an hour for lunch (bonus!), my own mini office (i.e. cubicle), getting to have lunch with my husband during the week (bonus #2!), and being tired from my new work schedule from 8-5.  But, I love it.  I love the challenge of learning something new.  I love that I'm not an admin like I use to be, that I'm an actual cog in the wheel.  I feel like a full fledged grown up!  But, not to worry, my inner child still and always will rule!

While I am excited to go back to work tomorrow, I'm even more excited because it's one of my favorite days of the year (I have lots of favorite days of the year).  This one has to be in the top two.  It's the 13th anniversary of my wedding to my guardian angel, George!  For those of you who don't know, I call him my guardian angel because God sent him when I needed him most and I didn't even know I needed him.  Funny how that's changed.  I know, daily, how much I need him.  While God is the rock and portion forever, my husband is my rock here on earth.  Things have changed in our 13 years of marriage.  He's changed.  I've changed.

I grew up watching Cinderella.  It was my favorite movie as a kid.  That and Funny Girl.  I spent the better part of my teens and twenties looking for a prince to come rescue me.  What my beloved Disney classic doesn't show you is Cinderella paying bills.  Cinderella with kids.  Cinderella with her friends.  Her Prince comes and marries her.  The end.  However, her end, was just my beginning.  God sent me George.  And, having the most beautiful wedding, I was now ready to live happily ever after and ride into the sunset.  My life is now complete.  Funny, no?  Six months after our marriage, George experience the first of a few layoffs. Like any couple, occasionally, we'd argue.  I'd argue to win.  No matter the cost.  It was about winning, not about my husband's feelings.  We've moved across country away from our families and to Kansas.  This is where I began to grow up.  Yes, I was now in my thirties, but hey we each grow at our own pace!  I learned to rely on my husband.  That he was more than a Prince in a suit.  That he was my friend, my best friend and my biggest supporter.  I learned to lean on him.  Then we moved to Texas.  Now, you know that's love when a girl from the 'burgh will move to cowboy territory! lol  Here, I have grown exponentially.  I've grown in friendship with others.  I've learned to be a friend and how to accept friendships.  Okay, so I still hold my friendships with a tight grasp, what can I say, I love them all.  I grew exponentially in my faith.  I'm not born again.  I was baptized Catholic and it wasn't till I was thirty-five that I started to 'get' it.  That's when I like to say my light was turned on.  Growing in my faith, I was blessed to watch my husband's faith grow as well.  And, in the growing of our faith, so did our marriage.  It's been eons since I've fought to win.  We rarely argue, being so close to being of one mind and one body.  Sure, we disagree occasionally, but we've learned (or rather I've learned) the art of compromise.  

While I am not perfect, I am perfectly human.  I have learned a lot about myself that I'd never would have known if it wasn't for my husband.  He's so strong and smart.  He's the analytic one with his feet firmly planted on the ground.  Me, I'm the dreamer.  The one who doesn't just have my head in the clouds, but my whole body as well, soaring, flying.  When need be, I bring my beloved up in the clouds with me, and likewise, when needed, he plants my feet firmly on the ground next to him.  Our marriage has been nothing but a blessing to me, everyday.  My husband not only continues to make me feel loved and heard and respected.  He makes me feel *cherished*, something I never even knew I could feel.

Being married to George, we laugh all the time.  Every day in fact.  We joke, we kid, we love, we pray.  We don't just love each other, we actually like each other and that's a good thing.  So, on the eve of our thirteenth anniversary, I want to wish my beloved most happy anniversary with many, many, many more to come.

I love you, Gus.  Always.

Until next time,
Pray for your spouse


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sloppy Joe

So, remember this summer when I said I was working on a couple projects and I'd let you know when something happened?

Well, something happened!  At least on the one project anyway!

I have a new job!

Let me back up for a bit.  For the last almost five years, I have been a lunch lady at the local school district.  I started because my husband had lost his job and when he got hired on as a contractor, there were no benefits.  So, I became a lunch lady.  At first I was so excited!  Part time hours, decent pay, benefits, summers off!  Then, as time went on, I learned exactly how hard the job is.  In a nutshell, they pay you to be a mom.  You do laundry, cook, clean, put away the groceries (a lot are very heavy) do dishes and serve children.  You listen to their smart mouths (quite a few of them actually) and do it all with a smile.  You have to adhere to strict government regulations and regular (i.e. not government) inspectors.  When the President's wife chooses your occupation as her new project, things change drastically.

You work mostly with women.  Seven in fact.  So, someone is always pmsing, having a hot flash, irritable, cranky, quiet, and/or loud (ps. I'm the loud one).  And, sometimes, that's just one person! lol  You learn the dance.  You learn when you can joke with certain people.  You learn when not too.  You learn compassion.  You work on your patience.  You try not to complain.  You make friends, lifelong friends.  You learn new ways to do things.  You share your life with these women.  It can be a beautiful thing.

Then, change happens.  In the time I was there, we went through three managers, two employees, and a plethora of subs (substitutes).  Last year, we existed on a rotation of subs the entire year since an employee had left the year before.  You learn pretty fast who is a good worker, who is not.  It was hard because you're really working hard to get all the work done all while understaffed.  Just because you have a sub, i.e. a warm body doesn't mean they actually work.  We had one lady who would stand there, arms in front of her, like she was waiting for a bus! lol

Towards the end of last school year, I decided this lunch lady gig was no longer for me.  There's a lot of drama and even more politics.  I know it's prevalent in every job, but this one was overflowing.  So, on the last day of the school year, I started looking for a job.  A full time job that would utilize my prior administrative experience.  I applied to so many jobs this summer.  I even started a secret facebook group to keep my friends updated on my job search!  It was called Gina's job search that never ends lol.  I prayed a lot and was very disheartened when I realized I had to go back to being a lunch lady this year.  Yet, I pressed on!  I kept applying everywhere I thought I would be a good match.  This year brought even more drama.  A new manager who is going to work out well.  A new employee who, well, lets just say I have a rather unsavory opinion of, and a sub whom I just think is all that and a bag of chips!  There were lots of changes.  New way things are being done.  And, when you're use to doing things one way, you balk, LOUDLY, at the changes.  Some of the changes weren't so good.  Some, meh, I'd deal with it.  The first week it was so bad, I came home in tears, twice!  At least twice I almost walked out.  This was about me and my needs and how I liked things the way they were (mostly).  I don't like change (unless I hit the lottery, then okay :D)!

I prayed so much I'm pretty sure God was tired of listening to me (note:  He never does.  He loves me more than I can even fathom!).  I did a lot of yelling, crying, stomping my feet, and told Him that I trusted Him and wanted His will for me as long as it was what my plan was for me.  Note:  It doesn't work like that. lol  So after a while, I finally accepted my lunch lady fate for this year.  Then, I get a call about a job.  We talk for a while and then they invite me in for a formal interview.  The interview was two hours!  And, I can tell you, it was the first time in my entire life that I've ever been so calm.  I was peaceful, calm, and happy.  Usually, I'm super nervous and anxious.  But, nope, not this time (Thank you Holy Trinity!).  They offered me the job on the spot!  I will now be working for a mortgage loan servicing company.  I'll tell you more about it later when I'm actually doing it and getting the hang of it :D

When I told one of my friends, she was so excited for me (as they all were) but she said something that struck me.  Joan said I was brilliant.  Not smart.  Brilliant!  This is hard for me to except.  I guess it's part of my low self esteem issues, but I balk when paid a compliment.  "Oh, they don't mean it".  "They're just being polite".  Especially, when it comes to my knowledge.  I always quote the old adage 'surround yourself we people smarter than you, then you are smart by association.'  My husband has an Ivy League education.  I have a high school diploma and some college.  While he's never done anything to make me feel less than.  I feel less than.  The nerves have already started about the new job.  Will I be good at it?  Will I do okay?  Will I move up in the company?  Will I get along with people?  Will they accept me?   When will I *finally* be good at something?  That's a big one.   I spent the better part of my weekend realizing and believing that God can do anything.  I know He can.  Just not that I can.

Yesterday was my last day at work.  I'm sad to leave my friends Shortie and Monaco.  My Kathy has already been gone four and a half weeks.  But, friendships, real friendships, they keep up no matter where you are and if you are still working together or not.  Kathy is a great example of that.  We still talk.  Which is good, because I'd be so bummed if we didn't.  I'm on to the next chapter of my work life!  I'd like to thank all the members of my secret facebook group who prayed for me, supported me, and loved me through all of my whining.  I love you all.

Until next time,
Pray for my Carol.  


Sunday, September 8, 2013


Spoiler warning.  If you have not seen Les Miserables, the play or the movie, read at your own risk.  

I warned you.

Last chance.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Les Miserables has become one of my favorite movies.  If you told me I'd love a movie or a play about the French Revolution I'd say you were nuts.  But, alas, I do.  Actually, love is to light a word to describe my feelings about the film.

To me, this is a very Catholic film.  It's a film about love, grace, and redemption.  It's a film that makes me cry.  Every time.  There are so many fabrics weaved into the story.  But I want to focus on just one for now.  The fabric of prisoner 24601 Jean Valjean.  Valjean stole a loaf of bread to feed his nephew and was caught.  Because he tried to escape many times, he spent nineteen years doing hard labor.  After his release, he breaks parole.  He makes his way to a church where a Priest grants him solace along with grace and mercy. During the night, Valjean steals all the silver from the church and runs off.  He gets caught immediately and the police take him back to the church and talk to the Priest.  The Priest, showing more grace and mercy tell the police that he *gave* Valjean the silver and proceeds to give Valjean silver candlesticks telling him he forgot those and to use them well.  At this point in the movie, Valjean ends up in the sacristy and is touched by the grace of the Priest and of Jesus.  He cannot understand Jesus grace and love for him and I must confess, many days, I feel the same.

Fast forward through the movie.  Moved by grace, Valjean turns his life around.  He has become a respected member of society.   Unbeknownst to him, he makes a bad decision regarding a worker named Fantine.  She loses her job and takes to the streets to support her daughter.  When Fantine is discovered by Valjean again, she is a shell of herself.  She has been used, abused, and is dying.  He realizes what he has done and takes her in and cares for as she dies and promises to raise her daughter as his own and he does.

Throughout the film, Valjean helps others all while evading the police who recognize him as the man who broke parole all those years ago.  The police officer doesn't care what Valjean has done in the time since.  What good works he has done, all those he has helped.  He only sees the prisoner he once knew.  He's all about following the letter of the law.  No grey, only black and white.  Towards the end of the film, Valjean takes the opportunity to bestow mercy and grace on the officer.  This confuses the officer and he is forced to deal with the grey. 

The church is it's own character in the movie.  It's where Valjean meets the priest who shows him mercy and grace.  Then, in the middle of the film, he comes to a convent seeking sanctuary.  Then, at the end of his life, he comes back to the convent to die.  The ending scene gets me every time.  Valjean sings a beautiful song to Jesus about how he is ready to come home.  And, Fantine, comes back to bring him home.  And, in one of my favorite lines of the entire film says "to love another person is to see the face of God".   

No matter how many times I watch the movie, I identify with so many of the characters, but none more than Jean Valjean.  We are both granted, unworthily, Jesus grace and mercy. We are both moved by the kindness of others.  We both change our lives for the better.  We both find solace and love in our faith.  And, no matter how much good we do (or think we do) we are pursued by our past.  Whether it be in Valjeans case, police officer, or in mine, falling into the devils snares of anger, jealousy, greed and so many more.  Watching this film reminds me of who I want to be to others.  How I want to show others, who I feel who don't deserve it, God's love and mercy.  And, give it freely.  Something that is so hard to do.

 This movie may not have intended to be Catholic, not even Christian.  And, I'm sure others who have seen it don't see it that way.  But for me, and my faith, I could not help but see it as so.  And, after all, who am I?  Who am I?  I'm Jean Valjean.

Until next time,
Watch the movie.  I promise you, you'll love it.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Home, Home on the Range...

Well sad as it is, we're not in Newfoundland anymore.  We've officially been back a week.  I spent the week recalling memories of the trip, looking at pictures, and just missing my friend Rita and Dad and just being.  I was taken aback at just how very much I missed being there.  For me, anyway, God was extremely prevalent there.  Yes, I know, God is everywhere.  But man, he must truly love Newfoundland.  The weather was amazing, the sky, the clouds, the mountains.  The colors!  The Trans Canadian Highway (TCH) has no billboards, just trees.  That it.  Nothing to obscure your view from extreme beauty.  While I was ready to come home as I missed the kids and my dog, I was not happy to be back (after the initial hello's that is).  It's hot.  Way hot.  There's billboards everywhere, there's stuff everywhere.  Lots and lots and lots of noise.   It took the week to get back into the swing of things.  Work started back up and we're in full swing again starting tomorrow.

Our vacation has had a profound affect on our marriage as well.  It was so beautiful to watch my husband relax.  We had no where to be and that's what we did.  We just were.  Of course we saw a ton in Newfoundland thanks to the world's best tour guide, Dad!  But, just having all the time with my husband, no kids, no dog, no meetings, no errands, no running the kids hither and yon.  It was priceless.  The whole trip was priceless.   I came away from the week with a love for another country other than my own, relaxed, and with a new piece added to my heart for my friend Rita.

I can't say I'm ready to go back to work.  I mean, who really looks forward to being a lunch lady?  lol, but I gotta do what I gotta do.  So, I'll do it with a smile!

I've been working on a few projects this summer.  No news on any of them.  UGH!  Trust me, as soon as I have even one completed, I'll let you know!  I've learned a lot about myself this summer.  I've grown in spirit as well as my waistline lol And, I am working on this whole patience thing (I promise Rita!!!  I'm working on it! lol).  And, yet once again, for the gazilionth time, I am giving everything to God while trying not to worry and take things back.  You know, because He needs my help. 
Last night I attended Mass and one of the songs they sang was my favorite.  Jesus, be my everything.  And, as I am singing and walking up to the Eucharist, the words struck me and I started to cry.  Jesus truly is my everything.  I come to him for just about everything (why not everything?  I don't know) and if that's the case, why don't I give him everything?  If I truly would do anything for Him, than why don't I?  It was very moving for me.

Then, on the way home from Mass, the girls and I were talking and Sarah says "I was asking Jesus about what outfit I should come up with for ComiCon".  At this point Maria starts to laugh and says "Did you really ask Him that?  That's awesome!"  Then, I told them how now, I'm good.  That I know I'm not the best mom, that I have bad days, and that I feel I don't teach them anything.  But if my daughter feels she can talk to Jesus about something as minute (not minute to her mind you) about a costume for ComiCon, then I have taught them well and that's all I needed, to know that they have the best kind of faith ever.  That they can ask Jesus for anything and talk to Him about anything and everything.  Side note, Sarah is only allowed to go to ComiCon if her grades are good and I get to go with her.  Now, what should my costume

Well, as much as I'd love to sit here and play on the computer all day, I have to go grocery shopping for the week, make lunches, make the menu for the week, change the sheets on my bed and get dinner started.  It's official, I'm back from vacation. lol

Until next time,
Pray for the men of St. Michael's  parish who are attending the CRHP retreat this weekend.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Days Six & Seven

Yesterday was day six.  Dad, George, and I went to the fluvarium.  It was really interesting.  You could see the river from the bottom level of the fluvarium straight in to see fish.  However, because of the rain overnight, it stirred up all the sediment and it was brown and murky.  It also had reptiles, frogs and fish in aquariums.  I liked the frogs the best.

After the fluvarium, we went to the Government House.  The grounds and the house are extremely beautiful.  George says I keep using that word too much.  Being here in Newfoundland, I can't help it.  Everything is truly beautiful.  Sue me or buy me a Thesaurus lol.

Today is day seven.  Our penultimate day touring here.  Tomorrow we go to bed early as our plane on Sunday departs at five a.m.  Or to use a term I learned here..o dark stupid lol.  Today, we made it to Cape Spear after a few days of trying.  It only rained two out of the nine that we are here and yesterday was overcast.  You want to do Cape Spear where you can see everything!  It is the easternmost point in North America!  I was there!  I have pictures!!!  After Cape Spear, we made our way to St. Thomas Anglican church which again, is beautiful.  The stained glass windows are stunning!  We rounded out the day with a trip to the harbor at Quidi Vidi and my personal favorite, Tors Cove.  Wait till you see the pictures!  So breathtaking!

Newfoundland is truly a beautiful place.  I cannot wait to come back and I haven't even left yet.

Until next time,
Pray for my friends husband whose having surgery today.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day Five!

Today we started out at the GEO Center.  It's very cool with a Titanic exhibit which is well worth the trip.  I learned so much about the Titanic and that's cool.  Then, the Center is self guided about the mountains and rocks all of Newfoundland.  It was really interesting.

From there we went to lunch at Tim Horton's.  They have the best coffee and I swear if they hit the states where my beloved Dunkin Donuts are, Dunkin's would go out of business.  After lunch we made our way to the Railway Museum.  Again, lots of interesting information.

Then, we came home.  It's been a beautiful rainy 15c today.  That's about 62 degrees.  I am loving this weather!

This trip has been amazing.  It is simply beautiful here.  The view of the ocean from the back porch and the kitchen is something I could definitely get used to!  It's a much slower pace.  People walk everywhere.  You can be driving and there's nothing on either side of you but evergreen trees.  All of a sudden, you spot someone walking on the side of the road!  It's a little jarring at first like "Where did they come from?!!  Where are they going?!"

That's about it for today.  No pictures for today either.  However, if we go where we want to go tomorrow then there will be pictures.

Until then,
Please pray for my friends house to sell.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day Four!

Today's blog is going to be brief.
It's late.
I'm tired.

Today we went on Gatherall's Puffin and Whale watch.  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful!  No whales, lots of Puffins.

Had lunch at a poutineire.  That would be a place that sells poutine.  Poutine is fries with gravy and cheese curds.  Cheese curds are when you are making cheese and you squeeze it through the cheese cloth.  What's left in the cheese cloth is cheese curds.  You can get your poutine with a ton of different toppings.  I had the bacon cheeseburger.  Yum!

Afterwards, we toured St. John the Baptist Anglican Cathedral and then the Basilica of St. John the Baptist (Catholic).  Very cool.

We were able to see the Newfoundland War Memorial and a Park whose name escapes me.

We came home and later had supper with some friends of Dads.

Big day, lots of fun!

Until next time,
Pray for my friends house to sell.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Days Two and Three

Sunday, we started out with Mass at Holy Cross church.  I mentioned to George how cool it is to be Catholic, how no matter where I go, what country I go, the Mass is still the same.  The church itself is beautiful.  It's an older church and there were not a lot of young people in attendance.  However, there was this one little girl, walking age, so barely two.  First, this little girl was being loud.  Then she would yell.  Finally, her parents let her do whatever she wanted.  What she wanted was to walk up and down the isle and smile.  Apparently, she knew an older gentleman in the band.  She would wave to him and he would smile at her.  At one point, I was thinking "where are the parents?"  I found the cute girl to be cute, but annoying.  I wanted to enjoy the Mass.  Then, the little girl was making her way to the Altar.  My first thought was a gasp in my head.  She can't go up there!  Especially, when Mass is going on.  Her father came and retrieved her.  Then, Bob reminded me "let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these".  From then on, I concentrated on the Mass and enjoyed the smiles of the little girl. 

After Mass, we went off the St. Johns to the Rooms.  It's a beautiful museum and I fell in love with the work of artist Mary Pratt

They look just like photographs, but they're not.  They're paintings!  I have been looking the past evening online to find posters or prints to no avail.  However, feel free to purchase a painting for me for the low price of $10,000.  Lol.

After the rooms, we stopped at Tim Horton's for yummy coffee.  Then, we headed off to a small flea market where I picked up a beautiful sugar and creamer set.  I'd take a picture, but it's all wrapped to come home.  Remind me and I'll take one when I get back home.  Finally, it was time for dinner and we went to Montana's and had amazing ribs!

This morning, we drove to Cupid's where we toured their Legacy Center.  It is very cool and I recommend it as a must see.
After that, we stopped for lunch at Mary Brown's and then headed to Father Duffy's Well.  We came back home and had dinner and now we are done for the day.

It has been such a beautiful few days here.  I have never seen grass so green nor water so blue.  The weather has been nothing but perfect.  Highs of 21c.  I can honestly say, I have never been so relaxed or enjoyed anything more in recent years.  I have my husband, Dad, good friends and God.  What more could anyone ask for?

Until next time,
Please pray for my dear friends husband who needs additional heart surgery.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day One

Day One.

After not sleeping well for two nights, yesterday I awoke at the ungodly time of 2:55AM.   I showered and dressed and by 3:40, George and I began our adventure as my brother-in-law Brian drove us to the airport.  That right there, that's Love.

Once at the airport, we checked our bags and proceeded to security.  The lovely agent scanned my passport and said "you're breaking it in!"  I gushed like a kid and said how it was my first passport ever.  Then, it was time for breakfast.  How Burger King was open before my beloved Dunkin Donuts I'll never know. 

While on the plane, I did manage to get a little sleep.  Three hours later we arrived in Toronto.  We have to go through customs.  Easy breasy.  Then, wait for it...BAM!  I got a stamp in my passport!  I felt like Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping when she finally got a stamp in her passport.  We had to pick up our checked bags and then take them to another baggage drop.  Then, we stopped at A&W for some fries and gravy YUM!.  And, then another three hour flight!  Air Canada is awesome.  They have displays on the headrest in front of you.  You can watch movies, tv, listen to music, whatever you like.

The excitement was palpable!  We arrived and as we came down the escalator to baggage, there he stood.  One of the greatest sights I've ever seen.  Dad waiting for us.  I smiled and waved like I was three or something.  I was just so excited!

On the way home, we stopped at a place called Ches's.  I had the fin & fowl.  A piece of fried chicken and a piece of fried cod plus a generous helping of fries (with gravy of course) that would put Mooyah's to shame.  See, I was hedging my bets.  I wanted to try something new, the cod.  And, if I didn't like it, I still had the chicken!  Smart girl!  What can I say, I have my moments! lol  Turns out, I loved it all!

We finally arrived home and I finally got to meet Rita and Kevin and their family face to face.  I've known them for years, but never have actually had the pleasure of meeting them face to face.  You will not find more lovely, genuine people, ever.

Today, I posted the pictures of everywhere we visited today.  Cabot's Tower at Signal Hill, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, in Flat Rock, seals in Logy Bay just to name a few.  While it was busy, and I've been excited and constantly smiling like an idiot, I didn't feel remotely rushed.  For lunch we ate at Mary Brown's, similar to KFC.  And tonight Kevin made a delicious dinner.

That's all I've got for now.  I'm just a tad tired.  Jet lag and all the excitement I guess.  I hope all is well with all of you.

Until next time,
Pray for a friend.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jane, Mr. Rochester, and Forgiveness

I love books.  Even that is too bland a statement.  I devour books.  Well, certain books.  Non-fiction and science fiction just don't do it for me.  But the classics, and others...please...there's no place I'd rather be on any given day (unless my husband isn't working then, I'm happily with him!).

I also like when certain books turn into movies.  Sometimes, I see the movie first.  One of my favorite books from junior high was Jane Eyre.  I confess that I loved it at the time, but then as the years went on, various versions came out, and there's one I love in particular the 2011 version.  The movie is full of mystery and romance.  I found the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester to be beautiful, all the glances and hand touching (quite dull compared with today's movies but I love it nonetheless).  Then, I read a book that made me see it from a different perspective.  How Mr. Rochester was selfish.  He treated Jane rather unfairly and without giving any spoilers away, did something unforgivable.  Yet, no matter after reading the book, and knowing the ending, the story is about forgiveness.  That love can forgive anything, or rather, just about anything.  How forgiveness makes us 'all together human" (a quote from the movie).

Yesterday afternoon, I was not the best version of myself to my daughters.   I didn't do anything horrible mind you.  Nothing, like Mr. Rochester, but, it was not one of my best moments.  Today, at different times, I spoke with both of my daughters and owned my mistakes and asked and received their forgiveness.

Now, being their mom, I could've easily passed it off.  I woke up better, everyone was happy.  I didn't have to bring it up.  Forget about it.  I'm sure they had.  However, I had not.  It's important to me that my children (I'm sorry, my teenagers) realize the affect words and actions can have, whether you're having a bad day or not.  They need to learn to ask for forgiveness even if the person that needs to grant it didn't think they did anything wrong.  They need to learn how to ask and how to grant forgiveness.  You don't have to grant forgiveness right away.  There are times when I have said and have been told "I will forgive you, but I'm not there right now".  That is perfectly acceptable.

I've passed on my love of reading to my girls (my son left that gene in the womb on the way out I think).  I've passed on our families recipes, I've passed on our love for music.  More importantly, I've passed on our morals and values and our faith.  It's not just in the big moments where they learn, it's in the little everyday moments too.  And, I give them plenty to learn the art of forgiveness.

Until next time,
If you messed up (no worry, I still love you as does God), ask for forgiveness.  If I've hurt any of you out there, please forgive me too.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

Today has been in the making for 44 years.  Today is my 44th birthday.  As most of you know, I love, LOVE to celebrate my birthday.  And, more than that, I love to celebrate my friends and families birthdays.  What is so special about today's birthday?  It fell on a Sunday.  Why is this important you ask?  Because I got my birthday blessing on my actual birthday.  This may not seem like a big deal to some, but to others, and me, it just might.

If that wasn't enough, after all that's been going on with a couple of the projects I've been working on, I got to go to Mass on my birthday.  Yes, I could go to daily Mass if it was during the week.  But today, there was just something *different*.   Let me back up...

Last night at exactly 11:00pm, my mother called from her home in Myrtle Beach, SC to wish me happy birthday.  Yes, you read that right, 11:00pm.  It has been a family tradition that since I was born in the greatest city in the United States, Pittsburgh, which is Eastern Standard Time, my day starts on  Eastern Standard Time.  As my Mom was giving me her love, I felt my Mema with me.  As we got off the phone, I cried.  I missed both my Mom and my Mema terribly.  Oh, how I wished I could go visit!  Then, this morning, my Mom called to wish me happy birthday Central Standard Time.  After we got off the phone, again I felt my Mema.  I went to shower and as usual, plugged my iphone into the dock to play music, always on shuffle.  Always.  The first song, before I even hit the shower was a song called Steppin' Out by Tony Orlando and Dawn.  Growing up, my sister and I thought someone wrote a song about Mema (the line goes, 'don't worry bout me, ma).  It was always our song to her.  And, her she was telling me she was here.  Wishing me happy birthday, and that she didn't forget me.  I was laughing and crying simultaneously.  I even said to her "I can't believe you remembered" and she said "how could I forget?" which of course, made me cry harder. 

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”― St. Thomas Aquinas

Now, back to Mass.  I went up to receive the Eucharist.  Some days, this sacrament makes me cry.  Over the years, my kids have grown accustomed to my crying at Mass and know that I'm okay.  Today was such a day.  I was in line and as I approached the Host, the tears started.  As I approached the chalice they really were coming.  My hand was starting to shake and I was almost afraid I would spill it (I didn't).  Then, as I knelt down to say my prayers, I was held by Jesus and given the most beautiful birthday.  For a brief moment, I felt with my entire heart exactly how much God loves me and it was more than I could bear.  I asked Him why would He die for me, just for me.  And of course, His answer was because He loves ME.

This was a spiritual high for me.  Of course, the feeling didn't last long, just a glimpse and it was more than enough.  Usually, when my birthday arrives, I give my family a myriad of ideas for presents (sleep number bed, Ninja kitchen system, tons of stuff from infomercials, etc).  This year, I just didn't have anything.  I looked around at my friends, my family--especially those who have become family, my chrp sisters, my bunko sisters, my gurus, and all that God has blessed me with and I felt exactly that, blessed.  I was okay with that.  I started the day with Mass and spent the entire day being loved on and blessed by those close and those far, as far away as PARIS!  (We have family in PARIS right this minute and they took time out of their holiday to wish ME, a blessed day.) I have felt so loved and so WANTED.  That is most beautiful for me and means more to me than any material gift ever could.  That is all I've ever wanted and what I wish for all of you, that you may feel loved and wanted because you are.  Especially by me.

Until next time,
Please pray for my friend who had a heart attack this morning.

PS.  Rest assured, my birthday celebrating will continue for weeks as usual!

Friday, July 12, 2013

You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have

The facts of life.  The facts of life.  Yea, show of hands how many of you are singing that now.  lol 

A lot of stuff has been going on this summer.  Projects, reading, family time.  Most of it has been pretty awesome.  This week has been a mixture of awesome, awestruck, and awwshitakemushrooms.

Monday afternoon brought unwanted clarification.  I knew with 95% certainty of this information already.  But for those of you that know me personally, that 5% makes all the difference.  Well, as of Monday, I have 100% clarification and that hurt.  I know I share just about everything with all of you, but I cannot go into detail.  Just know that this information had me crying in the arms of my loving husband while I felt very unwanted and unloved.  I texted my spiritual gurus and they held my mat while I cried.

Going to bed Monday night, I talked to God most of the night.  I asked Him to hold me.  I asked Him why? I asked Him to help me forgive.   I asked Him lots of questions and He gave me answers.  He answered Tuesday morning in spades!  I awoke to a twitter from Fr. Larry Richards saying "courage daughter, your faith has saved you."  Cool, no?!  Then, I went to daily Mass with my priest and FOUR Deacons!  SO cool!  And, it was one of my very favorite readings!  Then, I had breakfast with my Podmate who always, always cheers me up and teaches me about God.  And, if that weren't enough, I got to chat online with my favorite Priest whose currently in India!  Granted, it was most brief, but much needed!

Tuesday advanced a personal project I'm working on.  Thursday, I met with a lovely woman to advance my project!  Nope, I'm not telling you what it is until it's official.  You'll have to wait!  Bwa ha ha!  Then, I got to have lunch with one of my favorite people!  She moved away and is back to visit this week!!!  Then, today, I watched as my son used his Eagle Scout skills and repaired our bathroom toilet...without duct tape!  After that, I went to watch my amazing nephew's band concert today.  He's so awesome!  It's cool to live so close and watch him grow up into a fine young man.  I am most proud of him!  And, if that wasn't enough, it was annual Cow day at Chik-fil-A!! My sister who's my biggest supporter (and my heart, and my everything) and I went with my nephew to our annual cow day lunch.  It was absolutely lovely!  Then, I came home and I called my dad (George's).  He never ceases to make me feel loved :D

It's funny to watch how God works sometimes.  Sure, my week started off shitakemushrooms.  And, truth be told, I'm still smarting from it and probably will for some time.  That doesn't stop the rest of my week being an amazing highlight reel of my family, my friends, and my faith!  God continues to show me how much I am loved.  How much I am needed.  How much I am blessed.  And, that my friends, I truly am.  I am blessed to be a blessing.

Until next time,
Know that no matter what, I.  Like.  You.


Friday, June 28, 2013

God, my son and me

One of many things I have learned in my faith journey is that I am just like a lot of the saints.  That doesn't come from a place of boasting of "I'm just like the saints!  I'm so awesome!"  Quite the contrary.  While at times (few and far between mind you) I feel I have moments of awesomeness, it comes from a place of "oh, I'm like the saints, I struggle with the same things they did!"  And, having some of their same struggles makes me feel better about myself.  That together, I can do this!

Inasmuch as I love God, will all that I am, and all that my heart and soul has, I find that I have many moments, more so than I'd like, of unbelief.  The past few weeks, things are changing in my family.  For the good mind you.  But, change is rather uncomfortable for me as I'm sure it is for quite a few of you out there.  Recently, my son began a new journey.  A journey that I cannot help him on.  It's his walk, his time, his place.  As a woman, as a mother, as a control freak, this is hard for me.  The feeling of helplessness of not being in control.  Last week I lamented such to Deacon Robert..."Don't you know God needs my help!" lol  Only said in jest 10%, the other 90% I was serious.  So, I began to pray, not just pray, but pray in earnest.  And you know that feeling when you pray like something is uncomfortable is hovering just below the surface but you don't want to deal with it so you stuff it back down?  Yea, well last night, I decided no more stuffing (unless it's with my chicken, that stuff is goooooood).  It was revealed to me that in a comment I made yesterday (actually, I've been making it a lot this past week) for something specific to happen to my son, would be an act of God) that I didn't believe it would happen.  That I was putting God to the test yet again (if you do exist do XYZ).  Then, as I awoke this morning, the very same was revealed to me.  This was unsettling to me!

I've seen too many miracles my entire life, everyday in fact if I pay attention to know that He truly does exists.  For those of you who don't know, I am a walking miracle as our you.  So many obstacles that I shouldn't of overcome, I have from the minute I was born until today.  I've seen constantly, when I choose to actually pay attention, how He works in my life.  So the doubting makes me uncomfortable.  The more I dug, I realized it's not doubting, it's fear.  This path my son is on, I have at least 100 people praying for him, if not more.  What if this path that he wants is not what God wants?  Did I waste their time asking for their prayers?  Did they waste their prayers on my son when they could've been praying for something/someone else?  What if my son is only on this path because he doesn't know what other path to take?  What if he's taking the path because he thinks it's what everyone else wants for him?  I mentioned a couple of these questions to Deacon Robert last week and he reminded me that if it's what God wants then the path will continue.  If not, then God will move him to the right path.  This of course, led me to think of Gamalie, a pharisee who said "Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5:38-39  It's one of my very favorite lines from the bible and trust me, there are many!

So, if I know all of this in my heart of hearts, why to I have my unbelief?  I'll tell you why, because I am human.  Because I suspect like some of you, God's love for me is too infinite for me to grasp.  My head knows how much God loves me.  I mean, come on, He died for ME (and you)!  That's unselfish love right there.  But while my head knows it, my heart cannot comprehend it.  I'm a parent.  I love my kids with all that I am.  I would lay down my life for my kids, my family, my friends, probably just about any one.  That I can fathom.  God loves me MORE than that.  That is hard to digest or comprehend.  That is scary to me.  

So, here I sit, in my moments of unbelief, watching my son begin this new path, hoping that it is what he is meant to do.  I know if it is he will bring great joy to those he comes in contact with (regardless of whatever path he is on).  To meet my son is to be in the presence of great joy and love.  He is enthusiastically joyful.  He questions everything.  He works hard and loves deep even if he won't admit it, cause you know, he's a guy.   He, like most children can be trying at times, but that is not what the world sees.  It is what I am blessed to see.  This tiny child that once fit in the crook of my arm, his head resting on my elbow now towers over me.  The same child who grasped my hand as he learned to walk and held my hand as he crossed the street, still holds my hand weekly.  The same child who was headstrong and got upset when things didn't go his way has grown into a headstrong man who doesn't like it when things do not go his way, but understands there is a reason whether he likes it or not.  The same child that made me laugh as a little boy, makes me laugh every day.  So, yes, he will truly bless those no matter what path he is on.  He has blessed me more than I ever thought possible.

Until next time,
Please pray for my son as he begins his new path.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bff's, Disciples and God

I'm thick.  Thick in my thighs, thick in the head, and spiritually thick.

I was riding this high the last part of this week.  After everything I told you about Wednesday I was all God is awesome!  He hears me!  Then, Thursday, I was invited to St. Gabriel's for a praise and worship meeting.  I was very excited to go because I had been invited a couple years ago, but never was able to make it.  So, I went, and my Jesus high continued!  First off, St. Gabriel is my guardian angel, so that was awesome!  Then, we sang songs and all through the service I kept getting signs giving a positive affirmation of something that I had wanted more than anything in my life.  Something, that was out of my hands and out of my control.  It was in the Holy Spirits hands.  Obviously, all these positive signs were a yes!  I was even more elated!  And, to highlight the evening, I shared it with one of my bestest friends in the whole world, Patti.  Clearly I have a lot of best friends. lol  I don't say that lightly.  Having literally no friends growing up, I take my friendships deeply to heart.  Carol was my first best friend, then Tina, then Patti.  There's also Sharon, Julie, Sheila and Mary P (I know more than one Mary lol) and my bunco group.   I am extremely close to these women and to just say they're my friend seems to minimize the weight in which my heart loves them.  But, I digress.  Patti was the sprinkles and cherry and cream on top of the evening.

I knew from earlier in the week that the decision on which I'd been waiting would be coming yesterday.  And, it did.  And, it was not in my favor.  One of my bffs texted me immediately and then asked if they were a bad friend for letting me know.  Seriously?  I don't have bad friends.  I thought it was beautiful and courageous of her.  And, I am extremely excited for those of my bffs who this decision  was favorable.  However, that's where it all ended.

My high crashed.  Plummeted into the depths of the center of the earth.  The why's began.  Why not me?  Was I not good enough?  Why am I never good enough?  What did I do wrong?  I wasn't angry.  No, I was hurt.  Very deeply hurt.  At this point, my husband and I were taking my son to his first retreat at my beloved Montserrat.  On the way there, I texted a friend asking if I had done something wrong.  She said absolutely not and then gave some consoling words.  I texted one of my favorite people in the world as soon as I had heard the news and she was wonderful.  My husband came to me with open arms and held me as I cried.  All of this consoling all I could think of was I don't want consolation, I want my answer.  What were all those signs about!!!?!  I texted another one of my bff's, Tina.  Actually, I texted all my bffs who got the yes and told them how I was extremely happy for them, because I AM.  My sadness and hurt does not diminish my joy for them.  I'm kinda weird that way (among others).  Anywho, Tina and I lamented how we wouldn't be together.  She and I haven't had a lot of time lately.  But, we'll figure it out.  As we arrived at Montserrat, I got a hug from Fr. Ron, which was a gift from God.  That I do know.  Priests just don't go around giving random hugs, at least the ones I know.  Then, after showing my family around my second home, my son and I sat on my swing.  That was a beautiful moment in my life.  However, I was antsy.  I didn't want to overstay my welcome or encroach on his time, plus, it felt weird to be so sad and want to cry while being happy for my son.  We left him in great hands, Gods.

Then, this morning, still smarting.  I texted another one of my bffs.  I told her how I really feel.  I left nothing out.  I laid myself bare before her and told her how hurt I was by God.  How I misread all of his signs.  That I was spiritually blind and I didn't give a hoot anymore.  Being the wonderful person she is, she held me through the phone, gave me her love and support, and gently chided me for some of the things that I had said.  That's the great thing about my friendships.  They don't coddle me.  They hold me accountable and tell me the truth.  Even when it hurts.  They call me on my negative thoughts and feelings, my hurt and my anger.  And that was awesome.  My bff did all of this while getting ready for her daughter's wedding.  Tell me that's not awesome, I dare you.

Finally, I called my mom.  I miss her terribly.  More than I can express.  I explained what happened and she said that I don't know what His plan was.  More of the same, but from my mom.  Finally, I cracked.  "Mom, can't just one person say that this decision is wack?!  That it's crazy that it wasn't in my favor?  That it's unfair and wrong?!!!!"  God love her, my mom said "I can't do that because it was God's decision".  UGH!  I hate when she's right.  When everyone is right but me!  I know there's a reason.  I understand there's a reason.  I DON'T LIKE THE DECISION SO GIVE ME THE BLESSED REASON ALREADY!!!!!  Yea, he doesn't work like that.

So, here I sit, after two blissful days of signs that all is well and that I'm hearing God, dejected, spent and sad.  You know, the disciples didn't have it easy.  Things didn't go their way even when Jesus was among them.  They were asked to blindly trust.  I said I'd work on it, and then at the first opportunity, I failed miserably.   Which after the initial disappointment in myself, I realized wasn't so bad.  The disciples failed lots of times.  Look at Peter, he and Saul are my favorites.  I mean, I like the others, don't get me wrong, but I relate to those two a lot more.  They failed and they were His disciples and eventually, they got it right.  I'm His disciple too.  How could I expect not to fail, to be any better than they were?

Does this mean that I'm all happy with his choice for me now?  Um, no.  I'm still sad and God is still awesome.  We'll get on the same page eventually.

Until next time,
Please pray for my son who is on retreat.



Then, this morn

Thursday, May 23, 2013

God's Surprises

When you talk to God, you're praying.  But when He talks to you, people think you're nuts.

What happens when God talks to you?  I've been talking to God lately.  Telling him my woes and trials and praying for others.  I asked Him to send me billboards.  He and I both know how thick I can be sometimes.  Well, yesterday, He hit me smack in the head with a ton of billboards.  Let me explain...

I've been dealing with a few decisions of my own.  Choices really.  Choices that can be a bit scary.  The unknown usually is.  I've been trying to make a new bible study at church the last two weeks called the Daughters of Mary.  I finally made it last night.  As I walked in, I headed to the water fountain and as I turned the corner, there was the sacred heart of Jesus painting, hanging where it always is saying "Jesus, I trust in you".  I chuckled to myself and said "I'm workin' on it, I'm working on it."  I made it to the fountain and then to the study.    The first thing I read is the spiritual Gift of the Week:

We ask for the grace of courageous faith in the Trinity.   Mary had a courageous faith in the mystery of the Trinity.  In the love of the Father, she said yes to the Spirit and gave birth to Christ, and also, she guided the birth of the Church at Pentecost.

Immediately, I started laughing to myself.  I know I don't have a courageous faith!  Then we read a homily from Pope Francis.  Here is the excerpt that spoke to me.

Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program, and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences.  This is also the case when it comes to God.  Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point.  It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision.  We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own.  Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness and change, and demands our complete trust.  Are we open to "God's surprises"? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit?

At this point, silent tears began to fall down my face.  Gods was speaking directly to me.  He knew exactly what has been going on with me.  He knows how I last blogged about blind trust in Him.  Reading this was extremely comforting.  It was through the Pope that God blatantly showed me that the decisions that have been turning in my head like a whirling dervish are good.  That I shouldn't let the fear of newness and getting out of my comfort zone keep me from making necessary decisions.  How often have I  not only shut the door, but locked it and pulled down the blinds to God's surprised?  He totally pegged me on my control freak nature and the feeling of security that comes with it.  However, God was not done talking with me yet.  We read John 16: 12-15.  Here is the excerpt that got me. "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now."  That right there is the answer to me constantly wanting to know God's plan!  My first thought was "how bad is it, if I'm not going to be able to bear it?"  But listening to these women talk, I learned that it is God giving me exactly what I need to get through exactly what I'm going through.  Just the right measure.  No more.  No less.

So, I left the bible study extremely elated.  Knowing that God has lots of surprises for me, I just have to open my hand and my heart to Him.  The first thing I did this morning was make a huge decision that was extremely out of my comfort zone.  I'll let you know how that goes.  Open hand and open heart, right?  I can do this, and you can too.   What is holding you back from God's surprises?  Are you a control freak like me?  Are you scared, like me?  You can do it.  Like Bill Murray says in "What About Bob?"  "baby steps".  We can do this!

Until next time,
Say a prayer.  Any prayer.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Howard Jones, Oklahoma, and God

I am an angry person.  Well, okay, that's not exactly true.  I can be an angry person and some of the time, when things don't go according to my newest plan, I get very angry.  I rant and rave and throw a hissy fit, much like a toddler.  When someone wrongs me, misjudges me, upsets me, etc, I have a target for my anger.  Sometimes I hold it in, but in my head, watch out, I am giving it to that person with both barrels!  What happens then, when, like Howard Jones says, "no one is to blame?"

Yesterday's events in Moore, OK has everyone praying and some who've lost love ones before, children even, sympathizing.  This is all good and well.  And, for a lot of us, when we feel helpless, it's the only way we know how to cope.  In this devastation, there is no one to blame.  No terrorist.  No bad guy.  No one who went postal.  No one out for revenge.  Nothing and no one.  So, with all of this devastation and loss, who do you blame?  Where do you put the anger?  God.  Yes, you heard me, I said God.

Inevitably, as it usually does when there is no one to blame, God gets the blame.  I will get asked 'How could He let this happen?'  'How can you follow a God who would allow such horrible act to happen?  To let children die?'  The answer to the first question is always the same.  I don't know.  I am not He (thank God, talk about a high pressure job!).  I don't begin to know what goes through His mind or why He makes decisions the way He does.  I cannot help you there.  For the second question, the answer is harder.  I follow Him because I love Him and He loves me.  There's always going to be 'why do bad things happen to good people' situations.  Everyday.  It's how we choose to deal with it I think, that matters.  And, quite a lot of time, I don't deal with things very well.   I don't necessarily 'blame' God for things, but lots and lots of time, I take my anger out on Him.  I rant, and rave, and throw my hissy fit.  I yell.  I tell Him how I think He wronged me.  I yell at Him "how could you let this happen!  Why couldn't you let things go MY way this time!"  And, my personal favorite when I yell at Him  "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!!!!"  And, most of the time, He never tells me what He was thinking.  I can tell you this though, that after all my yelling, I am spent.  I am not as angry.  I can tell you that looking back months after a fit, I can see how things worked better than I thought had He done things my way.  And, I don't always look back, who wants to see how they were wrong, yet again?  So, it comes down to this.  Trust.  Do I trust God?  Honestly?  Most days, yes.  I say most days because if I just said a blanket 'yes' that would be a total and utter lie.  Most days I do trust Him.  However, if I trusted Him completely, I would not have anger issues when things don't go my way (how Sinatra got to do things his way is beyond me).  I have not mastered that. 

There are days when I feel as close to God as air to my skin and I can quote scripture to express what I'm feeling.  Or, when my friends are down, or need help, a scripture magically appears in my head.  However, other times, I feel distant and I don't want to hear He has a plan.  I don't want His plan, I want mine.  That is when I have one of my anger fits.  I had one just about a week ago.  Trust is scary.  It makes me vulnerable, more so than I would like to be.  I mean, come on, I wear my heart on my sleeve and that's pretty vulnerable.  Blind trust however is a whole other level! 

I wish I had answers for you.  I wish I could take your pain (over any situation) away.  I wish I could make it better.  All I can tell you is that it's okay to yell at God.  It's okay to tell Him how you feel.  He doesn't want to be there for you just when things are going great.  He wants to be there for you always.

Until next time,
Hug your friends and family a little tighter (or even for the first time).


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Job the Musical!, Tom Petty, and Me

Tom Petty says "waiting is the hardest part".  He wasn't lying.  Sing it, Tom!  I'm cranky, crabby, and irritable.  I have a list of things I am trying to get done and nothing is happening.  Nothing is in my control right now and I hate that.  I hate, hate, HATE that!  I want what I want and I want it done NOW!  How hard is that to do!?  Hear that?  Listen.  That's the sound of God laughing at my plans. 

I've been praying and praying and praying.  I know God hears me.  I know this because over the sound of His laughter (okay, so He's not laughing that hard at me) He keeps telling me to wait!  Are you flippin kidding me!  You know how much I hate waiting...for my birthday, for my visits from Dad, for Christmas, wait, wait, wait!  UGH!  He's asking me to wait.  It would be one thing if He said "Gina, would you wait for me?" And I said "okay".  But He knows me well enough that I'd be all "okay, now hurry.  When are you getting here?  Are you almost here?"  So I would bug the ever loving crap out of Him.  So, He has me wait and sooner or later I figure out what He wants me to do (sometimes though, I'm so thick I really don't get it) and I go "aaaaaaaaahhhhhh haaaaaaaaa!"

God love my husband, he says yesterday "you don't seem happy".  So I tell him "I'm not happy" and tell him all the reasons why.  This makes my husband sad because there is nothing he can do to fix it.  I haven't been sleeping well with everything going on in my head.  So last night as I'm trying to go to sleep, I picture my swing.  At Montserrat, there's a bench swing outside of the dining hall.  That's my swing.  I spend a lot of time on it.  I pictured myself laying down on it like I like to do.  I could feel the wood arm against my back.  I pulled my hood over my head (I wear a hoodie because I don't like bugs and I'd rather the random stray one crawl over that than me) almost completely covering my head.  I laid on the swing like this many times at the retreat.  And before I knew it, I was asleep.  And I slept.  The first good nights sleep in about a week.  When I'm at the retreat and we have to picture our happy place and being with Jesus, more often than not, I picture my church.  I'm sitting in a pew next to Him with my head on His right shoulder.  Then, when I'm not at the retreat, I picture myself at the retreat and the peace I find there!  Weird I know. 

So, here's what God does, while I'm lamenting and staring in my own one act play "Job the musical!" He puts other people in my life who need me.  They just need me to listen.  Not to do anything, not to fix anything, just to listen to them.  And, while I do that, I pray for them.  And, while I'm concentrating on them, I don't think about ME.  This would be great if I could do this at the onset of my irritation of things that aren't going my way.  But I am stubborn.  George likes to say I need to let stuff roll of my back like a duck.  I told him I CAN'T do that.  I'm not like that.  I lead with my emotions.  So, it takes me a while, days even, to settle down.  God knows this about me and He loves me STILL!  Amazing, no?

Songs from "Job the Musical!": 

Don't tell me to count my blessings, I'm Angry!
God doesn't share (His plan)
Scream (don't tell me He has a plan)
Show me don't tell me (what you're plan is)
Why (Me?  Am I going through this?)
What do you want from me?
I haven't got time for the pain
I've got friends in low places
I just called to say I love you.

Until next time,
Pray for St. Joseph the worker.  Today is his feast day :D


Monday, April 15, 2013

Profound, Private, and Me

Well, another silent retreat has come and gone.  While I am sad that it is over, I am blissfully happy at the quiet and all the time I had on the retreat.  It's such a lovely time.  I always learn something about myself, whether it's something I need to do, stop doing, or change what I am doing.

This time around, I learned something very profound.  Very private.  But, I will share it.  I've heard time and again that Jesus is all I need.  I've sang the lines "Jesus be my everything".  I guess I'm so thick, things don't always click with me.  Over the weekend, Fr. Ron talked a lot about forgiveness.  Giving it, receiving it, why it's so important, etc.  I thought about one of my closest familial relationships that have gone astray.   There is nothing I haven't tried to do to repair it.  It just is what it is.  While meditating and sitting next to Jesus on the beach (sometimes it's in church, sometimes on the beach), my head on His right shoulder, He asks me why I am so hurt over this relationship.  I explain all I ever wanted this person to be to me.  All I thought they were suppose to be to me.  How I would look to this person in my life.  Every scenario I came up with, every one, Jesus said to me "I can do that!"  I miss my brother terribly.  More than words could ever describe or pictures could paint.  Jesus said "I AM your brother."  I said "but I want to talk with him and share things with him."  Jesus said "I can do that.  Share them with ME."  It was quite moving actually.  Everything I wanted out of a relationship with my younger brother, Jesus said He'd handle it.  It never dawned on me that Jesus really can be my everything.  God is the most amazing dad I've ever had (not counting George's dad, he's the most amazing father a girl could ever want and I'm truly blessed to have him and  he comes here on Wednesday!!!!) why shouldn't/couldn't Jesus be the most amazing brother to me? 

The other thing I found out, not really profound mind you, was when again I was meditating and talking to Jesus and He asked me what would make me happy.  Now, my first thought was a new bed.  Then the more I thought about it, sure material things make me happy but not nearly as happy as my very close friends and my immediate family.  My guru's Sharon, Patti, Julie, Mary P; my bunco sisters; my chrp sisters; my best friend Tina, my sister Carol; my husband and kids and my mom.  I can happily say that I have many friends now, when I used to have none.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  That is not an exaggeration.  Those above are my nearest and dearest.  My podmates, my spiritual guidance, my everything.  They are what makes me happy.  To be truthful, it felt quite odd going through a list of things off the top of my head that would make me happy and then boiling it all down to what truly makes me happy.  Love.  Giving my love to all of you.  That makes me happy.

What makes you happy?

Until next time,
Take some time for yourself and just be.


While the retreats are extremely lovely, they are also very emotionally exhausting for me.  I prayed, I laughed, I cried.  I seriously need the next day off just so I can reenter the world so to speak. lol  I wish all of you could experience it!  I prayed for all of you.  Yes, you!  I prayed for many by name and if you can read this, then I prayed for you too!  I love my retreats because they overflow my cup with blessings and grace and love and prepare me to deal with whatever life has in store for me.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Me, Mac, and Sheila

Last night was years in the making for me.  Finally, after about eight years, I was able to attend my first Third Day concert.  I fell in love with them after I attended a retreat at my church 8 1/2 years ago.  Last night, I stood most of the evening with 5,000 of my closest friends.  One very close friend, Sheila, right beside me.

It was such a beautiful experience.  At times, my eyes filled with tears that didn't escape.  At one point, they sang Revelation, one of my favorites by them.  I looked up, arms outstretched and sang the chorus:  "Give me a revelation, show me what to do, I can't seem to find my way, I haven't got a clue.  Tell me should I stay here, or do I need to move?  Give me a revelation, I've got nothing without you."  Then, at another point in the show Mac (Powell) talked about how God is a God of miracles and how we can ask for a miracle.  So I did.  I asked for a miracle for me, and for my friend.  I was specific.  I even reminded my friend something that I tend to forget often:  Faith isn't knowing that God can, it's knowing that He will!

Last night I was in my own little world.  It was me, Mac, and God, and Bob and Sheila.  I was the happiest I've been in a while.  While Mac didn't sing my ultimate favorite Third Day song, "When Love Sees You", I felt loved.  The love of my friend Sheila, the love of my God, it was awesome.

I just want to share with all of you, whatever you are going through right now, and it's always something, no matter how little it might seem, or how big, God loves you and so do I.

Until next time,
Pray for a miracle for yourself!


Friday, April 5, 2013

The Tortoise and the Hare

I'm a hare.  I can't help it.  Blame it on the ADHD or just plain excitement, I'm a hare.  I want everything NOW.  I want the house clean NOW.  I want a new bed, NOW.  I want a new house, NOW.  I want to be out of debt, NOW.  I want the remnants from my accident to be done, NOW.  I want my house to sell, NOW.  NOW!  NOW!  NOW!

I'm reaaaaaaaaaly tired of hearing 'you didn't get into this overnight', 'things take time', 'patience' and 'God has a plan'.  This does nothing but irk the heck out of us hares.  I've got things to do, places to be, I want what I want and I want it...NOW!

Apparently, God is not a hare.  He watches me, day after day, spin my wheels in the mud.  He watches me as I try to help Him along, after all, God helps those who help themselves, right?  Sigh.  My spinning, sadly, accomplishes nothing.  It upsets me because no matter how hard I try, nothing works.  People don't return calls when I need them too.  Who knew I wasn't the only person my insurance company is dealing with (joke people, I knew that)?  If people would stick to the script I have in my head, things would work so much smoother.  But, life isn't like that.

I spent last night with 16 of my closest friends saying good-bye to one of them who is leaving for two years.  We laughed, and laughed, and laughed!  At one point in the night, sitting on the couch with two of my friends, looking around at my other friends, there was no doubt in my mind that I was home.  Sometimes, even to this day, I still feel in spinning my wheels and trying to control situations, I am looking for acceptance.  I try to be what I think other people need me to be.  Sometimes, it's really very draining.  Then, God graces me with moments like last night.  Almost nine years ago, he put me with some of the holiest women I will ever know.  I looked around the room last night, and all I could see were hearts and arms that were wide open.  They accepted me warts and all.  Fourteen calls a day, snoring, excited, no idea what they were getting into.  They accepted me (along with quite a few others who aren't in my group from last night).  So, while I spend most of my days spinning and spinning and spinning, God graces me with tortoise moments like last night.  A time where the spinning stops and the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  It is moments like that in which I can physically see and feel exactly how much He loves me.  It is a beautiful thing. 

So, today, I was back to spinning, being my normal hare self.  However, I think I'm going to work on being more tortoise like during my days.

Until next time,
Pray for safe travel for my dear friend