Hodgepodge Ramblings…

Well, here I go again. Over the course of time since my last blog, I had many “AH HA” moments where I had a perfect subject to write about…but then…POOF…the only thing I can recall is that I once had something TO recall, but what that something was…well, fuhgeddboutit (like my wise-guy New Yorker thug speak?)

So much has been happening since the last time…not fascinating stuff, but stuff nonetheless:

  1. V had a narrow escape and thankfully did not go through with his plan to join the military. I don’t think someone with PTSD (resolving somewhat, but sometimes still an issue) should be a member of our esteemed armed forces. He had a somewhat shady military recruiter and I feel like I saved my baby from disaster. (Which leads me to wonder why the recruiter for Beau Bergdahl isn’t under fire, too much was in Bergdahl’s past to go unnoticed. Something is sketchy. But, that’s a post for someone other than me.)
  2. My husband is undergoing some alarming health concerns but is so far doing well. It’s just another layer of stress to make my days more like the Chinese curse which seems to follow me about.
  3. I got a promotion at work! I’m very happy and pleased. I have really good coworkers and am blessed that going to work each day is a joy.
  4. My church has started small group gatherings. I am part of two groups, both of them focused on books. One group is all women of various ages and we are reading “The Prodigal Son” by H. Nouwen. The other is mixed, but we are all older, and we are reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters.” Both groups have intelligent, interesting and authentic members and I’m loving the camaraderie and intellectual stretch.
  5. I’m still fat.
  6. I carved out a Mama-Cave in my house. It was beautifully maintained for about 60 days, then the men in my life have sloooooooowly have turned it into a catch-all for junk. I’m quite displeased. Today I started the mucking out process…argh…I’m finding things that only needed to be put away in cupboards and drawers and yet, it was easier to dump stuff in my sanctuary and shut the door.
  7. I will never understand how the minds of men work and feel smug that I’m assuming they even have workable-minds.
  8. I love watching Fixer Upper but am finding all of Chip and Jojo’s designs are starting to look alike from episode to episode. Either that, or I’m just watching the same episode on some time-warped loop from which I cannot escape.
  9. Oh! This is something creepy and not in my happiness zone. Someone who went to school with my late-sister Nancy has begun to have weird poltergeist type happenings in her home. At the time of Nancy’s death she was helping this young woman set up her own business. (Nancy did not have a college degree but was a brilliant go-getter.) So, this woman began hearing noises, bangings, and feeling creeped out.  She very unwisely went to see a psychic who then went on to identify my sister, her cause of death, and admitted that she was the one causing shenanigans from the other world to this world to have “fun” scaring her friend. The woman wrote all of this to my brother who then shared it with us. According to this psychic, Nancy’s soul had left her body prior to her truck hitting the tree, she was filled with joy, and the afterlife was “like a vacation.” Well, there is just something so wrong with that last statement that I insisted (okay, I nagged) my brother to NOT engage in anymore psychic talk about Nancy and to instead offer prayers for the repose of her soul. How could a “good soul” find joy in frightening the living?  Psychics and their “work” just creep me out and that’s an area better left untouched, ignored and avoided.

Well, there you have it, an uneven number of mini-events from the life of this coffee-sipping (at times guzzling) Catholic.

I hope you all are well and that you have a peaceful, blessed week free from all anxiety and filled with joyful hope.

Mwah.

Lazarus and Me at the Chinese Buffet

 Lazarus and the Rich Man

Luke chapter 16

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.* 19“There was a rich man* who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. 20And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,i21who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. 22When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23and from the netherworld,* where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ 25Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.j26Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ 27He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ 29But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ 30* He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”k

This is a parable that I’ve heard many, many times over the 55 years I’ve roamed this earth, but THIS is the year that the Lord has deemed to reveal it to me in a deeply personal way.

A few months ago, in the confessional, Fr. S. told me that I should pray to see myself as the Lord sees me and while doing so it was also put upon my heart to see others as the Lord sees them.

Shortly after that spiritual encounter, and after praying this during my morning devotionals, I was working in town when I got a call from my sweet Rupert, and then from my first born, that the following was occurring: 1. They were at work 2. without cash and 3. they were both STARVING to death.  Cash was, and continues to be, very tight but in the midst of my running around I promised them both that I’d bring them something good to eat and I knew just the thing! We have a Chinese Buffet which is AMAZINGLY delicious BUT, even better, has a buffet where you can cram as much hot deliciousness as possible into one of their containers for only $7! Can you say “BARGAIN” boys and girls? I went to the bank and pulled the last $20 from my account with full knowledge that I could feed my boys AND still have enough left to get a snack for myself.

I pulled into the restaurant and hurriedly locked my car while dashing to the restaurant door. I passed by a young man, neatly dressed, locking up his bicycle.  As I swept by something made me look up and make eye contact with him – which is something I’d normally avoid.

He gave me a sweet smile and said “Ma’am, I promise, I’m not asking you for money, but I was wondering if you may be willing to buy me a meal?”

I quickly scanned my surroundings and noticed that the parking lot was empty and that the restaurant would not be unlocking their doors for another hour. I then selfishly began doing calculations in my head, realizing that I had no other money besides the $20 and if I gave it to this guy, then me and mine would be without!

Immediately, I was ashamed of myself. I looked closer at this young man and while neatly dressed, his clothing was threadbare, his bike was not very roadworthy, and he was woefully underdressed for the bitter cold wind that was beating at both of us.

I pulled out the $20 and said “of course, here you go. It’s enough for the buffet and to get a drink.”

He looked at the $20 in amazement and arching his back, stretching out his arms he began to proclaim God’s goodness and generosity. He looked at me and said “I’ve been so hungry, I was going to ask if they’d let me work in exchange for some food. I just asked God this morning to please help me and He brought me you! What were the chances we would meet up? I’ve been so hungry!”

His joy, his gratefulness, his humility was overpowering and I believe I did see him as does the Lord. A young man, on hard times, trying to earn a meal on a bitterly cold winter’s day.

I will never forget him or the lesson I learned that day. God wants us to see and to be aware that we all pass our Lazaruses on the street, but that Lazarus may have many guises. We need to lift our eyes and see Him in everyone.

We must not also forget that the Lord cannot be undone in his generosity! I got back into my car and picked up the phone to tell my boys that it was time for a Plan B, and you know what? Both of them said “oh, nevermind mom! A friend of mine just bought me lunch!”

Which just goes to show that what goes around comes around!

God is good! All the time!

All the time! God is good!

 

 

Painting for poser-artists!

Now, some of you know that I’ve taken these awesomely fun painting courses that they offer here in town. They are kinda, sorta an adult “paint by numbers but without the numbers” and may be frequented by no-talent posers like me.😉

I’ve painted two of my beloved dogs (with varying results as you can see below!)

 

But it was fun and relaxing and most importantly they let you drink wine!!!!

But, the most fun I’ve had I have to say was when my beloved Rupert joined me for a night out. Now, aren’t these the most AMAZING paintings ever?? The image was suppose to be the state we live in, but we went RENEGADE and painted those cups all defiantly! In fact, when I asked the artist-instructor for pointers on improving my mug, I got a sniff and a “that’s fine, I’ve no suggestions” and flounced off to help the sheep in the class who were going along with the plan.

For a rule follower like me, it was heady and reckless and I’d do it again next time!

 

If nothing else, it was a beautiful respite from the tumultuousness that defines my life lately.

ps: feel free to leave LAVISH praise!  Kidding…not kidding 😉

 

 

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Oh January 2016, you wild lil gal you…you rang into my life with Oprah telling me it’s the year for “My Best Body”…and Vitya having many “wins” in his life…and my husband working hard on becoming the “best version of himself”…and me…well….ummm….this is a year of me working to get rid of the “uglies” in my soul. And my oh my, these “uglies” are best illustrated by this gorgeous creature:

predator

Pretty isn’t it? I think it best illustrates how I feel when I think of how I was betrayed by someone I had honestly loved.  I’m a person that if I count you amongst my friends, I am very loving and forgiving. When you are an asshat, well I will find it in my heart to reason out why…when you are dismissive to my needs, well I will find it in my heart to punish MYSELF for being too needy…and yada, yada, yada, yada….BUT, insult my husband (fighting or no) and be rude to my children? Well, I then turn into this:

Mama Tiger

Because you do NOT mess with those who are MINE. You just don’t.  Now, in the past I would have ROARED and spread the story of the betrayer far and wide…and the information I would have shared would have been all true, all observed and noted over years. But, that is not to be any more as I have the following spiritual leaders to thank for getting me to realize that doing this only makes ME an asshat:

  1. My Pastor
  2. Matthew Kelly
  3. Phil Sandoval
  4. Patrick Madrid
  5. Bishop Fulton Sheen

Just when I was fuming and growling and sharpening my deadly claws and ready to do battle…lo and behold there was a SERMON addressing anger and revenge…and just when I convinced myself that the Holy Spirit was not talking to ME surely…BAM! Phil did a whole week on revenge and the ego that is involved…and because I adore Phil I let that simmer in my heart when BINGO-BANGO Patrick talked about the morality involved in decisions, because just because we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD do something…and then darn it all…BOOM!!!…I read Matthew’s book exhorting me to become “the best version of myself”…and BAM-BOOP-BOP-BINGO-BANGO comes Bishop Sheen in a podcast and reading a book of a collection of his thoughts. (Bishop Sheen, btw, is pure goodness and genius and I love him with my whole heart!) And this is when I realized that the anger I am feeling (although VERY JUST – don’t forget that!) is not coming from the Lord, but rather is being coaxed and encouraged by the evil one.

Yes, I felt my guardian angel AND the Holy Spirit giving me a knuckle rap on the head and scolding me to “SNAP OUT OF IT!” because I’m only hurting me and my relationship with God. The betrayer is someone who has never admitted to their wrong doings, and so a confrontation would be useless and unproductive. What I must and will do is pray for this person and complete the encouragement of my pastor to pray to see others through the eyes of God.  Although, when he first advised me to complete this, and I thought of this situation, this is an example of how I was pretty durn sure the Lord was viewing it all:

ugly bug

But upon prayers of forgiveness I think this is a closer image to what my beautiful Lord sees:

wounded bird.jpg

A person who needs nurturing and care…but also, one who is not meant to be in my real life any longer but is deserving of prayers and good wishes.

So, dear reader, should you read in the future a really nasty and venting post, please return to this one and understand I’m on a journey that is imperfect with human emotions which are even more imperfect, but I’ve set my way on the narrow path.

narrow path to heaven.jpg

Because not only is 2016 going to be the year of my best body but also the year of spiritual growth!

Pope Benedict delivers his Urbi et Orbi Easter blessing over Saint Peter's square at the Vatican