Sunday, August 31, 2008
.... offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. "Your body is a gift not only from Me to you, but to Me from you. Take care of it. Respect it. Treat it with extra special care. It is a holy place. Treat it as such. Remember the Ark of the Covenant? Your body is that special."
Do not conform yourselves to this age. In other words God says, "You ain't gonna be a teenage forever. Not 25. Not 30. Not 40. You are going to keep getting older and older. The sooner you face it and embrace it, the easier it will be for you to hear My Voice."
...be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God. Or, "At each age I have a new assignment for you. Ever changing. Keep up or take notes, people."
....what is good and pleasing and perfect. "Did I mention that there will be a test on this at the end of class? Do your very best. At all times. I do not grade on a curve."
Though I was distracted I realized that God sent me this wonderfully-created soul in the form of a three year old. God's creations are good. Which means, therefore, that my distracted mind must be a good thing. I was left trying to see the good in being distracted.
What could be good about that I asked the Lord?
The answer: As a result of not being able to completely sit through Mass, I have an overwhelming desire to be closer to the Lord and to hear His word. To be with Him in the Eucharist. To thank Him for the awesome sacrifice.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
He and I packed his little lunchbox and put a change of clothes in his backpack, "just in case". It was so neat to see his enormous smile as we pulled up. Bless his heart, I know he gets bored here with me ALL of the time. This will give his sweet little brain a break from these four walls and challenge his mind a little more than I do.
A friend swears I am going to miss him. And I know she is right, but more so I am happy for him. This way he will have scheduled "outside play times" which don't get put off because of baby sister's nap schedule, the mosquito factory in our backyard, or countless other stupid blockades.
So, here I am. Baby is asleep. All is quiet. Where do I start?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
This morning I awoke with a case of the angry eyebrows. Couldn't seem to shake them. Wonder why that is? Some days I am on top of the world. Some days EVERYTHING rubs me the wrong way. Very often the angry eyebrow day correlates with trying to get out of the door for Mass. What's up with that? Thank God, by the time we get to the part of the Lord's Prayer (if it hasn't already gone by then) and "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" I can feel them lifting off and flying away.
What about you? What gives you a case of the angry eyebrows?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Oh, and just in case you need a mental image of what a funkaerobics class may look like... think Paula Abdul music video choreography.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I remember King telling me that when he was a teen, the one and only time he chose to backtalk his mother, he was left with a hand print across his cheek. Too severe? Maybe. Maybe not. I can guarantee you he never did it again.
The reason for my plea is purely selfish. I do not want my future sons-in-law to speak to my daughters the way they speak to your wives. My husband and I have set the bar for our kids as to how marriage is supposed to be. King and I speak with respect and love to one another 99.9% of the time. (0.01% = we are human, after all!)
That, and it will avoid an embarrassing situation for them later down the road. Because I can promise you, I have huge mother grizzly bear potential.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I had to keep thinking, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny. Nothing tastes as good as healthy."
I couldn't even look at that chocolate dessert that looked like some bubbling, gooey, chocolaty goodness. Well, maybe I did peek, but I swear, I didn't taste it.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The fact that I am an old, fat, uncoordinated white woman was rubbed in my face too many times for me to count.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Things went fairly well, all told. There was a great deal of down time, but we also were able to get out of Dodge for a couple of trips.
Yesterday was the first day of school. They "took off" bright and early and are swiftly approaching their "cruising altitude" for the new academic year. I am loving the fact that we now have a routine going, and we have direction. Whew!
The pilot has turned off the seat belt sign and you are free to move about the cabin.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
It is an accessory to only the world's most intense cardio workout. A belly dance scarf.
"Big gym" offers belly dance cardio classes. One of my workout cohorts and I decided it might be fun to try our hand...er.. make that our abdomen at a class on Saturday.
If you took ALL the workouts I have done for the past month - both cardio and strength training - and rolled them all together in a big ol' bundle and held it up against this hour-long belly dance class, they couldn't hold a candle to it.
I am telling you, there is not one muscle I did not use. This is no exaggeration, my hair was soaking wet! I was able to walk to the car to leave the gym afterward, but by the time I got home I crawled to the front door.
One lady said at the beginning of class that it was addictive. Yeah. Right. Masochist!
But you know what? Within an hour of being home from it, as tired and sore and worn out as I was, I was also so excited to get such an incredible workout that I got in my car and went and bought a noisy belly dance coin scarf, one nearly identical to the one in the picture. I can't wait to go back!
And, King? Well, let's just say that he thinks it is a really good idea.
ps- next up: Funkaerobics! Call 911 and tell them to bring the paddles and a stretcher!!
Friday, August 8, 2008
The night before, the hotel where I worked offered our extended family the meeting rooms at no cost. We all gathered and spent time together. Some of us still had unstoppable tears, others (mostly my uncles - men, who perhaps don't let people see themselves cry) were playing cards. "Hmmfph, how could they be playing cards at a time like this?!?" I wondered. One cousin had recently gotten married and had brought her wedding photo album. Looking back on it, I know that she was trying to help lift the mood of the room, share her joy. But, still reeling from the pain of knowing my father would never meet my future fiance, nor walk me down the aisle, all I could think about was my own misery. I became over-the-top emotional.
We had a two hour drive from "the new town" to "the old town" which is where the cemetery plots my parents owned were. I barely remember being on the highway. Such a blur. I do remember thinking, "How could people in the rest of the world go on about their daily lives? Why does life have to keep moving?" I was impressed, briefly, at how people pulled over for the procession behind the funeral home vehicles. Not enough salve to begin to touch the open wound of losing my sweet Dad though.
The (very) small church where we had been parishioners for many many years was filling up. Mom, Liz, and I formed a line in the narthex and greeted well-wishers, old friends and extended family whom we had not seen in a long time. My father was a very well respected member of the community in the "old town". He had been involved in a lot in the nearly 20 years we'd lived there among which was youth league and high school football. He also helped to get a group home built, which helped transition high-functioning people with mental retardation from institutional settings into the community. My heart wanted to be overjoyed to see these long lost friends, but the sadness prevailed.
Despite the fact that my father had not converted to Catholicism (yet.. though he was attending Mass each week with my sister) he had a Catholic funeral Mass. The priest who celebrated was a very close friend of the family. I have no idea if that was within the "rules" or not, but that's neither here nor there. "On Eagle's Wings" was sung. I wept. To this day, I cannot hear that song without getting choked up. Can't even whisper its lyrics.
I was dreading the graveside service. I figured it would be the most horrific part of it. Final. As the funeral procession slowly entered the cemetery, my heart started racing, dread took up residence over my head, my hands were sweaty. I didn't want to be there.
After the prayers were said as well as the goodbyes to the people who had taken time out of their busy days to share this moment with us, the cemetery workers began lowering the casket into the ground. I felt a gentle breeze in the air. It felt good against my numb, tear-stained face. The same cousin, who had unknowingly been so callous the day before stood there beside me. It was just the two of us. I have no idea where anyone else was, nor was I aware of what they were doing. The downward motion of the casket, the breeze, and my cousin.
"He's in a better place now." Hers were simple words. I have no idea if she elaborated or not. The one sentence is all I heard, all I recall.... and the peace which followed. I gulped a huge lungful of air. I could feel the first twinges of healing.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
My parents had just moved. We had lived in the same small town in NC for nearly 20 years, but Dad got a new job. So my first time driving home from college (Auburn) to western NC was odd. I was driving to a place I'd never been before. My new home. But, I had no idea how to get there.
Once off the interstate, I had to call to get directions. My Dad figured out where I was and drove to meet me and I followed him to the new house.
Wow. Steep driveway. Nice house. Different than anything I'd ever lived in, but, still very traditional.
That summer I spent trying to get my bedroom decorated. I got a part time job as a hostess at the local hotel's restaurant. I met a couple of people who were around my same age and although we never hung around together outside of work, it was fun to joke around with them during work.
One night my sister and I were staying up late watching some movie on tv. I don't even remember what it was. I do, however, remember one of the commercials - a public service announcement. It was about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. What to look for, when to seek medical attention. I took the information in and tucked it away to use "someday".
The next day ("someday") dawned. Our family - Mom, Dad, Liz and I, spent the day together just goofing, relaxing, playing games. We were planning on grilling out that night. I had a "first date" that night and the guy was going to come over and eat steaks with us.
Early in the afternoon, Dad mentioned that he must have pulled a muscle in his chest. "It feels tight," was his explanation. Remembering the PSA I had seen the night before, I said, "Hey, Dad, maybe you should go get seen at the ER, you could be having a heart attack." And I proceeded to regurgitate the information I had learned from the commercial.
"Nah, I've had this before. It'll go away. Your Mom and I are going to lie down for a bit. Take a little nap." Time passes.
We are all busily preparing for grilling out. I remember the steaks were top notch. We were all looking forward to a delicious meal and I was really looking forward to my parents meeting Tony. He was a good-ol-boy who had grown up in the small town in which we now lived. The son of a farmer. I could imagine him on a tractor. He had a really nice smile.
Doorbell rings. I am still upstairs. Putting on mascara. I hear my Mom answer the door and I holler down the stairs "be right there!" Tony introduces himself to Mom and Dad and the two guys decide to go out and light the grill. I hear the back storm door close.
Then I hear Tony's voice telling my Mom to call 911.
I turned to my sister and said, "Dad is having a heart attack."
I ran downstairs and Tony and I performed CPR. I remember the sound of the air coming back out of his mouth. Don't leave sweet Daddy.
The EMTs got on the scene some time later - seemed to be days - and though they did the paddle thing several times, gave him heparin (I think that's right) shots. They loaded him into the ambulance and drove - slowly inched along - to the hospital where they took him into the ER and did more of the same.
The doctor came in to tell us that they did everything they could for as long as they could and his heart never responded. He said we could go back there and spend as much time as we wanted to.
I remember walking in and just staring. My sweet Daddy. Lifeless. "Ok, Dad, this isn't funny. Please suck in a huge lung full of air and do that silly face and say tah-dah." (He loved to do magic tricks.) The EMTs had to remove his shirt to do the paddle things and I noticed that all the blood had pooled along his back. Now I knew it wasn't a magic trick. My insides were screaming, "NOOOO" and my legs were weak. Before we left, my Mom asked a nurse to help her remove the wedding band that had been there more than 20 years.
We lingered as long as we could and then in silence drove home. We had not eaten dinner. We stared at the uncooked steaks that we had been looking so forward to. None of us were hungry. We stood there in the kitchen and wept. After awhile, weary from the day, and knowing the next few days were going to be an unwelcome whirlwind of activity we climbed the stairs and prepared for bed. None of us wanted to be alone. I wondered, "How could Mom get into bed? The same one she and Dad had just taken an afternoon siesta in just a few short hours ago? Would she be scared? Lonely? Frightened?"
For some odd reason, I had to shave my legs that night and I remember sitting on the edge of the tub, my teardrops mingling with the water swishing around the drain. My sweet Daddy. He'll never meet the boy I am to marry. He will never bounce his grandchildren on his knee, never tell them jokes and delight in their laughter, he will never do magic tricks for them - not even the infamous watch-my-balled-up-napkin-disappear-after-dinner trick - or the even more famous trick: Pull My Finger.
After finally climbing into bed I prayed. I remember learning recently that we must praise God in all things. Not just praise the good stuff and bitch about the bad stuff. All things. "Lord, I have no idea why you decided to take my sweet Daddy home today. You must have a reason. I know that I cannot even begin to see the bigger picture. Thank you, Lord, for keeping him safe and please continue to protect us and get us through this nightmare. Perhaps in time, Lord, I may use this experience to help someone else who might be going through the same thing."
Twenty years ago. Seems like yesterday. Seems like forever.
But, when I don't eat a slice of cheesecake, or anything else bad for that matter AND I work out like crazy for a whole month, even (!), I won't budge an ounce.
I suppose it is fairly obvious that I optimistically stepped on the scale this morning and whatever loss I had last week has been found this week. I swear! I am really starting to lose the plot. I am so tired of spoon feeding the "you are building muscle, replacing the fat" pablum to myself, that I could just throw up. I can understand that excuse applying to the first week or two of exercise, but after nearly a month of it. Pffft.
So, downtrodden and smarting from the brick abrasion on my forehead, I am forced to suck it up and keep going. I'll keep waddling in that gym with my Churchillian girth and repeat to myself "Never give in. Never give in."
"....this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." excerpt from a speech given on October 29, 1941 at Harrow School
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
With an occasional setback (accidental and/or otherwise) number 4 is doing very well with his potty training. Once or twice, he stole the baby's paci and went and hid and did what he used to do in his unders. I had to just throw them away. Hopefully it made enough of an impression that his Thomas underwear went into the trash so that it won't happen again.
The three oldest kids are enjoying a few days away with cousins before school starts next week.
King and I down to two kids for a bit. Amazing. We want to do so much, but know the time will slip by.