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Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Much Better Day.. :)

First let me say THANK YOU, to all of you who've been praying for me and my family and sending encouraging emails and messages.  You guys ROCK!  The prayers are working.  I know there is still a long way to go to work things out... and more heart ache to come.  But for now, I am finally feeling okay.  I don't think I'll be checking into the looney bin any time soon.  Praise the Lord!

I stayed super busy today... errand running.  Pet food, the 'regular' shopping, plus our stop at the "hippie store" for our organic needs.  Got home just in time to peel out and go help do the organic co-op.   Picked us all up a sandwich for dinner, and got eldest daughter and hubby to work. 

I haven't' cried all day long.  I've had lots to smile and be happy about.  A friend came over, and (I'd not seen her in quite a long time..) and she "pulled a sneaky" on me!  She had this gorgeous little baby girl with her... and I thought maybe she was baby sitting.  No!!  She has been blessed with this little gorgeous angel.  I was so surprised and so excited for her!!  How on earth did I miss this??  But I did... and here's this lovely perfect child..  Honestly I can't imagine being happier for her! What a blessing!!   Oh, how I'd love to have another baby myself!!  But unfortunately for me, it would indeed take a miracle!  BUT... I do get to enjoy everyone else's little bundles of joy. :)

I don't know if this will last.  I hope it does.  But today was one of those days that was cool and sunny.  The river looked smooth and blue.  Everyone was in a good mood.  Even strangers were nice.  I couldn't find a blessed thing to NOT be happy about.

To top off my day.... my girls are home with me tonight... and I ordered myself a book... "A Little Way of Homeschooling" by Suzie Andres.  I can't wait for it to come!  :)  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Coping, and Keeping My Head Up.

Today I am finding it hard just to keep my head up.  With bad memories filling my mind, recent bad news, and then some very devastating news dropped into my lap on Monday, I am literally just spending my energy.. just sitting upright.  What I want to do is crawl under the bed, never come out, and stay there until I die.

Since I am a cow, and there is no 'underneath' on our bed, it's an impossibility anyway.  

Right now I am finding it difficult to get along with hubby, my girls... heck... even the dogs. The smallest things are setting me off...  infuriating me, and then I dissolve into tears.  Panic attacks earlier today, and then a three hour sleep, leaving my girls to fend for themselves.  Well, as the saying goes... while the cats away, the mice will play.  I know in my heart they didn't do anything bad... just not what I wanted them to do.  And as  result... I flew off the handle.

Today is just NOT a good day.

Back in November, I received a EWTN tote bag as a gift.  I've never even used it.  And now, I cannot find it. Anywhere. I am deeply worried that my daughters mixed it up in the organic co-op bags, and if they did, odds are I won't be getting it back.  I know it's 'just' a bag.  But this has gotten me upset.  Funny how little things can upset you so much when you're already stressed out to your limits.  I want my darn bag, and I want it now.  That sounds so irrational.  But there again, I am NOT feeling rational at all.  

Earlier, during my panic attacks... I wondered to myself if I would finally just get so stressed out and freaked out that I would just drop dead of a heart attack.   I have considered, perhaps a mental breakdown?  That sounds more likely.. as it 'feels' close as it is.  Not that I'm an expert on these things.  I have known of people who've gotten locked up... like.. mentally.  I have pondered, what makes me any different from them?  The ones I've known have either 'snapped'... (as in, doing nutso things for no reason), and the others because they became a danger to themselves or to someone else.  I am certainly not going to 'off' myself.  (don't believe in that, and am also not that selfish), and though the thought of knocking someone's block off is sometimes quite appealing, I would not actually do it.
So that leaves being nutso/irrational.

What is coping?  What is 'normal' coping?  Freaking out about my EWTN tote bag?  Livid that my daughter cooked fish instead of eating the leftovers before they go bad?  Mad that someone promised to do something, and hasn't lifted a finger, and has once again (IMHO) lied to me and I was again stupid enough to believe them?  ON TOP of all the REAL stuff that's ripping me apart inside.  These little things are just that.  Little things.  But right now they feel like BIG things.

It is said that God never gives us more than we can handle.  Okay, well now I am wondering  if God has checked His gauge lately.  How much is enough?  I am screaming 'Uncle' as it is.  I actually hate complaining. So many others have suffered far worse... and here I am crying in my Cheerwine cola.  How do you cope?  How does anyone?  Why am I finding it so hard to pray?   

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fear, Grief, and Shoelaces Tied

My mom has Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.  She's had it for 14 years. She had chemo today.  The future is scary.  She is scared.  I am scared for her.  She's already done over and beyond better than they ever hoped... but how long can this go on?  Her health is bad.  I am scared for my mom.

Today my 11 yr old daughter learned to tie her shoes finally.  She is globally delayed, and visually impaired.  Motor skills have never been her strong point.  But by golly, she can tie her shoes now. It's interesting to me that when she was five years old she could correctly use the word 'facetious', and knew exactly what it meant, and has a bigger vocabulary than many adults, but the child just learned to tie her shoes.  How crazy is that?!  

I have been reading my friend's story of her son's short life... one day.. and his death.  It's hard to read.  It makes me think.  Makes me thankful for my children.  I have never lost a child.  But I do grieve the children I might have had... had I known what I was doing... and very well could have literally flushed away a baby of mine and never even known about it.  That 'what if' is something I have to live with every single day.  My penance for not trusting God enough.. and for going the way of the world instead of the Cross.

I've lost my grandpop, and I lost my best friend Stephanie.   Grandpop died the day before my 40th birthday.  Funny.  I was so 'worried' about turning 40... and then as it turned out, it didn't matter.  He was 40 when I was born.  I was hours shy of 40 when he died.  I didn't want my birthday to come.  I convinced myself that if I could just NOT turn 40, then grandpop would live.  It didn't work out that way.  Momma says that she thinks I should consider it an honor that Grandpop died at my birthday.  I can't though.  It hurts too much.

When Stephanie died, it was the week before my birthday.  November 18th.  I still cry sometimes when I think of her.  I still talk to her... I think she can hear me.  I can feel her.. and I can feel grandpop.  I have felt two of my grandmothers too, in the past.  One came to me once in a very vivid dream, just two days before she died, to tell me goodbye.  Stephanie has come to me twice since her death.  Once telling me she was in Heaven, and she was okay.  The other time to help me move past a bad point I was at....  she was literally an answer to a prayer.  People may think I'm nuts.  No... I'm not.  Our loved ones are still our loved ones.  Grandpop has never come to me.  Perhaps because as painful as his death was for me, I was able to accept it better.  After all, he'd lived a long, full, and happy life.  He was loved, and absolutely LOVED all of us.  He loved Jesus, and I know that Grandpop is happy in Heaven...  maybe that's why his was easier.  Because I had no doubts with Grandpop, and knew he was okay.  He literally went to his reward.  Stephanie was too young, and there were, for me, too many questions and fears and doubts and anger and profound grief.  Maybe that's why her death was so difficult for me.

So why all this today?  I had to take a class this morning... Protecting God's Children... They showed a film I can only describe as 'icky'.  About perverts.  About how they prey on kids, and even vulnerable adults.  I felt sick after seeing the film.  It brought back memories for me... ones I'd forgotten about.  It also brought back suspicions of people I've known...afterward there was a long discussion.. but it was... opening of a can of worms.  I can't get it out of my head now.  It angers me to know that we do so much to protect our families and our loved ones... but these predators watch, and wait, and plan.  To do their worst.  Sickos.  And what do I do?  Come home and pick up the grief book about my friend's precious little son.  

My highlight of the day... my Robyn tying her shoes.  Wow.  LOL  That sounds so bad!!

I've done a lot of crying today... trying to hide it from my hubby who can't understand why I'm so sensitive and all these tears for "just a class" I took.  I don't think he knows about the book I'm reading, or where my brain is at while I'm reading.  He knows I talked to momma, but I doubt he knows how worried I am.  It's not that I don't think that men worry and grieve... that's silly.. of course I know that they do.  I just don't think that they do it the same way women do... and as far as that goes... we are all individuals... so is our grief.  

The day and time is going to come... I will have more heartache and grief.  I know that... it is part of life.  Part of living and dying.  I wonder how I will handle it.  I didn't handle it good at all when Steph died.  I sobbed every day literally for months. I had never been so grief stricken in all my life.  I loved her like a sister.  God... I still miss her so much.  I think of her still, and sometimes still cry.  The pain is still there, but eased.  

My mom always warned me about "borrowing trouble".  I wonder if that's exactly what I am doing this evening.  Borrowing trouble.  But today has been full of reminders of people whom I've loved, and their passings... of horrible memories and revelations that set inside me hurt and disgust and anger... too much... and I'm spending tonight trying to process it all.

Therapy is sounding pretty darn good to me at this point.

My bright spot of the day... tied shoes.  Messily  and awkwardly tied, but tied nonetheless.  
I wish I could talk to my priest.. like.. NOW.  I wish I could spend the night in the Adoration chapel at St Paul's.  But instead I will weep silently tonight, next to my husband, and pray.  I just don't what else I can do right now... so all I can do.. is to 'be'.  And give it all to God.  He can handle any mess I give him.  And it's a good thing..  because this one's a doozie.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cooking Therapy

Cooking Therapy

What is it I love about cooking?  The process of finding the 'right' recipes, measuring ingredients, mixing and choosing the right pan to cook in.  I love it.  It's relaxing.. it makes sense.  It makes everything feel 'okay'. :)  That all is right in the world.

When it's all finished, there is something about seeing family and friends digging in to something I've made, and the 'Oh. My. Goodness.' expression which always pleases me to no end. :)   A sin of pride, I know.

I flourish in winter.  That's the time for the homemade soups and stews... I pride myself on rich soups that have simmered literally for hours in my huge pot... the time and the care I put into it.  And love.  That's the most important ingredient.  Otherwise, it's just another pot of soup.  You can get 'any' soup anywhere.  I want to make soup that feeds not only the body, but says, "I love you!" when you eat it. :)  

My mom was, and is, the best cook in the entire world.  I know most people feel the exact same about their moms. :)  I fondly remember watching my mother fry chicken, and she always gave my daddy 'the big piece'.  And it made my heart glad.  He was 'the daddy'.  And momma and I loved him.  That huge piece of golden fried chicken was a small 'I love you'.  Mom never actually said this, mind you.  But I saw my parents say "I love you" a million different ways, without even having to say a word.  Mom loved cooking big meals.  That's simply just how we grew up.  I have heard it said that here in the South, that "food = love".  And it's true.  LOL That actually does sound kind of bad.. haahahaa.. but maybe it's because so many Southerners were born having to 'make do'.  And no matter how tight things were, dinner was a celebration.  Millions of Southern babies grew up eating grits and cornbread.  They were well fed and well loved.  

Momma gave me my first bread machine probably ten years ago.  I have made countless loaves of bread, plus dough for pizzas, rolls, and sweet breads.  I can honestly say I've never bought one of those ready to make bread machine mixes.  It just feels like cheating to me. 

I can't make everything.  I have attempted cake decorating.. my hands shake too much.  If I attempted to make a pretty cake, it would look like a drunk made it.  :)   But I can make a glorious cake... with pudding and whipped cream and nuts and cherries and pineapples... and coconut too if you like.  But I've never mastered a pie crust.  I will though, one of these days.

Tonight I was feeling a little down.. and, I did as I always do... I cook.  When I am worried or stressed... or just down in general... I cook.  I love the mixing, the baking, and the pride of seeing it come out of the oven gorgeous.   My family, of course, reaps the benefits of it all. And cook I did.  Pork chops, potatoes, fried apples, beer bread and fresh organic salad with tomatoes and grated Irish cheese.  No I didn't make dessert.  Not this time anyway.

Amy's boyfriend was over yesterday, early, to take her to the movies.  They wanted to leave early so they could get back early... since Amy had to work that evening.   So, I invited him for breakfast.  Having someone over for a meal is fun..  I LOVE feeding people.  So, of course I had to make a huge Southern breakfast.  Sausage, eggs, fruit, grits, hot chocolate or tea, and a big bowl of sliced grapefruit and tangerines.  A plate of toast, and your choice of homemade preserves.  I was rewarded.  Amy's friend left our home with his belly poking out. :)  

I remember when a family member was in the hospital and I was worried.  I cooked so much I was delivering plates to everyone we knew.  Cooking everything in the house I could find.  

I wonder what a shrink would say?  What do you say about a person who cooks emotionally?  Regardless of whether I am happy or depressed.  I do admit that when I am happy, the things I cook are things that are usually lighter, fresher, and more involved.   I wonder if I am the only mom who does this.  I have friends who clean when they are stressed.  Wow.  I WISH I had that problem! :)   I end up with a messy house, but a buffet laid out.  LOL  I'd much rather have a medically clean house, and a dinner date with hubby!  ;)

Does anyone else here do emotional cooking?  Or "Cooking Therapy" as I call it.   (By the way, I am also quite fond of Shopping Therapy) ;)  Haahaa!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Planting A Rose Bush

After my last post... things have been different.  I guess I needed to have a rant... I guess.  Not very attractive.  But truthful.  The truth isn't always pretty. 

I got myself Januarys & February's Magnificats from our parish bookstore, as well as Magnificats Lent booklet for 2012.  And am trying to make an effort to pray more... and try to think of Jesus much more often throughout the day.  I was in this habit before... and got out of it.  So I am back to good-habit forming.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  And to be honest, I am feeling quite happy already.  Sort of like... well... this sounds corny but I actually feel like I've planted a rose bush.  On the inside. :)   I can't wait to see what blooms!

So after a horrific nightmare early this morning, where as in the dream itself I was in the middle of a terrifying situation... and in the dream, I was praying aloud... not for God's mercy for me, (I was about to die in the dream), but for my children whom I'd leave motherless.  
Of all the fears I could possibly have about leaving my children, (you'd have to kill me, honestly), the greatest fear of them all was that they'd no longer attend the Holy Mass... that Robyn wouldn't be Confirmed in a couple of years... and that they'd fall away from the Faith.  No confession.. no Adoration...  zero prayer life... zip!  To me, THAT was the most frightening part of the dream.  I woke up weeping.. and did some praying and thinking.  I have not been the best example to my girls.  Like most moms, I have times when I think I've done pretty decent, and times when I was not my best in front of them.. and thus showed them a very poor example.  I need to do better.  Maybe I dreamed that for a reason.  A wake up call from God perhaps?  Stranger things have happened!

Despite my poor nights sleep ending with a nightmare, I did get up and make a nice big breakfast for my family... grits, eggs, sausage, fruit, hot chocolate, toast and homemade preserves.  Everyone was happy. :)   

The last two days, (see, even before that dream!) have been such good ones that even the kids have made remarks.. "Mom is so HAPPY!"  I admit, sad to say, that I cannot remember my kids ever saying that before.   Not that I haven't been happy... of course I have... but happy to the point that the kids can see the joy plainly... and it makes them happy too.

This growing joy is not something I can actually 'see' in myself, but I can see it vividly in the reflection in my family.  And that fills me with gratefulness, joy, and love.

A wee rose needs to be fed... so, I did a bit more shopping earlier.  On ebay I got "Mother Angelica's Private and Pithy Lessons from the Scriptures".  And then, on Amazon, I got "Homeschooling with Gentleness:  A Catholic Discovers Unschooling", and Mother Angelica's "Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality".   I have read some of Mother's books in the past... but don't currently own any.  Now I do! :)   Next week I am hoping to be able to purchase, "A Little Way of Homeschooling".  I am looking forward to learning and growing more. :)  One little step at a time. :) 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Struggle for Holiness

Today, a friend of mine was so joyous... she prayed three rosaries and felt so happy and blessed...   I am happy for her... I wish I could do that.

I struggle with praying and it's difficult to pray even ONE rosary without my mind wandering... or I feel like I'm just 'saying' the words 'empty'.... does that make sense? I am such a terrible Catholic... I want so much for it all to be so INTENSELY REAL to me that I can't STOP praying! I wonder if I will ever be to that point.  I remember one point in my life I was able to pray a lot more... that seems a lifetime ago.   I was unmarried... childless at that time.   Is it the distraction of having family now?  I don't think so.  I think that should make me even more turn to Him.

I've had this 'dry' spell so long, it is sadly 'normal'.  I hate it.  I have been advised to just 'get in the habit' of praying... and somehow it's supposed to just 'come', but how can you when you feel you are just repetitiously saying the words but without the love that should pour through them?

When I receive Holy Communion, why am I not filled with awe and love and gratitude and thankfulness?  It's Jesus's Body!!!  Why am I not lying prostrate on the floor in His presence?

It does not dawn on me to NOT cover myself or be veiled in His Presence.  I do not want to offend Him.  But so I KNOW that I KNOW it's Really Him... so why do I struggle?

I trust in Him... but I don't 'talk' to Him.  How can I claim to love Someone I, for all intents and purposes, basically ignore?

About two years ago, a "friend" was smirking at me and a friend of mine, remarking that we 'had religion' and it was 'nothing more than a social club' for us.  What with our stickers on our cars, our medals and crucifixes and scapulars around our necks, and how we 'talk the talk' so well.  But his indication is that we were entertaining... and that it was all a show.

I was initially offended... then pondered his words.  Was I?  Am I?  Is it pride?  Is it pride that I'm 'wondering' if it's pride?  Good gravy.  Where does this all end?

Am I a big faker?  Am I just tickling my own ears with my elegant flowery words?  Who am I really with no one around to see?   I'll tell you who I am.   I'm a little selfish.  Secure in my bubble, with no desire to leave it.  Looking for traces of God in everything... the sunset, the clouds, in my children's faces, and trying to block out all the bad that keeps trying to seep into every crack in my life.  I'm sometimes a little mean, judgmental.  I can have a potty mouth, (I hate that about myself, and have NO pride in that at all)... I can be petty, gossipy, blunt, and at times even a little cruel.  Overly sensitive, easy to laugh or cry.... feelings easily hurt, and worse of all... I have one of those 'addictive' personalities... meaning... I am too easily caught up in whatever floats by and is shiny and catches my eye... and I sign up for it in blood. That's another thing I hate about myself.  So why cannot I not get so gung-ho on prayer as I can watching chick flicks?  

Friday, January 6, 2012

And It's Not Even Friday the 13th Yet...

Sometimes a gal just needs to vent.  This would be one of those times.

I have a cold.  My throat is sore and I feel terrible.  My kids are awesome kids, but, they can be lazy and not do what I expect of them... such as making their bed, bringing in the newspaper recycling bin, (and throwing the newspapers on the couch instead), and leaving towels down all over the floor.  Today, both were guilty of this.  I have to remind them I am not their maid.  I am sick of clutter and things being not put away, and stuff left out... and not to mention messy bedrooms, bathroom, and den.  Oh... and a thousand glasses fanned out all over the house.

This morning I found out that the old man we buy our eggs from is a registered sex offender.  I was getting his address so I could recommend his free range brown eggs to a friend... so I googled his name to get his house number, and there he was.  Big color picture, and his disgusting offenses.  I was horrified. I had no idea.  I had noticed he had commented about my 11-yr-old a couple of times, but I had blown it off... thinking he was just a nice, grandfatherly old man.  Yeah. Right.  Praise God I never turned my back on him with my kids.  Recently he'd suggested I bring my daughter over so he could show her his garden, and let her pick vegetables... (which she would love doing), but now I think of that and wonder if he had something else in mind. :(   The thought sickens me.  I can't believe I bought eggs and veggies off of him for months now... and he's a PREDATOR!!.  A child molesting predator.  How dumb am I that I didn't google him to start with?  My ignorance could have hurt my kids!

Later, (maybe an hour later), I found out that a friend of mine is leaving the country for two years.  Admittedly we are not close, but she is a sweetheart, and is one of my very favorite people in the whole world... and that is important to someone like me who doesn't know many people and am not exactly running over with friends. So I feel like a friend is being taken away whom I care about.  I know she is coming back, but my heart is sad.

My eldest and I were talking.  I told her that sometimes you have to play the Glad Game, (like Pollyanna), and for everything that is bad... you try and think of something to be glad about it.  By not buying those eggs anymore, it forces me to buy them from our favorite health food store.  And our further supporting a local store we trust is a good thing.  And as far as my friend... she will have an exciting time out of the country... I'm sure she'll stay in touch via facebook, and she IS coming back.  I should be excited for her.  Right?  

Forty five minutes later, I had just dropped my teen off at work and was on the way home.. a car ahead of me hit a squirrel.  It was still alive as I straddled it with my tires, in horror over what I'd just seen.  Poor little thing.  I didn't know whether to just hit it and put it out of it's misery... but SERIOUSLY??? Who can point-blank hit any creature on purpose?!  I surely can not... even to spare it a few moments of suffering.  I knew it would be dead in a couple of minutes... but still.  It was sickening and horrible and sad.  I know someone out there is rolling their eyes and going, "Sheesh, Susan, get a grip it was just a squirrel."  Well too bad.  I love animals and I can't bear to see any of them suffer.  That was HORRIBLE! :(  So I straddled the poor little thing, and prayed that it died quickly. :(

Our 7 month old puppy Abby was good most of the day, then decided to be a dickens and raid my eldest daughters garbage, chew it into specks and spread it all over the front room for me to enjoy.  (I didn't.)  My very old dog (14 and a half years old), doesn't feel good and is cranky, and feels she must loudly protest (bark) whenever the pup is near her, or if something isn't going her way.  She can barely get up and down, and when she is up, she tends to stagger like a drunk from the severe arthritis in her old hips.  This evening she was doing this in the kitchen, as I was removing the salad spinner from the fridge.  I had to take a quick side-step to keep from bumping my very old girl, (old dogs fall down and I can't bear to see her in pain), and so when I did this, my FULL-to-the-top salad spinner of organic green leaf lettuce, (washed and torn up, ready to eat), hit my kitchen floor and went everywhere.  I am ashamed to say that filth spewed from my mouth. Did I mention I have dogs?  In the house?  Yeah... I was not amused.

I called my hubby at work.  I told him everything, and cried.  He thought it was funny.  He reminded me that next Friday is "Friday the 13th".  Oh joy.

So I have decided that I am going to make myself a nice hot toddy... with extra "toddy", and go to bed.