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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year, Davy Jones, and BFFs

It's Leap Day.  Or Leap Year Day.  Whatever you want to call it.  That funny day that occurs once every four years.  I'ts also known as Sadie Hawkins Day.  When a woman can propose to a man.  All of this came about in Ireland because of St. Bridgett complaining to St. Patrick.  Her problem was men taking forever, dragging their feet to commit, and making gals 'sit on a shelf' and wait.   There's a wonderful movie, called "Leap Year", that I really enjoy, where an American woman wants to propose to her boyfriend in Ireland on Leap Year day... and ends up meeting her soul mate and her true love during her journey.  It's a lovely movie.  Big favorite of mine.

But this time around, on Leap Year Day, something not so pleasant...  a celebrity I liked died this morning apparently of a massive heart attack.  He was 66 years old.  Husband, father of four, and someone who I have actually met in the past, when I was still pretty young.  I enjoyed his theatre performances, his music, and how nice he was.  David Jones of the Monkees.  More commonly known as "Davy".  

I met one of my 'then' closest friends in the late 80s, when the Monkees were making their 80s comeback, and they were showing the Monkees show in a "marathon" on MTV.  For her privacy, I will just refer to her here as "M".  "M" was seriously 'into' them, and I got caught up in it.  Drank the koolaid, if you will. (or should I say the jello shot)  Boy did I catch a lot of unmerciful teasing for that... from everyone.  But I didn't care.  It was fun. I ... WE were having fun...  and it was harmless.  I drove to Miami alone, saw David on the stage... he played Fagin in the production, "Oliver!".  I met David a few times during that weekend, and he was always super nice, even when he was fresh off the stage, and I'm sure, exhausted.  He personally mailed me two autographed 8x10 pics of him a couple of months later.  A year or so later he was supposed to be in "Godspell"...  I rode to see it with another friend, (she drove), only to find out the show had been cancelled, unbeknownst to us.  We'd driven there for nothing.  I was really upset, and disappointed.  Word got back to him that one of his fans had driven there 'for nothing' to see him, and was really disappointed.  Bless his heart, he sent me a personally autographed copy of his book.  I was touched.  What a nice person!  The book being mailed to me had been helped along by my friend "M".  She had "a friend" who made a personal call to David.  I'll never forget that.

That was all years ago... I've been married and had children since then... and a lot of things take a backseat to real life and reality.  I guess I, (so to speak), put away my childish things.  I was/am a wife and a mom.  I didn't think about it anymore.  He did a show here a couple of times, but I didn't go.  Too much to find a baby sitter and get tickets and go through all of that.  Yes, I have done it to see U2 in concert... buying tickets for myself and my husband and kids, and then us attending as a family.  But when you are married with kids and a mortgage, you can't do 'everything', no matter how much you may like to.  Unless of course, you have a lot more money than I do. LOL  And if that's the case, then go and have fun and enjoy yourself.  But we are not rich, and sometimes you have to choose what you want to do more.  At any rate...

This morning I get a call from my sister, and she tells me that he died this morning.  Yes I was shocked.  Someone I was a fan of twenty years ago... and of course I still had and always will have a soft spot for him.  Sort of like Donny Osmond.  I LOVED Donny Osmond when I was like... 6.  Have you SEEN Donny?  Oh my goodness.  He grew up REALLY good looking.  Has been married to the same woman all these years and has all sons.   Donny will always have a special little spot in my heart.  And so will Davy.   And... he died today.  And today I am remembering meeting him.  I am remembering the joy at opening the mailbox and finding a package addressed to ME from him... where he took the time to send me something personally. TWICE! It made me feel special.  I was just a fan... but he took the time to be kind to me.  Someone he probably didn't even remember meeting.  I am sure I was just one of a multitude.  A celebrity though, who is nice to his fans, is unfortunately not as common as they ought to be.  After all, the fans are who 'made' the celebrity.  So many forget that.   But Davy didn't.  And he was good to his fans.

When I met him all those years ago, I met his daughter Sarah.  She is his second oldest daughter.  His oldest daughter is my age.  LOL  Funny how age doesn't concern you when you have yourself a crush on someone.  Sarah was so nice.  I liked her very much.  She had this bright, excited smile, and happily chattered to me... I can't remember what we even talked about... but I remembered thinking how sweet and cool and NORMAL she was.  How I could totally see being friends with her.  She could have been anyone.  She did not have that, "Oh, EXCUSE ME, my dad is a celebrity" air.  Nope.  Just a sweet, normal young gal who was happy and sweet.  I am thinking of her today.  Her, and her sisters.  How sad and heartbroken they are undoubtedly feeling.   I read that he'd just gotten back from a cruise with his current wife, his daughter Sarah, (now a wife and mother herself), and her little boy.  And how Davy had bought his little grandson a pirate hat and he wore it the whole cruise.  I hope that Sarah took a lot of pictures.  I hope this little boy will remember his grandpa.   I am just sad for their family.   Funny... I don't even 'know' these people.  I guess celebrity is like that.  Like living in a a fishbowl.  Everyone can see everything.  More than they ought to see, or even know about.  Part of being a celebrity I guess.  I would hate that lack of privacy.

So anyway, I sent a text message, and sent the article of his death via Facebook, to "M", (the one who got me all into it to start with, and was one of my best friends for nearly twenty years), and let her know he had died.  I knew that she would want to know.  

After our friendship ended, ("M" and I), I had grieved losing her friendship for literally a year... it felt like a divorce.  But I got over it and moved on.  I am not going to say I don't still miss her sometimes.  We had a LOT of fun times.  I miss that.  I shared everything with her... even things I should have kept to myself.  But I loved her and trusted her...  I have trouble trusting anyone now.  With her I could be silly... and she didn't think I was a dork for it.  And we were dorks together, and had a marvelous time at it.  But the differences really came out those last few years...  Honestly though, I am not mad at her.  I will always care about her and want the best for her.  I still pray for her.  I hold no grudge.  As far as today... she was on my mind because Davy had died, and I thought we could talk a little.  *shrugs*  Ah, well. She was one of my best friends for so many years.  I don't have a "best friend" anymore.  I had two.  I had her, "M", and I had Steph.  Well, Steph died.  And "M"... we 'divorced'.  We grew apart.  Sort of like me 'outgrowing' my crush on Davy.  We outgrew each other.  She wanted more 'secular' things.  I wanted to grow in my faith and homeschool and raise my children.  Those are my priorities now.   It's a shame what happened with our friendship.  But I don't regret it.

But Davy... I still have those autographed items.  I have those warm fuzzy memories of watching whatever show you were in at the time, and then meeting you and feeling so excited.  And then have you look right into my eyes when you talked to me.  For adding to my life... to giving me some joyful times.  For your songs I sang along with.  For the silly fun I had with my friend "M"... no matter what has happened between she and I, the fact remains that we had some real fun times together, and that was something we both shared.  Despite everything, my friend was someone I could share with.  And she got it.  I guess that's what I miss the most. 

In life it's hard to find a real friend who gets you.  Someone who see's you at your worst, and doesn't even blink.  I had that with two friends.  I know I will never have that again with anyone other than my own husband and kids.  I guess I've learned the hard way that THAT is enough for me.   I have put away my childish things, and look back and remember the good times with fondness, and will try and forget all the bad.  I may have other friends... but "best" will never come around again.   Davy will never 'come around" again.   With "M" I will have memories of all the times we could 'escape' and be silly, be serious and talk... and be 'bad' and laugh and forget all the bad things in life... and be care-free. We made our OWN Breeze.  We were Ya-Ya Sisters.  Monkee Fans.  BFFs.  And Davy was part of that.  

Saying goodbye to a fun part of your life sucks.  But it was glorious fun while it lasted... all the years that it lasted.  
:( sad  
So with an aching heart, and a few tears, I tuck away this part of my youth.. away deep into my heart and memories... deep enough to remember well, but hopefully deep enough that it won't hurt as much.  To my Sister in Crime.  A Ya-Ya.  My friendship with "M", rest in peace.  

To my favorite Monkee, Davy Jones, 
may you Rest in Peace. 
From a Daydream Believer.   
You will be missed. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Manic Mondays, Homeschooling, and Fire Irons

"Just another Manic Monday..."

Remember that song?  LOVED it!  Still do. :)  Yep.. yesterday really was a "manic Monday".   Too bad I don't have a cutesy title for today (Tuesday), too!   

Yesterday I made homemade yeast rolls, a big batch of homemade oatmeal pecan cookies, (my personal favorite), did a ton of laundry, (okay, that's pretty typical around here), worked on homeschool lesson plans, (I did two weeks worth), and did a LOT of math with my youngest.  I am proud of her... she got a lot done.  My eldest really pitched in yesterday too, doing the bulk of the clearing out in her sisters room.  I love my girls!!   

Despite having trouble sleeping last night, (yay for insomnia... NOT!!!), I got up early and put a pork roast on in my crock pot and liberally sprinkled with sage, (yum), and some blessed salt.  Five hours later I had it fished out, removed all the fat and bone, shredded and added barbecue sauce, (with my own extra "special seasonings" of course!).   Family can eat that later on rolls.  Hubby took me grocery shopping, and we dropped off a 30 gallon plastic bag, (of stuff that we've been weeding out ), out to the Goodwill store. (no St. Vincent de Paul in this area), then came home and made lunch, washed dishes, and washed and sliced about 15 apples and have them stewing in cinnamon, sugar, and butter in my cast iron pot on the stove.  The kids are happy.  Hahaha!

Homeschooling wise:  We recently dried some pepper seeds, and we're going to plant those in an egg carton and see if we can get them to grow.  My youngest LOVES this kind of learning. :)  Her kale plant is still hanging in there.   I just got three boxes of clay pastels, and we're going to try our hand at some artwork too.  Just to see what we can make.  Last week, (two days after Ash Wednesday), we went to the Flying Dragon Citrus Nursery,  (here's a picture where we are shown how they use a "Dingo" to plant the trees, and the owners dog is enjoying this part a lot too as you can see!)

 ..and had a tour and learned all about the citrus growing here in Florida, and tasted different varieties.  We learned some about local flora, birds, and citrus trees in general.   Hubby went with us (we went with the homeschool group), and we've already decided we'll definitely be buying a tree from there. :)  I am torn between the pineapple orange, (sweet and good for eating or juicing), the red navel orange, or the blood orange.  Wouldn't mind one of those gorgeous pink lemon trees.  Yes, you heard me right.  PINK!!  The lemons are small, and only pink on the inside.  Can you imagine making your own naturally pink lemonade?!   One of the moms who sets up some of our field trips is setting up another soon to visit an apiarist... a beekeeper!  That should be interesting!  Can't wait!  I admit I enjoy the field trips as much as my kids do.  And I am often times learning right along with them!  (sad, but true!) :)

Still cleaning out... I have another 30 gallon bag almost full to take back up to the rescue mission.  Hubby looking into renting a cherry picker to take down two trees hit by lightening and are now dead.  Purchasing new books for our homeschooling...  There are lots of irons in the fire right now.  But it'll be okay.  

Lot on my mind here lately.  Got more news that's not of the 'good' nature.  Not exactly 'bad', but something I'd prayed would not  happen and now it has.  I guess that's just something I am going to have to deal with, like it or not.  Perspective not always easy.  Better to cook, clean, and focus on my family.  I can't get my brain//emotions//heart caught up in what I have no control over... all I can do is trust that God has a bigger plan, and things will work out and Time marches on. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I can't believe I am going to blog about a guinea pig, but I am.  Not just any guinea pig.  Our Wilbur.   

He and Alphonse came to live with us in the Fall of 2010.  A family we are friends with had them as pets, but decided to find them another home, as they were expecting their 8th baby in the family.  Our children had been wanting guinea pigs, and so we were happy to adopt them.   There were two piggies.  Snowball was 2 and a half years old, approximately.  Percy was a baby... only 3 months old.   Percy was skittish, and did not want to be held or even touched.  Snowball was used to being handled, and was a sweet, cuddly piggie.   It was instantly decided that the older piggie would be Robyn's pet, and the baby would go to Amy.  

Snowball was a long haired guinea pig.  Not all white, but he was mostly white.  Around his face and head were patches of brown and black, and he had curious brown eyes, and a Mohawk on top of his head.  He had a scarred mouth from a previous battle with another pet, and he had not healed properly from his injuries.  It left his mouth a bit deformed, but he was still able to eat and drink well, and wasn't hurting him.   It also made him unique and cute in a different way than most guinea pigs.  He was affectionate and adorable.  We immediately loved him.

Percy was in a constant state of "freak out".  He was a short hair, and butter-yellow in color.   Both girls loved their new pets, but wanted to give them their "own" names.  So Amy re-named Percy, and gave him the name Alphonse, after St Alphonsus.   Robyn had just finished reading the book, "Charlotte's Web", so she wanted to re-name Snowball, "Wilbur".  

Amy had trouble with Alphonse.  It took several months for him to be calm enough to let Amy hold him.  She was sad, thinking her pet would never love her back, and would never be a cuddly boy like Wilbur.  Months of patience did pay off.  Eventually Alphonse did come to love her, and snuggle with her when she picked him up.  Each of my girls had their piggies cage in their bedrooms.  Alphonse would wheet and popcorn happily when Amy came into her bedroom.  Wilbur did popcorn too, but not as much as Alphonse.  But he would put his little paws up on the side of the cage and try to see her coming and then wheet happily when he saw her coming.  

At night, I would come into Robyn's room to say prayers with Robyn.   Even if Wilbur was asleep, he would awaken to our Hail Mary's and begin shamelessly begging.  It was a joke around our house that Wilbur had to have his "bedtime carrot".  :)

After we'd had the piggies for a while, we noticed that Wilbur's long hair was coming out in tufts.  He had a bad scratch on one side, and scratched himself constantly.  He was one miserable piggie.  Bathing him didn't help.   We took him to a veterinarian who treated exotic pets.   We took Wilbur, and she discovered that he had mange.  We have no idea how he had gotten it.  Alphonse didn't have it, and neither did our family dog, Daisy Mae.   The vet concluded he must have picked it up at his old home and brought it with him.   I did ask his previous owner, and she'd noticed his itching too.  She had presumed he had fleas.  So poor little Wilbur had to have one shot every two weeks... a total of three shots.  He did not like the shots, and would cry and try to get away when he saw what was coming.  The girls could not bear to watch.  One visit I had to hold him... and I was in tears holding poor little Wilbur so she could stick him.  I felt very mean, and cuddled him afterward to let him know he was loved.  Funny how attached we can get to our little fuzzy friends.  
In addition to the shots, he had a bottle of medicine, with a dropper.  Each night we had to wrap him in a small towel and hold him in our arms like a baby and squirt the drops into his scarred little mouth.  He looked so cute licking the dropper every night.  And afterwards we would give him a bit of carrot for being such a good piggie and taking his medicine.  Of course, we all enjoyed this.  And within two months, Wilbur was all better, and now we could cuddle him all we wanted.  And we did!

My girls loved their piggies.  They would take them out and let them have "running around" time, and enjoyed holding them and hand feeding them.  They planned an elaborate, multi-level guinea pig playground that they wanted their daddy to build them.   When Christmas came, Santa never forgot Wilbur and Alphonse.  He brought them chew toys for their cages, and treats.   

Around Christmas 2011, Robyn shouted for me to "come look".  Wilbur was sitting on top of his 'pigloo', pretty as you please, like he was king of the mountain.  Alphonse had been doing the same thing for ages, but Wilbur had never figured out how to get up there.  He finally had.   Then he would climb up, and watch for one of us to walk by so that he could wheet for treats.  We loved it! :)

In January of 2012, Robyn became sick with a cold, and had a very bad cough.  We should have moved Wilbur to another room, as guinea pigs are very susceptible to respiratory illnesses.  But thinking he'd "be alright", we didn't.  Three weeks later, we were very, very sorry indeed.

Amy brought Wilbur in to me, telling me that something was wrong.  She handed Wilbur to me.  He didn't cuddle like he usually did.  He seemed too light.  Weak.  Barely responding to me petting him, and panting.  We got him a bit of carrot.  He didn't want it.  We insisted, and he had a small nibble.  Amy looked up on the internet, and saw that guinea pigs had something very in common with pet birds.  They hide illness.  And when they finally show signs of illness, it's pretty well too late.  

Wilbur moved into his "Aunt" Amy's room since she is much better at piggie nursing than Robyn is.   He had plenty of fresh Timothy hay, food, and he crawled pitifully into his pigloo and slept.  Later he came out for water, and then just laid there, next to his water and slept.  And that was where Amy found him the next morning.. and realized that he had died.

Amy woke me up, telling me that Robyn's little pet had died.  Amy wrapped him in a small towel, and put him back into his cage.  I called my hubby at work, and told him the sad news.  He promised to bury poor little Wilbur when he got home.   Breaking the news to Robyn was not something I wanted to do.  But sometimes us mothers have the bad job, and that was my day.  I was glad Amy had wrapped him up.  I didn't want Robyn to have to see his little dead body.  Mark got off work an hour early, and he came home and sadly removed Wilbur from the cage.   Mark had loved him too.  He told Wilbur how sorry he was as he re-wrapped him neater, and held him carefully as he carried him outside to our back yard.   Mark was trying to decide where to bury poor Wilbur.  We had a new dog, Abby, another Labrador.   Abby is a good girl, but like most large dogs, she likes to dig holes.  Mark did not want Abby digging up poor little Wilbur.  

We have a Silver Maple tree in our back yard.  Our dog Peaches is buried under it.  On one side of the tree is our statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Mark moved the statue and buried Wilbur very deep in that spot, and then when he was finished he replaced the statue.  

Robyn cried a lot that day, and I admit I cried myself.  I am shedding a few more tears now, writing this.  We loved him.  He was such a sweet little boy.  We used to call him, "Wee Wheetie Wilbur" and then laugh.  He was smart and snuggly and sweet.  We loved him and I know that he loved us back.  I had never had a guinea pig before him.  We learned from having him and Alphonse that guinea pigs have different personalities, and are smart and loving.  They are wonderful pets. 

A lot of people don't believe that animals can go to Heaven.  I think they do, in a sense.  I love the poem someone wrote about the Rainbow Bridge, and how special pets play with each other while they wait for their beloved masters, and then one day you are coming, and the pet who you loved and who has so loved you and so eagerly awaited your arrival will run to meet you, and cross over the rainbow bridge into Heaven together.  

Our Heavenly Father is a Merciful, Loving God, who loves us unconditionally.  Pets love *us* unconditionally.  I don't think that is a coincidence.  Pets are sort of our own angels here on earth... a precious gift to us... someone to love us unconditionally while we are here in this life.  Pets are innocents... pure souls.  And they love us no matter what.  I cannot believe that God doesn't have a reward for our beloved pets who have been loving and faithful to us while on this earth.   

So yes.. I believe that one day I will again see my sweet little Boots (my childhood dog and best friend) and that Robyn will see her Wilbur.   I have heard the argument that "the Church doesn't say that pets go to Heaven" or "the bible doesn't say that they go to Heaven".. yes I know that.  But it doesn't say that they 'don't', either.  And as Catholics, we all know there are many mysteries of our faith.   God is a loving God of Mercy.  I just can't believe anything different.  

Rest in peace little Wilbur.  You were a good piggie.  We loved you, and we miss you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whiny Warning & Vicoden

Hernia number four is hurting me.  Yes.  You read that right.  This is my 4th...  I've had one hiatal and two umbilical.  This is another umbilical.  I have had it quite a while, and it's a biggie.  I actually look pregnant.  I wish I was, but I'm not.  My Lord... it's REALLY hurting.. it has for days now.  I detest taking Vicoden, as it makes me sick as a dog... but last night I had to pop one in half just for some relief.  A half isn't too bad.  I snuggled in bed and watched Rio with my youngest til I fell asleep... at 5 am. :(    Never had that happen before with Vicoden... (though admittedly I can count on one hand how many I've taken one of these pills in my entire life)  so anyway I have no idea what the deal was/is.

Whiners get on everyone's nerves, including mine.   I am not an unsympathetic person, but if someone constantly complains, I get annoyed and though I try not to be rude, I honestly get sick of hearing it.   Now guess what... now *I* am the whiner!   I am miserable.  It's taking away from my quality of life.  I missed out on Stand For Life because of this stupid thing.  Anything and everything I do is painful, because of this infernal hernia.   I try not to complain to my family, as my husband is already worried about me and I don't want to make it worse.  My parents have health problems, and I don't want to worry them or add to it.  They do know about it... but I try not to talk about it... and I keep it to myself.  What good does worrying anyone do?  None.

I have been told by anyone and everyone "just go get that fixed!"   This is not just taking an antibiotic or slapping a band-aid on something.   The fact of the matter is, surgery is expensive.  I don't want to add financial burden to my family... (yes of course I have insurance but I'll still end up paying at least a thousand bucks out of pocket and you know they always want their money up front... and do I LOOK rich to you?  Trust me I'm not.)  Okay and who am I kidding... I am a coward.  I've had this surgery before and it HURTS!!!!   I have a huge fear of NOT WAKING UP.   Okay fine I've said it.. it's out there.   I have two kids... okay one is basically grown but my little one needs me... she is only 11 years old and she needs me.  I homeschool her... and she is a special needs child... she NEEDS me!!  I am scared to death.  I know I can't put this off forever and I need to have it done but I have a real, honest to God fear of not waking up from the anesthesia.  I had the fear before too of course, and yes obviously I didn't kick the bucket then... but I had the fear then and I have it now too... I think even worse than before.   

I already have that metal mesh junk inside me, where they had to patch the previous ones... that and a plastic tube AND a port.  I feel like I'm like "The Terminator" on the inside but to the world I just look like a fat middle aged lady with a big old hernia.  I hate it.   Coughing hurts.   The stupid thing sticks out and I have a bad habit of bumping it on everything... such as the pew at church, the wooden side of the bed, and more.  And that makes something that already hurts... hurt WORSE! :(

So why am I being such a whiney whiner and posting all this?  Because I needed to say it.  I need some prayer...  please?   All I can think to say is that I am in pain and I'm scared and I have enough things in my life to worry me without ME being part of the problem.  How can I help anyone else if I can't do a darn thing without eating pain pills?  I guess I am feeling sorry for myself.  I like to help people... I like being the "helper", not the "help-ee".   God help me though... I need prayer.   Friends, if you can find a moment sometime to just say one small little prayer for me, I'd really, really appreciate it.  And thank you too, for reading this and tolerating my complaining.   Yes, I will be taking another Vicoden very shortly.... :(

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Changes, Eggshells, and One Small Mustard Seed

 "Time may change me.....
But I can't trace time..."  ~ David Bowie

I am apologizing in advance for jumping around all over the place in this blog entry.   My brain is going faster than I can type... and some things maybe don't fit... but... here they are... in hopefully some sort of semblance...

I feel I must explain... even partially... (since how can you fit 2 to 3 years into a blog post?)  that in the last few years, I've changed.... but in ways that perhaps someone who has not been around me, and just briefly talks to me, won't see it.  But it's there.   I have grown in my faith... I don't wear pants any more.  I'm strictly a skirt girl now. :)  I'm veiling at mass now.  And now more than ever, I will stand up more for what I believe in... my Catholic faith... (even if it's not always the popular thing), and I am now *more selective* about *who* I choose to be around... and *who* I allow my children around.   Desired is the kind of friend(s) who are positive, not two-faced, and encourages me in my walk with Christ...  for a TRUE friend would never try to lead me away from God, and into worldly things... I have enough struggle on my own, (since I happen to be a very flawed, sinful person all on my own)...  God knows, I don't need help being sinful.  (I am a professional sinner, trust me on this one) Wrong is wrong, even if the whole world is doing it.  And Right is Right... even if you stand alone.  And sometimes you do have to stand alone, and speak truth aloud... even if your voice shakes when you do it.  We must stand up for what is right.  Forget what's politically correct.  Jesus was NOT politically correct!  And since we have the Holy Spirit in us, and our bodies are the temple of His Spirit, should we not reflect Him?  Yeah, I know... I need a truckload of Windex.  But we can't 'not' try, every single day.

Spiritual warfare.  Don't gigglesnort and roll your eyes, and think I'm being silly, or a huge dork, or that I'm superstitious... trust me I'm not. (Okay, fine I'm dorky.. sue me!)  All joking aside... Padre Pio said once

“If all the devils that are here were to take bodily form, they would blot out the light of the sun!”   

Yeeeeaaaah... that's seriously creepy.  (I don't know about ya'll but that really freaks me out!)  So I will tell you all straight up... if you, (any of you, I don't care if we are related), are even remotely dabbling in anything pagan... witchcraft, spells... any of that stuff.  Do NOT expect an invitation to dinner.  Sorry.  I may love you and God knows I will pray for you every day... but you are not coming in my house.  I have children and as their mother it is my duty to protect my family... and yes that means even from anything evil following you around just because you think your new Ouija board is the bee's knees.  Please do not fool yourself into thinking that there is a 'safe' kind... nope!!  There is no difference between "white" or "black" magic... it is ALL evil, despite the lies going around, (and sadly fooling people).... So many insist that 'black' and 'white' are "different".  Sweetheart, I'm sorry to tell you...that's a lie.... it's all of the devil, and it's all bad.  The devil will look for any... ANY little opening... I beg of you... please don't give it to him.  Old Smut Face doesn't deserve you... or anyone.  Rebuke him and turn away...   I have been asked point blank about my scapular and medals.  Sweetheart these are not good luck charms.  Old Smut Face does not care a fig about some little charm.  (or your little 'spell')  But he trembles in fear at Jesus name.  My medals are blessed... God gave us sacramentals and I personally am quite appreciative of them and admittedly I don't use them nearly as much or as often as I ought... but I know in my heart it is NOT the "medal" or the "charm" that makes Old Smut Face cringe.... it's the power behind them!!  

Oh, and the "I don't believe in God//the devil".... well Sweetheart, you might as well because they sure do believe in you!!   Personally, I think it takes a mighty lot of faith to believe there's NOT a God .... especially when there's evidence all around you. :)
"Higher Power"?  That smacks of indifferentism.  Like, 'it doesn't matter what you believe since it's all the same'.  Hogwash.  That's not 'truth'... that's just 'feelings'... and that's fine if you aren't a Christian.  But ALL Christians know that our 'higher power' is named Jesus Christ... God Incarnate.  Get to know Him.  He loves you more than your own Momma! :)  

Anyhoodles....(sorry, off that soapbox now), and no disrespect meant to my beloved friends for what I am about to say... but in the last few years I have learned to 'float alone', so to speak.   I had to 'grow up'... in the spiritual sense.  In years past, I looked outside my own home for what I, (at the time), thought was "fun", and "entertaining".   I participated in things that I should not have, and did things I am not proud of.  Looking back, most of it I am now embarrassed by, and wish I could just sweep it under a rug somewhere.  However, it is what it is.  I am past that, and confessed it, and I know God forgives me for it.  I have learned to look to my own family and within my own home... my husband and my children, as well as my Faith for contentment and to fill that emptiness I was always trying to fill.   I am not saying that I don't still get lonely sometimes.   I guess I AM saying that, (again, no offense), but I have been burnt so much I am pretty darn reluctant to repeat any of that.  I highly doubt if I will ever again be able to fully open up... again.... to 'anyone' outside my immediate family or to my confessor.  Sorry.  I've touched that 'hot stove' and gotten burnt too much... and I am in no hurry to touch it again.  If again I ever do.   I look 'inward' for my joy now.   You say, "center yourself"... and I say, "Cool!!  Because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit!"  (Putting my focus on God!) My kids, my hubby, my faith.   (Notice I said Faith and not "higher power"!)  Sure, I have times when I am lonely... who doesn't?  But it's not the same as it used to be.  There's nothing 'out' there for me anymore.   That's why my blog is called "Barefoot in my Catholic Bubble".   I LIKE my bubble.  I like it and have no intention of wandering out of it.  And why should I?  It fills me!!  

I have come to understand... not just in my head... but in my heart... that being a mother and a wife is not just my "job".  It is truly my vocation.  One I have chosen.  And if I had it to do all over again, I would not hesitate to choose exactly the same.   A man and a woman become one.  He is mine, and I am his.  Yesterday, we went to my niece's 40th birthday party.  I enjoyed coming in with my husbands arm around me.  I love that feeling that I am loved, and feeling safe and protected and proud of my children.  None of this is anything I have done.   All of this is a gift to me from God that I in no way have ever, or ever will, deserve.   I am not going to try and convince anyone that I am Susie -Homemaker and that every day is a bed of roses and every moment made in Heaven, (LOL!!!), because I will tell you straight up that is a lie of Satan.  :)   There are days I want to knock Mark's head clean off at the shoulders and bury him in the back yard. :)   There are days I want to sell my children to a band of gypsies.  But I love them so much, even when they drive me completely crazy, (short trip for me!)  HOWEVER... I trust them and love them... and when the cards are down... we all have each other's back.   It saddens me that I ever even remotely considered my life a drudgery and that I had to look outside of my own home and life to find what I 'thought' was 'happiness'.  Boy oh boy... was I ever confused and mislead.   The devil is sneaky that way.  And that's what "old smut face" hates more than anything is family.  Why?  Because the family is so precious to God.  

When things were making me unhappy, it was convenient for me to blame my husband.  Looking back though, most of it was me.  I was not respecting him, myself, or our marriage vows.   I was being selfish, self-centered, and inconsiderate.   That's hard to admit to yourself.  Trust me, I don't like the taste of crow any more than anyone else.  But God was merciful... He put the right persons in my life at the right time and I was shown my very very ugly reflection of my actions... and how they very well could have cost me my marriage... and any shred of self respect I may have remotely had left.  Thank you Lord, for that right path... I was off the path quite a while.. and I am indeed thankful and grateful to have both my feet, (no longer barefoot, but Birkenstocked!), on it! :)

Remember that old song, "Looking for love in all the wrong places.."  Well, that's exactly what I was doing.  Not in 'that' way.  *ahem*... but spiritually.   Not that I didn't care for my family before... of course I did... but... I can't explain... but it's different now.  Yes, we homeschool.  I'm way past just teaching the basics now though...  I am more concerned with my daughters faith, their souls... modesty, chastity... their catholic faith.   We have not always been faithful with our church attendance in the past... that has changed too.  It's not, "oh, look at us, such goody-goodies!!"  No, no, no, no, NO!!  Lord have mercy.. quite the opposite.  We actually (to be completely honest here), NEED to be going every single solitary day!  Aren't we all 'flowers' in God's garden?  Well I don't know about anyone else, but personally I need all the sunshine and "plant food" I can get!!  This "flower" wasn't doing too hot sitting in the dark all the time. 

I have always been a 'reader'... I LOVE books!!  I've been buying//reading, and buying//reading... devotional books to help keep me straight.  Trust me I need all the help I can get!!  Through reading, I've learned MAYBE one or two things... One thing I have Definitely learned... it that our home... is literally the domestic church.   Our HOME is where we every day exercise our faith... love, forgiveness.... love and worship of God... where I teach our children about God.  Where we live our faith... and we are "in our Catholic Bubble"... because oftentimes the world is sadly against Christianity as a whole.   I have learned that my faith isn't just saying, "I love Jesus" (I do, of course), and it's not just going to mass on Sundays.  I have learned that my faith is in EVERY THING I do.  The way I teach my kids.  The relationships I have from my husband to my kids to my family to my friends....  my faith is part of even what we eat, how we dress, and what kind of books we read or television programs we watch... (if any).   My faith is who I am.. not just what I do.  My faith is me making the Sign of the Cross every time we drive past a Catholic Church.  A car accident.  Praying when an ambulance rushes by with their lights and siren going.  My faith is what keeps my head up when my mom goes in for chemo.  My faith is what keeps me from 'cracking' when someone hurt someone I love... and instead of hating that person, (which was my initial reaction), to instead pray for that person's conversion, and know that vengeance is the Lord's and that person will be dealt with in God's own time.. not mine.  I am not going to lie and pretend that's it's always easy and a bed of roses... but faith is what keeps me going.  My grandmother, God rest her soul... one of the last things she ever said to me was, "Susan, you keep the faith."   I am Grandma.  I am.   Even when it's hard.  

I have a beautiful friend who recently taught me about children.  Lord... I love my children as much as any mother ever could or would love her kids.  They are everything to me.  I love them so completely... they are part of me.   Seeing my children, is watching my heart walk around outside of my body.  What my beautiful, beautiful friend taught me... through her own tragic loss.... is that as much as I love them.... God loves them even more than I ever could.  It's hard to imagine that ANYONE could love my girls more than I do.  They're MINE!!  Carried them in my body for nine months, gave birth, and made them the center of my world.... but guess what... they are not mine.  Not really.  They are God's.  God in His Love and Mercy let me love them for a while.   And I pray to God that He will let me "go first" before them...  but I have to have faith in Him that He knows far better than I what His plan is...  My mother was not much older than me when she was diagnosed with cancer.  My youngest sister was still pretty young... elementary school.  We were so scared... I mean SCARED.... but God got us through all of it... and still does.  She's had some bad, BAD times.   I am sad to say I am pretty sure there will be more bad in the future.  But I also believe that God takes suffering and uses it.... I guess the only way I can think to put it... it's like we are all precious metals, but with impurities... I believe that suffering burns off those impurities... not just for ourselves... but for all the injustices in the world.  All the bad.  That may sound cruel.. I don't mean it that way..  It's actually a gift, I believe.  But perhaps that goes back to faith.  I don't know.  I do know that when the doctors told me my youngest was going to have Down's Syndrome, I prayed like I have never prayed in my life... guess what... NO Downs!  Sometimes He says 'yes', sometimes 'wait'.  It's hard to blindly trust.  But we must.  Even if God had chosen to bless me with a severely impaired child... His will be done!  Yes I know that's easy to say when I don't have that... but we thought we were, and I said it then too.  I was scared... my voice shaking, and me sobbing... but yes... His will be done.  Because He will give me the strength and courage I need to get through anything.  

There is not a one of us out there that does not have our own cross to bear.  I do.. you do... Mr. Smith up the street does.... and all of us struggle under the weight of our crosses.   I used to look 'out' to find ways to escape my cross any way I could.   I'm still not 'in love' with my particular cross, ;)   but I know that it really will be okay... and God will get me through it.  I do still have trouble giving things to God... it's a pride thing, you know, when we don't give it to God and we think we can handle it ourselves.   That's something I've struggled with (one of many things, but I digress).  Just take whatever it is, and say, "Jesus, I am giving this to You" and then you have to make yourself back off.  I still have to kick myself in the rear every time. :)  And sometimes I do go take it back and then have to go through this a few times, (I am extremely hard-headed and I admit it) but we 'have' to do this.  Everything.. good and bad... it's all His anyway!

Kids.  The very week that my eldest turned 18, she went downtown to become a registered voter.  She realized how important it was to add her voice.  My kids are not perfect... (none of us are!)... but I know that my girl will vote pro-life.. and she will stand up for what is right.  I am proud of the woman she has become.  (remind me of that when she is driving me nuts)  :)    

One more thing... *jumps up on soapbox one more time* ... the argument that "anyone" should be allowed to get married.   That "no one should tell you who you can and cannot love".   No one said *not* to love!!  In fact, God commands that we love our neighbor.  So why on earth would I ever say, "oh, no.. you CAN'T love that person."   Too, I have never EVER said that gay people didn't deserve love.   That is idiotic.  Of COURSE they do!  We ALL do!!  Gay, straight... whatever... we are all human beings, made in the image of God.  Regardless of your race or religion or if you are gay or straight... we are ALL worthy of love and respect... one the same as anyone else.  However.  NO ONE has the right to re-define marriage.  Not me.  Not you.  That does NOT make me 'closed minded' or a 'gay basher'.   That means that God said it and I believe it and that settles it. :)  Marriage is between a man and a woman.  Period.  It is a gift to us from God.  Two men cannot produce life.  Two women cannot produce life.   It takes a man AND a woman... anything else goes against natural law.  Marriage is a gift.  A sacrament.  It is a Holy Vocation.  I am not uncompassionate to gay people.   I have a gay cousin.  I have a gay friend.  My gay friend is even against gay marriage because he KNOWS it's not right!!   It's not about discrimination or a lack of respect.   People can argue "feelings" til the cows come home.   Most rational adults know that a marriage is built on more than just 'feelings'.  Making same sex marriage legal is not going to bring absolution or inner peace to gays or anyone else.  And yes, you'd better believe some are just pushing this to absolve a guilty conscience.  Some just want public approval and social acceptance.  Marriage between one man and one woman is natural and life giving.. period.   I am sorry if this has offended anyone... but some of the "politically correct" views offend me, and my faith.  We all have free will.  Free choice.  This is not being mean, or prejudiced, or a basher or closed-minded or mean... it's what's right and what's wrong.  Period.

To sum it all up... I am not making excuses or backing down on my faith or what the Church teaches.  I stopped putting 'me' first and put God first, then family.   I am choosing quality over quantity... after all... I can have the key to every library in the world, but why would I want that if God is excluded?   I won't walk on eggshells because I might 'offend' someone... I've said it before, and I'm saying it again... Wrong is wrong, even if the whole world is doing it.  And Right is Right... even if you stand alone.

Let it be done unto me according to His will.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Choosing Joy

Feeling better today... because I am CHOOSING to feel better today.  Depression is a cruel monster... kept kicked under the bed, bound and gagged.

This past Friday was a great day.  Hubby and I, along with our girls, and my eldest daughter's boyfriend, all went to Gainesville, which is about an hour's drive, to visit the medieval fair, "Hoggetowne" that comes each year.  I attended this with a friend around twenty years ago, prior to marriage and children.   It seems like it was more fun then, and less risque.... although as a single, childless person at the time I was likely less sensitive to inappropriate things at that time.

My girls slung battle axes, throwing stars, tried their hand at archery, watched fencing, and rode a camel.  My eldest rode a war horse, and a keg.  My youngest went with hubby and I and we watched jousting... both my girls got lost in the maze, ate the world famous turkey legs, had lemonade, and homemade soda.  It was great!!   It was 'school day' at the faire, so bus loads of children came from different schools, both public and private, as well as homeschooling groups from around the area... and we came with our homeschool group too, of course, though since we were not obligated to walk together, I didn't see a blessed soul that we knew!!  I did try to find a couple of friends, but the crowds were huge.   Despite the crowds though, we had a marvelous time.   Some of the booths, I noticed, had pagan items for sale, as well as fortune telling, palm reading, tarot, etc.   This is completely against our faith, and we avoided those booths.... same as I avoid Spencer's when I go to the mall.  I have friends who refused to go to this faire because of that kind of thing.  And that's fine.  But to me, avoiding a faire because some things are bad... well my goodness look at the fun and educational stuff you are missing out on!   I certainly wouldn't avoid the mall just because it has a few stores I won't go in... I feel the same way about this.  

We left tired, and mildly sunburned.  (which surprised me).   Hubby bought my youngest an archery set, (not a toy set, but a REAL set), and for me... well I got some "funky" socks. :)    I do love funky socks!!  Two of the pairs are heavy and dark... something I can wear under my skirt when it's chilly out.  The third pair are cute pink stripes... just to wear around the house. Love them!

Saturday, hubby and I went on our "date night".  We went to the local dinner theatre, and had a nice dinner....I had salmon and root veggies, hubby had steak & sweet potato fries... we both had warm goat cheese with tomato pie, (delish), Warm vichyssoise with black truffle essence, (delish), and for dessert we each had a pear tart.... and best of all, we saw the show, "Nunsense".   

It was so funny and entertaining!!  Habit-forming, if you will.  ;)  LOL!!  I cannot recommend it enough!!   The gal who played Sister Amnesia was none other than the 1993 Miss America... she and the other actresses were just brilliant.   Hubby and I went a few months ago and saw "Lend Me A Tenor" with Jamie Farr from M.A.S.H.   We thoroughly enjoyed that show as well.   We do love dinner theatre, and are planning on going AT LEAST one more time this year... possibly twice. :)  Hubby wants to see "White Christmas" and I want to see "Phantom".  :)

Sunday morning I woke up to a painful hernia... I've had the darn thing a while now, but sometimes pain flares up and makes me miserable.  I took a muscle relaxer and let my eldest drive us to mass.  After mass we went to PREP class, (formerly known as CCD) for my youngest daughter.   I had been previously asked to teach the class that day, so I did.   I wasn't sure 'what' to talk to the kids about, so I told them about my conversion to the church, and we talked about patron saints.  The kids seemed pretty interested.  So that was nice, and I felt like I hadn't done too badly.  Though I don't want to do that on a regular basis!!  Things I know a lot about is one thing...  I don't like "talking to/at" the kids... I prefer "sharing with" them, and getting them in on the topic.  To me, that just works better and 'feels' more right, if that makes sense.

Tomorrow is the homeschool mass at our parish, and there is supposed to be a Valentine lunch downstairs, afterward.  So I was thinking of baking some brownies to take.  My youngest is looking forward to going.  She enjoys seeing the other children.  :)   

So now, you are all caught up on my comings and goings.  Not very thrilling, but it keeps us busy. :)  

Having bad days make things rough... makes them hard to get through.   Good days//bad days are hit and miss here lately.  Some days things are 'light' enough that I can ignore it and CHOOSE joy... some days that monster is bigger than me though, and makes it hard to even look up.   Sometimes all I can do is take it slow... and take each day as it comes, and only worry about THAT particular day.  So today the sun is shining, I have things to look forward to, a family and friends to love.  And today, I can choose joy.