Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pondering, Praising, Positivity

Eva Marie Saint from "North by Northwest"
Pondering: Just what does one wear on a train? I'm taking my very first train trip to Austin this weekend for my best friend's hen weekend. (Thanks to my pal Lee Anne for introducing me to the British slang.) I have grand delusions of decking out in a smart little train suit, train case in gloved hand, hat on head. Seriously. It's more than a dream -- it's within my reach! Well, okay, not really. I don't have the suit. But I'll be damned if I'm wearing jeans! You can't make me!

That being said, I have a yen for something new. Something smart. Classic. Oh, and affordable. Definitely a skirt -- or slim pants. Oh, Lord help me! (And thanks to The Vintage Traveler for the train station image.)

Praising: This week I am praising the Lord's ability to hook me up with the coolest, most inspirational people. I'm talking about real life here. For the last, oh, year and a half? My life has been "Six Degrees of Domini" or something. Between church, my old job as a crossing guard and my current workplace -- it's starting to get scary. If scary means extraordinarily blessed. Online has been much the same. I mean, I had no idea there were so many cute, inspirational, faithful and FUNNY Catholic women blogging out there. It's just crazy. And none of you know me. Dun-dun-dun!

Positivity: It's difficult for me to think of anything specific for this entry. I'm trying to stay positive that I'm actually following God's will and not just delusional. You know how that is, right? I'm so damned headstrong sometimes I just can't see another way other than my own. Did I just admit that? Yeesh. Not at all shocking then that I have birth to The Most Stubborn Boy in the World. Who, by the way, has finally earned his talking Sheriff Woody doll. Thank you, Amazon.

Really, I'm just trying to stay positive about everything in general. It's particularly difficult in this world, and because now that I'm on the Internet all day at work I can't escape from all the bad news. So instead of hardening my heart, I'm praying. It's all I can do.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mommy guilt

Nothing breaks my heart more than watching my son struggle with school. What makes it so difficult isn't his gap in skills compared with his peers. It's that he's just so overwhelmed by it all at times.

He had a good day today but had to spend time with his special ed teacher due to poor choices yesterday. Now, I know that just the fact that the class he needs the most has become a punishment should say it all. But anyway, at dinner I could tell he was thinking about something and sort of blue. We started talking and he told me he didn't want to go to school anymore (not a huge surprise but lately hasn't been a problem) and then he asked me why he can't go to school at home. Boom. That did it. He was thinking so clearly and expressing himself so well, it just hurt to watch him fight back tears. Actual tears. Tears of frustration. I remember my own at his age so well.

Ugh. You see, when he graduated from PPCD and the district wouldn't give him an aide, I decided to go ahead and homeschool him. I researched homeschooling and homeschooling special needs kids in particular for so long, i just felt it was best. My feelings about it haven't really changed. Our financial situation, however, did. So after a year at it -- and by it I mean butting heads with the world's most stubborn 5-year-old -- I caved and enrolled him in kindergarten. And now I'm working full-time. And all the guilt from giving up on my son's ideal education comes right back.

Siiiiigh. I love that kid so much. Why can't we win the lottery again?!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The First Five Years

Five years, tomorrow.

Has it really been that long? I spent some downtime today thinking and really marveling at the last five years. Man, it's amazing. However, the product of our last five years is being a little demanding tonight (not really, but you know) so you're stuck with what I cobbled together at work.

In celebration of our fifth anniversary ... Reflections on Our First Five Years...

What strikes me most is how easy marriage seems to be for us. Not that stuff doesn't happen -- bad, really bad, good, some pretty great stuff, too -- but the marriage part just seems so easy. A real partnership, you know? Maybe we're not doing it right, if it seems easy to me. But maybe we got something right, after all. Who knows?

I really think forgiveness is key. So it accepting the other person and their flaws, but what's necessary is taking it a step further and loving that person and their flaws, not despite them. I've said before (and passed on to other soon-to-be-married couples) the best advice I ever got about marriage is this: Love is a daily decision. It's not just a warm, fuzzy feeling -- though it can be that. It's also not blind devotion. It's a daily, conscious decision that starts with warm, tingly feelings that (God willing) matures into a mutual, respectful bond that strengthens us individually and together. I'm strong without him, but I'm stronger with him.

And who do we have to thank for all this? The all-knowing, all-loving God above, who knew us before we were born, who knit us in our mothers' wombs and brought us together because we could perfect one another. It's stunning, really. The hand of God is so evident in our lives that worrying about the future just seems silly. That doesn't keep us from worrying, though. We are human after all. But our trust in the Lord and our trust in each other is what keeps us faithful, in all aspects of life.

Late, or on time?

Remember how sometimes I'm running late for work and it turns out to serve a greater purpose? Well, it happened again this morning. I got to hear most of Bishop Kevin Farrell, shepherd of my neighboring Dallas diocese, deliver his homily at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. You can read it here. North Texas is surely blessed to have such a shepherd!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My patron saint for 2013

According to Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint's Name Generator, my saint for this year is St. Jerome. And as tempted as I am to try until I get one that I know more about, I'm sticking with what I got. Patron saint of librarians? I love libraries! And librarians! I was in the library club in junior high, after all. Remembered for his bad temper? I can totally relate to that.

I'm interested to see what I can glean from this particular saint. I see there's a novena here.

St. Jerome, pray for me!

A sick day

No, it's not the flu or any other virus -- it's just this frustrating weather and my allergies making me miserable today. It's easy for people to write that off as not really being sick (I'm guilty of that myself) but when I can feel all eight sinus passages throbbing in my head and my muscles feel like jelly, then I admit I'm beat.

My senior editor made me take an honest to goodness sick day today -- not just an "I'm sick so I'll work from home" day. I'm grateful to her, not just for being a self-sacrificing workhorse (she is) but for being empathetic and encouraging me to log off and sleep. Because I actually did sleep. During the day. And for more than 20 minutes. It's completely unlike me, but I fought hard against random text messages, barking dogs and weird house noises to actually achieve a real nap. And I felt better when I woke up! It sounds silly, but it's not just that I don't usually have the opportunity to nap -- I usually can't let myself. But not today. Thank God.

I keep thinking about different blog posts I should make but nothing is really coming to fruition. So instead, I'm going to start a semi-regular thing here (you like the way I side-step commitment right there?) inspired by the clever and inspiring Karen Edmisten here. It will henceforth be called "Pondering, Positivity, Praise" or the three Ps. I know that's goofy, but if you couldn't tell already, I love alliteration. So here we go...

Pondering... Over the last few days I have been thinking a lot about women in the workplace, specifically mothers in the workplace. I work full-time. And anyone I've talked to about this knows, I'd rather not be working outside the home. But like Father Larry told me, not in these exact words but with much love, get over yourself. This job is straight from the hand of God. It's saved us from losing our house, it's helped me lose weight (who knew, right?) and most importantly it is perfecting me and my husband in ways only God himself could do.

Back to the topic -- mothers in the workplace. A coworker and I had an excellent conversation after work on Friday. You might call it a bitch session -- that wouldn't be far off. And it was much needed. She and I aren't the only mommies in our department, but we are the only mommies of small children who don't party. Like, party party. Our company prides itself on "working hard and playing hard," if that tells you anything. There's a beer fridge, for crying out loud. But because my coworker and I are responsible for picking up our kids from daycare after work, we can never stay to partake of said beer fridge. Or go to happy hours or after-work parties. And it's becoming clear to us both that it's a thing. And it might just be keeping us from being recognized for any achievement we might make. We both agree that "moving up" is not a priority for us -- our children and families come first. But it smarted when we each realized that our responsibilities to our families are stumbling blocks to satisfaction at work.

So, I go back to the idea of starting the Undoer of Knots novena. For all working moms.

Positivity... Which segues oh, so nicely into this segment. It is so important for me to fight off the negative feelings I encounter every day, seemingly from all around me. The Internet in particular is a problem. Specifically social media. Facebook and I make take a break for a while, save for a special few individuals.  This story sums it up.

Praise... I am praising the Lord for all the difficulties he's sending our way. Not that I'm not grumbling about some of them. Okay, most of them. But I also know, once I get a little distance, that they are making us all better people. I'm praising him especially for the hard-headedness of my sweet 8-year-old son. I mean, when God set out to see just how stubborn a boy can be, he outdid himself. :)

So there you have it. A sick proves to be quite productive, after all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stirring my coffee with a real spoon...

An auspicious start to Tuesday. Throw in some thunder, lightning and SLEET, and we've got ourselves a party!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Maybe this is why I suck at planning ahead

Boy, oh boy, do I have a lot to say. Jennifer Fulwiler, in this poignant post, managed to touch on a subject near and dear to my heart, mostly because I struggle daily with it -- God's plans vs. our plans. I'm not a good planner at all -- I mean, even something as useful and easy as a meal plan makes me feel boxed-in. I'm terribly unorganized, even though I know where just about everything is in the house. But I love to make Plans -- the big kind, like remodeling to make a laundry room. Having another baby. Painting each room of the house. Landscaping. Homeschooling. Stuff like that. Pair this tendency toward Planning with my tendency to always think I know what's smartest, best and most important for our family, and it spells disaster, spiritually speaking.

More on this later.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Keep this in mind...

Let us go forward in peace, our eyes fixed on Heaven, the one goal of all our works.

St. Therese of Lisieux

Saturday, January 5, 2013