Monday, September 18, 2017

Stinky, Smelly....First World Troubles

My kitchen was smelling not good the other morning.  Not exactly like rotten onions, or potatoes but something like that. (Not that I have ever smelled those things in my own kitchen. I just imagine what they might smell like.) I ran the garbage disposal in case that was the culprit. No way.  Getting to the bottom of the rot is the only solution.  I haven't lived that long in this house that there could even be much. So I told myself.

This morning I opened up the dishwasher which has never worked since I moved in.  How do I know it won't work?  I tried to use it.  It filled with water, didn't even swish it around, didn't drain the water when I tried to use it about a month ago or so. Opened that dishwasher and was about knocked off my feet by the smell, sort of amonia or rotten eggs, awful.  So, the source of the smell was uncovered.

The reason I opened the dishwasher is--I am having a new one installed tomorrow.  What I decided about that stinky mess was, the water needed to be drained.  If I foolishly let the installers try to take it out full of water, it would probably slosh all over my floor and I would have the smell forever in this house. So, I bailed it out, that stinky water. cup by cup.  Mentally I considered the advantages of owning a syphon, but I decided that I could do this, I could get the stinky water out. It took  quite a little while to accomplish this task.

Sometimes life is that way, I just have to get into the middle of the mess and brave the stinky, smelly water and remedy the situation. This was a tiny problem in the broad scheme of things, a teeny tiny problem.  But, it was my problem and I fixed it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

For Dawn, A Boring Post for Saturday

A long long time ago in a galaxy far away, I used to blog daily.  I started this even before the more modern advances like "scheduling posts" were available.  This meant I had to physically get on ye olde computer each and every day to accomplish this feat of blogging.

And by daily I meant EVERY DAY, I didn't skip Saturdays and Sundays even though it seemed like few people actually read the blog on those days.  Sunday prayers were an easy solution and I love writing prayers, so that was that.  Saturdays were harder.  If I wrote about something really interesting or exciting few people would actually read it.  If I didn't blog on Saturdays it felt off kelter.  So, for a brief time I tried something I called "Boring Posts for Saturdays."  I even invited people to bore along with me.  A few people did, once, or possibly twice.  But, I just kept boring and boring.  My bloggy friend Dawn, who I have never actually met, but lives in my heart and my prayers made some logos for the Boring Posts.


Aren't they cool? or sick or whatever kids are saying these days? Anyway, Dawn has moved along, but occasionally reads my blog still. I was thinking of they way this blog used to be the other day and I decided maybe I could write yet another Boring Post for Saturday about the boring posts....Thanks, Dawn.  I include you in my prayers.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dear Younger Me...

I have recently finished filling out information related to my marriage. It was the hardest thing I ever did.  The very hardest.  But, that is the thing with those hard, hard things, I probably learned more about myself in doing it than in anything else I have ever done in my life.

So, my failed marriage is not all his fault.  I had warning signs that he wasn't the man for me.  He didn't participate much in the wedding planning.  Our pre-Cana counseling was pro-forma and a joke. There were many serious issues that came to light and none of them were addressed. I started having doubts as the wedding drew closer, but A WEDDING!  I couldn't call that off.  It seemed like it would be my only chance to become Sadie, Sadie, married lady which seemed like the epitomy of success.

But, those pre-Cana issues never went away.  They got worse and worse.  I was not the type of person who was meant to be married to this type of man.  He wasn't my type and he didn't grow on me.  And I suffered a lot trying to make it all work.  I had a belief that if I worked hard enough at something I could fix it. So, I worked hard.  I worked so hard, I lost myself completely.

And dear younger me, I would tell you not to marry this man, that it would all be a big mistake but, he gave you the best gift ever, your son.  Your son is the light of your life. For your son, it was worth it.  Dear younger me, this is proof that God brings good out of the bad.

Now, dear older me, you have a second chance to have a happy life, DON'T BLOW IT!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

You've Got Your Troubles, I've Got Mine

Okay, who likes to deal with companies that don't show up to do things they are contracted for, or bills that include things you didn't buy, or forgetting your PIN and having to make some phone calls. And the answer is--Me, Me, pick Me!  I enjoy dealing with the problems of life these days.  Who would have believed it?

The factors that have changed things for me are, of course, retirement, having time to take care of things makes all of the difference. But, being single again is another important factor.  I am not a fearful, anxious person.  I had become fearful and anxious due to circumstaces beyond my control. Once I changed the circumstances, I realized that problems aren't that hard to handle.  There is no perfect solution to most things, but if I work at the solution, it usually happens sooner or later.

I enjoy slogging in and working things out.  There is a certain satisfaction in handling troubles akin to cleaning the clothes or sweeping the floors.  I don't need any extra problems, you can keep yours.  But, I will keep my own problems, thank you very much.  It is rewarding to act like a grown up and handle the problems of my own life.  It is empowering. (And if I am being entirely honest, I will admit that I have a raft of saints I go to to help me with these problems. I am not alone.)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Blow, Winds, Blow

I have been through hurricanes in my life.  They were in the far east and called cyclones, but same thing, different name.  I lived on the little island of Okinawa at the time.  My memories of those storms were, lots of rain and wind.  Trees were downed and the board over our window air conditioner was blown out.  Scary, wild and not over quickly.  They went on and on those cyclones.

But, Okinawa is a volcanic island and I lived up a hill.  The volcanic part made the island drain easily, less flooding. In the irony of ironies, we had day on/ day off water rationing on Okinawa while I was there, and some official got up and turned off the water during the storm.  Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

I watch these big, nasty storms Harvey and Irma as they change and changed lives and wrought destruction. Hurricanes.  Big storms. These are opportunities to practice love, care, and grow in faith.  Because I can recognize if the weather, if the way of my life, was pleasant fluffy clouds day after day, when would I cry out to God for love and help?  I would think--I've got this.

So, my take from this is--we are supposed to love and care for one another.  Ready, set, go.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Finnagan, Begin Again

When I was a kid and we were doing a routine or a song that had an end, when we wanted to start over or continue the dancing, singing, jumping or whatever, we often said, "Finnagan, Begin Again."  It probably means something or comes from a famous show.  But, if so, I never knew it.  But, right now, I am at the Finnagan, Begin Again point in my life.

I am almost roughly unpacked from the move.  It will be several months or years before I can say, "Done" to the move.  But, I am almost settled enough to have people over.  I want to do a house blessing.  It seems like a cool thing to do and a way to have happiness, safety and security in my home.  A way to dedicate my living space to the Lord.

I love the life I am making here.  I am unmarried, unworking, and unmedicated.  The big side effect getting off the anti-depressancts for me was itching.  I itched all over.  I was able to back up and continue a dose a little longer and get rid of the effects, but itching, who would have thought that would be the troubling side effect?  And I don't miss work at all.  I miss the kids a little, but the Chromebooks, not at all.  There was a big turnover in staff, so I am not even sure I would know most of the people who work at my school these days.

So, as I begin again, it isn't more of the same thing as the phrase used to mean as a kid.  This time it is more of better.  The world is my oyster.  I can go to daily Mass or travel or shop in the middle of the day.  I applied for a passport, a library card and received the the mail my senior national parks pass all on the same day.  Adventures await.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stardust

I am not a physics and astronomy person.  In fact, I dropped out of those classes both in high school and in college.  I couldn't do the math for things in motion.  It boggles my brain.  So, don't take this explanation as anything scientific.  And don't quote me on this.  This is mainly my dreams and imaginations.

But, someone describing the big bang theory talked about how at the core the big bang was an explosion of hydrogen.  All things were hydrogen somehow.  Then the rest of the elements were formed by the burning or the explosions of stars.  This wasn't at a science talk, I heard this in a discussion at church by someone in a group answering questions related to Bishop Barron's DVDs on the Mystery of God.  I know I don't have the details correct and didn't understand half of what was said, but my ears tickled at the idea that the stars made all the elements and sent them dancing around the galaxies.

Because, in my imagination all I heard was, the elements are made of stardust.  And stardust has a romantic, fanciful interpretation to me. Stardust.  God made me a part of all the stars and galaxies and all of that out there.  Imagine that.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pick Up Your Cross

I have a few ongoing sadnesses in my life at the moment.  I have a friend with ovarian cancer who hasn't been well.  She is doing a little better lately, but there is the shadow of wondering how long that will last.  There is my 96 year old Mom who seems to be sliding into dementia.  I have to keep in mind that some of the out of character things she has been doing lately are due to brain shrinkage and not some character flaw.  It isn't her fault.  And there are other things that I won't talk about, but they are there.

With the things going on with my mom and the friend's cancer, I have thought a bit about my dad who died of pancreatic cancer some 35 years ago.  I missed him so much in my younger adulthood.  His passing is, in part, responsible for my staying in an impossible marriage for so many years.

I remember more than once sitting and listening to my then spouse criticize and blame me for things that I clearly didn't deserve and wasn't responsible for.  I remember thinking that if my dad were alive he would tell me to leave, to not put up with that, that I was worth more than to be made to feel like a worm.  I wanted away and out so bad, but I felt I had no protection, no one to turn to.

Finally, I received a little help finding myself and was able to turn to myself for the strength to leave. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I had the power all along.  I don't miss the marriage one single day.  I don't miss the person I lived with or the feeling of belonging, because that didn't exist for me in that marriage. But sometimes I feel guilty for not continuing to suffer through it.  Maybe I put down my cross of the terrible marriage. Maybe I am suppose to suffer?

Then I think of the crosses of friends with cancer and Mom with dementia and the other struggles in my life, and I realize that I have crosses I can't put down.  I bear them to the best of my ability.  But, suffering through the marriage after trying so many ways to fix it, is not my cross.  I am not responsible alone for the problems in my marriage. It takes two.  And the ongoing pain I feel from the things done to me during the divorce and separation are reminders that nobody who loved me would ever treat me that way.  Father God made me for something better than to suffer needlessly and endlessly.

Daily I pick up my cross and follow Jesus.  Daily I struggle from the hurts of the past and the problems of the present.  I do not fear the future.  I have hope. I am stronger and more capable than I ever imagined I could be.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Prayers for Texas

I haven't spent much time in Texas.  I get close in Oklahoma, but other than a couple of airport stops on the way to other places and the ride through the panhandle as a child, I haven't really been in Texas at all.  But, I have Texas friends.  It is such a big state, it is not surprising that I meet people from Texas all the time.  Not all of them have big hair and strong accents. Many of them are quite normal people.  I joke.

Quite some time ago now, we had a big flood round these parts.  It was a slow motion disaster.  Seeing it coming did no good, the flood just came and ruined things, roads, cars, houses, cemeteries, boats, landmarks, everything in its path.  Floods are terrible, horrible things.

So, I lift up prayers for Texas in the midst of this hurricane, flooding event.  People are in jeopardy.  Lives are being changed in ways that can never be undone.  I pray for the woman who is looking out her window right now wondering what she should do.  I pray for the children, scared and bored and crabby.  I pray for the business owners, the school administrators, the government, the law and order people.  I pray that the voices be heard of the people with wise plans and compassionate understanding.  I pray that the clean up gets underway and hope is restored. Amen

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Do the Next Best Thing

I have always heard the expression--"Do the next best thing." with the meaning that if you can't do the best, do the secondary thing.  The expression always meant settling for second best to me.  Not something I aspire to.

The other day I heard reference to this expression as related to doing God's will. Do the next thing you can do, the next best thing.  I needed to hear that because sometimes I can get all caught up in trying to figure out my mission, or God's will for my life.  I start musing on selling everything and being a missionary in Africa or volunteering somewhere or taking care of someone.  I start feeling overwhelmed and I have come to know that overwhelmed is not from God. I have been spiritually directed to know that the mission I am called for is right in front of me and not off somewhere in some distant corner of the planet.

Before I retired perhaps the mission was a little easier to figure out.  I had to get up, go to work and do my best.  I haven't started on a volunteer track yet.  I am too busy and not settled enough.  I look forward to that, but not yet.  So, each random day of my life I have to figure out what God's will is for me this day.

It helps the scattered brain I have to make lists of things I need to accomplish.  I have business for a parent, for myself, unpacking, unloading stuff to the thrift store, praying, visiting the sick, cleaning, and on and on.  When I look at the endless list of things to do, I try to choose the next best thing.