Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 kicked my butt and further ramblings

I admit it, 2010 was the hardest year of my life.  I keep telling myself that 2011 has to be better.  I went through today feeling an aura of funk all day.  I was irritable.  I am never irritable.  OK, maybe four times a year I can be irritable.  But I'm just not normally that kind of person.  I go through life with a smile, and while it is hard to do so sometimes, it just feels like it's the best thing to do.  And the most natural thing.

So back to today.  I couldn't shake the feeling, and I had no idea why I was feeling this...mood.  Then all of the sudden, it hit me while I was cooking spaghetti for the boys.  The tears started flowing.  I spent most of 2010 in "survival mode".  If you're going through hell, keep on moving.  Or so the saying goes, right?  I spent many days just taking it one day at a time.  Fighting...swimming...smiling...growing a thick skin necessary for survival....moving forward.  It was impossible for me to do anything else.

So, finally as I slaved (not really - spaghetti sauce from a jar) over dinner, I reflected on this blasted year and let myself feel the effects that 2010 has had on me.  I had been telling myself that 2011 has to be better.  But the trouble is, all of the signs point to 2011 being another year of struggle.  Maybe it will be slightly better than 2010, but for the most part I will still have to keep fighting and surviving through the turbulence that I have come to unwillingly know too well.  2010 came crashing down on me.  And it was a very difficult year for a lot of other people I know as well.

I figured I'd stay up and watch the ball drop at midnight so that I could wave good bye and good riddance to that nasty 2010.  But by supper time I was so weary I decided that I'd rather just go to sleep and wake up after 2010 was over.  Even though I felt strongly about sleeping it off, it just didn't seem like that would be the right thing for me to do.  If I hid in the peacefulness of sleep so that I no longer have to face the trials this year has brought, then wouldn't that mean that 2010 had won?  I can't let that happen, as weary as I may be.

Now I know that I am a fighter.  Even if I have to scotch tape my eyelids open, I will stay up and say farewell to 2010.  You fought a hard fight, but you didn't win.  I will be the one at 11:59 biting my thumb at you as you leave history forever.  I will be the one left finding victory after 2010.  My victory lies there somewhere ahead of me, leaving 2010 in the dust.  I just have to believe it to be true.

It's amazing to look back, and despite all of the truly raw and difficult things I have had to face, I can see so many good things that I have found amid the calamity.  I must always give the credit to my Lord, because I would be nowhere without his grace and mercy.  He has blessed me abundantly, and I believe that he holds something very special for me somewhere in my future.  I am so thankful that he has given me a strong disposition.  Sometimes when I think about it, I realize it really isn't that difficult for me to be strong.  It just seems like the only thing to do - be strong.  And I know that is a gift from God.  He knew all along what I was going to have to face, and he prepared me and equipped me.  I am learning daily what "His grace is sufficient" means.

Adios 2010! 

Friday, December 3, 2010


This is my all-time favorite song EVER!!!!!!  I have always loved it, but I just decided it is my absolute fave.  There is so much emotion and meaning.  I cannot listen through the whole thing without crying.

Lifehouse - Everything
(emphasis mine)

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength, that keeps me walking.

You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.

You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Cause you're all I want, You're all I need
You're everything,everything
You're all I want your all I need
You're everything, everything.
You're all I want you're all I need.
You're everything, everything
You're all I want you're all I need, you're everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


At the time that I accepted that my life was falling to pieces, I reverted to Catholicism after being an evangelical Protestant since I was 15.  My conversion, or reversion, was a process that God started in my heart about a year and a half earlier.  There were several things that held me back before, and as my life started to crumble apart, I ran home to the Church that my Lord has prepared for me 2,000 years ago.  It was been a beautiful, absolutely magnificent reunion for me.  I could go on and on about it, but I will post more on that later.

My oldest little boy, Todd, turned six not too long ago.  I enrolled him in the same Catholic school that I attended when I was little.  He has only been going to Mass for about five months, and it has been a transition for all of my kids.  They used to have children's church at our Protestant churches, and they were entertained there while we attended service.  So for my then five-year old to go from that to having to sit for an hour and be quiet during Mass, well, it was quite a difficult transition.  And he is going to Mass twice a week, once with his school on Tuesdays and once with me and his brothers on Sunday.  So it's been a challenge for him.

Todd is a very special boy.  He has always studied people and their emotions.  He is reflective and contemplative.  He is loving and kind, and he has the best manners of any kid I know. 

But he is six yeears old.  Mass is boring to him.  When you're a six-year old little boy attending a Catholic church for the first time in your life, it is boring and almost like torture compared to what he experienced before. 

Every Sunday morning I race around getting everyone cleaned and ready to go to Mass.  Every Sunday morning Todd complains about having to go to Mass and explains why he doesn't want to go (again, because it's boring).  I usually explain to him that it is very important that we worship God and tell him that it is very important to me for us to attend Mass.  Sometimes I explain to him (briefly, because I am not sure how much he can take in right now) that it is important for me to go there and receive the Body and Blood of Christ.  I am not sure how much he understands, but I can tell he often thinks about what I just said. 

This Sunday he complained that all Mass is is sitting and standing and kneeling.  I knelt down beside him and explained that it is so much more than that.  I explained that while he is sitting quietly and standing quietly and kneeling quietly, that maybe something will happen to him on the inside, and I put my hand over his heart.  I told him that the reason that I love going to Mass is because of what happens to me on the inside.  I told him it is very special and from God.  I wasn't sure if he understood, but he stopped his complaining.  Maybe it was so that I would stop the lecture.  But I was glad I had explained it to him so that he could remember it the next time he felt like complaining about Mass.  I was happy to be touching on the real "meat" of faith: what happens on the inside.  It was a great seed that I felt like I had planted, although Todd never said anything about it.

Last night as he was waiting for me to tuck him into bed, he shoved his fists up in the air and said, "Yes!  I get to go to Mass tomorrow!"  (He has Mass with his class on Tuesday mornings.)  I was shocked to hear the excitement coming from him.  I didn't make a big deal of it, because I was just literally too shocked for words.

So I contemplated it and asked him this morning about what seemed to be excitement from him about going to Mass.  He grinned and admitted that he likes Mass.  When I asked why, he replied, "Because I get to sing and worship God."  Again, I was absolutely speechless.

How special it that?!?!

I am so blessed to have this special little guy who amazes me beyond words.  My heart is warmed to a higher degree this morning.  There are no words to express the gratitude that I feel to my Lord for such an amazing gift.

Kyrie eleison

Saturday, November 27, 2010

between a rock and a hard place...

So, I have some big decisions to make for me and the boys in the future.  Right now I am waiting on God.  I am in no hurry to make the decisions until I know it's time.  

Boy, waiting is hard.

Something happened the other day that left me feeling hopeless.  I have developed a numbness that allows me to "stay strong" and not cry like a baby every day.  But that night I went to bed crying.  A big part of me wanted to give up.  But giving up means taking some steps that I never ever wanted to take in my life.  The phrase, "between a rock and a hard place" entered my mind, and that's how I felt.  I cried to God to tell me what to do.  And then I listened, hoping I'd hear His voice.  But I heard nothing.

The next day we did our usual routine.  I took my 3-year old to his speech therapist's home that morning before going into work.  After his therapy, his therapist walked out to the car with us, offering to help load the boys, talking to my 22-month old.  She never walks to the car with us.  And it was a cold morning.  She had no shoes or socks on and no jacket.  So I thought it was odd that she was even out there with us.

After I loaded the boys up, she said something to me.  She said that she wanted to encourage me not to give up.  I knew instantly within the core of my being that it was from God, and my eyes started watering.  She asked to pray with me, and what she prayed was exactly what was going on in me.  I thanked her and told her I needed to hear it.

Sometimes I want to be "special" and hear God's audible voice so that I know that I know that I know it's Him.  But then it wouldn't be faith, would it?  Maybe the second best scenario is for Him to send a message through one of His believers.  

So now I know the path I am supposed to be on right now, and that's not to give up.  And I heard it from God himself.  And that's all I need to know right now.

Kyrie eleison!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I got a new camera a couple of months ago, and it's been a lot of fun playing around with it.  By no means do I see any amount of talent in anything that I photograph, but it is a fun challenge to learn a new hobby.  I don't have very much spare time these days, so just reading the instruction booklet is a slow process.  It just doesn't happen much.  For example, I picked this particular camera because it had a video camera function.  I have to yet to find that function.  I wonder if I got suckered. 

Here are a couple of pictures of my favorite subjects (no critics, I know it's not top quality photography):

Eli and Isaac

Todd, Isaac, and Eli

(They really are as sweet as they look!)


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the stakes are officially high

"Your bid--for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity--will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high."

--C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed 

Um.  Excuse me.  I am pondering these words.  This one got me in the gut.


Monday, November 1, 2010

I don't want to lose me

My life isn't what it was a couple of years ago.  This is certainly not the way I planned things.  But I don't have control over people, and people are people, so here I am.  

I have been through a lot of pain lately.  I have tried the best I know how to protect my beautiful boys from experiencing their pains, too.  I wonder what lies ahead for us.  I hurt.  I cry.  

I have known for a while that I am different than people around me.  I feel compassion in ways not like others.  I love life and I love the gifts that I've been given in the people who love me and whom I love.  I see the love that God has for others.  I see the beauty in the everyday living.  I trust to the point of being taken advantage of.  

I am afraid of losing that.

I am afraid of losing the gentle person that I am.  I am afraid of becoming hard and pessimistic.  I am afraid of becoming a bitter old woman who always has something negative to say because of the hurts I've experienced and not seeing good in anything or anyone any longer.  I am afraid of turning off my feelings so that I don't have to get hurt anymore.

I don't want to become that person.  I'd rather stay who I am and see the good in people.  And maybe get hurt again in the process.  I'd rather keep trusting, even when it means I am vulnerable.  I want to stay the kind of person who effortlessly has a smile on my face while I am amid chaos.  Don't get me wrong - it's not a fake smile.  It's a smile that acknowledges that there is more good in life than bad.  I want to continue seeing the good. 

Kyrie Eleison! 


Friday, October 29, 2010

sometimes by step

I'm listening to some Rich Mullins on this lovely Friday afternoon.  One verse from his song, "Sometimes by Step"  stood out to me today.  God has been doing something in me, and I am having trouble understanding it or putting it into words.  People don't always understand me, but He does, and that gives me the comfort that I need today. 

(The emphasis is mine.)

Sometimes I think of Abraham

How one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that, no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach

Kyrie Eleison!


Monday, October 25, 2010

no regrets

I have been trying to figure out a way to write about what I am going through without giving it all away.  The internet is this mass of eternal information, and I don't want to post something on here that I will regret.  I am in the midst of my life crisis, and I am not sure how things will turn out.  Things will turn out either good.  Or bad.  I am hopeful for reconciliations, but in order for reconciliations to happen many deeply rooted changes have to happen.  I do not doubt that God can change people, but I doubt the willingness of people to make those hard changes.

Either way it goes, I know that God will take care of us.  The pains from hurts will either be large and will be a life challenge to overcome, or the pains will be a minor hardened scar that has changed me and taught me and reminds me of this time in my life.
I must remain somewhat hidden during this time of uncertainties.  If I say too much and reconciliations become a possibility, I don't want to have major regrets about what I've written here.  I.  hate.  regrets.
I ponder why I hate regrets so much.  I think it all has to do with pride.  If I have regrets for my actions, it reminds me that I am not perfect.  Outwardly I admit that I am not perfect, but inwardly I try to tell myself that I am almost perfect.  I almost have it all together.

But I don't have it all together.  God reminds me of that, and it stings my pride.  So I am learning that He is in control.  Even in acknowledging that He is in control, I still try to figure out the details of my future.  And it drives me crazy.  Because I can't figure it out.  So I have to give up my "plans" and lean on God.  It's this ugly cycle that keeps repeating itself.  My hope is that one day I will truly get it.  And when I learn what I need to learn about not being in control, I imagine that my first reaction will be to lean on my Lord.  Instead of spinning the wheels in my brain.
Why is it so hard to learn to trust Him without hesitation when I can look back at every problem in life and know, truly know that everything that I have let Him control has turned out beautifully?  I desire that utter beauty that I have experienced when I lean on His grace and mercy.

Change is so hard.  Yet I become impatient when others take time to make their changes.  

I am learning to be at peace with being imperfect.  Even as I write it, it stings.  

halloween humor

Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday.  It's like a non-holiday to me.  Bah humbug!  A type of counter-holiday to All Saints Day, and that's not good in my book.  So to pass through this dreaded day, I find that humor helps.  This is my favorite halloween cartoon by far.  Enjoy, and stay safe!

Kyrie Eleison


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Me, uncovered?

The whole world of blogging is so new to me.  I feel odd when I become emotionally involved with perfect strangers without them knowing.  I read the stories about their lives and BAM!  I'm hooked.  But it also opened a whole new world to people enjoying their lives and sharing it and I got to see the beauty that is possible in people.  
It occurred to me that I might want to write a blog.  Not to attract readers, but as sort of a journal for myself while I sort through thoughts and emotions stemming from a mess that I've been handed.  But I wouldn't mention what the mess was, because that would be too much information to just put out there about myself.  Instead, I could use my blog to document new things that I am learning to see and enjoy in life despite this mess that I'm in.

I think about writing a post on my new, shiny blog all of the time.  The problem is, I rarely post anything.  I have all of these thoughts and emotions that I am sorting through...but my blog isn't for that.  It's only for nice, fluffy things that make me happy.  I don't want people to see anything other than happy things on here.  If some stranger does happen to pass by my way, heaven help me if they see anything other than nice and fluffy.  If they saw what I'm really dealing with, they may not like me and will pass on to a happier, nicer blog.

But then, who is this really for?  Didn't I intend for this to be for me?  Sure, it would be nice for a stranger or two to read and maybe post an encouragement or what if my blog helped them sort through some emotions?  

I know now that I don't post on here as often as I'd like to because it takes so much effort to write about nice, fluffy things and not to write about raw feelings.  My feelings.  The nice, fluffy things are so forced and disingenuous.  And if someone passes by, they will see the insincerity.  Who am I fooling?

This brings me to another realization.  Part of the reason I am in the mess I am in is because I haven't been true to myself.  Whatever that means, I know it's me.  And then I want to start a blog to record things that aren't being true to myself?!  I've got to get out of this intense desire to please people.  I am tired of wanting people to like me.  But I really want people to like me.  I feel like I'm a likable person, and I don't want them to not like me.  But what if I were one of those people who were OK with not everyone liking me?  Are those people happier?  I don't know, but I'm willing to try it.

I just don't want people to feel sorry for me.  A whole lot of people know about my current situation, and I can feel that they feel so sorry for me and that they don't know what to say to me.  I don't like that.  I don't know why, but I just don't like it.  Maybe it's pride.

So that's where I am.  Unapologetic, plain ol' just me.  Maybe that's what I should be on my blog.  Then my blog wouldn't be so much an effort.  And it might mean something to someone else along the way, too.

Beware for upcoming ugly, hairy messes being uncovered and talked about.  Makes me cringe at the thought of being so real.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Yay, me!

This was a week of accomplishments for me.  I don't often toot my own horn, but I had two major accomplishments this week, and I am still beeming with elation. 

On Saturday I ran my first 5K race.  I. ran. the. whole. thing.  That was my goal, to run the whole thing.  Adrenaline carried me through.  I am hooked.  I must admit, I got passed by a speed walker (she was FAST!), but I didn't let the humility get me too down.  I ran and I ran and I ran (however slowly) and I finished right before the group of walkers.  Ha!

Then on Tuesday night I finished a book.  A whole book.  It was Surprised By Truth 2 by Patrick Madrid.  Very good.  I have not finished a book in probably 7 years.  It's really been that long.  I think I might try fiction next.  I love to soak in facts and especially theology.  But I think that fiction might be a fun change of pace.  And I haven't read a fiction book since high school.  That's too many years ago to count.

Time to sign up for my next race!  Go, me!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My first favorite quote from Pope Benedict XVI

"It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free. Cardinal Newman realized this, and he left us an outstanding example of faithfulness to revealed truth by following that 'kindly light' wherever it led him, even at considerable personal cost. Great writers and communicators of his stature and integrity are needed in the Church today, and it is my hope that devotion to him will inspire many to follow in his footsteps.”

— Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the Bishops of England and Wales Visit “ad limina apostolorum,” January, 2010

The first sentence is the best!  I saw this posted on Patrick Madrid.  As someone returning to the fullness of the faith, I've often overlooked quotes from Pope Benedict.  This one's good, and I am so thankful I ran across it!  It keeps all of those debates floating out there in proper perspective for me!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions. --Thomas Jefferson

Friday, July 16, 2010

are you there, God?

I have been reading a bit about Vincent van Gogh, and while I always enjoyed the beauty of some of his most famous works of art, I never realized how profoundly deeply he wrote. 

As many artists now famous, van Gogh did not get to enjoy the appreciation that others find in his art nor the financial rewards of that appreciation.  He lived a life full of poverty and tragedy and died at the young age of 37.  During his life his younger brother, Theo, helped to support Vincent financially, and Vincent wrote to Theo hundreds of letters often discussing his life's woes and also on his views on life.  Many of these letters were left when Theo died and have been translated to English.  (Good thing for me, since I don't know Dutch!)

When I read some of his letters two things stand out to me.  First, he seems to have been hurt by men during his life, and in particular religious men.  This hurt caused him to question faith and God and religion and all that goes along with those things and with life. 

The second thing that marked me when reading some of his letters is that, even though he had these deep emotional scars that he carried with him which caused him to seemingly harden to all things "religious", he could not deny the beauty and love in life, and at least acknowledge that God was in there somewhere.  When he painted the stars, that is where he felt God.  When he loved others, that is where he felt God.  When others showed love to him, he felt God. 

It touches me to have learned about a man who, like so many others, has had a difficult life, has been hurt by others, but yet is still able to see good in all that God created.  My heart goes out to him and others like him.  No matter how low I find myself in this life, I will never be able to deny the existence of God.  In the wind.  In the waves.  In the fields.  In the flowers.  In a baby's cry.  In a child's smile.  In the majestic trees.  In loving others.

Vincent van Gogh quotes:

The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.

What has changed is that my life then was less difficult and my future seemingly less gloomy, but as far as my inner self, my way of looking at things and of thinking is concerned, that has not changed. But if there has indeed been a change, then it is that I think, believe and love more seriously now what I thought, believed and loved even then.

I think that everything that is really good and beautiful, the inner, moral, spiritual and sublime beauty in men and their works, comes from God, and everything that is bad and evil in the works of men and in men is not from God, and God does not approve of it.

But I cannot help thinking that the best way of knowing God is to love many things. Love this friend, this person, this thing, whatever you like, and you will be on the right road to understanding Him better, that is what I keep telling myself. But you must love with a sublime, genuine, profound sympathy, with devotion, with intelligence, and you must try all the time to understand Him more, better and yet more. That will lead to God, that will lead to an unshakeable faith.  Try to grasp the essence of what the great artists, the serious masters, say in their masterpieces, and you will again find God in them. One man has written or said it in a book, another in a painting.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The General

Dispatch is no longer a band, and I did not discover their music until after they had broken up.  "The General" is my favorite song of theirs, and every time I listen to it I ponder the words and try to figure out what the meaning of the song is.  Is the point of the song the general's concern for his troops and the concern and love he had for his troops in warning them about the upcoming defeat and ultimately their certain deaths?  Or is the point about the loyal troops, facing their destiny with pride and honor?  Or am I way off base in both of my interpretations?  Either way, the song is inspiring to me.


Friday, July 9, 2010


I'm not even talking to anyone, yet, since I am just starting my first blog.  Blogging is one of those things that I was comfortable with not knowing or ever caring about.  Only weird people who had nothing better to do blogged.  This is what I told myself, at least, so that I could remain comfortable not knowing a single thing about blogs.

Then I had a life-altering event in my life.  I am not sure I can call it a single event, but one day I woke up and saw the chaos in my life.  Bad chaos, not like the kind of blessed chaos that comes with raising children, but the kind of unwanted chaos that others can selfishly bring into a person's life.  I saw the chaos and I chose to remove myself from it.  I don't plan on focusing on the circumstances that lead me to where I am now, because amid the chaos, I realized there is a whole world out there that I have been missing.  The world is a beautiful place and has wonderful things to offer.  My eyes opened up to poetry, beautiful poetry.  And photography.  And music.  And reading.  And blogging and finding out about so many different people in the world who have so many things in common with me.  I plan to use this blog as my own journal, and if anyone finds it interesting enough to join me on this journey, I'd be touched and honored. 

It won't be the most creative blog.  It won't be the funniest.  It won't have the best poetry.  It won't display the best photography.  But it's mine and I need it right now.