Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jesus Is With Us/Me

                What to write about this week.  I am adjusting to my oldest being gone.  The daughter’s new room is all but complete.  We are just waiting for the new bed and me to make some corkboard runners for her artist wall.  The middle child has been moody with the onslaught of allergies hitting the poor kid.  My husband is recuperating from his weekend doing his military gig.  Happily I have worked in my vegetable garden.  Yes, even with the very cold rainy spring, I am getting my vegetables to come up.  (Opps, actually the credit needs to go to God.)  I am still waiting patiently for some.  With this beautiful hot weather, they should be greeting me soon.
                Though I have had a flare-up of my fibromyalgia, a couple of sleepless nights, and lack of energy, I am still happy and content.  My house isn’t getting all that clean.  The outside projects are at a standstill.  Oh, my kindle died.  Cooking and baking are not at all a part of my vocabulary at the moment.  I keep wondering what I am doing with my days, but they are gliding softly by like the breeze through the trees.  All the activities I had lined up for Madelle aren’t getting done.  Oh, my.  I wonder if Jesus’ mother Mary had those times.  Speaking of Mary’s, in a way, I feel like Mary the sister of Martha sitting at the feet of Jesus listening.  What am I hearing?
                On Sunday, Father Dan talked about the Trinity.  I have always felt a connection to the trinity though I could never explain the concept well.  So, I sat up a little straighter anticipating new knowledge.  Four days later I am still thinking of the three points he made.  “God is for us; Jesus is with us; and the Spirit is in us.”  Very cool.  I also was excited that the new book I picked up started with discussing the trinity.  Well, the reading revealed nothing.  But I listened all the same.  I wonder if Mary felt the same way while listening to some of the things Jesus had to say.
                The new book I am reading I found in my son’s vehicle.  I have wanted to read it for ages, but he hasn’t finished it.  Well, with him being gone, I am taking the opportunity.  “Ask The Bible Geek” is written my Mark Hart who I listen to on the radio from time to time.  This guy is amazing and I would love to see him in person.  I chuckled because God is working something.  They are watching tapings of Mark at the youth group Bible study my other son is attending.  This week’s topic for the youth was creation.  He really liked how Mark addressed that man and woman are very different: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically.  Not a view point much of the world wants to admit, but true nonetheless.  More good discussions are sure to follow!
                In the book, all of the Bible verses Mark discusses and the way he connects them to our everyday life are easy to apply to life.  I was excited when he went through the prayers of the Mass and showed me where to find much of them from scripture.  I was surprised at what is pulled from the Old Testament that the church keeps living in the service.  Another point that caught my attention was a friend of his asked if any famous people attended his church.  Let’s see, there are God and Jesus just to name a few.  He also talked about when he goes to church he invites saints to sit with him.  I love that!!!  I realize there are people who struggle with the concept of saints, but I know a couple of them have helped guide me in my life.  I need to invite them to sit with me.
                Finally, the last verse in Matthew just seemed to wrap the words around me to bring me great comfort this week.  “…And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20.  What a perfect ending to a book.  Jesus spoke these words and left them to the end.  He is with me always.  Father Dan said Jesus is with me.  He is the famous guy that goes to church with me every Sunday.  So, I am going to enjoy sitting at Jesus’ feet as Mary did thousands of years ago.  Of course, the Martha in me will continue to work in the garden and hopefully do some housework.  While I do my daily tasks, I will invite Jesus with me though I know he is coming anyway.
                Blessing to you all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Hard Week

The last couple of days have been a struggle in my journey to holiness.  I have found myself extremely grumpy, a bit angry, and a little melancholy.  Wednesday morning the sun greeted me.  The day felt like it was going to be full of energy and promise.  My middle child returned from football camp and I still had painting to do in my daughter’s room. 
Within about ten minutes of talking to the middle child, I was a bit irritated.  He was bored.  Really?  He just got home from a camp and been awake maybe an hour.  I stewed over the attitude for a bit until I couldn’t let it rest.  In his room, I woke him up from a nap to growl at him about all the fun camps and activities he was fortunate to have scheduled for the summer and if he were bored, I could easily come up with work to do for him to pay for said entertainment.  He grumbled and went back to sleep.  Gurr.
In the afternoon, I drove to my daughter’s campsite.  I found her crying into her pottery because the teacher made her mad.  She wanted to paint her own design and the teacher wanted her to paint a nature scene.  I told her to buck up.  With a half hearted try, she again melted into a puddle of tears and attitude.  I marched her to the vehicle lecturing once inside.  Gurr.
Thursday I woke up excited for the day.  The sun again was shining and I was going to 4th Day group (women’s Bible study).  Near the end of the study, I started feeling off.  By the time we were driving into town, my stomach was rolling and I felt horrible.  But, I had promised Madelle to go out to lunch and run errands before camp.  Well, I made it through lunch, a couple of errands, and dropped her off at camp. 
Still having to be in town, I dropped the pickup off to get the tailgate fixed and happily went to a coffee shop to relax.  I wrote for about thirty minutes when I decided to read a book on my Kindle because the writing was pathetic.  It wouldn’t turn on.  This annoyed me a ton.  Two nights prior, I had a dream it had died and Jerry had left it at a coffee shop.  Being a bit superstitious (yes, I will admit that), I believed the gadget was dead.  I started rereading the book we are studying in 4th Day.  After a while, I gave this up and went to the craft store for some wood I needed for a bedroom project.  It wasn’t long enough.  Gurr.  The shop called to tell me the pickup was done, so I cut my losses and went home exhausted.
A couple of hours later, the kids and I were driving to the daughter’s softball game.  Though the sun was shining, the air was extremely cold.  I dreaded having to sit in the frigid air.  I passed people jogging and riding bikes when suddenly I was angry at God.  He let my Kindle die.  He wasn’t helping me with my writing; it sucked.  He allowed the weather to be nasty.  He gave me a disease that took away my jogging and mountain biking.  Driving up Benton Avenue, I asked myself what was really wrong.  My Kindle is just a material good.  The writing is my fault.  I had a blanket in the car to help with the cold; besides, I didn’t mind the chill when watching softball.  I have come to terms with my disease though I do miss my old activities.  Why was I really this angry? 
It hit me.  I miss my oldest son who is all the way in Georgia.  Tears started spilling over.  I didn’t mention anything in the vehicle because Madelle would have become a blubbering fool and not been able to play softball.  While she was taking pictures with her team, I turned to Clay and told him what happened.  He smiled.  “That is why I was grumpy yesterday morning.  I didn’t have him to talk to.”  The softball game was great.  Madelle caught a pop fly getting the batter out.  This morning Clay teased me about missing him as he got ready to go to his next football camp.  I did get a good hug from him though.  And, after a night of being plugged in, my Kindle is working once more.  My writing is still in question.  The weather is still cold and I still miss the jogging, biking, and Michel.  I am not angry at God anymore, but He really does need to up the temperature!
Blessing to you all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Graduation Ceremonies and Good-byes

                My oldest has finally graduated from high school.  The weeks prior to the big day I was busy baking cookies, planning a menu, planting flowers, cleaning the garage, and putting the final touches to everything I could.  The week before, I started waking up between three and four in the morning because my baby was soon to leave the nest.  With the lack of sleep and non-stop work, I feared my health would decline.  Rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are not conducive to such factors.  Every morning when I awoke before the rest of the world, I had talks with God.  “Please help me get all my work done and enjoy all the festivities.  Once they are over, I can have a flare-up.”  Each night as I fell asleep, I thanked God for getting me through another day. 
The morning before the party I woke up at 3:10 to the sound of hail.  I paced the house worried about my day old flowers that I had just picked up from the local nursery and planted, all that hard work and no time to fix it.  As the sun came up, I walked around all of my flowerbeds and pots.  They had been pummeled, but they weren’t dead.  Thank you God!
The party went wonderfully with many family and friends attending to wish Michel congratulations and good luck.  I could feel the exhaustion just below the surface, but the joy of the moment kept me going.  I will have to say, I was thankful as the last stragglers left.  I was also thankful to my mother-in-law for insisting all dishes get washed.  I am positive I wouldn’t have gotten that done without her and dear friend Sandy.
With tons of rain before the graduation, I was very thankful for sunny skies Saturday morning.  I was exhausted, but still moving.  Yah, God!!!  I watched with pride as Michel and all his friends (my other kids) filled across the stage to receive their diplomas.  A ton of pictures were taken afterwards and we made our way home.  Once inside the doors, the exhaustion hit.  I sat down on my chair and didn’t move.  Family came and went, but I stayed and was very thankful.  I rested the entire afternoon and went to bed early for I still had one more function to make it through.
Sunday dawned beautiful.  Michel came in after the all night party at around five.  He was a trooper and woke up in time for Mass.  I needed one last Mass before he left for BASIC training.  We took separate vehicles.  Michel, little sister, and I went to pick Nana up at the hotel.  The other two took the chairs back to the church that we borrowed for the party and we met them there.  Off and on throughout the Mass I would start to get a little teary eyed, but it would retreat. 
During prayer time, I started a prayer for Michel.  “Dear Lord, please place a bubble around Michel during his time at BASIC.  Shield him from the negativity that I went through during my time at BASIC.  Give him good memories….”  I realized I wasn’t doing my amazing son justice with this prayer.  “Never mind shielding him Lord.  Instead stand beside him to give him strength during the tough times he will face.  Help him have patience being surrounded by others with no downtime.  He is strong, but he will need You by his side.”  Keeping him from tough times will not give him the skills he will need for his future.  Besides, he is a strong man that already has the awesome signs of a very good soldier.
After Communion, my husband leaned over and asked who was going to announce Michel leaving.  At the end of church there is a time for announcements and celebrations to be shared.  I told him he needed to.  I don’t think I could have done that.  The announcement took Michel by surprise.  I think he thought he could get out of church with no one knowing.  People thanked and congratulated him for serving in our military.
As I started to leave the sanctuary, I turned to see Jerry with his hands placed on Michel’s head.  Tears streamed down Michel’s face as sobs raked his body.  Clay instantly grabbed me for a hug as he started to silently cry.  Jerry finished praying over our boy with tears in his own eyes.  Madelle and Nana also started crying.  Hugs were given by all of us with Jesus there amongst us. 
Blessings to you all.