Friday, December 30, 2011

Life is Not a Contest,

but it sure feels that way.

We give ourselves points on getting engaged, getting married, having babies, getting a job, getting a promotion, buying a house, and on and on and on. It's the American way. Who has the bigger house, the most children, the granite countertops? Who is winning?

I have felt like I have been losing. I have measured myself against others. It feels bad. Is it human nature to always want more, to never be happy with what we have? 

And when I watch HGTV, I want to scream (mostly at the wives) that you can live a happy life without granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Gee, some of those wives sure seem entitled and snotty. Ick. Sure, I like a nice home, but some of those wives are over the top.

Yesterday when I was clearing out stuff, I was happy to find my glue gun especially since it provided the perfect solution to a little craft problem I had. What treasure do you have that is hidden deep in your stuff? You may already have everything you need, not what you want.

A shopping mall

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finding My Advent Prayer Buddy

I wondered who was praying for me, and today I found out. The Chief at was praying for me. I'm reading her blog and am humbled by all her prayers and offerings she gave for me. I truly, truly am thankful.


Cleaning Out is Scary

Lately, I have been on a decluttering kick at my apartment or downsizing some may say.
I cannot think with all my possessions around.
I cannot discern whatever it is I am suppose to discern about my life with all this stuff around distracting me.
I cannot find things in my one-bedroom apartment.
I cannot come up with a cohesive decorating scheme when things are mismatched.
I cannot move forward when I'm shoveling things around.
Somedays I can't leave the house (apartment) on time because I can't find my purse, shoes, gloves, mail, etc.
Sometimes people give me ugly gifts.
I can't appreciate my truly beautiful items when they are hiding behind other items.
So about every other day I have been making trips to various charity thrift shops in the area with bags full of items.
I don't think I'll ever get to the point of St. Francis scarcity or a true minimalist.
There are a lot of things I do not need or use. Other people may find them useful. Charities certainly could use the money from selling the items.
So, it's load [the bags] and go.
Sometimes cleaning seems like an overwhelming thought. I want to live in a cleaner place.
What if I have to move? I don't want to worry about packing up a lot of stuff. That will be a pain. Ugh. Hate packing. Hate carrying heavy stuff around.

But this sorting and ridding is rather scary at times. Because when the majority of my items are gone, what will I have left?


I am afraid my life will be empty and that there will be emptiness inside of me except for the things that I need to face.

It'll be God, me and my . . . weaknesses and faults.

I'm hoping I'll find freedom from all these objects that are collecting dust. I hope friends will fill my more spacious apartment. I want to create room for opportunities and love. I want to be loving, open and adventurous. I want to be creative and profitable.

But it's all a little scary. Because when I'm done with my purging project, what will I do? What will be left? What does life really mean? What does my life mean?

Dear God, as I empty my physical environment, please fill my interior environment with grace.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'm in the Wrong Universe, the Wrong Profession

I was blog surfing, and found this in a recent blog post:

" The Internet.  Job hunting is so, so much easier now.  No more searching the newspapers, mailing cover letters and resumes, and waiting, hoping for a phone call.  Post your resume and they will come. "

A month or two later, this blogger is at her new job after fielding several offers.

I have to go lie down now

Trucks and Cigars

Once upon a time I was interested in a young man with a small truck. Let's call him Truck Guy. I met him at church, and my mother knew his parents. Sounds wonderful, right? We went out on ONE date, and I was clearly aware that he was not the man for me. I moved, but not far and he tracked me down. I turned him down.

After I turned him down, he moved on to other women, but we kept running into each other. I was amused, and we were always cordial. Also, seeing him around just confirmed the fact that he was not and is not the man for me. Neither one of us have found THE ONE, but he has been able to buy bigger trucks.

Fast forward 15 years, and through the Knights of Columbus, Truck Guy and my father have become buddies. Tomorrow the two guys several generations apart are going to a cigar smoking shop to smoke cigars together. I loathe cigars. This just cracks me up. I wish them happy buddy time together.

Note: And since the one date with  Truck Guy was very, very chaste, it hasn't been awkward running into him.

Prayer Buddy Reveal

This Advent I prayed for Percolating Petals at I think of pink flowers when I think of her name. And I do like pink flowers. I prayed every day for her intentions and for God to look over her and watch and care for her.

Like her, I've been purging junk and non-junk items.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Letting Christmas Unfold

I think I'll let the 12 days of Christmas unfold and not worry about a formal way to celebrate. As long as I keep my eyes and heart open, God's light will shine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Searching the 12 Days of Christmas - Need Ideas

I am looking for some kind of activity or a tradition for the 12 days of Christmas. I like to bask in the Christmas glow and want to continue to celebrate or practice Christmas cheer for the 12 days. Any ideas? Do I close a door on Advent calendar each day? That seems kind of sad. Besides there are 25 days on an Advent calendar, and only 12 days of Christmas. I can't exactly send a true love 10 lords of leaping or some such thing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Said Yes, Now I'm Making Stew

Right now a healthy stew is simmering on my stove top. It may not seem odd to you, but it is to me because I rarely cook. One blessing of being single is that I don't have to cook if I don't feel like it. Being a single adult means that if I want a hot fudge sundae for dinner, I can have one. This not cooking may also be why I'm single. Anyway, I'm not the best cook. Bad things have happened in my kitchen and to my stomach. Sometimes things come out okay. I'm hoping that's the case with the stew.

I'm making it for a family in crisis. They belong to my parish, and another parish member lines up people to care and cook for them. How could I say no? The wife/mom has cancer, and the family eats a "cancer diet." So after an internet search, I found an easy to make stew from some kind of cancer food website. Hopefully, it meets all the requirements. Hopefully it will taste good when it's done cooking. 

Dear Lord, please add any ingredients that I may have missed even though I read the recipe. Dear Lord, please let this stew be tasty, comforting, and nourishing for this family especially for the patient. Dear Lord, you know cooking is not my speciality so I hope you are in the kitchen right now. Please God, this is an important mission, and I want to do well. Amen.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sickening, but I Watched Anyway

I'm talking about the show Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC, which is SO EASY to criticize.  I've never seen so many mothers with misplaced values. Why is it so important that their daughters win beauty pageants? Most of those little little girls are miserable. The only way you know these little girls are little girls is that they are short, and some wear diapers.  Even I don't like to wear that much make-up. Girls that young don't need make-up because they have flawless skin. Yet I watched two hours of this goofiness. Why? I don't know.

I had two thoughts: Acts of the Apostasy blog has an Adopt a Priestess Prayer Program. Maybe we need an Adopt a Pageant Mom Prayer Program.

When one little toddler was having a tantrum, I started wishing all the little girls would have tantrums at the same time and revolt against this trashy lifestyle and reclaim their childhood. Instead of having to stand still for spray tans, practice fake smiles, and wear uncomfortable itchy clothes, they could wear comfy Carters and run free through a playground. They could laugh and swing on the swings and color and be read to and use their imaginations and play make-believe. They could roll down a hill, run through a sprinkler, jump in a puddle, and create fake food with clay. There's a big difference between girls playing dress-up and girls being dressed up.

Speaking of dressing up, I just realized that I have been wearing two different earrings all day instead of a matched pair. Yep, no threat of me taking home the Grand Ultimate Taco Supreme Crown.

Significant Other vs. Spouse

I attended a Small Business Development workshop today. He spoke of financial risk among other things. He said that as a business owner, you always, always should be the one who signs the checks even if you have a bookkeeper. He said the only other person whom you can allow to sign the checks is your spouse. Mr. Advisor said do not let even your significant other sign your checks. Why? He said because even though he/she is your significant other, the commitment is not quite there yet.

I knew some guy who called his live-in girlfriend his life partner. Call me old fashioned, but I thought one's spouse was a life partner.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In the Spirit

I decorated my Christmas tree, and have started going to parties. All of a sudden I have an active social life. And I was SO lonely this past summer. I'm not looking forward to the actual Christmas Day with apathetic relatives. I will miss having a mate, having children, but I am enjoying the now of the season. I will enjoy Christmas Mass.

I like my tree with my pretty ornaments that are meaningful to me. I wrapped some small gifts to give to relatives who will probably not give me any presents. Sigh. But I like giving gifts. Honestly, I like receiving them too. I learned that I may not receive from the expected sources, but I do receive.

I even wrote a Christmas letter and in some cards I'm including a picture of myself.

To some of you who are struggling with infertility, let me be the one to tell you that it's okay to write a Christmas letter. Look, I have no job, no Mr. Romantic, no children, no siblings, and I still found a few things to write about. Sure, it was a short letter, but who wants to read a long, bragging letter anyway? It's okay to send a picture of self or yourself and hubby. You are people too. I like seeing pictures of my friends. Usually, I am MORE interested in seeing pictures of my friends than their children (who all seem to be gifted brain surgeons even though they're ten). Besides, Christmas isn't about ourselves. Christmas is about Mary, Jesus, and Joseph.

Just think of God's Chosen People who waited hundreds and hundreds of years for the Messiah. They lived and died without Jesus. Then He came, and the angels sang. We are living post-Bethlehem. We HAVE Jesus. We have Jesus EVERY WEEK when we go to Mass. Actually if I got up early I could have Jesus EVERY DAY at morning Mass.

Jesus did not have a mate, siblings, children, and I bet he didn't have an income while He was doing His ministry. But Jesus had friends, and I have friends. (Of course Jesus is God, and I don't mean to say we're alike. But it just hit me that Jesus was single and an only child.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Believe

I believe.

A friend was having a few people over for dinner, myself included. There was a thump outside, so the hostess opened the door and stuck her head outside.

"There's a bag outside," she yelled.

The hostess closed the door. "It has your name on it, Lena."

She came into the dining room and handed me the gift bag. Sure enough, the card had my name on it, and the bag was heavy. I was stunned and looked at it.

This was a mystery. This was an event out of a story book.

Hostess encouraged me to open the card, which had a beautiful picture of Mary and Baby Jesus. The card said, "Merry Christmas." No name was signed.

Inside the bag was a book Christmas Jars and a glass jar full of money.

I didn't know what to say, so I just cried.

It was over $50.00.

It's more than the money. It's the caring, the effort, the . . .

A Christmas angel came to me.

I thought of the months of anxiety I had this past year over meeting my basic needs.

Then I prayed.

Then I received.

I believe.

(Thank you, prayer buddy)

I am in the Christmas spirit. Today I put up my tree and decorated it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Letting Advent Soak Into Me

 It's not Christmas yet. It's Advent, and I need the entire Advent season to get into the Christmas spirit. Then I am usually in the Christmas spirit when the actual Holy Day comes around and enjoy the full 12 days of Christmas. I put up my tree, decorate, and send cards when I am good and ready and not a moment before.

Retailers are telling us it's Christmas. The Church says it's Advent. I am happier listening to the Church. Advent slowly sinks in, and I do more Christmas activities as time goes by.

I've been doing most of my shopping online because all the stores are cluttered and crowded.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Why the Discomfort of Holding Hands During the Our Father

On November 6, 2011, I posted how holding hands during the Our Father seems fakey to me.

This blog post explains WHY it is fakey.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Favorite Advent Calendars

I have quite a collection of advent calendars and am posting some of my favorites. Some of them are so pretty I have never even opened the little paper doors because I don't want to ruin the pictures.

Which one do you like the best?

Prayer Intentions (Please Pray for Me, Prayer Buddy)

What I am praying for this Advent:

1) I am praying for my prayer buddy, ___{it's a secret}____. I'm not sure of her intentions (though I am reading her blog), but God knows the dreams and desires of her heart.
2) A job. It's seems like forever since I had a full-time job with benefits, paid vacation, etc.
3) Persistence and energy for this seemingly hopeless job search.
4) Wisdom and direction - that I am doing job search work that provides fruit. I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in every cover letter I write, etc.
5) For a nice, good Catholic boyfriend who will then become a nice, good Catholic fiance' . . .
6) That I am the kind of person who attracts #5.
7) For the woman in my Bible study group who has a growing cancerous tumor.

I am thankful I have rent money for the upcoming months, and my father is still able to live independently. My daddy made me French Toast for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Yummy.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's All Say Consubstantial

I'm on the change train.
I was excited to go to Mass today and use the new translation or corrected translation or revised translation. I went to my parish workshop, I read about the change in our bulletin and other publications, I saw a video on the change, and I discussed the change in Bible study.

Our priest spoke before Mass began about the new pamphlets in the pews that we need to use along with the reasoning behind the change. Mass began, and we stuttered through it including the priest. At least 3/4 of the people said, "And also with you" instead of "With your spirit." Wait, did I miss the Gloria? What happened to the Gloria? Again, Father G. reminded us to use our pamphlets. Before the Profession of Faith Father discussed the "I" instead of "We" and consubstantial.

My poor father who is legally blind was unable to even read the LARGE PRINT pamphlet. He went to the workshop too in preparation. He ordered important publications for both us, so we could be prepared. He was eager for the change, yet he was saying all the wrong things. He really is into theology. I'll have to make time to review the changes with him again.

At the end of Mass, Father said it was like saying his first Mass all over again because he stumbled over unfamiliar words and phrases too. But he has faith that we will all get the hang of it. And we will. Week by week we will  speak more and more in unison. But in the meantime, I like the newness of the Mass. I like being mindful. I like the fact that this is an opportunity to delve deeper into the mysteries of our faith. I like the fact we are exploring our relationship with the Trinity. I like the fact that we are improving communication with the presider and God. I like that we are another mile or two ahead on our spiritual journey. 

There are those who are complaining about the new translation as if it's too difficult. Sure it may be difficult, but that does not mean we are incapable. Sure, it may be hard to understand, but we have our entire lives to try to understand. Aren't we always growing in understanding? Isn't that the point? We are poised for growth, and God is giving us plenty of room for that growth to occur.

Consubstantial may be an unfamiliar and wieldly word, but it is an AWESOME word.

Lord, thank you for making me capable of spiritual growth. Thank you for giving me this life to explore and revel in my relationship with you. Thank you for waking us up at Mass, so we are mindful and not robots. Lord, may all the complainers learn to appreciate the beauty of the Mass and please overlook our humanness as we struggle to get it right. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do Not Enter- You are NOT Welcome

My aunt called me this morning to tell me not to visit her, not even come and stay in a hotel. She said she doesn't want any company. Ever since her husband died three years ago, she said she's done with holidays and company. Now she just wants to make herself happy. I said I feel hurt. She said in order for me to feel better, and not hurt, she would feel bad. She said she's tired of trying to do what other people want and not upset people or hurt them. I wonder if I have been an imposition all these years. Anyway, I told her that I'm leaving it up to her to repair the relationship between us.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wish Tree Gifts

Today I went shopping for the needy person I picked off the Wish Tree at church. I only know her first name and her age (53). This time I purposely chose an adult because sometimes grown-ups need or want things. The Wish listed items she wanted, sizes and colors, and I got some of them. It does not tell her story or even if she lives in the city or suburbs or in a rural area.

Her list was rather long and I only bought a few of the items. Here is one thing I bought. After making the purchases and walking out of the stores with the bags, I felt happy.

Priest Girls and their Tambourines

What would look even stranger to me is to see a women priest. If I were at a Mass where there was one, I don't think I would really be at a Mass.

Check out these blog posts:

Who remembers Tracy Partridge?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kicked Out

I called up my aunt on Friday to say I would like to come and visit her and my cousins who live in her area. For the first time ever, she told me to stay in a motel. She said her new home is too small even though she lives alone and has two bedrooms: one bedroom is her room and the other has a daybed. What?????????? When I visited her before she and my uncle had a three bedroom home. My uncle has since died, so my aunt downsized. She smokes, and I have asthma. Previously, she wouldn't smoke in the same room that I was in. She would smoke on her sun porch or in just one half of the house.

When I went to stay with her for my uncle's funeral, my aunt "lost it" and smoked in my face and all over the house. It was horrible, but I didn't say anything.

However on Friday she did not say anything about her smoking. I feel unwanted and unwelcomed. I am also thinking that she just wants to smoke as much as she pleases wherever she pleases. And it is certainly her right to smoke and pollute her own home. But if that's the case, I feel hurt that she would chose her nicotine over me just like any other drug addict chooses drugs over his or her partner. Or maybe she just doesn't want me around. So until I am able to come to terms with this hotel thing and my unhappy feelings, I am not making any plans to visit. And by not visiting, I won't be seeing my goddaughter.

Today was a different sort of being kicked out. The director of liturgy caught me on my way into Mass. She said she didn't put me on the Eucharistic minister schedule for the next quarter because some of my Beware of Perverts Preying On Children class paperwork is missing. I'm suppose to call the business manager at the parish to discuss my missing paperwork. The director of liturgy said she knows I attended the Beware of Perverts (not the official name of the class) session a few years ago because she saw me in attendance. Since I was scheduled to serve today, she let me. Who knows when I'll be allowed to serve again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Everyday Life without an Anchor

1) Now that I am not praying that 30-Day Prayer, I feel insecure. I don't feel anchored like I did when I was praying it. My worries blow through my mind. Perhaps this is a sign that I need to pray every single day. My soul is wandering like a lonely cloud. (I must look up that particular poem.)

2) I rec'd a small but substantial check from my cousin, so my rent and some other essentials are covered for the next few months. And I can book an airline ticket to a sunnier state and visit my aunt. So why aren't I happy?

3) I'm bummed because yesterday I rec'd a rejection letter for that job I interviewed for.

4) I took a little nap on my couch and woke up too late to attend Bible study this evening. Slightly irritated with myself.

5) Just in case you think that because I am single I am living a glamourous life filled with friends and exciting nights on the town, I will tell you I am not. Actually I am lonely a lot. My friends are very busy. Also I do volunteer work several times a week. I think the place where I do volunteer work is doing me a favor by letting me hang out there and do little tasks.

6) Sunday afternoon was fun because I was at church helping decorate paper ornaments with markers, crayons, stamps and stickers for the Wishing Tree. Plus pizza and pop were served too. I talked to some nice ladies who were all older than I am. They were impressed by my primitive drawings. Afterwards, another lady and I took a nice walk since it was a warm and sunny afternoon.We got to know each other a little bit better.

7) When Advent starts I am going to make a concentrated effort to say Christmas instead of holidays.

8) One particular friend I exchange gifts with has been too busy to get together due to her husband and children. I just don't feel close to her anymore and don't feel like giving her a gift.

9) Though I am in my 40s, I still haven't given up the dream of getting married. I know other women who have gotten married for the first time when they were my age. Sometimes I look at pictures of wedding dresses. Nothing strapless because I wouldn't feel comfortable in that style.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 30 of Novena

I suppose if it's a 30-Day prayer, it can't be called a novena.

The first day was remarkable. Read about it here. So the result is this:

I still don't have a job, but I have not received a rejection letter for the full-time job I interviewed at.

I still haven't received my windfall, but lawyer letters and my cousin says I will receive one. On Friday my cousin and I spoke on the phone. He was getting ready to go to the bank to do a wire transfer of the large chunk of the money. On the way to the bank, he said he was mailing me a check for a smaller amount. So all day long, I kept going online to see my account and if the deposit was made. Late in the afternoon, it dawned on me that it was probably a bank holiday due to Veteran's Day. Obviously my cousin didn't think of that either.

So my anxiety decreased during these 30-days. I do have job search fatigue, but who wouldn't?

This is how relaxed I feel after 30 days of prayer.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Puss in Boots, Paul, Prison, Penance, Penn State, Peace

It's Saturday Night

Today's post is brought to you buy the letter P.

This afternoon my friend and I went to see Puss in Boots. There's one scene in which Puss in Boots and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk were in prison. I thought about how St. Paul was in prison and wrote letters. We are reading The Acts of the Apostles in Bible study, and it must be sinking in. We both enjoyed the action packed movie, which was funny.

When the movie was over, I picked up my dad so we could go to confession and 5:00 pm Mass. When we arrived there was only one guy in line, but we still had to wait a bit while Father G. wrapped up a nuptial mass. You know, I have never gone to confession behind a screen or in a little dark box. I have always gone face-to-face. Outside the reconciliation room, there is a pocket with sheets of Guide to Confession for those who of us who . . . um . . . don't frequent this sacrament as much as we should. It's good if you're nervous too, or you grew up post-Vatican II and never had to memorize The Act of Contrition. Shameful, I know.

So I confessed my sin, which was weighing heavily on me. The priest said, "Well, sometimes things happen, but you can't keep beating yourself up about it." I almost cried. Anyway, he gave me absolution and assigned my penance. When I walked out of the reconciliation room, my dad said, "You're done so quick." Well, my sin seemed SO BIG and HEAVY to me that I couldn't think of any others.

So my dad took his turn in the recon room then we went into the sanctuary to pray and wait for Mass to begin, And I had to do my penance. (And I thought I got off really light with my penance.) Well, when we got into the sanctuary, I got very angry and thought I was going to have to turn right around and go back into confession.

You see, the bridal party and all their hanger-ons were taking pictures and talking very loudly. Children were running amok. The photographer had such a big set up with umbrellas and thick electrical cords and lights in front of the altar. The bride was yelling at people across the church telling them they had to be in this picture and that picture.

I wanted some peace and quiet, so I could PRAY. Usually, after confession I am in a very joyful peaceful, prayerful state. I usually feel closer to God. Instead I was upset with this yelling, running around, chattering, lights, camera, and action. The Tabernacle was obstructed. I was trying to guide my dad (suffering from low-vision), so he wouldn't trip over any cords. Then my thoughts ran to how unoriginal the bridal gown was and the ugly colors of the bridesmaid dresses.

I almost yelled, "QUIET! There are people trying to pray here." More people were coming in for 5:00 Mass, and one lady had her rosary out. Apparently some people like to have some quiet prayer time before Mass starts.

I wondered if I was wrong to expect a quiet church, so I could say my Our Father's and Hail Mary's. I mean if there had to be talking, couldn't they speak quietly in their indoor voices? The sacrament of Holy Matrimony looked like an overblown pageant in a casino at this point. So I was feeling very unkind.

Finally, a parish lady shooed out the bride and her merry revelers and eventually Mass started. I thought it was ironic that the first reading was the Proverbs 31 wife.

During the homily Father G. spoke out about the evil that was allowed to happen at Penn State. He told us as Christians we must speak out against evil even if we are afraid, become unpopular, or at risk. I am glad Father G. spoke out about Penn State because I have been mad about it all week. Of course, Father G. spoke about Penn State for about 4 minutes and spent 20 minutes on other Gospel-y topics.

As Mass went on, I finally felt Peace and Grace settle over me like a warm cloak - all warm and cozy with God.

Imagine the peace of being out in the countryside on a starry, starry night.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting and The Difference Between Male and Female Doctors

Did I really hear my cousin correctly when he told me the amount of inheritance?
Now I must wait for him to distribute the assets. And wait, and wait, and wait. I must restrain myself from spending the money I don't have yet.
I did make a list of charities to give to including my local church.
I must be a good steward.

God, give me the wisdom to be prudent with how I spend or invest the money. Please, God, give me wisdom, and lead me to wise and ethical advisors.

I don't want to be like the prodigal son who spent all his money on wine, women, and song. But I am going to give myself a special treat if I don't get that job I interviewed for.

I must remember that shiny objects don't bring happiness. 

I do have a pile of medical bills to pay off: a lot because these days every little single part of your body requires its own medical specialist. Plus I had surgery earlier this year.

Here's the difference between my female doctors and male doctors. The female doctors' offices send me a statement every now and then. They never hassle me for money, and gracefully accept any small amount I am able to pay. They continue to treat me. They give me a break on the charges. They discount services.

The male doctors' offices and the Catholic hospital (male administrators) send bill collectors after me. They do not acknowledge the monetary stress of unemployment or the reality that unemployment means I am not earning an income. They send me letters threatening to fire me as a patient. They charge me extra if my insurance doesn't cover a procedure.
Guess which doctors I will be paying off first? Yep, the female doctors for their understanding, their patience, their belief in me that someday I WILL be able to pay my entire bill.  And I will send these doctors a little note of appreciation with my payment because I really, truly appreciate them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fast Acting Novena Part IV - Windfall

Today is Day 24 of my 30-Day Novena

I just learned how much my inheritance is. It is enough money to pay my rent for the next year!!!!! And enough to pay off my medical bills. And to buy a new car, but I'll hold off on that. My car is very old, but it is still running.

I can give money to charities. I can take my dad out for a steak dinner. I can give more money to my church. I can get a flu shot. I can give money to the needy instead of being the needy.

I will save, save, save because I have learned to do without a lot of stuff during this time of unemployment.  I don't know how long I will be unemployed. Hopefully not that much longer.

Thank you for praying for me. I got a break. 

Thank You, God! Thank you, Mary, for your intercession.
Consider the lilies in the field . . .  Matthew 6:28

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Altar Boys and Girls, Holding Hands

Is it me, or does having girl altar servers look weird? I mean they are normal looking girls, but it seems strange to have girls being altar boys.

I really don't like holding hands during the Our Father at Mass. It seems fakey even though they all seem like fine people.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Slippery Hope, Waiting on Novena, Misfit Among Marrieds on Seraphic Singles

Today is Day 22 of my 30 Day Novena.

Hope remains slippery and difficult to hold on to. I am still waiting to hear about the full-time job I interviewed for. Now I am afraid of going to my mailbox and receiving a rejection letter.

Once again I rec'd another letter from my aunt's attorney about my inheritance, and it has me worried. She has made mistakes, so I am unclear if I'll receive any money. I so WANT TO BELIEVE that I've been gifted with money and God is good and prayer works especially since I am unemployed. Perhaps this is a test from the devil?

Dear God, Please, provide for my needs like rent and food. Dear God, I continue to pray for a way out of my financial despair. Dear God, I am asking to work my way out of it. Dear God, please keep me in the palm of your hand. Dear God, help me hang onto hope. Dear God, please lead to a bright and shiny future.

If you are reading, would you please say a prayer? It's so hard when I can't see what's over the hill and around the bend.

A few days ago, I made a comment on Seraphic Singles and in response she wrote an entire post. Click here to read her post.  I felt "heard." Thank you, Seraphic.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Making Babies: My Comments on Little Catholic Bubble Blog

Discussion on Little Catholic Bubble Blog

Over on Little Catholic Bubble Blog there has been an ongoing conversation about abortion, child bearing, biology, sex, and a few other things. Here is a comment I made.

A woman can help ensure that she is not solely responsible for her children by getting MARRIED to a responsible man with family values before partaking in the baby-making-act. 

You see, since raising a child is such a HUGE undertaking requiring A LOT of time and resources, there is this system called MARRIAGE. God knew that a child needs a father and mother, so that's why there were nuclear families throughout the land. 

Single Ladies: before hopping in bed with a guy ask yourself if want to co-parent with this person. Ask yourself how committed he will be towards this child if he has not committed himself to you. EVERY method of birth control has a FAILURE rate even if it's one percent. How do you know you won't be that one percent? Somebody has to be that one, two, three or twenty percent. You could be a mother sooner than you think! That's reality.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day, My Mother's Death, Nice Jesus

I went to noon Mass today, and it was beautiful and holy with the sun shining in through the windows. The priest reminded us how we are all called to be saints (and do our best towards that goal) due to our seals from Baptism and Confirmation.

Seven years ago today, I buried my mother. I wish she didn't have to die, but we all have to die sooner or later. Mistakes were made at the hospital, and I've had to forgive them. Tip: if you are post-surgical, and the doctor and nurses said you have gas pains, make sure you really do have gas pains. I can't believe I'm writing about gas pains on a post about All Saints Day.

Anyway, when my father received the hospital bill for mom's surgery, he sent a note back saying he's not going to pay it because she died at the hospital. Guess what? The hospital never billed him again. Nor was the account sent to a collection agency. They probably didn't want to be sued. And believe me, we thought about suing. But suing would have met a long, painful, expensive, upsetting process. How could we go one with our lives if we were mad at the past? I just don't like being mad.

What helped bring me peace is that our relative who is a doctor reviewed the autopsy report. Our relative said their are risks are inherit in every surgery, and she fell into that very low percentage of death from the surgical complications. Also, my dad met with Mom's doctor for conversation. According to my dad, the doctor was very upset over the death and CRIED. I had no desire in ruining this doctor's life or practice. He is guilty of being human, not malicious.

There's more blame to go around, and hopefully the hospital people learned from their errors. Sure I wish my dad and I were floating in money, but how much is a life worth? Maybe we are wimpy.  Again, I'm out of sync with today's American society who sues over every little thing.

What do people do with all the money from winning a wrongful death suit? Unless there are minor dependents who need to be supported, why money? Do people buy mansions and fancy cars? Are they vacationing in Monaco?

Maybe we should have sued, and we would not be living with financial stress. Well, I'm less stressed since I started this 30-day Novena. I just had to turn the stress over to Jesus and concentrate on doing what I can do in finding work. I just could not carry the worry anymore. The worry was too big for me.

This picture of Jesus makes him look nice. I need Him to be nice and take care of me.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 17 of 30 Day Novena

Well, I did not get the part-time job, so I am little bummed. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Seeking "Aunt" Position

I need to be adopted by a family with small children, just so I could play with the little ones. I want to be an "aunt." It has been a long time since I have had the fun of reading stories to children or doing crafts with them.

When my friends take their children on outings to the zoo or pumpkin patch, I wish they would invite me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Way Movie Starring Martin Sheen

Today I took my dad to see Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez in The Way. In case you don't know what the
Camino de Santiago is go here. In English it means the Way of St. James as in James the apostle. 
The movie is deceptively simple, yet quite deep when you think about it. Catholicism is lovely in this movie. There are priests being priestly, nuns, statues of Mary, rosaries, crosses, Mass, cathedrals, and prayer. Not only are there complicated characters, but the scenery of France and Spain is beautiful and peaceful. You won't see car chases in this movie, because people are walking. 
    This is a movie of a grieving father and broken people searching for healing, for restoration. See forgiveness and mercy and bring tissue.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fast Acting Novena Part III

Yesterday I interviewed for a part-time job.

I just received a call for an interview for a full-time job. The interview is tomorrow. Wow! Two interviews in one week. It's been an extremely long time since I've been on any interviews. I am so glad people are looking at my resumes and applications and like what they see.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit is with me on this interview. I must prepare for this interview.

Thank you, God.

I wonder where this picture was taken. Isn't it an interesting office building?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Prayer for Living Alone

My friend gave me this prayer for those of us who are living alone. 

I live alone, Dear Lord,
Stay by my side,
In all my daily needs
Be Thou my guide.
Grant me good health,
For that indeed, I pray,
To carry on my work
From day to day.
Keep pure my mind,
My thoughts, my every deed,
Let me be kind, unselfish
In my neighbor's need.
Spare me from fire, from flood
Malicious tongue,
From thieves, from fear,
And evil ones.
If sickness or an accident befall,
Then humbly, Lord, I pray,
Hear, Thou my call,
And when I am feeling low,
Or in despair,
Lift up my heart
And help me in my prayer,
I live alone, Dear Lord,
Yet have no fear,
Because I feel Your presence
Ever near.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two Book Stores and Catholic Books

Today my cousin and I traveled to a corn maze then stopped in a little town on the way home. I wanted to go in St. Mary's Bookstore in that little town in the middle of nowhere. It was quite a disappointing book store because it sold mostly religious statues. There was three book racks, and two of them were filled with Spanish language books. The books in English were mostly pamphlets. I bought a $3.95 pamphlet on prayers to say at adoration. Actually that's about all I could afford.

After I came home I went to my local Family Christian Store and wandered around there. Catholic books were relegated to two bottom bookshelves in the Commentaries section. The Catholic books were mostly Bibles (and I already have several), and children's books about saints. I saw one book about Catholic traditions, but I'm not sure if the author had much credibility. I wish they had a real Catholic book section. I did buy a comedy DVD by Chonda Pierce because I had a coupon. She's pretty funny.

I'm looking for some good contemporary Catholic books that are page turners. What Catholic books have you read that are captivating and page turners? I want to get lost and escape in a good Catholic book.

I read and loved these two novels by Christian M. Frank. I want to read more novels like these.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Like Being Catholic More

I think I increased my appreciation for Catholicism since I started writing this blog. Now, I am paying more attention to Mass and the Church. Of course, I am learning from other bloggers too.

Fast Acting Novena Part II

On Monday morning I have an interview for a part-time job for a very little wage. But the job does not sound very demanding, and it's in a pleasant environment. The key words in this post are interview, job, and wage. I am excited about this first step.

I am on Day 7 of this 30-Day novena.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Domestic Violence, Disabilities, Gather Us In

For the third Sunday in a row, someone from my parish's Peace & Justice Committee right before the announcements spoke out against domestic violence. This past Sunday, the Peace & Justice member addressed any abusers in the congregation and told them where to get help, so they can change their behavior.

Very good that this issue is being addressed since domestic violence is often a secret. Nothing has been said about this being Respect Life Month except to pick up the baby bottles to fill with spare change. However, abortion is a form of domestic violence.

Our cardinal did write a letter in our bulletin about Respect Life Month with an emphasis on welcoming and helping our neighbors with disabilities.

I'm not sure who wrote the following hymn, but I thought of it for this post because of the second stanza:

Gather Us In Lyrics
Here in this place, new light is streaming
now is the darkness vanished away,
see, in this space, our fears and our dreamings,
brought here to you in the light of this day.
Gather us in the lost and forsaken
gather us in the blind and the lame;
call to us now, and we shall awaken
we shall arise at the sound of our name.
We are the young – our lives are a mystery
we are the old – who yearns for your face.
we have been sung throughout all of history
called to be light to the whole human race.
Gather us in the rich and the haughty
gather us in the proud and the strong
give us a heart so meek and so lowly
give us the courage to enter the song.
Here we will take the wine and the water
here we will take the bread of new birth
here you shall call your sons and your daughters
call us anew to be salt of the earth.
Give us to drink the wine of compassion
give us to eat the bread that is you
nourish us well and teach us to fashion
lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Sex Talk While Dating

Seraphic Singles posted about how difficult, but important, it is to say no to pre-marital sex.
Read her posts dated October 14, 2011, and October 15, 2011.

Fast Acting Novena

If you read my previous posts, you know I have been lamenting the lack of a job and income.

Today I decided to start the 30 day novena to Our Lady. I commented on the blog"Thanks for posting this prayer. I am going to say it for 30 days for a job (or a windfall)."  I printed out the prayer. So today I finally decided I was actually going START the novena today.

About 30 minutes ago I grabbed the prayer and went out for a walk. As I walked I prayed. My intention was for a job and an income to support myself and pay my bills. No, I didn't trip over anything despite having to look down at the paper. When I returned to my apartment building I took the mail out of my mail box.

A particular envelope caught my eye, and I opened the letter right there and then. The letter is from a lawyer saying I am an heir to my deceased aunt's estate!  I don't know the amount, but any amount is greater than zero,which is great.

I never expected to inherit from this particular aunt even though we had a special bond, and I felt very close to her. She never married (so she didn't have children), but she also has several godchildren, six nieces and nephews, and four great nieces and nephews. My aunt died a year ago. I had heard that the trustee (one of my cousins) has been slogging through Auntie's financial paperwork, but her paperwork was none of my concern.

The nasty Devil has me asking, "How much am I getting? Am I getting more or less than someone else? Am I more special than this cousin or that cousin?" Down, Devil, down! 

Wouldn't it be great if I received enough money to catch up on my rent, pay off my bills, fix the car, and be able to gift my own godchildren. It would be great if I could hop on a plane and visit my godchildren. I must rein in my expectations and dreams because I do not know how big of the piece of the pie I am getting. The pie is only so big. 

Thank you, God. Thank you, Auntie.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good News is Good T.V. or Still Amazing After All These Years

Sorry to say that I've watched a lot of stupid television these past few months.

Happy to say I just watched the first episode of the CATHOLICISM series. on my local public broadcasting station. The series is presented by Fr. Robert Barron. I sat captivated even though I've heard it all before. The message of Jesus, the fact Jesus was born, walked the earth, crucified, rose and ascended into Heaven is just AWESOME that I can't wrap my head around it all. I feel like I am hearing the Good News for the very first time. And I am a cradle Catholic and went to a Catholic grade school. I go to Mass most Sundays.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Yesterday, Awareness Month, T-Shirt, John Michael Talbot

It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month. At least that is what the Peace and Justice Group member announced before Mass started yesterday

It's also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Why do we have to be reminded of scary breast cancer? Oh, wait - it's to raise money for the Susan G. Komen fund. That's the organization that reportedly gives money to Planned anti-Parenthood. It would be nice to know of other organizations that help fight breast cancer.

Lastly, it's Pro-Life month. Baby bottles were passed out at church for us to put our spare change in. We are suppose to bring the bottles filled with change back to church Oct. 22-23. The money will go to a crisis pregnancy center.

I was a communion minister yesterday. A teen-age boy came up to communion wearing a t-shirt that said, "Talk Nerdy to Me." As my friend Beth would say, "Did he have no other shirt he could've worn to Mass?"

Finally, some ladies and I traveled about 40 minutes to see John Michael Talbot. A week ago I didn't know he existed. It was two hours of preaching and music. I'm glad I went. I do like hearing classical guitar.

During one song, he said to breathe in the name of Jesus and breathe out anything that is not of God. Let go of that which troubles you. So on every exhale I visualized my phone and electronic bill going up to Heaven for God to take care of. I let go of the frustrations I felt with some of my family members. Maybe I should have let go the distraction of the talk nerdy t-shirt.

On the way home, there was upsetting talk of politics and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Well, there went some of the spiritual peace I was feeling.

Breathe in
Breathe out

Oh, Jesus, please take care of me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Gloria, Pro-Life Even in the Case of

This past Sunday at Mass, the choir director announced that they're singing the new Gloria. Our church is slowly introducing the changes in the New Roman Missal. Did I mention that my dad and I went to a workshop at our parish about the changes? I'm good to go. I figure there will be a period of adjustment as we learn new prayers then we will know them.

Since it was Pro-Life Sunday, I'm telling you that I personally know two women who conceived children from the crime of rape, kept their babies, and raised them as single moms. Do they love their children who were conceived this way? They love their children with all their hearts. They thank God for their children despite the crime. They view their children as blessings. Sure, it would have been better had their children come into the world in a kinder way.

Did they wrestle with the decision to keep or abort their babies? No. Keeping their children and going through the pregnancy was not a decision either of them pondered. For them pregnancy equaled giving birth.

Were they emotionally hurt by the rape? Yes. It was horrible event. Yes, they had major issues and problems. The rapes and pregnancies really threw them off their respective tracks.

Fortunately, they had the love and support of their parents and siblings. Really, a shout out goes to the parents/grandparents. Social workers, lawyers, and psychiatrists were called in. I have seen them go through many difficult times. Life has been hard for them, but now they are married and each went on to have another child. I know these children (one now a teen-ager, another now an adult), and they are wonderful people.

I want you to know the good and the bad. The good: the life of these children. The bad: the horrible crime of rape and the after effects. Just in case any pro-choice people are reading this, I want you to know that I am not discounting the crime committed against them. Not at all. I'm just saying the argument of "abortion is okay in the case of rape" doesn't fly with me. It's still not okay. And how could it be okay when I know these dear women and their dear children?

A good book on this topic is Startling Beauty: My Journey from Rape to Restoration by Heather Gemmen. The author really gets personal, whereas, I'm just glossing over the details in my blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seminarian, Dipping, Begging God for Help

Today's visiting priest was Father Norbert. He was Priest A from last week. But he didn't give a homily. Instead we had a first-year seminarian who spoke about answering God's call. I'm calling the seminarian BK because those are his initials. BK tied his speech into the reading quite nicely. He was also wearing a nice suit and tie. When was the last time I saw man in a suit and tie? It's been a really long time.

BK said he was engaged then felt a pull towards the priesthood. That's all well and good, but I couldn't help but think that somewhere out there is a youngish woman with a broken heart.  BK's story was very touching, and afterwards I told him so. I think it's important we encourage our priests and priests-to-be.

I was a communion minister today. I had the cup. One woman kept drinking and drinking. I thought she was going to drink the entire contents of the cup. Another woman dipped her host, which is a big NO-NO. I think I was suppose to stop her from doing that.

Afterwards I met with a friend, and we saw The Dolphin Tale. My friend is quite depressed and nervous because she works in a psychologically unhealthy place. She's sensitive to the fact that I am unemployed and wish I had a job. I once worked in that same psychologically unhealthy place. We're both looking for new jobs. I told her to keep on trying and hoping. I know I keep hoping. I hope then I cry. Then I hope and then I cry. Intermingled in this hoping and crying is the searching. But if I didn't have hope. I would be in DESPAIR. But really, what choice do I have?

Dear God, PLEASE give me strength to get through this job search. Dear God, please take care of my material needs (food, shelter) because I can barely take care of them myself. Dear God, please let my resume land in the hands of the right person or in front of the eyes of the right person. Dear God, please, please, please. I beg you for a job. Dear God, don't throw me out on the street, penniless. Dear God, please HELP.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Becoming A Person - Religious Education in the 1970s

I went to Catholic grade school in the 1970s, so of course I had religion class. We had a religion textbook and an additional book from the Becoming A Person series. No, it wasn't written by Carl Rogers that I know of.

These were touchy-feely Catholic books written for children that I really liked. I don't remember much about the religion textbook.

I bet I could write everything I learned in my years of Catholic school in one post because we were learning about becoming a person instead of becoming a Catholic.

Does anybody remember this series?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Better Mother or Huh? Really? I don't think so. My mother was better.

I was over at Jill Stanek's blog and saw the video of a pro-choice group rudely interrupting a pro-life meeting at Georgia State University.

One young pro-abort woman said, "A woman has an abortion to be a better mother." I couldn't believe I heard that. That does not make sense. How can a mother be a mother if she's killing her babies? I don't know what kind of mother that young woman had, but she didn't have my mother.

My mother cared for people including the unborn. My mother wanted more children. My mother became involved with Birthright. My mother took care of me. My mother helped other people. My mother taught me to take the high road. She had very high moral standards. My mother took care of my father. I miss my mother. Oh, how I miss her. If only I could give my mom one more hug. 

The same young GSU woman also said the phrase, ". . . the child she carries in her womb." Well, at least the pro-abort KNOWS it's a CHILD in the womb. AND young Miss Pro-Abort said a woman who chooses an abortion chooses the "lesser of two evils." So she just said abortion is evil. Of course, she is implying that giving birth is also evil.

You'll see on Jill Stanek's blog that there's a cease and desist letter. Well, those pro-abort GSU students probably realized their actions and words didn't promote their cause and called a lawyer. They, especially that one young woman, saw they weren't using the proper pro-abortion words. I mean she said child in the womb. Whoops. If I were her, I wouldn't want that video out there for the world to see. Maybe she'll get kicked out of the pro-abort community.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wishing for a Pie Chart, Wanting Out of the Sinking Boat

You know how God is in control?
You know how it's important to pray?
You know how we have free will?
You know there are other people on this planet who interact with us?
How much is God in control? How much do my actions lead to my desired goals? How much do the actions of other people influence my life?

Am I unemployed because:
a) God wants me to be unemployed and have no means of support? (God's power)
b) I'm not praying enough?   (my power)
c) I am not doing enough of the right things to obtain a job? (my power) or
d) Other people (employers) do not want to hire me? (other people hold the power)

What percentage of this unemployment is God's will??? Whom should I be angry at?

I am actively looking for a job. I meet weekly with a career coach for advice, direction, and support.

I have education. I have skills. I have experience.

I am so sick of hearing about the economy and depressing unemployment rates.

I know plenty of people who are gainfully employed with good salaries and benefits.

I am tired of being a Have Not.

It doesn't make me feel better to hear about how other people are in the same unemployment sinking boat.

I don't want to drown.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Two Priests, Canticle of the Turning, Unemployment

Really, I ought to take notes during Mass, so I can get the details rights except I don't think we should be taking notes during Mass.

We had two visiting priests say Mass today. Priest A introduced himself and the other priest (Priest B). Father A said Father B is not only ordained in the Western Rite, but is also approved to say Mass in the Eastern Byzantine Rite. I wonder how he got approval. Did he attend a special training session? I wish I had asked him after Mass.

Today's recessional song was "Canticle of the Turning," which I like for it's liveliness. I'm pasting the lyrics here:

1. My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant's plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
and the world is about to turn!

2. Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.

3. From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
ev'ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev'ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.

4. Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God's mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror's crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard
is the promise which holds us bound,
'Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.

The lyrics speak to me too.

Finally, I pray to God that someone, somewhere is impressed by my resume.