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.