Thursday, May 20, 2010

When do you pray best?

Last night at our appreciation dinner for all the CCD teachers at church, our DRE said something I hear often: "We all pray when we're struggling with something. But when everything's going well, we tend not to pray."

That's not really true for me. Sure, I pray when things are not going well. But I no doubt pray better and more often when things are going well. Though I think I know why this is - my version of things not going well is my being too tired to think; when I'm too tired to think, I'm also too tired to pray. When I have energy and my thinking is clear, my struggles do not seem nearly so difficult, and I find myself praising God for lifting the cloud from me.

Does anyone else find it is easier to pray when things are going well than when they are not?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Admit - I am an Alien

Think about it... we are all aliens! We are sent here, to be born of alien parents, and to accomplish a very special mission. When we have adequately accomplished our mission and have been rid of all earthly debris, we are brought home on a beam of light - back to our true home, our native home.

While we are called to live on this earth, we are not of this earth. Yet - I am as guilty as the next person - we amass stuff all around us - surrounding ourselves by all that is of this world. I suppose if I were sent to live on Mars, I may pick up a rock or two as souvenirs, or other things as the situation afforded. But I can't say I would hunker down and build a castle out of those rocks around myself, especially knowing that I would someday be leaving Mars.

I think the problem that arises is that it is difficult to recognize ourselves as aliens. We are surrounded by billions of others who take the same form we do. We have no memory or understanding of what our native land is like. And our human eyes will never see that beam of light that comes to take us home. We will likely live out an entire span of life, from birth to death at old age, here on this earth, and then will be buried in the earth. And while on earth, we live by earthly and human rules and norms, knowing we will face great consequences if we stray too far from those. And we become too comfortable here, forgetting what we are made for.

John 17:14-19:
"I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

So this is what quiet sounds like...

It's quiet here... too quiet. There is no noise except the rocking of the chair Andy is sitting in, an occasional turning of a page, and now the sound of clicking on a keyboard. It's been quiet here since Andy and I came home at 6:30. Something's missing.

Of course, I know exactly what that something is: the boys are gone for three days.

Andy's finals are this week, and my parents often take the boys for a part of finals week every semester so that Andy can concentrate on studying. It's great help to him - and also gives me a little respite. They picked them up at 4:30 today. The boys were thrilled; Blaise barely said goodbye to us. As they pulled out, I couldn't help it - I started to tear up. Yes, these boys drive me nuts sometimes, but they are such a part of my life. And tonight, I barely know what to do with myself. No wonder people have a hard time when their kids leave home. I've only been a mother 5 years (5 1/2 if you count pregnancy), but I don't know what I'd do without them for very long.

We had a great weekend last weekend - with only a few little snags that we call whining. This last weekend, Andy and I made a pact; we would concentrate on the boys rather than our busy work - we would only do the essential housework such as dishes, cleaning the table, and laundry. Instead, we did a couple projects (very simple projects), went to the park to play baseball, swing, and climb, played catch in our yard, and had special time with the boys separately (Andy took Isaac out, and I took Blaise). It is truly amazing how much the housework and busy work cuts into time with they boys. And I know they crave time with us, especially since neither of us are the type to get down on the floor, to their level, and play. But I'm hoping this last weekend helps us to begin to overcome those obstacles.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anytime Grace

As I was trying to think of something that would be interested to blog, I remembered this:

Four weeks ago, on a Sunday, I was absolutely EXHAUSTED as I was kneeling and trying to pray before Mass. I crossed myself and automatically started to pray Grace. "Bless us oh Lord and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen." I don't remember whether I realized I was praying the meal prayer during the prayer or after I was done, but I do know I finished it. And I thought, this is a prayer for anytime. It's not just at mealtime that our Lord gives us gifts from His bounty; He gives to us at all times, whether we realize it our not. And before Mass is the perfect time to pray that prayer - before being read His Scriptures and before being fed His Body.

So I was meditating on that as much as my exhausted mind and my two children would let me. THEN, we got to the Gospel - John 21. [Simon Peter, Thomas..., Nathanael..., the sons of Zebedee, and two others] went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?... Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he... jumped into the sea.

Talk about bounty! I know He was trying to tell me something. He does give to us, unselfishly. He so very much to us - and gives and gives. And too often we don't recognize Him in His giving or thank Him for His gifts. Like the disciples after Jesus' death, we feel afraid, helpless, alone. We go on with our daily lives, acting as if He is not here with us. But He is! He is alive and here with us every day, coming quietly into our lives; He does not shout, "Here I am!" There are times He gives us a proverbial net full of fish, and other times He sends only one small fish our way. And He hopes that we turn His way with a word of love and gratitude and even that we run to Him.

So then, Lord, this is my prayer: Bless us oh Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

And the Heavens Were Opened

Update, continued

A few days ago, I started an update. I will now attempt to finish it.

Andy just received a scholarship today - a distinguished scholar award. He was one of five to get the top award. I was able to meet a few of his teachers at the ceremony. All great in their own way - and very different. I very much enjoyed talking with the one who also happens to be his adviser. Three of his teachers jokingly asked me, in various ways, whether I have to work hard to keep him on track with his studying. No, the only thing I can take credit for is trying to distract him (usually unsuccessfully) from his studying :). I'm proud of my husband.

The boys had their last "long" day at the babysitter's today - well, more precisely, Blaise had his last long day since he'll be in kindergarten next fall. This morning, as he does every morning, he put up a fuss about going the her house. When Andy picked the boys up in the afternoon and reminded Blaise he had just finished his last long day, he made it clear that he wanted to go back to play at Jenny's. Oh, Blaise...

Update on Isaac: There's not much to say. He's slowly starting to carry on better conversations and is becoming quite a little boy. He still has the best laugh I've ever heard, and I hope he never loses that. I often tickle him just to hear his laugh. Isaac likes to test, but I can't stay frustrated with him for long. He's got a short memory for punishment, and luckily that shortens my memory also for just what he did wrong. He'll be going to preschool next year like Blaise did this year, and I think he's really looking forward to that - but I keep reminding the boys not to wish the summer away.

Me: I guess I haven't been writing much because I don't want people to read my complaints. I feel very overworked and overwhelmed, despite only working 30 hours per week currently - but I don't think physical therapy was a good choice for me and just drains me. I so want to be someone who is a complete joy to be around - who radiates the love of God and always has a smile for anyone. I want to be an example of the joy someone can show, even in the midst of difficulties, by trusting in the Lord. I want to be giving and loving and supportive to those around me - including my kids and husband, and I want a close, intimate relationship with God. What frustrates me is I know I can be a much better person (and a much better mother) than I currently am, yet my fatigue is holding me back. Lately, even when I feel wide awake (as in I couldn't fall asleep if my life depended on it), I still feel incredibly exhausted - my brain doesn't function; it just feels cloudy, and the most simple things just stump me. I'm losing patience with everyone, including my kids, my husband at times, and now my patients at work - though I don't let it show to any significant degree with my patients. I don't like acting like I often do. This is eating me up inside. I'm hoping that cutting back to 20 hours in July will help greatly. Time will tell...

The other thing that's going on is that I'm trying to plan a surprise trip for Andy's birthday in August. I'm hoping he won't be mad at me since finances will be very tight, but I don't think he will be... as long as I do it cheaply ;) . Does anyone know anything about the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin? Any tips? Bayfield (on the mainland), Ashland (nearby), and the islands look so quaint and beautiful. It's right up our alley. I know he'll love it.

I'm going to try to post more - even if it's just an update every week or two. And visiting others' blogs. I want to get back into the blogging world. There is a great community out there.

God bless you all!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Update

I have not been posting lately primarily because I don't feel I have anything interesting to say and because I'm not so sure anyone but a couple close friends read my blog anyway. But I suppose I can write for those couple friends if nothing else (I realize too that I can't expect others to read my blog when I have not been putting in the time to read theirs, or when I just simply don't post anything to read :) ).

So I will do an update, one person at a time:

Andy. My husband has one week left of classes for this semester, followed by three finals. He is frustrated this week because his classes are getting boring. I think he's ready to wrap these classes up and start some new ones. He's also frustrated because I've been hard to deal with lately and have given him a lot of grief - but I'll get to that. He will have a week off after finals then will start a summer class for three weeks, followed by another month off and another summer class. Next semester will be his most challenging, with 5 accounting classes and 1 business class - but he'll probably pass with flying colors anyway. He is incredibly smart, especially when it comes to numbers, and enjoys playing the "game" of making the numbers work. He will more than likely graduate May 2011 and has pretty decent prospects of finding a job, since apparently accountants are still in demand, and (maybe I'm biased) any company that hires him is lucky to get him; he simply sees does what needs to be done and does it efficiently and correctly, and did I mention he's incredibly smart? But what I don't understand is that to be a managerial accountant, he needs 120 credits (which is what he'll graduate with), but to be a CPA, he needs 150 credits, and it can be in anything (Philosophy, anyone?) I've been giving him a hard time lately about having a lot of friends who are not family orientated. Too many of them are not married, are married but not open to children, married but had children before their wedding day, or simply duck responsibility, or do not believe in God or do not take their faith seriously. He doesn't let any of that influence them, but I'd like him to have some good faith-filled, family-orientated guy friends. They don't have to talk about kids and faith like I do with my mom friends, but just to know they're all on the same page.

Blaise. Blaise is going to kindergarten next fall - "big kids' school." He struggles with the inconsistency of our schedules, since neither Andy's nor my schedule is the same from one day to the next. In kindergarten, he'd have a better grasp on the schedule and may feel more in control in that way. He also LOVES to do "projects." He loves to sit at the table and cut and glue things, use the hole punch, color them, etc. He also loves to do his workbooks at the table, including mazes, hidden pictures, etc and also learning activities. Just a few days ago, he sat at the table for 1 1/2 hours working on a workbook and could've kept on working if his brother hadn't called him in the family room to watch a movie. I wavered on whether or not to send him to kindergarten, vs. 4-k (Kindergarten is a full day, and 4-k is a half day), but I feel confident once again that he'll be able to handle it and truly enjoy it. The other thing new with Blaise is that he's been showing Andy and I less respect both in his words and in his ignoring our requests of him. Maybe this isn't completely new, but it's been happening more often, and obviously I don't like it. I'm wondering if it's partially the influence of one or two of the kids in his preschool class and at the babysitters'.

I will update on Isaac and me on another day - for now, it's time for bed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Countdown to Graduation: 13 months

Well, it's May. Time for another post! I would love to post more and keep up with everyone better. I have two excuses: no time to write and nothing to write about, or at least nothing that seems exciting enough to write about. I plan to write about making my baby slings, as my good friend Katie suggested, someday. Or perhaps I can write about deciding whether to put Blaise in kindergarten or 4-k (we're leaning toward kindergarten). But for now, I'm just living from day to day, doing my best to enjoy the stage I'm at but anxious for the next stage. And I admit, I am not doing as well as I'd like to be in enjoying the stage I'm at. But... good things are in store in the not too distant future:

Andy agreed to let me start my new schedule of working 20 hours one month early. I'll be starting that schedule, working 3 days per week (two of the days being until 7:00 or 7:30 in the evening, however), on June 28! Less than two months away! In the meantime, I'm taking the whole week following Memorial Day off. I'm hoping this will help me to balance my responsibilities. I feel like I have too much on my plate at work and too much on my plate at home, and I can't cut back on my responsibilities as a mother, wife, and homemaker (nor do I want to - well, maybe the cleaning, laundry, etc), but I can cut back on my hours at work, and will. I will also have a 5 day weekend the weekend after the 4th of July. So we just have to make it through this month, until Memorial Day.