Wednesday, May 11, 2011

brain taffy

because, you know, it's a little more work for the brain than just, say, normal candy...

a good, good friend sent me this quote...

"If you feel no sense of God's presence within you when you pray, why worry? There is no precise dividing-line between emptiness and fullness, any more than between doubt and faith, or fear and love."

i love this.


Monday, May 9, 2011

mother's day and stuff

here's a picture of my oldest and me. this is the night of his first prom. he's a sophomore. there had been some drama with his girlfriend in the week leading up to prom, but he is a wise one, and he'd decided to let that go and enjoy this event. i think he had a blast. i wasn't sure if it was inappropriate to ask if i could take a picture with him before his date had even seen him yet (hey, i'm working out the boundaries on this "having a young adult for your child" deal...). anyway, he assured me that it was absolutely fine. he looks a lot like his dad. i sent my mom a picture of him and his date and she said it reminded her of when my spouse and i used to hang out in high school (but we never dated in high school...).

mother's day was good. all those years i told my spouse that he didn't really have to get me anything?'s a lot more fun when they get you something. and if you can get them all to go to church with you and then out to dinner, it's most excellent.

but i have a sick one at home. and life has settled some. so i am looking forward to the week.

peace out

Thursday, May 5, 2011


i was telling my sister and my friend lana (and my husband....i know the list seems long, but really, it stops at three) that i was trying something new this week. it started last weekend...i really don't remember how exactly it was born in my brain anymore...but i just thought to myself, "i need to stop TRYING so hard. i am making myself miserable. i need to just LET IT BE. quit TRYING."

now, there had been a fight with my husband last weekend...over travel plans and his need to make them at that exact moment and not be able to understand why i couldn't go along (which was because i wanted to wait a day or two to know exactly what my sister's plans were...obviously...). anyway...he wanted me to be one way, i needed to be another. and this, alone, does not create misery. misery comes, for me, when i want to be the person he wants me to be and have a hard time letting myself be the person i need to be. so maybe that's where i decided to quit trying. or maybe it had to do with my inability to stay on top of laundry folding. i have no idea, really.

but my mantra this week has been, "wait a minute....are you TRYING again? stop trying." and i admit that i do not always understand the relevance of that phrase to every situation that has brought it into my mind....but it's working for me.

oh, you know what? another incarnation of this phrase came into my mind at church on i remember! well, i was technically outside the church with a baby girl who no longer feels the need to nurse quietly or play quietly or sit quietly or do anything quietly when church is going on. and it's okay during the singing parts, which thankfully, our mass has a lot of. but, as it is church, there are still parts where they read from the bible and talk about those readings. and those talking parts? well, it would be nice if everyone else would be silent. even the cute little girl the whole congregation has watched grow into this loud, boisterous toddler. so we were outside. and i was cataloguing all of my failures...all of my shortcomings...all of the reasons that i am unhappy and must stand outside with a frustrated baby and her frustrated mommy (oh wait, i am the frustrated mommy...) anyway, i was contemplating "what i have done, and what i have failed to do" and all that jazz. i was not born catholic. but i have the guilt of a natural catholic. only oddly, it's my catholic faith that's allowed me to let go of some of that guilt and self-loathing that come so naturally to me. but i digress... as i was walking my baby girl outside, thinking about how i didn't even DESERVE to sit in the church because i could not get my schedule right so that my baby would be tired and therefore just be quiet during mass (and can i just say how odd it is to me that i want to be in mass?...i mean, it's another post altogether, but i used to think screaming kids were the perfect excuse to get out of mass...), it occurred to me that god loves me already, loud baby, mean voices in my head, bad relationships, messy-ass house, too-much-television-watching kids, and all.

anne lamott has this passage in grace (eventually), in a story called nudges...

"Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I've had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn't mean there's less for me. In fact, I know that there isn't even a pie, that there's plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.

But I don't believe it for a second.

I secretly believe there's a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing a fork."

and man, can i ever relate to that. so maybe "stop trying" is my way of stopping myself from trying to earn that slice of pie that i don't even need...because there's already one on my plate (and i've probably already had ten or twelve slices already, to boot).

i do tend to eat as though i don't think there will be enough. last night, i had been all over the place emotionally. my sil had called to give me some great news about some progress she was making in her who are angry but won't talk...she'd gotten them to talk. there were lots of "fuck"s thrown in there, but they were also talking, and she and i giggled and clucked with wonder and gratitude and though we had babies who'd just taken steps (it was seriously exciting stuff). then i started working over some things for a local gig i do, the dynamics, processing what has been done, bla bla bla. and somewhere in there, i remembered to "stop trying." and the sense of urgency, the anxiety, what anne calls "the jungle drums" calmed. then i sent sick kids to piano. that felt guilty. but then they came back with medals and we went to sonic's happy hour and got tanked on slushies and diet dr. pepper. happy times. then i went to church and that was awesome...prayed a rosary with my kids' cce class, had ice cream, then went with the high schoolers and heard a speaker on prayer and had some adoration time. i felt pretty zen after that. came home to find an email from my sister...when her foster childrens' parents had their rights terminated, a distant uncle came forward to attempt to adopt the kids. they've never met him. he"s never met them. but the child protective services in their area places reunification with family as a priority. so he began the process. people "in the know" seemed to feel it would take too long for him to be approved...that the kids would already by adopted by my sister and her partner by the time he was through the paper work. but we found out last night that he's been approved. and my sister is scared. and oh, oh did i want to TRY...zen moment was gone...i wanted to try to make it better, try to fix it, try to DO SOMETHING. but i remembered, "don't try." and i lit my candle. and i prayed. and then i told my sister it was going to be okay. because i believe that. (now my sister, she's still maybe she's got a better relationship with trying...and i'd be okay with that...most days.). anyway, after all of that up and down, i just started shoving food into my mouth, bite after bite, barely chewing between. it was kind of sad actually. especially since i'd already finished dinner (and i'd already had seconds at dinner, you know?). but then i stopped trying...stopped trying to numb it, feed it, dull it, fill it, change it. (i did, in the interest of full disclosure, have a beer at that point) but i stopped trying and i still managed to make it through to today. amazing, huh?

but maybe not everyone gets that neck-clawing, desperate feeling like SOMETHING has to change before you DIE. maybe that's just me. but relieving myself of responsibility for changing the situation, allowing myself to accept it, watch it from outside the situation, not be defined by the lets me breathe. and we all know our brains work better when they're well oxygenated.

so that whole "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again"?...well, i've amended it. my version goes "if at first you don't succeed, take a breather...ask yourself why you feel the need to succeed at this and whether accomplishing this is really the kind of success you'll know what to do once you've given yourself a chance to think about it."


ps--i know this one's a tad bit random and disjointed and that it rambles on for awhile...but, well, you know what i'm going to say, right? yeah. not trying.