7 Quick Takes – 92

Thank you to Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for hosting the 7QT. Holy Moly! I haven’t participated since October!! Yikes! Well, I know the blogging has been slow around here. But that’s the only part of my life that has been. Happy Friday!

**And then, Jen goes and changes up who is hosting! I guess I am glad that I started back up this week… hmmm, guess I should get a new header picture…I will have to see what’s going on!

— 1 —
The school Christmas program was last night. Dani, Helen and Dominic performed with their classes.

Helen and Dani look so grown up!!

Sarah kept Vincent at home and Craig had to work. It was rather odd, sitting in my chair all by my lonesome. Someone said that I must not know what to do with myself. Oh contrare! I’ve learned to appreciate the times I don’t have someone calling “Mommy!” or saying, “I need…” or “I want…”

I enjoyed the program, though. Dominic played the part of Joseph. That was cute. (Remember when Helen was Mary a few years ago?) Helen was so cute…as soon as she found me, she waved and then she and I would lock eyes and she’d grin at me whether she was singing or not! Dani was a part of a group singing a descant during the last song and it sounded so good. I really hope I can get Dani back into her music a bit more…we stopped guitar lessons a year ago, but if I can figure out how to get it back into the budget…I see how passionate she is about music, I would like to try and cultivate that, if possible. 

One of the things I cherish about my kids being in Catholic school is the opportunity to do a Christmas program. It was short, sweet and very good!

These two are so cute!!


— 2 —

This is a kettlebell.

Sometime before December started, someone from the Box put out the challenge to do 300 kettlebell swings for 30 days in December. Of course, crazy me, I can’t resist this sort of thing — so I signed up. Holy Moly, that’s a workout all by itself! I have been doing them before the workouts every day. I find that mentally, doing 300 swings in a day gets easier every day that goes by. I’m positive that the day I don’t do 300 swings will be the day I end (and fail) this challenge. So…I’m going to keep going to 30 I guess. My shoulders were crazy-tight yesterday and I told the chiropractor so. He worked on them, but I still feel tight through there and my lats and upper shoulders/back area.

Today I decided to run my stopwatch on my phone to get a gauge on how long this sort of thing takes (I knew the general time, though). I do these in sets of 25. 25 swings takes me about 45 seconds. So I do 4 sets of 25, resting 45 seconds in between. Then I give myself an extra minute to rest before the next 4 sets. It took right about 20 minutes.

— 3 —

Oh yes. Tonight will be my first trip back to Allen Fieldhouse to watch my Jayhawks play basketball! Yay! I’m excited.

Due to Craig’s new job and our hectic schedules, Craig’s mom has had to find others to take her to the games. 😦 But I was happy to find one I could make and I think we’ll settle in and get to make it to a few, just not as many as we have in years past.

The Jayhawks look to be pretty good this year. Unfortunately, I think Kentucky has a team that very few other teams could beat, if any. They handled the Jayhawks pretty well a couple of weeks ago. But, KU will still be in the conversation for another conference championship, tournament run, etc. I love men’s college basketball!

— 4 —

Did you see this game going around?

Fun that they pick Effie Trinket as the photo for this

I saw a few FB friends post it, so last night I got on Google on my phone to see what came up when I put in “Michelle Meme.” The first one was this, and made me laugh out loud:

I’d never seen it before, but apparently it gets
enough hits that it’s number 1

Since the First Lady has the name of Michelle, there’s an Obama Meme that comes up 2nd. It wasn’t all that funny, so I’m not sharing. But then this one…number 3…it was perfect!!
Ummm, hello! I have been hungry since I was born!! LOL
So? Anyone else want to play??

— 5 —

Well, I got one of my drafts published this week. I had to go through that post and rewrite some of it because I started it 8 months ago! Isn’t that crazy? I guess I start, then I don’t like the way it’s going so I stop. I figure I must have looked at it 5-7 times over the course of those 8 months and just couldn’t put it together the way I wanted.

That’s the thing about being so busy and writing not being my job. I don’t practice it enough to get really good at it. Then I get a semi-decent idea to write about, but I don’t have time to flesh it all out at once and since I’m out of practice, it takes me longer anyway. Oh well. Such is life.
— 6 —
Sarah told me the other night to stop saying, “Well, that’s how it is as you get older.” Apparently I have been saying that a lot. I notice. But, still. She is in 8th grade and life is starting to get a bit more “real” to her. The schoolwork takes more effort, she’s busy with her extra-curricular activities, she helps me out a lot on the homefront and she’s trying to get a babysitting business going. There’s a lot to do! I have figured out, though, that sometimes she just wants to talk at me and doesn’t want my advice or commentary. I have been trying hard to remember the part about her not wanting my advice or commentary. It’s hard to withhold, but I try to remember that she just wants me to listen. So…I try to listen and keep my mouth shut. It’s difficult, believe me, but I’m getting better at it.
— 7 —

Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, is  my favorite ever! It has been a LONG time since I have listened to an album straight through and loved every song on it. Oh…probably since Taylor Swift’s Speak Now album. I know Taylor Swift doesn’t need promotion from someone like me. But I can’t help it. There are a few songs on this album that I would listen to on repeat. She’s got a gift for the catchy tune and rhythm paired with lyrics that take me back to whatever age Taylor Swift is in the songs she wrote. So, anyway…good album.

I think Craig and I decided no concerts for the girls and just figured that’s a lot of money to spend for little kid entertainment. I’ve done it…I took all three girls to see Taylor Swift three years ago. It was a lot of money and it was hard to stay throughout the whole thing at their ages so I thought I wouldn’t do that again. But there’s a part of me that would feel guilty if I were to go to see Taylor Swift in concert and not take Dani with me (she’s a huge fan).

What do you all think? This trend to taking young girls/kids to concerts? Do you do it? What’s a good age to start taking them? I would imagine it varies by temperament and level of disposable income for that sort of thing. I still wonder what you all think?
BONUS: Oh, it’s Advent! I love Advent. Dominic’s been the one committed to uncovering the little windows in our Advent calendar and he seems to enjoy it. I wish I knew how to limit the hustle and bustle of this time because I know I need to settle down more in my prayer life for Christmas preparation. Are you doing anything special with your families?

Busy weekend around our house — basketball scrimmage, service hours, babysitting, cleaning. Have a great one!

Be sure to go visit Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum!












Faith and Me

I got to thinking about my Faith while traveling for my grandmother’s funeral.  Events where life and death meet have a tendency to cause reflection on life, death, afterlife and where we stand.
I fell away from the Catholic church as an adolescent and stayed away for much of my college life.  
Strange as it may sound, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God.  Or that Satan exists.  I have always believed that Heaven and Hell were indeed places where souls reside for eternity.  I believe there will be a day when I face God and receive final Judgment.  
Back when I was a teenager or young adult, though, I don’t know that I would have articulated it in those terms.
More often than not, in my younger years, I subscribed to some moral relativism.  Mostly, I believed that all I needed to do was be “a good person” and God would understand and forgive all of my missteps even if I hadn’t repented and turned from the bad stuff I was doing.
By most people’s standards, my “bad stuff” probably wouldn’t be considered all that bad…certainly not Hell-worthy.  However, I have learned over the past 11 years that it’s probably not in my eternal best interests to live by most people’s standards.  I want to live by God’s standards, as laid out through my faith, communicated through His Son and down through the church over the ages.  
So, yeah…I did bad stuff.  
I still do bad stuff.  The big difference now is that I’m much more aware of how bad the bad stuff is and the consequences on the grand scale.
I started to wonder why it is that I’ve never questioned God’s existence or His Love for me.  
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I WANT to doubt.  But, I hear of people who feel like God isn’t present to them, no matter what they try.  Or I read about people who pray and petition the Lord, but feel their prayers are never answered.  Or I know of those who are suffering some tragedy or painful event that seems to have no rhyme or reason why it should happen.  I don’t begrudge anyone their doubts.  Many people grow through them.  Some people lose their faithSome people emerge on the other side of doubt with a much stronger faith.  There’s doesn’t seem to be any hard core pattern to who ends up where.
I’ve had some bad things happen to me in life, but I haven’t ever felt like God abandoned me.  I haven’t always asked for His aid when I should have.  And no, every prayer of mine hasn’t always been answered with a “yes.”  I haven’t had a time where God had to make Himself known to me.
When my parents divorced would have been a prime time for me to feel abandoned by God.  But I didn’t.  I felt abandoned by my earthly father.  I felt confused.  I stopped trusting my parents. 
But I still trusted God
It seems to me that my parents’ divorce, and the way I grew up, I probably should have been mad at GodWhy would He allow my parents to get married and have five children together if they weren’t going to make it work?  Why would He give me the mother He did?  Why did He bless my parents with their fifth child even though the marriage was clearly on the rocks at the time? 
But I don’t remember feeling indignation toward God.  I remember feeling hurt by my mom and dad and putting blame on them.  I also remember feeling like it was MY fault things hadn’t worked out.  I remember thinking I must not have been good enough  as a daughter.  Or perhaps I wasn’t pretty enough.  I definitely was not smart enough.  Those were all potential reasons why my dad didn’t want me anymore.  I remember that I was not skinny enough to please my mom and I disappointed her because I couldn’t fit the image she’d created for me.
Looking back on my behavior in high school, it’s clear I was lost.  I was lost because I didn’t have a father in the home, so I looked for male affection and affirmation among boys who were nowhere near prepared for that.  My mom had stopped taking us to Mass several years running.  So, not only was I lost without a strong father figure, I was lost without my Mother Church and her love and wisdom and guidance.  
In college, I continued to search for male affection and affirmation in a long-term relationship with someone who was not prepared and completely lacked the desire to love me the way Christ loved His church.  So I floated along, trying to make something work that was doomed from the start.  
When that relationship ended—I initiated the break-up because I think, even though I would never have been able to put words to it, that I was growing tired of being used and was beginning to understand the relationship wasn’t going to end where I had hoped it would—even though I was crushed, I still (miraculously) turned to Jesus in prayer and tried to remember how to pray the rosary (and I failed miserably).  Somehow, I still fell back on the faith I had that God WAS there and that there WAS a planI just hadn’t been following it.
I know that to have faith is an incredible gift.  I know I haven’t done anything to create within myself the desire to know, love and serve the Lord.  Yes, I have tried hard to cultivate this gift over these past 11 years and I have tried to learn how to help my children cultivate the gift that has been given them.  But the fact that the faith is there at all, is the doing of Something Bigger and Greater than me.

And, while I know that faith is a huge gift, I also know that with that comes a great responsibility.

And that is where I know I fall far short.  

Help me understand, if you can.

How do I help others discover the gift that I believe is there for all?  Is that my charge?  How is that done when there’s such a danger of pushing people away if it’s done wrong? 

In the end, only God can change a heart.  I know that.  But, am I called to help that cause in some way?  

Is prayer my only recourse?  

Where do I start?  

(I must admit, I feel rather– “naked” –admitting that I am not sure in this facet of my life.  I want so badly to feel sure of how to move forward.)