Posts Tagged With: Family

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 5

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This year, I decided to join the Women’s Club at our parish as well as St. Veronica’s guild. We are feverishly preparing for St. Joseph’s 90th annual Thanksgiving dinner. 90th! The last few years, we’ve fed over 700 people. Wow. It takes 4 days to prepare the feast, and there will be ladies working at the church from sunrise to midnight. The process for preparing the meal has been the same for decades, and some of the ladies have had the same responsibilities for as long as anyone can remember. One of the ladies who is 86 years old, fell recently and is unable to help out. No one else knows how to make the stuffing. She’s been in charge of it for probably a half a century at least. It’s just amazing the amount of parish history and tradition is wrapped up in this one meal. I’m considering taking vacation time so I can be there every day.

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The Year of Faith has begun! What are your plans for re-energizing your faith? I still don’t have a specific game plan. For day one, I read the 1-page meditation from Magnificat, and started working on a meditation on one of the Beatitudes. So, not much. It’s better to do a few meaningful things than 100 things you went through so quickly you don’t remember them, right? You can read more about the opening of the Year of Faith here.

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I had a second MRI this week, but this time it was an open MRI, which is significantly better than the closed MRI. For those of you who don’t know, this is a closed MRI.

Allow me to strap you down and cram you into this tiny little tube so I can look at your brain!

This, on the other hand, is an open MRI.

Pretty big difference. So, at the end of the day, it’s still horrifying, but no panic attack! Why is it still horrifying, you ask? Because the darn thing makes a wide array of oh-my-gravy-we’ve-just-gone-into-meltdown-mode noises. All around your head. Each picture the machine takes makes its own unique meltdown mode noise.

For your pleasure, someone was kind enough to document this horror on YouTube.

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Once again, I haven’t seen my husband all week. Well, actually, he went to the MRI with me yesterday and then took me out for a cheeseburger. So, we spent about an hour together. Working nights was great for him in the summer so he didn’t have to work out in the heat, but I’m tired of feeling like I’m single! For crying out loud! Oh well. To maximize our time together, I showed him the correct way to use ketchup cups.

I know. Probably the most jaw-dropping thing you’ll see this week.

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Need another reason to dive deeper into Catholicism?

But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. — 1 Peter 3:15

There you go. You’re welcome.

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Anytime someone says they’re personally opposed to something but politically for it, I get a fright. Is that the state of Christianity in the United States? In the world? “This is what I believe but I’m not going to act on it or allow my beliefs to impact my life in any way?” Is that really what we’re saying? I’m probably not articulating that very well. Canterbury Tales did a much better job of expressing the sentiment. If we are followers of Christ, we have to go where He goes. What are we doing when we won’t allow our faith to impact our lives? Are we watchers of Christ? FOLLOW.

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“If you owned a million-dollar racehorse, would you let it eat fast food? You most likely want to keep that racehorse in top physical shape in order to win races, so no, you most likely wouldn’t be feeding it fast food. But you and I, temples of the Holy Spirit, tend to go straight through the drive through. How much do you value your body? What we really need is a solid dose of discipline. The average person knows the things that are good for him or her, and the things that are not. All we need is the discipline to choose the foods that fuel our bodies and give us energy, strength, health, and happiness.” –Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life

Alas, I am still struggling with eating better. I do pretty well at lunch, and even at dinner, but then I just snack all evening. I just keep reminding myself that if I’m struggling, that means I’m still trying.

That was kind of a sour note to end on, wasn’t it? I’m sure the other Quick Takes at Conversion Diary are much peppier!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 3

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I’m thinking about renaming my blog. Nothing I write ever lives up to the awesomeness of that title. Then I realize I can never pick a name. Or a theme. And I’m barely hanging on by a thread here anyways. That’s when I remember why I chose the name and decide it’s perfect.

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I get to have a brain scan on Wednesday! Woo-hoo! Wait, I’m horrified of small spaces. Great. I’ve been to the doctor a few times about my leg going numb. Blood tests and X-Rays were not revealing, so next up, MRI. I’m very anxious about it. But you know, I swam in the ocean and didn’t freak out. I just want to make it clear: I’m not in any way trying to conquer my fears, here! I’m not that kinda gal. If I’m afraid of something, I want to just stay the truck away from it!

Oh, and regardless of what the MRI shows, it’s very likely that the next step will very probably be a spinal tap. Which I’ve had before. It’s not painful. It’s just a little horrifying to keep as still as humanly possible because ohgoodheavensifyousomuchascoughtheGIANTNEEDLEINYOURSPINEWILLPARALYZEYOU!!!!!!

Face your fears, eh? Who in their right mind thinks that’s a great idea? Why don’t I just lay down in a tub full of spiders?

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My Mother-in-Law is going back to Saudi Arabia today. It seems like just a few days ago I went to pick her up at the airport. My In-Laws have been living in Saudi Arabia for 3.5 years now and we miss them terribly when they’re not here. She and I have been hatching a plan for Scott and I to go visit them in Saudi sometime next year. Talk. About. An. Adventure! I sure hope we can work it out! They don’t live too far from a beach. For all my lifelong fears of the ocean, I’ve been aching to get back in!

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I planted a fall vegetable garden this week. I haven’t had a veggie garden in 4 years, and I’ve been dying to get back into it. I decided to do the square foot gardening method. I have cabbages, radishes, all sorts of lettuce, carrots and spinach in the ground. To keep birds out, I bought a 7$ decorative scarecrow from WalMart that I’m going to put out. I’ll bet it works!

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After an argument about grocery shopping at WalMart vs. Target, I stepped in to declare that I purchase all my groceries at Aldi and buy only non-grocery items at Walmart. Good food doesn’t need a brand name, right? And of course I use only earth-friendly reusable canvas bags. Suddenly, I had a severe panic attach because I thought I might actually be a hipster. Then I realized, with some relief, that since I purchase a fair amount of my clothes at WalMart, I am indeed not a hipster.

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Actual risque picture I sent Scott. Don’t worry, we’re married.

Scott and I never talk about anything. We have no communication left in our marriage. Since he’s working nights and I rarely see him, all we ever do when we’re together is snuggle. Our words for each other consist of “I love you!” and “Move closer so I can snuggle you!” I like to think that since our time together is short, we’re taking care of what’s important and cutting out the rest.

Everyone else must think we’re falling apart. Scott has no idea what’s going on with my doctor’s appointments, with work, and I couldn’t tell you a thing he did this week. We tend to find out that kind of stuff from….everyone else. While they give us odd looks like, “How do you not know this? Your marriage is falling apart!” Eh, whatever. I’d rather have cuddle time than talk time.

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40 Days for Life started Wednesday! I haven’t made it out to the clinic yet, but if you have a chance, stop by and offer a rosary. It can be a little scary–what if someone comes over to talk to me? But if someone does, pray that God will speak through you! Trust in Him!

And as always, better and brighter Quick Takes are available at Conversion Diary!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Farewell Aunt Sarah Pt 2: What She Left Behind

Sunday, my husband Scott and I were called upon to help out with the sorting of his Great-Aunt Sarah’s things. We laid out her worn jewelry, her little ceramic birds and angels, her collectibles from the states she’d traveled to, the afghans she made, her salt and pepper shaker collection, and her blue cornflower CorningWare. Over the years, her possessions were trimmed down; when she moved from her house in Carnegie to the independent living apartments in Norman, and again when she moved to assisted living. By the time she passed, she had only the things she loved the most. Every chipped ceramic bird, every tattered string of beads had a story. After spending so much time lately clearing clutter out of our house, I was loathe to drag anything back in, but I told Scott he could have any keepsakes he wanted. In the end, we didn’t take much. A salt and pepper set in the shape of a toaster with two slices of bread, a few pieces of jewelry, a book, and some other things that reminded Scott of the happy days when the family would load up the car and go see Great-Aunt Sarah.

At some point when we were sitting with Aunt Sarah on her final day, someone started asking about her will. Naturally, this caused a little tension, as it would in any situation. There was an additional bit of frustration because her will was of absolutely no consequence. Aunt Sarah had nothing. She was a widow and a retired beautician, not exactly a position of prosperity. What’s more is that she didn’t care about such things. Every Christmas and every birthday, Scott and I were very deliberate in our gift buying because we didn’t want to burden her with useless things. She would always insist that we not get her anything, but we would press her until she told us something she needed. A new lamp to crochet by, a bottle of perfume, some money to have her hair permed. We were always searching for some thing to give her, but when the time came, all she really wanted was to see the family, to hug and kiss the children, and to know everyone was healthy and happy and loved.

At the service, no one talked about how hard she worked to increase her personal wealth or what a big, beautiful house she lived in (she did have a wonderful home!). Everyone spoke of her faith, how much she loved and longed for God, how much she loved her family and friends, and how she found joy in caring for others. Aunt Sarah left a mark on everyone she met and it wasn’t because of her fine jewelry (she had none), her priceless artwork (none), her luxurious car (again, none), or any other treasures of this world. She was an inspiration because she filled herself with God’s love and passed that love on to others.

The message hit home for me. Hard. We’ve been longing to buy a house of our own, and as I look at houses online, my tastes have slowly become pricier. At some point, I added $50,000 onto our price range and I’ve started disqualifying homes that would be wonderfully suitable for us based on their lack of luster. Yes, yes, this house is very homey and would work very well for us, but I want something that looks a little nicer. So, the focus has somehow shifted to pleasing whomever is looking at the house, rather than the people living in the house. I’ve felt the same shift in other areas. When I’m looking at purses, I focus on finding one that looks nicer and pricier, rather than one that meets my needs and has the appropriate pockets. When I look at my little sensible car, I wish I’d gotten a little SUV instead. Even the gold-plated crucifix I wear on my neck should be replaced with one of solid gold. This is clearly not the way of life God intended for us.

And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. –Luke 8:14

Aunt Sarah’s funeral really struck a nerve in me because she was a childless Aunt, and so am I. When I die, what will my nieces and nephews say and feel about me? Will they say, “Aunt Rebecca showed us God’s love” or muse over my obsession with putting on appearances? Aunt Sarah’s life was full of good fruit. There were so many people there who saw Jesus in her and there wasn’t a soul present who would crave any other sentiment at their passing. So why do we all spend so much time and energy chasing after the material things that don’t matter?

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God. And he said to his disciples: Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall put on. The life is more than the meat, and the body is more than the raiment. Consider the ravens, for they sow not, neither do they reap, neither have they storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them. How much are you more valuable than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? –Luke 12:21-25

For some time now, God has been telling me to embrace a life of greater poverty. Reduce my standard of living and increase my spiritual walk. Over the ages, we have been given so many examples. Jesus Himself was poor and had no earthly possessions beyond the clothes He wore. We can also look to the example of St. Francis, St. Clare, Mother Theresa, and others who chased after God instead of chasing riches. And now, we can also look to the simple life of love Aunt Sarah lived.

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else, On a personal note... | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farewell Aunt Sarah, Part 1

This week, I’m afraid I’ve fallen a little behind in my blogging, despite just getting started. Sunday morning, my husband, Scott received a call that his Great-Aunt Sarah, at 92, had gone into kidney failure on top of pneumonia and wasn’t expected to last much longer. She passed away just before 2am Monday morning, with Scott holding one of her hands, and his dad, who was her favorite nephew, holding the other.

Ever since Scott’s birthday in April, she’s been in and out of the hospital, starting with a bruised leg that just wouldn’t heal. In June, she was moved “temporarily” from her assisted living apartment to the nursing home, but was still in and out of the hospital. Scott and his brothers and sister have been doing whatever they can, making sure her laundry is done, visiting her, and always making sure she got her chocolate milkshakes in the evening.

Last month, Scott’s parents flew in from their home in Saudi Arabia (long story short, Scott’s dad works in Saudi, however, due to Scott’s dark complexion, I have fooled a few people into thinking that’s where they’re all from), first his mother, then when Aunt Sarah was scheduled for debridement surgery on her leg, his father came. The whole family was together for the first time since Christmas. We finished moving her things out of the apartment and prepared ourselves for the worst. But the worst didn’t happen. Aunt Sarah felt much better after the surgery, and was moved to a nearby specialty hospital for treatment. Then, she had staph, but she started healing, all the same. She was back and forth between the regular hospital and the specialty hospital, but she was steadily doing better. Scott’s parents started planning for how to provide in-home healthcare for her. Aunt Sarah took four painful steps, the first she’d been able to take in almost two months. Then, a few days later, she was gone.

I rarely ever went to see Aunt Sarah by myself, but since this whole thing started, I’ve had a fair amount of alone time with her. It was something that was awkward at first, but as time went on, it was easier for me to make conversation with her. I learned to ask about the thing she loved most: Her husband. The first time I asked her about him, I was shocked at her candor. They were only married for 13 years, and he passed away over 40 years ago, but she was still so anxious to see him again. Aunt Sarah told me that she wasn’t sure why God was keeping her around so long, but she was ready. Ready to be reunited with her sister and her husband, to see her mother again, to meet her Savior.

When I joined the family at the specialty hospital on Sunday, it was bittersweet. We all took turns holding her hand and everyone had a story to tell. At 3pm, they turned off the breathing machine and moved to “comfort procedures.” The nurse removed her dentures, washed her face, combed her hair. We all got a little teary over her hair, because we never were able to get someone to come and do a perm for her. Aunt Sarah was a career beautician, and had her own beauty shop attached to her house. To see her laying there with her hair in less than perfect condition was especially heartbreaking.

The whole day was a flurry of family coming in and out, seeing their dear Aunt Sarah for the last time, telling their stories, and trying to find the right words to sum up who she was and what she meant to them. She never had children of her own (she had a hysterectomy long before she married, from what I understand) but there was no shortage of family members who considered her a second mother or second grandmother.

As the afternoon turned into evening, the family members who had come from out of town had to go. We started reading Bible verses, mainly Psalms, and playing hymns for her.

I went home just before midnight and Scott called me just before 2am, a few minutes after Aunt Sarah had passed. By then, it was only Scott and his parents left keeping watch. As soon as he told me she was gone, I headed back. When I got back to the hospital,  I went down the corridor and into the room, just like I had 100 times already that day, but as I walked in and saw the vessel she had left behind, I broke down crying. It hit me like a bucket of ice water. There are no words to describe the utter emptiness that was left behind. Scott’s beloved great-aunt, his second grandmother was gone.

We mourn, but not as those who have no hope. We know she’s free, now. She’s gone home.

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