Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Didn't

     It is tough adjusting to being a mom, having to put basically everyone before yourself. Oftentimes, it seems as though you never get to do anything that you want to do, or sometimes even have to do. It is easy to get caught up in the "I didn'ts" of the day:  I didn't get to finish the laundry, again; I didn't get to getting us all outside (*gasp!*); I didn't get to finish that article; and so on. It is easy to start to slip into the thinking that we are failures - I mean, how hard is it to finish a load of laundry, really? Nevemind that the help of a toddler and 9 month old is really much more of a hindrance. Even finishing what used to be the simplest of tasks is now a huge deal. My huge successes last week? Actually having dinner made by the time Code Monkey got home, three days in a row. The first time that has happened in basically 9 months. But even that victory was overshadowed by the list of "I didn'ts", which it seems haunts my every move. 
     Tonight, though, my perspective was shifted a little bit, as I was thinking about the day while nursing Juanito down to bed. It started out with the typical "I didn'ts", but then I thought about how I didn't lose my temper today. I didn't yell, even when José was hitting me with the book. I didn't lose my cool when José wasn't able to keep the dish water in the sink. I didn't get bent out of shape when Juanito decided that 10 p.m. was a better time for sleeps than his historical 8 p.m. I didn't let the little things get to me today. This is a list of "I didn'ts" that I can feel good about, even proud of. I'm finally seeing, more and more, how much my actual attitude toward and view of a situation really influences how I feel about it (much to my chagrin most times). So when you get stuck in the rut of negative "I didn'ts", try and see if you can't throw a few positive ones in there as well, even if they are really ridiculous. Pretty sure it'll help make a bad day into a not as awful one.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Giving Grace

Figure 1.
          So, I'm sort of experiencing writers block tonight.  Yes, in spite of this very long list of potential topics to blog on.  See Figure 1.  I'm just not in the mood to try and tackle any of them, though Giving Grace would be a fitting one considering my current state. So I guess we'll go with that, then.  Except I think I was wanting to preface it with my meager thoughts on Pope Francis.  Which was going to be prefaced with Doesn't Apply To You. And somewhere in there Division is the Devil's Work would fit nicely.  Oh, guess I should cross off Friends Who Blog, since that was last week's.  Well, back to Giving Grace, then.

          This past week has been a doosie in regards to failings and humility and the need for grace.  I won't go into detail, but I pretty much sucker punched myself in the gut and toppled squarely into the category of  "People I Never Thought I'D Be Like".  Not the first time I've joined "Those People" (you know, those people who do X, Y, or Z, and make us swear we will never do X, Y, or Z...), mind you, but this time it was really something else.  Anyway, awful as I was (I don't recommend trying to get into such situations), it is a timely reminder about how much we all need grace, not only from God, but also from each other.  We need to treat each other with mercy, compassion, patience, understanding, and charity at all times, and most especially when we really, really don't feel like it, because they simply "don't deserve" it.  Why?  Because that is how Christ treats us, every single time we do something that hurts him.  And we are called to follow in His footsteps.  Though falling in with the "Those People" crowd isn't a good thing of itself, there can be good that comes from it.  A reminder that we really aren't that much better than anyone else, that "But for the grace of God" we could very easily be the prostitute, the druggie, the abuser.  A reminder of just how little humility can be found up there on the pedestal where we had placed ourselves.  An opening of our eyes to our own need for grace, and the understanding of just how much others need it, too. 
          So I try to give grace.  To the parents whose child is acting out, because I know that someday I'll be there too.  To the girl who's living with her fiance, because she is afraid to get married again.  To the rebellious teen, who's fighting an inner battle they are afraid to let anyone see.  To the mom who screams at her kids, because I know what it's like to be at the end of my rope.  To the dad who feels like he's a lousy father because all he seems to do is work.  
          How do I give grace?  By listening; by doing my very best to understand where they are coming from; by patiently and lovingly giving advice where needed; by not condemning them to everlasting hell fire because of their past, or even their present.  Not to say that we should overlook the graveness of sin, but perhaps focus more on the things which they are doing right; give encouragement where it is due.  Because every single one of us has a past.  Some may have larger sins than others, but each and every one of us has contributed to the Passion of Christ, each and every one of us has wounded His Most Sacred Heart.  Yet Christ fiercely desires to see each and every one of us united to Him in the Beatific Vision and treats us with compassion and mercy.  How can we do anything less?  Give Grace.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Writings of Friends

     Cheap post tonight. The Juanito Burrito was not cooperating with bedtime, and didn't go down until 2-2.5 hours after the usual, and then I've just been wasting time on FB and stuff, though I did leave a comment on another blog, which took me a bit of time to word because my thinking brain is fractured into a million little pieces and has been swept under the couch somewhere. Anyway, I thought it'd be fun to list the blogs of friends and acquaintances, to try and boost some of their ratings. I love that so many people I know blog; it is so interesting and enlightening to read their thoughts - it provides a different insight into their personalities that speaking doesn't quite reach. Go check them out!

Laura at This Felicitous Life - Laura is the wife of one of Code Monkey's ex-coworkers. I've only recently discovered it. 

Mr. Janaro at Never Give Up - Ok, so I don't actually really know him personally, but I've seen him at Mass before, and his brother is the registrar at Christendom, so that almost counts, right?

Conquistadora at Riding Shotgun and Stocking Design, and contributor to Banana Bum - sister to one of my fave girlfriends from school.

Mocking Byrd at Banana Bum, Kiddos 101, and The Bug - Mocking Byrd and Conquistadora have wonderful senses of humor. 

William at Brass + Lead - father to one of my besties from school.

Katherine at Half Kindled - good friend I sorta knew at school, but have grown closer to and am honored to have her in my group of friends here. She recently started her blog within the past month or so. 

Kestral at Pisstified - Did not actually know her from school, but she sort of took my place when I wasn't able to afford senior year. Proud to call her one of the Byrds, and I look forward to getting to know her better. 

Leila at Little Catholic Bubble - Right, so here's another one I don't actually know in real life, but I won a book by accurately defining some term I don't remember now, and she was kind enough to accept my FB friend request, and a bunch of people I know in real life seem to know her too, so that also counts. 

Emily at Theological Librarian - also was acquainted with her at school; I'm sensing a trend here....

Olivia at The Musings of a Wanderer and Theatre Phoenix Jewelry - Also a good friend from school. 

MichiGoose at Musings of an English Major and Confessions of a Mother-In-Training - Another Byrd from school, past roommate, best friend. 

Well, he doesn't have his name listed that I can see, so we'll call him Mr. J. at Seeking Omniscience - friend from school. 

Bryna is my cousin, and this is her company's blog 2Fold. They do graphic design type stuff. 

Jane at Blue Ridge Buttercream - acquaintance from school. Unfortunately, she is taking some time off, but she is a fantastic baker! And her cream cheese frosting passes my super picky approval test.

Guiseppe at The Three Bs - friend from school.

Fidelio at Midnight Radio - friend from school, married to Guiseppe. 

Mar at Enjoying the Sunsets - friend from school who also happens to be a cousin to a great family I knew from back home. 

Clever Knack is home to a few of my friends writings as well. 

And Bacon From Acorns, where one of my fav philosophy profs from school blogs. 

Well, there you have it. Took forever to get formatted, lots of copy and paste going on, but didn't take much brain activity, which is what I was going for. Except for the part where it's like 12:30 and I'm not tired, and really should be sleeping by now....

Monday, July 28, 2014

Let It Go!

     Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably been party to at least one rendition of the hit song "Let It Go" from the Disney movie "Frozen" by now. If not, then I'm a little sorry for the ear worm I just gave you. Both the film and song have come under some rather heavy fire for being too much of one thing, not enough of another, such as is the case with basically any movie ever, particularly Disney ones. But I digress; that is a post for another day. Anyway, since my last post was well peppered with the phrase, I thought now would be an okay time to write my thoughts in regard to the song. If you haven't already, I suggest you go back and listen to the song. (I was originally going to link the singalong version, but the Demi Lovato cover came on at the end, and I don't really like it, so here are the lyrics if you want to read them.)
     At first listening, it does come off as very much a Y.O.L.O. song, and as some have pointed out, maybe not really the best influence for young impressionable minds, what with her thinking that freedom = no right, no wrong, and no rules. After many, many listenings, I find it has a much deeper message than simply do as you please, the world can hang. Perhaps it is because of my recent, oh how do you say it, self-examination, but this song has really resonated with me. I'm just going to highlight the lyrics which really struck a chord. 
     A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I'm the Queen - This is  basically what it is like, when you feel like you don't fit in, or you don't know who you are anymore. All alone, afraid to think about what it is you might like, want, or need, let alone actually talk to someone about it. Except you do think about it, a lot, but don't say anything, so it all just builds up, until...
     Can't hold it back anymore! Let it go! Let it Go! - It's usually around this point that I kind of, well, explode. It all just comes bursting out, in not too charitable ways. Why hold it all in? Why not just speak your mind? Because...
     Don't let them in, Don't let them see! Be the Good Girl you always have to be! Conceal, Don't Feel, Don't let them know - Because you are afraid. Somehow, you got to this place where you conformed, molded yourself to be what it seemed people wanted you to be, so that you could fit in, be liked, what have you. Goodness knows you can't let them see what you really are like! They'll reject you! You've seen it before; you've heard it in their talk - criticizing those things that you liked, once upon a time, and still do, deep down. Back to the exploding...
     I don't care what they're going to say! Let the storm rage on! - And this is pretty much where people seem to stop in relation to the message of the song, along with the No Right, No Wrong, No Rules For Me, I'm Free, You'll Never See Me Cry! part of it. Which, I guess, is, maybe, most of the song in a nutshell. What seems to be overlooked, however, is my favorite stanza...
     It's funny how some distance, makes everything seem small - This is key, I think. And for everyone, not just someone trying to reinvent themselves or whatever. Distance makes everything seem small. If there is going to be any movement forward, which life demands that there be, we have to be willing to detach from the events in our past:  I'm never going back, the past is in the past! Or even the events in the present, such as a toddler who is throwing a fit because he doesn't want to do X, and a baby who is crying in sympathy. Let it go! If it isn't helping you to move forward, let it go! In the great scheme of things, a missed load of laundry or dishes on the sink aren't really that big of a deal. They'll get done eventually, no use getting your knickers in a twist because there is something else preventing you from getting them done. You know that thing from 5 years ago that you keep festering in your heart, preventing you from getting on with life? Let it go, give yourself some distance, and see if it is really as bad as you are believing it to be. Those clothes in your closet you can't fit into for whatever reason, and every time you try it makes you want to scream? Let them go, re-home them, and find things which make you happy now. Sure, maybe someday you will be that size again, but for now, they are holding you back. Let it go. Yes, sometimes we even have to let go of the future, and it will free us up for growing. 
     Let go of the fear. The only people who analyze us like we analyze ourselves is ourself. No one is a bigger critic of yourself than you are. Pruning hurts, and you may find that letting go may entail letting go of more than you might have wanted. Perhaps allowing yourself to like tank tops again will cost you your reputation as a "nice, modest girl"; would you function better as a person without the fear of losing your reputation haunting your clothing choices? Then perhaps that crowd needs to be let go. And...That's where I'm going to end. It's late, I'm starving as usual, and my brain seems to have decided to cease thinking about this subject. *shrug*