Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Prayers

Lord, in the space and time that you give me to live this life, lead me to freedom and truth in You.  Lead me out of bondage and sin.  Lead me away from lies that would tell me that You don't love me, or that You don't care.  Let me know You and soar in the glory of the truth.  Let me soar higher and higher until I reach heaven and spend eternity in praise of You. Amen

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Empty Nest

Nothing prepared me for it.  Nobody had mentioned it to me.  I had seen very few magazine articles even mentioning it.  It hit me hard, oh, so hard.  I shed a lot of tears and I felt depressed a good bit of the time.  I had regrets.  I had deep regrets.  That "it" of which I speak is the empty nest of taking my only son to college, to drop him off. 

My son was a person with whom I spoke and who listened to me every day of his life until he went off to college.  We were close.  We understood each other.  We suffered the slings and arrows together.  That is not to say we were closer than a mother and son should be.  We were just exactly as close as a mother and son should be.

His freshman year in college was oh, so hard for me.  I missed him.  I had an empty nest.  I didn't know who I was, if not his mom.  Being a mom was something I was good at, something I enjoyed.  Mom was who I was.  And then I was his mother, but not so much his mom.

I wish I could tell you that it was ever the same again.  It wasn't.  We never had time for the long talks and listening.  We never cleaned the house or the dishes or went to the library together in that close way again.  Going away, he became his own person.  I am happy about that.  It is what I raised him for, the thing I hoped for. Having raised an independent son is something that I aimed for and got.

But, the empty nest was so hard for me.  I was much sadder than I expected to be.  Sometimes it felt as though all the important parts of my life were over. I wanted more children that I wasn't able to have.  I wouldn't have traded it for anything, the little time to be a mom I had.  But, I wanted more. I wasn't ready to move on.  But over time it got okay.  The thought of the empty nest doesn't bring tears to my eyes anymore.

I have grown past all that by many years now.  (Still not a grandma.)  And I can say that I have found serenity and joy in the place I am.  I am exactly where God planned for me to be. I have plenty of important things to do in my life.  God didn't forsake me or forget about me.  He has been there.  He is there.  He will be there in the future.

Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes, the post op edition

Jennifer Fulwiler hosts this meme.  Go around and visit some more, or join the fun.

1. Saturday I went to the Magnificat Catholic Women's Prayer Breakfast.  Susan Popkin (I think that is her name) was fabulous.  She touched my soul in places I didn't know needed touching.  And I stayed and prayed with women for a long time after the breakfast.  I stopped at Trader Joe's and picked up some more everyday seasoning on the way home.  I packed and laundered the clothing both Hubs and I would need in the coming week.  Both Hubs and I were headed out of town for parts of the week. (Hubs went on a White House Jesuit Retreat.)

2. Sunday we went to 10:30 Mass and exulted the Holy Cross.  I love that feast.  Our senior associate pastor always gives fabulous homilies and he did not disappoint.  Then we lunched (Hubs and I) at McAlisters and I left for Quincy.
The barges on the Mississippi represent Quincy to me.  It was cloudy and rainy.


3. Arriving at Quincy at my mom's place, I wondered what insanity I had wrought by allowing this carpal tunnel surgery.  My mom seemed completely confused.  I could not make her understand the directions and she argued with me that ultra-moisturizing was the same thing as antibacterial in soap.  Fortunately I had brought the right kind of soap with me because she had bought the wrong stuff.  I knew that the big issue was that she would have to shower and wash her hair and could not use hairspray or any lotions or makeup on her body until after the surgery.  I told her at least 6 times--no hairspray.  Anyway I was very concerned because my 93 year old mother seemed to have lost her mind.

4. Mom couldn't eat breakfast Monday morning and the surgery was scheduled for 11:30.  She didn't want to take her blood pressure meds because she always took them after breakfast.  Finally I got her to take the meds or at least tell me that she had.  When her blood pressure went up after surgery I wondered.  I also noticed that she was wearing makeup as they prepped her for surgery.  I decided not to say anything because they were operating on her wrist not her face.  The most touching part was that the doc asked to pray with her before surgery.

5. The carpal tunnel release surgery went fine.  Mom took a long time to rouse and get ready to leave the surgery center and we were both very hungry by the time we ate at her apartment at 2pm.  Mom wasn't in much pain to speak of. She refused to use the ice packs and wear the splint for her arm.   Mom was still very confused which worried me a lot.

6. Tuesday she started to come out of the fog and started not repeating the same thing 6,000 times. I ordered refills of two of Mom's prescriptions that she had let lapse (because she was going to the doctor in a couple of weeks.)

I stopped by the cemetery to say a little prayer with my dad that the Lord would protect my mom.  And I visited with the little angel who stands over little Anthony. Anthony is buried not far from my dad.  I love his little angel marker.


I shopped for Mom and entertained my brother who is getting ready to move away from Quincy.  He has purchased a townhouse up in Cary, IL.  His leaving and Mom's increasing forgetfulness cause me great alarm. I wrote out directions for Mom for the post op--Don't get it wet and take off the dressing Friday and use band aids and Don't get it wet! I repeat--Don't get it wet.  She ignored all the other directions like icing the wrist and elevating the hand.  I left for home on Wednesday because I still had two work days and book club on Thursday this week.

7. On a very positive note, I was finally able to have a conversation with Mom about where she will go next. She lives in senior apartments that provide no living services for her.  There are activities in the afternoon and she could take a bus provided by the residence to the grocery store with a group on Monday if she didn't drive.  It is a Meals on Wheels location.  No one monitors comings and goings, no one checks meds or blood pressure, no one (but me) cleans up her place.  I am thinking assisted living is going to be a next step for her.  I would rather move her sooner given her age and increasing frailty..  In Mom's mind the move will be 2 or 3 years from now. (Have I mentioned that she is 93?)  With no family members closer than 2 and a half hours away, and Mom still driving, cooking, shopping, cleaning, washing her clothing, etc. I don't feel the safety net I used to feel when I could give my brother a call and he would pop over and check on something.  So, Mom and I called an assisted living facility and they are sending information.  Being old is not for sissies.  I trust that the Lord has a plan, but I think that the leading I hear in all of this is to be ready, to get ready for changes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Dear Lord,

I praise You and thank You for the challenges in my life.  I thank You for the tall staircases I climb.  I praise You for the people who are unpleasant and unfriendly.  I praise You for the busy-ness and lack of sleep that mark my days lately.

I thank You because the Achilles is a little better and the knee is on and off again.  I praise You for the rain and the cool weather.  I praise You that no birds died in my library ventilation.

For these things and all the gifts in my present life, I thank You!

Your beloved daughter,

Mary

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Growing In Trust

I am not one of those people who could play the game of shutting my eyes and falling backwards for someone to catch me.  A game like that seems foolish to me.  Why trust people in that way?  People are so likely to miss and see me fall and say oopsie, I missed, giggle, giggle.  At least that is the way I picture it.  I know that I myself am always totally responsible.  Even I miss sometimes.  Don't take foolish chances would be my motto.

I was praised as a child for my self-reliance and my responsibility.  I took it on as a virtue, but like most virtues, when overdone, it becomes weakness.  It becomes a fault.  I am trying to let go and let God more in my life.  I am trying just to be and not to be in charge.  It is hard sometimes.

I find it especially hard to let go and have trust with people who have let me down or showed me their selfish side or have hurt me in past dealings.  I am coming to an understanding that only God is completely worthy of my trust.  People will let me down, serve themselves, and hurt me sometimes. It is the way of this world. 

But, the lesson I am trying to learn is this--I don't have to pick up the slack for everyone else.  I need to do my part and work for the things that I want and the things I know are right.  If someone else isn't going to hold up their end, it isn't personally letting me down.  It is not up to me to do it for them or correct their mistake.  I can help out, but I am not in charge.

Through coming to this understanding, I am also growing in faith.  God has a plan and I need to let it unfold.  I need to trust in the mystery of this life and not to drive myself so hard.  I am trying to sit and listen to the whispers and to see the truth in the way of my life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Bee Chairs

These little chairs are my mom's.  She tells me that for her 4th birthday that they were hanging over the mailbox with a tag having been sent to her from her uncle in southern Indiana.  She was an Illinois girl. 

Mom used to put Christmas decorations, little pillows on them and have them by her television when she still had her house.  All my life I have known these chairs.  They are the bee chairs.  I never thought about them being the bee chairs.  It is just what they were called.  If I had been forced to give an explanation I might have thought that the kind of chair they are is a "bee chair."  Maybe they looked like bees or were bigger or smaller than the "A" chairs.

My brother had the chairs for his daughter.  She is nine and no longer wants them.  The family is crowded into a condo and can no longer house them.  My brother passed them on to me, like good antiques are.

My mom was there at the passing of the chairs and she remembered the 89 years ago when the chairs had been hanging over the mailbox.  She went on to say that in college she had needed a project for an art class.  She had recaned (put new bottoms on the chairs, cane, I hate it when spell check thinks it is smarter than I am and makes assumptions without consulting me it keeps changing it to recanted!) those chairs.  She only got a "B" on them.  They are the "B" chairs.

(Now I get it. The "B" chairs!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Called to Be Heroes

Most of us, at least when we are younger envision our lives as heroic and good.  We picture ourselves making the world a better place.  We long to do something important and meaningful with our lives.  I think this a universal thread.  As evidence, I site the superhero movies and comics and ancient sagas of heroes.

Then life happens and our dreams are measured against reality.  The world tells us we are not heroes, we can't make a difference, our lives are not important or even good.  We do the best we can and try to find a little happiness and once in a while we might do some small thing we are proud of.  If the big heroic moment happens to us, we look around all surprise and denial--who me?

But, I have come to believe that the vision of heroic goodness and the longing for important meaning in our lives comes from our creator.  God made us that way.  We long to tap into His power and help bring the world into His Kingdom.  We long for the ultimate good.

Most of us settle too quickly for the small and the ordinary.  Most of us fail to see the ordinary miracles and small graces and therefore lack the courage to work large and heroic good in Christ's name.  Our lives may seem small and ordinary and mundane, but we are called to be heroes.  Our lives are a mission, set on a path by our Savior.  We need to pray and listen and follow the call in our lives to be the persons we were created to me.  We are called to be heroes and to live our lives like the last great adventure.  We are called.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Prayers

Lord, I thank You and I praise You.  I see Your Hand in all things.  I feel Your presence in my life.  I do not pretend this.  I know this.  I have come to know You.  Help me to draw closer and closer each day.  I dream of eternity praising Your Glory. Amen

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes,

Jennifer Fulwiler, mother, author, blogger, speaker and radio host is the source of this meme.  There are many fine blogs that link up with her.  And some like mine.....

1. Last Saturday, I am happy to report, we got a stove delivered that we actually kept.  I do believe that the intercession of St. Lawrence had a hand in that.  We were laughing together when it was finally here.  It is so great to turn on every burner and to see them actually heat up.  Yay!
2. I spoke with my son briefly on Saturday.  He didn't mention the job he had applied for in Washington, DC, so either he didn't get it, or he didn't know yet.

3. Sunday, I crocked some beef and used up the last of my Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning.  I must get down there for some more of that.  It is my favorite all round seasoning.  When I grind a little over the beef, I feel like quite the gourmet without measuring or sweating the load--a little salt and pepper, a little savory and done.

4.  A funny thing happened last week when I had the special needs children at my library.  It really didn't have to do with the children, although they are a challenging group this year.  I once taught three year olds in a class of 26 of them, so I have mastered the ability to just keep on with story time and work in the odd scream or strange remark of the various students.  It works for me.  One of the aides took me aside at the end and told me that in my next life I should come back as a nun, because I was so patient.  I told her that I wasn't coming back, I was aiming for saint the first time. LOL Nun indeed.

5.  My sister is working on our book.  I suppose I need to get busy and do some additional research.  Back to 1876 Kansas. 

6.  My mom is having carpal tunnel surgery on Monday.  It is elective surgery and she is 93.  It seems crazy to have surgery at that age unless it was absolutely necessary.  But, Mom may live to 100.  Her hand hurt and went numb.  So, we are going to let a doctor slice open her left wrist and hope for the best.  It is what she wants.

7. I showed up early for spiritual direction on Tuesday.  Fortunately they have a library.  I started reading the documents of Vatican II.  I really need to spend some time with those.  Even the introduction was interesting.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thank You, Lord

Dear Lord,

Thank You for my Mom.  We haven't always seen eye to eye.  I wasn't a very good daughter at times.  I won't comment on her mothering.  But as grown people we became friends of a sort.  We grew close.  I took her on as mine.  She became a responsibility as she aged.  That role of mine widens each day.  I am more and more the caretaker, the decision maker, as she says--I am becoming her mother.

It is not a role I ever wanted, caretaker of my mom.  Since she was older (32 when I was born) I never thought it would come to this.  But, here she is 93 and needing help and still wanting to do it her way.  There are things I can learn about relationships and things I can learn about You, Father God, from this stuff with Mom

Thank You for my mother and the joy and challenges that she brings.  Take care of her next week in her surgery.  But, I rejoice in and I thank You for this gift of Mom.

Your beloved daughter,

Mary