Provision – Heathens & Holiness

A couple of days before Easter 2012, one of the members of the auxiliary at my work recommended Grace Notes by Jim Stephens as one of those books that really helps you connect with God in a meaningful way. I bought the book and from time to time I’ve read that instead of my Mom’s Devotional Bible. It’s got dated pages with a reading & a theme and a prayer (similar to the Mom’s Devotional Bible)

Yesterday it was the perfect reminder & reassurance that saying “thanks, but no thanks; I’m staying put” was the right path for my feet. It sure blessed my socks off; I hope it blesses yours off, too!

 

 

June 3

 

Finished My Work

Reading: Proverbs 25-27; Romans 15

 

 

But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. (Romans 15:23)

 

It caught my attention that Paul said his work “in these regions” was finished. He refers to his ministry from Jerusalem to Illyricum (Northeast of Italy) and he said his work there was finished! This didn’t mean that everyone in the region was saved. It didn’t mean that all the churches were perfect or had the perfect leadership in place. It also didn’t mean that he was through with hard work, with facing challenges, with taking steps of faith. It simply meant that his specific assignment there was completed.

 

It’s so important to know and be committed to God’s specific assignment for our lives. It’s equally important to be aware of the seasons of our lives and of God’s assignment – to recognize when a season is finished and an assignment is completed.

 

I believe it’s healthy for us to have sincere and deeply held desires for our future. It’s healthy and good to be willing and ready to move toward fulfilling those desires when a current season and a present assignment is finished. But it’s foolish to expect that those desires will be fulfilled in just the way we determined and on the schedule we set.

 

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

 

Prayer:

Father, There’s so much for me to learn from the honest account of the adventures of Paul. Thanks for taking the time to teach me. Thanks for your patience with me when I’m slow to get it. This morning I’m thinking about the importance of knowing your specific assignment for me, and of recognizing the seasons of life and ministry. I’m learning to be honest with you about my deeply held desires. I’m learning about making plans, and about trustingly placing the outcome in your faithful and capable hands. Be it unto me according to your will and your word. Amen!.

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For all the kids out there who live in fear, I hope there’s a spark of something somewhere in their lives that makes a difference.

Have you ever had one of those weird experiences where something beyond “us” is driving something to happen?

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(note – it’s finals week right now  & I missed posting in Five Minute Friday last week also because of school … but this is important … child abuse is a very real thing in our nation and I think that more people need to take a stand about it, so I’m “linking back” this post from last night … and then getting back to school work)

DH had to get to the lumber yard by 5pm because our special order swamp-cooler pads had arrived & he asked if I would stop at (grocery store) to get some sweet red wine on my way home because he wanted to make a batch of sangria for the weekend.

ok, no biggie. I leave work carrying 3 huge bakery boxes w/ cake and muffins in them and get them piled in my car (planning to take to the nursing home when I visit my uncle so they’re not in my house) and started driving and realized it was too darn hot to leave whipped cream frosting sitting in the hot car while I ran into (grocery store) so I ran to (different store closer to work) even though stuff’s usually more expensive there. Found the sweet red wine and wandered around while I was waiting to hear from DH if M was home or at a friend’s house so I knew if I needed to pick her up. Got the text just as the folks at (different store closer to work) were asking “can we help you find something” because I was wandering aimlessly. Told ’em I was just waiting for that text and was good to go.

Paid.

Complimented the staff member’s shirt (it’s all fun & games til someone gets hurt & then it’s hilarious). Started walking to my car. from my left I hear someone cussing and a child crying – that high pitched scared cry – saying horrible things calling her child a dumbass and saying she was going to beat her f’ing a– again and this that and the other. She’s got a little girl by the shoulder of her shirt, a little African American girl about 5 or 6 years old – she had a hello kitty button w/ a ribbon on it, made me think it was a special day for her … some special day … but the poor kid’s wailing (honestly at first I thought it was the “I don’t feel well” cry) and I thought maybe the mom was just talking trash out of frustration, so I tried to ignore her mouth.

So I get to my car and I see her open up the side of her minivan and I think she’s just sitting her kids in it and they’re leaving. I’m putting on my seatbelt when I see that this psychopath is folding over a men’s leather belt … and then hear the sickening & unmistakable sound of a child being beaten with it … at first I started to leave that “it’s not my business that someone else raises their kids that way; they’re from out of state, it’s really REALLY not my problem” mentality having gotten ahold of me.

But dammit,  The mom was probably 300 – 325 pounds, I couldn’t have taken her in a fight even if I had to, gravity & momentum would’ve been on her side. Plus she was wearing stretch pants and a t-shirt … easily defeats button down oxford & khakis. And she was whaling on a little girl who couldn’t have weighed more than 50 pounds. Whatever that poor child did in Family Dollar (where she got dragged out of) it couldn’t have been bad enough to deserve a beating from someone 6x her size.

that little girl wasn’t carrying on like that because she’s coming down with something that little girl’s carrying on like that because she’s scared of her momma and she’s not old enough to do anything about it; all she can do is scream and cry and carry-on. I was nauseated. That momma had a belt IN THE CAR ready to go. This isn’t the first time she’s done this. Which made me realize that it might make her kids’ lives better if just ONE adult had taken 5 minutes to make a phone call and have someone in authority tell tell her that’s not an acceptable (or legal) way to raise a child.

So I texted myself the lady’s plate #, started up my vehicle & moved over to the other side of the parking lot and called the non-emergency # for the cops. Wow – it seemed like I was on the phone forever with dispatch but it was only 8 minutes and 31 seconds according to my call log from when I called them until the dispatched officers got there.

All I could do was tell them what I saw & heard.

Probably nothing will come of it. Maybe the cops can’t really do anything unless the poor kid really got hurt – and probably a well practiced belt whippin momma knows how to beat her kids so it don’t show. Maybe I did the wrong thing. Maybe the psycho is going to beat her kids harder because they got “caught” getting beat. IDK.

But for some reason God put me in those children’s path tonight and gave me the best birthday gift I’ve gotten in a long time: the opportunity to make a difference for some little kid that I’ve never met and will probably never see again … maybe I’m hopelessly naive, but I really hope that the little girl who got her butt whipped tonight finds a little spark of courage from knowing that someone stood up for her and that when she’s grown she doesn’t raise her hand to her kids in anger or violence and that she doesn’t end up in a relationship with a man or woman who physically, verbally, mentally or emotionally abuses her.

For all the kids out there who live in fear, I hope there’s a spark of something somewhere in their lives that makes a difference. And I’m kind of embarrassed that I complimented the lady’s shirt at (the store closer to work), it seems inappropriate given what I witnessed and the phonecall I made.

Broken #FMF

Broken …

 

… if I were a good little Catholic girl I’d write something here about how we’re all broken and only through the Lord are we made anew in His Mercy, Love & Light.

But that’s kind of overkill given that it’s Good Friday and we all already KNOW that.

SO … as we wander through the desert during the Lenten Season we all experience some sort of growth; it’s different every year; we might not see the lessons at all until long after. Last lent was a brutally humbling experience here. In my attempts to grow in faith and health, I failed in my mothering and flopped in my academic work and I was made painfully aware of those shortcomings.

Between the mass of the last supper and good Friday 2012 I ended up in the emergency room with a destroyed foot and ankle. Massive injuries that I put off seeking treatment for because I had obligations to church. Not to my family. Not to my academic pursuits. To church. I spent 11 of 13 consecutive days doing church stuff. The day after good Friday, I served at the Easter vigil on crutches and with an ankle wrapped in ace wrap. The following week I saw a specialist. I’m probably lucky the specialist didn’t crucify me on the crutches … my foot/ankle were so badly injured that they’d have been better off if they WERE broken. I spent the next 4 months (16 weeks) in a walking cast from my toes to my knee. I could take it off to shower or swim. That was it.

This injury was the beginning of the undoing of the cotton candy edition of faith that I’d created … if I was so busy working on teaching at Sunday school, of reading the Word of God to the congregation at mass, of serving on the finance council, of attending classes and meetings and such, I was being faithful right? If I was there AT church I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, right?

 

WRONG.

 

God gave me responsibilities, duties, projects that are my mission. And I was ignoring them. I was letting someone (a human someone or someones) give me a to-do list and pretending that it was from God. It took a lot of soul searching and humbling realizations and prayers to come back to what God was asking em to do: to be myself, to do what He put before me, to serve those closest to me and those most in need.

It’s been a broken year in the perspective of those in my parish (when they look at me anyway) and even to several priests I know. But it’s been a healing year for me. Getting back to basics and reaffirming my mission to be what the Lord has called me to be.

May those who walk in holy darkness find their callings.

Amen.

 

Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started? Checkout the back story over here.

Want to join our favorite free writing exercise of the week? It’s easy and open to anyone.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Broken” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:::

3 1/2 …

3 1/2
That’s the # of hours of sleep I got last night.
And people STILL kvetch that I’m not getting enough done.
To them, I raise this morning’s Diet Pepsi and say *bite me*

To those who know that a mom putting in 18-20 hour days between work, family, school & everything else (aka fud, laundry, dishes, the occasional mental break) and those who were exceptionally supportive during yesterday’s omgwtfbbq lunch hour adventure (during which no lunch was eaten, but loves were loved) I say THANK YOU!

(not really kitchen) Witchin – Easter Editchin

First the disclaimers:

  • if you’re offended that this is about Easter, take a hike. It’s my blog.
  • if you’re going to chew on me because of my church attendance (11 out of 13 days last year during the 2 weeks before Easter; haven’t been since First Communion) find another chew toy … I’m not listening; if you want to change my frustrations, you should have stepped up a year ago when I was inches from the mental ledge and helped me then. it’s too late now. I walked away.
  • if you’re looking forward to Easter as a day when you can add back whatever you gave up for Lent, don’t tell me about it … because I try to make Lent (regardless of my church attendance) a time of starting permanent changes. don’t tell me how much you’ll enjoy indulging in 40 days of whatever … no I’m not telling you what those changes are or have been or will be … the purpose of penance is to deepen your personal journey to whatever through self-improvement … and it’s specifically supposed to NOT involve being a show-off about it.
  • no, I didn’t change my profile photo on any social network to the equality symbol today. do you really want to live in a world where people like me think that their friends/visitors/followers/etc are going to change their mind because of something I said or did? ha!
  • Also, do you really want to live in a world where folks like me limit their action to social networking? because there’s a pretty good chance that I was volunteering at a scholarship fundraiser for women in engineering & geology the other day … and that I invest a pretty hefty chunk of time (the equivalent of a full time job on top of the paid full time job that I do type chunk) into various forms of volunteerism throughout the year … if you don’t like it FINE. do it yourself.
  • if you’re offended by my language, don’t follow my blog, it’s that simple. it’s here for my self-expression.

OK? we good now? you’re still willing to keep reading? really? Alrighty then …

This started out to be a post about Easter food. Turns out the Easter food of my youth (and even my adulthood) isn’t out there to be found on Pinterest or AllRecipe or any of the usual haunts of Kitchen Witchin. So you’ll just have to take my word for it – Easter is a holiday. there is food. it’s delicious. no, I wouldn’t ask you to eat it.

And this year my family decided on lasagna. Fine with me. Lasagna it is. And I’m not spending 11 of 13 days so deeply enmeshed in church activities that I forestall seeking appropriate medical care for 12 hours from what turned out to be an injury that I’m still healing from a year later … that works for me this year.

Nobody ever really knows how strange their family is until they’re adults, right?

Right. That’s why we tell our daughter “we’ll pay for therapy OR college, not both” 🙂

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Blessings & Balderdash …

The reason to wear Green here has nothing to do with 4 leaf clovers and is 100% a product of Michigan State Basketball #SpartanSports #MSU #MichiganState

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It’s Tourney Time! The most wonderful time of the year 🙂 If I could pick a holiday and call it “ours” this time of year would be at the top of the list.

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The weather is perfect(ly unpredictable!) it’s spring break the peach tree is blooming the apple tree is budding the tulips are trying and the first dark indigo hyacinth is blooming perfectly (funny, I know garden flowers more as a side effect of being a Harmony Kingdom geek at the (hands down!) best retail job I ever had at Pearl Grant Richmans)

But the annual wearing of the green is a good time to ruminate over blessings

  • a baby born 3 1/2 weeks early yet healthy and hefty to a dear friend from long ago & far away tops the list. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes and I’m thankful that she got the one that she’s been so desperately longing for since the first one blessed her family 6 years ago. Gratz Ly & Jeb. You’ll probably never see this – but in case you do, there it is 🙂
  • friends & family – especially the ones who will recommend good books 🙂
  • snail mail – the good kind with handwritten envelopes and wonderful notes inside
  • purple – in any aspect
  • sleep
  • coffee
  • hot water
  • shampoo – yeah. sorry, I admire the concept behind the No Shampoo Challenge, but hons really? If my Mane & Tail Shampoo  is the only thing you can find wrong with me, this must be your first visit to my blog 😉
  • shower gel & lotion – because Sheer Freesia shower products that have been faves since the original freesia was discontinued
  • Indiana Jones Monopoly (which I lost by 85 tonight)

and *drumroll*

there are (as of tomorrow!) only FOUR MONTHS left in my 1 year sentence to wear sneakers all the time … too bad the foot that landed me in that sentence in the first place is in its “neener neener nothing will help” phase of torment right now.