final friday five for 2012

As usual, credit for everything below–except my answers, that is–goes to the wonderful gals over at RevGalBlogPals. And I owe them a hearty “thank you” for giving me a some much-needed writing inspiration!

I should mention that I did have my neck surgery last week and the surgeon said the procedure went “swimmingly.” I find this reassuring because those raw and burnt nerve endings feel, well, raw and burnt. Not a pleasant sensation. My usual brilliance is most likely lacking today since I’m on pain killers and muscle relaxers, so bear with me. 

 

The FINAL Friday Five for 2012: Recycle, Re-Gift, Reflect

As we take a breather from the busy weekend of Sunday/Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, it’s time to reflect on the past year. It’s hard to move out of this holiday season with its delights and celebrations. Here at our home, we’ve barely finished the eggnog. The tree is still up and our cats delight in knocking off the lower (unbreakable) ornaments. As we are rounding the final turn on the year 2012, I hope you’ll play along with these questions. 🙂
RECYCLE:
1. What is some “old news” this year that you’d like to repeat for 2013?
Saturday lunches and outings with my birthmom, Judy. We try to do this on a fairly regular basis, although it has been difficult to get together for much of this year because of her hip surgery and my neck surgery. My lack of a car doesn’t help, either. But we have a lot of fun spending time together. Plus, I finally know where most of my idiosyncrasies originate! Here I though I was eccentric all by my lonesome, only to discover that I inherited most of them from the Lubys! (The others come from growing up a Resch of course.)
2. What “new thing” have you started that you want to keep going in 2013?
Not having neck surgery!  Making an effort, through journaling, meditation, prayer, reflection, and reading, to really observe Advent, as a season of waiting and preparation for the gift of the Incarnation.
RE-GIFT:
3. What event, experience or gift would you just as soon “Return to Sender”? Maybe it was a disastrous sermon, a congregational kerfuffle, a vacation nightmare, or your own mis-step. It can be funny or sad.
I would gladly surrender the experience of running a stop sign and crashing into another car this past June! The gentleman driving the other car, luckily, wasn’t hurt, but I would up with whiplash and neck surgery. And my darling little GEO Metro was totaled! It wasn’t damaged that badly, but the repairs would have cost more than my 16 year-old baby was worth. Monetarily, anyway, disregarding my love for my first car. So we are in the market for a new car, but all we can get for our money is junk. But I can’t drive now anyway, temporarily at least!
REFLECT:
4. Share the brightest bit of joy that was a part of your year.
George and I celebrated our ninth anniversary this October. I think the joy comes from the reassurance of being loved, truly loved, for myself, along with the realization that in nine years we have been through more than many couples endure in a lifetime, and we are still together. And I love him more with each anniversary that goes by. When we got married, I thought I could not possibly love him more than I did, but as time goes by, I find that my love for him grows and evolves, teaching me to appreciate the feeling of contentment that washes over me before I go to sleep, when I see him and Fiona (our dog, naturally) sleeping beside me. Or the simple pleasure of playing frisbee in our backyard together on lovely summer afternoon.
5. Share a picture that says far more than words. (You can use it to illustrate one of the above.)
George and me at Kieran’s Irish Pub after I lectored at the 4:30 Mass at The Basilica of St. Mary
BONUS:

Share a recipe! I’m in the doldrums and need some healthy eating options for my menu planning. Soup, stew, main dish, side dish or a healthy dessert – any and all are welcome!

This is where I need help, too, desperately! I’m hoping a reader will come to my rescue with a nice slow-cooker recipe, perhaps? Please?!

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the little things

Yes, I’m changing my title again, for the third time. So far it has gone from “redhead report” to “gifts in the rubble” to, as of today, “the little things.”I am only 5’1” after all.

I decided to change the name because the title “gifts in the rubble” was, supposedly anyway, more about the grace we find when we are going through “the dark night of the soul.” (And that phrase comes from John of the Cross. I must have Carmelite mystics on the brain.) I have been there many, too many, times throughout my life, for various reasons. I don’t want to ignore that, but I want to emphasize that grace is everywhere, that we are surrounded by God’s grace and presence at all times and all places.

I have neglected my poor blog terribly over the last couple of years. Part of it was because I was experiencing chronic migraines–I’ve had to take two medical leaves from grad school–which have finally been cured, by Botox injections, as of the end of March!! I still have fibromyalgia, etc., to deal with, but the fibro I can cope with. Migraines just sent me straight to a dark room, literally and figuratively.

But I realized the other day that I haven’t even mentioned one of the most important and exciting events in my life: I met my birthmom! (Okay, so this is NOT a little thing, although she is!) And I totally love her; she is such a sweetheart. Warm, kind, generous, intelligent, and of course, five feet tall. And she’s a lot of fun, too. And I’ve even met my birthfather’s family, and now I know where I get my red hair and skin that refuses to tan, ever. I’ll write more about this next time, but I’ll lever you with a couple of pictures of the two of us until next time.

Mom (Judy) and me, Xmas 2010
The two of us right after we met, in August 2010,

One comment, though, before I go. My love for her does not any way change the love I still have for my adopted mom and dad. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them, and miss them. It was my mom (Millie) who told me that hearts are infinitely expandable. As usual, mom, you were right!

 

friday five…a day late (well, a few minutes late!)

Emptiness Friday Five…..

 
 

This Friday five comes courtesy of Sally over at RevGalBlogPals! (You don’t think I could come up with something like this myself, do you?)

I have been pondering this Friday Five over and over in my mind, but I am coming up with nothing, so I am wondering; what do you do when you feel empty of all creativity and unable to make/do anything? This is a completely open question, the only rule is name 5 things that fill/ inspire you:

Well, this is a tough question for me to answer, given the way I’ve been feeling physically/emotionally/ spiritually these last few months, so perhaps this is just the time for me to give this a whirl.

1. Being surrounded by my family. Although I’m an only child, my dad was the third eldest of eleven children, so I grew up surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, great-aunts, great-uncles, and at the center of it all, my grandmother, the most warm, generous, and loving woman I’ve ever known. So then I wound up marrying a man who, amongst his other stellar qualities, just happens to have almost as many cousins as I do! (I have 44.) Not to mention he’s the baby of six siblings. Our wedding was huge. and, incidentally, I’m a proud great-auntie myself now, several times over. And now I’m in contact with both sides of my birthparents’ families, who, yes, are also part of large extended families. Naturally. I have more family than I know what to do with! And I love it, especially now that my folks are gone, because to me, family is home and love and laughter.

2. Walking, sitting, gazing out on the water of the North Shore of Lake Superior. It soothes me, slows down my mind and body, and fills me with the presence of God.

3. Feeling forgiven, truly forgiven, whether by another human being or by God. It is the only thing that heals the brokenness I feel inside when I know I have wronged someone, whether it be by “what I have done or by what I have failed to do.”

4. Going through my parents’ old pictures, letters, etc. It never fails to bring back floods of memories, some sad, some happy, most of which make me laugh until I cry. Which reminds me that I HAVE to get my hands on that new set of Laurel and Hardy movies, even if it is astronomically expensive. After all of the hours the three of us spent watching those movies…

5. Doing something for someone else. During the Depression, my Grandma Resch never, ever turned a hobo away when they came by asking for food, despite the family’s poverty and all the mouths she had to feed. She always found something to fix for them, and even something extra to make the plate look nice. My parents carried on this tradition, and one of my biggest frustrations of my current run of migraines is that I’m stuck at home all of the time, which keeps me from doing any of the things I’d normally do to pay it forward, so to speak. After all, I didn’t choose the Prayer of St. Francis for both of my parents’ remembrance cards for nothing. I chose it as words to live by.

top ten things i learned from my mother

THIS IS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO KNEW AND LOVED MY MOM:

Top Ten Things I Learned From My Mother
(In No Particular Order)


  1. She always told me that love is the only thing that really matters. You can lose your possessions, your job, and your health, but you can always hold on to the love. And in the final analysis, it’s the only thing that makes life worth living.
  2. Decorate your house with bookcases, because you can never have too many books! Nothing ever seems quite so bad if you can curl up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.
  3. Class is not determined by money or social position; rather, a truly classy person is one who goes out of her way to make others feel comfortable and special. Classy people are warm and gracious.
  4. You’ll never get old if you are always interested in other people and continue to learn new things.
  5. Life isn’t fair. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still be good, even wonderful, if you retain a sense of gratitude and remember what really matters.
  6. God does not send us tragedy and pain. But he does give us the strength to bear them, the courage to face them, and the grace to learn and grow from them.
  7. Listen to your heart and follow your star. You never know where they might lead you!
  8. Yes, you are your brother’s–and your sister’s–keeper. Always remember that “whatsoever you do unto the least of them, that you do unto me.”
  9. What others think of you doesn’t matter. It’s what you think of yourself that counts.
  10. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile–and holding a grudge takes too much energy.
  1. Never, ever, take the people you love for granted. And never hesitate to say “I love you.”
  2. Tough times don’t last. But tough people do.
(NB: This is from the eulogy I gave at my mom’s funeral on April 19, 2007)

 

the please and thank you prayer

Three years ago today my friends Emilie and Steve were married at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Paul, MN. Happy Anniversary guys!!!! I met Emilie and Steve through a mutual friend–Steve’s brother Bruce, in fact–the same day I met my husband. Little did I know that day that less than two years later we’d all wind up married!
Their wedding was absolutely beautiful (how could it not be, with Emilie as the bride?) and I felt very honored when they asked me to read. (My reading was from the Song of Songs; luckily for me, not the one about the leaping gazelle, so I was able to keep a straight face.) What I remember most clearly, however, is the “please and thank you prayer” for married couples Fr. O’Connell recommended during his homily. Take a quiet moment together and light a candle. Each person in turn asks God for an intention, then each mentions one thing for which they are grateful. That’s it; very simple (which, of course, is the beauty of it). Praying together does a lot to bring couples closer to each other and to God, and the two elements of the prayer remind us what really matters in our lives together.
Now, if I could just get George to do it with me…

*sigh*

This is Steve and Emilie with George and me last New Year’s Eve:

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