Better late than never, breaking the tiny threads that are holding it all together and ugly brown spiders.
I stumbled on this wonderful post idea that is the brainchild of Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary via one of my favorite bloggers Cristina T at Filling My Prayer Closet. When I read the idea it immediately peaked my interest and I wanted to participate. But the link-up was for 7 Quick Takes on Friday, it was already Saturday. Yet, amid the chaos of my weekend (see all of the below) the thought wouldn’t leave my mind that I should do this. Be forewarned, that yes I am going to use a terrible cliché now. Cover your eyes and ears if you must, because it's better late than never.
Work has been very hectic and trying for me. I am the coordinator of Children’s Formation at my parish. There have been many staff turnovers and lots of changes that I am adapting to while I deal with my unstable and chaotic home life. We have a brand new program at work that I am spearheading and developing to replace our traditional classroom model of faith formation for children not attending catholic schools and it is rooted in the family as the “Domestic Church.” I am excited about the changes and the opportunities that this presents. At the same time, I am building this from the ground up at our parish, and the amount of preparation is exhausting. The program seeks to have parents (or at least one parent) ) attend sessions with the child and to become more directly involved in the child's faith formation. The class schedule has been modified for us to meet only twice a month and on the weeks that we do not meet families will be provided resources to enable them to better take on the role of primary teachers of the faith, just as they promised when they brought their child to the waters of baptism:
“You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him (her) in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God's commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking” - text from the Rite of Baptism.
I pray that we can bring to fruition joyful followers of Christ with families and children that truly embrace and nurture that relationship guided by the beauty and truth found in our Catholic Faith.
Thursday night was a terrible night in our household. My son's stability has been perceptibly on the decline. I shared about my feelings of inadequacy as a parent in my post A Beautiful Tapestry of Inadequacies. When I say to you things were terrible, they were genuinely terrible. It has become more and more apparent that my child suffers from extreme anxiety and depression that causes him to explode and become destructive. After getting mad at something, he lost control and broke the television. After breaking the television, he morphed into a shear anxiety attack. He called me home from my errands and the remainder of the night was a blur of arguments, cries and pleas. The most terrible thing is how desensitized I have become to all of this. I have learned to not panic nor take much action when he says he is having a heart attack, or that he can’t breath, or that his vision is blurry, or that he can’t eat or is nauseous, or any other number of ailments that are part of an anxiety attack. I offer the trip to the hospital and then let him decide. Several hours later and we are still where we were when I first came home. Then, a small break-through. He indicates he might want to go to the hospital. After an hour or more of we are going to the hospital, then we are not, we are going, then we are not.. I give-up. By then it is sometime in the wee hours of morning and I just want to sleep a few hours to awaken to a new day.
Friday I went to work as usual, only to be there about two hours before the call came. I was to take my son to the ER to have tests ran. The symptoms he was describing to his doctor (blurry vision, memory lapses, lack of body control - which meant for my son “nervous shaking” ) warranted a trip to ER for a CAT scan. Four hours later and three other tests, all physical reasons were ruled out. Now we moved on to what I have been hoping for, some help and guidance for his untreated mental health issues. Another two hours later and after talking to someone from a local mental health facility, we had our post treatment recommendations. They are the same as they have been the other three times he has been to the hospital over the last several years. Intensive outpatient therapy. Remember, as noted in my other post, after the age of 16 a person has the right to refuse mental health treatment unless a harm to self or others (breaking TV’s, doors, punching holes in walls don’t seem to count) My son, the actor, agrees and nods in compliance to all that the young women tells him they recommend. We go home to battle number two and it is the biggest one of them all...
I am a terrible, horrible mother that does not care about her son and I am going to make him homeless. Thus says my son. I have had to make the tough decision that my son can no longer live with me if he refuses the treatment this time. It is now Sunday and we are still going back and forth. He is petrified. I understand that. And he keeps trying to find ways out of my ultimatum. He keeps asking for compromises. He has exploded, slammed things, cursed, yelled, pretty much called me every name in the book for letting my own son go “homeless.” The front door is broken from the slams. My coffee table ruined. He left for a bit saying he wasn't going to return, only to be with one of my best friends who calmed him down and tried to get him to agree he needs help so that he can move out on his own. The remainder of the weekend there are moments of calmness. Then he thinks about things and it triggers more panic attacks. He is now trying to figure out ways to get out of going. Or he states that he will go but that he will walk out and won’t cooperate. I keep saying the choice is his what he does when he is there, but he has to realize that by choosing to not take part in treatment that means he is choosing to not live with me. I am trying so hard to not break the tiny threads that are holding us together. I need your prayers. I really need your prayers.
I am a sucker for strays. I have six animals. Four cats and two dogs and all of them are a stray or a rescue animal. I tend to take human strays as well. We have yet another homeless friend of my son’s also temporarily staying with us. I guess I am a sucker for those down on their luck. I have allowed three other homeless "friends" of my son over the last two years. I always give them four stipulations before they can stay:
Our current "stray" (and I want to protect his name at this point) has secured employment within the first week and is currently working. He does help about 60% of the time when asked. He is also in the Military Reserves and does seem like he truly want's to get his life together. However, if my son is kicked out for not following through with his treatment, I will have to have this young man leave as well. I cannot keep my son's friend and kick out my own child.
I really need your prayers.
Today is Sunday. After a nice lunch out with my son and his friend , we came home to have my son's friend, the current “stray, ” work off some room and board by helping me to clean the porch in my backyard. I have a walk-out basement which means that the backyard has an upper and lower level. I don’t get down to the lower level porch that is under the deck very often. And it has become over-run by cobwebs and big ugly brown spiders. It turns out that this “buff” young military man is petrified of spiders. I don’t like them much myself. I put on my bravest "you don't scare me big ugly brown spiders" face and I go to work to set the example. I want you to know that we saw far too many spiders for my comfort and sanity level. I got out the hose and I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed to try to wash them away. A temporary fix that allowed us to clean and make the area look presentable. I didn't let the boy see, but more than once after we came in I have jumped and done a crazy doggy style body-shake to knock off what I keep thinking is crawling on me or in my hair.
I have already looked up the number for a pest control agency and I am on it first thing Monday morning.
Here's to a new week that is spider free and with renewed hope that we can conquer this illness.
"I give thanks to my God always, remembering you in my prayers." Philemon 1:4
All of us who are active on social media encounter prayer requests from family, friends and even strangers who are present on these sites.
I have created a new series of social media images "Remembering you in my Prayers" (the first installment with more to come) to use when someone requests or is in need of our prayers and encouragement. Not only can we and should we pray for them, we can take it one step further and share that we are praying for them and send them words of hope from scripture.
And remember YOU are always in my prayers.
I let a First Friday get past me....Mea Culpa!
Perhaps it was meant to be as I would not have seen most recent advice from our Holy Father.
In his homily on June 9, Pope Francis reflected on the Beatitudes which are found in the Gospel of Matthew. He referred to them as "the Christian's Identity Card."
And, of course, I couldn't help but create my own ID card.
There are many things that Sacred Scripture tells us to do and to not do. We have been given the Ten Commandments and the Great Commandment. But the Beatitudes are a surefire blueprint for a way of life that will lead us to be true Intentional Disciples. They are our Christian "I.D."
Follow the advice of our Holy Father who says:
"Today, if you have a little time at home, pick up the Gospel of Matthew, the fifth chapter: the Beatitudes are at the beginning...It will do you good to read” this plan of holiness “once, twice, three times”.
I'm Joining in the 2nd Annual Keep Love in Lent Link-Up from Catholic Bloggers Network hosted by the following blogs:
Equipping Catholic Families , Campfires and Cleats ,Truly Rich Mom and A Slice of Smith Life
Join and discover new ways to Keep Love in Lent.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
We've all heard it before. It's in the Bible as one of the greatest commandments.
But, dang! It's just not that easy.
Some "neighbors" are easy to love. We can admit it. We love the folks who think and look like us. We love the neighbor who waves and says "Hi" each time they see us in the yard. We love the person at the grocery who smiles and greats us warmly. We love those who worship the way we do and pray the way we do. We love those in our inner circles.
Some "neighbors" are more difficult love. It might be the neighbor who gives you the evil eye because they think your child is a bad influence on their children. The person on the other end of the phone who bemoans "It's not my department." The sour-faced and angry co-worker. The person on the corner holding a sign that says the world is ending on a specified date. The racist neighbor who is filled with hate. The person who belittles your faith and/or your place of worship.
Some "neighbors" are needing our love. The hungry and scared child living in poverty. The family facing foreclosure of their home. The elderly neighbor who has no-one that visits her in the nursing home. The list goes on and on. The abused neighbor, the sad and lonely neighbor, the lost and seeking neighbor, the uninsured neighbor, the worried neighbor...
I am sure you can come up with a lot more to add to this list. In fact, I want to invite you to do just that for Lent this year. Sit down and write your own Lenten Love MY "Neighbor" List. If you have children, invite them to add to a family list each week and make that list a part of your regular prayers this Lent. I would venture to say that the little ones will have some of the most profound entries for your list. No matter if it is a family list or your own personal list, keep this list with you all throughout Lent and add to it as the need arises. Then our next step will be to find a way to be the love that neighbor needs. Depending on the "neighbor," we will show and be that love in different ways. If we believe and offer ourselves fully and humbly, I firmly trust that the Lord will present us with the opportunities to make love an action that we birth into being.
There is one last category of people that needs our love. The "neighbor" that we have classified as not deserving our love. Those that have caused great physical or spiritual harm to us or to those we love. Those that have done things that go beyond our human and moral understanding and comprehension. For there is an evil that seeps into some of God's children. An evil that twists the human soul and hides the light of the Holy Spirit from a person It is an evil that causes them to harm others in profound and deep ways. That is the most challenging love we are called to give.
I just have to remember that authentic love doesn't pick apart or tear down others. Authentic love doesn't have to stop and be reminded that all of us hurt and need others. Love cares about the condition of the other over self. Love is unfailing, undeserved and unconditional.
This is not going to be easy. I have such a long way to go.
by Cyndi Marlow
Many years ago I experienced the powerful grace of God answering a prayer. Very directly as a matter of fact. To keep things brief, and to the point, I had been praying for the grace to be able to love someone that, at the time, I was having a great deal of difficulty being able to love. It weighed very heavy on my heart at that time.
It must have been during the summer or on a weekend as my son and I went to breakfast the next morning at Bob Evans. They were busy that morning. We were still waiting on our food when an older gentleman came over and started talking to us. I recognized him from the church I was attending at the time. I did not know him well and had only spoken to him a few times at church but he was a well-known figure at the church. As he seemed to be alone and the restaurant was busy, we invited him to join us. The conversation was pleasant and very generic. I remember that he talked about some small city council that he was running for. But I could tell he was holding back something. I was thinking that he was going to ask me to do something in his political campaign and I was already forming my response to why I could not get involved.
But, a few more minutes into our conversation and he pulled out an old worn paperback book and said. "I know this is going to sound strange, but I have this book I think I am supposed to give you. I came here to this restaurant this morning because God told me to come and find the person who needed this book. I didn't know who I was looking for when I got here, but I think now it's you. Does this make sense to you? "
I don't remember the exact name of the book, and unfortunately, I cannot find the book anymore, but the title was something like "How to Love" It was a small and rather dated (1960-70's looking) faith-based book on how to better love one another.
I was in shock. God was answering my prayer at the Bob Evans.
I told the gentleman it make perfect sense and thanked him for the book. He apologized for the age of the book. We ate our food, paid our bill and left the restaurant. My son, to this day, had no idea what was going on. I tried to explain it to him later, but he did not seem at all interested. Even today I sit in utter amazement when I think about God so directly answering my prayer, but I am even in more wonder and amazement when I think about that man and his utter trust and obedience to follow God's instructions.
Do you have a similar story to share?
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." Matthew 21:22
Evangelizing the digital continent!
We each may be only one person, but together we are
all part of one body.
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