Friday, January 24, 2014

It's Like Beating Your Head Against A Wall

  I truly wonder how God doesn't give up on us. I mean, time after time He must rescue us from our sins, forgive us and bless us. I imagine He must shake His head every time and say, "She still hasn't learned this lesson." sigh... "Let's try this again, Lisa!"
  I say this because sometimes I don't learn my own lessons, the ones I try to teach to myself. For example, every week I must push an open cart carrying our Sunday bulletins in an open carton over to Church to be given out for the weekend. I've had this job now for over six years.  I've carried them over in rain or shine, cold or heat.  For the rain I cover the box with an umbrella or better yet a clean garbage bag.  But there is something about windy days that does not sink into my graying head.
  Windy days are the bane of my existence. I swear! I really dislike them. Now I love the breeze, I love the rising wind before a storm rolls in, the almost gale force breezes off the ocean while sitting on the beach. But a plain ole windy day in Southeast Missouri drives me to insanity.
  Especially when it comes to carting my bulletins to the church.   I think it has something to do with the subtle way mother nature does it. She thinks it's funny to watch me look out the door, see nothing going on weather wise and begin my journey down the ramp from the office building, blithely on my way.  Then I hit the end of the ramp which also ends the protection of the building and all heck breaks lose. If I haven't remembered to secure my kite-like cargo, it's off fluttering away and I'm making a mad dash doing a really good scene that would have worked in an "I Love Lucy" show.  Papers flying everywhere, bulletin inserts coming apart and sticking to the ground.
  Try as I might, I can't possibly keep a hand on the remaining bulletins in the box and catch all the ones in the air or pick up the ones waiting on the ground. 
  And this has not happened just once to me. Today marked the third time I fell for what looked like calm air.  The sun was shining, though the temperature was hovering right at 15 degrees. I only wore my hoodie because I'd been running all over the parish campus all morning and was warm. I escorted my cargo down the ramp and wham, the wind hit it and an instant the air was full of whirling papers.
  Only this time it got really bad. Bulletins began flapping through the air across the street, down the next block. I ran inside and screamed for help from my office mates. They came running and it took us quite a few minutes to retrieve bulletins from down the alley and the block.
  My fingers were beet red from the wind and my fingernails broken from scratching up paper from concrete. I was exhausted!
  All my office companions could do, beside laugh at me was say, "Have you STILL not learned this lesson, Lisa?"
  "No," I shake my head, "but I guess I was spreading the Good News!  And it was Gone Like the Wind!"


Friday, January 17, 2014

Renovating Fun With the Picture Lady

  I don't think I've mentioned the fact that our parish is in the midst of renovating our church. In the last five years, we've added a new building to our school complex, updated our rectory and this year it's time for the Church to get an "old" new look. This is all due to the generosity of our parish members who have donated both time, effort and money and to the wills and bequests of deceased members.  God bless them all!
  Since I began working in the parish office six years ago, I've had the pleasure of learning a lot about construction, change, moving furniture and taking pictures. The picture taking is the best part, I love seeing things in time lapse, what it looked like before and what it looks like now.
  And that fascination has me browsing through our archives and finding old pictures taken inside the church. Wow, this is not the only renovation our 146 year old church has undergone. So rest assured, we are just keeping with our history of changing things. Kind of like I am at home. Dining room? Hmm...we don't have one of those, let's make the living room into a dining room now...
  Anyway, the picture taking, furniture moving etc is not without it's pitfalls. Earlier this week Father and I were taking things down from the church attic, yes we have one of those, actually three of them if you count all the different spaces that exist in different parts of the church. He was standing up in the attic handing down some of our Christmas trees, I was standing on a cabinet taking things from him and dropping them to the floor,stood up and banged my head on the ceiling, not once but twice, then set down what I was carrying, stood up and did it again.
  By this time our wonderful Pastor was in stitches laughing, although he did say God bless you afterwards, so I had that going for me. But it still hurt!
  The next day we were moving cabinet drawers in the sacristy and I stepped back right onto a piece of molding with nails in it. Yep, you guessed it, I felt the slight pinch and my trusty tennis shoe was impaled with a nail. Luckily it didn't really pierce the skin on my foot, but I went directly to the Health Center for a tetanus shot!
    It wouldn't be so funny, but this is like the third injury I've incurred while "helping" in Church since we've started renovating. It began when I tripped over the stairs in the choir loft when they were redoing the flooring there. It's never anything big, I just twisted my back and wore a heating pad for a week, but I'm beginning to get looks from the parish staff every time I go back and forth to Church. Lots of "be careful, Lisa!" follow me out the door. 
  While I am a self proclaimed klutz, after 30 years of teaching martial arts, I at least know how to fall correctly. But that training has yet help me avoid bumping my head, or watching what I step on.
  My husband has threatened to send me to work in a hard hat, overalls and now heavy work boots to keep me safe.
  I personally think my Guardian Angel is taking some much needed time off, but I do wish he'd get back from vacation, or quit taking a moment for himself!  I mean I am working on God's work here, in His house. But I guess anytime you try to do something for the Lord, the devil is right there trying to trip you up, with me it's literal!
  But I am getting some great pictures in the process!  I have even received a nickname from the construction crew, and no it's not Klutz. I open the church door and walk and I hear, "Look out, it's the Picture Lady again!"
  See, at least they haven't witnessed my embarrassing moments so far. I've luckily kept that only in front of Father and my family members.  Which is why I tell my husband I cannot possibly wear the hard hat and overalls in front of guys working inside church. It will be a dead give away that I'm a klutz in need of watching out for and get banned from taking more pictures.
  I mean, there is scaffolding to scale, ladders to climb to get some really awesome shots of church, and the sanctuary...I can't ruin that!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Takashi Nagai: Song for Nagasaki

I was reading one of my fave bloggers who wrote about a favorite person of hers she hopes to emulate this year. While not yet a saint, his story is a beautiful journey of faith and love. I hope you click on this link and follow his story:
The Conversion of Takashi Nagai, And His Vocation of Love

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Oh Holy Mary, Nagger of Jesus...

   Don't get me wrong, never would I EVER accuse the Blessed Mother of being anything but wonderful, holy and gentle...but it finally dawned on me the other night, as I lay in bed unable to sleep that I finally shared someting in common with our Blessed Mother.  I struggle daily with not being a calm, gentle, quiet wife and mother, who looks constantly at Mary to be my example of how a wife and mother should me. I feel like I fail on every count.  Mary said yes to God about having Jesus, even though she was very young, not married yet and was facing a stoning if anyone found out. She then rode on a donkey, nine months pregnant, had baby Jesus in a smelly stable, then when Joseph found out they could not return home for fear of Herold killing Jesus, she had to leave family and friends beind to make a new life in Nazareth. 
  Then Jesus gets lost while they are visiting the temple and makes no bones about it to her and Joseph when they ask why he disappeared.  Never, ever, do we hear a complaint from Mary about all this.  In fact we hear more about Joseph who was given dreams about what to do about all this. But Mary never says anything again after that, "yes," until the temple issue comes about.
   It's not until Jesus is like 30 years old do we EVER hear that Mary said anything to Him. At a friend's wedding, when the couple run out of wine, Mary, being a mom, and as all moms know, you find out these things, she found out about the wine trouble and went to Jesus.  "Son, they are out of wine."
  And quite surprisingly, at least to me, Jesus answers her back with, "Woman, that's really isn't my problem now, is it?"
  But Mary had insisted. Or as I would label it now as "mom nagged" about it. 
   What joy! I laid in bed and pondered on this simple discovery. Mary had actually nagged her son about something. Although most historians and bible people don't list it like, I've seen the face and heard the sigh enough to recognize the words Jesus said to his mom that day, "Woman, my time has not yet arrived."   It sounded to every bit to me like he was sighing and rolling his eyes at his mom.  I know that sigh!!!
  Having just come off a day of nagging our son who lives on his own, that he really needed to get a new car battery before the snow/cold armagedon of 2014 hit the Midwest, or he'd be stuck at his job, late at night in the cold.  My son, who can manage very well most of the time without interference from his mother, will on occasion stiffen up and refuse to budge when he feels Mom has gone a little overboard on the worry factor.  I have finally come to warn him of impending text messages about the tornado that is headed our way, the holy day coming up, his sister from California is coming to town and he'd better make time to visit, or a multitude of other "mom" nags, into a "Obimom Alerts"
   Obimom Alerts are text messages sent to any of my kids when I am worried about their welfare and I know they have plenty of common sense, but I still feel the need to warn, remind, or alert them to impending potential doom, illness or problems.
   But now, I finally felt I knew Mary a little better. She had actually nagged her son to help someone! I felt like Ralphie in the Christmas Story, holding his Red Rider BB Gun as he fell asleep, smiling, content.   It was okay to nag my kids on occasion, because Mary had done it!

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Yum of Winter and Our Daily Bread

   Two hours before our Thanksgiving meal, I had my wonderful husband and my awesome youngest daughter working cleaning the house, when suddenly it came to me that dinner for our families would be much better if all shared at the same table as opposed to separate tables in two different rooms!  Which meant, moving furniture.
  Moving furniture is kind of a past time with me, it's in my DNA. My mom would move furniture every time my dad had to go out of town for meetings. It gave her something to do to pass the time until he was home again.
   Anyway, 30 minutes later we had a new dining room; our old living room with the kitchen table in it along with a second table and chairs to go around. Move this dry sink here, a chair or two go downstairs and Ta-Da! A brand new Dining Room.  Who needs a living room?
  It worked so well that now, now, after New Year's we still have the room set up for dining where we eat every evening and don't even miss the living room.  I love sitting at the table in a totally different atmosphere, with candles lit away from the middle of the kitchen.  Though it's just the three of us most evenings, it's nice to catch up on the day eating soup, or meatloaf; the leftovers of Thanksgiving long gone, and enjoy the quiet of the new dining area.  It's funny what a little change you make in your life can turn into a better habit.
  Like going to Mass every day. What began as just helping out at Mass because some of our Eucharistic Ministers were unable to be there all the time, has in two years time become a daily habit with me; serving the Lord by going to Mass, holding a Communion Service, training new altar servers or assisting our presiders during Mass.  I don't think I could go back to sitting at my desk first thing in the morning. Now my day doesn't feel right, no matter how busy it's going to be, without going to Mass first.
  I like change and I don't like change. Some change catches on and some doesn't.  Unlike resolutions, change comes about out of necessities sometimes. Maybe that's the best way to change our prayer life too, out of a necessity of needing the Lord even more...sometimes on a daily bread!