Sunday, June 28, 2009

If You Really Listen - Sometimes You Get the Message

Sometimes in Mass on Sundays - I miss everything. I can be reading along with the Gospel and miss the whole thing.

Other times - I hear but I don't take anything away from the message.

In these moments, I feel that maybe I'm just not holy enough. Or not trying hard enough. If I were more prayerful, if I trusted God more... maybe He would speak to me. Maybe I could be uplifted. I just must not be trying hard enough.

But sometimes, God hits me right between the eyes.

Our Gospel reading this Sunday was from Mark 5:21-43. A story I am familiar with... but this time I learned something new.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"
But his disciples said to Jesus,
"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'"
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."
Who touched me?
Are you serious? This huge crowd has been jostling you the whole way and now you want to know who touched you?!
But the Lord felt His healing power leave His body. She only touched His cloak.

Jesus doesn't ask me to be perfect. Not even perfect in prayer. He only asks that I reach out to Him. To reach out to Him, confident that He will help me.

That's an area I struggle with. Sometimes I come to Jesus in prayer with a flawed mindset. "Lord, please heal my loneliness. Show me a good man who loves You. Someone I can love, marry and have children with. I mean, I know You're not going to give me a husband, I'm pretty sure you don't even want to... but I'm asking anyway."

That is no way to reach out for His cloak! No! When we reach out to just touch his cloak... reaching out in faith, even among all the other people in the world... He knows it. He feels it!

I had to blink back tears with this realization!
I had to tell a friend! My friend MIME listened to my news and reminded me... what about the other part of the story? The part that sent Jesus walking through town at the request of the synagogue officials, Jairus whose daughter was near death. Jairus asked Jesus to come touch her and heal her.

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep." And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum,"
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
MIME reminded me, when these people doubted that anything could be done - Jesus put them out.
You don't have faith? Get away from me!

This is our God. He doesn't ask us to be perfect. He asks us to believe. To have faith. Even a little bit of faith. Like a mustard seed. Just this little bit of faith - He knows. He knows your need. He knows your faith. He feels it. It matters. He cares.

If we ask or expect without faith - forget it.
Fair enough if you ask me.
I need to line up my thinking and remember that my God wants the best for me. He longs for me to have the desires of my heart. If I only have FAITH.

Scripture copied from: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - New American Bible

Monday, June 22, 2009

On My iPod - the Rosary; Here's Why

At the start of 2007 I was determined to meet my husband. I wouldn't say I was desperate - I was just DONE being alone, and it was time to meet him.

I put out the call for all my friends to introduce me to someone that year - and I began praying the Rosary every night. I bought a CD of the Rosary, and a beautifully illustrated book of the mysteries of the Rosary to help me remember just how it went.

By the end of February I had met Mr. Burns. (the third guy I was introduced to)

Instantly, I knew I liked him. He was so many of the things I was looking for in a man - and so many more I didn't know I needed/wanted.

He couldn't believe I was real.
We became inseparable.
I was sure we'd be engaged by the end of the year.

You know much of the rest.
At some point, things got harder than hard. After 18 months together - he seemed stuck. Mired in some place that kept him from deepening our relationship. I still knew there was something really good there - but after keeping this thing afloat all by myself for so long, I needed a breather.
It was like our relationship was in this boat full of holes and the only way to keep it afloat was for me to hold it up from underwater. He gave me enough help to come up for air once in a while, but mostly, I was exhausted.

And I got out of the habit of praying the Rosary once I had what I wanted... and couldn't get back into it now that I needed assistance again.

Looking back now, we realize that our relationship went off the rails when his dad died unexpectedly. We had been dating for 5 months and everything was moving along just as you would expect - until Mr. Burns was hit with grief.

Hindsight has taught us that he was mired in that grief for longer than either of us realized.

In addition to that, I lost my job two months later. I found part-time work, but I had way too much free time.
He no longer saw the driven, successful, creative woman that I normally am - during the majority of our time together.

That's a lot of stress to put on a young relationship.
But now we know that we can get through some really ugly stuff.
It took us breaking up to have the distance required to learn this.

So, as you know - we've been spending time together again.

But, once when it was Mr. Burns who just didn't know where our relationship was going - now it's me.
I used to know for sure that we were meant to be together - and I was frustrated that he was so confused.

Now, he knows what he wants and I'm the one confused.

We went out for dinner Saturday evening, and as we walked, our pinkies entwined like we used to on long walks or when hiking. (it's too hot and too much to hold hands when you're trying to exercise, so we would just link pinkies instead - to be connected.)
Suddenly I was uncomfortable. It seemed too intimate, considering the confusion between my head and my heart. I released his pinky.

We found a photo booth - I can never pass those up - and ducked inside for a silly photo-session. So overwhelmed with affection is he... he couldn't help but nuzzle on me. I was uncomfortable again.

I attribute this in part to the time I spent really working on disconnecting from him. I still think he's the right guy for me, but in the break-up - some vital cords were severed. They need to be reestablished before we can move forward.

Or, do I just not know whether this is right or not?


Mr. Burns surprised me with two thoughtful gifts for my birthday... one at the beginning of the week to kick things off - and another on Saturday to end the week-long celebration on a high note.

He loved the look on my face when I opened the iP0d Shuffle. It was extreme shock and surprise!
He helped me set up my i+une$ account.
The first thing we loaded on my Shuffle was the Rosary.

Finally, last night, I realized that I can't do this on my own. I need to get back to the Rosary and let the prayer lead me to the answers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dealing With a Pain

My boss called me a little bit ago. Yeah, around 9:00pm. Would you be worried?
He called to ask me to document the behavior of another employee. Yikes.

This will feel a little strange, considering I'm the newest hire. The person I'm documenting has been there for about 7 years.
I want to be careful and fair, because I tend to write these sort of incidents in a matter-of-fact, dispassionate, emotionless sort of way. Which seems to be the right thing to do - but usually comes across as harsh rather than the neutral message I intend.

Here's what happened. My job is to prepare the material for a weekly 'event'. Then it gets handed off to another part of the team. Typically, the same person sees it through to the final product - but today it was handed off to yet another person. This person is difficult at best. We'll call this person Bozo.

As Bozo completed the first phase of the project - it was time for me to weigh in with any changes or adjustments. Bozo told me that part of the material was changed. That the first part of the team made this change. This was a change that, with the resources at hand, I could not accommodate. I'm great at troubleshooting - but this one had the deck stacked against it.

The really strange part, is the first part of the team would NEVER make a change like this without checking with me first. This was very concerning.
Bozo says no... "They do this all the time."
No - they've never done this to me before. It doesn't make any sense.

Then I ask Bozo to show me the change in question - Bozo makes a veiled effort, but then stops and offers another explanation - in an effort to distract me - which is Bozo's preferred Modus Operandi. I ask again, and Bozo instead offers two suggestions to cover the material - both of which will not work. I never did get to see the problem in question.
I chose not to press the issue since I was dealing with Bozo after all.
I called my boss and explained part of the problem and asked for a suggestion. He couldn't help.
Finally, I determined a suitable fix and left for the day.

Forgot about it.
Until my boss called. He spoke with the first part of the team who confirmed that they did not make the change. This in turn confirmed that Bozo made the change. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
Did Bozo make the change just to watch me struggle with an unsolvable problem for no reason? Is this something Bozo would then take pleasure in... watching me spin around trying solve the unsolvable?

Doesn't matter. My boss is ticked. Bozo pulls this stuff all the time. Especially on people like me, my job title, my gender. Mmmm hmmm.
My boss is totally on my side. Which is great. But it also makes me feel bad, because it's something that shouldn't be a big deal. Something I can handle - but shouldn't have to. I could have pushed Bozo to show me the change - (the change that wasn't really there after all you see) but I didn't because I felt pushing the issue on something of this level would be foolish, and just cause more trouble.

And that, my boss pointed out - is the rub. Shouldn't have to. It doesn't have to be this way and the only way we can make it stop is follow the bureaucracy, document it and maybe in 2-3 years we don't have to put up with Bozo any more. Furthermore, if I had been dealing the other person on the team - and asked to see this problematic change - boom - I would have seen it in two seconds flat. The fact of the matter, the problem Bozo was presenting wasn't there. Bozo was just causing trouble.

Sheesh. This is ridiculous!!
Any suggestions for me so that I don't come off sounding like the whiner in this situation?

sorry if this is boring - I just needed to get it off my chest before I write up the real thing. Thanks for letting me vent.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just a Scrunchie

Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie has just started dating Jack Burger? We see that she's just finished reading his newly published book - she's thrilled that he is a fantastic writer - she can love the man because she loves his work.

When he asks her what she thinks of it she gushes enthusiastically - then launches into a rant about the detail in the book that has his main character running all over Manhattan wearing a Scrunchie in her hair. How no self-respecting Manhattan-ite/Fashionista would be caught dead wearing a Scrunchie anywhere other than her bathroom, washing her face before bed!

As if he can go back and take that out of the book. Yikes. You know she's gone too far. The rant was supposed to be lighthearted and funny and instead it turns into a big - ugly deal.

I remember talking to a friend after seeing that episode for the first time - saying, "Wouldn't it be nice if you could erase those mountains made from molehills by simply saying... 'Hey, it's just a Scrunchie... never mind, it's nothing'."

I realized then that the sort of man who would be the right fit for me, would be the guy who understands when I'm just ranting and know that it's nothing. Just a rant. Dismiss it. Never mind.

I came across an ad the other day that had the word Scrunchie in it - and I was reminded of that little epiphany made years ago.

Then I realized, I found that guy. With whom I share that little pact.

When we first started dating, Mr. Burns he told me about some cartoon he saw that involved a misunderstanding between space aliens and some cows.
The dialogue was subtitled, because much of the conversation was in cow. You know, 'Moo'.

At the resolution of the saga, when all the misunderstandings but one were cleared up, the aliens asked for one more clarification.

"Oh, that was Phil's fault." one cow says to the aliens.
The scene reveals Phil the Cow (steer?) lifting his hand/hoof in an apologetic manner as he says, "Moo. Moo, moo."

Mr. Burns found this hilarious. "Moo. Moo, moo." meant, "Sorry. My bad." or "Yeah. Can we forget it?"

When we would get into little rants and rows he would stop and say, "Moo. Moo, moo."
We'd both crack up. It'd break the ice and we could get back to the business at hand.
Before long we were both doing it. We made up different inflections, a single moo. A drawn out moooo. Or a short, quick Moo. To make a point. It became our own language.

One night at a party, Mr. Burns was relating some story to some new friends. At the end of his story, he defaulted to shorthand and said, "Moo. Moo, moo."
Luckily, our new friends had been pulled into a different conversation and didn't notice. After I finished laughing I pulled close to him and whispered, "Honey. They don't speak Moo."

This was our shorthand. A silly way to communicate.
And just this week, I realized - that was a quality I wanted all along. Someone who knows when a Scrunchie is just a Scrunchie. A cigar is just a cigar.
Move on - don't sweat the small stuff.


Mr. Burns and I have been spending time together again lately, and he often effuses about the Power of Moo.
Sure. Some people might see it as avoidance. He sees it as a representation of our ability to communicate. How we relate to one another.
We were always careful not to abuse the Moo. "No. This isn't a Moo. This is serious." then we get down to business. We understand what's worth spending time discussing - and what we shouldn't waste our time on.

It's just... you know... Moo.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Well, How About That?

I have been looking for a skirt - or skirts - for months now. Ever since thoughts of spring popped into my head around February.

And I mean, I looked everywhere! TJMaxx. Ross. As in, every TJ's and Ross in the city and surrounding suburbs. Koh!s. Nordstrom Rack. Neiman's Last Call. The G^p. Goodw!ll.

Everywhere I wouldn't have to pay full price and some places I might. Haven't found even one. Well to be fair... not one that wasn't completely out of my price range.


So 20 minutes in Target - I found 6 skirts to try on. Bought two of them. $9.99 and $14.99. How about that?! Target is so great - they always know what we want before the rest of the world catches on!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Penny Saved

Never seems to go very far!

I met two of my guy friends for drinks last week. It was Paul's birthday and we got together to watch one of the Nuggets-Lakers games.
These guys treat their cell phones like appendages! Constantly checking, texting, tinkering.

At one point I pulled my phone out of my bag to see if there were any messages. Paul caught sight of it and said, "Whoa. That phone is old-school!"
I'm a little behind the curve on technology. I do need to upgrade my phone soon and plan to get a B!ackberry with a data plan. For now this 4.5 year old phone will do.
I've never understood the need to have the lastest and greatest at all times.

Then, in a conversation with someone new the other day (okay - it was a date) it came up that I don't have an iPod.
What? How do you not have an iPod?

Short answer, it's never been a priority.
Dig a little deeper and priority is the key word.

I told my date, "You know, I'm the sort of person who is always saving up for something that I never get to buy."
I don't know if anyone else has ever heard of this 'sort' of person.

I've been saving up for my dream sofa for almost 3 years now.
I spent $500 on my night guard instead. I figure it's more important that I have teeth when I'm 60 than that I have a gorgeous new couch right this minute.
4 years ago I splurged on a Digital SLR camera. Actually, that's one time I had the money saved and then it took me 9 months to commit to spending it!!!

I'm accustomed to any of my slush funds being repurposed for something I seriously don't want. Like tires. Or replacing the manifold gasket for the second time in 12 months. (That's a $400 procedure surrounding a $30 part - BTW) Replacing the pipes under my bathtub. ($1000) Or that incredibly sexy night guard.

An iPod? You know, they still play music on the radio for free right? So not a priority.

That new cell phone is next on my list... after I pay for the damage my leaking radiator did to my downstairs neighbor's ceiling.
And maybe one day... teeth whitening!!! Oh what a glorious day that will be!