Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Our society has us struggling to be perfect while other societies simply struggle for food and shelter. We have so much, that we can pick and choose what is and isn't perfect - and discard the rest.

Surfing around the bloggy world, we encounter women struggling for the perfect home, -either via decor or via the provisions of freshly baked muffins- to be the perfect mom, to have the perfect outfit or perfect body.

Is this what we are meant to seek?

When I was a small girl, I recall asking my mom about heaven. I think it was shortly after my Grandpa died. He'd been in wheelchair at least as long as I had been alive.

Mom told me, "When you get to heaven you will be perfect. No one has any flaws, no sickness or disease in Heaven."

She was trying to tell me that Grandpa wouldn't be 'crippled' in heaven (we used that word back then.) But my young mind didn't quite get it. My thoughts wrestled with the idea and I wondered if heaven wouldn't be a bit boring if everyone looked like Cheryl Tiegs and Tom Selleck. How would I even find my grandpa in a crowd of Cheryls and Toms?

Because even then, as a seven year old - I knew what the earthly world I lived in, held as perfection and those two beautiful stars represented it!

This is one of my favorite photos of myself. Taken back when I really loved my thin, muscular little body - and immersed in God's glorious creation! Yes, it's dark due to back-lighting but I can still see the deep rocky canyon and the rushing waterfall in my mind's eye. (September 1999)

Lately, I've been beating myself up over my appearance. My friend sent me pictures he took of us just before Valentine's day - we went to a charity dance and I wore my favorite little black dress. A dress that I trust to look fantastic on me.

In the pictures though, it is obvious that I have lost the majority of any of the muscle tone I once had. The beautiful dress is just hanging off of me. I am ashamed that I have let God's gift of my body waste away. In my younger years, I photographed beautifully because I was strong and firm. These days even my face is suffering the effects of gravity. Must get back in shape!

I have also allowed a stranger to confirm my worst fears, if only for a minute or two.
I signed up on a free dating website this weekend and started searching for Catholic men. I am encouraged to say that I found more than I expected! I sent a quick e-mail to one very cute Catholic guy who listed sleep as one of his 'interests'. I thought it was really funny and titled my e-mail with, "man after my own heart!" thinking he might be amused.

When I went back to check correspondence, I saw that he had deleted my email unread. My first thought was, "RUDE". Then I reasoned that he checked my profile before reading the email and decided that I wasn't pretty.

Fortunately, God intervened in my pity party and told me - "Good riddance."
Indeed. Who wants to spend time with a man who doesn't even care what I have to say?

God doesn't ask us to be perfect. Only that we seek perfection.
And that doesn't mean a hot body, or hot muffins in the kitchen. He wants us to seek Him - and to strive to be like Him.
I want to get back into shape, to look better - Yes. I'm scouting for men again, and if I get to wear a wedding dress some day, I want to look good. But I'm going to focus on doing what I can with this body God gave me - to glorify Him!!

A couple years ago, my bible study class went over Genesis and the story of Creation. Through our discussion I realized that our goal is to reach the utopia that was Eden… the world God created for us and before our original sin fouled it all up.

Here on Earth it easy to think that nothing is enough. Because it isn't. We are too far from God to be whole. Not being enough right now is nothing to be discouraged about.

Perfection in Heaven doesn’t mean that we will all turn into Claudia Schiffer.

What a beautiful realization to understand that when you and I reach perfection – we’ll look just like you and just like TRS – the difference is, it will be enough!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Cheese Stands Alone

Just before Thanksgiving Mr. Burns and I discussed looking at rings.
We also discussed the inevitable merging of households if the whole ring thing stuck.

He wanted to keep his condo for a few more years, so that it might appreciate enough for us to have a better down payment on a house later on. Deep down I knew that was a smart plan, but I didn't like the idea of moving into his place instead of a new to us our place. (that's one reason he splurged on the new elfa closet system.)

Mainly, I didn't like the idea of living that far away from downtown.

I'm a downtown girl. My friends are downtown. When friends move to the suburbs, they have babies and disappear.

That's what bothered me most. I didn't want to disappear. I didn't want to be the type of married person who loses touch with my single friends. I shared this concern with a married friend of mine - who assured me it would happen. Even though it's just a 20 minute drive - no one would bother to make it. I would make new friends.

The crux is I don't want to abandon my old friends.

I hate it when someone you have been close to for years - gets married - has babies and then decides they don't have time for you - the single person - anymore.

I vow that if I ever get married, I will not neglect single people. I intend to invite them over for movie night or for meals. If I would blessed to have children, I want my single friends to be their Aunts and Uncles. I want all my friends to continue to be a part of my life - no matter their circumstances.

But maybe it's just not supposed to be that way. Maybe as people grow and move onto new stages of life - they're supposed to leave the past behind. Maybe. Because after all, the only people hurting in such a scenario are the single people.

My concern was proven when Mr. Burns and I broke up last month. It happened on a Friday night. As soon as he left my house, I texted one of my single girlfriends to see if she was working or not. She saw the urgency in my text, called me, asked what was wrong and came right over to console me.

The next morning, I wanted to share the news with my other friends. Voice mail. Five voice mails in a row. My other close friends are married and have kids - it was Saturday morning so it was family time. In a time of need - they weren't available. Not that I begrudge them time with their families. I was ALONE.

The first person to call me back was a single guy friend. Then my dear friend Kikr - who, while blissfully married, doesn't have kids - and knew that if I called at that hour (before 9am on a Saturday in her time zone) something was up.

Now, I do understand that the world doesn't have to be immediately available to me.
All I'm saying is - it made being alone sting all the more, because I'm the only one. I'm nobody's priority. I have missed the boat. I forgot to get married and have children. I waited too long. The world is justified in being indifferent to me.
The cheese stands alone.

FYI ~ my concerns about merging households was NOT the reason we broke up. Just want to clarify before someone decides to jump on me about that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mustard Seed

Did you know that I found my soul mate?

Relax, that's not news. I've known her for almost ten years, and two years ago she married the most wonderful man who is so, SO good for her. I want to move to San Francisco and be their next door neighbor!

But the reason I bring it up - is because I want to tell you a little story she relayed to me today. (Bear with me - this story is scattered all over the place!)

For Valentine's day, Kikr's husband gave her a lovely little necklace. It's a circle of glass surrounded by silver and inside, it holds a mustard seed.

Some of you read that description and already have an idea what it symbolizes, and have probably left to search for a similar necklace for yourself! That's okay. I'll wait.

Okay, back? Let's move on.

Kikr visited her doctor today - it was only the second visit with this doctor but she really likes her. If you've ever found a doctor or any other health professional that just puts you at ease and seems to connect with you - you'll understand how happy she is to have found this doc.

She feels that this doctor understands her, they relate well. They're simpatico.

Then as doctor was examining my friend, Kikr's necklace caught her eye. Finally when she went to listen to her heart doc asked, "What is that?"

Kikr told her it was a mustard seed.
"A mustard seed? Why?!"
"It's a symbol of faith. It's a reminder that even the tiniest bit of faith can achieve great results." Luke 17:5-6, Matthew 17:20

Kikr says she felt in that instant that their connection was gone.
She felt that the doctor immediately changed her view of Kikr - suddenly Kikr was one of 'those' people.

"And you know what?" Kikr asked me, "It only happens to Christians. If you're a Buddhist, the response is, 'Oh that's great. You're so enlightened.' If your Jewish, that's cool. But if you are Christian, you're one of 'those' people. I am so tired of it."

I agree with my friend's observation.
I think that is a chief factor in politics right now... if you identify as a Christian you are lumped into a category that describes you as closed-minded, ignorant, and uneducated. Apparently educated people can only think the same way.

I'll even say it doesn't work the other way around. If we meet someone who is of a different faith, or of no faith - we respond with "Okay. I'd still like to understand you. I will walk with you."

Or do we?
I feel that I do. I have a friend who is an atheist, and while I don't agree with him - I embrace him. With him I have some of the most wonderful discussions about faith.

Maybe not all Christians behave the way my friend and I do. (now, I'm not saying we're superior.) Maybe others have encountered Christians who immediately tell them they are wrong to have no faith, or wrong for not believing in Christ. Maybe they tell them they are destined for hell.
I personally don't know any Christians like that, but maybe they are out there. And if they are - well - they are bad PR!

I will admit that will point out wrong.
My atheist friend who is the midst of a divorce, told me he had reconnected with his high school sweetheart - and that they were having an affair. She's still married (and his divorce isn't final) They both have children.

I was not shy about telling him that what he was doing was wrong. He didn't like to hear it, but he heard me out. And I could only tell him what I thought, and how strongly I believed it - because I am his friend. If I had dismissed him when I met him - told him he was sinner right then - he would not have stood for my lecture!
He's given up the affair - and we are still friends.

How do you present as a Christian? Do you feel tagged by some people, or always embraced?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Do You Believe in Love? Ooo ooo ooh ooo wee ooo

Just a strain of the old Huey Lewis & the News song was in a TV commercial yesterday - and I picked out the riff of the song.

Let's set aside the fact that songs from my teenage years are selling insurance and erectile dysfunction meds now --- cause that's not depressing.
Do You Believe in Love ~ Huey Lewis & the News
and let's further ignore that this has to be the creepiest music video - with the world's worst set design ever.

The song that was so catchy when I was crushing on boys in high school - today becomes a question. Do I believe in love?

I think I don't.

Of course I believe in the "Oh my dear sweet baby, I'd do anything to protect you my child." sort of love.
But the romantic, "Let's get married, I don't want to live without you." love - not so much.

Meeting someone and having them fall head over heels - never gonna happen.

At this point, I think love is a choice. You meet someone - you click. You agree on essentials like faith, family, the difference between right and wrong - and you think, "I could live with this person." If you both agree - that's what you do. Then love grows because you share your lives together.

That's exactly what I felt when I first met Mr. Burns. Finally, here is someone like me. Someone with the same values, same family upbringing, someone who 'got' my sense of humor (because that is a big get!) For the first time, I thought - "This could actually work." rather than - "Yeah, well - keep it movin' sonny."

Now that we broke up for the second time, I have trouble understanding why so many people can do this and I can't. I mean, there are complete morons out there - people with corrupt notions of what is right and wrong - people who really shouldn't have children - and they get married and make it work and are reasonably if not ecstatically happy.

Why can't I?
What is so intrinsically unlovable about me? What makes me so imperfect that I should be sentenced to a life alone?

Of course I know that is not the case.
I know that I am lovable. I know that I am a wonderful person, who frankly, any man should be thrilled to even imagine having by his side for the rest of his life.
But, this mortal world just isn't going to provide that.
In this mortal world, I think men don't even want to be married. I don't think they seek it.

I look at the people around me - couples everywhere - and I think they are either pretending.... or they just decided that life together is better than life apart and they did it.

How on this green earth do you get a man to just decide to do it? Mr. Burns couldn't. I always did think he was waiting for some bolt of lightning to signify that this was the 'right' one. And I don't think that's how it works. I think you gotta just go for it and then put your faith in God to make it work.

I can't figure it out. All I know is that I opened my heart and my life to this man and - nothing.

I don't think this love thing everyone is talking about is real.

Wanna tell me what you think? I'd love to know.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Which I Want to Crawl in a Hole and Disappear - and also some happy thoughts

I've had a very bad day.

This morning I was brought to tears by my bank balance - that which is whittling away as I wait for my first unemployment check, work a measly 15 hours a week at a part-time job (which I LOVE btw), and wait to hear if I get the promotion to full-time manager at said job, which they won't decide until April.

I've been in similar situations before, watching a waning account balance while unemployed... and the sweet Lord has always provided for me in amazing ways.

In my heart, I know I'll be okay through the grace of God - but I struggle with thoughts that I should be better at providing for myself. I did not lose my job on account of being a bad employee. I lost it because the city for which I worked had to make severe budget cuts. Still, it hurts my pride all the same.

Then, after drying my tears and struggling with fears of becoming homeless I got a message from my part-time job. Now I was faced with the decision of covering a 4-hour shift which would result in $40 being added to my account balance - or - staying home to apply for 5 jobs so that I qualify for this week's unemployment benefits equaling $150. Some choice... work to provide for myself - or - apply for jobs that don't even meet my qualifications.

I stayed home and wrote meaningless cover letters.

I don't know for certain how I am going to make ends meet. As I considered this, my thoughts strayed to the one thing that disappoints me about my Church. The one area where the Catholic church falls down in comparison to other denominations is helping those in need. Yes, the church funds Project Rachel, and supports food banks and homeless shelters. Catholic Charities handles most assistance needs, but it would be great if the people you worship with would extend a helping hand -or at least a comforting shoulder- to those sitting right in their midst who need help and support. (and let me tell you, my parish is filled with very wealthy folks. I think, the sort who would never imagine that someone 'just like them' by all appearances is in such a bad way.)

I have a friend at my church who is going through a very tough time - she has a small child and she's greatly pregnant and dealing with a huge personal crisis. Many people at church have an idea what she is going through. They know I am her friend and they ask me if she is okay and what they can do to help. (she is hiring help and has family flying in to help when the baby is born.)

The same people also know that I am unemployed for the second time in 2.5 years. But they don't ask me how they can help. I'm sure they are praying that I will find a suitable job - but that doesn't give me immediate help.

And I hate that I am even considering the idea of being a charity case - but it is getting that bad right now.

Oddly, my pregnant-personal-crisis-friend has great financial resources. She has asked me to help her with some projects - and I gladly do. Then before I leave she writes me a check to 'pay' me. I don't want her money -- but today I appreciate the fact that we are helping one another in the ways that we each need to be helped. In ways we are each capable of helping.

I guess I am just saying that we should all try to be aware of what those around us are going through - and offer to help. Even it's just taking that person out to lunch - or slip them a gift card to the grocery store. (I checked - I don't seem to qualify for food stamps - though I don't understand how they came to that conclusion)

On a more uplifting note - I have a bloggy award!
Stacey at Stacey's Thoughts on Infertility seems to LIKE me! I am so thrilled for her right now - as she is finally, cautiously embarking on that nine month journey to a real live miracle - child to love!!

To me she has bestowed the Sugar Doll Award.
I am not sure of the criteria - but I do graciously accept!The rules are simply to copy the award to your own blog, tell your readers 10 things about yourself, and pass it along!

So, 10 things about me:

1. I can’t think of any single thing that would inspire me to run. Including impending death.

2. I don’t wear pink. Not no way, not no how.

3. I love the sound of a helicopter flying over my roof. Hard to explain. It’s some sort of thrill. I have lived near hospitals and under the Police Chopper flight path in my last four apartments (3 cities) – so the sound makes me feel at home now.

4. I don’t cook. I don’t enjoy it – it’s a chore. Many friends assume this means I can’t cook. Silly. I can follow directions just like anyone else. When I do cook – it’s very good. I’d just rather make food for 20 people than for one. It makes it worth the effort expended.

5. If sleeping soundly were an Olympic event, I’d be Michael Phelps. If a burning house and four fire trucks outside my window can’t wake me – what confidence can I place in three alarm clocks?

6. I’m so not afraid of heights that it’s dangerous. I love heights. Particularly precarious heights. I once stood atop each presidential head on Mount Rushmore. At one point I was so close to the precipice of Jefferson’s forehead that a Park Ranger tied a rope around me.

7. I really thought I’d be married and have kids by now. Like 7 years ago. I’m sort of pissed that I don’t get what everyone else gets in life. Not for lack of trying.

8. I was completely distraught when, in treatment of hip pain, my chiropractor suggested that I wear only flat shoes for a few months. MONTHS?!

9. I kind of enjoy losing control while driving on ice, because I get a little thrill from recovering. No fun if you crash.

10. Animals personified make me laugh every time. Always. A dog in a hat. An animated animal reading the newspaper or wearing an apron… hilarious. The catch is, I am now so accustomed to Brian/Family Guy being personified, that I crack up when he does something canine.

I'd like to give this award to some bloggy friends who charm the heck out of me!

Have a Cute Day - so inspirational!
The Nester - I'd like to steal her house!
Jennifer at Conversion Diary - she's a former atheist who has converted to Catholicism. Blessed with incredible writing skills she has the ability to inspire cradle Catholics like myself to believe and serve better!
Genevra at Conversations with Myself - someone I want to know IRL!
and speaking of wanting to know In Real Life - I'm dying to meet Erin Ann especially once she's back from Haiti!

These are the folks that help me entertain my unemployed mind with all this time off!! Can I also blame them for me being internet addicted and out of shape?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Resolutions I Can Stick To!

I have a history of Epic Fail when it comes to New Years Resolutions. So mostly I just don't.
Actually, I make the typical goals of exercising more, getting back in shape, eating better and being kinder - but those are just goals; no point making it a resolution - I should be doing it anyway.

So I find that I'm opting for a friendlier, more fun form of resolution. The kind I can stick to - and can still consider self-improvement because it makes me look and feel better even if I'm not getting into better shape!

It started last year when a quick inventory of my closet revealed this:Oh yes, that's a lot of clothes. I was initially impressed with the variety until I realized every single thing is Grey, White, Cream, Black or Brown!!! A closet full of neutrals! Oh the shame!

I did some introspection and realized that I tend toward neutrals because I want everything to go with everything. But a closet full of neutrals doesn't really work. It's pretty boring. (please note: the two striped items are new additions - to be explained later. and yes I realize they are grey and white and black and white!) Bah!

So for 2009 my goal was to infuse color into my closet. I don't know why every time I find something that is just adorable - it's always grey or black! Why is that?!
A year later - here are my additions:
The reds were already there, as were the green and teal blue sweaters.

From Blah to Bright
For 2010 my goal is to explore patterns and accessories. I'm getting inspired by fashion bloggers like Clothed Much, Have a Cute Day and Infinite Whimsy. I really need to jazz things up!

You see, I'm a little afraid of patterns and prints. I think because I'm fairly tiny ~ and because I feel my face doesn't have strong features... I'm afraid I'll disappear in a pattern or print. (My friends assure me this is crazy, but still it's how I feel. )

So that's how I ended up with one striped t-shirt and one striped cardigan - My first print purchases of 2010!!! Really branching out there.

Accessories are another story.
My parents taught me to be frugal and so I've viewed accessories as unnecessary. When you limit your clothing purchases to under $20 an item - belts and jewelry often double the cost of an outfit - so I never bothered to get any.

I have 5 new belts now - and I know another reason why I didn't buy any for most of my life... THEY NEVER FIT!! I've taken 3 belts to the tailor to shorten from the buckle end... and they still don't fit right. Basically you have to decide if it's a belt you are going to wear at the waist or below your waist. One belt cannot do both jobs. That's not very versatile, therefore I just skip it!

Even my shoes are a little too practical. I want them to go with everything so I don't stray too far from the mainstream. Smart - but a bit boring. My personality is NOT this tame. One of the best compliments I ever got was a co-worker's wife who said my outfits were always so cute... "If you had any money, you'd be fabulous!"

Here are some of my new outfits combining old standbys - new punches of color - and accessories!!
White tuxedo ruffle T - from the Gap
Yellow Cardigan - TJMaxx
Grey Skirt - Target
Belt - TJMaxx
Black boots - TJMaxx

Tweed Jacket - $7 at Dillards 4 years ago
Green turtleneck - Tweeds $19 at TJMaxx
Black Skirt - Shade Clothing
Belt - ditto
Boots - ditto

White button down - had for ages
Teal sweater - Charlotte Russe
Brown pants - Candies from Kohls
Belt - purchased in my college years (1990)

Brown Boots - years old from Ross

Let's see what happens this year! I'll post updates - feel free to critique some of my choices. (praise preferred!)

Thursday, February 04, 2010


I didn't expect this. This feeling of hope. Of expectation.

For about two days after the break-up, I spent the time mourning my lacking fertility. Sort of: "Oh great, almost 40 and single again... what great odds for reproduction."

After Mass on Sunday, I spoke to a casual friend (someone in my social circle - someone whom I like - but we're not extremely close)

She: "Are you still seeing...?"
Me: "Actually we broke up on Friday..."
She: "I've been wanting to introduce you to my friend S."

Seriously, she didn't even want to know more about the break-up! It's like she knew it was over and I was ready to move on. She explained that she'd even brought him to church once - so I could meet him - and that's when I was with Mr. Burns. She turned to her friend and said it looked like I was taken. That was three years ago. She's wanted us to meet for that long.

So that gave me a little hope, that maybe there is someone right around the corner. It could be S. It could be someone else. But the point is - I feel hopeful. I was afraid I would feel destitute. I was focused on being 'old', out-of-shape, out-of-work and out of contention for any good, Godly man seeking his life's mate.

The Lord's tender mercy pulled me out of the 'Woe is me' phase - faster than I expected. I am so grateful. (No doubt in part to many prayers from my beautiful bloggy friends - and my fabulous in-real-life friends too! Thank you!)

Mr. Burns stopped by this evening to deliver various things that I had left at his house. Serving dishes from our Christmas celebration, my weight set, other random stuff.

As we wrapped things up, I noticed he looked happy - and remarked on it.
He told me I looked happy too.
It was tough for both of us to realize that we were responsible for keeping the other from this easy happiness. That the weight that was dragging us down - was in fact our relationship.

Now we're both free. It's time to move on.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

And So it Goes

When I called my parents the other day, Dad had some news.

He finally went to see an attorney about drafting a will. (Gee Dad, ya think you should get on that at age 77?) He wanted to know what I thought about some of the provisions. My family doesn't have much money, but my parents want to be fair.

As Dad explained some of the terms, he paused and said, "Well, what's going on in your love life?"
(I have to laugh because my dad stays completely OUT of my dating life. He's so precious to have never taken a position about me ever getting married or not!!)

Me: "We just broke up."

He stepped over it as a simple piece of information and explained that, barring (or despite) any changes in my marital status he's arranged for anything to go to Mom first, then to us kids - and whether I would have a husband or not, when I'm gone my share would go to the grandchildren. My nieces, nephew and great-niece.

Is that okay with me?

Absolutely. That's exactly what I would have suggested.
Nice to know we think alike.

But then for a split second - I was sad that even in this stage of the game it's a foregone conclusion that I won't have a husband or children.