Real is the New Perfect, But is it Fair?

I hide away sometimes within the safe confines of my own mind. That’s not fair, is it? I tell myself it’s easier to sweep my thoughts clear as opposed to sharing every single whim, plan, thought, or dream with my husband. Why do I do that? I share most things with him. And still, I don’t bare it all.  Just last night we were talking about our future plans. He’s really betting on me and that’s scary, right? No. It’s actually quite the confidence builder. But certain things I keep to myself. I don’t think he’ll judge, in fact quite the opposite. I think he likes to encourage my crazy. “Whatever makes you happy” he says. So then what’s the hesitation?

Certain things I share here on my blog with you, and there’s lots that I keep to myself. I wasn’t always like that. I didn’t always pull a Mary and ponder all these things in my heart. I was an open book.

Real is the New Perfect, But is it Fair? by @fillpraycloset #goodenoughmom #friendships #marriage

By Smallbones (Own work) [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Is it age? You know, as we get older we are more afraid to take risks, or to seem like we’re throwing caution to the wind, because we’re settled and mature. Going back to the chat with my husband last night, I kept repeating the word “settled”. I just want to be more settled. Granted, the most stable thing in our lives is each other. Yes, my faith is too. But he doesn’t have that. So jointly, all we have that we can count on is, each other. So where is all of this “settled” coming in from? We’ve moved quite a bit, I’ve changed directions in my career quite a bit, the boys have changed schools, we’ve had our parents tornado their way in and out of our lives countless times and he even noted that we never have the same adults at the kids’ birthday parties. Our lives, as adults aren’t perfect. Nor do I want them to be. I trust him and know that I can be completely myself when I’m with him. He understands the quirk that makes me work, in all of its idiosyncratic splendor (it’s not really splendid people, that man is going to be canonized as the saint for atheists married to Catholic women if he’s not careful).

I think it’s something closer to “picking your battles”.  It’s not to say that sharing is a battle (maybe it is?). But if we shift that perspective a little bit, maybe we just pick things we want to share because those parts that we don’t are still being chewed on, processed or polished. Maybe we need that time, that space to feel it out, make it real within ourselves. Vet it to be sure it’s something we want to push forth into conversation with people we love and trust. People who will help nurture that polished idea into fruition.

He says I have to ease up in my zero tolerance approach to things. It’s true, I am that way. But it’s not without reason. So much of my life was spent at the mercy (or lack thereof) of others, that naturally, if it doesn’t work, I shut it down. Friendships, I mean. Save one person, I don’t really let people know when their chances have run out. I just remove myself from the equation. Enter in, online communities where I can connect when I want to, and disconnect when I need to – and it’s an understood rule, people just disappear and no one wonders. You know?

Is it fair? Maybe not. Maybe the combination of getting older, needing to feel “settled” and not being one for confrontation has taken root. As loud as I seem, it’s all smoke and mirrors. I crumble where confrontation is concerned, except with, you guessed it, my husband. He’s right to wonder about that. In fact, I wonder about that. Why can I confront him when I feel my feelings have been hurt, but not with anyone else? I even took racial slights from a past boss for a year, and still another was able to toss their card at me in the morning and cry “I need coffeeeeeeeeeee” and slam their door in my face. I wouldn’t say a word. Eventually though, I just left. It’s kinda just what I do. I leave things, unfinished, unspoken and unsaid.

This is me. This is real, and it’s not perfect. It may not even be fair and maybe I should just come with a warning label. “She may phase you out if you hurt her. Don’t ask questions.” I’m a protector. I always have been since I was a little girl.  I think I’m realizing that the same protection I unceasingly gave to my younger siblings, then to my children, has transferred to a fierce protection of myself.

And maybe I’m the reason why we don’t have the same people at the kids’s birthday parties. But keeping safe is what I do best.

Join the rest of the Good Enough Moms at The Wounded Dove.

#goodenoughmom link up via @charitylcraig

 

Blessed is She

Were you ever a part of something that you thought was lovely, but when it was set free to soar, it knocked you off your feet?

I’m talking about Blessed is She. I’ve mentioned it, and now it’s live with devotions written by Catholic women based on the daily readings. Feel like your prayer life is dry and you don’t know how to get it back? Or maybe you feel like you don’t know why you’re praying let alone if you’re heard? Or maybe opening your eyes in the morning is just tough. Another day of struggle, grief, self-doubt or confusion?

http://blessedisshe.net/ @blessedisshe_

Let the women at Blessed is She share a piece of themselves with you, so you know you’re not alone. This labor of love is truly a masterpiece and I am incredibly humbled to be a small part of it.

Head over to read today’s bible readings and devotion by Kassie. Then click on subscribe to have honest writing like that sent to your inbox every day. It really took my breath away, and I know it will for you too. We’re all different and at different places in our faith walk, that’s why Blessed is She is so wonderful. There are so many contributors sharing their personal faith walks and perspectives, you’ll come to see that you’re heart is nestled somewhere among them.

You’ll look forward to it. I know I do, because we all have a basic need to know that we’re in this together. I’ve made it easy, just click below and get started.

Blessed Is She #catholic #women #devotion @fillpraycloset @kassiesaidwhat

#7QT Pink Clouds and Grey Clouds

It’s hard to chase dreams when you’re stuck on pavement. By that, I mean we all have dreams and hopes that we’d like to accomplish that maybe extend outside of parenting, outside of marriage, outside of the home. Heck, we could even have dreams that get us back inside the home, just sayin’. The stuff of dreams is great, but for me, and I think a few of my friends, there’s always a dark part to those dreams. Doubt. It’s ugly because it knows exactly where to attack all those lovely dreams. Doubt seeps into the pink clouds and makes them an ominous grey.  So what do we do about that?

#7QT Pink Clouds and Grey Clouds by @fillpraycloset #clouds

— 1 —

It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood. It’s all about community, as I’ve said before. Communities like Facebook groups and Google+ communities are really great for finding a small group that you cull from the vastness and swarms to call upon when you need that talk. You know, the one where they say #yougotthis.

Meet Cathie Couch. She’s actually a real live person at my job-piece and she’s fablastic. We decided she would be called Cathie Couch because a Facebook quiz said she should be a therapist. And that’s valid. But I’m thinking I should call her C2 because that’s cool. So while I didn’t know find this gem in an online community, she’s my kinda crazy, and that, for me, in real life? RARE. Keep those eyes peeled, you never know where you’ll find a kindred. And she knows all about writing, Scrivener, books, plays Words With Friends (if you do, hit me up, I’m all about it), loves Eddie Izzard, Absolutely Fabulous AND (everyone kneel) Lord of the Rings. Oh yeah, and she’s Catholic. WHAT?! YUP!

— 2 —

Walk it out. This week, I entered a little link up where we were asked to write up a short story. I have never done anything other than write a blog post, and this outline stuff I’m doing for the novel. Now, this short story could be picked up by a publisher (read – get paid) and included in an anthology. When I fouind out about it, I was exhausted. It was late at night and my immediate response (in my head was) ha ha, yeah no. I can’t. What can I write about? I don’t do that, I don’t even know a lot about Theology of the Body (which is what it was supposed to be inspired from). I turned off the light, rolled over and went to bed. Knowing full well I could deal with it when I was rested. I walked the kids to school the next morning and extended the walk a bit on my way home. I was walking and talking, as in, out loud, the dialog of the piece I.actually.wrote. and linked up. Get the creative juices flowing and the blood going. Take a walk. Who cares if the random neighbor things you’ve lost your marbles because you are speaking to yourself in a Spanglish accent as an old man? Even if it’s not picked up by the publisher, I just kicked that grey cloud in the neck.

— 3 —

Assets and Liabilities. I tried to come up with something better on my own, but Erin beat me to it. If you write down your dreams on one side and all the doubts on the other, you will come to find that the doubts are silly, and fizzle like hot air in a child’s balloon. Don’t believe me? Here’s a real list I came up with for why I don’t think I can write a novel. Seriously, real talk people. Taken right out of my black book aka journal:

I’m afraid to write this story because:

  1. I don’t yet know what it is
  2. I don’t know if I can sustain it
  3. I’m afraid it’s going to be awful and my dream of writing will be sh**.
  4. I’m older, if this doesn’t pan out, what’s left?
  5. I don’t have the craft skillz down (yes, I wrote that with a z in my book)
  6. People will see I’m not as smart as they think.
  7. I don’t want it to make me crazy
  8. Sadness that creeps in because I feel the story too much.

And then I read this from my gal-pal Rhonda

#7QT Pink Clouds and Grey Clouds #doubt #writing #fear by @fillpraycloset

Image credit Rhonda at Naptime Novelist

So maybe we can add, print this out and put it on my desk to this list.

— 4 —

Let the beat hit ‘em. As in, music. When I’m in the car, usually I’m praying, or listening to a writing podcast. There are those times when I just need to let the music play. The better the bass, the better I feel. Lately, it’s been all about Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Third Eye Blind and Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you know the words, and can sing along, you get lost in the lyrics and those grey clouds just drift away into the background like a nice Bob Ross paining. Remember him?

— 5 —

Hug the innocent. When the doubt starts to creep into my periphery, or when I sense the cracks in my dreamscape, I head over and hug my boys. They are always happy and eternally optimistic. Hugging them keeps the baddies away for me. This could work with animals too. Dogs, I love them! They love to pant around your legs, or keep your feet warm under their belly. Aren’t your feet always cold? Innocence. Hug it.

#7QT Pink Clouds and Grey Clouds #fear #doubt #anxiety #friendship by @fillpraycloset

— 6 —

Prayer helps. Something about praying for someone else, anyone else to get the focus off of myself works. Tomorrow, I’ll be asking for your prayer requests as we do here on the first Saturday of the month, so if you are in need of some, just pop in and leave a little sumthin’ sumthin’. I prefer taking the person’s name and thinking of them over a decade. Sometimes, if I know them a little better, I will choose the mystery I pray for them before hand and think of their situation, their lives and loved ones and surround them with pink clouds of prayer and good intention.

#7QT Pink Clouds and Grey Clouds #fear #friendship #rosary by @fillpraycloset

Pocket Rosary by Rosaries by Allison. A gift from Tiffany <3

— 7 —

Keep dreaming because eventually, and with time, the pink will beat the grey. Or maybe they’ll find a way to complement one another. I kind of like the gray to stay, just as an accent. Gotta stay grounded, right?

*     *     *

And just in case you missed it, I have a giveaway going on for a signed paperback and an ebook copy of Erin McCole Cupp’s “Don’t You Forget About Me”. I reviewed the book with Tiffany from Life of a Catholic Librarian. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!

 For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Church Triumphant: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Church Triumphant: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross by @fillpraycloset #catholic #saint #convert

Saint Edith Stein” by NN – Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon (public domain). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Today is our saint day! In case you missed the last few installments, head there and have a look!

Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian, and I thought we would work share St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Please head over for her installment of St. Kolbe, a very powerful saint!

St. Teresa Benedicts of the Cross was born into a devout Jewish family on Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement) as Edith Stein in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1891. She was canonized a saint October 11, 1988 by St. John Paul II. Her life is marked with phenomena, atheism, persecution, martyrdom and philosophy – to name but a few twists and turns in her life.

She decided in her teenaged years to turn away from faith altogether in a conscious decision to stop praying. An atheist now, she was one of the first women to be admitted to University in Germany, studying philosophy, specifically, phenomenology under its founder, Edmund Husserl. Phenomonology is the study of the structure of experience and consciousness. An interesting topic for an atheist, don’t you think?

One summer in 1921, Edith was vacationing with some friends and picked up, by chance *wink* a book by St. Teresa of Avila and read it in a night. That very next morning, she knew the Catholic faith to be the truth and bought a missal and the Catechism of the Catholic Faith. Edith was 29 years old. This is my kind of conversion.

With the rise of Hitler, came anti-semitism and that meant Edith was one of the many targeted. Her colleagues tried to convice her to leave Germany and offered her a teaching position in South America, but that meant leaving her mother, who was elderly at this point and very frail, forever. Edith simultaneously felt a strong call to the religious life. Her strong Carmelite beginnings would prove to shape her life, as at age 42, she entered the Carmel taking the name St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her mother was devastated at the decision and couldn’t understand why Edith would run to Christianity, the faith of their oppressors? It was only after her mother died in 1936, that her sister, Rosa joined the Catholic faith.

Edith was still not safe, and after Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, the nuns of her convent thought to move her to another convent, secretly in the Netherlands and her sister, Rosa, followed as a Third Order Carmelite.

Kristallnacht means “Night of Broken Glass” where a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria were carried out by SA paramilitary forces and non-Jewish civilians.  At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks where windows of buildings and synagogues were smashed sending shards of glass everywhere. Some 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.

Sensing their danger once again, plans were made to move Edith and her sister Rosa to Switzerland. At the time, the Dutch bishops submitted an encyclical against the anti-semetic attacks taking place by the Nazi’s. The Gestapo, without hesitation, began to round up all Roman Catholic Jews to be sent immediately to concentration camps to be kills. Both Edith and Rosa were arrested on August 9, 1942. They were deported to Auschwiz and executed a week later. Edith was just fifty years old.

A concentration camp survivor had this to say about her:

Maybe the best way I can explain it is that she carried so much pain that it hurt to see her smile…In my opinion, she was thinking about the suffering that lay ahead. Not her own suffering — she was far too resigned for that — but the suffering that was in store for the others. Every time I think of her sitting in the barracks, the same picture comes to mind: a Pieta without the Christ.

I think, she is the Pieta and the Christ, figuratively speaking. She was in love with Christ, died for Christ and was the Christ others would encounter through her in the concentration camps, caring for people and feeding and bathing them, especially the little children whose mothers had given up hope, knowing they would soon die too. All the little children.

I found a lovely novena to this great saint, following the course of her life from the time of her arrest to her murder. My husband will be visiting Wroclaw, Poland for work in October and promised to visit her preferred church for me, Church of Saint Michael the Archangel. There is altar situated to the left for her, and in the center of the chapel there is a marble altar with the date of her death engraved, as well as an urn containing earth and ashes from Auschwitz-Birkenau, and other relics.  I am hoping I can also convince him to take the right just at the entrance of the church, when he leaves and walk down the street named after her. This street is also the path St. Terese Benedicta of the Cross would walk from her mother’s home, to the church and back. To walk in the steps of a saint such as this. I am hoping he can somehow bring some of her, back for all of us.

Taken from the homily of St. Teresa of Benedicta of the Cross’ cannonization by St. John Paul II:

Finally, the new saint teaches us that love for Christ undergoes suffering. Whoever truly loves does not stop at the prospect of suffering: he accepts communion in suffering with the one he loves. Aware of what her Jewish origins implied, Edith Stein spoke eloquently about them: “Beneath the Cross I understood the destiny of God’s People…. Indeed, today I know far better what it means to be the Lord’s bride under the sign of the Cross. But since it is a mystery, it can never be understood by reason alone”. The mystery of the Cross gradually enveloped her whole life, spurring her to the point of making the supreme sacrifice. As a bride on the Cross, Sr Teresa Benedicta did not only write profound pages about the “science of the Cross”, but was thoroughly trained in the school of the Cross. Many of our contemporaries would like to silence the Cross. But nothing is more eloquent than the Cross when silenced!

A prolific writer and vocal about women’s role in society from a vocational standpoint as well, I invite you to read some of her work which also include spiritual works.

In the meantime,  St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, please pray for us.

Church Triumphant: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross by @fillpraycloset #catholic #saint #convert

Image Credit from http://edithstein.nl/

Now for some St. Maximilian Kolbe intercession at Tiffany’s house. See you next month for our Church Triumphant series!