Category Archives: Gratitude

Taking Care of Business


I know, I know… It’s been SO long since my last post.  Seriously, I’ve not been in the mood and nothing really happening to report on, that is, until now…..

The biggest news is that I FINALLY got hired somewhere after YEARS of searching for one.  This happened last week but I’ve not been called in yet to start working.  This makes me nervous but I don’t think I should be because I’ve filled out all the papers you fill out that very first day.  All the Human Resources stuff.  This was done, and took me almost the whole DAY to do because I was actually reading all this stuff.  The company’s procedures, policies, etc.  Thirteen sections… sheesh!  What I really should’ve done was breeze through it and simply save all the actually documents and then gone through it at my leisure with a cup O java.

I must say that while I’m elated and grateful to have been hired, I can’t help but think that it’s STILL not enough to support my family.  Minimum wage in New Jersey is $7.25/hr.  I will be working part-time so I know that it’s feasible to get another part-time job but to be frank, I’m afraid I won’t be able handle keeping three work schedules, two of mine and DH’s.   Wow.  $7.25/hr.  A far cry from what I’ve made in the past, but I’m grateful.  I’ve been under a LOT of stress for over a year and this somehow makes me feel better.  My worries now are not about getting a job but whether this family can hold it’s head above water…. But… I’ve got a job!

Not sure yet how I will divvy up my weekly, hey or bi-weekly booty but I’m just hoping that it will make a significant difference.  Maybe towards the rent?  Maybe towards a monthly bill?  Maybe start a bank account? Maybe, just maybe I’ll have some left over for a slushie or coffee on Social Skills night?

Whatever happens, all I know is that I feel better.

Light Peeks Through the Darkness


aurora-borealis-aurora-borealis-10324489-1280-848

Yeah.  I’ve got stuff to be grateful for.  If you read some of my recent posts, you know that I’m between a rock and a hard place trying to find a job.  The rock in the hard place is me.  The hard place is between two circumstances of life.  Job vs. Jobless.

JOB:  Trying to be short on the back story, we live without any income and without pubic assistance. It’s getting down to the point of not knowing if we can make the rent next month. Tight and Tough.  I need to find a job for money and possibly, if I can manage it, health benefits.

JOBLESS:  Being jobless would mean that I’d have all the time in the world to advocate for my son’s education. It’s been non-stop and has spilled over into the summer.  I thank God that I am not working… and feel guilty about it.

GRATEFUL:  I’m so grateful for the free time I have to do that advocating thing.  My boy has been thriving at his school and I feel so grateful for every single person at that school who works with him.  It seems that next year he will be pulled out of this school, and away from all the people he knows and who know him.  I’m so grateful that I have the luxury of being able to jump right on this thing and I’ve been talking to people, and wrote a letter to request they make an exception for him.  See, they decided to build another school in our area and needed to fill it up.  My son was not moved to this new school, but to a school in between OUR school and the new school.  I guess what it is, is that I don’t want to take that chance and risk all the progress we’ve made, and start over at a different school.  SO MANY changes for him to deal with, and so many people he will never see again.

It’s just too God damned much.  Also, we fought for things at that school like forming a social skills group, a Lunch Buddy group, both of which are designed to teach the kids appropriate social behavior and create scenarios where they have to interact with one another.  They’ve gotten older students in the school to help out with this.  It’s HIS community.  Also, we, the parents, have been able to successfully work with the professionals at the school.  We’ve been able to, I think, change how they see the autistic child.  We’ve seen progress in this area, and though they really need to finance this, they are actually suggesting/urging to their professionals to take workshops in autism.  That’s a big freaking step.  I’ve talked to them about how the kids get labeled and how they had, indeed, labeled an incident incorrectly because they were not familiar enough with what autism is.

They know that we are involved parents.  We care.  We volunteer.  We support them, take their advice, they listen to us and sometimes take our advice on how to handle our son.  I mean, it’s been working!  We’re a team!  Keep calm. Yeah, I know. So can you see how grateful I am that I am jump on this right away?  If I were working, I wouldn’t even know about this switching of schools until I got the letter right around a week before school starts.  I’m so grateful for the professionals at that school who have listened to me and have spoken to me.

Aside from the above, and of which I can go on and on, another thing I wouldn’t be able to do if I were working would be taking SPAN (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network) workshops.  I’ve been learning a lot about our rights and the laws.  I am still learning how to approach IEP meetings and interacting with the professionals at school in an effective way, a non-threatening way.  Anything having to do with advocacy for the special needs child.  Just being exposed and networking with the professionals and other mothers has given me more confidence than I ever thought I’d have.  I’m more assertive which surprises the heck out of me and I like it!  Another thing I’d really like to do is bring the awareness up to education of the school professionals and also the school body, the neurotypical kids. Ignorance breeds fear.  Fear breeds violence.

So yeah.  For right now, I can see some light in the darkness… and it’s pretty amazing.

Desperate Housewives? Not THAT Desperate!


paint-variety-colours-pretty

I’ve been feeling very sluggish lately and I’m realizing more and more that my emotional state is the culprit.  I really don’t want to come off as a complainer, or negative person; but what I do want to do is explore what the heck is going on in my head.  Isn’t this blogging stuff supposed to be about that?  Our deep thoughts?  Anyway, don’t really think anyone who knows me actually reads my blog, so I’m safe.

Well, when our son was born I had to quit my job after trying to get them to let me either work from home or as a part-time employee.  Yes, I feel that I have to interject that part–the effort I made to keep my employment in some form or another.  That makes me feel better and that my intentions were not to become a deadbeat.  What a conflict of emotions.  It was ingrained in me while growing up that I was going to be a wife and SAHM (stay at home mom).  It was the 1970’s and that’s what most women did.  If they were working, when they had their babies, they quit work and stayed home to raise the kids.  My time was a time that was this was still socially the norm, yet little by little women were making headway in the workplace.  While attaining “careers” but still a rare breed.  High school career day did not feature any careers for women aside from secretary.  Ah, I’m blubbering and you get the idea.  The other side of this is that I needed a job to make me feel valuable and useful, financially.  Socially, if you do not have a job, you’re a worthless, lazy deadbeat.

So, I’ll start off by saying that I “know” that the work of the mom is THE most important work that anyone can do.  It’s your job and responsibility to raise and teach your children to grow into GOOD people.  Caring people, compassionate, smart, loving, giving, resourceful, and SUCCESSFUL, self-sufficient, independent people.  In our case, “independent” and “self-sufficient” are particularly important.  So.  I know this…..

I’d really like to focus on my current day-to-day living.  We are barely getting by and where it shows the most is with the food we buy.  I love to cook and I love to cook with fresh everything, meat, veggies, cheese, and fresh spices preferably grown in my own backyard.  Well, I can’t do any of those things now and it hurts me in every way.  I love fresh ground coffee. I loved going to farmer’s markets in the summertime.  I loved that occasional purchase of something totally different to what we’re used to buying.  I know that hubby loves doing this, too, but we’ve long since stopped the extras and stuck with the bare necessities.  What used to make me very happy was just going food shopping.  Now, my hubby does that shopping and while I know that he’s trying to save money, the stuff he buys is not very healthy.  I keep quiet because I know that he’s trying to do the best he can with the money (or credit) he has.  Without getting into specifics, we are buying cheap.  We practically purchase our food on a day-to-day basis, which means I cannot cook the way I want to cook.  Heating up freezer food is not my idea of cooking and, indeed, it is NOT cooking at all.  No leftovers to create another meal.  No divided servings in the freezer from cooking a lot at once.  No real ingredients on hand to put together something delicious at the last minute.  Oh, but I can say that I did just that only yesterday.  I made an awesome white bean dip with beans, mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes left over from March, a bit of left over sour cream and spices that have been in my cupboard, and a bit of honey.  I made a meal out of that for myself and dipped pretzels in there.  Believe it or not, it made me forget.  It gave me control over the food.

Last year I took a canning class and I was so set on canning blueberries or whatever presented itself when I had the extra money to buy the ingredients.  Well, it didn’t happen for the blueberries and not sure when, or with what I’ll be able to do this magic of canning.  It’s a bit depressing since I did make sure to get all implements of canning last year, especially for the jellies, jams and preserves.  What I did manage to can was about five jars of honey mustard.  It came out thick, pastier than expected but then again I did “tweak” the recipe and so I had to deal with the result.  Still, it tasted great and I was very happy with that batch~!

So, it’s not only about the food.  It’s about the skyrocketing costs in gas and tolls, and the ability, or non-ability to bank.  I do not have a bank account or even a credit card of my own.  Don’t cry for me on that one because I am glad that I don’t have a credit card, but miserable that I don’t have a bank account.  TOLLS.  $28.00 in bridge tolls alone to visit my brother out on Long Island, NY, from Elizabeth, NJ.  Same goes for Brooklyn, NY, my hometown.  The Port Authority should be ASHAMED of themselves!  So, what do I tell my family and friends when I say we can’t visit?  It’s a bummer.  I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, a mere few miles away, and I can’t even visit there.  I drive myself crazy trying to combine activities on trips, but that’s really not fair especially the last minute plans.  It’s also about worrying about conserving gas and I end up not going out at all to meet up with friends.  Our, or I should say MY lifestyle has changed so much and it’s not even like I’m used to luxury.  Never had that, but I always managed to do something stupid to make myself feel like I’m doing something special.  My old tricks are not effective any longer and so, I’m feeling a bit depressed.  When I think of “luxury,” I think of going out for dinner at a nice restaurant, maybe take in a movie. Oh, and that diamond ring, earrings and necklace!  (Ha, a leftover sentiment from my last post, Dream Home, Dream On.  DH and I have given up on date night, let alone spring for a vacation.  We probably don’t need a vacay since we’re not working, right?

DH is doing the best that he can.  He finally got his degree and even substituted five days the last week of school.  However, he is now finding out what I’ve known all along… that there are no jobs out there.  I have sacrificed the skills and experience that I have, professionally, and applying for supermarket jobs, preferably for overnight, or late night.  I realize that this is needed as DH really needs to work daytime and I can comfortably work nighttime.  DH has applied several places and has not received back a whisper of interest.  This is definitely depressing, especially since we really need health insurance.  Nobody is offering health insurance these days.  Yeah, and on that topic, I really want to know if the president and congress will give up their gold card health insurance plans and put themselves on Obamacare with the rest of this country.  Congress!  That’s a whole other disgrace~!

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I might paint a pretty awful picture, and I tried not to get “complaintive” with it.  When I think about it, I’ve got to be grateful for what I do have. What we do have, at least for this month, is a roof over our heads and an air conditioner that works. Maybe we should start really worrying when we can’t get provide the basics for our eight year old boy. Also, if I were working, I’d never have adequate time to advocate and prepare for his educational needs.  I’d never have the time to research and go for training on Autism.  So what the HECK. Something’s got to give.  Unfortunately, I can’t get paid to advocate for my child.  I’d love to feel free enough to devote my time for what I think is truly important–my son’s education.  If I were working, I’d never have found out, as soon as I did, about the school district re-drawing the school borders, effectively kicking my son out of his present school and into another one.  So, this week I had the time to research into that, make and keep an appointment with our principal, then write and hand deliver a letter requesting they make an exception for my son and keep him in his current school.  HO LY Crap!  Counting my blessings on THAT one.

I have a great husband, beautiful son, and I am so very proud of both of them.  I wish that I could get rid of this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, but I can’t.  It’s with me day and night.  I postpone waking up in the morning for as long as I can.  My doctor says that stress is not good for me right now and I look at him and wonder why I came to see him in the first place.  No way this stress is leaving any time soon, but you can be sure that when my son wants a cuddle, I will give him the best cuddle I can give.

My Life is an Open Book


English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Prompt: Your Life, the Book

From a famous writer or celebrity, to a WordPress.com blogger or someone close to you — who would you like to be your biographer?

I thought about this long and hard before I came to the realization that there could only be ONE person to write my biography, indeed anyone’s biography.  Not everyone will agree with me and might even take exception; but here it is and is my decision.  The person I would want to write my biography is Jesus Christ.  Think about it. There is no one out there more qualified.  He not only knows my public person, but he knows the inside person. He knows my life from start to finish.  He not only knows all of my actions, but all of my inactions.  he knows my motivation, my fears, and I could go on and on.  Who is more compassionate to look upon my soul and find goodness, find value there?

I am Roman Catholic, as you might know if you’ve delved a bit further into my blog other than the current post. But, I ask questions.  Though I consider myself conservative, I am not a mindless sheep, following the institution.  I am mostly conservative, meaning that what I do believe is right, I will not waver, and some of those beliefs are sternly against the popular opinions of today.  This post is not intended for airing those here and now; but I’m sure you can find posts in my archives on those subjects.

So I guess I wanted to say with that is that Jesus is my go-to man when I seek the truth, especially about myself. I do not want my biography to just be about the positives, but about everything–the good, the bad and the ugly because they are all what makes me, me; and I embrace all of it.  The thing here is that you don’t have to like this post or believe what I believe.  This is what I believe and when it comes down do it, I believe that at the end of the world, whether literal or figurative, Jesus will sit in judgement and will write all of our stories….

Whoa… Make room on the shelf~!

God Don’t Like Complainers


NoComplaining

Um…. I guess that would be me.  So embarrassing to say that, but yeah.  Life is so weird.  You live, you try to sculpt yourself into the person you’d like to grow up to be; then as you try to “be” that person, you say to yourself that you’ve got to be you, you’ve got to voice your opinions.  That’s paramount and you assert yourself.  But let’s see where that got me……

Before I go further, I must state that I am fully blessed.  Despite my many failings, I am deeply loved.  That gives me the courage to write about myself and my flaws and failures.  First and foremost I am loved by God and have the firm belief of His profound forgiving nature.  There is a quote that speaks to this and I read it every day.  I have a firm belief that God has a purpose for each and every one of us, despite our imperfections.  He literally has a specific need, or finds a specific need for our specific imperfections.  We are useful despite it all.  This give me hope for my own soul.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

All my life I was the quiet one.  The one who desperately strove to melt into the background, and blended in, right in between those gigantic flowers, painted onto the wallpaper in our kitchen.  I was a stutterer and I could not get a word out before the several attempts that usually bored people right before they moved on to other subjects.  Get the picture?  Not only could I not communicate, but I did not learn the social skills in order to interact with other human beings.  So I listened.  I listened to exchanges that totally, totally bored me.  I simply was not interested in most female conversations regarding curtains and home decor.  So what developed was that I became judgmental of females…. well, whether I am justified or not on that is still out for debate… pfst.  To this day, I find a conversation with a man much more interesting than talking to women…. sorry gals.

Anyway, so I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I can hold a conversation, but struggle with the social cues.  I do not stutter, except under stress it might come back a little.  I find that I am a woman who has a problem recognizing and honoring moderation.  I seem to be either this way or that–to the extreme.  Like, I could abstain from soda for months, yet if I get one taste, I’m off and running consuming more soda in one day than one has a right to.  WTH?  Same with water.  One day I’m consuming massive quantities of it, and the next I am a camel in the desert and you could not force one drop down my throat.  As a matter of fact, I need some right now……..

I’m back…. So, now that I’m going verbal, my Gemini self cannot shut up and every single thought in my head is out and off the tongue no sooner than my brain gets a hold of it.  Well, some thoughts should stay unspoken.  After years of keeping my mouth shut tight, the flood gates are opened and with my relatively newfound confidence, I speak my mind whenever and wherever and to whomever.  And it’s not all good.  You know if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.  The bottom line for me is that after I speak my mind, I feel better.  But taking my judgmental self outside and giving the double-parkers blocking traffic with their cars a piece of my mind, well, that can’t work for anyone but me.  Even then, afterwards I usually feel that I could’ve handled the situation a lot better.  I can’t abide inconsideration in any of its forms… but I really shouldn’t be getting into confrontations like I do.  Maybe writing about this will help me remember that next time.

Today I was listening to Alan Horvath who is a musician who does videos about the bible and religion.  I do suggest checking out his videos on youtube if you have a desire to listen to the Word with the names in their original languages.  I’m hoping the meaning of these books go back to the beginning, without the contamination of the human pen.  I watched one video about  Alan’s experience during Frankenstorm Sandy and he talked about how he heard a lot of people complaining.  He said, “God doesn’t like complainers,” and I thought, O.M.G. that’s me.  I complain long and loud to anyone who would stay quiet long enough for me to do so.  But you know, even though we didn’t have power for ten days, we had everything else, until our food spoiled; but even then we could still travel to towns every day to pick up some food for that day.  Yes, we were in long lines at the gas station, but heck, it was not bad enough to complain about.  I think people today don’t want to wait for anything.  We are under so much pressure to do it fast, then move on to the next thing.  I used this blog to complain, I also complained on facebook, I got together with my neighbor and we complained to each other… sigh.  But it was driven home to me, an active member of a Roman Catholic church, that God does not appreciate complainers.  Should that have been news to me?  Nope.  The whole book of Exodus tells us of the Jews complaining every other day and you know what?  God kept them wandering in the desert for forty years.  You’d think they’d learn their lesson.  You’d think that I would have by now, also.  My hubby is an excellent example.  He doesn’t complain at all.  Usually, that plays out well for me when I am involved, but if it’s something outside this house, I get frustrated with him, but you know, he’s got the right way to go.  It shows, too.  God is with him.  He’s just one of those people, that you just know.

I need to really learn my lesson.  It’s not like I’m an ignorant bitch…. not really.  So I will close with stating I am truly blessed.  Things are never really as bad as my first impression.  Regarding Hurricane Sandy, we got through it.  We did not flood though this house has a long history of flooding.  Because we did not flood, we kept our hot water.  We had a gas stove to cook on.  No heat, but plenty of handmade blankets to keep us warm at night.  We had radios and thanks to the presence of our seven-year old, plenty of batteries to keep the radios and flashlights going.  I was so grateful for NJ101.5 to keep myself connected to the outside world.  Finally, I had my loving husband and my beloved son with me.  What more could I possibly have the audacity to ask for?

I am Alive With the Sound of Music


Okay, so I couldn’t resist this one.  Daily. Prompt.

What role does music play in your life?

I am not a musician, though I did learn how to play the guitar later in life, which I think is so cool, but I’ll talk more about that.  Music literally saved my life.  That belief is so embedded in me that it’s a part of me.  I grew up in a depression.  I know that now.  In my teens I had serious thoughts of suicide.  I had a pretty vivid imagination and I would fantasize exactly how it would happen.  As a pre-teen, I’d fantasize about near-death situations usually by writing scripts for favorite TV shows.  One was the Wild Wild West, starring Robert Conrad.  This was the TV show that the recently made movie was based upon.  It was high tech for it’s time, which was cool, and I might be able to say it was sort of Steampunk because of that… hmmm that’s a thought.

the wild wild west-jim west-robert conrad-cowboys-western-tv-vintage-retro-television-train

The other was a show about rescue personnel, a helicopter and one guy had a rescue dog, a German Shepherd.  Don’t remember the name, but I’d type out the scripts on my grandfather’s old Underwood typewriter… I mean OLD.  One of those that had the exposed keys…..

PHI3743

Typing on this thing was a bitch but I loved it.  I got to really know the machine and could fix it, tweak it… I made it work for me.  When I really got going, the carriage would fly across and I’d promptly hit the carriage return.  To this day, computers have a “Return” button, well, it used to be called Carriage Return.  It was a lever at the upper left on the carriage.  The carriage was the roller and the thing that held the roller in place.  The paper would be inserted at the top, in back of the roller and you would roll it down, around and into place for typing.  At the top, the carriage return was just employed and the paper is back to the starting position, ready for typing another line… Anyway, I see I’ve digressed again… with pics to boot.

So you should have grasped the point by now that I was depressed and suicidal, or at least had suicidal thoughts as a teenager.  I am alive to this day because of Barry Manilow‘s music.   I would sing along constantly.  His music touched my soul in such a way that I felt that someone out there understood me.  All along, the range of my voice was on the lower end, but I can also sing higher now.  I know almost all of his songs by heart and every time I sing something, I feel that little tear, meaning tear drop, in my heart.  I am so grateful for that, for his music.  I’m sure that he already knows what his music has done for this world, but I’d somehow like for him to know how deeply it/he has touched me.  Mr. Manilow, you saved this life.

I can’t end this post in such a dark, non-presence of light.  All music touches me.  Growing up, and I hated it, my dad would play classical and yes, the old country music.  Now, I can say that I love almost any kind of music and I owe that to my dad.  My dad country music and my mom the top hits of the 50’s and her 45’s.  When I was very young and had the chicken pox, my parents got me a Close N Play phonograph and gave me quite an assortment of 45’s from their own collections, mainly from the 50’s and early 60’s.  I learned the lyrics to those by closing and playing all day long until I got all the words written down.  I’m sure my mother appreciated that… HA.  Oh, it was because of a wacky song or pseudo song called, “The Flying Saucer,” by Dickie Goodman that I came to love those story narratives with parts of songs inserted to fill out the story.  Buchanan and Goodman

Through music, I started writing lyrics to songs, and then poetry… or maybe visa versa.  Sad though because I’d never post them up on the internet because I know that someone will steal it for their own.

In my later 30’s I learned how to play the guitar from a friend.  It was a trade off.  I stayed with him while he recuperated from surgery and he taught me the chord of the guitar.  He’d play melody and I played rhythm.  I enjoyed that, but because of a lack of understanding, and math, I could never learn to read music.  That makes me sad, but I like that I can play by ear.  Even playing just the chords touches me deep inside; and just knowing that I can do it, makes me really happy.   I sang in our church choir for a few years and that was very satisfying as I could sing in front of people… and they actually liked it!

So in closing, what music means to me is memories, both good and bad… but mostly good.  Through music I can relive my past, know exactly where I came from and not be very bummed out about it.

Thanks for listening.

A WordPress Exercise


No lights?  Light some candles.

No lights? Light some candles.

Okay, so I thought I could answer prompt questions thrown out by WordPress to keep blogging, even if it’s just a little bit.  We’ll see, usually my “little” blurbs grow into monstrosities.  First one up:

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I jumped on this question right away because I can honestly say that I’m not happy with the initial way I react to crisis situations, or at least some of them.  What comes to mind right away is Hurricane Sandy.  We live in Elizabeth, NJ and had lost power for 10 days.  We ONLY lost power and had no flooding in the basement to speak of.  Immediately, I felt isolated in the dark and a bit scared when the power didn’t go back on right away.  We are used to the power going off, but never had gone more than a few hours without it coming back on.

After the fear (I never got over the isolation), I started to get angry.  Angry because I was hearing about everyone else getting power back and we were not slated to get ours back any time soon.  The feeling isolation was profound and something I had not felt since after my divorce and was forced to take up residence in a succession of rooms.  After the storm, no power, no phone.  I had a cell phone, but could not make calls.  I needed to connect with the outside world, my family, but I couldn’t.  Eventually, I discovered that I could do text messages and texted my family to relay our situation, inquire of theirs and hoping that I would hear back from them.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

We had a radio and I latched onto that all day and night to hear news about the storm.  The station I listened to was NJ101.5 and at the time just didn’t buy into the “just be grateful” speech.  I wanted my power back, but really?  I wanted my internet back.  I feel ashamed, but that’s what it was.  I resented not having my internet.  I really don’t know why.  When I look at the things I do when online, I can’t see what is so important.  Also, our whole routine was disrupted, mainly our son was not in school for 10. whole. days.   That’s a LOT of days.

What refused to come into my sphere of any importance were the people who were REALLY affected.  Those who lost family and friends, who lost their homes, clothes and possessions…..lost memories.  Those who had no idea where their next meal was coming from.   Traumatic stuff that forces a realistic perspective.  I had my family and that really should have been enough for me.  It was hanging off my peripheral consciousness, but I was too hyped up.  Much too much caught up in the stories I was listening to on the radio and applying them to myself.

I can only pray that I have learned from this.  I am not going to “say” that I’ve learned from this because how many times do we say that, then the next time the so called definitive lesson eludes us and we jump right back into that trench.  A good thing to do to keep it into the forefront is to just keep thinking about it.  Think about the petty way that I reacted to this situation.  I say “situation” because it wasn’t a real tangible crisis.  We managed.  We kept warm.  We took hot showers…. That’s right, because we didn’t flood, our hot water heater was not affected.   On the coldest night, we all slept in the same bed.  HA… there I was thinking that DH and I were going to keep our seven year old warm and he was the one who kept us warm!  We had gas, so the stove was available, but after the food was gone two days later, we had to drive to other towns to get our food every day.  Was that so horrible?  Looking back, I cannot think that it was.

I really have to learn to stop, breath, and think things through.  I’m such a baby sometimes, which brings my thoughts back to someone in my past who told me just about as much and that I needed some growing up to do.  I guess I will never stop growing up and that is somewhat of a comfort.  My challenge to myself is to start being more mindful of not just my external environment, but my internal environment.

If after this, you’d like to read more about the details of our storm situation, you can go to the links below:

Day Nine Post Sandy

Who Turned on That Light

Frankenstorm Sandy Continues

Halloween and Frankenstorm Sandy

Winding Down the Days Post Sandy

Stormy Reflections

Imperfectly Perfect

Imperfectly Perfect


So, yeah.  I’ve had over a week now to reflect.  Unfortunately, I could not quiet myself down for long enough to get back into that personal quiet place.  I made an attempt here, at Stormy Reflections, but the boy was off from school at the time and I just didn’t get myself far back enough, or quiet enough.  Right now, I’m at Starbucks, enjoying a Christmas coffee, with jazz playing in the background; but this snooty Asian girl is staring at me and I have no idea why.  Is it the fact that my boobs remain unfettered and out on their own?  Could it be that she is oogling my new nail design, or maybe that I tried out a new clear polish on just one nail?  Holy Crap… I really like the wet, shiny finish of  “Looks Wet” Ultra High Gloss Topcoat I just got at the Christmas Tree Shop…. Merry Christmas to me~!  Who knows about this girl, but I really want to get into the topic, so I’ll just jump right in at probably the far left, but it’ll get me started…..

Last Sunday, I served as lector at our church and it was one of those times that you just know the Holy Spirit is right there with you.  My heart burned.  I feel the need to post the readings as I could never explain them.

1 Kings 17: 10 – 16

10 So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
13 And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
15 And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah.

Hebrews 9: 24 – 28

24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Gospel: Mark 12: 38 – 44

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places
39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

It’s irregular of me to post scripture readings, but I found these resonated inside and I felt comfort and I felt shame at the same time.  I was comforted because the scriptures were telling me that I could feel free to donate to hurricane victims, despite not having a whole hell of a lotta resources to support our family; and this is because the Lord will take care of us.  The widows of the first reading and the Gospel gave all of themselves, to the point of true sacrifice, whereas the ones who donated from their surplus, were not truly feeling the loss, and so it was not really a sacrifice at all, and not heart-felt by them.  I do have faith in that, but walking the tight rope is pretty scary and fear creeps right back in sometimes.

I feel shame because one of the days right after Hurricane Sandy blasted through, I was approached by a guy asking for money.  I made a judgement that I know full well that I should not have made.  This guy seemed to be lying to me and I refused to give him money.  I never should have done that.  I could have given him a dollar, even, but I didn’t.  Whether he was lying or a drunk or a drug addict is between him and God and now, my refusal is also between ME and God.  Living day to day has played havoc on me in a lot of ways and I’ve grown weaker when I should have been growing stronger all along.  This is my shame.  Also, I failed to set a good example to my kid.  FAIL.  Sigh, I just realized that.  Holy Crud, I’ve been wracking my brain on how I could  teach the little guy to be more giving and there it was right in front of me.  At the time, though, I have to realize I was a little afraid to stop to talk to this guy with my son along with me.  Elizabeth is not a very safe place, but I really should have trusted more in the Lord to take care of us.  It’s gone… but maybe I can learn from this.

I have to look back at the hurricane, which was really nothing for us, and realize that whatever our inconvenience, was just that–an inconvenience.  We did not lose anything but the food in our fridge.  We had no heat, but we had hot water and gas to cook on top of the stove.  Yes, I missed my internet.  I felt so disconnected and isolated and it was a horrible feeling.  My world literally stopped, paralyzed because we could not get any information about what was going on in our city and what was being done to fix the power problem.  PSE&G continuously lied to us and I feel that if they were just truthful about the time frame, that I could have simply made plans to go stay with someone.  The problem was that my dad in PA and my sister in Old Bridge, NJ. also did not have power, though my dad had a generator going.  Then when the schools reopened, that was it for us and we had to stay here.  Pathetic, right?  I thought so when I was finally able to see pictures of our shoreline and how those people REALLY suffered and still are after losing their homes permanently, not just for ten days.  Some of those people, at this writing, have still not been allowed back to their homes.  I’m sure that whatever they have left is gone from mold now.  All I can do is pray for them, for strength to be given to them to get through this.  Gas lines?  Sheesh, is nothing compared to what they are going through.  I guess the only Americans who can really know what they are going through are the Katrina victims.

Okay, so I’ve still not managed to “get inside” myself to do proper reflection, but writing sure helps get thoughts out.  DH and the boy were supposed to leave me alone today and I was planning on it, but those plans fell through.  Sometimes things do not work out and we have to make the best of it.  One thing I do know and that is that I am blessed.  I have a family…. a family that I never thought I’d have and it has surpassed every hope and expectation.  A loving husband and a very happy little seven year old.  My spouse is my rock and my little boy shows me joy and happiness, and both accomplish this with a simplicity that boggles my mind.

Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote of the Wounded Healer.  I am very much a “broken” spirit struggling every step through my life’s journey, which is why the quote below holds so much hope for me.  I try to keep this in mind every day with the goal of serving the Lord in my brokenness.   My comfort, my hope and my joy.  I do believe wholeheartedly that God has a use for us.  Imperfectly perfect.  We will never be perfect, but I find comfort that I have the perfect place, as I am, in God’s Great Grand Plan for the world.  So ironic that we all struggle, we all search for our purpose.  Do we ever realize that we need not really search for anything.  “It”, our purpose, will find us at the right time.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

I am very much drawn to one of my favorite hymns this week, “The Cry of the Poor.”  In this haunting melody you meet the burning need of the poor face to face.

Water Gives Life


Today I attended the 2012 Catechist Convocation at the Paramus Catholic Regional High School in New Jersey. Whew, that was a mouthful!  Usually, I’m alone for most of the day during these things and my schedule today left me free from any workshops from after the opening ceremony, ending at 9:30am, to my scheduled lunch then my first workshop starting at 12:45pm.  Basically, I was left to my own devices most of the morning.  I spent some time browsing the “exhibits”,  but I shall call them vendors.  I pretty much spent almost all the money I had on a book about my favorite author entitled, “Genius Born of Anguish~ The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen” and a car bumper sticker that reads:  Abortion stops a beating heart.  Yeah, the book took up 98% of the money I brought.  Normally, I would’ve gotten something for the current RCIA class but there is no class currently in the works.  Thanks to Cyndi for teaching me the proper “etiquette” for these things.  The first time I attended, she got me a booklet and cards for our then class.  Well, after that purchase I headed outside and got halfway around the building, and found a nice gazebo to sit a spell and start this book.  The weather was really nice and stayed there a while until the groundsmen came around with their leave blowers and drenched me full of diesel fuel or whatever they throw in those things…. yuk!

I also attended two workshops:

  • Be An Evangelizing Catechist
  • One Body in Christ:  Sacrament Preparation & Participation in Liturgy for Individuals with Autism

That’s one bitch’in title and I had to write that whole thing when I took the survey with my opinions on the classes.  The first one really focused on the CCD kids.  Some really great ideas for teaching kids and inviting the parents to get involved.  I really enjoyed that class for the ideas, but I spent the whole time getting up and down to get my handouts, which were one after the other the whole hour fifteen minutes.  The up side is that I have the actual handouts to give to the school, and I’m going to make sure I do some of this stuff with Gabe at home.  I think I’ll work on a separate post for that…. Heck, maybe while this Frankenstorm comes through.

The second workshop focused on providing an effective education for, as it says, Individuals with Autism.  This is near and dear to my heart and I took this workshop with Gabe in mind, hoping I could bring some of this home.  My second hope is to try and get the church to develop a program for the autistic student, both children and adults.  Not sure how it will go over, but this is SO important and would go a long way with families who are not yet advocating for their autistic child for whatever reason.  While I didn’t really hear anything new about autism in this class, I found it helpful, though I do wish the speaker was more prepared.  She spent most of the time fiddling with her electronics and getting them to work.  We did not go over all the material she had for the class and that was a downer.  It was a major distraction, all the while I was thinking about the previous instructor telling us we should be well prepared with our lesson before the children walked into the class….  priceless!

Well, getting to the inspiration of my post.  I’m sitting in the cafeteria eating my lunch at 11:15am and I realize that I don’t have any money to buy more water.  The lunch people were very specific as to what we could take:  ONE sandwich, ONE packet mustard or ONE packet mayonnaise, ONE drink, ONE bag of two Oreo cookies and ONE half-bag of chips.  I’ve been guzzling water lately like an elephant and all I had right there was a 16.9 oz. bottle of Snapple Spring Water which was to last me the entire rest of the day.  Snort…. I’m sitting there knowing that will never happen.  So I sat there, counting the minutes till I could get home for a nice frigid cold glass of water …. (glugg… glugg…) I’m thinking that the fountain water was not too bad of a tasting water.  I sat there knitting (yes, I brought my knitting and knit through the whole opening ceremony and keynote speech, though I wasn’t actually there for the speech as I was stifling hot and couldn’t wait to get out of the auditorium.  Let me just say that God most certainly works in His own way and in His own time.  Whenever or however, He knows what you need and exactly when you need it.  Just before I got myself ready to leave the cafeteria, my friend from our parish came out of nowhere and offered me her 16.9 oz. of cold water, unequivocally stating she was not going to drink it.  I accepted her offer with such gratitude that even that completely overwhelmed me.  It was all I could do not to tear up, there.  She really had no clue of my dilemma, yet she handed it over just when I was going through my options.  Even after I finished her bottle, I refilled it with water from the bathroom because that water was colder than the water in the drinking fountain.  It had a distinctly chlorine taste but I told myself that it was sanitized… ugh.  That bottle, though, kept my tongue from drying onto the roof of my mouth and my lips moist and separated during my two workshops.  Oh well, not a life and death situation, but God certainly has looked out for me in many ways and many, many times.

Spinning to Give Back


Woo hoo… A new post!  I should be writing this in my knitting blog, but I’ve just not had any inclination to write for that blog in a long time.  In total, I have three blogs now, and it’s a bit overwhelming for me right now.

This one is about a unique way to make a donation, spending little to no actual money…. my most favorite kind.  For one thing, even if I had the luxury of having extra cash to spend, I’m a believer in stewardship.  Time, Talent, Treasure.  Where I can sometimes abound in the first two, I am sorely lacking in the third.  My Time is my treasure.  I value that, above all else; and if I am giving you my time, it means that I value YOU.

I have skills and I have talent.  I will be shortly giving my time and talent to Faerie-Tale Fiber Farm/Faerie-Tale Alpacas, a NO-KILL sanctuary for rescued alpacas.  Go on over to her facebook page and check them out.  Linda and her daughter, Lisa, had brought their alpacas to the Grand Opening Weekend at All About Ewe a couple of months ago.  I took a pamphlet, and to be honest, stayed AWAY from her table of alpaca yarn and knitted goods… sigh.  Anyway, I found out that one of the ways you can donate to the sanctuary is to agree to prepare, and spin up alpaca fleece, then send it back to them so they can sell it.  All proceeds go right back into the animals and their upkeep, and medical expenses.   As a bonus, she will send you some for your own use.  My spinning friends, you can’t beat that deal because you’re getting at least as much as what you’re sending back to them.  It’s a great way to practice and fine tune your craft, while not actually using your own fiber.  For myself, I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to help out these animals we love so much for their fleece, while getting the opportunity to spin stuff I never did before.  My intention with this blog is to document my progress and the creation of whatever yarn which chooses to reveal itself.  This is what I received in the mail.  The brown bag for them, the black bag for me:

You can be sure that next time I will see if I can get this beautiful reddish-brown….

I’m working diligently to finish up what I’m working on right now, and you can be sure that I’ll not wait to start on this.  The weather hasn’t been all that great lately anyway, so just as well.

I’m just a couple of days away from completing the spinning of eight ounces of Vegan “Wool”, colorway “Deep Space #9, (love it) from Frabjous Fibers, found it at All About Ewe.  It’s 100% nylon and has the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen and the softest fluff I’ve ever felt.  Oh, and hand-dyed in Vermont, USA.  The colors permeate the whole hunk of it, through and through.  If you’re like me, and prefer colors that really saturate the fluff, you will fall in love this half-pound of hand-dyed fiber.

Very smooth…. This is what I’m talking about:

You know, it’s so easy to get caught up in spinning for ourselves.  This craft is not appreciated across the board for the skill, time and talent it takes to create something beautiful from almost nothing, fluffy stuff.  You cannot place a monetary price, that people will pay, for a hand knitted item, let alone created with yarn that was handspun.  You just cannot possibly be justly compensated.  So we either create for ourselves or for others, but those “others” really must pass the grade to be judged worthy to accept something that is created with love, if even just a love for the craft.  We love what we do, but that doesn’t mean that we should be loose with it… humph~!  With that said, I love that I am able to give my time, talent and love for these animals and combine all that into something that can benefit them.

So if you’ve managed to get down to this place, I would put the question to you.  Do you spin?  Do you knit?  Have you given back lately, using your preferred craft?  I’ve love to hear what people out there are doing.

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