This is one thing Ben has gotten involved in doing lately. I have to say, he is good at it and it has been good for him.
Ben is going to his prom this week. Naturally, many pictures are on the way for this blog.
I am so proud of him for so many reasons. He is a hard worker, a sincere, honest person. He has a sharp intellect and an off the wall sense of humor. He is eminently kind. He is respectful. He enjoys the company of his family.
Who could ask for more in a son?
Here is Ben playing with the jazz combo at his school. I am always so impressed with his skill and musicality as a drummer.
I will soon be going to visit Meghann, Jeff and Kaden. Malaika is going with me. This time we are going by car! Road trip! As an added bonus, we are bunking at a dear friend's house halfway. This friend and I have never met in person! So many fun things.
Some recent Kaden:
He is now playing t-ball. Can't wait to go to his games!
Trying chewing gum for the first time and concerned about the no-swallowing rule.
Just being his photogenic self.
My transplanted Easter flowers.
A sign war between two churches that I find fairly hysterical.
If that really happened, I applaud them for their wit.
Also, my cat. I don't know if he will go to heaven, but we certainly owe him for cuteness points, being a good companion, making us laugh, and being a good-natured-mischief-maker that nobody can stay mad at for longer than a minute.
I will have loads to share with you as Ben plays his final concerts of high school, goes to prom, and graduates. Of course we will chronicle our trip, and if I am very good, we will do it as it happens! So, lots of scrapbook-type posts are looming. All you parent -types should appreciate.
Till then, I will be running around like a nut in preparation.
Every once in a while one of these memes hits the nail on the head.
I believe that the amount of frustration we can experience on a daily basis arises because we tell ourselves that we should not have to _____________, you fill in the blank. For many of us, it is our vocation -- the duties of our job, our chores at home, or dealing with the people at those places.
well, okay, not exactly this
Even being stuck in traffic. This happened to me the other day -- the Broad Street Run had South Philadelphia tied up in knots for hours! All I wanted to do was drive to the other side of town, across Broad, to do some shopping, and I had only a limited amount of time. Three of my girls were with me, one had a commitment that afternoon. As we painfully crept along, blocked and jammed at every turn, at least a few of us were so irritated, we could feel our blood pressure rising. It was all I could do not to just start laying on the car horn, as useless as that would be, just to let off some steam. At one point, I yelled out, "Don't you know, people, we are going SHOPPING!" Laughing helped a little.
Really, though, the thought behind all that frustration and anger, is this:
I should not have to wait in traffic -- I should be able to go directly from point A to point B without having to deal with anyone else -- The Red Carpet should now appear and pave the way for me to get where I want to go.
I have always referred to this thinking as the Red Carpet Treatment. You know, that scenario that goes like this: Husband arrives home after work, house is immaculate, paper and slippers are awaiting, martini is chilled, dinner is ready, children are quiet and all in their places....etc, etc.
Funny, right? ( I am not pinpointing husbands here, just using an old illustration).
But how many times do we all expect our lives to be this way, and think we deserve it?
How often do we construct that picture of How Things Ought To Be, and then feel angry when they aren't?
In our family, we have had our share of serious issues to deal with. If, at any point, we sat down and said, we should not have to deal with this, really what we would be doing is looking for someone to blame. And there were times when we could have found people to which who we could point the finger of blame. Ultimately, though, when things get bad, we are usually blaming God. He let things get out of hand. He didn't roll out that red carpet and make our lives go according to plan.
Whoops, wait a sec.
Whose plan? You mean....God didn't plan that we would have all sunny days, picnics and ponies? What's that you say? He did? Oh. Sin. Right. Of the Original kind.
It's not as though we have NO sunny days, picnics and the occasional pony. But we are all subject to original sin and are affected by our own and that of others. The danger in forgetting this is falling into the place where our irritation, anger and feeling of entitlement become embedded.
I am not suggesting we do not fight against evil. NOT fighting against evil is what allows it to expand it's hold on us. God has given us tools for fighting evil. The Rosary. Confession. Mass. The Eucharist. Adoration. And He has given us minds and consciences to use in the fight against evil.
But in our everyday lives, we should not be surprised nor troubled if the red carpet never gets rolled out. If we can stop putting ourselves on the throne for a second,
no offense, Regis
and let God work in us, we might be able to accept what He gives us, and see things in a different light. We might not be so easily offended or annoyed. We might have compassion for those that are called to carry the really heavy crosses in this life, and to those who are truly suffering from the evils of this world. The less we insulate ourselves, trying to prevent discomfort, the more we are open to love the people around us and see what God is asking us to do. To see everything (and everyone) as coming from His hand.
Here are a couple of Mother Teresa's many wonderful sayings:
“Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity,
charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real,
devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither
praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed
you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put
yourself on a pedestal.”
“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when
it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other
in your family.”