Thursday, September 18, 2014

7 quick takes to demonstrate that I am still breathing

Yes I am still breathing air.

1. The update:

 It has been a challenging couple months. Many things are happening in and around our family. My Mother-in-Law has been bouncing back and forth between the hospital and nursing home since July 4. Currently, she is in a stabilizing trend and has been able to stay at the nursing home for several weeks. Your prayers for her would be appreciated!
 We are hosting a Chinese girl who is attending a Catholic high school in Northeast Philadelphia. Unfortunately. she will be moving to a new host home this weekend, because her school is out of range for bus transportation. So, every day, we have been crossing the city with all its regular rush hour traffic, not to mention the ongoing construction on 95. It's my new hangout. Can one have an address that's also a major interstate? (And here I thought the local Acme was my home away from home. Now that it carries beer, it is at least still a good friend).

Anyway. we are supposed to get another girl in January that will go to the same school as my daughter. Until that actually occurs, I am going back to my old job at Women of Hope, as a mental health worker. (Which ultimately will mean my own mental heath may take a hit).
My own physical and emotional health actually already have been kind of rough. I have this lovely recurring virus-depression /anxiety loop that, when it flares up, is hard to break out of. I _think_ I am on the upswing, but it's been a tough couple months. I think my stubborn refusal to become its long term victim has been one of my more effective tools.
 And as families will do, my own is providing me with some large challenges. I just have to keep reminding myself that God is on His throne and He is not overwhelmed. And sometimes reminding Him that I am. Overwhelmed, that is. I don't even have a throne.

2.  The Revelation:

Well, it's only a Revelation with a capital R if you care. But anyways.
I have been attending a Nar Anon group for about a year now. I just got my first coin. What took me there and what is keeping me there are different things. Well, they overlap. I first went because of concern for someone I love who may have a substance addiction. My concern is still there, but the principles of the group have become almost universally applicable to my entire life. If you are familiar at all with the 12 steps, those are what I am referring to. Yes, all of it -- the slogans, the Serenity Prayer, the Hi, I'm Kelly..."hi, Kelly!"...
I find I am most comfortable with the program because it reinforces my faith in God and gives a platform for listening and talking with others who struggle in similar ways. It humbles, challenges, comforts, exhorts and reassures. I have met some truly heroic people.
I hope to share more of my thoughts on this in future posts.

3. The Observation:

However obvious.

The anticipation of a thing dreaded is so many times, so far off from the actual thing. Every time this happens, I say to myself, "now see? you could have saved all that worry and anxiety energy and done something else with it! Like paint the house or lift a car! you dummy! don't do that again!" and I answer myself, " okay. good idea!" Then a different thing looms that I either know or think I won't handle well, or even one of the same things, annnnd. Back to the coda.

Here is a partial list of things that cause me to experience heart palpitations:

driving on a busy highway that has no shoulder
driving on a busy highway that has no shoulder and concrete cattle chutes
driving on a busy highway that has no shoulder, concrete cattle chutes and aggressive truck drivers blowing by or hemming me in
(I sense a theme)
doing any of the above in the rain

please note -- I just spent many week of the summer driving hundreds of miles through all kinds of places *without trouble. I get home in late July and BAM. I am now trembling my way up and down 95. so. no sense.
*  "without trouble" does not include the incredibly steep, unpaved drive at the top of my brother's mountain home in the Appalachians. I mean. c'mon.

the dentist
the dentist when I am having any problem
having to get a root canal, which I have never had, but think it will happen every time I have any pain in my teeth.


*I just started back at my old job where to avoid confrontation is a good thing with the residents, but rears its head nevertheless

Speaking the Truth in Love, which is the Christian version of Confrontation. 

anything I hear on the news

So, yeah, a little window into my mind, Scary, isn't it?

4, The dreaded  Insights about my own sins:

Ugh. Has to happen. Needs to happen. Not a pretty picture. 

Thanks be to God.

5. The other spiritual insight take:

Which is also completely mundane and unoriginal, but to me this one always seems like a fresh revelation straight from God:

Everything can be a prayer. Hanging out the laundry. Washing the kitchen floor.  Scooping the litter box. Enduring difficult people. Enduring myself. Eating peanut butter. 

It all can be offered to Our Lady for whatever she sees in the world as the most pressing need. Because she kind of has a better perspective up there on top of the world with her foot on the head of the serpent.

And, yes, I know, Opus Dei and Brother Lawrence and all.

6. Just one more small spiritual thing:

It goes with the latter part of number 5.

After I receive the Eucharist, I like to offer this snippet of a prayer taken from DeMontfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary:

"Amen, to all that you are doing in heaven,
Amen to all you did while on earth, and
Amen to all that you are doing in my soul."

There is a much longer and very beautiful prayer around this, but this is a good summation and also short enough for me to memorize.

7. I must revive my old format of ending my blog posts with a funny story. I now have cats, so watch out, you who do not find cats funny.

 But today, I am going to end with a note of thankfulness. All the external circumstances, all my wounds, weaknesses and sins, all things are overcome by God.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I can't begin to express how thankful I am that I do not have to reinvent the wheel when I go to prayer, when I go to God. He has given me His Church, where there is a steady rhythm, constant as a heartbeat, where I can go and immerse myself. I do not have to think about what I should do next, I have been given the liturgy, the saints, confession, adoration, the Eucharist. How blessed we are, that God has provided this anchor for us to hold on to in rough seas.  A wise priest once said that in our worst times to "let the rite carry you." Just to hold your rosary when you are unable to pray. Go and sit before the Blessed Sacrament. These things are such a comfort and consolation when I sometimes don't know how to go on in any given situation.

I pray that you all come to know this Jesus, who  himself is love and peace.


  1. Oh how did I miss this post? Not sure if it came up on my follow list. Sounds like you're having a hard time Kelly. You and your family will be in my prayers. Too bad the Chinese student didn't work out, but perhaps the next one. Sounds like a cool thing to do. How does one sign up for something like that? Not that we'd have the time, but just curious.

    1. Thanks Manny. We are just in a season of lots of transition. Thank God though, I am feeling a bit more settled and I do have my support group,
      Hosting is a very cool thing to do, indeed. Having people around is not new to us, so it came naturally. Our student was a lovely girl, albeit very shy. Except for the driving, it was almost effortless having her here.
      We signed up with an agency that works with the Catholic high schools in Philadelphia. One of the coordinators is in the Bronx, and she also hosts, so I know the program is not just here. If you ever want more info about it, I can email you. They are always looking for host families.