Saturday, June 30, 2007

It started out a good idea...

So for the last few days, Sarah over at In the Midst Of It has been posting about the everyday life and how happy and content it makes her. I love it when people are content. That's my number one personal goal for my own life. So I took that as a sign to do a quick re-evaluate about my own life. It came out pretty good. The summer weather has finally kicked in. My husband was doing some necessary yard work and it was breezy for him. My daughter has very happily and very successfully finished grade 7. My sister and family were home for most of the summer. My health lately has been good. I just had a doctor appt (** this will become a significant note to my day) and we were working on a plan. I got through my priest leaving and I am ready for the changes. All pretty good. So in the spirit of contentment and happiness and wanting to participate in my own life and in my married life, I decided to mow the lawn, so I could contribute to the home maintenance plan.

In the spring we bought a push-mower. Very environmental. I can't push the gas mower and our yard is very manageable so I wanted to try it for the summer. The thought being I would do the yard a few times and then Frank would give everything a good going over, then me, then him. You get the point. I must say I'm getting pretty good at it. I had a lot of new songs I just put on my Ipod, it was breezy and not too hot, so no problem. A good hour of exercise.

When I was done, I was sitting on the front step with my water and started looking at the neighbor's yard. They have been gone all week and I don't know when they will be back. They are very nice - they have a snow blower and sometimes do our driveway for us. So I thought, wouldn't it be nice for them to come home to a mowed lawn. We saw the movie "Evan Almighty" which I loved and one of the themes was doing random acts of kindness. So, I thought. I can do it. I can work this machine. I'm not too tired, etc, etc. Frank was still busy painting the oil tank and it was turning out to be a much bigger job than expected, so he wasn't going to be free anytime soon, so why not.

Off I go. Let me tell you, their grass is MUCH LONGER and MUCH THICKER than ours. Remember that I have a small push mower. And their yard is BIGGER, although it didn't look that way at the time. But I can do this, right? It's a random act of kindness. OH MY WORD! It was awful!! I didn't think I would make it - SERIOUSLY! I stopped twice to go over to Frank to beg that he finish the lawn, but everytime I went over he was way too involved with his project that I couldn't even ask. So I would rest and then try and start again. I almost passed out twice. I kept praying on and on for help. I couldn't leave the lawn not completely finished. Two people were out doing their yards and I wanted to ask them for help, but I just couldn't. On and on I tried to mow. And I got about 90% finished. The I couldn't take it anymore. Another guy across the street was mowing. He had a small yard and was almost done. I didn't know him, but at that point, I didn't care. Maybe God kept trying to send me help, these other mowers and I was trying to do it all myself. So when he was done, I sucked up and swallowed my pride and foolishness and I went over and explained to him I was trying to mow my neighbor's yard as a surprise but it was just too much for my push mower and would he please finish the small part left. It was hot by now and he was sweaty himself. He said, no problem. He knew who I was and that he would take care of it. I was SO grateful. Lickity-split for him with the gas mower. Although I was a bit panicked that my neighbor would pick that minute to return and wonder why a stranger was mowing his lawn. Finally it was done.

Random act of kindness taken care of - end of story...right? Wrong.

I went inside and directly got in the shower. I was feeling so funny. When I asked the man to mow the lawn, my throat was feeling like it was closing over and my chest hurt and I was having trouble breathing and talking. I thought I just needed some water and a cool shower. Did that, although I had a terrible time washing my hair because I could hardly lift my arms up. I thought it was just the mowing that were making my arms weak. I got out and was feeling SO WEIRD.

I took my blood pressure. Remember that doctor's appt - well, I have high blood pressure and I recently went on fluid pills to try and help the blood pressure meds. At my appt on Wed she upped the dosage of the fluid pills. She told me to that I would have to have my electrolytes checked in a few weeks to make sure everything was in line. My blood pressure was SO LOW. I couldn't believe it. But my ears weren't ringing, so I went to the computer (wouldn't you?) to try and find symptoms and treatment of low blood pressure. I couldn't even read. Frank came in as I was trying to make it to the couch. I laid down and we took my pressure over a short period of time. It went down. So he went on the computer and did some checking, including my new fluid pills. Guess what - fluid pills, unusually heavy exercise (3 hours of hard mowing in the sun) and dehydration cause very low blood pressure. SIGH! So I have spent the afternoon on the couch watching Seinfield re-runs and drinking Gatorade and slowly the pressure is coming up. I think I'm OK. I'll keep checking and drinking and hopefully avoid emerg. tonight.

The worst part is that I won't make it to church tonight to help welcome the new priest. I really wanted to be there because so many people are making this change difficult and I really wanted to help with the welcome. I don't want him to think I'm one of the negative cranky-pants people.

Moral of the story - don't usually over-exercise, in the sun with no water with a new dose of fluid pill. The jury is still out on random acts of kindness :) (Just teasing).


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Harsh Words

Harsh words spoken in love are still harsh words.

What kind of duty or responsibility does a friend have toward another?

I have been best friends with A. for over 25 years. We have had amazing times and gone through difficult ones. We have become a part of each others family, and extended family. Our history together has become inter-twined with our own individual histories. We are each others sister, supporter, cheering section, Barnabus and each others "person" (ref: Gray's Anatomy).

So when your best friend is going through the (probably) most difficult time in her life, I know that I must love, not judge and support unconditionally, but do I mention the "other point of view" and bring up things that may not want to be looked at.

My friend wants to leave her husband. Her marriage is not what she wants for a marriage. They have a son. She will probably leave him too. The marriage is not abusive or horrible, it's just not what she wants. She feels the husband is not trying how she wants him to try. He is not being married "her way" and she doesn't accept "his efforts". Somehow she doesn't see them as valid. She has stopped trying, on purpose. She is waiting "for the right time". I think she is planning her "exit strategy".

Divorce doesn't get rid of the problems. It just trades in the old ones for new ones. They will be forever connected as parents of their son. The husband will not be out of her life. He will still have a presence, especially if the son lives with him.

They say in today's society we have unrealistic expectations of love and marriage and family and how to be with and treat each other. That through movies, books and movies, etc. we see only romance and flowers and if that isn't there or has gone missing, it is time to move on. That no one portrays the sacramental marriage. But if you ask any couple married over 50 years what the secret is, they always say things like "tolerance" and "patience" - never gooey love references.

My friend is a self-confessed control freak. The men in her life respond in one of two ways. They pay lip-service to her control and lie and cheat and she is unhappy. Or, they give in to her control and let her do it her way, because she insists on it, and she is unhappy. This is a pattern of many years. It will only change if she changes. She is the constant variable. She doesn't want to change.

If she is not going to change, why wreck the boy's life? Not that divorce automatically wrecks a child's life. It's just that for a successful divorce, you need two flexible, non control-freak people to co-parent and in this situation, that is doubtful. If the only thing that changes are the players in the game, but the game itself is the same, is the change worth it?

So, do I say that? Is it part of my responsibility as a good friend, wanting the best for her and her son, to mention this as food for thought? Or do I say nothing and keep my opinions to myself? Will she say years later, that I should have said something? Even though we are friends, is it really any of my business?

Is saying something being judgmental? Must support be silent?

How can I be friends with a mother who leaves her child? How can I love her and not judge that? I don't know if I have the ability to separate that.

I, more than anyone, know that marriage is hard. That divorce is hard. That starting over is hard, because of all the baggage that never leaves your side. I know this. Do I have a duty to share this information or do I just let her figure it out for herself? Would my choices have been different if someone had really told me? Would I have listened?

I feel like I am swimming around and against a whirlpool.

What should I do?

I pray about it all the time...

Love On Another...

Do Unto Others...

Harsh words spoken in love are still harsh words.


June 17, 2007, 2nd reading

Reading II
Gal 2:16, 19-21

Brothers and sisters:
We who know that a person is not justified by works of the law
but through faith in Jesus Christ,
even we have believed in Christ Jesus
that we may be justified by faith in Christ
and not by works of the law,
because by works of the law no one will be justified.
For through the law I died to the law,
that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.
I do not nullify the grace of God;
for if justification comes through the law,
then Christ died for nothing.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

This Sunday's mass, 2nd reading

Romans 5: 1 - 5
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Another Paula Deen Convert

So, in my efforts to embrace all things southern, I bought a copy of Paula Deen's Quick and Easy Meals magazine and I have poured through it over and over (as has my daughter).

And last night I made my first recipe, a chicken and pasta dish. I think it goes without saying that it was delicious but HOLY SMOKES PAULA DEENERS, ARE YOUR ARTERIES STILL OPEN???

Now I realize that the southern diet is quite different from my northern one...but I'm only in Canada and on the East Coast - that just means more seafood. I have never cooked a recipe that has lots of butter, bacon and heavy cream in it all at the same time. I mean who fries their bacon in butter? And the heavy cream that I could find wasn't as heavy as what she was calling for. Even my husband, who was drooling, wondered what that was and how much was I going to put in.

Since I could hear my arteries clogging over, I had to make a few alterations to the recipe. I just couldn't not. Or else I thought I'd have a heart attack right at the table. Even with my changes, the meal was SOOOOO good and very impressive and easy. I even thought I could make it for company it was so good (and I'm quite shy about entertaining) but since my Red Cross First Aid has expired I wondered if I should dare :).

However, awesome leftovers for lunch. There are many more recipes I'm going to try and I just have to make sure I schedule in a walk after supper.

She's my new hero!