Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oh, so this is how it works

I've got it all figured out with the intercessory prayer thang.  (note the sarcasm)

A few months ago, Guitar Man was having great difficulty with PEACE.  He was easily frustrated.  Slamming stuff frustrated.  All the time. 

Then, I started a 30 day Novena to St. Joseph for him.  About 1/2 way through the novena, I asked my counselor for suggestions on dealing with him. 

I never had to use what she suggested because he calmed down and I turned into the poorly behaved one.  Then the next time I went to counseling, I had to admit it and she said, "Kiiiiimmm" in a sweet, gently chastising voice.  We talked about my anger management issues and I'm working on it. 

Tonight, I was mildly irritated, let Guitar Man know it and he wouldn't fall for it.  He stayed calm and completely diffused the situation.  It could have easily blown up. 

So, the lesson is: pray for your loved ones, God may grant them graces that end up helping you more than the prayer helped them. 

Go figure.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Elementary Questions from an Elementary Teacher

I've mentioned before that I am a very slow reader.  So, I try my hardest to choose books judiciously- especially spiritual books.  My latest subject has been suffering.  I read Lewis' A Problem of Pain and Kreeft's  Making Sense Out of Suffering.  Not that I get suffering, but I understand it as well as I'm going to at this point in my journey. 

My next big question is concerning prayer and how it works.  I know nothing except that there are different types of prayer: intercessory, contemplative and meditative.  I have what I think is a good prayer life.  I can speak about how prayer has changed me.  It has changed my desires so they are more in line with God's.  It's helped me accept His will.  It has brought me closer to God, into a more personal relationship with Jesus and it has helped me identify and respond to the workings of the Holy Spirit.  The prayer that gave me these graces is probably meditative and contemplative.  When I do ask for something, it's always with the caveat, "If it is your will"  and "give me the strength to bear this cross if it is not your will." 

But, how does intercessory prayer work?  If I'm asking for something like a baby or healing, how does God decide who to give a baby to and who to heal?  And how is that related to His will?  Does he somehow change His will to answer our prayers?  Or does he answer our prayers based on what is His will all along?

Instinctually, I'm thinking that I can ask and if it's good for me, He will answer the prayer in the affirmative.  If it's not good for me, He will help me bear the cross of Him saying No.  He also may use the cross to bring others to Him.  For example, by not having another child, I've been able to give more to my students, friends and extended family members when they need help. 

Am I totally off base? 

What else do you have to add? 

Do you have any book recommendations to help me along this part of my journey? 

You ladies are so wise and wonderful, I'd love suggestions. 

These questions have been brewing for a long time, but in light of our little blogosphere's answered prayers (Matching Moonheads, Perfect Power in Weakness, Hebrews, A Martha Trying to be a Mary) during prayer buddies, I thought I'd ask for your take on all this.

Praise God for His answered prayers and for the new life he has given to the world!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Division of labor

One of the cool outcomes of our trip to Yellowstone was a daily decade of the rosary as a family.  AJ and I try to say a decade a day together- always initiated by me.  In the tent one night AJ asked to do a decade.  I almost fainted.  Then the next night Guitar Man said, "Let's do a decade."  They both wanted to continue doing it as a family once we got home.  Never in a million years would I ever imagine this.  As I started to lead the prayers tonight, I asked Guitar Man if he wanted to lead.  He said, "No, you are responsible for keeping our family holy and I'm responsible for keeping our family solvent."  HA!

Our Mother Mary never ceases to amaze me.  The Rosary really does produce miracles.  Even if it's said a decade at a time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

How To

How do you call the one person in your life besides your husband that has had the most impact on your adult life, the person who brought you back to the church in one single sentence (see 'boss' in side bar), the person who through that one sentence resulted in the life of your son- how do you call them and tell them you you are so very sorry the the love of their life has lung and brain cancer? 

You screw up you face, take a deep breath, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and dial.  You talk, you sympathize, you try to lift up, you realize that person, as usual, is lifting you up.  Then you hang up and cry life a crazy fool into your pillow.  That's how. 

St. Peregrine, Pray for KF and MH.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

7 Quick Takes- Yellowstone Edition

It's good to be back! I'm constantly writing blog posts in my head: guess it's time to actually blog.  Ha Ha!  This is totally off the cuff, written quickly from the heart.  Please excuse any errors or weirdness. 


We went to Yellowstone two weeks ago and camped out for three nights.  To some of you, this may seem like no big deal.  For these suburbanites who only took vacations in cities and hotels, it was a big deal.  Actually, Guitar Man never took vacations so I basically have to drag him on our trips.  I'm very patient the week before we go when he's freaking out about missing work and paying the bills early and packing and finding someone to take the mail.  I'm patient because I know when we get in the car after about an hour, he'll look over at me with a sparkle in his eye, a smirk on his face and say, "and you didn't want to go on vacation." 


We were nervous about camping, especially since we've NEVER CAMPED BEFORE.  And, we were camping in bear country 1,300 miles from home.  I should also add that we are not handy.  For example, we are both afraid to change the fluorescent light bulbs in our laundry room.  But, with advice from many friends (thanks Catholic Mutt!), everything was successful- even the food.  We ate out on the road- mostly Subway and salads from McDonalds.  While we were in Yellowstone, we ate exclusively from the cooler.  If I may say so myself, we ate very well.  We had sloppy joes, mostaccioli, quesadillas, zucchini brownies, string cheese, salad with lots of cut up veggies, simple salad dressing of olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper. 

Lots of orange juice too!


Not only was our trip successful, it was inspirational.  I think it was even a spiritual experience.  We were in awe most of the time.  I thought AJ might be bored but, he loved searching for the wildlife and staring at the geothermal wonders.  I got a little choked up when we were approaching the exit.  When I looked over at Guitar Man, he had tears in his eyes.  Our trip seems like a dream now.



I was in pain most of the time.  I forgot to mention on the medical quick takes that I have a cervical infection.  It's Strep B.  I've just had very mild pain in the past around my period.  Not even pain really, just cramping.  I was on a course of antibiotics and that cramping and brown bleeding cleared up.  Well, it somehow came back with a vengeance while at Yellowstone.   I'm now on another course of antibiotics (DH is too) and the pain has subsided.  Phew.


Then, my back went out.  I have a history of back trouble but, I've licked it over the last 10 years.  It comes on when I'm stressed.  I was stressed about the trip then add 21 hours in the car and there is a recipe for disaster.  The key for me is to force myself to move.  Walking up to Old Faithful, DH asked, "On a scale from 1-10, what is your pain."  I said, "8."  That's bad for a woman who has a very high pain tolerance.  Because there is so much walking, it was a natural way to keep me going.  So, by the time we left Yellowstone, it was under control.  There was a point that I got down on my hands and knees and prayed to our mother Mary for relief, strength and the wisdom to deal with the issue.  She answered my prayers- thank you dear mother. 


Then there was the, how can I say it?  The sluggish digestive track.  After a few days of lots of orange juice and grapes, it was better.  There was a lot going on in my pelvic region and all my suffering was offered for my prayer buddy and all the gals still waiting. 

I prayed for my prayer buddy and all you gals while up on this lookout

It was not lost on me the irony that I was having a spiritual experience in the midst of physical pain.  I felt very, very close to God on our trip.  It is not often that I have a sense that I belong.  When I go places and even when I'm in my home town, there are times when I feel out of place.  It's hard to explain.  It doesn't bother me.  I chalk it up to being made for a different world.  But, at Yellowstone, I felt as though I belonged there- like I was at home.  Not my physical home.  But,  my heart was home.