making the trek

Trekking through life: Faith, family, friends and a whole lot of coffee!

Here I am October 11, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 12:00 AM

Sometimes it is easy to pray the words?  But to live the words?  That is the hard part.

My last blog was all about seasons of change in our marriage and boom…..season change!

Recently I’ve found myself in job limbo, much to my surprise.  It is a new situation for me and one that I have (blessedly) never experienced before.  My current job is interesting in itself in that when I took this job I wasn’t even looking for a job but it found me and with much prayer and discussion realized this was an opportunity to provide the professional growth I had been seeking and so I jumped in and it’s been fascinating and exactly what I was looking for and I have been able to put into practice many new ideas and programs in addition to “peopleing”……lots of “peopleing”.  And I have loved it all….even on the frustrating days.

So it was with much confusion, anxiety, anger and angst that I have been wrestling with this change over the past week.  My brain has been on overload, at the same time also mercifully full of reason that far outweighs the panic and rage, but still.   Tough.  Tough week.  So much brain activity.

In prayer I am reminded that I didn’t choose this job, God placed me here.   Apparently He has something better in mind and it is time to move on and yet I find myself coming back to my toddler-hood in a mental tantrum because I LIKE IT HERE.   I am not ready to move on.  So, my heart asked me the hard question, “do you pray or merely provide lip service?”  And it stopped me.

I am a faithful prayer warrior; ask me and I will lift you up and if you need some direction, I have often been able to see that clarity for others—but I have rarely turned that focus to my own life.   Until now.  And God is showing me the many choices I can make—-blessed with options—and He is promising me that any of these choices will provide the “next step” I need in my life.  He placed me here and He has never left me, guiding, guarding and protecting me along this road.

So I pray,  “Jesus, I trust in you”.  But when I stop with the lip service and speak it with my heart, I know that He has this.  And like my hubby says, it’s time to put on my big-girl pants and face it head on.   I was made for this.   Whatever “this” looks like; I know He has prepared my way and this detour is also part of His plan for me.

I won’t lie and say that I’m excited for this next part because my heart hasn’t caught up to my brain…….but I am ready.   and I trust.

So.  Here I am, Lord.  Send me.

In the meantime…..I’ll be working on my heart.   And drinking coffee.

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Seasons of change October 10, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 4:06 PM

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A few weeks ago my hubby was able to fulfill a dream of  spending time in New Hampshire for several weeks while working and taking the opportunity to enjoy the New England fall weather and extraordinary hiking.

I was able to come to terms with this mini-separation because a) we still have kids at home, b) I don’t work remotely, c) I kind of like my alone time and with kids in high school and a hubby out of town—there was plenty of that.  I was also able to deal with this because I planned to visit for a long weekend thereby squashing any resentment–win-win.

It is an odd season we are in with these big kids.  I love it.  Don’t get me wrong.  When they were little it didn’t seem as if we would ever get to this place in our life where our kids were becoming young adults and independent and awesome and we would be back where we started—without kids much of the time.   Hopping on a plane and heading 1500 miles north and leaving our girls to manage school (2 days) and a weekend without us and trusting our oldest son to be on “backup” with our youngest son in college……it was a weird and wonderful place.

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Waking up in Florida,  heading to a morning of work, hopping on a plane in 96 degree weather and deplaning to a brisk 52degrees and having dinner in Maine and falling asleep in New Hampshire was a wonderful taste of this new season.  One of the things that is difficult to envision at 24 years old and making all those marriage vows is that 24 years later you still need to love each other because you will have lived 10 lifetimes raising your family with countless seasons still ahead…..and if you still love each ot her and actually LIKE each other it will make that journey far more enjoyable.  It takes work but the dividends on the back side are worth it!

So we hiked and slept and ate and read and enjoyed each other’s company.   Briefly glanced back and planned for days and years ahead.

The foliage was just barely beginning and we were able to glimpse the glory to come in the weeks ahead.

Refreshed, renewed, ready for the next season.

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Faith tested August 19, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:59 PM

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The Catholic Church has not had a pretty few weeks.  Then again the Catholic Church has not always had a rosy past.  There is no doubt in my mind that there are rough roads ahead.  Right now, it’s just maddeningly quiet and it is not helping matters.  Like many, I’ve been frustrated with the lack of discussion of recent events in my home church.  However, today showed me that our pastor is hurting, too.  Hindsight is 20/20 and today was a reminder that often events that are so monumental require significant processing to even begin the conversation.

A couple of weeks ago we had no homily.  Mass ended with a profoundly powerful Benediction and Adoration of the Eucharist.  It was beautiful and it was right where we, as a church, need to be:  on bended knee, seeking, loving and adoring Christ, the one who can make all things new.  There were zero words that could have touched the heart like the Exposition of the Eucharist.

The Cardinal McCarrick mess reveals to the world that evil prowls among our priests and it is not pretty.  The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report reveals to the world that evil has infiltrated the priesthood and preyed on the flock.  You don’t have to Google far to gather the details.   Catholic Social media is ablaze with anger and our local news station even ran a story on a former priest who was given a positive reference for a job at Disney.  I could go on and on and fan the flames but after spending time in Adoration on Friday. Reconciliation on Saturday and today’s Mass it is not in the adding of fuel to the fire that we will defeat this attack, it is through our faith—faith in action.

Our faith must transcend religion.  Any religion.  Are we worshipping men or Christ?  Priests are men.  Holy.  Anointed.  But men.  The line between sinner and saint is mighty fine and any given day we all precariously balance between the two with our religious men and women not immune to the dance.    But listen, do we not hear or believe the prayers we pray?  Are we so caught up in rote and tradition that we don’t HEAR the prayers of our faith?  You can be Catholic, Jewish, Protestant or non-denominational and if you are only giving lip service to your faith you are missing out.  And I get it, we all have those days, but during trials and tribulations we must CLING to those prayers and dig deep in our faith for the strength, courage and wisdom to navigate through the darkness.  Jesus NEVER promised this Christian walk would be easy, in fact, He frequently reminds us it will be HARD.

Throughout my Adoration hour, I prayed the divine chaplet because you better believe, I am praying for the whole world right now!  My meditations kept bringing me back to the rosary, showing me how HARD the mysteries of the rosary are. Let’s look at the reflections of the rosary:

  • Humility, love of neighbor, poverty in spirit, obedience, joy in finding Jesus
  • Openness to the holy spirit, closeness to Jesus through Mary, desire for holiness, Adoration.
  • Sorry for sin, purity, courage, patience, perseverance.
  • Faith, hope, love of God, Grace of a happy death and trust in Mary’s intercession.

The scriptures preceding the reflections focus on HARD times in Jesus’ life:  teen pregnancy, losing your child for 3 days, humiliation, scourging, carrying our cross, death on a cross, and so on.  NONE of these scripture mysteries are easy and yet they all point us to focusing on the fruits that we are blessed with in spite of the challenges when we look to the Cross.  When we turn to Jesus.  When we ask the intercession of the blessed Mother and all the saints.  Growing in faith takes a spiritual village, intentionality and being open to the Spirit of God, allowing Him to move through us, through our thoughts and through our actions–it is a mutual relationship.

We are called to trust in God.  In dark times, anger is expected and necessary to flip the tables in the temple, drive out the thieves and prune the bad fruit.  The devil doesn’t take a break and right now he is striking the head of the Church in a way that is not new, but in a way that has struck a chord and pissed off the body.  It is going to get worse before it gets better.  After pruning a plant, it is bare long before it brings forth new fruit and growth.  This process will be no different.  My gut says there are more to come because this is an issue that was not fully addressed– EVER.  Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes (Taylor Swift).

Do not lose faith.  Do not lose hope.  Do not be afraid.  Let us be wise.  We start in the home and we clothe ourselves in the armor of God and prepare ourselves for battle.  The great news?????  We have far more men and women of faith that are good, holy and righteous.  They will lead us all out of this nasty mess and into a deeper faith because of it.  Right now they are hurting and pissed, too.   They are processing and figuring out how to lead us through this battle, because that is the only way to the other side.  The devil will not stop and he will look for every single opening; it is the age old battle of good and evil.  Let us do our part in answering the call with calm strength versus hysteria.  Righteous anger versus pointless finger pointing.   Long-term solutions versus knee-jerk reactions.  Teamwork  versus destructive gossip.  Let God use all of us to fight the good fight  and trust that He makes all things new.  Even this.

And today, after our pastor’s homily and reading of our Bishop’s letter to the Diocese addressing current events, we celebrated, as a parish,  during Mass, a baptism of a sweet little baby girl.

There is hope.

 

Hope in the future July 27, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:15 AM

Jeremiah 29:11:   our family Scripture verse, this verse has sustained me, encouraged me and help me put one foot in front of the other.  This verse is embedded in my email address and my personal and professional signature lines and I have had many people throughout the years thank me and comment on the power of this verse as it has pertained to their own lives.  It is packed with a tremendous message, a message that every one of us needs to hear throughout our lives.

I have lived with the promise of this verse for years.  In good times and in bad.  It was and is my cornerstone of faith, the Holy Spirit speaking to me….over and over and over again, like a Father comforting his daughter.

Friday night before I left for New Hampshire I took my Hubby’s Adoration hour and as I slowly worked through my Lenten bible study (yes, my overachievement knows no limits) the remainder of the Scripture spoke to me.  Loudly.  Clearly.  Over and over and over again, like a Father comforting his daughter.  Listen.  Hear the message in the continuation of Jeremiah’s message.

Jeremiah 29:12-14

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And listen He does, even when I think He just might not be…..always present, always listening, guiding, guarding and protecting even when I cannot or refuse to see.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Over and over and over again.  Repeated in Matthew 7:7 in case I missed it in Jeremiah.  

I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” 

Every day.  He does this every day.  Sometimes it is far more obvious, but even in the everyday extraordinary, He brings me back.  Yes, the mountains are tangible and blessedly over-the-top in His magnificent creation, however, every day He shows this to me.  But in the stillness of  the night during Adoration, He makes this crystal and abundantly clear.  And then, He proceeds to show me….over and over and over again.

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Almost July 25, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 7:45 AM

This summer, due to the Hubs ability to work remotely, our vacation began a little differently.  Hubby and the three youngest “kiddos”, an extra “kiddo” and our dog, left for the Granite State a week ahead of me.  With three drivers and shift rotation they decided to drive straight through.  24 hours.  Fortunately they made this decision without my presence, AKA fretting and freaking.  However, His grace is endless and in His mercy they arrived safe and sound with an additional day to enjoy thanks to adrenaline, excitement and youth!  Nevermind that poor Mama lost a night of sleep checking the GPS and Hail Mary-ing between nap segments.

My week plugged along as usual and not.  Work as usual during the day.  But in the evening…….  Not cooking.   Not cleaning.  And with our oldest son working out of town all week–not talking.   It was a strange and lovely foray into hermit-hood and I was over it by Wednesday.  Also, oddly refreshed.

Friday night I had the 11 o’clock Adoration hour for my Hubby.  I was able to take a short nap and had coffee so I was wide awake.  Until 1:30 a.m.  At which point I had a dream that I missed my 4 a.m. shuttle to the airport.   At 3:15 a.m. I turned my alarm off and the dream ALMOST became a reality as I pulled into the lot with 47 seconds to spare as the driver put my luggage in, closed the door and the other 4 travelers and I were off.  Can you say PHEW!!

Lo, but there was more excitement to be had with 2 hours to kill and a spot staked out 10 feet in front of my gate, I snuggled into my travel pillow and book.  Somewhere around 20 minutes to take-off I decided it would be a good opportunity to use the facilities before boarding and once again ALMOOOOOOOOST missed my travel arrangements.  Somehow missing the boarding call(s) and managed to obliviously and breezily check in just as they shut the doors behind me.

If you know me, you will know this is EXTREMELY out of character Let’s just chalk it up to sleep deprivation and rejoice that what ALMOST was, never was!!

Onward….New Hampshire!!

 

 

Life sucks and then you die June 3, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 3:33 PM

Above is a true quote at a leadership meeting this week.  One I have used on my kids as they grew up on occasion.  But you know, there’s some truth to it……life has sucky seasons to be sure, but there is a lot of beauty along the way, too!

Did you hear that great thunk of dust falling from the blogosphere?  I’m back.  Not sure how long for………………….but today and tomorrow for sure 🙂

Here I sit on a Sunday afternoon with a completely empty house and for the second time in 2 days I am experiencing a bizarre and unusual quiet, the kind you spend just aimlessly walking around because you aren’t sure what exactly to do.  Although there’s lots I “need” to do, it is often glorious just to sit in the quiet.

be still.

In this crazy life we all live, that is not only a challenge but actually a breath of fresh life if you can manage to force yourself to do it.

The last 6 weeks have been insanely intense and emotional for our family culminating with the happy milestone of a high school graduation.  So the quiet?  It is welcome and also has a way of ripping off the bandaid of stuffed emotions and allowing cathartic tears to soothe the soul.

In April we mourned the unexpected loss of my dear, step-father, Benny after a brief illness.  After completing chemo and radiation therapy for metastatic squamous cell cancer and beginning to get strength and energy back it was a sucker-punch to the gut to lose him so suddenly and our family is still processing and grieving his loss–and in a house of 6, no two grieve the same.

In the meantime, life goes on, right?  We manage Benny’s affairs, plan his celebration of life later this summer, work our day jobs, take end of course exams, replace dying refrigerators, plan summer vacations and prepare for college.  Life doesn’t stop and that is both a blessing and a curse.

Last week we mourned again, this time for my father-in-law, Ike, who also fought an eerily similar cancer battle as  Benny but where Benny’s cancer complications caught us off guard we have been counting the months since Ike’s terminal diagnosis 7 months ago.  Though expected and freely discussed with and without him, I can tell you that the end was no easier than the sudden passing of Benny.  Different but not easier.

On Friday we had a funeral Mass for Ike in the church we married in almost 24 years ago.  While they have undergone some renovations over the years, as we processed down the aisle to our row, my mind played a weird game of flipping to my wedding procession and the current funeral procession.  One walk was a joyous occasion vowing to love in all circumstances and promising to raise our children in the Catholic church–the other walk was melancholy and played like mental slide show of “throwbacks” and present day.  From a shiny happy young couple to a family of 6 filling an entire pew, praying, taking the Eucharist and saying goodbye.

Death does weird shit to your mind.

On Saturday we celebrated our youngest son’s high school graduation.  This senior year has been a blur of busy, a blur of decisions, a blur of the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood.  We hosted an open house breakfast prior to graduation, noshed on some breakfast deliciousness, snapped some photos, grabbed some hugs and then worked our way to the civic center.  In what is the biggest surprise to all, mama bear shed zero tears.  We listened, clapped and celebrated and somewhere in the “T’s” realized that if we left right then— we could beat the traffic home and you know what?  We did it.  And I give zero cares about judging, because we already took the pictures!!  If you saw the traffic yesterday due to 4 graduations back-to-back and the annual “Big Truck weekend” combined with the first sunny Saturday in (what felt like) 10 years, you would recognize the fact that we did a public service by cutting out early, therby reducing the traffic gridlock on beachside.  Anywho……this also allowed me precious time alone at home with my new grad (who lucked out after graduation and scored a quick exit and record time getting home) as my entire family went their separate ways and he had time to decompress before heading to his friend’s party.  And you know sometimes, when the dust settles and the adrenaline subsides–THEN the tears come: sad, happy, relief, uncertainty, remembering our loved ones and looking to the future and it is a blessing.

Saturday evening I spent celebrating Mother’s Day and May birthdays with my mom and sister and we laughed and cried and reminisced and ate and drank and shopped and it was a gift.  A beautiful end to a bittersweet weekend.

This life has turned out nothing like I expected in my 24 year old imagination as I walked down that aisle and I am so grateful for that.

Peace.

 

 

Thoughts for today February 6, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 9:08 PM

Read it at Catholic Mom today.

Peace!

 

 
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