making the trek

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

Beauty and the judge July 15, 2014

At a football game for my daughter’s cheer squad I saw a young girl (maybe a mom, not sure) with the tiniest of tank tops (barely covering the important parts) and the shortest of shorts in white.  She sat with the football players.  I sat with my jaw to the ground.

At the produce store, a young girl in a barely there t-shirt and bikini bottoms prancing around.

At an interview and struggling to maintain eye contact as cleavage joins in the interview process. 

I have a confession to make.   I am incredibly judgemental.  I try not to be, but truth be told; I judge.  Hard.  It’s a struggle.  Sometimes, it’s because I care enough to point out the obvious, i.e. shorts too short/tight/ripped, etc.  Sometimes it’s within the limits of my own children and setting boundaries and sometimes I turn the ugly, judgemental eye….think along the lines of “What not to wear”.  The irony of it all, is I am no fashion maven and have had enough “what not to wear” moments that Stacey and Clinton should be here yesterday with their $5000 and help a sister out. But.  It’s not the fashion mishaps that concern me (mostly, I find THOSE highly entertaining and educational) it’s the blatant sexism in fashion and the lowering of the moral bar in what should be deemed acceptable. Starting in the toddler section and it doesn’t stop there.

Our girls have been blessed some truly awesome hand-me-downs in the past, however, a large portion of those clothes just kept on going out the door to the thrift store due to inappropriateness.  I mean, do we REALLY need to see ass-crease with every pair of shorts???  We’ve had several talks.  Together. One on one.  At the table.  In the car.  In the stores.  They know exactly where Dad and I stand in what’s allowable (basically school dress code=family dress codes for most things…but not flip-flops, I mean, c’mon…we live in Florida!).  For the most part, they abide by the rules.  In truth, they do each own a pair or two of hootchie shorts, however, they are mainly for the house or sleeping in.  Sometimes, they make it out though.  The point is, we and they are trying and trying hard.

Most importantly, I think they are receiving the message of modesty and the importance of what you wear and the message it sends.  Incredibly difficult is short shopping, dress shopping and back to school shopping (which sadly is upon us).  Challenging also in peer circles and learning to stand your ground and making your parent’s message yours.

Such a tough battle and a constant fight in staying modest.  We can’t advertise sex 24/7 from age toddler up and expect no problems.  Yes, I know that what you wear should be what you want to, but this is life and life isn’t fair.

So I judge.  And I use those judgements as teachable moments.  Mostly.  For the other times, well…..I’m working on that and I have this handy-dandy Matthew to keep me company.

Matthew 7: 1-3  (NASB)

7 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Matthew 7:1-5 (The Message)

1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

**Bible verses from the Bible Gateway

And then…this video making ALL the noise.  And it really fits in.  With the immodest dressing.  Overmakeup.  Trying too hard.  I shared it with my girls and I want to work harder by leading by example, otherwise it’s just words, right?  So, thank you, Colbie!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/13/colbie-caillat-try_n_5581951.html

 

 

Marriage=Hard June 7, 2014

wedding

Anyone remember their Pre-Cana weekend?  Classes?  Some, all or none?  My memory is pretty crapola these days…I blame multitasking, 4 kids and age.  Maybe I should do more Sudoku or 20, 40, 8 or whatever that game is.  Gingko?  Whatever…getting off track here.

I vaguely remember our Pre-Cana meetings with our Priest as more of a checking off of the boxes and looking back I’m certain he probably wanted to forehead smack both of us.  We were barely active in the Church and going through the motions, however, clearly the seed was planted because….here we are…20 years later and growing everyday in our Faith, Marriage and family.  It’s been a mind-blowing 20 years.  To say the least.

The thing is, I don’t remember much about Pre-Cana.  I remember a lot of vague, surface discussions.  Discussions on the budget and maintaining a joint checking account were the main things I remember, and that’s it.  NFP?  Not so much.  Marriage being hard?  Not really.  So, whether it is my p.poor memory or my 23 year-old naive self, Pre-Cana didn’t really prepare me or scare me.

I take you to be my  lawfully wedded spouse,  my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

I would have loved if we could have taken an in-depth look at those vows:

  • Lawfully wedded, constant friend.  Your spouse comes first.  Always and forever.  Your best friend.  Girlfriends are second and friends come and go as you move through seasons of life.  Pick wisely and you will never be lonely.
  • Faithful partner.  There is a reason men and women shouldn’t be alone together if they aren’t married.  It’s called a fallen world.  Free will.  Attractions will happen and we are all human; it takes a lot of effort to go from foot loose and fancy free to hitched forever.  It can be overwhelming.  Be honest and be sure you are both up for the task and be ready to decide if you can be forgiving if one or both of you fall.  It’s a tough and enticing world out there and marriage isn’t a deterrent to some.  There’s a reason 50%+ of marriages fail.  And infidelity doesn’t always come in the form of a person.
  • Sickness and health.  You will both get sick.  You will both need caretaking.  Be loving.  Be awesome.  Be kind.  Be thankful you are in this together, because being sick is something no one enjoys.  Being a caregiver is no picnic either.  You’ll both have a turn, be ready.
  • Savor and relish the good times and know that bad times will come.  Be a team.  Fight for each other.  Fight for your marriage.  Life is a constant change, ebb and flow and the better you work together, the stronger your marriage will be.  Dig in.
  • Love unconditionally.  This takes practice.  Every day.  All day.  For life.  Staying in love is work.   Put in the sweat equity.  You’ll reap a harvest far beyond your expectations.
  • Support each other.  Careers change.  Dreams evolve.  Work it together.  Marriage is team work.  Be flexible and be each other’s greatest cheerleader.  You’ll take risks in your careers and when you do it together the reward is so much sweeter.
  • Respect each other.   Criticize in love and in private.  The tongue is a savage beast and those words….well, don’t believe the rhyme…it’s all backwards:  words wound.  Be respectful always in word and in deed.
  • Laugh together.  Often.  Experience life joyfully.  It is far too short to be taken so seriously.  A huge area of weakness for this bride who, far too often gets caught up in all the “must do’s” and details of life.  Laughter is free therapy.
  • Cry together.  Forgiveness is hard.  Loss is hard.  Change is hard.  Life is hard.  There will be tears and if nothing else, hold each other through the storm.
  • Cherish each other.  This is your best friend.  Your life partner.  Your help mate.  Your help meet.  Your other half.  Your better half.  Your worse  half.  Your half.

So maybe Pre-Cana DID cover these…maybe I wasn’t listening….maybe it takes 20 years.

More to come….on marriage and vow renewals….stay tuned! 😉

 

We all need a little help May 7, 2014

Filed under: Catholicism,encouragement,Faith,God,Life,Prayers — tracye1 @ 6:52 AM
Tags: , , ,

As much as we ALL want to be supermom, superdad, super everything, we really can’t do it all.  Not on our own.  In fact we are the most productive and successful when we receive a helping hand, thought, word.  Today’s video reflection on the USSCB site was dead on.  The Hubs was up before me and told me about it (I generally just do the Daily Readings and occasionally the podcast reflection), so I watched for myself.  On the mark.  Completely.

USCCB Daily Reflection 5/7/14

Happy Humpday y’all!!!

 

Divine Mercy and Pope Saints April 27, 2014

Today we are blessed with 2 new saints to our army of intercessors, friends to pray with us, friends to pray for us and friends who were once Pope.  Jenny is hosting a little gathering of memories of Saint Pope John Paull II and there are a ton of great stories, photos and pictures,  a great way to remember the man and to celebrate the saint!

My contribution contains no personal photos of up close and in person with JPII and no earth-shattering and profound moments except that when I came back to my faith in the late 90s, early 2000s, John Paul II was Pope, when my world fell apart in 2003, John Paul II was Pope, when we entered our season of separation and survival, John Paul II was Pope, as we ended our first school year in that season, John Paul II passed away.  The foundation had been poured and the example of his own mercy, forgiveness and love for humanity penetrated deep into my own heart and has since been lived out in ways that can only be accredited to “By the Grace of God” through the living example of Pope John Paul II.  Not only did he pray for mercy for the whole world (see a portion of the Divine Mercy Chaplet below),  he sought to bring his whole flock to the faith and love of Christ and he fought hard for the youth, knowing that the  young are our future.  Perhaps that is the message that sticks with me the greatest.  And so today, Divine Mercy Sunday, we welcome 2 new Saints and rejoice in the example of faith in their lives and hopefully go forward sharing our own faith with all we come in contact with, that we may all come to love and trust in the saving power of Christ in His endless Mercy, Compassion and Grace.

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

I’ve tried to find out a bit more about Saint John XXIII as well and just loved his quotes I found this morning on the Catholic News Service…because we should all find some humor in life (which I often struggle with among the daily “must-dos”)!


1. Visiting a hospital he asked a boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. The boy said either a policeman or a pope. “I would go in for the police if I were you,” the Holy Father said. “Anyone can become a pope, look at me!”

2. “It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about the serious problems afflicting the world and I tell myself, I must talk to the pope about it. Then the next day when I wake up I remember that I am the pope.”

3. In reply to a reporter who asked, “How many people work in the Vatican?”, he reportedly said: “About half of them.”

4. When a cardinal complained that a rise in Vatican salaries meant a particular usher earned as much as the cardinal, the pope remarked: “That usher has 10 children; I hope the cardinal doesn’t.”

5. When he went to visit a friend at the nearby Hospital of the Holy Spirit in the evening, the nun answering the door said: “Holy Father, I’m the mother superior of the Holy Spirit.” He replied: “Lucky you! What a job! I’m just the ‘servant of the servants of God.'”

6. Not long after he was elected pope, Blessed John was walking in the streets of Rome. A woman passed him and said to her friend, “My God, he’s so fat!” Overhearing what she said, he turned around and replied, “Madame, I trust you understand that the papal conclave is not exactly a beauty contest.”

7. He once wrote: “There are three ways to face ruin: women, gambling and farming. My father chose the most boring one.”

8. When he was cardinal and patriarch of Venice, the future pope was talking with a wealthy city resident and told him, “You and I have one thing in common: money. You have a lot and I have nothing at all. The difference is I don’t care about it.”

9. When a journalist asked the then-patriarch of Venice what he would be if he could live his life all over again, the future pope said, “Journalist.” Then he said with a smile, “Now let us see if you have the courage to tell me that, if you could do it all over again, you’d be the patriarch!”

10. A Vatican official told the pope it would be “absolutely impossible” to open the Second Vatican Council by 1963. “Fine, we’ll open it in 1962,” he answered. And he did.

Today as we welcome these Saints we can pray,

“Saint John Paul II and Saint John XXIII, pray for us and the whole world.”

 

Choosing blindness. Choosing sight. April 1, 2014

The Gospel at Mass John 9:1-41, was a (long) version of the blind man who was healed by Jesus–with the clay, on the eyes, the washing in Siloam and BOOM.  Eyesight.  Followed by a grilling by the Pharisees and their indignation at Jesus actually having THE NERVE to heal on the Sabbath and therefore could not be of God.  Because, the Sabbath.  Rules.  Regulations.  All that.  The no-longer-blind man’s bottom line:  listen, all I know is I was blind, and now I see; Jesus healed me.  Which had me focusing on the fact that Jesus can heal me.  And you.  and you.  and you.  The only kicker is we have to be present to Him and follow His instructions, even when they are simple.  Which is tricky because we want everything to be so complicated and sometimes, it’s just not.

Fast forward to the seriously STRONG homily by one of our Deacons in which he flipped it onto us, the Church.  When we come to Mass on Sunday, we listen, we go through the motions and then people EN MASSE routinely exit the church after receiving the Precious Body and Blood.  They just keep on truckin’ out the door.  (I don’t know if this occurs regularly in your church but it is a regularly HUGE occurrence in ours, to the tune of a 100 or so people performing this ritual each Mass)  So, why do they come?  Habit?  Ritual?  Obligation?  To receive an eternal “insurance policy”?   Because it doesn’t work that way;  our deacon reminded us in the Scripture, Luke 13-26:27

26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

Do we choose blindness in spite of the gifts Christ has for us?  He awaits us every hour of every day, open arms, judgement free, love overflowing and yet……sometimes we are blind.  Blind to the fact that it is not about putting in face time, we have to work at our relationship with Christ.  We work at our marriage.  We work at our friendships.  We work on our parenting skills.  Being Facebook friends with someone and not acknowledging their presence in real life doesn’t cultivate a relationship anymore than warming a pew on Sunday only to bolt after Mass to get the prime table for coffee and donuts afterward.  Jesus wants a relationship with us and it takes effort.  If we but follow His lead, we too, can see.  And live.  Not just trudge through.  Because once upon a time, He led me through the darkness to the light, He held my hand in Mass as I wrangled 4 children to teach them the Faith and show them that even in the darkest of the dark He will never leave you.  And I am living proof of that.

The Deacon invited all who didn’t have  a legitimate reason to leave immediately following Holy Communion to go ahead and leave.  Now.  A woman behind us exited the pew…..but returned shortly (probably needed a tissue)…..aside from that I didn’t see anyone leave and it was a lot more crowded than usual after the final blessing than usual.  It was a long overdue reminder and one I took to apply personally as well.  If we can’t be present, 100% present in our intentions–because let’s be real, we all have distractions during Mass–but if our intentions aren’t 100% genuine, we need to reflect on WHAT we are doing.  WHAT kind of relationship do we expect with Jesus if we treat him so casually? None of us is perfect and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had mind wander during Mass for a zillion and one reasons over my lifetime, but my intentions are genuine.  He has held my hand.  He has carried me through a haze of confusion and desperation and He washed clean my eyes and scrubbed my heart.  He has shown me a life so vivid and full of hope that to live in any other way than to cultivate a relationship with Christ would be choosing blindness after seeing the light.

You see, once I was blind and now I see; that has made every difference in my life.

 

 

 

 

7 and splendid!!! March 2, 2014

Filed under: Catholicism,encouragement,God,Gratitude,Life,Photos — tracye1 @ 11:18 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

7 days of blogging…DONE!  Thanks for the fun, Jen!

This weekend is a perfect reason why people move to Florida.  Just spectacular!!!  My genuine apologies to those of you still surrounded by snow, mush, more snow to come, hopefully you’ll enjoy a little glimpse of spring/summer here and perhaps….PERHAPS…..it might be enough to propel you through.

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Honestly, though….I don’t know how you do it.  Hubby would love to move to New Hampshire in a hot second…me?  I’d love to visit and would even consider a “2nd home” (LOL)…but live?  No.  Can’t do it.  Listen, it’s already pretty consecutively in the 70s here and I put the flannel sheets and fleece blanket on under the heavy comforter.

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Again.  Thin blood.  I’d die.  OK, enough bellyaching.

Off to the produce store before I pick up the girls from their Religious Ed classes…no dillydallying!!

A brief message from our Homily this morning from our priest…”God loves us for WHO we are to Him, not what we do.”  Stuck with me.  Sticking with me.

And the ever-present always-hopeful-reminder:

Matthew 6:34  

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Happy Sunday!

 

Trading earth’s cross for heaven’s crown February 15, 2014

Dear Lisa,

Woman.  It is the most breathtakingly STUNNING day here today.  A rough start with the rain and wind this a.m. but now….oh.  My.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Nice wind.  Hovering on the 70’s….just barely.  I can’t think of a better day to celebrate you.

Somehow I managed to make it through with 3 tissues.  Your humongous family, your beautiful girls and your brave and valiant husband filing in just made my heart ache.  In the same breath, my heart was filled with joy at the sheer numbers present.  You seriously made an impression on a lot of people, an indelible print on their hearts.  Way cool.  What a blessing to call you friend.

Your faith and courage in your fight with Ovarian cancer could not help but to spill over on to everyone you came in contact with.  Sharing that faith just came natural and so did encouraging your students and friends to live life to the fullest.  Embrace every day and when you introduced Brendan (and our family) to the story of Nick Vujicic your genuineness and love of God became that much more real.

Thank you for your friendship.  It was a true blessing to know you.

A few words from today that I KNOW you’d be shaking your head “YES” to:

  • You traded earth’s cross for Heaven’s crown.  WOW!  I just love that.  You are free.  You are free.
  • When we let go of fear we step out and grow in faith.  Like taking off without training wheels for the first time.  May we ALL be propelled to grow in faith by crushing fear with the same German stubborness you had.
  • Fight the GOOD fight.  Life is busy and we get pulled in so many directions.  May we all focus on those priorities of living this life and fighting the GOOD fight.
  • Life is hard.  So many people, situations and choices constantly turning us sideways; faith is what guides us through.  A beacon of hope.  You stayed focused on that faith in God’s plan to the very end.  I can think of no better race that was run.

Rest in peace, my friend.  Until we meet again!

XOXO

Tracy

The bluest of blues.  Sky today.

The bluest of blues. Sky today.

 

 
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