It’s Official!

I knew it would happen sooner or later but I had hoped to
avoid it with luck and a little skill. 
Okaaaay, so I was wrong.  Really
wrong.  (I admit it.  Sometimes I’m a little delusional.)  Despite my efforts to fight it, I am no
longer smart; at least, not according to my teenage son.  I am officially stupid.

I can almost see some of you shaking your head and laughing
a little at my naivete.  How did I hope
to avoid this parental curse?  Do I have
some magic suit that can deflect teenage scorn? 
Or perhaps some psychic ability that allows me to see into the teenage
mind and unravel it’s mysteries for the betterment of the world?  Maybe I have a super-secret brainwashing
technique that I use to “mold” the minds of tomorrow’s leaders?  Um. 
Nope.  Not only do I NOT have any
of those cool but questionable tools to help me avoid the “Parental Teenage Curse”, it totally snuck up on me!

For those of you who either 1) haven’t gone through this
stage yet as a parent or 2) don’t remember going through it as a teen, let me
enlighten you to a common and extremely annoying stage that many teenagers go
through.  You see, there comes a time in
a teen’s life when he or she realizes that their parents are completely
clueless and have little or no redeeming value whatsoever.  They, on the other hand, have reached a level
of enlightenment that is exceeded only by Einstein on a REALLY good day.  You know what I mean, on a day when he got a
great night’s sleep, took his vitamins, and got pumped at the gym. 
Unfortunately, this new period in our lives has taught me something about myself.  Something that I really didn’t want to know.  (Don’t you hate it when that happens?)  It seems that I don’t like being wrong.  I mean I REALLY don’t like being wrong.  Sure, I understand that most people don’t like to be wrong or be TOLD they’re wrong.  It’s human nature.  How am I any different?
Usually, I’m not easily irritated.  In fact, you could say that I’m fairly hard to offend.  But there are some things that send me over the edge. 
  • Give me attitude about going to Mass (I’m talking to you my sweet offspring.)
  • Dress like a slob for a dressy occasion and resist all my efforts to correct.  (Still talking to you kids.)
  •  Be told what I will like or dislike.  (I’ll decide that for myself, thank you.)

But, the one thing that drives me up the wall faster than no other irritant is……someone telling me I’m wrong when I KNOW I’m right!

I realize that I can’t make my teenager think I’m intelligent or wise.  The only thing I can change is me.  When I realized that I was getting WAY too upset over being told I was wrong, I felt so silly.  Here I am , a grown woman, letting a fourteen year-old push my buttons by going through a typical fourteen year-old phase. 

So as of now, I’m letting go of being right.  After all, It’s about pride and my pride could use a little shrinkage.  My new phrase will be “I may be wrong but…”  I’m hoping by admitting my fallibility right upfront it will make me better able to handle the fact that I’m most assuredly wrong–at least for the next few years or so.

Blessings from the flawed but blessed,

Six-Item Challenge: Post Game Wrap Up

It’s been a week since I completed my 30 day Six-Item Clothing Challenge and with the exception of a few “cheats” (unexpected funeral & my afore-mentioned oversight of my preschool work T-shirt) it was quite a success.  In fact, on the last day of the challenge, I realized that I had to actually THINK about what I would wear the next day and I was totally bummed out!

Much to my surprise, I didn’t hate the six items of clothing I chose by the time I reached the end of thirty days.  I was a little tired of a few of them but I had picked clothes that I liked and felt good wearing so it wasn’t the torture it could have been. 

I have to say, those thirty days did teach me a few things.

  1. I have WAY too many clothes and I’m not even a clotheshorse!  I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it but many of my clothes  rarely get worn.   Instead, I wear the same few outfits over and over again.  ( Can you say “closet purge”?)
  2. When you have a smaller pool of clothing to choose from, you have to be careful not to wash them all at the same time.  Unless, of course, you can spend the day in your pajamas,  Then, be my guest!
  3. I’ve been guilty of the impulsive, last-minute clothing purchase that often ends up being worn just a few times.  After my clothing experiment, I realize that I need to change my thinking when I purchase clothing.  I need to think about quality and longevity instead of low-cost “disposable” items.  This means I will probably be spending more money for clothes but I’ll also be buying fewer items.  In the long run, my clothing costs should even out or, perhaps, even go down.  I’ll keep you posted.
  4. Here’s the BIG revelation–Hold on to your hats….Most people don’t notice what I’m wearing from day to day.  Shocking, isn’t it?  And here I thought I was the center of the universe!  Don’t get me wrong.  People may notice if I look nice but mostly they have short memories (thankfully).  Of course, on some level this hurts my pride.  I like to think that people are paying more attention to me than they actually are.  But, the humbling reality is that most people are too busy trying to get through their day to care about whether or not I wore a brown T-shirt two days in a row!

So, did the last 30 days change my perspective?  Most certainly!  Am I going to get rid of all but 6 items of my clothing?  No.  But….I might scale down to 10 or 12 items (per season, that is!).  I guess I’ve still got a long way to go. 

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”  (Eccl. 1:2)


Holy Week Hash

A little of this, a little of that.  Write it up and you get Holy Week Hash! 

  • The last time I posted, my family and I were eagerly awaiting the election of our new pope.  Since then, we’ve not only learned the name of our new pope, we’ve also begun to learn a bit about the man and what his papacy might look like over time.  Personally, I’m really getting excited about Pope Francis.  The more I learn about him and the more I see of his papacy, the more I admire his integrity, humility, compassion, and mercy.  On top of all that, I like what I see of his leadership style-simple, straightforward, kind, and consistent.  Over the last few weeks there has been more than once when I’ve thought, “Yes!  That’s what we need!”  So, Pope Francis, I give you my blessing and ask you to continue to bless our Church with your faithful leadership.
  • Well, things have been rough at my house since I last posted.  My husband left the country on business and, of course, all hell broke loose while he was gone.  Not only did the house rebel in his absence (light bulbs in very high places going out, mysterious smells in the house, appliances not working correctly), but two of our three children had traumatic or dramatic weeks (ex: a week-long migraine that wouldn’t go away with Tylenol with codeine!).  I can’t say that all is calm now that my hubby is back but, the migraines are under control and I’m calmer (he has that effect on me 🙂 )so we’ll call it progress.
  • Due to my rough patch last week, I fell off my Lenten wagon, so to speak.  My plan this Lent was to keep it simple and doable –go to Eucharistic Adoration once a week and say one Rosary each week.  Things had been going well but…Why is it that the times I need to pray the most are the times when it gets pushed to the side?  At least I’m consistent, I do the same with eating well and exercising.  When I’m under stress and really need to eat right and exercise is when I’m sitting on the couch and eating fast food.  Spoiler Alert:  I’m not perfect.  (I know!  It’s news to me too!  😉 )
  • Despite all the drama and trauma in our lives lately, there have been some bright spots and fun moments.  I’ve been entertaining myself with a new frugal and green project that will be part of an upcoming post.  So stayed tuned for some household science projects that will save you money and, perhaps, the earth!
  • This weekend will be filled with cooking, egg coloring, prayer, and time with family.  If I can squeeze a nap in there too, it might just be the perfect weekend!

May the spirit of the Resurrection fill you with hope and faith in the love of God!
Easter Blessings,

Mid-life Crisis?

Have you ever had a moment when your view of yourself crashed headlong into reality?  I have.  In fact over the years it’s happened several times.  I like to think of them as reminders from God that 1) I’m not Him and, 2) I’m not “all that.” 

Some people might call this a mid-life crisis but that’s overstating things.  These glimpses of my imperfection usually provide me with insight about myself and the way I look at life.  More like lessons in humility but without the humiliation. 

A few years ago, I was fretting about my children’s grades in school.  I worried they should do better than they were doing.  After all, my husband is very intelligent and I was always an A/B student.  Or was I?  Around that time my Dad had been cleaning out closets and came across a box of my old school papers.  Of course, he passed them on to me (I probably should’ve paid him rent for storage all those years!)  As I went through the papers, I came across a report card from 4th or 5th grade.  I took a look and was surprised at the variety of letters I saw on the page.  There were A’s and B’s, yes, but there were also C’s and I think even a D!

At first, I was a little horrified.   I always thought I was a good student!  What were those other grades doing there with the A’s and B’s?  Slowly memories came back to me. I remembered struggling to learn my multiplication facts. I remembered test anxiety and stressed out evenings studying with Mom & Dad at the dining room table.  Then it dawned on me.  My kids are better students than I was at that age!  At that moment, I realized that I could relax.  My kids made good grades (better than mine, probably) and, after all, they were KIDS!  They had time to work out the kinks and overcome whatever challenges were thrown their way. 

So far the score is Reality-1, Laura-0.

More recently, I was at the lake with some friends where I got the opportunity to drive a Waverunner (Jet-ski, whatever) for the first time. Once I got the quick tutorial, I started off with my friend riding behind me to be my guide.  At one point she said, “You can go faster if you want to.”  Faster?  Wasn’t I going fast as it was?  After all, I was almost going 25 miles per hour!  That’s the fastest I’d ever gone without a car surrounding me.  So, I asked her how fast she’d gone when she was out on the lake.  What?  Did you say 60 miles an hour?! 

So, I conveniently concluded that she was reckless and I was smart.  Then, it was my husband’s turn out on the water.  Before he left, I told him we were going to see which one of us was wilder.  The gauntlet had been thrown down!  Until that point I had no question which one of us was more of a daredevil.  It was me, of course.  Imagine my surprise when he got back from his spin around the lake.  With a cocky smirk on my face, I asked the fateful question, “How fast did you go?”  The answer that I never expected came-45 miles per hour.  I had been beaten at my own silly game!

At that point I couldn’t ignore the fact that I was more cautious ( & probably more competitive!) than I realized.  But, just like my report card incident, this realization sparked memories from childhood.  I never liked sleeping over at friends’ houses.  It took me forever to learn how to ride a bike because I was afraid of going fast.  Yes, I am a cautious person.  There’s no escaping it now. 

Score update-Reality-2, Laura-0

After the “Epiphany of the Lake”, I had to laugh at myself and my delusions of grandeur.  What was I thinking?  Did I seriously think that I was a straight A student and a closet biker chick?  No.  Deep down I knew reality was, in fact, real.  It seemed God was again reminding me of who I really am.  Not in a hateful way.  Not because He’s trying to bring me down a notch.  But because He loves me and wants me to love Him as myself and not as the person I think I am or the person I think I should be. 

So, instead of a mid-life crisis, I guess I’ve had a series of mid-life “moments” that let me laugh a bit at myself and remind me how human I really am.  What a relief!  Now I can relax and just be me.  Of course, I’ll probably still need some reminders from time-to-time about who I really am.  I’m sure God will help me out there.  Until then, crisis averted.

Final Score-Reality-2, Laura-Humble (and Happy.)