7 QTs Summer, Kids, Rap Music and Whatever

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1.

It’s summer. I love my kids, I really really do and maybe I’m just a horrible public school parent or just a horrible parent period but they are driving me BONKERS! The thing about my kids is that they are people people. They like to talk to people, discuss things and get different perspective on life from others so going to public school is great for them to do that. When they don’t have it, they watch TV and over analyze every.single.thing. And then have deep theological discussions about things like the morality of killing zombies. I can handle this for a few hours a day but when they are in ma FACE 12 hours a day wanting to have these conversations it kind of breaks my brain. I need to watch episodes of Will and Grace to decompress. I can’t even read, because my brain is mush.

2.

Soooo that’s how much summer is kicking off. I have only had one bored kid in two weeks and only had to pull them apart once, so that isn’t bad. I have nothing but love for moms who home school, I could not do it. I would be sporting a straight jacket in a few months.

3.

Since I have had the need to decompress and watch mindless TV, I have found a new favorite reality show called R&B Divas of Atlanta. There are not enough words to express just how much I love Keke Wyatt right now. Her voice is amazing and her personality is a lot like mine. She gets nervous and insecure and babbles. I do all those things. This is one of my favorite songs by her and Avant.

4.

I am still waiting for that new Lil Wayne album to drop. I am anxious to see what it’s all about. Right now, I am so disappointed in rap music. It is all the same thing: hoes, haters, bitches, weed, money bla bla bla. I don’t expect every rap song to be an anthem for the better of the common good, but there used to be at-least one or two songs on an album that were and it would be nice to have a few new ones. Lil Wayne used to be able to create thought-provoking songs, I sure hope that he does so on this new album.

5.

But if he lets me down, there is always the new Seether album to look forward to! And the new Keyshia Cole. YES!

6.

I have worked on writing my book, which is harder than I thought it would be. There is a lot of reading involved. Reading about the craft of writing, and reading other people’s writing plus a lot of prep that needs to be done. I am not even remotely sure what I am doing still but I laugh when I think back to how I thought I was gonna write a book in 3 months. HA HA HA. I am just a dummy!

7.

I have a post about the #yesallwomen hashtag and single mothers who like to put down fathers on Father’s Day, but I haven’t really fleshed them out yet to the point that they don’t sound preachy and rude, so I’m working on it.

As always, please pray for me.

For more QT’s go see Team Whitaker who is hosting this week! 

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Change is Painful

I was reading Elizabeth Scalia’s post yesterday about Papa Benedict and his new role in the Church.

When I got to the excerpt of an interview the B16 did where he talks about suffering, I just sat there staring at the screen.  It’s from an interview that is in God and the World, which I plan to buy and read in its entirety.

Pain is part of being human. Anyone who really wanted to get rid of suffering would have to get rid of love before anything else, because there can be no love without suffering, because it always demands an element of self-sacrifice, because, given temperamental differences and the drama of situations, it will always bring with it renunciation and pain.

When we know that the way of love — this exodus, this going out of oneself — is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people; he becomes hard and selfish.

 

Love itself is a passion, something we endure. In love I experience first a happiness, a general feeling of happiness. Yet, on the other hand, I am taken out of my comfortable tranquility and have to let myself be reshaped. If we say that suffering is the inner side of love, we then also understand by it is so important to learn how to suffer — and why, conversely, the avoidance of suffering renders someone unfit to cope with life. He would be left with an existential emptiness, which could then only be combined with bitterness, with rejection, and no longer with any inner acceptance or progress toward maturity.

 

There are so many reasons why this hit me. First of all, I hate suffering and it shows because my progress is very slow. I am bitter and I have such a problem understanding other people.  I have felt “stuck” spiritually for a long time now. There are things in my personal life with my kids and in my marriage that have been under spiritual attack for over a year now and instead of suffering with grace, I have freaked out and tried to avoid the suffering at all costs. I have gone to priest after priest to get help and they all tell me the same thing: pray and lean in to it, stop resisting the battle. They are so right, but the thing is that I had no idea what they were even talking about. What does that even mean?! And when you feel like a demon is setting up camp in your home and family there is no way to think clearly enough to even try to figure it out.

So I started praying the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots.

I have started it 4 times in the last six months. I’m on my fifth try and I am still on day three and it’s been a week. And even then, she has helped me. I see the effects of her intercession.  One knot that she has helped me with is with examining my faults.

I have figured out that when I first had my conversion, I had this idea that life would be perfect from then on. That all the battles were over and that was the end of the road so to speak. I knew that I was called to be a saint, but I guess I thought that would be an easy road or something. That God would do all the work for me and I could sit by the pool drinking margaritas and pointing out what was wrong with everyone else.

Even with all the talk about suffering that is part of Catholic theology, I just assumed that it would be like the pain that comes from letting go of bad habits, but just the ones that I was willing to give up. Not my bad attitude or judgmentalness because after all, those are a part of “who I am”; the way that God made me in the first place.  We are called to be strong and bold and tell the truth even if we are hated for it. Right? Umm, yeah, but that isn’t what I was doing. I was being a rude biatch who thought I was holier than other people. That is the brutal truth that I was avoiding to look at.

One of those people was my husband. I got into a bad habit of talking to him like he is an idiot because he didn’t know all the theological stuff that I did. The reason that he didn’t is because he is out in the world busting his ass working while I sit inside my nice house and read and go to school. Not because he is an idiot, but because he is a good husband.

The reality is that looking at the fault of others, including but not limited to our current president along with everyone else, was only a distraction from looking at my own sins and faults. I was convinced that since I had this amazing St. Paul style conversion and I know that God will use that for the good of His Kingdom, that I no longer had any work to do on any of those things. I thought that my being a hedonistic pagan slut was my only fault and becoming Catholic was the solving of that fault. Oh, I was so wrong. Those were only symptoms of my faults, which are still there.

I have so many more flaws and I have so much work to do before I can ever fully carry out anything that God has in store for me. I am still so attached to pride. So attached to wanting to be noticed and praised for everything. Even though I know that I would be nothing without God, I still think “But look what He did for me, how special AM I?!” It’s such a balancing act to know that you are special because God made you, but also know that you have serious sinful habits that need to be worked on. God’s grace can do all things, but it does need us to participate. That is what all those priests meant by “lean in and don’t resist”.

“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and change is painful.” Flannery O’Connor

Conversion doesn’t simply take away all old wounds and defects. Hard work, humility, and the Sacraments plus the Grace, Love and Mercy of God does. Not understanding this led me to despair. I really thought that something was wrong with me, that just like when I was a child in the Baptist Church, that the “Jesus thing, didn’t take”, because it felt as if things were getting worse than ever around here. (I also have a 12-year-old girl in the house, which can sometimes resemble the spawn of satan.)

Then I read writers like Elizabeth Scalia, Calah Alexander, Katrina Fernandez, Simcha Fisher, Heather King, Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Day and I realized that we all have something to work through. Conversion isn’t the end; it is only the beginning of life.

Just like when we are born, and there was a lot to learn; how to talk, how to walk, and all of those things. Converts have to learn how to live also. Even St. Paul had to take years of learning before he began his work as an evangelist. It is completely possible that people told me this and in my pride I thought that I was that awesome that it wouldn’t be the case for me. I can see that being possible.

All of this being said, it is the one reason I can’t read about “breaking news” stories right now, I have a lot of personal work to do, so if someone wears their baby on their wedding dress or if Obama is working to have us all killed by the Taliban, just doesn’t really concern me at the moment. I cannot afford to be distracted from my soul right now. I do feel that is what all the drama and hand wringing is, for me anyway. A straight up distraction from good ‘ol sparky, and I have to focus.

Please pray for me.

I Still Stand

I have been reading  Redeemed by Heather King for a month or so now. Normally I can read books pretty fast but this book took longer to read because so much of it hit me and so much of it validated myself to me. I never understood that I loved to write. I knew that it was something that I loved to do, but to think of myself as someone who could actually ever even dream of writing for my life’s work wasn’t even in my mind as a possibility.

I never understood why so much of my childhood was spent on top of a painter’s scaffold with a radio and a book and a journal. It was my favorite place in the entire world. I would wake up in the morning when the dew was still fresh on the grass, get dressed, grab a book, my bag with my spirals and pens, my boom box and run out the door to the field behind my house.

It was a three acre field that wasn’t really used for anything except my adventures and playground. I used to find horny toads, wild bunnies, lizards and at night it was my hunting ground for lightning bugs. I would put them in jars and watch them light up my little own Bridge to Terabithia which was the spot where my “tree house” (the scaffold) was. I spent so many nights up there with jars of lightning bugs as my only light while I looked up at the sky and wondered who else was looking at those same stars and dreaming.

There are not many times when I think of the good memories when I think of my childhood. For a very long time, the sexual abuse has been the only thing I think of when I think of being little, but the truth is that it was a very small part of my life as a child. It touched everything else in my life and every single relationship in my life, but it was only a drop in time. My days and nights up on that scaffold were the majority of what my childhood consisted of.

I used to think that was because I was weird. Because I didn’t have many friends.  I never understood that reading, dreaming, and writing can be normal for some people. I am not really sure what I thought but I know that the people around me thought it was weird and my mom, who is old school Mesican, always told me to get my head out of the clouds. Reading Heather’s book made me realize that it’s pretty normal for someone who longs to write; or more so, someone who God has given the gift to be able to write to be able to be happy to stare at the sky, read a book and then write about the thoughts that flow in their head from those things.

In the fourth grade Mrs. Chestnut read my class The Bridge to Teribithia and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. It opened a whole new world of fiction chapter books.  She always let me have extra time in the library to just sit and read and look at books. I still remember her standing at the end of the aisle looking at me laying on the floor with my nose in a book and smiling. She was the only person in my life who thought my imagination and love of reading was a good thing. God bless her.

Everything seemed to change in Jr. High when I discovered boys. Well, when I discovered that having boys “like” me made me feel good about myself. (Later that would be the same feeling that I got from drinking Grey Goose when the pain of how many boys and men had “liked” me got to me.) The trips to the library were less, I read fewer books and I tried harder to fit in with the kids I had grown up with who had never understood me, but for some reason I suddenly cared.

Everything really changed when some girls, who thought it was fun to torment me for being the school slut, decided it would be a ball of fun to lock me in the girls’ restroom in the dark and play “bloody mary” while telling me that a class mate of ours who had just died was going to come to take me with her. I don’t remember all the details or who exactly was a part of it all, but it changed everything. I became so scared of the dark that I never went back to my scaffold to look at the stars at night. (In full disclosure, I did find the courage to sneak out of my house at night to meet the town pervert.)

Looking back it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, when the night sky gave me nightmares instead of helping me to dream of something or someplace beyond where or who I was. It is when I accepted I would never fit in with the cool girls. I also accepted the fact that the boy that I loved was now dating my so-called friend (one of the few that I had) and the only thing that I could hope for was to have the 20 something year old man, that was picking me up after I crawled out of my window at 13 years old, love me for giving him the one thing that technically had already been taken when I was a little girl by the pervert who lived in my house. It was when the invisible mark that told similar boys and men that I was broken enough to allow them to use me as they wanted to if they just said a few nice words to me. It was also when I accepted the fact that Jesus was not concerned with me. Whoever the people are that He touched and saved were, I was not part of that group.  I had no idea what group I was in, but I knew that it wasn’t the cool kid group, the happily ever after group or the group that loved a Jesus that was like winning the blessing lottery.

I have often thought that Homer’s death was my rock bottom, until I began to really look back at my life. I now realize that I hit my rock bottom at 13 when I accepted all these things. All these lies. Lies that started with my abuse and with my confusion about what the abuse was. There is so much to say about that now that I can look back and see the child that lived in that house for 10 years with the man who would buy me ponies, rape me and help me catch lightning bugs. This isn’t a post about that though; it is about how Jesus didn’t allow me to go out thinking that He didn’t love me. And why even though all these things happened to me, I can sit here and write with all the love of my heart that Jesus is my rock, my Lord and that I love Him. He makes all things new, including the heart of a girl who was hardened by believing the lies that were said to her by hateful kids, an evil voice in her head and the many men and boys who took advantage of that brokenness that made me vulnerable to them.

People can assume that they know who I am based on a few blog posts or from having spent a little time with me but the truth is that no matter how much I write or tell people about myself, nobody will ever know everything about me except God. The fact that some people try to insult me to hurt me shows that so clear because I’ve been called names and insulted since I was in the first grade and couldn’t speak English, so I have grown a pretty thick skin. But even then, it hurts, and yet I am thankful for that hurt because it reminds me where to turn for healing and that is to Jesus Christ, the name above all names. The One who has always been there to wipe away my tears and tell me that He loves me and that is all that matters. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”, He says to me.

Pain has always been a part me, but so has the healing of Christ. He is why I still stand. Heather King’s book not only helped me see that the desires of my heart are a gift but she also reminded me that there are others like me, who after all the pain, still stand and not only do we stand but we are stronger for those painful times.