Wednesday, February 11, 2015

74-50 (also known as me and my big mouth)...

74.  The gift of creativity.  I'm grateful because I'll need it to see the totality of this list and have no repeats.  But I've always been able to draw and writing came later, but I've always loved trying to write stories.  The first day I took creative writing in 4th grade with Mrs. Bolic, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  Who wouldn't love doing creative writing?  That's what I thought.

73.  The eventual gift of insight.  You'd think with that sort of revelation, I'd have known sooner than I found out, but eventually, I figured it out --it took a sledge hammer of a hint. (Graduate professor saying she expects to see me in print didn't do it, writing stories for family didn't do it, having someone say you should send this to the Catholic Standard --that's what started it).  Curiously, it happened during Catholic Schools week, and right before Lent.

72.  Lent!  I love Lent. It has always helped orient me if I've allowed it.  I found one of my vocations because of a Lenten resolution --working with the handicapped, deepened a friendship with my sister, and read things I otherwise would have stoutly ignored and thus not discovered I loved.   So Lent is a blessing to me.

71.  My son John is a gentleman but he's also silly.  He's one of those kids you savor spending time with because he takes such delight in spending it with you.   These days, he's my baker and every day he loves to come home and prepare a baked snack for the whole family.  My diet doesn't appreciate it, but I do.

70.  I've come back to Peter because he does another thing I wish to be grateful for, he demands introspection about all things and has a fierce love of justice and fairness.  As a result, he prevents his mother from going on auto-pilot parenting wise, and for this, I'm grateful because I'd miss much if he didn't.

69.  The Magnifcat.  It's a monthly magazine I receive and frequently lose mid month, but which I try to read every day I can find it.  Twelve years ago my mother introduced me to this collection of the daily prayers, saint of the day, and meditation.  She said then, "A mother of five doesn't have much time to pray." and it was true, my whole life was homework, errands and diapers, or felt that way.  But having the Magnificat tucked in the mini-van let me spend a bit of contemplative Mary time in my then Martha life and still does.

68.  My friend Shelley is a treasure.  It doesn't matter that we haven't seen each other since she and her family moved to Dallas, we talk on the phone and the years and mileage slip away. No one can make me laugh as much as she does, and no one (I've told her this), has a more Catholic Marian heart than her who isn't Catholic.  She is someone who I talk and the time slips away.  It's just fun and joyous even the struggles of everyday life.

67.  Organization and discipline.  Two things I struggle with daily, but discover every time I use them rather than avoid, make my life easier or at least more manageable.  You'd think I'd come to terms with simply embracing these two things as if they were salt and pepper of the day, but no, every day I have to will myself to look at the calendar, write down the list of things to do, and then begin the arduous process of doing them.

66.  Did I already say books? I know I said music.  I'm a lazy reader. That's a shameful thing for a writer to admit, but it's true.  I don't read music very well either, I play by ear which explains why my repertoire of pieces remains so very small.  But I love trying and when I finish a book, it feels like I hunted a giant boar or deer and now brought home the kill, I did it.  It's a silly feeling, but I keep trying to force myself to read more, knowing it is good for me, even as the slothful part of my brain says...later....wouldn't you rather sleep or write --writing is good, but I know I need to read the same way I need to listen.  I know I like to talk, but if I'm doing all the talking, I am missing out on other people, and if I'm doing all the writing, I am losing so much more than anything I have to say.  So I love books and keep trying to become more well read.

65.  The gift of time.  Not many people can say they stayed home with their children these days, not for 22 years anyway.  It is a gift from my husband, it is a generous gift,  I'm grateful for each minute, God forgive me for any and all of the time I've wasted.

64.  It's Rita's turn.  She makes me sing. She makes me dance. She hugs tighter than anyone else I know.  At mass, sometimes I'm in awe at her reverence.    She has a big kind heart and is passionate about everything she does.

63.  Running out of things in my brain and I still have 37 to go....okay....New York City. I'm grateful to have lived there before I had children, it was a fun romantic place to spend the first year of marriage.  We had a blast and thus I have a soft spot for the big apple.

62.  My writing community!  They're intelligent talented people who push me to work harder and write better than I otherwise would.

61.  Patience....something I only discover I'm missing when I need the gift most.  But I'm grateful for when I do have it, and when I have the wits to ask for it.

60.  The songs my daughter sings.  Anna frequently sings to herself about herself in third person. It's rather delightful.  "Oh yeah, her foot's better. It doesn't sting.  She's all better." (the bandage fell off).  or "She did it. (Pottying), Only Anna, she did it. Only Anna.  Yeah Yeah Yeah!"

59.  Answered prayers.  I can't tell you how many times though if I could, it would make the list a lot easier, I've asked and BOOM, received.  It's scary.  It's also amazing and wonderful.  Miracles every day, miracles constantly.  The people of Israel received 40 years of mana and quail, following a column of fire or a column of wind, miracles every day they could see.  I've had those in my life, from praying I'd meet someone who would love me for me (the summer of 84 at the beach) and meeting the man I would marry the third day of school, to silly things like "Saint Anthony we've lost a shoe again" and boom...I know I checked that closet six times but the seventh, there it is.  I prayed for Dad not to be alone when he died, and for Mom to be present, to not be robbed of those last moments.  It was answered to the letter, on Ash Wednesday, two days after I made that prayer.

58.  God's sense of humor.  I make plans. God laughs.  God reveals his plans for me gradually, and I laugh.  

57.  Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College are part of my history, part of my family's life for generations past, and places I love, even as all the faculty I loved retired or has passed away. The places themselves hold stories and beauty and I hope one day, each institution gets at least one of my children to carry on the legacy.

56.  The current and past two popes. I've had the honor of visiting one (as one of 1000 or so in the room) though I snuck to the front and got a good picture of him, attending mass celebrated in DC with another, and am enjoying reading and watching our current pontif.  I'm grateful for all three, all of whom represent a different component of the faith, because none of them could encompass all of it, they are part of the body of Christ, not the sum.  But I feel as if I know each of them, and there is a beauty in each of these men dedicated to God and his Church.

55. Facebook and emails and the internet.  Why would I be grateful for these three things that do eat a lot of time if left unchecked? Because I've reconnected with people I would not have, met people I would not have, and learned things I would not have as  a result of these tools.  As long as they remain tools and not a lifestyle or substitute for life, they're good things, things which allow for beauty and knowledge, wisdom and community, friendship and memories to be preserved.

54.   A husband that knows how to play and deliberately crafts weekends around play.  He organizes football games, hikes, trips to museums and magic tournaments.  He orders baseball tickets and sojourns to mountains and civil war battle grounds.

53. Boston College.  I went there for graduate school and it was a very important part of my life, living on my own,

52.  Cooking shows.  It's a stupid thing to love but back when I first became a stay at home mom, cooking shows became a passion of mine, They gave me adult thinking during the day when most of it was breast-feeding and napping.  I still love them.

51. My daughter Regina gives me huggies.  She is quiet and reflective but also feels all things deeply.  She's clever and kind.  When she smiles, it's like the sun peaking through the clouds.  

50. EWTN radio. (1160 AM).  I listen every day.  Having the mass on while I clean helps keep me from getting irritated with children who leave apple cores on a table or piles of laundry they should have brought down.  

I'll get to the last 25 tomorrow...I hope I don't leave anyone or anything out, but I will, because even though it is hard to come up with 100 blessings, I know, there are always more if I bothered to look.  

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