Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I am so blessed in my life. I have collected over the years some wonderful girlfriends.
I know, collected is a strange word to use regarding friends. But each one is a precious treasure to me. And some have been in my life forever, and some just a few months, and some are in between those two times. They are all different, like jewels in a jewelry box and each one adds something different to my life.
One of my longest friendships is with my friend Marne. I believe we have known each other for about 28 or 29 years. We have lost touch from time to time, but when we pick it back up, it is like we never had that space of time between us. We are both understanding of each other's busy lives, so this is a great friendship. We only see each other in person every few years for breakfast/lunch. Or should I say, breakfast that turns into lunch cause we sat there for so long talking!! The internet has been a blessing for us because we now email each other every day. This has been going on for a few years now, with a couple of breaks here and there, but then we pick it back up again and talk like we never had a break. Marne and I have been through alot together and we have been blessed to see each others marriages flourish and grow. We both were blessed with great guys and our communication with each other is usuallly regarding what is going on in our families. We cried by email together when our oldest daughters, first hers, then mine, went off to college. Both of us pride ourselves on the relationships we have with our daughters and we share a special bond in that. I love Marne with all of my heart. She is my forever friend that has lasted the test of time. We share our faith all the time, I met her in the parish I grew up in, and we pray for each other always.
The friend that makes me laugh the most, hands down, is my friend Heather. We have known each other for ten years now, and I have seen her grow tremendously as a woman, wife and mother. I was in her wedding party and I was honored to be asked. My thrill though, is watching her grow in her duties as wife and mother of three, soon to be four. But the best thing, is that when I have had a crummy day, all I need to do is talk with Heather and I will be laughing until I cry or pee my pants, or both! We are both on Facebook now, and let me tell you, this has made my day happier. I can see her funny comments all day long now, or we can instant message each other and I swear late at night it is a wonder I don't wake up everyone in my house because I am laughing so hard at something she wrote or said to me through instant messaging. Heather has the ability to make me laugh so hard I start shaking with laughter. My house moves. Yes, she is that funny. You know the kind of person that can always think of something funny to say in an instant. I am still thinking of a comeback and Heather puts out one zinger after the other. She is funny and delightful and very special to me. I was blessed ten years ago by the sound of her beautiful singing voice and through that, God made us friends. I love her so much and she is truly a blessing. She is the sister I always wanted.
The last friend I wanted to talk about today, is my most recent friend. I was so blessed this past September when I decided to bring my kids to the school at the mission and help out with the younger grades. I never expected it to be as much fun as it is. The reason why it is so much fun is the teacher I help. Her name is Pam and she is the most wonderful person. It is always great when you get along with the people you work with, but I never expected to find a new friend. Pam has become a very good friend. We laugh, we cry, we roll our eye balls at the children's meltdowns. I sometimes, quite honestly, want to slap some of the people in her life because I don't think they realize how wonderful she is, how very special she is, what a gem they have in their midst. I know she isn't always treated as well as she should be but maybe that is why God put us together. I love to be around her, and I love to work with her. I love to bug her on weekends and in the evenings with texts and messages on facebook. She is a fun friend and a fun person. She is so good with the kids and has way more patience than I do. She is so kind, one of the most kindest people I have ever met. I am so blessed to be her friend and I look forward to many years of friendship with her. She is an awesome woman and I love her very much.
These are just three friends that I am thankful for today. Women are blessed creatures because we appreciate friends so much more than men do, and we need our girlfriends. Having a husband has taught me that they definitely do not have the same needs as us, and every wise wife learns very early that her husband cannot fulfill all her needs. That's why we have girlfriends. Our girlfriends will listen to us whine and they whine back. Husbands want to fix the problem. After 20 years of marriage my husband STILL does not understand the concept of " I just need to vent". His brain cannot understand that, it just does not compute for him. He wants to beat the tar out of the person who hurt me. I just want to ruminate about it for several hours. There have been a few screaming matches between hubby and I that started out as me venting to him and the next thing you know, I am angrier with him than I was with my original problem. As I sit in my rocker fuming, I think " Why didn't I just call......" fill in the blank with a friend's name. Girlfriends are a necessity of life, they are our kindred spirits.
So let's be thankful today ladies. And give your peeps a hug.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
When you are full of joy, you will be peaceful. Because when you are joyful, you are happy with your life. You are satisified and grateful for what you have. You are not looking around at what others have that you don't. You are content with what God has given you. You can't be joyful if you are feeling robbed of things you want. If you are joyful, you are at peace.
This one is hard for me because I am a worrier by nature. I am worried about things that have happened, I worry about things that may happen, I worry about what people think of me, of how people see me. You can't be that worried and peaceful at the same time. Working on it!!
I have noticed that the more joyful I become, the more at peace I am. I am becoming more and more content where the Lord leads me. Wherever I am sitting, who I am with, who I am talking to or riding with, or things I have been asked to do, more and more I find contentment in where the Lord has me.
And I notice that I am more at peace. And it is more fun!!! When you are happy, joyful, at peace, content, life is better! I see myself everyday becoming more and more like the people I admire. But most importantly, I am becoming more and more the person God wants me to be.
Because God does not want me to be discontent with my life. He gave me this life and He thought it was a pretty good one for me! Who am I to second guess my Creator. More and more I delight in the life He has given me. I find peace in Him.
Jesus has become my peace. If I keep my eyes on Him, if I trust Him, if I truly believe that He wants what is best for me, EVEN IF IT LOOKS WAY DIFFERENT THAN MY NEIGHBOR'S LIFE!!!!!! That is okay. This is the life He gave to me.
We must be content. That is the bottom line. Once I started being content and grateful for my life, then I became more peaceful. I try to start every morning now with my armor of gratitude. I call it my armor, because if I put on a spirit of gratitude as I start off my day, it helps me to stay focused on God and I start the day right away with an attitude of thanksgiving. If I am too busy thanking God for everything in my life, there is no room for "stinkin thinkin". My mind and heart are busy and full of God's goodness.
Like a child I approach the day with a sense of "what exciting things will happen today?"!
And on this special day, 17 years ago, God blessed me with my second beautiful daughter, Elizabeth Grace Marciniak.
Happy Birthday Liz, thanks for all the laughs you give me. Thanks for being my right hand woman. I love you.
Be at peace y'all.
Friday, April 24, 2009
There are three in particular that are total inspirations to me.
The first is my new sister, Sandy. She just joined us as a missionary but she has been a part of the mission for years. Sandy is full of joy. In fact, if you look the word up in the dictionary I just know her picture is there. Because Sandy is one of the most joy filled people I know. She is always smiling. She always has a good word to say. If you give her a compliment, she always returns it with a compliment back. I see her everyday working hard, but she does it with such grace and joy. Always a smile. You can tell that she is a person who just does not let things bother her. I know she must have concerns and worries like the rest of us, but I really think that her trust in God just makes her always looking toward the bright side of life. She just refuses to let things get her down. What an inspiration to me! When I grow up, I want to be just like her!
Second is my brother Dave. He always sees God in everything. He is in charge of our RCIA program, (one of many jobs he holds down at the mission), and this past week only 2 of our people showed up for the weekly lesson. This did not deter Dave at all. We went into the church and he taught us all about the art work, the meaning of the different paintings, and lessons about the saints that line our walls in the church. You would have thought he was teaching a class of twenty. The joy on his face was amazing. He was so happy as he talked about the meaning behind so many things in our church. His face just beamed with joy. Literally. It was almost as if he couldn't contain himself. I am so happy to be working with him. I hope I can learn how to be more like him.
Third is my brother Eddy. Eddy walks around the mission talking, laughing and joking with everyone he meets. Each person that encounters him walks away feeling like they are important. He loves to make people laugh. And the funniest thing is that when he tells his stories, he laughs as hard as the person he is telling it to. He is joy. He is a joy to be around, he is a joy to others. Eddy gives me the best hugs in the world. He sings and plays guitar and we could all be in the middle of something and he will just start singing his praise to God. When Eddy sings you almost feel like you are really a part of something very intimate between Eddy and God. He has an awesome voice and he writes the best songs. He is the best big brother a girl could ever have.
I am studying them. I think that is what we should do. We should study the people in our lives who are full of joy and then try to be more like them. So I am taking a course in joy, and for the next few weeks I am going to study those three. And I am going to pray for the grace to be more like them.
I thank God for putting them in my life. What a joy they are to all of us. What a blessing.
Thank You God for Sandy, Dave and Eddy. God bless all my missionary brothers and sisters.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Fr. Jack likes to make three points in his homily. This time he talked about how the missionaries and everyone present needed to work on three things in the coming year. He spoke of how we needed to be more joyful, more peaceful and more sacrificial.
Afterwards I heard some of the missionaries saying that they had the joy and peace stuff down, but the sacrificial was hard for them.
Not me. Today I am going to start with joy. Being joyful. Under all circumstances.
THAT IS NOT EASY!
Especially for me. I don't know about any of you ladies, (sorry guys, skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to hear about hormones), but sometimes my hormones will not let me feel joy. Let me just say one word here: menapause. It ain't easy. I never know if I want to cry or be angry. How can a person be joyful when everyone around her is doing things on purpose to tick her off?! I mean come on. 5 males in the house and not a one knows how to put down a toilet seat.
But I digress. My problem is this. I am emotional. Can't help it. Been that way all of my life. I inherited it from my mother and her side of the family. Now by the grace of God, I am doing much better. Many healings and grace-filled moments later, and I am a much different woman. Yet I can still let my feelings get the best of me, and I lose my joy.
Oh, I always start out okay. I will be serving with laughter and joy, and then, WHOMP. The devil comes in and pulls the rug out from underneath me. And I let him. You think I wouldn't still be falling for his same old tricks. There are alot of times when I don't. I just tell him to go back to hell where he belongs and I continue serving with love. But there are still too many moments where he can still get me. He knows which buttons to push.
I pray to St. Michael. Ask my guardian angel to help me. But there I will be, with a grim look on my face and really bad thoughts in my heart and mind.
Then I go home and get mad at myself. Why did I let him get to me? What a failure I am.
Not really. God doesn't see me as a failure. He sees me trying and when I fall, I can come to Him and He will hold me and let me know that I am loved. Then He expects me to go out and try again.
Because we are never failures as long as we get up and try again. Even if we try over and over. Sometimes we will serve each other with joy. Sometimes we will let envy, jealousy, and pride literally steal our joy.
We need to keep our eyes on the cross. If I keep my eyes on Jesus then I can remember Who I am doing it for, and Who is with me. I am never alone.
I see my eyes straying all the time. I am such a weak human being. We all are. But He chooses the weak and the foolish to do His work. To do His work with joy.
One day at a time. Today I choose to follow You. As for me and my house, we will serve You.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
People who throw garbage out their car windows as they are driving.
ATTENTION: the world is not your garbage can.
I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but no. No it is not.
I have seen a man throwing out his partially eaten ice cream cone out his window while he was driving. I could tell that he really wasn't into his double chocolate dip with rainbow sprinkles on a regular cone. So he tossed it.
I have seen banana peels, take out bags, cups of pop, and my own personal favorite, candy and gum wrappers flying out of people's windows.
I won't even get started on smokers that throw out their still lit butts out the window.
I will have a sign someday that I will have for such occasions that will say:
"Hey, you, moron, the world is not your garbage can!"
Okay, not really. That would not be so merciful. But I can think it can't I?
Today we were all supposed to turn out the lights for one minute at nine and sing kumbaya or something.
Instead we should have been watching a video on what our streets look like because of the slobs who throw crud out their windows.
So what is the answer. I don't know but boy I would love to sentence some of these people to twenty hours of cleaning up the streets of Buffalo. Maybe cleaning someone else's burger bags, used kleenex and rotting take out food would make them stop doing it themselves.
But probably not. So mothers of small children, set a good example for your kids and teach them to take care of this great land God created. Garbage goes in garbage bags. Keep one in your precious sports car and stop polluting our world!
Or you will have a mad woman behind you in a 12 seater van. And I know how to use it!!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Joe is one of the sweetest kids I have. I think when he was a toddler I only had to spank him maybe once, if that. He has always been a good kid. Very quiet, very sweet, very loving. We tease him when he says he has to go to confession because the boy never does anything wrong. He'll say, "I have one sin that I have to confess". The boy is so good that he will tell us when he needs confession, unlike his siblings who have to be dragged kicking and screaming to confession while I tell them how many times they need to confess being disobedient to mom and dad!
So today is my Joseph's birthday. I have to admit, I love the kid. He has the deepest brown eyes that a mom falls in love with. He always has a smile for me. I never want to see him get hurt. The other day I had to take him to the dentist and he had to have some cavities taken care of, I stood behind the dentist and I almost cried. Joe was great. I was having panic attacks. I knew it had to be uncomfortable for him, but he was a trooper. I on the other hand, felt like I needed a valium when it was all over.
I know there are moms who wonder how you can have enough love for so many kids. But I see each one of mine as a special treasure that God has given me. They are as different as nine children can be. Each one has his or her own personality and specialness. In our family we make a big deal out of each person's birthday. A really big deal. It is their special day. King or Queen of the day.
Today it is Joe's turn to be the King. And we will all let him know how special he is to our family.
I know that God blessed me nine years ago today with a very special little baby boy. And I thank God for him. I love my Joey.
If you are reading this say a prayer for Joseph. He wants to be a priest when he grows up.
Happy Birthday Joseph Daniel. Mommy loves you.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
My husband Dave doesn't get excited anymore. He's a guy. For him it is like, "yeah, another year. Same as last."
But my heart stills pounds as I walk up to the altar when my name is called. The excitement of saying "yes" to God for another year. The honor of being able to serve His poor. And it gets better every year.
It's fun to walk through the mission and have people call out, "hi mama". They all think of me as mama because of the crowd of children I usually have around me. But I also think it is because I take the time to hug and touch and talk to people. We all want to be loved.
But mostly, they want to be recognized as a person. A human being. In a world where people walk past them all the time and don't even notice that they are there.
We don't just do it to the poor. We do it to each other. We are all too busy. Too busy to smile as we walk by. Too busy to say hello. If we recognize the person we are walking past, well, they might want to stop and talk, and we don't have time for that. Gotta meeting, gotta shop, gotta go.
Maybe I am going to be simplistic here, but what if we all started treating each other with a little more respect and kindness? Would we have less shootings? Less killing of our children?
If we started treating each other as human beings maybe we would start acting like one.
I don't know.
All I can say is that today, I will stand before God and my brothers and sisters, and I will promise to love and show mercy to, all I meet. I promise to see His face in all those I serve.
I promise to see His face........
Saturday, April 18, 2009
In today's society we judge people on looks and that is what happened to Susan Boyle. But she opened her mouth to sing, and it was a thing of beauty.
What we need to learn here, in my humble opinion, is not that people are only worth something if they entertain us, but, that we all have beauty inside of us. Because God created us. Hello.
Remember that old 70's saying; God made me, and He don't make junk!
Okay, so I always hated that corny saying, but it is true. And if He made me and He made you, well then, ain't none of us junk!!!
Sin comes into things and makes us a mess, but in our purity, we are so beautiful.
Susan Boyle showed us beauty in purity. Beauty in its purest form. Childlike and trusting. Not minding that people were laughing. She came to do something and it didn't matter that people were laughing at her and mocking her. She simply came to sing.
And she taught us all a lesson.
She reminds me of someone. Someone else who was laughed at and scorned. Someone else who was mocked and made little of. Judged.
Maybe someday we will get it.
The innocent, the trusting, the pure of heart. They will be in God's kingdom before the rest of us.
God bless Susan Boyle.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Sadly, sacrifice and suffering today are considered bad things. Giving of yourself for someone else is seen as the wrong thing to do. "Think of yourself, take care of yourself. Have a cup of tea, a glass of wine, do some yoga and meditate about all of the good things you are to the universe".
What a selfish bunch of garbage.
I am so glad that Jesus, who is God, didn't see all of this selfishness and decide not to die for us all. Thank You Jesus, for giving of yourself, for suffering for us, even though we don't deserve one drop of Your blood to fall.
In a world where not too many want to do anything, for anyone, but themselves. Thank You Jesus.
If you were the only person in the world, He would have died for you. Just you.
Meditate on that while you are sipping your latte.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Which we should do everyday. But we don't. We get busy with kids, jobs, laundry, paying bills, keeping up with the Smiths. And then we dump our tired bodies into bed and maybe, just maybe, we remember Him. "Thank You God. I got everything done. Sort of."
He created us. He loves each one of us so intimately. Not even your own spouse knows you the way He does. And we can't even give Him two seconds of our time.
So Palm Sunday is the beginning of the end of lent. But when lent ends, we begin new life in Him. He rose for us. The end of the story is not the cross. When He rose from the dead He won new life for us. When we die, we will be with Him forever.
Let's hope He remembers us, better than we remember Him. Let's pray together this week. Let's pray in the silence of our hearts. What if millions of us thanked Him for the gift of life, eternal life? Could we ever thank Him enough for suffering for us? No, but all He asks us of us is to make Him first in our lives. We can do that.
Give glory to Him in all that you do this week. Walk His walk. Then tell me you have no time.
If you were the only person on this earth, still, He would have died for you.