These are my girls. We’ve graduated from sippy cups and juice pouches to hanging out at Taco Mac, but one thing has been constant: I love them!
I’m at CatholicMom.com today, wondering about my changing role as a mom. With grown daughters, I’m not telling them to do things and making rules for them anymore. But I am wondering how to keep the conversation going.
Some months ago I had the pleasure of going out with my adult daughters, both beautiful women in their early twenties. I never thought I’d have to wrestle over picking up the bar tab with those two, but I have to admit, it’s rather nice to sit back and watch that little social ritual play out as we reached for the bill. In the end, I gave up, letting the oldest assert her well-deserved independence and treat good ol’ mom.
The girls saw my smile, and the love behind my wisecrack, “it’s about time.”
But there was a great deal of satisfaction in watching that playful scene. I was struck with the passing of time, and wondered how it came to this, that I was in a pub having drinks with my now grown daughters when just yesterday, it seems, I was desperately looking for the tops to the sippy cups.
Read about it here.
Stillness, I suppose, for the sake of clarity.
I was going to go with silence, but then I thought, no, what I really want is more than silence. To be still is to be silent, isn’t it? And a little more.
It has an edge of expectation. A quality of something that is going to happen any second and I must listen intently for it.
It reminds me of being a kid and hiding from my parents. I’d squeeze into the corner behind a bookcase and read. I wasn’t hiding from anything in particular, and I wasn’t up to no good. In fact, I was just looking for a quiet and cozy place to read. I still like the idea of a little retreat no one knows about.
My favorite time was in the late afternoon on Saturdays. I probably had to pick up my room and do a chore or two, and then I’d retire to my corner. The late afternoon sun was just enough, and everyone was winding down, so there was no noise in the house.
Stillness. Quiet. But there was something coming. My mom was moving toward the kitchen to start dinner. There was an air of transition. The day was ending, and night was coming, but not yet.
And I had to strain to hear anything outside my little space.
Things haven’t changed much decades later. I found a different little retreat: the chapel at my parish. It’s small, and I can sit in any pew and still watch the light and shadows dance across the floor like I did so many years ago behind my book case. It’s quiet there, unless the maintenance guys are doing their thing. If I’m lucky, I can sit in silence without the overhead lights on…and if I stay undisturbed just long enough, I find myself straining expectantly, listening for the elusive something that’s meant for me.
Ok ladies — and guys, too, this is an equal opportunity opportunity. If you’re anything like me, the idea of taking a week, or even a weekend for a retreat or personal reflection on themes that are so important to our lives as women is crazy. We’re busy. Or so we say.
But that’s precisely why we need to take time to nurture our spirituality — whether we’re champion church ladies that can whisper a rosary in 5-minutes flat, or we’re curious about some things we’ve heard — perhaps a terminology we’re not familiar with. Or, like me, yearning to know more but not quite knowing where to get started.
If any of these scenarios apply to you, then you’ve come to the right place! Let me introduce you to my friend, Pat Gohn. Wife. Mother. Daughter. Catechist. Writer. Skilled Scrabble player, connoisseur of chocolate, chatty girlfriend, and author of a magnificent little book with a sassy title:
That title caught your attention, didn’t it? I know! What’s inside is even more amazing! Listen to Pat read this excerpt from the book. Her words will move you as she shares about the gifts of prayer in her life and love in action when a group of women respond tenderly to her needs during a difficult time in her life.
Now reflect and share on this quote from Blessed John Paul II…
“Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them.” (Letter to Women, par 12)
I want you to read the book. Pat wants you to read the book. And the good people at Ave Maria Press want you to read the book, so I’m giving away a copy right here. Just leave your thoughts about Blessed John Paul’s quote in the comments below. The contest ends at 11:59 PM, EST, on April 26, 2013. I’ll pick one winner by random drawing during the live recording of Catholic Weekend on April 27.
Until then, you might want to ponder this:
I love soft rain. Rain that falls in big fat drops. Rain that falls sideways. Rain that mists instead of drips. Rain that feels so warm it’s like a shower. Rain that’s cold and chills me to the bone.
I love the sound of rain on the roof, the tinny sound on the awnings, the splatters in the mud, the drip off the eaves.
I love rain that washes away the powdery pollen. Rain that fills the ponds and showers the plants.
Rain that cleanses.
My new go-to play in Words with Friends.
I don’t even know what it means. Well, yes, I kinda know, but let’s go look at the dictionary together. Obviously, if you’re doing this A to Z Challenge, you must love words as much as I do.
So qi, also spelled chi or ch’i, is a Chinese principle that is an underlying part of every living thing. Or something like that. When the article described it as kind of like “the force” in Star Wars, I lost interest.
Instead, I’ll share with you my love of Scrabble and Words with Friends, and why I think qi is both a cop-out and a brilliant play!
I first played Scrabble with my mom, who is a big time puzzle player. To this day she always has those crossword books you get in the grocery check out line lying around, often missing one or two words to complete the puzzle. She doesn’t cheat.
Let me say that again…she doesn’t cheat. I admire that. She will, however, ask for help so she can learn new words. Did I say my mother works on these puzzles in English? Did I say my mother’s first language is not English? I think she learned English watching episodes of Ironside and Marcus Welby and then working on the TV Guide crossword puzzle.
Impressive, if you ask me.
But she probably never played qi. I don’t play scrabble to win. Well. No, that’s not true — I like to win. Let me rephrase that. Part of the delight of playing Scrabble is coming up with awesome words. Elegant placements that use lots of crosswords and and neat uses of letters are sometimes more fun that racking up points.
The problem is, you need points to win. Q is a lousy letter that requires a friendly U to accompany it, and that’s not always possible. Also, nobody wants to be caught in the endgame with a Q to reverse fortunes at the last minute.
Enter qi. The perfect little letter for unloading the Q in a hurry. That’s the cop-out if you play it too early in the game instead of looking for a neat word like quinoa.
Do you have a “safe” word for Scrabble or WWF?
I suffer from it. I’m especially suffering from it right now, even as I write this brief post. I put off doing things while I watch other things pile up in front of me. Sadly, the end result is usually in disappointing people.
I’m usually guilty of procrastination when things are running smoothly. Circumstances in my life have caused me to be “on call” a great deal. I don’t even mean this as a big complaint, just that my time is in demand, surprisingly, and there’s only one of me, ya know? So I need to figure out how to spread me around and still have time for the people that matter to me.
I’m sure I’ll figure it out.
I’m sure it will involve embracing “No.”
I think I can handle that. “No.”
That was easy. “No, thank you.” Ah, much better.
“No, I can’t do that right now.” Nope. That implies I might do it later. No. Nope. Not a chance.
Okay, well, I’m going to go practice.
Writers know a little bit about this. When we’re blocked, nothing comes and the page fills and fills with…nothing.
I’m not a fan of it.
But sometimes, nothing is what the situation calls for. As in, I have nothing relevant or healthy or positive to contribute to a conversation.
I feel like that a little today.
Other times, nothing is essential. It’s an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, to clear one’s mind, to survey a blank canvas full of possibility.
I like that kind of nothingness. With a little creativity and conviction, it fills up with somethingness. And isn’t somethingness what we aspire to as artists? To look at nothing and see something? To take emptiness and fill it?
I’d like to do that today.
I’d like to take this empty space and fill it with positive words.
It soothes the wild beast, and it soothes me.
I like so many kinds of music…I like jazz, country, salsa, classical, top 40, classic rock, and good churchy stuff.
I don’t like screaming and cussing.
Otherwise, I’ll give it a listen — probably, I’m gonna like it. At least I’ll listen politely.
It lifts my mood or calms me down, depending on what I need. It inspires me, and makes me move, especially if it’s salsa. There nothing better to play while cleaning, that’s for sure!
I grew up with music in our home, and thank my parents for that gift. I even had guitar lessons when I was a kid though I can’t explain why reading music is still such a mystery to me. Let’s just say…me and time signatures don’t get along.
Anyway, music. I love it.
Here are a few songs that I really dig: