Last Friday

In this tight rope walk of parenting--I looked down instead of straight ahead and lost my balance.
(And my cool)

We had allowed K to watch a concert with her friends at the university right by our house.
(In retrospect, letting her see a rapper was probably not the best decision, but that's another story)
Right before releasing her into the wild I got distracted by a t-shirt that K was wearing because it was:
a) unfamiliar to me
b) barely skimming the top of her yoga pants.
It was one good posture away from being a belly shirt.

In my distress, I spoke to her through clenched teeth about this shirt that was borrowed from a friend.
I said that if I wanted her midriff exposed I would have purchased a cropped shirt for her myself.
And then I threatened to impound her for life if she lowered her high waisted yoga pants during the concert.

It was not pretty- my lack of trust.
Not the lack of trust in my 15 year old but in my faltering confidence in God.

In that instant, I became so unsure of everything.
I spent the evening lashing out at anything in my orbit while waiting for her safe return.

Most parenting manuals reassure readers that children that display differing styles from that of their parents'
(my brain translates styles as values)
is a healthy sign that a child is "hatching."
According to Townsend and Cloud in their book Boundaries,
children that remain unhatched,  become "compliant parrots"  that end up suffering later in life, when they become adults.
But here's my question:
Where do we draw the line between
"Healthy hatching" and becoming a "Rotten egg?"

I guess that's where my faith MUST step in.
("To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we can not see."
Hebrews 11:1)
After I give my children clear and precise guidance--I must have faith that all will be well.

If I am going to keep my freak-outs to a minimum, I must stay calm, faithful and focused as I walk across the tight rope in this parenting segment of my journey.
Perhaps a sense of humor wouldn't hurt either--as our other daughter G defended her sister by saying:
"today's exposed midriff is just like an exposed ankle during your time."
Despite understanding how teens think,  I will not waver if I am sure of what I want for them.
I will not look down.
I will keep moving forward.


Lenten Goals

1. Love others as I love myself . treat others the way I would like to be treated.

2. Judge not and be not judged but be on guard against not making others fall because of my actions.

3. Live in a way that is pleasing to God.
Focus in doing God's work in all that I do.
-I will not live in excess.
-I will not manipulate or control people.
-I will not gossip.
-I will not think the worst of people.
-I will not engage in unhealthy competitive behavior.

4. Be giving and present for people in need.

5. Be grateful for everything. Take nothing for granted.

6. Be a blessing to ALL I meet.

7. Live authentically.
Be honest.
Be productive.
Be forgiving.
Be kind.
Be patient.

8. Be fearless due to utmost faith in God.

9. Release all my hang ups and emotional gunk to God.
I will let go and let God each time a disturbance comes up, be it psychological, physical or spiritual.

10. I must DEDICATE each and every thought and action to God.
Every encounter, every breath, every word written or spoken must reflect a truly God-centered life.


A Prayer

"May you be filled with loving kindness,
May you be well in body and mind-
May you be safe from all things, physical and spiritual 
May you be truly happy and free."

I  took this picture a year ago during my trip to the Philippines.
I was in Marge's living room  (she is a friend from grade school days) when I decided to photograph her tabletop Buddha.
Tomorrow some of my siblings (and my mom) are traveling to Manila for the wedding of my nephew Migs.
Although I would love to attend, I realize that I am needed here. (Never mind that I might be the only one that recognizes this)


Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur

While  perusing K's instagram account yesterday,  I saw that an acquaintance of hers had used the
N-word (used it ending in "a" as opposed to "er")  in a comment on one of her pictures.
After slight internal deliberation (because I am trying to be more mindful about the battles I choose)
I asked her to remove the offensive comment.

She agreed to remove it but informed me that  although she personally does not use that word herself, the people in "her generation" do not use it as a racial slur, but rather as a term of endearment.
I held my tongue and instead did some research until I found a compelling video to help me redirect her.

I sent her the link with explicit instructions.

The video opened up more effective discussion between us and it also made me ponder that the old adage,
"sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm." is not necessarily true.
Sights and sounds can in fact induce a visceral reaction in people.
This is why some people blush when they hear a compliment, or some people faint at the sight of blood.

In this case, the N word was designed to torment a race,  its ability to hurt remains--even if subliminally.
I disagree with the argument that using it gives the word less power.
On the contrary, I think not using it, renders the word obsolete and causes the underlying malice to atrophy.

Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur.
He who remains silent, gives his consent.


Oh and About That

Remember when we were on our way back from our ski trip to Simon's place and we got a flat tire a couple of miles from our house?
Well I never wrote about what happened next.
On the morning I was scheduled to get the tire repaired, our car keys went missing.
As it turned out, they were "mysteriously" locked in the car, while the spare keys were an hour away.

While it was happening in real time, I decided to disengage from my feelings of irritation and impatience and just peacefully meditate.
I figured I would tackle my list of things to "Grip--Relax--and Release"
I reminded myself of how every single disturbance in life can bring us closer to Peace, IF we let it--by doing the work needed. (which is by doing that grip-relax-release thing)

The fact is, I was annoyed.
I felt that Steve had been driving too fast and it is why we got a flat tire when we hit a pothole.
And when the missing car keys derailed the repair process, it almost put me over the edge.
But it didn't.
Instead I meditated on the idea that God is in control.
Then I proceeded to pray for the usual people, places and things that I pray for daily.
And in the interest of remaining focused, I actually wrote down my thoughts and prayers in a notebook that I keep in my "peace corner."
One of the last things I wrote was: "and I pray that the car repair is not expensive."

Unlike my "old self", I was calmly able to reschedule the car appointment and I was also able to guard my tongue against berating Andretti.
Once the car was in the shop,  I waited curiously.
When the service advisor called me,  he told me that it was not just one damaged tire but TWO.
But then he told me that he went ahead and called the tire company--since we had just purchased those tires a month ago--and that they were going to replace both tires free of charge.

When I relayed this information to Steve, he incredulously asked,
"why??? Its not their fault I hit the pothole."
I told him that I prayed that it would not be too expensive of a fix (like rim damage etc) but I was not expecting that kind of an answered prayer.
(Steve just looked at me rather dubiously. He is not super sold on this prayer thing...yet)
As for me, I am a believer.
Not because of two tires but because of the connection I feel between prayer and peace.

Anyway--last night Steve called me on his way home from a dinner about 45 minutes away.
He said, "you are not going to believe this but I hit another pothole and have two flat tires again."
So I called our roadside assistance service to get him towed.
They said it would take 90 minutes for them to get to him.
Steve asked me to pray that it would not take 90 minutes.
I prayed.
The tow truck came in FIVE minutes.


I recently told my children this.

When you give a gift to someone and they don't thank you, do you feel like giving that person another gift?
They said no.
I said: Well that is how it is with God too.
So when you appreciate something, especially after you've prayed for it, be sure to thank God.


This morning, Steve and I both went for a dental check-up after getting our car set up for repair (again).
That in itself is a miracle all on its own because Steve had somehow let 16+ years go by since his last check up (he is an anti-dentite).
Three days ago he told me that he had a funny sensation in his mouth.
Considering his chewing tobacco habit and his long absence from the dentist's chair, it was enough for him to be concerned.
I immediately solicited the girls' prayers and we prayed for two things:
1. that whatever was bothering his mouth would be nothing serious (with a capital C) and
2. that this would get him back into the dental care system.

As fate would have it, I had an appointment scheduled for today and because it is hard to get an appointment with the dentist I see (CK can attest to this)--I opted to "give" Steve my slot.
(they ended up squeezing me back in)

My prayers were answered again today.
Our two tires are being replaced, again, for free. (fyi, I actually did not ask God for free tires, I merely asked that His Will be done about those dratted tires)
Steve felt comfortable with my dentist and now has another appointment scheduled in a few weeks and it is nothing life-threatening bothering his mouth, just a wisdom tooth.
And speaking of wisdom, I am hoping that Steve's propensity for potholes will give him the wisdom to slow down.
I am believing that Steve's tire mishaps are part of that bigger picture I was talking about recently--and that he is being redirected away from something worse.

Again I am thankful.
Although I am no longer surprised at the synergy between prayer and product, I am never going to feel diminished awe.



The silver lining in using meditation, prayer and  exercise as a natural anti-depressant is that it is putting me on a daily schedule.
It is making me more a productive human being.
It has made Steve call me "masipag now."
(never mind that he added the modifier "now")

An added bonus is that I am developing some muscles.
While the muscles are not for lifting physically heavy objects, they are certainly handy for  emotional and spiritual weights.
It is such a breakthrough experience for me, that I could be on an infomercial for it.

Anyhow, last night, while I had Steve as a captive audience (he was on the toilet)
I started doing body-builder poses for him in my underwear so that he could fully appreciate the changes.
He responded by asking my 15 yr old to give me a wedgie.

And that is how my granny underwear got ripped.


Snow Day

Both girls are still in bed due to school being cancelled.
Their sleeping presence is altering not only my schedule but Pax's as well.
He peed on the kitchen floor because K was not up to let him out at the usual time.

I needed to clean the floor anyhow--since I pan seared (okay deep fried) salmon last night and splattered garlic infused olive oil all over the place, so I considered the dog pee as a mere call to get moving.

After dinner last night, all four of us huddled in one bed to watch more Olympics.
We caught the finals of the Ice Dance competition which was both intense and entertaining.
It is such a subjective sport and as such allows for controversy and speculation.
This morning, out of curiosity I googled the news on either side of the border to see Canadian and American perspective on the results but in doing so chanced upon this article which I liked.


After they got up, I told them not to touch their cell phones until they fulfilled a few chores and obligations.
Then in the early afternoon I took the girls to see the movie "A Winter's Tale"
The story covered elements of life that I appreciate:
-the idea that we are all connected
-good overcoming evil

Despite the bad reviews it got, I thoroughly enjoyed it.


There was a bit part in the movie played by an actor named Graham Greene.
I recognized him as being someone from the Twilight movies. ('tis a gift I have)
I had to whisper this "important knowledge" to G, who promptly disagreed.
She too, claims to have this same gift. (she went so far as to state that her skills of facial recognition, obscure actor identification, age progression--the very same talents I brag about possess--as being her qualifications for disputing me!)
So in hushed tones in the darkened movie theatre, we made a bet.

After the movie, it was determined that Google was on my side.
But I graciously declined collecting from her, in exchange, I. just. wanted. kudos.
Both girls would not give it to me.
They shrugged and called me annoying.

When I told Steve about it later on in the evening, he said to them,
"I never go up against your mother in actor recognition. That would be like trying to challenge me with the weather."

Itch scratched.


Girls' Sunday Performance At Central and Being Here Now.

Both girls' schools were part of the Diocesan Honor Band performance last sunday.
Factoring in the snowy conditions of the day, the girls and I left extra early and got there in plenty of time.
The director of the show (a little old nun) was trying to man the ticket sales table, while scurrying about trying to get final show logistics in order.
It was clear to me that she was waiting for some other people assigned to sell tickets.

I don't know what came over me, but what I did next was out of character.
I approached the nun and asked her if she wanted me to take over until whomever was running late, arrived.
(I shy away from doing public displays of math skills because 'tis not one of my gifts)
She looked up at me (I told you she was little) gratefully and without asking my name, handed me an envelope full of cash and said: "Thank you!"
And then she was off without a backward glance.

I somehow got through the next 45 minutes of making change in my head until I caught sight of G's band teacher.
She looked at me calmly and said, "oh, you got my message?"
"I asked your daughter to ask you if you would sell tickets."
I said, "no she never told me."
Then she said, "well I meant to ask her, but it's amazing that you are here anyway."

She has no idea just how amazing it is since I never volunteer for such things.
And, I am glad that I never got that message because I would have had to work through not dreading it.
The show ended later than I expected so we missed the 4 pm mass at the Oratory.
So instead the girls and I went to St. Paul's Cathedral for the 6 pm mass.
Steve, who was working that day met us there.

The Cathedral is large, and I am not sure if it is due to the acoustics or the transient nature of the parishioners but somehow masses there seem impersonal.
As I was sitting there waiting for the mass to start, I decided to pray for a good mass experience for my family. (I don't know if I have ever asked for that before.)
I was amazed by what happened next.

The priest,  Fr. Joe Freedy, was someone we had never seen before
(since St. Paul's is usually our third-stringer church).
He was engaging.
He commended people for making it to church, despite the challenging weather.
He actually pointed to K and G and said,
"you teenagers probably did not want to be here right now, but were forced to.
Thank you for coming. If I appreciate you being here, what more does God."

He spoke of being in the moment in all that you do.
"Be here now" was his message.
At the end of the mass, K said: "I liked that priest."
Steve volunteered that it was "the best mass he had attended in a long time."
I too enjoyed the mass, but I was more captivated and inspired by the quick response to my prayer.



The Skirt Gets To Go To The Ball

There's a story that goes with this picture. Stay tuned.