Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Catholic, faith, family, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

As I sit here, in my warm home with snow gently falling outside, a eerie sense of calm surrounds me.

Yet, I have no tree, I am not even close to being done with my shopping and I have two more days of work this week.

Then a dear old warrior friend posted this: 18 Strings of Trouble – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and I hearken back to the days when I felt like my life was a war zone. Fear, uncertainty and pain, was all I knew.

Reminded of that yesterday with a student in crisis (The similarities to my own personal situation at that age were astounding!), I now realize why I have been placed where I am.

The beauty and wisdom of knowing and recognizing it brings me great comfort and joy.

So enjoy the snow, take you time, crank up the music and ENJOY. Take care of you!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

via Daily Prompt: Calm

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I love sports. They were such an important part of my life from as long as I can remember, and I daresay, they still are.

Sportsmanship is Alive and Well

Upon reading this article, my heart just broke a little more; a feat I didn’t think was possible.

See, I was the first child of an athlete. My baby gift was a Johnny Unitas signed football. My treasured toy was my Dr. J. red, white and blue basketball. I really never played with dolls. I liked to play basketball. I loved to ride my bike for miles. I shot BB guns, ran the pastures around my house, and swam in the community pool.

I was a awkward, lanky, nerdy, exceedingly tall girl, that never quite fit in anywhere.  My home life with a constantly working father and a manically depressed and often abusive mother and disabled sister were not idyllic.

Sports and being a part of a team, were my escape. They were a place where I kind of fit due to my  height and genetic gifts for sport.

At 18 I blessed to Zing with my hubby, a former D1 baseball player and ice hockey lover, who grew up, a lot like me, just skating on the flats, hiking, camping and fishing, and playing in the sand lot.

We have been blessed with 5 incredibly wonderful children. We expected that sports would be a part of their lives. We allowed them to try all kind of things. Their sports glory or failures were not about us. It is about their development as a human. It was about being a part of something larger then themselves.

They mostly gravitated to their father’s sports of baseball/softball and ice hockey (although I have one volleyball player!) He and I have volunteered to help all children on the teams, no matter their ability. We love sports and obviously having kids (lots of them) in our lives. It seemed a natural progression to continue to be involved and share our love of sports with others through coaching, volunteering, driving kids to practices and games if necessary, just being present.

But something changed. Sports became big business. At young ages parents are sold a bill of goods that little Jonny or Mary, if they go to the right camps, play on the the best teams, buy the best equipment, they will have this magical, transformative experience. In what I have witnessed and experienced, the reality falls far short of the promises.

Gone are the days of multi-sport athletes. Children are being pushed to focus on one sport earlier and earlier. Countless studies have shown that it is bad for children, yet it persists.

Early Specialization: Nine Reasons Why It Is a Bad Idea

Why? It makes people money. It make parents feel good. It makes children feel good – for awhile.

What happens when winning becomes EVERYTHING? What happens when you no longer can win? What happen to you when you trounce an opponent so badly that you crush a person’s soul? Longitudinally – what, in being someone that participates in that trouncing, does it do to your soul?

Winning is fun. But should it be the focus of youth sport? Shouldn’t youth sport be geared to learning? Having fun? Becoming a better, healthier YOU?

Winning is fun, but sportsmanship is better. Let’s teach our children that shaking hands after a game is more important than the score. Let’s stop the madness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

baseball, Catholic, children, coaching, family, growth, hockey, hockeymom, love, momoffive, motherhood, skating, sports, sportsmanship, truth

Rules Don’t Apply Equally

Catholic, children, coaching, faith, family, growth, hockey, hockeymom, lettinggo, love, momoffive, motherhood, skating, sports, teenagers, truth

Happy Easter Monday!

My middle child has had a tough year with sports and in life in general. He has found that friends from childhood left him for the shiny new penny in town, he was jumped by a school teammate and the punishment was not fair and even excused away due to the other’s “rough childhood experiences” and then with great anticipation and excitement, he joined a new organization and new “old” team only to find that tigers don’t change their stripes and rules don’t apply equally.

Funny how people love to sit in their sanctimonious glass houses preaching about gratitude and appropriate behaviors while condoning cheating and cross-rostering across organizations without prior permissions – violations that caused other players to be removed from a league – and when we were faced with an abusive coach, to sit idly by in apathetic acceptance, too afraid to say anything, but expecting me to defend my child (and yours by association) further putting my own children in jeopardy?

Having learned that there is no fairness at a young age, while heartbreaking to watch unfold, will allow him to be a stronger, more faithful and more grateful person. Teaching hockey to those less fortunate, will allow him to realize that playing sports is a privilege.

So very pleased that I was told by an old friend that he did such a wonderful job with one of his young charges, I watched him wearily, but with a joyful countenance, amble to the car.

Beaming, on the way home, he regaled me with how he taught a young child how to skate and leave the security of the sled behind.

He, with great hope, untarnished by the ugliness that the has experienced and smiling ear to ear, was so joy-filled to be able to be back on the ice helping those learn to love the abject perfection of a clean sheet of ice, the coldness of the air and the sweat of your brow after crossing over a few hundred times.

While the rules may not apply equally, the love of skating will never leave his soul.

Rules don’t apply to your feelings.

 

 

Our Cross to Bear

Catholic, children, faith, family, motherhood, truth

Good Friday – God Friday – sitting here contemplating Jesus making the choice not to fight to prove it should not be him crucified? How would I have reacted? Would I have allowed myself to be punished for the deeds of others so that someone else should live?

Thinking about what is right and just a great deal lately. Why does it seem so hard to be the one that stands up for what is right and just in today’s world? Being Godly – what does that even mean?

To me it is a simple choice to try and be the best I can be in God’s eyes. Firstly for my own salvation, secondly to be a wife that is a sacramental partner for my husband and thirdly, and in my opinion most importantly, for my children’s spiritual understanding and moral development. My trinity of truth, faith and love.

Truth – doing what is right and just  even though it is oftentimes painful.

Faith – knowing that if you are righteous and just it will be forgiven when you make a mistake. Believing that there is something bigger than just you and that God is forgiving and loving, but not always easy to follow.

Love – having love in your heart – even for those that do you (and your children and spouse) wrong. The hardest part of the puzzle to find love for your enemies.

Truth = God Faith = Holy Spirit Love = Jesus

As a mother, those that hurt my children are the hardest for  me to forgive. While I know that disappointment and pain make you stronger, it hurts a part of me so primal, so vulnerable, that it is almost unbearable.

My children show me that love and compassion are easy. They forget the stupid little wrongs and move on, running off to play with someone, who just minutes ago, pushed them down, said, “I’m sorry.” and was forgiven.

We need to be more like children. We need to put down our worries and sadness and anger, say I’m sorry (and mean it!) and run along and play.

Galatians 4:6-7 “Because you are children, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a child; and if a child, then an heir through God.”

The last words that Jesus cried out as his crucifixion were “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

These two passages are intertwined aren’t they?  Never realized it – God has given us a road map to see children are the light and the hope (Holy Spirit), he is the truth and Jesus is the faith.

The Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in our life, our death and our resurrection.

Our cross is how we travel the  journey of life in God’s example of truth.

Duct Tape is Silver No?

Catholic, children, family, hockeymom, marriage, momoffive, motherhood

Sitting here in my quiet house (Except for the obnoxious birds that are trying to nest in my bathroom fan duct!) I am taking pause to reflect on 25 years of marriage!

First of all I’m way too young to be married 25 years! (Which obviously makes me too old to have 5 children as well!)

Our life together has not been easy, but it sure has been fun!

Our crazy song filled minivan trips, camping, running around to our children’s sporting, music, school events – when we look back all those years ago and think , “Would we have EVER imagined our life as it is today back then?” The unequivocal answer is no – but boy oh boy am I glad it is!

What makes us closer over the past almost 31 years together, 25 of them in our sacramental marriage, is our ability to weather the storms together – to have an enduring love and faith that no matter how bad it seems, the thought of being without each other is exceedingly worse.

We have had financial and job loss, family tragedy, sick children, sick parents, sick us – but truly it is, “In sickness and in health, for better for worse.”

Sometimes silence is golden, but duct tape is silver and it fixes everything. One of our favorite shows to watch together when we first started this journey was McGuyver. Duct tape always seemed to fix everything that went wrong.

On our Silver Anniversary – I salute the marvel that is duct tape – the metaphor for everything in our marriage. Now I have to find a ladder, get rid of some birds and get the duct tape to repair the vent hose…

 

 

 

 

Is Sociopath the New Black?

Catholic, children, coaching, disabilty, hockeymom, lettinggo, momoffive, motherhood, sports

Been awhile and I’m struggling trying to come to grips with why…self doubt, anxiety, busyness, de-prioritization of my needs; I can go on and on…

What has come to a earth shattering head is my desire to remove sociopaths from my life and avoid them at all costs.

What is a sociopath you ask?  Instead of defining the negative, I am focusing on the positive or empath side (because frankly I look terrible in orange!) and engaging in putting a desire to associate only with positive people and empathetic people.

For those wanting a good read, I highly recommend the The Empathy Trap a book that absolutely enhanced my work to dismantle the negative, energy sucking and stressful people and events from my life and encourage the positive.

Another article grabbed my attention this morning was the F word ( No not one of the  swear words I enjoy using!)  – but Feminism – and after International Women’s Day yesterday, the countless same old same old Women’s Month events, political pulling of the woman cards, special places in hell for certain women, etc. I felt I should break my self-exile and speak. As a women, a wife, a sister, a mother, a friend; my roles consistently put me in a place where sociopaths are the new norm and unfortunately are perhaps the new black – a blackness of depravity of character so beyond my comprehension that I refuse to accept it as the new norm.

A very wise person told me once  “No one gives a shit whether you live or die.”

Wiser words have never been spoken! Why? Because it came with a caveat -a millisecond later – the ONLY one that should care about you is YOU!

Anger, stress, revenge, sarcasm – all can be used as motivators, but often times we don’t know how to take the negative in our lives and turn them into golden opportunities for learning and self reflection and most often these “motivators” are turned to life altering stressors that cause disease, violence and pain.

Recently a coach put his hands on my child in anger. My child responded with anger back. I resisted (albeit with extreme difficulty) to turn to my default of anger, revenge, and vendetta, and turned to prayer and self-refection to try to help my child (and myself and those around me) grow and learn. I turned to a trusted friend with strong faith to help me through one of the most difficult events I have faced as a mother.

My child is forever changed by how I approached this difficult situation. I believe he has learned a tremendous amount from it. My child’s ability to analyze and reflect and learn from this is so well above his/her chronological age and I am so very proud.

I am angry? Yes! Am I disappointed? No doubt – but my attempts to channel positivity from this and to take an educators perspective, “What can be learned and done differently when presented with a situation like this in the future?” will undoubtedly affect not only the child affected, but every child and person in whom comes in contact with my child.

I will not be wearing black – in my wardrobe nor my countenance, but most importantly not in my soul! Easter is upon us and Spring in the air and with it, the winds of change…

 

 

 

 

Starbucks Sucks at Not Offending

Catholic, disability, momoffive, motherhood

Dear Starbucks,

First you had the “discuss the person’s name” initiative which I thought was really lame but if it makes someone smile ok whatever.

Next you had the no guns in our stores mandate which I thought typical hispster company from Washington state trying to be cool with their demographic.

Then you had your Barista (AKA Moron) refuse use of a bathroom in Philadelphia to a police officer and were obnoxious about it.

Now after a policy of many years of having a Christmas themed cup you are deciding against it.

Now for those of you that think these things don’t matter let me tell you – it most certainly does.

A campaign to attack Chic-Fil-A with a “Kiss In” because their CEO did not support gay marriage did happen. How did that work out for Chick-Fil-A – soaring profits.

A campaign to boycott or craft the devil has happened at Hobby Lobby because of their stances against not covering a few forms of birth control and their strong Christian stance again the effect – increased business for a Christian company.

You don’t think it matters – it does – right where it hurts – the bottom line. Christians buy stuff -lot of stuff. We have children – more children thatn most. While we most likely will not openly protest, we will do it more quietly.

Starbucks has been closing locations left and right due to poor performance. Poor branding and corporate policy does matter.

Congratulations Stewart’s, WaWa, Dunkin Donuts, and Horton’s – your bottom lines are going to be improved this holiday season.

As to Starbucks – I will miss your hot cocoa but Merry Christmas! Oh yeah and BTW I am the demographic you should not be offending!

Mamasaurus

I REMEMBER

Catholic, children, momoffive, motherhood, waiting

This day – September 11, 2001 – our generations’ “date which will live in infamy.” I remember my husband going to work for the first day after my giving birth to our 3rd child – our little miracle after 7 years of longing. I remember the sunshine. I remember walking my children to their bus stop with my new baby in the stroller. I remember nursing my sweet baby and the horror of my friend’s scream to turn on the TV as we were catching up in the morning by phone as we always did. I remember fear. I remember circling the school’s parking lot 5 times wanting to go and hug my children but deciding that the safe nurturing school place would be best. I remember getting cash, bread, milk and a full tank of gas because my practical engineer friend knew I needed to be busy and feel like I was doing something to protect my family. I remember the coming together to figure out the unfigureoutable. I remember the sadness. I remember…

How Can He be Graduating…. He was Born Yesterday??

Catholic, children, graduation, lettinggo, momoffive, motherhood, teeenagers

How Can He be Graduating…. He was Born Yesterday??.

My dear friend has surpassed anything that I could ever hope to write about how I feel since my eldest son graduated university. My words are still in progress! Congratulations #extremeMomGina and all the best! See you soon!

All my love,

Mamasaurus