Yellow Living Room...

When I was growing up, I had goals. Plans. Ideas. I had a road map for my life. I had expectations of what my life would look like, including my husband and children. In my dream, I pictured my husband and I living in a white colonial with bright shutters and door. We would have a large sunny yellow living room that looked out onto a beautiful cottage garden. I pictured us sitting on matching sofas with our coffee cups, listening to music; all while reading the Sunday paper.  I have no idea where my children were in this dream; but I had them! That was my idea of domestic bliss as seen in my 12 year old mind.  I could create my own stability, calm and security. When I thought of this dream; I always smiled, because I felt loved and cherished.

Children of divorce never feel settled; we are always on the move, sharing time with all the individuals we love. The dream became more of a mantra after losing both my father and stepfather at 15. I never for a second thought I wouldn't go to college. I had to; I had to support myself. I worried about losing my husband, so the dream became a mantra. He couldn't smoke, not be a heavy drinker or do drugs. Smoking killed the two men I loved. In my eyes drugs and booze just increased the chances for mortality. I would make THIS yellow living room world. It would be mine. It would be my reality. As I look back on my 23 years of marriage;  Jeffrey and I have created that life. I have stability. I have calm and security. I'm deliciously happy, in my soul, in my heart and most of all in my head.

I need that world. Jeffrey and I have had some dark times in our early marriage, 22 is young to jump into marriage without tools. I didn't grow up with good marriage models, so I had to teach myself, I learned on the job how to be married. God Bless Jeff, he just needed to learn I was beautifully high maintenance, that isn't a criticism; it's just truth. I needed to talk all the time; about everything, and he just needed to put his arm around me, love me, and tell me it was going to be fine.

I needed to learn that Jeff was exactly what he appeared; a good, honest, trustworthy man. That he loved me and I was good-enough to be loved. Jeff also had to learn to negotiate and to communicate. But, what kept us together was the yellow living room; we both really wanted the same things. We wanted that safe place where we were loved and that we both were all in, not kind of in; but all in.

We learned as a couple what our currency was; what was our truth, what were our deal breakers as a couple and where was the wiggle room. We also created our own tool box as a couple, the short hand that worked for us to make our life work in the ups and downs of the journey. We are very honest and direct, but we do it with humor and love. Our toolbox is the same as the one I have shared with you and it's why we are resilient.

Resilience is the superpower that helps you through the tough times. We are hinged on faith and one another. Everything else is a bi-product of that. God and Jeff are always at the table with me, then it's the Beauties, then it's everyone else. When we work, it all works. For me there is nothing without them. That is how I remain resilient, I focus on that image, that feeling of the yellow living room and the visual of sitting with Jeff and the Divine having a meal talking it all through, laughing and sharing the breaking of bread.

That image and concept is how I stay strong on the Pilgrimage. I use the tools that we have spent Lent honing, shaping and sharpening. When you learn to treat the stupid shit that happens in your life as irritants, and foolishness as obstacles to your happiness you learn how to pivot, to knock down and get around them. That is how you keep your eye on what truly matters...

For me that is enjoying the exquisite everyday moments with my Beauties. This week included a fantastic family meal at the Beauties' favorite white table cloth restaurant on the beach. Also included some moments during Holy Week when I wanted to flick my Beauties for not getting-it during Stations of the Cross. But, more often than not, we had delightful and touching faith filled moments during Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. We had our first ever lovely California Easter Dinner with Jeffrey's parents, a backyard Bocce tournament with Norah and her "Poppie" (which is her grandad), we dyed eggs, made some ridiculous good cupcakes, we stayed up too late, got up too early. But even with Norah getting yet another nasty cold, and my pain being excruciating, Ian having a seasonal allergy attack, we had much more joy than sadness.

So that is where I will leave this series of posts on Resilience...

You CAN become more resilient.

It takes effort, practice using the tools and the willingness to never surrender.

But, the more you do, the stronger you get, until it's your super power too!



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Photo Credit: Mr. PilgrimageGal


I have started and deleted three or four posts on my sweet Jeffrey since New Year’s.  I can’t seem to put on paper what his presence in my life means; it’s too vast.  Jeffrey is a simple man; and for a very complex girl, it’s hard to understand his willingness to step back, to be the nurturer, to simply and quietly move in the world.

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In Defense of Cafeteria Catholics...

Sometimes I’m reminded that it’s not an easy road to be a Catholic woman in 2013.  It is very clear to me that I’m not in step with the Church on some fundamental issues. 

Some would call me a Cafeteria Catholic. 

I find the term offensive. My Church has always struggled with those who have dissented and we are known for our colorful history. 

Why is it wrong to question? Why does it make me fringe? When did it become wrong to talk openly about issues? Why does it seem that many of our community don’t want to hear another or different faith filled voice, or consider a different opinion?  And why does my disagreement make me a bad Catholic? I attend Mass, benefit from the grace of all of the Sacraments. I was married in the Church and have openly and honestly raised my children in the faith. 

In our Church history, we have had councils that went on for years discussing the divinity of Christ, the role of Mary, the role of the Sacraments, the role of salvation...

But not today... We have meetings behind close doors, not open for debate, and are becoming extremely cut and dry. 

And yet we struggle as a community to offer transparency. Our Church of late doesn’t have a ton of good PR.  She has struggled to clean up scandal after scandal that has left many shaken. But, while I’m appalled by her missteps, I love her all the more. It is simple to me, the problems in my Church are human, not Divine.  

Despite the name calling, I remain a proud and committed Catholic. Because this is my home too, for much more the better than for worse. I find safety, and most of all I find the Divine.  When my world spins, it is the silence of a chapel, the pull of prayer, the stillness of the rosary, that holds and comforts me...  It is the peace and the grace that is not available anywhere else. It is this faith that warms my soul.  It is the beauty of receiving HIS body and blood; HIS grace, HIS complete forgiveness in the sacraments.

I remind myself everyday that I have seen Christ in the works of others.  I meet Christ in his Sacraments, in the touch of those who work to make me well.  In the work of priests that I love, and admire, in the work of sisters that I hold dear. In the commitments of friends and loved ones who grow their families in a community of faith. 

I see Christ, every single day.  

My dear friend left with her family today for an extended vacation and as she blew me kisses from her walk and I back to her; I realized that this is what community looks like... The unquestionable love for one another.  

And why do you ask would I be labeled a Cafeteria Catholic?

I openly maintain that my Church is wrong on the issue of Gay Marriage.  I just can’t recognize in my core that when God made each of us in his image and likeness; he made a mistake.  My sisters and brothers who Love their partners are my brothers and sisters, too. They could be my parents, my siblings, my children and my grandchildren.  And I will stand beside them till we no longer see these children of God as anything but whole, beautiful and graced.  We must refrain from the use of language that is used to belittle and tear one another down. 

As a mother, I’m enraged that a mother would close the door on her child because of the person that they are called to LOVE.   When you are given the gift of life, YOU as a parent are tasked with loving and raising that person into the best person they are... The person they are CALLED to be. Not the person you want them to be...

As a mother, we don’t get to modify the gift, nor do you get to exchange this gift. You are called to LOVE your gift. When you have children, you don’t change them; you raise and love them. You enhance their gifts to make them successful as human beings made in the image and likeness of the Creator. Not your image, the Creator’s image.

You see, we are all blest with the gift of understanding, empathy and the ability to love. And when you look in the mirror and begin to say you love only this person and not that one, you are fundamentally breaking with God’s gifts.

We are called to LOVE one another.  Christ called all of us, not the easy way, Christ didn’t say only the smart ones, or the pretty ones or the easy ones, or only the straight ones... He called all of us, to Love each other. 

“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know you as my disciples; if you love one another.“  
John 13:34-35 

That love is not conditional, it is not exclusionary, it is crystal clear... LOVE EVERYONE. 

Now I can hear a whole bunch of folks who say, “I love the “sinner”, not the sin,” and to that I say, when you accept that we are all made in HIS likeness, how can the love of two people committed to each other be a sin? 

We are loving, when we are unselfish and put others needs before our own. And we are loving, when we appreciate and embrace our differences. 

One of the key components of the argument against Marriage Equality is that it betrays the natural Law and fundamental belief that marriage is for procreation and for the children. I heard a great argument that has stuck with me, answer this question, “If my husband and I were not blessed with our biological children would our marriage be any less of a Sacrament? Would we still not be entitled to the benefits of marriage? All those couples too old, too frail, not able to have children, is their sacramental commitment any different?”

Others argue that Marriage is a Sacrament, because it is a gift from God.  I don’t believe that we pick our spouses, I believe that He has a hand in it.  I think we choose to marry, but through God’s grace we are enabled to find our partners. So why wouldn’t that be true for our Gay and Lesbian siblings. Because you are gay, you are not entitled to God’s grace? We know that is simply not true.

Why is the argument that equality means the dissolution of “traditional” marriage? Perhaps it will give the Sacrament a boost. No valid Sacramental Marriage suffers from the result of a Gay couple's union.  

Instead of worrying about how Marriage Equality may hurt marriage, we should be talking about how it strengthens it. When we offer support and loving embrace, to all marriages, and see that they are forged by God’s loving and powerful grace. The same grace that I benefit from in my marriage.  

So as we look forward, may we continue to be called to be representatives for Christ.

And continue to work to protect all, no matter our views... 

And know that above all, we must LOVE first... 

God Bless,


photo credit: FotoRita [Allstar maniac] via photopin cc