Tag Archives: pray

On the Side of Goodness

So, this week has been full of prayers for all those affected by the bombings in Boston. And on the heels of that — the horrific tragedy still unfolding in West, TX where a chemical plant exploded, pretty much destroying the town — the loss of life has not been confirmed, but the injured are many. And as every day goes on, the media keeps of us informed of just how many people are still hospitalized in Boston (58 tonight) and six of them are critical.

Tonight the FBI released photos of the men that believe are responsible for the bombings. Those photos are already going viral and hopefully they’ll know they are or already do! They believe this is a domestic act of terrorism — an act of cowardice — an act of hatred.

But, what I find amazing about the Boston Marathon bombings is how the good in humanity comes forward — and I mean people putting aside their difference and their prejudices to help one another. We’ve seen this over and over, hero after hero as we read the news in the days that followed. We’ve seen this after 911, where Americans banned together, crime went down across the country, and people took a stand with all that is good.

And now, I just watched a video posted online after the Boston Bruins hockey game last night — the first sporting event in Boston since the bombings. I couldn’t stop the tears — it was the most beautiful, honest, sincere, spontaneous and touching moment — truly a magic moment — from thousands of fans taking a stand with all that is good.

As Rene Rancourt came out onto the ice, along with the Boston Fire Department Honor Guard, and he began to sing the National Anthem — the fans overtook him, belting it out so loudly that Rene lowered his microphone and led the crowd. With no music or vocal leader, these fans sang it like they meant it — waving flags and messages for Boston in support. One word — A M A Z I N G .

In times of tragedy, people come together to give strength to one another. They feel a sense of American pride in fighting for the good of humanity. I really had no idea who Patton Oswalt was when his story went viral the day after the bombings on April 16. But when I read it, there is one line that resonates, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

The good will outnumber you, and we always will. Such powerful words. It reaffirms the goodness in humanity and the principles that this country was built on. Pray. Pray for Boston. People are praying together — sending volumes of prayers to Heaven from all over the world. And there is nothing more powerful than that. And, in the words of little Martin Richard, the 8-year old who lost his life in the bombings, “No more hurting people. Peace.”

And now we need to pray for those in West, TX. For their story is getting lost in the shadows of the Boston bombings. And their grief and the loss they face is no less tragic than the events in Boston.

Time to Tally Up

It’s Sunday evening and I’m sitting here thinking about my whirlwind of a weekend and the pending snowstorm that could start at any time. So, I guess I was pretty wrong when I said we had one last blast a few weeks ago. I guess I was merely wishing winter away, and I thought if I wrote it, it would make it so! We’re predicted to get anywhere from five to 12 inches, depending on who you listen to.

I took half a day off on Friday as part of my “white space Fridays” — still trying to find a balance. I really feel like I need it, because things are busier since I’ve gotten back — and most definitely more stressful. But I don’t think it’s so much of either of those, but more of a change in me that makes it seem so. It’s as busy as it’s always been. And, I still say “the highs are really highs and the lows are really lows.” — or maybe that’s just the things I take notice of, and I miss all the humdrum, in-between moments. I had a good cry on Thursday when I got home from work and that night I put some things in God’s hands. And you know what? All those things worked themselves out on Friday with ease. Thank you, God for always listening and guiding me.

I got home about 1:30 on Friday, and I made a pierogi casserole for a friend of mine who is laid up right now. I figured she might need a good Lenten meal (I’ll post the recipe later on my blog). She missed the last step in her basement, severely injuring her ankle and had major surgery the next morning. Her recovery is slow, she’s understandingly frustrated and climbing the walls! She does so much for others, it was the least I could do. So I ask you all to say a prayer for my friend Sandy, that she recovers quickly and finds the patience to relax and take the time she needs to make a full recovery.

The weekend was Palm Sunday at church. I made Tom leave the house 10 minutes early, because I figured all the “Creasters” would be coming out for Easter. I have to get a seat, because I can’t stand for an hour and a half mass. Creasters is the term that practicing Catholics have for those other Catholics who only attend mass on Christmas and Easter. There are so many of them that we have to get to church 45 – 60 minutes before mass starts in order to get a seat. Today, we ended up going to 11:30 am mass, which is normally crowded to start with and not our regular mass — we’re usually Saturday evening. But we still saw a lot of people we knew. And even more that we had no idea who they were. There were so many people standing, and I really felt bad for those who are regular church goers. I can only imagine what Easter Sunday will bring next week. Today we read the passion narrative according to Luke.

Before we went to mass, I was singing “Jesus Christ is Risen Today…Alleluia!” to my cats. If you know the song, it’s beautiful and you can’t just sing it — you have to belt it out. Tom jokingly corrected me that “he is not risen today.” and I said, “I know that! — but today we should be singing ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?… were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, oh, oh, oh, sometimes it caused me to tremble… tremble… tremble… were you there when they crucified my Lord?” And he looked at me like I had three heads. I told him we sang that song at St. Rose every Palm Sunday since I could remember and that I knew every word to every verse. Of course, we didn’t sing any of the traditional Easter songs that I love at mass to day, much to my disappointment.

I can't believe my youngest niece turns 14 this week!

I can’t believe my youngest niece turns 14 this week!

From mass, we drove straight to my sister’s house for my niece, Tara’s 14th birthday party — about a 45 minute drive. It’s hard to believe she’ll be 14 on Tuesday. It was a nice party as we haven’t seen a lot of their relatives since Megan’s birthday back in October! Everyone had so much new going on in their lives — one was planning a wedding and honeymoon, another’s daughter was moving back from Connecticut and another was getting over a severe cold that was moving into Spring allergies. Tom and I got to check out Debbie’s new Lazy-Boy furniture and play with their kittens — oh, I mean “cats.” The food was great and we had a relaxing and enjoyable day. Oh — and Debbie confirmed that they indeed sang “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” at mass today. Ahhhh — sometimes I miss the good ole days.

And I certainly miss Father Bob at St. Gregory’s!!! It will never be the same. And I pray that FB gets moved to SF. God knows what that means. 

This week starts Holy Week. I’m traveling on Wednesday and Thursday, but will be home by Thursday evening. The season of Lent ends on Thursday evening and our church has all kinds of masses and special events planned for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. I always give the staff Good Friday off.

So as we begin this Holy Week, I pray that I am able to take the time to slow down and think about what this week really means. And, I guess I need to tally up the dollars in my rice bowl. I tried really hard, I really did — but I ended up with $35 in my bowl from what I kept track of. So double that and round up (because I know there’s more that I didn’t keep track of) — I’m going to give an extra $125 to charity, while I continue to work on my language.

It would help if:

  • I never had to talk about politics again
  • Political decisions didn’t so drastically impact my small business
  • I didn’t have to deal with unpleasant situations
  • My husband didn’t say it all the time (he says he doesn’t say it all the time)
  • Benny didn’t jump on my stomach in the middle of the night; among other things
  • I didn’t get so frustrated after mass every week, because things are different
  • I had less stress at work
  • I could sleep in until 10:00 every day
  • I never used the “F” word as an adjective and term of endearment in the first place (now I do it so often out of habit)

It would help if I put all my trust in God — so that I didn’t have the stress, frustrations and weak moments, because then there would be no reason to ever use it.

Have a great week everyone!  Always B E L I E V E !

White Space Fridays

Well, I’ve been planning my “White Space Fridays” since reading an article about personal white space last year from the time-keeping software company, Function Fox. The author recommended that business owners take a day off during the week to recharge and find perspective. Well, my first week back to work, while it not a full week, I was already feeling the need for some personal time. 

But the purpose of my White Space Fridays isn’t to run away from issues that I’ve had during the week. It’s a dedicated time slot for me to take some time for myself. But what does that really mean? And would I know how to do that?

I easily worked 60+ hours a week. I’d work eight or nine hours at the office and then another two or three hours at home — sometimes into the early morning. I worked every Sunday, getting ready for Monday. Sometimes I’d work the entire weekend. I’d sit down to watch TV and flip open my computer, planning to check out Facebook and spend another two hours on email and working. Proposals, RFPs, business planning — all those things where I needed concentration and quiet — I did at home.

Saturdays were spent cleaning the house, the bathrooms, the kitchen — sometimes just cleaning the clutter in the kitchen from the week. I’d have a stack of mail, magazines and catalogs — it took me two hours to go through that stuff. Tom helped out by doing the grocery shopping in the morning — sometimes before I’d even get out of bed. Then we’d go to church on Saturday evening and to dinner, sometimes to the casino or somewhere else to unwind. More often than not, we came home after church.

By Sunday I would be exhausted. Sometimes I spent the day with uncombed hair and sweat pants, curled up on the couch, watching Lifetime movies. I’d usually make a good home-cooked dinner for Tom, since he didn’t usually get that the rest of the week. And I’d work. I’d clean up my emails or do something. It would be RARE for Tom and I to plan anything on a Sunday, unless it was Super Bingo that we volunteer for once a month at St. Gregory’s. On occasion we’d go to my Mom’s for dinner, or if it was summer, go to my sister’s pool for the day.

And then it would start all over again. I never felt like I had enough sleep, never felt like I ever got anything done, and if Tom and I had the choice to stay home or go out, we’d choose stay home every time. Because we’re both exhausted. Something had to change. And the cancer had a way of putting everything into perspective.

So how did I actually do it? The first thing I did was not rush to get back to work. I trust everyone who works for me, especially the managers. They care about MarketSpace as much as I do. So I was able to heal and think things through. And part of my new philosophy included White Space Fridays. I explained my new schedule as I came back to work part-time. I know they’re confused and probably thinking this is temporary with my part-time weeks here in February.

So yesterday, everyone thinks I had a test or a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t correct them. They’ll get used to it. I told them that I could not be part of a 4 pm RFQ call, because I was unavailable the entire day. Now, I plan to be available for important client meetings or calls.  I won’t neglect what is important and my responsibility. But once everyone gets used to my schedule, I’m hoping it’s fairly easy to take this day. I just couldn’t be part of this call this past Friday, because I had already made plans.

I got together with two of my good friends, Gert and Val and we went to Washington County (about 45 minutes or so) to have lunch with my brother, Father Bob. We had lunch at a fantastic restaurant off of the Southpointe exit on Rt. 79, called Jacksons’ Restaurant located in the Hilton Garden Inn. One of Father Bob’s parishioners managed the restaurant and we had the opportunity to meet him. After lunch we spent the afternoon at the Meadows Casino. We got back to Cranberry about 5:00 pm, and what a fantastic day with my girlfriends!!!! I have to admit that I checked my email frequently throughout the day, and I got home and immediately flipped open the laptop. But there was nothing urgent in my inbox. I did get an urgent call from a very important client around 5:30 pm. She called my home line, so I knew it was important and I, of course, took the call.

Any other Friday, I would be close to a coma, completely drained. But, I was in such a good mood — about 7:30 pm I got a huge splurge of energy and ended up getting so much done before I even went to bed. I am hoping that over time, my husband will see a change in me, my staff will see a change in me, and everyone I know will see someone who is happy and takes the time to be part of their lives. I want to be like I used to. Ask people how their weekend was and be genuinely interested in what they did. Know what my staff is doing this weekend, and know whose grandmother is sick, or who child said their first words, or what place my niece finished on her swim relay — take time to share with those around me.

So wish me luck on my new plan. I wonder what I’ll do next Friday? Hmmm… maybe paint pottery….

I pray: Dear God, help me use this time for myself to recharge, re-energize and renew my sense of life. Please let all who love me truly notice that I’m more patient, more attentive, more caring and more engaged, and less angry, self-serving and short-tempered. Help me be a better person, better leader and a better example for my staff and everyone who looks up to me. Amen.