Ok, dear friends, now it is apparent that I am such a newbie to the blogosphere, that right out of the gate, I am sabotaged. By myself!
Skipping part II and part III of my Easter post, because it is just too dang late, and life is sooooooo overwhelming, I almost feel like I would be embarrassed to share it all!
So, I’ll give you a peak! Just a peak at what’s been going on here for these past days. Challenges and happiness. That would be an accurate summary!
Yearly checkup? Check. Back in February, (I think) (or thereabouts) (I don’t journal those, you know) (no prob, I always breeze through these anyway!)
OK, now make the sound like skidding brakes of a car. With extra shrill screeeeeching. Very loud.
Cancer. Cancer? Cancer.
People, cancer is not something that was on my last order from Amazon! Do you hear me? I would like to make a return. Hey, what happened to that old phrase that has surrounded me since childhood? “You can do anything you put your mind to”? NOT always true. Otherwise no one would ever have awful hideous things like cancer. Someone forgot to mention that sometimes there are no returns; no control to “will it away”.
Basal cell? I don’t have time for this!! You have got to be kidding me! Basal? As in Basil? Basil, my favorite herb when cooking, you have betrayed me!! I don’t know if I will ever love you the same, Basil!
Good news is that our trusted family doc reassures me that it is very curable. So I don’t dilly-dally as my favorite little Grandma used to say. Appointment made. Go for consultation. They schedule Moh’s Procedure. For Easter Monday.
Uh-oh, I can feel myself go back into emergency mode territory. You know that territory where you have to use all your energy to stop the worry thoughts about death and what is going to happen next mode? God, why do you want to always keep testing my trust in You? Worried thoughts I do my best to chase away. It is not easy. What do I do with all that swirls around me, threatening to take me down? Ah, I have been here before. I realize. Cling to Blessed Mother, and live your best for today. Make it the best for those you love, and if today is your last, it will be a happy memory (and isn’t that how I should be living anyway)…..so I start to pour all of my being into making this the best Easter EVER!!! It gives me such a sense of mission and interior freedom. I am ready to meet all that God might ask; I will try to live to the fullest I can. Just in case, mind you. I don’t want to take anything for granted. Never know when its your last holiday you know! But then I think, God doesn’t take ornery people, no He will probably leave me here until my bones creak!!! Oh wait, they already do!
So I am acutely aware that I want to pull all of my family into the safety zone of home. Of being together. Striving to create as many moments of happiness as I can. Every single breath is constant prayer. I am like a mad woman in the Easter candy aisle. What is everyone’s favorite? Times TWO?! The Easter table has never had so much attention; thank goodness all the girls helped out so much!
These are the cutest “Napkin girls” I have ever met! Grandma’s beautiful linens freshly ironed only at Christmas and Easter ~
As time goes by, I realize not even creating happiness is within my control. Just too much incredibly challenging stuff going on! Life is so extra crazy here with trying to get Joe to be stable; new medication policies with our health insurance company causing UNBELIEVABLE new problems (I swear to you, we are Walgreens most frequent customers at the pharmacy, at least 4 days a week!); me trying to get all this medical scary stuff out of the way, because honestly I just find it all a nuisance and I really don’t have time for all this and I want to get back to life and I want to be brave and I want to trust God with all my heart and I want to cry and crawl into bed and not come out for a week, and I want to be strong and I feel so weak and I want my kids to remember me with a smile and and and. (you don’t use commas when all those “ands” are swirling in your mind, there is no pause between the onslaught of waves attempting to overcome and drown us in fear) Every minute of every day becomes a gargantuan struggle against all those stormy tidal waves we face. Lord, help us to stay calm and keep each day stable and happy for the other children ~ and all of life seems to be a full time challenge from morning until night.
I want joy! Joy. Happiness. Where are you happiness? I know, not in this world, only in the next. Yet, I still long for it.
In this world too.
And then an answer comes to my heart, like a quiet little flame. Like the little flame of a candle. With its warmth and radiant light; softly, gently………
As we continue to prepare for Easter Sunday….
Happiness is in the cookie baking, with every little (and not so little) chocolate smudges on most of the eggs in Isabel’s little nests ~
Happiness is being together, in the kitchen. Happiness is definitely found in chocolate! (one of God’s greatest gifts)
Happiness in is the fun of dying the Easter eggs ~
Happiness is in the finding a newly colored egg I knew Agnes had made, her love of playing harp oozing from her heart ~
Happiness was found in preparing the prettiest table, and trying to add a little creativity to give this year a special touch ~
Happiness is buying those last minute clothing needs (can’t let ’em go naked to church you know) ~
Happiness is also reminding them they need to buy their own 🙂 ~
The purse aisle gets ’em every time 😦
Agnes, I said, “NO!”
Ok, happiness is telling the teenage minor child you’ll go halfsies on something that is a necessity (empties that babysitting bankroll) (again) (and she better do well in Volleyball) ~
Happiness is in the mystery of the quiet joy of anticipation of Holy Saturday ~
We decide to go to the Easter Vigil Mass just because we all love it so much. When the church is all darkened and Father lights the Easter fire! Each person passes the Easter flame, from the Easter Candle freshly blessed in prayer, Father passes the flame to two people, and they pass the flame to the next, and then they all keep passing the flame until the entire church is FILLED with the little sacred Easter flame passed from one person to the next. Anyone with half a heart can feel, truly feel the joy of Christ’s Rising from the tomb! For weeks, Bernadette was begging to wear her Easter dress for a million reasons in her little head. The answer was always no. (didn’t mean she stopped asking) At last, her moment came. To put on the dress. OH. JOY! Her Easter dress! Now, that is happiness in the heart of a child for sure ~
There is something so miraculous about heading out the door to Easter Vigil Mass. Leaving through the door of all of our worldly cares and worries, leaving behind all the worldly preparations so cherished, to pass through the supernatural door, to a happiness that is supernatural…..
Happiness that can become everlasting happiness.
AND …….. I rejoice with more than triple contentment because Isabel managed her candle with finesse; not lighting anyone’s hair on fire!! She rocked it!
Ever catch that glimpse of your child like this? You hold your gaze, captured by beauty, just a few seconds longer. You want to keep that picture in your mind’s eye forever because it is breathtaking. I want to live in those moments with a full and grateful heart. Those moments are happiness. Pure happiness.
And so we enter into the joy of Easter Sunday ~
Happiness is seeing the beauty of your children begin their own family life ~
Happiness is seeing Isabel enjoy her $1 Easter hat from Target so much, she kept putting on throughout the day ~
Happiness is also knowing that for this Easter she is still walking and talking; healthy enough to enjoy Easter with her smile that lights up the room ~
Happiness is stealing some of their chocolates 🙂 ~
Happiness is Maggie’s famous homemade rolls baked only at Christmas and Easter (SUPER YUM) (Sweet Maggie, Sam, and Dad how I love you)~
Happiness is Xavier (super helper entrepeneur man), being willing to chop and slice for at least an hour so we can have Barefoot Contessa’s “Fennel Gratin Potatoes” (Oh Xavier, how I love you) ~
Happiness is just being able to catch that moment in time when a child is content, taking her brightly colored Easter head wreath, and disappearing to the dress-up chest to add her own flair, medieval red cape and all ~
Easter came and went, and despite all our life difficulties, it was filled with so much sweet happiness. Looking back, that is the part I choose to keep, and treasure with gratitude, in my heart.
Easter Monday came and minor surgery to take out the cancer was so much easier than I had expected. They did not have to go deep, got it all. Relief can be GREAT happiness, you know?
Happiness is also coming home to unexpected flowers and cards from your children ~
Happiness is also celebrating the joy of new babies during a delightful shower luncheon with friends ~
Happiness that day was also the joy of discovering that carrot soup is the bomb, and you’ll crave it forever!
Happiness is rejoicing in the beauty, love and joy of new life ~
Happiness is being proud of your child growing up so fine (gentle Agnes, how I love you) ~
And perhaps, happiness is knowing that this part of life, is NOT the forever part of life ~
Well, and this is how God wants us to see it ~
“ALL THIS TOUGH STUFF IN LIFE? FORGETTA ‘BOUT IT!!”
Because it doesn’t all end here. And when I think I cannot take all the difficulties anymore, I need to fix my gaze here ~
You know, when things get crazy, and I pray to heaven for help, it always seems like someone will say something, or a friend reaches out in kindness, like these beauties from a friend ~
When I am in the throngs of going through difficulties, I can still see and reach out to possess the happiness of all the blessings that come with those difficulties too.
Now it was time for the last step of all the medical yucky stuff. Having my entire face treated……
It was pretty painful, I will admit, but it was over quick enough. (I had two very special peeps I “offered it up” for ❤ )
After having the procedure done, I could not be exposed to any sun, any light, not even through a window. So, for three days we lived in this ~ (felt kind of like Dracula running from the sun)
I never realized how much I loved looking out the windows, until I couldn’t look out of a window. (that was painful) I couldn’t see the buds on the trees, and the Daffodils blooming (flowers bring me so much joy I get giddy looking at them, really) But here you go, perfect example of a blessing in a difficulty? Finding out you have rock star kids who go out (without anyone telling them to do it) and bringing you these to make you smile (Oh my Bernadette, how I love you) ~
and these ~
And what a gift! God made me take it easy, which gave me the opportunity to read aloud to the kids. And we finally enjoyed this book that a dear friend recommended so long ago ~ (everyone should read it; children and adults)
Funny how I thought I was being taken “out of commission” with all these difficulties. In actuality, it became a wonderful opportunity to have time to just sit and talk (really talk) with my children, read a wonderful piece of classic literature, and time to just be.
More than anything else, it helps me to grasp the reality that we are not alone. We are never alone; no matter what. (and for heaven’s sake, how many times does God have to reassure us? Like, are you even in reality if you think life should all go smooth? And here is forever? Stupid thinking, really!) God loves us through our family and friends. He does speak to us; if I can be brave enough, silent enough……. to hear His voice.
One little nudge to “hang in there” last week? Reading this ~
‘CONFUSE THE ENEMY!! THE NEXT TIME YOU START TO WORRY…..BEGIN TO WORSHIP INSTEAD”
So, I think I will choose to look back over these past nine days since I posted here last. I will look back with gratitude in my heart. Every drop, every moment of happiness lived? All so much greater than all the sad!
Oh yes, did I mention that after that cancer diagnosis, the doctor recommended my having PDT Phototherapy to take all the pre cancer off my face? Does. it. ever. end? (Oh yes, the treatment worked only partially, so guess what? Yep, have to get it done again! Waaaaaaa…….)
Happiness is also sending a picture to your kids as Goggle Mom!! (getting silly, and a little laughter can lighten their worry too)(they know my brother died of brain cancer, so I don’t want them worrying about me too)(love you, and miss you, Kev)(somebodys got to do it<3) This pic should make the kids laugh for sure! GAH!!! (total mortification for me to actually be humble enough to post such a stupid pic. Might get edited out in the future……)
Would you believe that I used to look like this ~
“IF YOU HAVE TRUST, YOU HAVE EVERYTHING”
See how having all these kids has robbed us of our hair, and our sanity?!! j.k. ❤
Oh, I almost forgot. The last of the family news? The day of my PDT treatment…………….Xavier had his first car accident, and totaled the car. This really is getting ridiculous God, could we have some time off for good behavior? And can someone explain to me how all the advice your Mother so wisely tucked in your heart and brain is also constantly tested by real life? “Things can be replaced, people can’t” “If money is your problem, it’s not a problem.” Ok, wishful thinking is another post altogether.
How has your last week been, friends? Anyone else get a little message from heaven? I would love it if you would share a quote that may have come your way recently that has helped you in dealing with the ups and downs of life we ALL face ~
And thank you so much for taking the time to visit, I really appreciate it!
Maureen XOXO ❤