A to Z Blogging Challenge: F is for Family

WHEN EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL, THE PEOPLE WHO STAND BY YOU WITHOUT FLINCHING–THEY ARE YOUR FAMILY (JIM BUTCHER)

So here they are…just some of the people who have always been there, no matter what:

 

 

Friday Five: all around the mulberry bush

Image

Every week, the women over at RevGalBlogPals, an organization formed to support women in ministry who also happen to blog, have a weekly feature, Friday Five, covering a variety of topics. This week, 3dogmom writes (the image above is hers also):

It’s been a week of ups and downs at our house. On Tuesday I received word of the birth of my goddaughter’s second daughter, a blessing to that family, and the hope of the first daughter happily fulfilled. That evening I learned that my sister-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, is facing a recurrence of cancer in her lymph nodes, and probably her lungs. Joy and concern pressing in on my heart has made for a week of lots of deep breaths and deep-in-the-marrow prayer, smiles and tears.

At times like this I my soul finds comfort and seeks expression through my senses. Pinterest feeds my visual need for beauty and color (not to mention adorable puppies, and herds of sheep). Cooking fills the house with pleasant aromas, and the results satisfy my palette. My hands find tactile pleasure in massaging my dogs, and music penetrates and reverberates in the fiber of my being.

When you need to hold disparate parts of your life in tension, what do you do? Share five things that steady your pace, recharge your batteries and invite peace to your soul.

I think I wound up with more than five, but here we go.

My Fibromyalgia Care Kit

This picture shows the most important elements of what I think of as my “Fibromyalgia Care Kit”. When I’m hurting, exhausted, and often, depressed (mild depression seems to tag along after a flbro flare like an uninvited dinner guest), I need my puppy, Fiona, to cuddle with me and make me laugh, and gaze adoringly at me with her huge, melty brown, spaniel eyes. Her softness and warmth has gotten me through many unspeakably painful days, like the days my mom was in hospice and I couldn’t cry in front of mom. So I would come home, crawl into bed under the wedding quilt my Aunt Marie made for me, and Fiona would come and snuggle against my back. She still does.

I love my nightstand, my little nook, that holds my reading lamp, a photo of my husband George and Fiona, a drink (I mean a soda, or cocoa, or tea, not that kind of drink!), and a stack of books. Books feed my mind and my soul. They are like friends, who comfort and soothe my hurts. I have started practicing mindfulness meditation a few times a week, although I’m not very good at it yet. Hugs. From George especially, but from any of my friends or family, occasionally even my therapist. Drawing, with messy utensils like charcoal and pastels, gives tactile satisfaction too, regardless of the result. Looking at photographs, or taking an especially good one myself, and growing flowers when I’m physically able, or getting a bouquet when I need cheering up, gives me a taste of beauty, I keep my mother’s old rosary in my nightstand drawer; there is something soothing about the feel of the beads as I run them through my fingers.

The photos and books, the hugs, the art, my blog, Fiona, flowers, the rosary…all of these things are both celebratory and comforting, frequently both at the same time. They do serve to tie the varying elements of my life together. And so does the grace woven into each hug, every tear, all of the laughter.

final friday five for 2012

As usual, credit for everything below–except my answers, that is–goes to the wonderful gals over at RevGalBlogPals. And I owe them a hearty “thank you” for giving me a some much-needed writing inspiration!

I should mention that I did have my neck surgery last week and the surgeon said the procedure went “swimmingly.” I find this reassuring because those raw and burnt nerve endings feel, well, raw and burnt. Not a pleasant sensation. My usual brilliance is most likely lacking today since I’m on pain killers and muscle relaxers, so bear with me. 

 

The FINAL Friday Five for 2012: Recycle, Re-Gift, Reflect

As we take a breather from the busy weekend of Sunday/Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, it’s time to reflect on the past year. It’s hard to move out of this holiday season with its delights and celebrations. Here at our home, we’ve barely finished the eggnog. The tree is still up and our cats delight in knocking off the lower (unbreakable) ornaments. As we are rounding the final turn on the year 2012, I hope you’ll play along with these questions. 🙂
RECYCLE:
1. What is some “old news” this year that you’d like to repeat for 2013?
Saturday lunches and outings with my birthmom, Judy. We try to do this on a fairly regular basis, although it has been difficult to get together for much of this year because of her hip surgery and my neck surgery. My lack of a car doesn’t help, either. But we have a lot of fun spending time together. Plus, I finally know where most of my idiosyncrasies originate! Here I though I was eccentric all by my lonesome, only to discover that I inherited most of them from the Lubys! (The others come from growing up a Resch of course.)
2. What “new thing” have you started that you want to keep going in 2013?
Not having neck surgery!  Making an effort, through journaling, meditation, prayer, reflection, and reading, to really observe Advent, as a season of waiting and preparation for the gift of the Incarnation.
RE-GIFT:
3. What event, experience or gift would you just as soon “Return to Sender”? Maybe it was a disastrous sermon, a congregational kerfuffle, a vacation nightmare, or your own mis-step. It can be funny or sad.
I would gladly surrender the experience of running a stop sign and crashing into another car this past June! The gentleman driving the other car, luckily, wasn’t hurt, but I would up with whiplash and neck surgery. And my darling little GEO Metro was totaled! It wasn’t damaged that badly, but the repairs would have cost more than my 16 year-old baby was worth. Monetarily, anyway, disregarding my love for my first car. So we are in the market for a new car, but all we can get for our money is junk. But I can’t drive now anyway, temporarily at least!
REFLECT:
4. Share the brightest bit of joy that was a part of your year.
George and I celebrated our ninth anniversary this October. I think the joy comes from the reassurance of being loved, truly loved, for myself, along with the realization that in nine years we have been through more than many couples endure in a lifetime, and we are still together. And I love him more with each anniversary that goes by. When we got married, I thought I could not possibly love him more than I did, but as time goes by, I find that my love for him grows and evolves, teaching me to appreciate the feeling of contentment that washes over me before I go to sleep, when I see him and Fiona (our dog, naturally) sleeping beside me. Or the simple pleasure of playing frisbee in our backyard together on lovely summer afternoon.
5. Share a picture that says far more than words. (You can use it to illustrate one of the above.)
George and me at Kieran’s Irish Pub after I lectored at the 4:30 Mass at The Basilica of St. Mary
BONUS:

Share a recipe! I’m in the doldrums and need some healthy eating options for my menu planning. Soup, stew, main dish, side dish or a healthy dessert – any and all are welcome!

This is where I need help, too, desperately! I’m hoping a reader will come to my rescue with a nice slow-cooker recipe, perhaps? Please?!

o tannenbaum

In happier news, the house is (mostly) decorated for Christmas! We finally got a pre-lit tree so poor George didn’t have to get tangled in the lights, swearing and cursing. Although watching him was one of the highlights of my holidays every year since we got married (nine years in October!!) I don’t think George particularly enjoyed it. So we went with the easier solution for him, bless his heart.

Here are my not-so-fab instagram pictures:

I bought this at a little German imports Christmas shop in Stillwater with my birthday money from my SIL Beth. It’s an angel (not so easy to see from the picture!) saying “Happy Christmas (Frohe Weinachten) in German.
The new tree, shown here in all its glory. Except that you can’t see the star on top, or the bottom. Better luck next batch of pictures!

look back at summer 2012

It was the best of times, it was (not quite) the worst of times…

Among the best were our annual Resch Family Reunion, held at my cousin Verlys’ farm up in Pine City (she was living w/mom and dad and was the first Resch to see me!), a Sabas family picnic/Olympics at Resort da Sabas, which doubles as my Aunt Sheila’s place, a Fourth of July picnic on Lake Minnetonka, hosted by my Aunt Toddie and Uncle Bob, and sweet summer afternoons sitting out in our backyard with George and Fiona. Also, I got two unbelievably amazing Twins tickets from my friends Gary and Mary Margaret Hoden, so my pal Patti and I went and sat in THE LEGENDS CLUB. Really, I could get used to living like this!

There were only two things to make my summer less than happy: my birthmom had hip surgery (she’s doing great now, in the hospital they called her a rock star), and I sort of totaled my car and wound up with a very nasty, mean case of whiplash. So I have no car, plus I’m having neck pain and headaches; however, I’ve started physical therapy and my doctor is being very kind about muscle relaxers, so I am hanging in there, albeit not at top speed. Well, there was a third–namely, a huge PTSD flare when some new memories surfaced. I was tormented by flashbacks and nightmares for a while, but thanks to the help of God and my beloved therapist, I’m doing much better now. As usual, I can’t say enough about the support and love of all my family, especially George.

Oh yes, one other highlight of my summer was the opportunity to have dinner at Bulldog NE with my two stepbrothers, Alex and Kelley, and George was even able to join us! Kelley lives in Tokyo so I only get to see him a few times a year, and Alex keeps incredibly busy with his band Deadweight (he is the drummer–and an awesome one too in my totally unbiased opinion) and school, PLUS an August trip to Vietnam with his lovely (fiancée?) Tee (Tina). So it was extra special for the four of us to get to spend some time together–every time I see either of my brothers, I like them more! It’s beyond cool to grow up an only child and suddenly gain a couple of little brothers.

When I look back at my summer, I have to admit that despite the PTSD and car accident, it was a blessed time of love and laughter. I’m attempting to upload a bunch of pictures on my mobile, so we will see how the Great Photo experiment goes!

The Resch Reunion
Me with lovely Sabas cousins Elissa and Deanna
Sandi Sybrandt and family at Resch Reunion
My poor Metro!!
Instagram version, Elissa, Deanna, and me
Sabas gals!!
Kelita and Levi Robertson at Resch Reunion
Mari-Lea and Kathy Oberg and Aunt Jo, Resch Reunion
Resch cousins come all the way from Montana!
Me with Auntie Sheila (Sabas)
My sleepy Fiona (with her favorite toy)
Joe and Nancy Mallery, Linda and Breanna Cook, Resch Reunion
Sabas Olympics!! (Bocce Ball)
Fiona snoozing
Naptime for George and Fiona
Patti and me with Kirby Puckett!
Me with Harmon “The Killer” Killebrew!!!!
George and me enjoying a drink at Kieran’s after mass at the Basilica
A truly awful picture of me with my beloved aunties Marie, Jo, and Julie, Resch Reunion
Aunt Marie, Aunt Jo, Aunt Julie, Resch Reunion
My sleepy baby!
Joni-lea and Faith at Sabas picnic
Wildflowers finally bloom in August, turn out to be Goldenrod (relative of the Evil Ragweed)

friday five: the fork in the road

This week’s Friday Five come courtesy of Singing Owl from RevGalBlogPals. She writes:

 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Five: The Fork in the Road

“I am at a life-changing juncture. I do not know which way I will go, but I have been thinking about the times, people and events that changed my life (for good or ill) in significant ways. For today’s Friday Five, share with us five “fork-in-the-road” events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road?”

Okay, Singing Owl, here are my five forks in the road:

1. I didn’t have a lot of say in this one, being five weeks old at the time, but the first big fork in my road came when I was adopted by Millie and Leonard Resch on October 24, 1968. It turned out to be a 38-year-long love story, lasting until my mom’s death in 2007. I could not have been more blessed, both by the mom and dad who loved me and raised me, and the mom who loved me so much she was willing to give me up. I love all three of them, my wonderful parents, more than words can express.

2. At 19 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression. This led to years of therapy and, even more important, much painful soul-searching, trying to figure out where God was speaking to me in my suffering. And I found out that not only was he there, he was holding me, lovingly, and feeling my pain as his own.

3. At 27 I did a unit of C.P.E. (Clinical Pastoral Education), which is, basically, an intensive chaplaincy internship. It’s impossible to sum up in only a few sentences what that summer meant for the rest of my life…suffice it to say, I fell in love with the work, am finally back in grad school (after years of struggling with fibromyalgia), and hope to work as a hospice chaplain once I get my degree.

4. When I was 32 I met my husband through mutual friends at the Basilica of St. Mary. Can you say instant lightning? We’ve been married for five years and he’s my rock, the light of my life, and on many days, especially when my depression is bad, the reason I get out of bed. Our marriage tells me a lot about God’s love for us–steadfast, constant, always forgiving. We want to adopt so we can share the love with which we’ve been graced with a special child.

5. Two years ago in April my beloved mom died of emphysema. I am still so lonely for her. But in the midst of her dying, she taught me, by example, what it means to have lived a good life, and what it means, for a person of faith, to go to meet her Creator.

Come on ladies, play along with me! Either on your own blogs, or in the comments box. 🙂

 

four years?!


Yesterday George and I celebrated four years of wedded bliss by sleeping all evening. Last year he was sick, then this year neither of us felt well, so I suppose at this rate next year Fiona will be under the weather as well. At least we were both feeling wonderful on our wedding day! Besides, celebrating our marriage is hardly a once-a-year deal; it’s something that happens everyday, one way or another. (Well, almost everyday!)

As grateful as I’ve always been for the gift of George in my life, this past year, as we’ve struggled with my mom’s illness and death, has added a new dimension to my gratitude. He has been so loving and supportive throughout the whole ordeal. Without him I think–no, I know–I would have completely fallen apart. He’s the one who keeps me going even on the loneliest, darkest days.

We’ve been through a lot together during these past four years in addition to my mom’s death: my fibromyalgia, depression, ptsd and other assorted health problems, our constant money worries, not being able to have children, and his mom’s declining health. It hasn’t always been easy. But it has always been worth it. I can’t imagine the world without him in it.

a house divided no more

Last week we were a house divided, with me rooting for the Red Sox, Fiona cheering on the Cubs, and George pulling for the Phillies. While we are all, first and foremost fans of our beloved Twins, I am a Red Sox fan after spending my college years in Boston, George worked at a TV station in Philly for a while which I guess explains his strange (in my opinion) prediliction for the Phillies, while Fiona falls into the Cubs camp because her nickname is “Miss Wiggly Field.” (Although all three of us have a soft spot for the Cubs.)

So a household crisis was narrowly averted last week by the losses of both the Cubs and the Phillies in postseason play. What if the Cubs had played the Phillies in the NLCS? Or even worse, what if the Cubs or Phillies had played the Red Sox in the World Series? Now we are all safely cheering on the BoSox. YAY BOSTON!!!!!

Fiona sadly contemplates the Cubs’ postseason record

update

Mom sounded better this morning on the phone. She was finally able to sleep last night and is breathing better. She’s probably going to be in the hospital for a while, although I’m hoping she’ll be out by Xmas. I’ve been reading up on emphysema and apparently as the disease progresses, these kind of episodes become more common; I guess what I’m really having a hard time dealing with right now is the knowledge that her emphysema is getting worse. I watched two uncles whom I loved very much die of this disease, and it’s a horrible, horrible way to die. It’s like suffocating to death very slowly, over the course of months and years. As much as I dread the thought of losing my mom, seeing her suffer is going to be far worse.

I am trying to be strong and keep a positive attitude for her–she always worries more about me than about herself–but it’s difficult. I don’t know what I’d do without George, he’s being just WONDERFUL. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have him.