Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Making a List

Once upon a time, I was a time management fanatic, of sorts. I had a planner; I prioritized; I checked off the items that were completed, and forwarded the ones that weren’t.

I haven’t done that in a long, long time.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had to make a “to-do” list. Not only did I have a list of things to do, I had categories. I think that might be the “too many irons in the fire” routine. At any rate, I had my list separated into “house”, “chapel”, Altarations orders, wedding stuff, autistic step-grandchild-to-be stuff, and “other”. To be honest, not too many items have been checked as completed, but at least I have a more organized view of what needs to be done.

When unpacked, the volume of fabric and
trim is overwhelming!
The orders…wow…I haven’t ever had so many orders to complete at one time. There are three orders for rose antependia. There’s one for a black antependium. There was a pending order for a violet antependium, which I have completed, as of two days ago. There are a couple of miscellaneous other smaller items.

Despite the list, I still have had trouble falling asleep a couple of nights, as I mull over the things I must get done, and when I must complete them. My brain starts spinning out of control, with a thought process along these lines: “Gotta get a copy of the wedding rite. Ash Wednesday is sooner than I thought. When can I deliver that violet antependium? St. Stephen's tabernacle veil...ugh, that's hard. Oh...need a long linen cloth to go over the violet antependium. I know which readings I want for the wedding; should I push the issue? What are we gonna do with our little autistic guy at the wedding? Wait, how long is that other altar? Oh, wait! I have to help my friend pick up his new motorcycle on Tuesday! How do I get myself into these things?"

A casualty of the snow load...
And in the midst of that semi-organized chaos that has become my life, my husband wanted me to take him to the ER the other night. He will need hernia surgery, but it turned out that we weren’t facing an emergency situation after all, thanks be to God! But as for his daily chore of cleaning the horse stall, which is full of giant puddles, melting snow, and patches of ice, he’s out of commission; and that means I take over. I don’t mind doing it for his health, of course, but it is just one more thing to work into my schedule.

That schedule, of course, is comprised largely of liturgical prayer and private devotions, and all the other stuff has to fit into the cracks of time in between praying the hours of the Divine Office. The temptation is to cut short the prayer time in order to get a little more work done on any particular project. Actually, the temptation more often goes the other way: extend the time working on a project, and then end up having to cut the prayer time short. Once I am working on a project, I sometimes find it difficult to stop. Ora et labora, yes...but it is sometimes difficult to strike the balance between the two!

At least the snow is melting!
Surely, this is Satan’s joy: to see a person who is striving to maintain her spiritual life become distracted with more worldly concerns. Lent is almost upon us, of course, and while I usually look forward to that penitential season, this year I have some apprehensions. The Lenten practices I have adopted are not easy for me, and the more stressed I am with worldly concerns, the less inclined I am to do the hard stuff. But I will make an additional effort to keep my Rule.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Stresses of Life

Well, it’s official…or at least 99.99% official. My daughter is getting married on May 20, 2017. That’s one of my stresses (which includes a multitude of small ones within it!)

Seriously? She's getting married?!
Frankly, I didn’t think this whole get-the-daughter-married process would be so stressful. The annulment process, of course, is always stressful, and I can speak from experience here. But even once The FiancĂ©’s previous marriage was declared invalid, a further restriction was placed upon his ability to marry in the Church. I can’t even remember whether I wrote about this. The restriction was that he not marry within one year of the official decree of nullity, and that he be properly instructed as to the permanence of and the procreative purpose of marriage. The FiancĂ© met with the bishop, and everything has been moving along since then, but the final signed document is not yet in hand. The Judicial Vicar said the couple could plan on May 20 for their wedding, but still, the bishop needs to provide the final documentation.  My daughter says she’s sending out the invitations, though.

Then there’s the wedding planning itself. My daughter has actually been planning her wedding since she was about 9 years old, and shorter-range planning had begun prior to the glitches in the annulment process. She has most of it under control. But I am the mom, after all, and I find myself stressing over the details. Did she remember this? Did she remember that? How much is this going to cost? Where the heck will we find the money?!

We got the dress, though! That was a load off my mind. My daughter was having a recurring dream in which she found herself on the day before her wedding with no wedding dress. We decided to risk a trip to Boise for the shopping expedition. I say “risk” because of the intense winter weather we’ve had here. In the last few weeks, the freeway between here and Boise has been closed multiple times for extended periods (hours at a time, even up to a full day) due to blowing snow, ice, and vehicle accidents. I watched the weather forecast all week, hoping the predicted snow would not fall and that the trip-cams would show clear pavement all the way there.  I prayed to my guardian angel for guidance in making the decision. In the end, we went, although it was snowing in our town when we left, and the trip-cams were not as promising as they had been. But it wasn’t bad, and it was better on the way home, so the trip was made in a standard amount of time. Besides that, the dress was a reasonable price, and that made me extra happy.

The photographer, though…I wasn’t happy with the contract the young woman had provided to my daughter. The photographer wanted the full payment a month in advance of the wedding, and she stated in several places that there would be “no refunds.” Well. I wasn’t happy about a big chunk of money going out to someone I’d never met, who offered no refunds! What if something unforeseen happened that prevented her from even making it to the wedding? Would we be required to pay for a product never received? So we met with the photographer, and I thought we had things ironed out, but then she emailed my daughter and said it was her contract or nothing. So…nothing. We’re on the hunt for a different photographer.

And then there’s the snow. My goodness. That day we went to Boise and back, safely, with little snow on the road, I came home to find another few inches of snow had fallen, and another 3 or 4 fell that evening! That meant another 3-4 hours of snow removal and relocation the next day. (What ARE we going to do with all this snow!?!) I have definitely been feeling claustrophobic here, as the snow has grown deeper and deeper. Plus, the piles of snow we’ve made from shoveling the roofs have become as tall as the buildings themselves!
Looking from the chapel toward the house.
 But now it’s melting. Finally we have above-freezing temps, and the snow is settling and melting. Another stress. Is my chapel going to be flooded?! Time will tell. I have sand bags! And lots of prayers.

There are other stresses. But of course, you know that; we all have them!

I keep reminding myself to trust in God. And I pray that He helps me to do that! He does, of course. And I have all those angels and saints to help me, too. I really don’t know how people get through life without them!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!