Category Archives: Testing the Limits

Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?

Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?

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One wouldn’t get in a sailboat without a compass or embark on a grueling scenic hike without a map.

Or would they?

Myself? I have a tendency to get lost.  Lost on a trail.  Lost on the freeway.  Lost in my thoughts.  A good plan keeps me focused and on task.  Goals help me to breakthrough inertia.  A map helps me to reach my destination.

So I plan.  And I plan.  And I journal.  And I plan some more.  And I re-read my old journals to see if life has deposited me somewhere close to where X marks the spot.

How about you?  Do you know where you want to go in 2017?  Do you have a hankering for something different?  Are you ready to change things up and see what sticks?  Or are you plodding along the same path.  Waking up to the same job.  Shopping at Target and getting take out from the Chinese restaurant on the corner.

Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.  Winston Churchill said this- “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”.

In either case, some self reflection seems to be in order as we embark on a new year.

Your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

The Church of Soul Cycle

The Church of Soul Cycle

We mount our bikes and get ready for a hardy workout.  The room is dim but the stage is elevated and illuminated to spotlight the empty bike from where our instructor, Ian, will be leading our 45 minute session of blood, sweat, tears and redemption. We are warming up, adjusting our seats, and preparing our souls in anticipation.

Enter Ian left stage.  He is ripped and torn and fit as a fiddle with a dashing smile and a charismatic personality.

“Who has not been to Soul Cycle before?”

“Who has not been to MY class?”

He makes a mental note of who might need some extra attention in the room.  He is like a prophet bringing the good news to the flock who long for health and fitness.

And off we go.  The music is pounding.  My daughter in law inserts her ear plugs.  Ah, those thirty something kids! They can’t handle loud music?  Me, on the other hand, after raising three sons with a drum set and other accouterments of a noisy household- including broken windows and baseballs thrown through doors- can find peace at any decibel.

“I know you didn’t come here to just exercise!  You came here to push your limits!  To see what you can do!  To be all that you can!”

Yes, I want what he’s selling! But I glance briefly at my 25 week pregnant daughter in law and say quietly to her not to push yet!  She can’t hear me above the din of the rock music and of course the ear plugs.

“Get rid of any negativity.  People tell you it can’t be done!  You might fail!  They fill you with doubt and cloud your dreams!  Well, I have three words for you!  THREE WORDS!”

I’m thinking “get behind me Satan?”  No, that’s four words…

“STAND YOUR GROUND!  Don’t let people tell you who you are and what you can do!  STAND YOUR GROUND!”

We’re out of the saddles now climbing the imaginary hill of our challenges and struggles.  The room is moving in synchronicity.  Bodies up and down and up and down on cue.  I am pretty sure that if Ian told us to do a flip over our handlebars we would all cooperate.  We are mesmerized by his words and his commands.

“What are you holding on to today?  Let me hold it for you!  Let it go and BE FREE.”

I’m beginning to wonder if there will be a crucifixion at the end of class..

“Look around you.  You don’t know what burdens people have in their lives.  You have no idea what the person next to you is going through today.  Perhaps the biggest challenge of their life!”

I move my sweaty hand and gently touch Breezy’s hand.  I’ve been so cavalier about her being pregnant and having a baby.  Women do it all the time.  But this is her biggest challenge right now!  Pregnancy, nutrition, getting enough rest, knowing when to stop working and start nesting, moving into a new place- maybe even being married to my son, Peter!   Did I raise him to be a good enough husband and father?

We are heading for the climax of the class.  We are sweating and panting and letting it all go and feeling free.

“I want you to leave here with an open heart!  A heart ready to love!”

I’m thinking about how fortunate I am to have this wonderful relationship with my daughter in law.  There is an intimacy that continues to grow between us.  I couldn’t be more delighted with the woman she is and the mother she will soon be.  And I love her as if she were my own daughter.

Cooling down now and stretching.  The lights go on and I realize we are at a spin class- not a revival.

There have been so many changes in my life this past year.  A new home.  A grandson to look forward to.  My new role as a Sittie.  I have considered going back into weekly therapy with my 80 year old guru, Lucia.  But now I’m kind of thinking that all I really need is this quality time with my beautiful daughter in law, Breezy, a positive attitude and an open heart from which to love, and perhaps a weekly visit to the Church of Soul Cycle.

Do I hear an AMEN?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imminent

Imminent

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Imminent- about to happen, close at hand, forthcoming, in the offing, on the horizon, expected, anticipated, looming…

It’s like waiting for the wedding to begin.  Everyone is giddy with excitement and suspense.  Or waiting for a baby to be born where there’s a conglomeration of anxiety, longing, and hopefulness.

We spend so much time in our lives waiting for something to happen.  My friend, Tom, calls it “waiting energy”.  We wait for the clothes to be dry, for the turkey to be done, for the pudding to set, for the tomato plant to produce for us a bumper crop of sweet fruit.  We wait for someone to “pop the question”.

We wait for the mail to come, for a phone call from a significant other, for the car to warm up, for our guests to arrive, for the guy from Home Depot to deliver the new refrigerator. We wait for the test results, for some good news, for a loved one to pass away from their pain and suffering into relief and peace.

And then we wait for our grieving to end.

I’ve been waiting all summer for my townhouse to be finished.  But it’s really not about the townhouse.

It’s about me.

What is it about “waiting energy” that zaps our lives and renders us immobile, unproductive and frozen in time and space? Why can’t we stop waiting for something to happen and just start living our lives in whatever space we dwell in.

Physical space.  Psychological space. Spiritual space.  Inner space.  Outer space.

What have you put your life on hold for- and why?

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Intentions

New Year, New Intentions

Many years ago, I attended a funeral with my then husband, for one of his co-workers.  The gregarious and well respected engineer died relatively young leaving a wife and two small children.  I don’t remember how he died but I do recall how sad the service was and how irritated I was as the priest continued to encourage the congregation to “Let Go and Let God”!

I didn’t think for one minute that this man’s wife and family were ready to swallow that message.  Their grief was palpable and there would be difficult days and nights to get through before they could possibly “let go” and find peace with their loved one’s death.  I cried the entire way home from that funeral feeling that life was so unfair and random and unpredictable.  Vestiges of my own personal losses came up out of nowhere.  Letting go was the last thing I wanted to do.

I found this card in a box with other momentoes that I have saved through the years.  It was given to me after the death of my father more than 20 years ago with a heartfelt message from two dear friends from church, Mark and Margaret.   So timely that the message should find its way into my hands, asking to be reconsidered.

When the student is ready the teacher will appear.  I’m ready to hear this message.    This is my intention for 2015.

I am a saver of old cards, of my parents things, of photographs, of memories.  I have trouble opening my hands and letting things sift through, only keeping what is most important.  I cling to old ideas and patterns and struggle with transition and change.  But some old ways do not serve me anymore.  I am choosing to change the energy in my life and counting on God to help me take the leap to the new and unexpected.

Last night I had a dream about seeing our old next door neighbors from our first home in Whittier. (Previous neighbors!   Kenn and Lynda- you guys aren’t old yet!)  I felt that tinge of sadness and nostalgia that one feels when they revisit the past and remember good times and feel a sense of loss.

I am girding myself for said emotions.

Here’s to a new year.  A year of exciting discovery and potential nostalgia and sadness.

The student is ready.

 

 

 

 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

It’s hot.  I mean really hot.  So glad I brought my sunscreen and my souvenir hat from the last game.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am here to have the garlic fries and beer and to do some serious people watching.  I’ve already had my first cold one and a bag of peanuts. The shells are under my seat and under the seat of the person sitting to my right who hasn’t arrived yet.  Here she comes with her huge husband.  Oh, I hope she sits next to me rather than him.
I get lucky.
But before she sits down she swiftly sweeps my peanut shells from under her seat back at me with a couple hostile swipes of one tennis shoe covered foot.  I guess we won’t be engaging in any small talk today.
Two empty seats flag the lady directly in front of me.  The game has started and we are well into the second inning. She is plugged into her radio and oblivious to anyone around her.  I figure she bought all three seats in a gesture of “Leave me the hell alone. I’m watching the game!”  (I know lots of people just like her!)
By inning number three, lady-sweep-my-peanut-shells on my right and her huge husband are indulging in a very healthy lunch of homemade whole wheat sandwiches with lettuce, cheese and avocado.  She also brought her own water, pistachio nuts, and fresh apricots.  The healthy sort I’m guessing.  Although not very smart.
She’s got some short shorts on and her white mid-western farmer legs are taking on a scarlet hue.
If she’d just been a little nicer to me when she first sat down I would have shared my sunscreen with her.
Her kind husband loans her his cloth handkerchief to shield her now crispy legs.  A day late and a dollar short.  (Who says that anymore?)
Lady leave-me-the-hell-alone has got some color going on at the tops of her shoulders.   I could just reach over and apply my 50 SPF but she’d most likely call security.
The guy behind us won’t stop talking!  Honestly, he knows everything about everything!
Even I know that too much small talk during “the game” is a no-no.  Use your voice for the important things like “atta boy!”, “batter up”, “bad call Ref!” and “goo die!”
I think it’s time for some garlic fries.  My purse has become a receptacle for everyone’s Hello Kitty souvenirs, my sunscreen, Dale’s wallet, his car keys, etc.  When Dale kindly volunteers to make the trek over the 10 sets of legs in our Section 311, Row B Seat 12, I am more than happy to let him.  There he goes.  It looks like “the wave” from my angle as people rise and sit to let him pass.  A minute or two later I go to find a tissue in said purse, only to discover Dale’s wallet.
Oh Lordy.  I’m clearly not going to make any new friends today.
Off I go to find him, leaving my purse behind with Dale’s daughter and her boyfriend and my ticket that has my Section, Row and Seat number on it.  (Anyone who knows me also knows that I can get lost in a paper bag.)  I suppose if I cannot find Dale at least I’ve got the cash for the garlic fries and maybe one of those Ghiradelli sundaes.
Up and down like a wave they go, 10 hot sweaty spectators, while I dance by them holding up the wallet saying “He forgot his wallet, LOL!”
I find Dale and we head back to our seats with the edibles.  It’s still hot and my appetite is gone.  Dale devours the hot dog and most of the garlic fries and hands me the rest.  I get one kind of stuck in my throat and while coughing I accidentally push the fries off my lap and into the tennis shoe of the lady on my right.  She has conveniently changed into a pair of flip flops and she and her husband are off to the restrooms I’m guessing. (They couldn’t possibly be getting more food.  They brought the entire harvest!)
I decide to leave the french fries in her shoe.
Oh boy, it’s now my favorite time of the game!  The seventh inning stretch!  I casually mention to Dale that I can tap dance to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”  (There are so many things he doesn’t know about me.)  He doesn’t appear impressed.  With limited space for dancing, I sing it with gusto because not only do I love this song but it also means that the end of the game is approaching.
Five hours in the sun.  And no beach or mai tai in sight… sigh.
The Giants win and the crowd roars with excitement.  (With the exception of the lady on my right who while changing back into her tennis shoes has discovered several random french fries.)  We swiftly exit left with thousands of other fans through the food court and onto a cement enclosed switchback that takes us down several levels.  I pray for no earthquakes.
Breathing fresh air now, I feel quite accomplished.  I think I behaved myself and fit in nicely and no one is the wiser.  We tarry to our car and discuss our dinner plans.
It’s been a great day at the ballpark!  I hope someone will take me out to the ballgame again soon!  :)

Master of the Urban Universe

Master of the Urban Universe

“It’s called Technology” says my youngest son, Peter, as he walks me through downloading the app for UBER and showing me how it works.  We are at some groovy cafe in the Marina District of San Francisco having “detox” salads sans the chicken.  “It’s Good Friday” I remark to which my cradle Catholic son snarls “So what?”

I am feeling old.

He thinks I’m out of touch with technology (although I can create a mean excel spreadsheet and share a google doc with the best of them) and my religion is regarded as dated and useless.

As I attempt to keep up with my 6’2″ son forging the steep hill towards his home, Peter gives me last minute instructions on the goldens, Lua and Willow.  “Make sure they know who is boss?  Don’t let them walk you!  Be in charge!”  I listen carefully and nod appropriately like a good student.

When we get home, Peter shows me on line how to get to the Spa International where he and Brianna have so generously made a reservation for me to have a 90 minute massage.  As we discuss different routes and terrain I begin to make a rustic map with pen and paper.  “Mom!  It’s easy!  Fillmore runs parallel to Pierce and is intersected by Green which runs parallel to Union and Chestnut where we just had lunch!”  When he turns his back to rummage through a drawer in the dining room sideboard looking for a parking pass so that I am not towed from the three hour parking two blocks away, I give him a swift but gentle kick in the teezy (that’s butt in Arabic) and tell him “Hey!  I raised three boys!  Don’t ever underestimate the power of your 5 foot 4, 130 pound mother!”

I think he gets the message.  Nonetheless, as he kisses me sweetly goodbye, I set an intention to prove to Peter that THIS suburban, durable, and low maintenance 50 something year old woman can master the urban universe!  Armed with my UBER app, a double dog leash and poop bags, my homemade map and some good walking shoes, I launch.

First matter of affairs is a walk with the girls.  I gather sunglasses, reading glasses, keys to the house, ID, a credit card and kleenex into a little Nicaraguan purse and hook up Lua and Willow on the front porch.  I, of course, inform them that I am the boss.  They listen about as well as I do..

Around the block we go as I recite to myself “Ok we took a left turn and then another left so we’ll take another left and left again on Green and we should be home.”  Easy breezy.  But of course I get distracted wondering what’s down THAT street.  Suddenly I find my self turned around.  Oh Lordy.

Thank goodness the girls know their way home.  At every corner they nudge directions.  I figure we are either heading towards home or to one of their other favorite destinations miles from nowhere.  Fortunately it was the former.

After a quick snack, one for each of us, I anticipate the arrival of my friend, Jennifer, and her daughter Margot, the opportunity ripe for a visit being that they live right around the corner from Peter and Brianna.  Sharing a bottle of fine Italian wine the afternoon slipped by and soon it was time for me to leave for my spa treatment.  One more round the block with the girls and I’m off on foot up and down hills and through the maze of Friday night shoppers and happy hour partiers along Fillmore.

The massage was spectacular!

In a relaxed stupor, I manage to hail the UBER by a simple touch of an app and two minutes later Saba arrives in her Toyota Corolla chariot to whisk me home..  Feeling quite smug that I remembered to write down Peter and Breezy’s address on a post it, disaster is averted.  However, not entirely.

As I was greeted at the front door by my excited granddogs I regaled in my technological success.  I reached for my phone to text Peter that the spa and UBER activity went down without a hitch I clearly realized that my phone was nowhere to be found.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Now what?

The UBER website gives me my driver’s phone number but without a phone that’s not helpful.  I run outside hoping to find a friendly house with lights on where I can knock on the front door, explain my situation and make the call.  But no one seems to be willing to open their door at 9pm on a Saturday night.  I flag down a sweet high school girl running home from her Lacrosse practice and she is delighted to help me out.  Mission accomplished.  I make contact with Saba and she is on her way back to Green Street with my phone.

It is now 9:30pm and my relaxing 90 minute massage has gone south.  At 10:15pm I am still standing in the middle of the street wondering if I will ever see Saba or my cell phone again.  Then she arrives.

Now exhausted, the girls and I sit down to watch some TV and finish the bottle of wine.  (I finish the bottle of wine.)

So all is well and as far as Peter knows everything went as planned this weekend.  He’ll be home late this evening and by then I will be on the road back to suburbia.  Do you like the picture of the girls and me in this post?  Well, that was snapped by a nice German man right before a little leashless mutt walked by and caused my pups to take quick and dirty flight. Yes, I went down for the count.  But that’s another blog…

Tonight I am going to hobble into the Easter Vigil Mass at the Mission Santa Clara.  I am a little sore but happy.

I mastered the urban universe Rosemarie-style.

Oh.. BTW.  Don’t tell Peter what REALLY happened.

Mums the word.  :)

 

 

Drinking the Kool-Aid..

Drinking the Kool-Aid..

Day 14 of a 14 day detox program and ready to report on better health, better sleep, better outlook on life, better woman, better have a glass of wine soon or I’m going to levitate off the planet.

I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and I’m detoxed, de-flead, delightful, decompressed, delivered from sin and indecisive about the results, end product, over-all value of the experience and determination to continue some kind of gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, throw caution to the wind never again kind of life-style.

Did you follow all that?  Perhaps you need a detox so that you can think more clearly and join the ranks of the “free people” who will certainly reach a state of nirvana in this lifetime.

“Let me know how it turns out!” said my friends and co-workers.  It’s like bungee jumping.  If you are alive at the end with no major injuries you might be able to convince other people to do it!  But for the time being, they are content to watch you endure it all.

The crowning event of my 14 day detox was the day 13 Faculty Appreciation Dinner at my place of employment, Presentation High School.  Several weeks ago I signed up to do my duty and bring a dish to the event.  I accidentally signed up for the “free” table.  And I mean gluten, sugar, dairy, peanut, unknown additive free table.  Oh well, I figured what’s the big deal?  I was told that only the “free people” would be eating from this table.  The rest of the group would be consuming the “catered” option.

At the end of the night I took home at least 99/100ths of my homemade arugula, cucumber, green onion, mushroom, tomato, toasted pecan with oil and vinegar (on the side please) salad.  Where were all those free people??  Did they drink the kool-aid of the fried, buttered, glutened and sugared? Glancing at the table as I reclaimed my beautiful salad, I noticed that the food had hardly  been consumed.  Shall we add waste-free to the agenda?  Oh Lordy, the people are starving in Biafra and we are picking at our plentiful food sources!

So the final evaluation?  Drum roll please..

  • I gave up coffee and am switching to green tea in the morning.
  • I have so much energy from this detox that I haven’t really slept in 14 days.

 

Rather anti-climatic isn’t it?

Overall, I’m happy that I joined the ranks of the ”free people” and have had the discipline to do a 14 day detox.  Now I know.  I’ve been redeemed.  I can enter into all those crazy conversations that the “free people” have and sound intelligent and informed.  I can go to Whole Foods and find the chia and flax seeds and know how to use them.  I am dangerous.  I can spot a gluten in a list of ingredients.

I have drunk the kool-aid and lived to tell the story.

 

A Plethora of Women

A Plethora of Women

This last weekend I had the opportunity to facilitate a Day of Reflection for AMEN- The Alumni Mothers Extended Network for Bellarmine College Prep, the high school where my three sons attended and thrived.  I was sort of a replacement gig.  Sister Rebecca Shinas, better known as “the rockin’ nun of MySpace”, had some urgent family business to attend to.  So, my friend, Rosemary, had the thought to ask me.

Well of course!  What are the degrees of separation between Sister Rebecca and me?  I do have a Facebook…

Wondering if I was equipped to replace a sister who has devoted her entire life to spirituality and celibacy,  I was hesitant to accept.

I remember when Rosemary called me to ask.  I was standing in my kitchen and as she set up the invitation my head was telling me NO and my heart and intuition were screaming YES!  YOU CAN DO THIS!  BE BRAVE!

After a month of pulling books off my bookshelf and pouring over underlined and highlighted paragraphs, searching through my journals for significant dreams, scanning TED talks for presentations on life after raising a family, and searching the web for 10 ways to find your passion, I had my script and I was armed and ready.. perhaps dangerous.

I met some incredible women and of course the better part of the day was spent with their personal sharing.  One thing I’ve learned from being  Catholic and having to listen to priests talk from the pulpit every week and not being able to raise my hand and add my two cents is that women want to talk!  They want to share, to ask, to unfold their insecurities in a safe place and gain wisdom and strength from other women.  I was fortunate to be the facilitator for this day.  But truly the best material came from the gaggle of courageous and forthright women who attended.

So Amen to all of us!  We are brave.  We are courageous.  We are seeking answers.  We are finding our path.

What fruit will come from this day together is yet to be determined.

In the meantime, I promised to post the resources I referenced for my talk.  Some of them are pretty dated but really.. how much does this wisdom change over the years?

Ban Breathnach, Sarah. Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1995.  Something More. Excavating Your Authentic Self. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1998.

Bolen, Jean Shinoda, M.D.Crossing to Avalon. A Woman’s Midlife Pilgrimage. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1994

Bridges, William. The Way of Transition. Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments. New York: Perseus Publishing, 2001.

Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way. A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1992.  The Vein of Gold. A Journey to Your Creative Heart. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc, 1996.

McCauley, Lucy; Carlson, Amy G.; and Leo, Jennifer.  A Woman’s Path. Women’s Best Spiritual Travel Writing. San Francisco: Publishers Group West, 2003.

Carter, Cherie-Scott, PhD. If Life is a Game, These are the Rules.  Ten Rules for Being Human. New York: Broadway Books, 1998.

Hendricks, Gay, PhD. A Year of Living Consciously. 365 Daily Inspirations for Creating a Life of Passion and Purpose. San Francisco: Harper/Collins Publishers, 1998.

Hendricks, Gay, PhD. & Hendricks, Kathlyn, PhD. Conscious Loving. The Journey to Co-Commitment. A Way to Be Fully Together Without Giving Up Yourself. New York: Bantam Books, 1992.

Livingston, Gordon, M.D. Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart.  Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now. New York: Marlowe & Company, 2004.

Martz, Sandra. The Tie That Binds. A Collection of Writings about Fathers & Daughters, Mothers & Sons. Watsonville, California: Paper-Mache Press, 1992.

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Gift from the Sea. New York: Random House, 1955 (the original printing)

Rupp, Joyce, OSM.  Praying Our Goodbyes. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1993.

Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses. The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986.

That wonderful 80 year old therapist who has her office on the Alameda?  Email me and I’ll send you her information.

Sparkly pens- from Target :)

Thank you, ladies, for being such attentive and engaged participants!  Until we meet again..

Amen!

 

My Second Act

My Second Act

I just celebrated another birthday.  They seem to be coming faster and faster and as Joni Mitchell says in her song “Circle Game” I want to drag my feet just to slow the circle down.  I’m really not that old.  Just old enough to live in the new “senior” housing in Morgan Hill (if I wanted to).  Just old enough to get a discounted ticket at the movie theater.   Just old enough to be courted and and pursued by AARP.  Just old enough to know better most times…

At least I don’t feel old.

In honor of my recent birthday I’d like to give myself a big round of applause for Act One of my life!  It has not been without struggle and I want to take a bow and acknowledge all the varied and sundry experiences, the provocative and stimulating people, the gut-wrenching turmoil, the unexpected deliriously joyful surprises, the down and dirty hard work and the yin and yang of it all.

I want to shine the spot light on it, acknowledge it, nod respectfully to it and have it exit stage left with its playbill for safe keeping in an archive of sorts.  Curtain closed.  Fade to the second act.

Act Two..

Whereas Act One was filled with calculated planning and career climbing and husband finding and child raising and house cleaning and penny pinching and weed pulling-  it seems only right that Act Two should be something different and unexpected!  The plot should thicken and the tables should turn!  There should be adrenaline pumping suspense and goose bump anticipation!  Why not take risks and do something mischievous and spend so much money on cowboy boots that I’m forced to sell my unnecessarily large house and rent an energy efficient cottage and be able to walk away from it for weeks at a time in order to go on a writers’ retreat or babysit my grandchildren or fly out to spend time with one of my siblings or go to Peet’s and pen that Act Two book?  Maybe I’ll  get a humongous dog and wear tie dye, let my hair go grey and move to Santa Cruz.

I think it’s time to start that girl band.

Sigh…

Did I hear someone yell Bravo?

 

 

Out of my comfort zone…

Out of my comfort zone…

Three years ago I was in a friend’s kitchen engaged in a very uncomfortable conversation when he suggested to me  that I “Be brave”.  I was at a crossroad in my life and feeling quite insufficient, insecure, and needy.  I wanted saving.  But on this particular night it was clear that being saved was not going to happen.

I found this card somewhere in some store.  I remember thinking that the whole universe was telling me to “Be Brave”!  “Alright already” I responded and put the card in my home office in clear view.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that I’ve become more attached to my house, my garden, the family silver, my mother’s jewelry.  Does ADT really bring me the peace of mind that I require?  Do my possessions make me feel secure?  Clearly, no.

My sons are great adventurers. Rob spent three years traveling all over the country on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus (www.lennonbus.org), sleeping literally on a shelf and taking occasional showers in hotels in random large cities.  Patrick just came home from five weeks in China, part of his course work for his Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture.  Peter lived in Santiago, Chile for a semester during college and then escaped for five months to India, Vietnam and Thailand when his studies were complete, returning home only when he realized his Visa was going to expire.

Where did they get their courage?  How BRAVE are they?

Can mothers inherit this from their sons?

This summer I agreed to go with six colleagues to Nicaragua to shadow one of our Sisters of Presentation who works as a missionary in Somotillo.  One week didn’t seem long enough to be on a great adventure so I wrote a Professional Growth Grant requesting money ($2000) to tack on two weeks in Antigua, Guatemala in order to do a full immersion Spanish language program, live with a family and work towards Spanish language fluency.  In my typical ADD manner, I didn’t think it through much.  I’m a good writer, very persuasive, yet I didn’t really think that it would be funded.

It was funded.

I made all the arrangements.  I was going to Central America for three weeks.  Two of them would be a solo gig for me.  Alone in a foreign country.  Wow.

“Be Brave, Rosemarie! You can do this!”- I told myself.

My peers were skeptical.  “You’re going alone? Be careful!”

I decided to stop telling people my plans.  Get behind me, Satan.  Don’t rain on my parade.  They just don’t understand my personal journey.  I am totally out of my comfort zone and I need to be.

My sons gave me all the confidence I required.  I think they were even a little bit proud of me.  Their mother was traveling alone in Guatemala while their friends’ moms were going out to lunch and getting mani/pedis.   Peter’s email to me set the theme for my journey.  Vaya con Dios!  Go with God!

I am happy to report that the trip went off without a hitch.  ADT did it’s job protecting the family silver and my mother’s jewelry.  The little neighbor girl across the street kept my kitty, Ethel, alive and happy and tended the garden.  Everything was as it was when I left it.

Except me.  I am different.

I am finally,

assuredly, conclusively, inexorably, irrevocably and beyond a doubt

BRAVE.