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Friday, October 10, 2008

Here are some old journal posts.

8:03:51 PM EDT Edit Entry Delete Entry
Heading for Home Tomorrow

My last night in San Diego - and I get a free meal. Why? I made a legitimate complaint to the hotel about the reception of my television and they apologized and offered me a free dinner tonight. Do I say, "No" to that? Absolutely not. It saves the department money. Why not.

It has been a good time and I have learned some interesting stuff. I have doubts, of course, as to whether or not it can be applied across the board at my place of work, but I have been able to hear one important message over and over again - I need to find a way to play the game smarter as well as to toughen up in terms of being able to handle E.

I think I can be overly sensitive and I have problems with her communication style. Still, I also believe I need to learn how to hear her words and discard the manner in which they are being said - not because I am wrong but because she is not going to change. It's around the spiritual axiom of acceptance and, to be honest, I know that I have greater peace of mind when I can accept that a situation is what it is, I have nothing to do with it and cannot affect any change.

Easier to say than do, of course.

I think, for me, it is around wanting some justice. I said to my mother the other night, "It would be so nice, just once, to hear someone besides you say to me 'I'm sorry I did that' and I know you would LOVE to hear someone besides me say the same thing to YOU once in awhile.". The reality is, of course, that is not going to happen. It is important for me to acknowledge when I am wrong. It is a sign of weakness for others to do the same.

Of course, this does not apply to doctrinal issues. I liked the quote I heard from the newest Archbishop in the United States ( I cannot think of his name right now). He said he is conservative on doctrinal issues and a progressive on social issues. In other words, he knows what is Truth and what can be an interpretation. The Real Presence in the Eucharist is Truth. Whether or not to apply the death penalty to a child rape case can be argued and nuanced.

E telling me I am too sensitive and cannot take criticism from her may or may not be true. I think I take her direction on work well. I think I do not like her commentary on my personality. I do not trust her judgement in that area. It hurts my feelings and makes me angry. However, she is not going to NOT do that - so I need to either learn to whistle in my head while she is talking about that and then say, "Thank you for sharing. I will think about that" or I can continue to get my feelings hurt and get angry and go home in tears. The choice is mine.


I hate these kinds of choices - why isn't one of the choices having her stop and also apologize for all the times she has done it in the past? Well, it isn't and that's not fair and oh well, life is not fair.

I am all packed. Later I will ask the front desk to print out my boarding pass. Tonight I am going to enjoy my free dinner, say my Rosary, watch some television and then go to bed. Tomorrow is another day and I have a heck of a weekend ahead of me. Harriet, Pete and the twins on Saturday and Trace and Deana and Caitria on Sunday - I can't wait for Sunday.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008
8:46:37 PM EDT Edit Entry Delete Entry
I'm not so wrong

Sometimes the best part of going to a training seminar is finding out you aren't so wrong after all. That's been my experience so far; the past two days here in San Diego has shown me that my management style is not so goofy, my approach to staffing and giving people information is not so goofy and I am, overall, pretty good at the basics of supervision. Do I need to know more technical stuff? You betcha. I need experience and expertise and more basic knowledge of how things are put into a system or what order the pages should be in before they are scanned, but that is stuff that will come with time and practice.

It is amazing to me how scared I had become because of the manner in which I was spoken to by E. It is becoming clear that I react at a very visceral level to tone of voice or the use of certain words and gestures and you know what? That is going to be up to me to master, not up to her to change. She is what she is and she does what she does and while I do not claim to be perfect I do accept that my responsibility in this relationship is going to be to 'toughen up' and not let my emotions run the show. When she starts a sentence with an emphatic "YOU" followed by whatever list of complaints she has about my actions, my looks, my personality or whatever else she finds fault with I am going to have to learn to let it wash over me and off my back - water off a duck, so to speak - rather than allow it to hurt me at some level that causes tears or a defensive fight back attack on my part. In other words, at the ripe old age of 52, I am going to have to grow up and knock the baby stuff off.

In today's marketplace, in particular in the area of civil service, we are going to be asking our employees to do more with less. We cannot allow ourselves to become too cynical or to buy into the public's perception that all civil servants are lazy, overpaid people sucking off the teat of government money - leeches on the body of the taxpayer. My experience has been that 95% of the men and women I have worked with in 22 years are dedicated, hardworking, willing to go the extra mile for the consumer they serve and are vastly underpaid. To treat these people as less than human is criminal, in my opinion. Therefore, no matter what E or even V say, I will continue to thank people for the work they do, acknowledge their abilities and the effort they put into the 10 hours they were at their desk and be proud of my staff. I do not buy into the idea that a supervisor does not thank people for doing their job, or that hearing a thank you wears thin and loses its impact. People want to know they are valued and I believe I get more from my team if I reassure them they are valued, they are appreciated and I know I would be in sad shape without their support and hard work.

I will also continue to pray for E and V as well as ask the angels and saints to help me keep the light of God shining in that office. I believe in the power of prayer - couple that with the power of hard work and dedication and you have the makings of a very successful workplace environment.

St Therese, you are still my loving friend and I thank you for all the roses. St Padre Pio, your example of acceptance and obedience is held before me as a goal for me to work towards, one day at a time.

Jesus, bless my workers and help me to be the best I can be, according to Your Will.


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Saturday, June 21, 2008
3:08:23 PM EDT
Feeling Sad Edit Entry Delete Entry
Saying Goodbye to Lou

Whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned, walking by the rule of humility we shall become, at length, true Saints, sons of God. We shall be upright and perfect, lights in the world, the image of Him Who died that we might be conformed to His likeness. - Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

I am one of those Catholics who absolutely believes (and accepts!) everything the Holy Mother Church teaches. However, I am also a human being with a finite mind who can be saddened by the passing of a loved one, the loss of a pet, the killing of an innocent and the hardships faced by others. Oh heck, let me tell the truth and shame O'l Red Legs (as my Cajun sister, Macile, would say) - I can be saddened by my OWN hardships.

Today, when I got home from my women's meeting, I had a telephone call from one of my sponsees. M is an older woman, in her 70(s), who has been sober 17 years. She cannot do much because of health issues so one of the things I urged her to do as far as service to our 12 step program goes was to help out on the hotline. She agreed and took a Friday morning shift - 6am to 9am, every Friday, she answers the telephone in her home with a cheerful voice, announcing the name of our 12 Step program.

M is also a Faithful Daughter of the Holy Mother Church - another Catholic out LOUD - who is not ashamed about her great faith, her devotion to Our Lord and His mother, her dependence upon the Sacraments for salvation, her devotion to prayer and the idea of Redemptive Suffering.

Originally from New York, M is a reformed street kid who realized that her mental health would improve greatly if and when she stopped drinking and drugging....and she was right.

M's shift on the hotline put her in touch on the telephone with another NY street kid - a man in his 80's with a few decades of sobriety under his belt by the name of Lou. A lapsed Catholic, Lou had a distaste for the Church and a defiance that was verbally abusive if he was in the company of someone who is a Faithful Catholic. I had been on the receiving end of several tongue lashings from him in the past - he hated my willingness to talk to people about being a Catholic, did not like it when I asked people in meetings to not tell Catholic Jokes unless they were also going to tell jokes about Blacks, Jews and Homosexuals, and otherwise had no problem being very strict with the Traditions of our 12 step program....if you have a problem with a specific Religion or a denomination, take it privately to your sponsor and work some steps around it but leave it away from the tables. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking - you are not required to hate your religion of origin or to convert or evangelize anyone.

Because Lou and M are close in age, Lou was able to start talking to her about why he had fallen away from the Church. Slowly, over the course of a year, Lou began to share with M what had happened in his life and get some answers from her in terms of how she was able to stay Faithful when her life fell apart. He began to watch EWTN on television, falling in love with Father John Corapi (Father is 'one of us' - a man in recovery - and just like Lou, a tough little Italian from NY) and Mother Angelica and learning to love his Church again.

Six months ago, Lou returned to the Church - he made a thorough confession with Father Ramon from Holy Family Parish here in Modesto and received the Eucharist for the first time in FORTY YEARS.....he was able to travel to Montana to be with his youngest grandson when he was receiving HIS first Holy Communion, and participate with his family in The Mass.

This morning, Lou passed into the arms of his Loving Lord...sober and at peace....he received the gift of a Happy and Holy Death.

The last message I was able to get to Lou was that he was my favorite Catholic and I knew of no one whose prayers were more powerful than his right now - so would he please pray that my idiot brother return to the Holy Mother Church before it is too late?

I am going to miss Lou. He was a powerful witness to the goodness of our 12 Step program, to the power of forgiveness and to the Love of Christ. Lou exemplified the journey Home for so many of us...and I know that he is more fully alive right now than any of us here. I know that his prayers for me and my family are powerful still, and I am so grateful to have someone like him on MY side when I pray.

St. Lou of Modesto - yup, it's got a nice ring to it.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008
10:07:28 PM EDT Edit Entry Delete Entry
A Catholic Responds to Horror

Self-giving is the first step along the road of sacrifice, joy, love, union with God. And thus, a whole life is filled with a holy madness which makes us encounter happiness where human logic would only see denial, suffering, and pain. - Saint Josemaria Escriva


Over the Father's Day weekend the Central Valley was stunned by a horrific and vicious crime. A man suffering some sort of psychotic break was found beating his 2 year old son to death on a country road. He was raving that the child had been invaded by demons. The man was stomping and kicking the child. A passerby, a volunteer Fire Chief from one of our smaller towns here, tried to stop him when he realized what was going on while his wife called into Sheriff Dispatchers a scene of unspeakable carnage playing itself out in front of her eyes. She watched as her husband, a strong man, tried again and again to pull the man off the baby - a baby that had, by this time, been beaten beyond recognition - without success.

Sheriff Deputies arrived by helicopter, landing less than 20 yards from the scene. A Deputy, now being hailed as a hero, kept yelling for the man to stop. The perpetrator flipped them off and aimed a soccer-style kick at the lifeless body of the child. The Deputy felled him with one shot to the head.

And there, in the middle of a quiet country road, lay the bodies of father and son.

I have always struggled with this type of crime. I get nightmares. I get physically sick. I find myself crying and wishing, somehow, that I had been able to be there to - to what? help? stop him? offer myself as bait? what other overly-dramatic thing can I come up with?

I don't know...I only know that when something like this happens it always feels as though someone has socked me hard in the stomach. The wind is knocked out of me and I find myself holding on to something solid for support.

Intellectually, I know and accept that nothing happens in God's Universe by mistake. Unlike many people who hear that statement, I know it does NOT mean that God wills such evil to happen; rather, it is a by-product of His love for His creatures that the Creator will not go where He is not invited, allows us each free will to chose what and how we will send this precious gift of life given to us at the moment of our conception. I understand and I believe that from all evil can come great good. I know this, I understand this and I accept this....I believe.

Lord, help my unbelief.

Because in the middle of all the theology and the rhetoric and the debate over doctrine and dogma is the body of a little boy, battered into so much debris, and the body of the man who helped to bring him life, driven to madness and an unspeakable crime by forces not yet understood. Drugs? Insanity? Both?

And in a little apartment several miles away a young woman, a teacher by profession, sits between her grandparents in stunned silence...a haze of tranquilizers keeping the reality away from her for the moment so that she might not also collapse into insanity and death. Her husband is dead. Her child is dead. Both taken from her without warning, she claims. No signs. Nothing to indicate that the man with whom she created this precious new person would someday be gunned down while stomping the boy to death, grinning and flipping 'the bird' to a deputy who begged him to stop before having to pull the trigger.

As a Catholic, I hold fast to the belief that this child is safe in the arms of Our Savior and Lord, carried to her Son by the Blessed Mother herself, no longer scared or hurt or suffering.

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.

As a Catholic, I pray for the soul of the father who did this to his child. I do not know what demons possessed him - real, imagined, drug or psychologically induced, does it really matter? His immortal soul is, where? heaven? hell? It is not revealed to me, nor is it up to me - it is in the hands of a God of both Justice AND Mercy, who welcomed me home to the Holy Mother Church despite having murdered four of my own children in the name of freedom.

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.

Tonight, before I go back to sleep and begin my 'new day', I ask St Therese and St Cecilia - my friend and my patron - to comfort the survivors of this tragedy. I ask Our Lady to spread her mantle of protection over those who tried to help and those who witnessed this brutality. I ask the Lord to remember all of us today - we need You right now, Jesus, more than we have ever needed You.

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008
12:44:34 PM EDT Edit Entry Delete Entry
Happy Father's DAY

A little joke... ( - : from Some Have Hats a blog I have recently discovered.

Last night my sister and I were sitting in the den and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all, If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

So she got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.

She's such a bitch.
I got the above from my sister, Lee Anne, and just about choked on my NutriSystem Cereal this morning.

Today is Father's Day - Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful fathers out there. Believe it or not, you all have a's kind of like being a Catholic Out Loud - if you are one, you are always an example to those around you. Some days you are a good example. Others - ok, not so good.

I had such a great time last night. I spoke up in Auburn for AA and got to introduce DJ, the future priest and spiritual director of our St James Group, to some of my AA family. I LOVE that...when worlds collide, so to speak.

Now I am going to bed but I want to thank St Therese for being my prayer companion this weekend. I know that having DJ and Clem and Lisa and Doug and Brigitte and all the other lovely lovely AA people around me was like one giant human ROSE. Thank you, St Therese, for travelling with me and praying with me and speaking with me. You are awesome.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008
9:21:03 PM EDT Edit Entry Delete Entry
Actions and Teaching

Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. - Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)


I taught on Monday night and no one warned me about the graduate student in philosophy that is becoming a Catholic. Thanks, you guys....lucky for me my Berkeley Rhetoric Training, plus a giant dose of help from the Holy Spirit, allowed me to listen to his questions on Original Sin, acknowledge that it was a GREAT question, and then say, "I really don't know...let's talk at the break". See, he is like me - he likes to dialogue and think things through, so we ended up having a great talk until 9pm when I realized that if I did not get home and go to bed I would be a wreck. SO his assignment is to track down what St Thomas Aquinas had to say on the subject of Original Sin and bring it back to us next Monday.....because next Monday I'll be teaching in the other group and Ed can deal with it.


Off to bed with me....Love you all....

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Monday, June 9, 2008
5:43:41 PM EDT Edit Entry Delete Entry

OK so I need to do some editing on this picture so it comes out better...but I got to hang with my peeps, my gang, my sistahs and brotha and be silly and funny and be fed lots of love...the St James Group - part of it anyway - got together for a reunion on Saturday in Sacramento. I promise to write more later but I have to go to sleep now.

For those of you who have followed my saga at work, let me tell you that my ten days without E went WELL...REALLY well....I knew I was a success when the gals in the office brought me in, on Thursday, a bouquet of flowers for being their supervisor and doing such a good

Thank you, everyone...Your prayers, your good wishes, your sage advice (Trace, listen up!) and just hanging in there with me. I made some mistakes so E was happy when she got back and could find them, but none that were horrible and boy was she p.o'd when she found out about the flowers (giggle) I am off to bed, I am teaching tonight in RCIA and I do not dread going to work good is THAT?????

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