Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm feeling rather posty today.  Funny because when I stepped away from Facebook I kind of stepped away from the computer all together.  However this morning I was a bit frustrated and I had to get it out.  It's been sitting with me all day.  On my way to church this evening I prayed that God would show me how do deal with this.  Do I pursue it, or do I drop it?  How do I conduct myself with the neighbors?  How do I respond to the kid next door next time I see him?

Tonight the Pastor taught from Luke 19:11, The parable of the Ten Servants.  This is what I came away with: Be faithful with what God has given you.  Be about what Jesus was about -

"For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost"  Luke 19:10.  

And then we closed with a song with lyrics from Micah 6:8.   I looked it up in The Message and although less poetic from the King James I like the message it conveys better -

"But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, 
   what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, 
   be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously— 
   take God seriously".

And there's my answer.  My reoccurring theme that I suppose will remain with me until the end of my days is Grace.  When the Pastor closed he charged us to "keep the main thing, the main thing".  It's easy for me to forget when I want justice... for me.  (Gosh Darnit, $400-$600 gone!)  But the kid next door needs the same grace I do... everyday.  Wow.

Hard but good lesson learned.
Innocent shminocent.

"The sad thing is that my son is the innocent bystander in it all".
    - The mother of the boy who was an accomplice in the breaking in of my house.

I finally got a chance to catch my neighbor this morning as she was pulling back into her driveway.  She's been avoiding me, even not returning my phone call after all this went down.  How is that possible?  She says she's been on him, but he comes and goes with his friends as he pleases.  Her son distracted his grandfather and kept watch while his friend broke into my house.  He's not innocent.  She also said that the other kid said that he did yard work for me and that's how he knew where my stuff was.  The other kid has never done yard work for me.  This is how I know they knew where my things were:  twice before the side door to the garage was open.  Her son could have advised his friends against it.  He's so not an innocent bystander.  My Mom's husband said it was due to the expansion and the shrinking of my house.  Only twice in the three years I have lived here and within a couple of weeks of each other?   I told the mother I thought it was strange that none of the parents involved have apologized or had their boys apologize and offer to pay me back.  This included her.  It seemed to fly right over her head.  She told me that the mother of the other boys is an addict and a panhandler.  I asked her if their counselors at school knew about this.  She said they don't go to school at all.  I asked about CPS.  She knew nothing.  In other words, she didn't really know about the company her son was keeping until after the fact.  Bottom line:  it's her mess that she's created but isn't really doing anything about cleaning it up right now.  This is frustrating.   I called the DA's office and they said I should be getting a letter in the mail, but it's already been a full month and nothing...

Do I let it go?  Is letting it go part of forgiving?  Then how is the neighbor going to learn his lesson because it's obvious his mother isn't teaching him.  I don't like how I feel:  violated and angry.  It's uncomfortable seeing them (the boy and his Mom) on the few occasions that I have since the incident.  No apology from them... nothing but excuses.  This is why I want to teach.  I want to make a difference, even if it's the tiniest bit.  I don't expect to be Jamie Escalante, but kids like the neighbor and his punk ass friends have slipped through the cracks because of their home life.  This also makes me want to do even more "right" by my own child.

On Monday after I got home from work and retrieving Sophia from her grandparents I fell onto the couch.   Mondays are long.  I go from 8 until I put the kiddo down for the evening.  Miss Grace was by my side on her Leapster and I was on my phone perfecting my Angry Birds score.  I looked at the kiddos face all blue from the glow of her game and I freaked.  While we were sitting next to each other, we weren't engaged with each other.  I asked her if she wanted to play some Hi-Ho Cheerio and she was completely down.  The next hour and half was spent fully engaged with Miss Grace, not just keeping her entertained, but playing a fun board game, chowing on some Strawberry Shortcake,  telling jokes and talking about our days, giving her a "pink" bath and reading stories before bedtime.  Sometimes when it's just me and her and I'm tired, I find myself tuning out and only entertaining, but not engaging.  My 5 year old is a smart one with a full mind of her own now.  I remember being 5 and being a fully rational thinker complete with my own secrets.   I wonder what Miss Grace knows?

I don't want her to be that kid that slips through the cracks because of her Mother only entertained her...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The future has already begun and is revealed each time strangers are welcomed, the naked are clothed, the sick and prisoners are visited, and oppression is overcome.
- Henry JM Nouwen

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My copy came yesterday via Amazon.  I can't wait to read it and see what the controversy is all about.  It hadn't even come out and left and right there was criticism calling out Rob Bell as a "heretic" and that he's preaching "Universalism".  Gather the angry mobs!  Bring this man down!  Seriously.  I read that garbage. Even my own pastor, without naming Rob Bell directly preached a Hell, Fire and Brimstone message a couple of weeks ago just as the book was being released.  He cautioned us against Universalism.  What's so wrong with questioning and looking at the Bible with an open mind?  The older I become and the more people I meet with diverse backgrounds, I have trouble believing that my way is the "only" way.  (And I know what many of you may be thinking:  that I'm treading on thin ice).  But really, if you were raised in Islam the way you were raised in Christianity, you would probably look at Christianity and you might think it was a crock.  So who's to say that I'm right and you are wrong?  And as far as Christianity and the Bible is concerned, there are so many different interpretations out there of the original Aramaic and Hebrew that isn't it possible some of the context has been lost?  This is what I know:  God is Love.  He sent his son to live among us as Love.  As a believer, I need to show that same Love and Grace to everyone.  In my humble opinion, calling out Rob Bell as a heretic and a Universalist isn't very loving... to him or to the Universalist.

I'm struggling these days.  The novelty of Lent has worn thin and I'm officially in the thick of it.  I want Pho.  I want an Irish Coffee.  And yes, I want to hop on "the book" and see what my friends are up to.  On the other hand it's been fun finding Veggie recipes and making meals that Miss Grace is devouring, even though meatless.  Not imbibing on a daily basis has allotted me a clear mind and a ton more energy.  And refraining from Facebook has caused me to go outside myself and actually call a friend or two and build friendships the old fashioned way... over tea and dinner.  Who would of thought?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday morning Iron Bird redone: Revue ex-patriots 13 years later.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This is something I would have posted on FB yesterday.  Instead I'll share it here.

On giving up Facebook

It's only Day #2 of no Facebook and I'm fine.  It's not like I thought I would have withdrawals or anything but I am very well aware of how often I'm logged on.  At one point on my phone, it was completely a subconscious thing when I toggled over before I recognized what I was doing.  I have 3 notifications.   I didn't look at them though.  I need to remove it from the phone all together.  Yesterday was nice.  Already I'm on my phone and my computer a whole lot less.

I have a dilemma though.  Whereas I should of posted to FB where I'm sure I would have dozens chiming in offering their advice it's very rare that I get a comment here even though my "counter" indicates that people are stalking... um, reading...  Anyway, my dilemma:  My friend and I are hosting a baby shower for Jason, my cohort behind the bar.  While I have personal invites, his circle of friends is huge being the Tower regular that he is.  I want to make an event on FB, but am I breaking with the swearing off of FB for Lent if I do?  I'm going to post a link to this blog.  I can do that without logging on.  What I would like for you to do, even if you don't have a blogger account is to respond here.  You can do so anonymously and sign your name on your comment.  Should I just log on to create an event?  Or should I get one of my graphically talented friends to draw up a flier?  Should I create the event here on my blog?

Yes, it's quite the quandary.
Good Choice #1 today:  I'm having oatmeal for breakfast - or rather oatmemeal as Miss Grace would call it.      On a typical day I skip breakfast.  I know, bad choice.  I'm usually just not hungry.  But this morning I am. I'm going to attribute it to my meatless dinner last night.  While the kiddos (playgroup at my house before church) had chicken tacos I made this:

A burrito filled with diced sweet potatoes sauteed with onions and blackbeans, topped with salsa, avocado, and queso fresco.  It was magnifique!  Meatless will be fun but meatless will be challenging as well.  This weather makes me want to use my newly restored grill for things of the fleshy nature like a nice rack of ribs.  I make a mean rack of smoked ribs you know...  For now though my Moosewood Cookbooks are out and bookmarked.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hate hit close to home this week.  Way to close to home.  First there was the kids that broke into my home.  I've come to the conclusion that this isn't the first time they were in my home either.  Second, there was a shooting at a family party where my daughter was.  I was at work and she was with her grandparents.  Two people were injured and a family member was killed.  Somebody just walked up and started shooting into the crowd out in the front yard.  Luckily Sophia was in another part of the house but there were children everywhere.  Last night she talked of fireworks going off and hurting people.  And worse?  The shooter got away.  My heart is breaking for Sophia's Dad's family.  His Mom even is in hospital now from all the stress.  These days I'm a little removed from them so it's all I can do to pray.

A few years ago my relationship ended horribly with Sophia's father. I harbored so much hate from that.  And then more recent when what I thought was supposed to be forever came to a bitter end, I got really angry as a result of my hatred for the situation.  All the hate affected me physically now that I think about all my ailments this past year... It all came to a head in one really ugly episode...  a solid two months ago now.   Maybe I needed that.  Hate is exhausting.  We all have our own paths to follow and my own is what I should be focusing on.  Since then it's been a slow humbling climb back up but I can honestly say that the hate is gone.  What a great weight to be lifted!  All is becoming right in my world, or as right as it can be which I guess is right for me.

Why all the hate?  Jesus.  Let it go!  Why break into my house, rifle through my things, steal from me, shoot up my extended family with MY child in the house?


So here we are fast approaching the Lenten season.  Actually it's here already being Fat Tuesday.  I'm giving up a few things:

  • Facebook.  Yup.  While it's a great tool for communicating I'm going to take this season to look within and also to reach out.  Facebook makes it way too easy to be present... but not.  Facebook also kind of creates a false social circle that can be entirely way too large.  I'll be back in 40 days, but time to go outside and play.  
  • Flesh.  It's traditional.   And while I'm not traditionally catholic by any means, just the idea of denying myself something that I indulge in every single day makes perfect sense in this time of self discipline. 
  • Booze.  I'm a bartender.  I could use this.  

Even more so than giving up things I think I need to take this time to focus on:  
  • Loving more of myself and others.  Had I done this YEARS ago, maybe I wouldn't have been so angry the last few years.  I want others to see Jesus in me by not what I'm giving up, but what I'm focusing on.  Love.  
Anyway, just so you all know I will be keeping the blog going.  You can check me here, but as of tomorrow morning bye bye Facebook for 40 days.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ok. I'm a little freaked out and rightfully so. My safe space was violated yesterday. The kiddo is with her grandmother and tonight it's me... and my vicious dog and rabid cat... and my dead fish. While the perps are just punks and either currently incarcerated or on house arrest, I still feel not as secure as I did. Fuckers. I work hard for what I have and they came in and took it like they were entitled to it...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

So all is well in the Widenham residence again... all except for missing a few hundred dollars and feeling incredibly violated.  Yesterday while I was volunteering in Sophia's kindergarten class my house was broken into.  The spare key was missing and my side door to the garage which leads right into my house was unlocked.  The perpetrators?  The neighbor kid (17) and his friend.  They only took a couple of things:  my old iPhone and my "mad money".  Every shift I work I take 20 off the top and throw it in a jar with all the spare change of the day.  It had been going for at least a couple of months and now, it's all gone... except for the $61 that the cops returned after the kids 'fessed up.

I'm feeling much better about things today.  In fact, I'm feeling really bad for the kid.  His home life isn't that great, resulting in the fact that he has a total lack of respect for the adults in the house.  His mom, who thinks she's doing the right thing, lets him and his friends blaze up in the backyard with the mentality that "at least she knows he's safe".  He's in a Continuation program instead of real school.  I understand personal responsibility and it's high time he learns that, but really... it isn't his fault.  Still, I will be pressing charges.  All is forgiven but at 17 there is still time to learn the hard way.   I also want to talk to him...  I don't think anyone has in a long time.