Thursday, January 31, 2013


I went to pick up "The Dress" on a Saturday.  And quite naturally David's Bridal was a zoo.  As I looked around at all the brides to be, both young and old(er), I marveled in all this.  The dress, the shoes, the bridesmaid/maid of honor/ matron of honor dresses, the alternations, the this, the that and the other. 

Weddings are definitely a business.  And I must admit I am caught up in the wedding business right now.   

My list consists of: booking the wedding site, choosing & buying decorations, picking out the MOH dress; finding shoes that are cute - but won't won't hurt my feet & the list goes on.  Music for the 'first dances' -  the first dance with my husband (wow - 233 days until this he will be my husband--- but I digress go) & the first dance with my brother, his first dance with his mother.  Just like every other bride, I suppose, I want everything to be 'perfect'.  That said, since I tend more towards realism in my life - I know that not everything will be perfect.  Stuff happens.  Life happens.  

But there are a few things that I am focusing on in hopes of perfection. They are the vows; my dress; the tux; the processional music; and the favors.  Now the first 4 on this list probably strike you as normal.  But you got to the 5th one and thought "Lord, she is off her rocker.  Why try to make favors perfect?"

I have spent countless hours on-line looking at wedding favors.  I've considered: measuring spoons with cute sayings like "Love Beyond Measure" (but if you don't like to cook, this probably isn't practical) ; a candy bar with jars of red & silver candy that guests can scoop into little boxes or satchels, (but does everyone really like candy?); coffee flavoring in cute bottles and Hershey's kisses in cute little satchels (figuring the folks who love coffee will like the flavoring & those who don't like coffee will like the chocolate).  There have been so many other ideas... 

And I am going a little nutty trying to figure this out - but I'm still firmly on my rocker.  You are probably thinking "they are 'just favors'--- people won't remember them after the day is over.

But really, they aren't 'just' favors. 

They are so much more; they are an expression of my love for each and every guest.  They are my way of saying "thank you for your prayers", "thank you for believing in me", "thank you for loving the very flawed me".  

You see, these people are my family.  Some by blood, others by choice.  These are the people who believed in me when I couldn't or wouldn't believe in myself.  These are the people who believed I would be successful in business one day.  They believed that I was, & am, a good mother.  They believed I was doing my best - even when I couldn't pay the rent, or the electric bill, or the gas bill - AGAIN!    

These favors symbolize a heartfelt token for all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.  If not for their kindness, their prayers, their listening ears and wise words, I would not be where I am today. 

These people all, at one time or another, did me a "favor".  They probably thought it was small. 

Those 'favors' over the years, especially the difficult years, were the manifestation of Jesus in everyone who chose to care for my boys and me.  

Have you heard the saying: "You may be the only Jesus someone sees today"?  

On that day when someone said a prayer for us, gave us food, mentored me so I could be promoted (to at least make ends meet), Jesus was shining through.

When someone watched my baby for free while I worked at night to buy the older boys Nike sneakers that they wanted sooooooo much.  When someone gave my children toys on Christmas when I simply couldn't.  Jesus was shining.

When someone took my sick baby ever so gently as I stood in Children's Hospital ER crying so hard, I couldn't see.  Jesus was in the arms of the stranger who hugged me & assured me my baby would live. 

I could go on and on about the 'favors' people did for me over the past 25 years, but you get the picture.  And I'm sure you understand why having the exact right wedding favors for my guests is so very important. 

Those favors should say...

"Thank you for allowing Jesus to shine through you so I could see Him through my clouds of gloom!"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Dress, My Life & My Alterations!

My dress is in. 


Next step: Alterations - and lots of them! Yes, this dress has to be altered to fit just right.  Nips here, tucks there, raising the hemline, creating the bustle.  

I have at least 20 more pounds to loose before getting the first alterations so I won't be starting that process  until at least June (the end of June, according to - LOL).  

I don't want the look of the dress to change, I just want it to fit me perfectly and for that to happen alterations must be made.  Kind of like my life...

I like my life.  I don't really want it to change, but I know it will be a better fit for me & for us with some alterations.  Nipping the "divorced" category from my life and tucking in "married" is what I now want - what I am ready for today that I wasn't ready for before.  Sealing our current status with a blessing & a prayer (& a piece of paper) is what I now want.

Together we can hem up the issues of our lives.  We can pull into a bustle up all those things too big to put in a hem. 

We will still have issues - after all what is life without a few issues to make it interesting? :-)  But they will be contained and dealt with rather than flying all over the place and tripping me up.  And it is easier to deal with issues when you are not dealing with them alone.  Two heads are better than one... 

Alterations ...

Going from Ms. to "Mrs."

Going from Divorced to "Married"

Going to "Mom of 3" to "Mom of 4" (no "steps" in my world)

Going from mine to "ours"

Going from baked fish to fried fish

Going from "crazy Catholics" to "hmmm... maybe there is something to this..."

Going from "I don't do church" to "sure, I'll come with you"

Going from lonely to "me time"

Going from caring for "me & mine" to caring for "us & ours"

Going from painting any color I want to listening to another's opinion and not cringing when walls AND ceiling was painted blue

Going from no hot stuff in any of the food to hot stuff in some of the food


Friday, January 4, 2013

The Annulment Process ... Really, this is what Jesus wants?

To marry in the Catholic church, if you have been married before, one must go through the annulment process.  It can be short or long and arduous.  But whether short or long, the process is a pain, and I do not see I see its' value. 

Annulments examine the processes and activities undertaken prior to the previous marriage with the goal being to determine if the first marriage was a sacrament.  This right here is a problem.  While I know some people who "should have known better than to marry ..."; most divorced people I know will tell you that they weren't abused, their former partner wasn't unfaithful prior to the marriage, that there were not real signs that the marriage was doomed to be one of the 50% of marriages that end in divorce. 

Most people I know say that they tried and tried to make it work.  They say that even when they finally got divorced, they still loved/hated (opposite sides of the same coin, if you ask me) the former spouse.  Most people I know say that they changed over the years and were genuinely unhappy with no happiness in sight at the end of the tunnel. 

To make matters worse, if you are marrying someone who isn't Catholic and who is divorced, their marriage has to be annulled as well.  Well! Try explaining that to a non-Catholic!  From a non-Catholic perspective, it is none of the churches' business what happened in their past.  And by the way, I totally agree!


Dear Catholic Church: 

Here ye, Here ye!!!  Marriage AND Divorce are hard!  From the outside looking in, it may seem easy, but it is not.  And while I frequently hear "oh, they just didn't try hard enough" or "they gave up to quickly" or (my favorite - NOT) "divorce is so easy today that people jump right into it"... I have yet to meet any divorced person who agrees with these statements.  And I know A LOT of divorced people.

Catholic Church, I love you, I know how good and great you can be, but I also know that you can be wrong and hurtful.  I am on the receiving end of the hurt right now - and really, I don't see Jesus in this process, so I have a few things to say... 

You, my beloved church have never been married, nor divorced. 

You, my beloved church do not know the pain felt when the decision is made, or thrust upon you, to end the dream that you dreamed for such a long time --- even when the dream has turned into a nightmare. 

You, my beloved church, can read all the books, listen to all the stories, hear about the joys and the sorrows, but until you have walked in my shoes, you will never know what it was like. 

You can no more "know" about marriage than you can "know" what it is like to go through child birth!

Yet, you believe that you can make a decision about people's lives based upon your formal education and training.  Let me tell you, nothing matches or beats EXPERIENCE when it comes to marriage and divorce.  NOTHING.  It is hubris that allows you to think that you have all the answers.  No one has all the answers except God.  Not you, not me, not the pastor of any parish, church, synagogue, mosque or temple.  NO ONE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS EXCEPT GOD. 

Have you not learned that the hubris you exhibit is doing damage to the people who are trying so hard to follow Jesus, to worship in the church He commissioned that we now call "Roman Catholic"? 

On the issue of annulment I believe you are blind.  How can you see the speck of dust in the people's eye when you have a timber in yours?  Do you not remember our history?  The horrible mistakes made in the distant and recent past?  The leaders of the church thought they were right at those times also.  Hubris! 

Is this really what Jesus meant you to do when he gave the keys to the kingdom to Peter?  Jesus wanted you to set up the annulment process?  Really?

Would Jesus ignore the pain of so many - self inflicted or not?  Really, you think the answer is "yes"?  Really? 

Would Jesus put up barriers to the blessing of a new marriage when the old one is legally gone and the former spouses have moved on?  Really? 

It is hard for me to believe the God of Love that I have come to believe in more and more each day would sanction this action of the Church - any more than God sanctioned The Crusades or movement of 'troublesome' priests from parish to parish.

I don't believe that a love for Jesus and your fellow human beings is at the core of the annulment process.  I believe it is yet one more error made by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, and while  the error won't be corrected in time for my wedding to be blessed by the Church, I have faith that one day it will be corrected.   Until that day, I will pray that we, as a church, will exchange the hubris for compassion, understanding and love. 

There is enough hubris in this world... we need not add to it.


Every Person In Pain Over This Arbitrary Process