Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Color of Hair

This morning was my six week check-up with the hair doctor. In plain words, I had to get a little color. Being the over 50 mom of a 9 year old, I feel I need to look younger than I tend to look and thus a little lighter color to my blond turned dark hair helps quite a bit. Handed down straight from my mom, covering the gray began like this:
My mom and her friend Peg did their first "Ms Clairol" in our kitchen on Vaughn's Gap many, many years ago. My mom tells that she called her mother right away and told her what they had done because she was so excited. My grandmother's reaction, "Betcha look like a couple of street walkers!" I have laughed about that many times over with my mom since she told me the story. And then, the big day!
I had just given birth to my 5th child and my mother decided it was time for me to "lighten up" the old roots. She promised she could handle it with a little help from, who else, "Ms Clairol" and handle it she did. Now, anyone who knows what can happen when hormones are all over the place and dye is applied to hair already has an inkling to the outcome. Let's just say, from the words of my grandmother, "Street Walker". The result was a lovely orange tint and a trip to my mom's hair doctor. By the way, the same doc I met with this morning and have gone to since the first mishap.
Hand-me-downs come in many ways but passing on this guru who can make me look a little better amongst the young moms in my daughter's class is by far one of the best treats she has passed along. I know God loves me just the way I am and so do my husband and kids and and parents and co-workers. I know that I don't have to have my hairs done to be a better person, but it sure doesn't hurt to be a little prettied up every now and then just for myself. No orange tints and no street walking today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sisters

One of the greatest gifts God has given me through my parents are my sisters. I hope someday my four girls feel the same way. Whenever I feel completely overworked, they seem to set me straight. Whenever I feel like I want something more or something that someone else has, they put life back in perspective. As we walked through a beautiful, new, incredibly well put together house of one of our kin, I remarked, "Must be nice! I would just love to have something like this where my kids could spread out and be in totally different parts of the house doing their own things." My sister said, "No you wouldn't. What would you do with all this? You'd have to try to keep something this beautiful clean and all these things in the right place and your kids would be lost." She was right. What would I do with something huge and gorgeous? Whenever I complain about all the work I have in front of me with the husband, the children, the house, the store, the writing and the travel, one asks, "What would you let go of?" I think I would like to be free to write in my leisure and play golf a couple of times a week. I think I'd like a secretary. "No you wouldn't. You'd go crazy if you weren't overwhelmed with life. You'd miss all the mess. You'd miss the constant challenge." And you know what, they are right. I think that I want to have everything organized and neat and nice and to a point, I do. But when it comes down to brass tacks, I love the "messiness" of my life. I love all that God challenges me to do and to be. I love all the little things that life hands down to me just because it's life. Now at the time, I may think I want someone else's something, but I guess that is just one of the things sisters are for, to bring me back to reality and to just say, "No you don't." No you don't want what they have. No you don't want to quit. No you don't want to do nothing. No you don't. And again, you know, they are right. All I can say most days is ahhhh! Sisters! How fortunate I am to have two!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

St. Jerome on Lazarus

First and foremost, St. Jerome points out that Lazarus, meaning one who has been helped, has a name and the rich man is not deemed worthy of a name. As they reach their final destinations, God reminds the rich man that He did not ask him to throw away his wealth, but merely to give in alms to Lazarus that which he was going to throw out, the crumbs from his table. Lazarus lay at this man's gate, right in his face. The rich man could not say that he was unable to see Lazarus or that he was unaware of the sores that covered his body. He probably had to step over Lazarus to come and go from his everyday life. St. Jerome makes the point that the magnitude of his suffering should have sparked his utmost compassion. But, it doesn't and the rich man is left to suffer for eternity. God asks us today to show compassion. For the massive poverty and devastation in the world and for the man with a name who sits right in front of us every day, may we all show a tiny bit of compassion, if not from our wealth than at least from our leftovers. God knows, that even the leftovers of those of us who have are enough to make a difference. Even our leftovers. St. Jerome suggests that we not step over the very ones that will win us Heaven.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ever Completely Miss the Message?

I was called down to the front of the store to attend to a couple who had come in to ask for money. Passed down from my mother, I obliged. Seems they were $8 short for a place to stay the night and despite the fact that they sold newspapers all day, they did not quite make enough. At least they are trying. They asked us to order a book and much to my surprise were told they'd have to prepay. Not wanting to correct in front of customers, I let the odd "new rule" stand. After the couple left, one employee voiced their opinion loud and clear that they should not be asking for money if they are selling the "papers" and we should turn them in. Why were they ordering a book when they couldn't afford their rent? I couldn't believe all that was occurring. Another piped in that they stand too close to the road while selling anyway. Are you joking? I was angry. My thought was that it was my choice to help them, my money, my hand-me-down to give and I hoped when I fell a little short in my day, I would have someone around to help me. But...I completely missed what God sent. And this is how I discovered it. I talked to the 3rd employee present and said that I couldn't believe the reactions to my tiny bit of aide to this couple. I went farther to say that I might order that book and give it to the girl as a gift. Heck, she wants to read a Christian book. Let's get it to her. And then...the next morning. I headed to morning Mass (example handed down by my parents) and opened my Magnificat magazine (again something my parents use) and the MEDITATION! He didn't send the couple. It was the reaction by the employees that I was supposed to handle. I quote...
"This is my experience as a weak and fragile woman. I know that many times I, too, lost those moments. When I reflected on my life and really saw how often this happened, I said to myself, 'Look at what I lost. How immature I was!' When someone criticizes or reprimands you, and you respond by defending yourself, the other young men in Community say, 'You've missed the boat! What we mean is you've missed the 'boat' of maturity, of self-control, of the capacity to be quiet." Mother Elvira Petrozzi, foundress of Comunita Cenacola
As all can see, I completely missed the challenge, the opportunity. I stewed, I complained and I felt like the little bit I did was criticized as the wrong thing to do. I was wrong not in the giving but in my reaction to the comments. Well pop me in the head. Lord, help me to mature.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Aye! The wearing of the green, shamrocks, green beer, corn beef and cabbage and blessings abound. A great man was St. Patrick himself. Diligent in his conversion of Ireland coming back over after he had been captured and sold as a slave by the Irish and escaped. He was known for teaching and preaching and forming more missionaries to go and do the same. As I contemplate this day we honor such a hardworking man, I cannot help but think of my grandmother, Rose Reginald Mary Claire Dalton. I've spoken about her before in this same spot and I mention her again today obviously because she's on me Irish side. I have a small frame in my office of the Dalton Family crest and where they came from and where they landed and at the top there is the Motto: Patience is Victorious! I know Patrick must have needed much patience with all the opposition he encountered and all of us who know my father and his brother also know that my grandmother must have had the greatest amount of patience of any woman in Nashville. A strong woman of faith, a brilliant mind, she had to keep a tight rein on those two "imps". I must say that I believe her patience was victorious. Those two boys of hers turned out okay despite their continued antics. She blessed our family with as many blessings as are attributed to St. Patrick himself. Aye! Quite a lady! Quite a Saint! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't Judge a Book...And I Know Better

I'm the first to tell my children that the people we witness in their jobs or in certain situations may be way different than we expect or assume. I watch a basketball coach in the SEC that I cannot stand to watch only because I enjoy watching SEC basketball no matter who's playing. I have a favorite of course, go Vandy, but I enjoy them all. But back to my least favorite coach. I really think of him as just wrong. I feel his team is always teetering on the edge of getting suspended and I feel he just does not make good decisions. He bugs me. Well......bugged -ed -ed me.

A couple of weeks ago a young couple came into the store that I truly admire. I love them as a matter of fact. Love being around them, talking to them, laughing with them and even worrying about them and crying with them. They are just the type that people love to be around because they are genuine. Anyway, to my point. We were talking and out of the blue they shared with me a message this particular coach left on their son's phone while he was battling cancer. Yes, this man took the time to call this boy and talk, not just for a minute, but for many minutes about his situation and another similar situation he had been around and calling back and talking to him, etc. etc. Unfortunately, their son was unable to respond and never got the chance to speak to the coach, but they told me the long-winded, sincere message and how much it meant to him and the rest of their family. Wow. I just openly admitted my judge of the coach instead of the man. Now, oddly enough, I think God set up that incident just to remind me that I have no idea who some of His people are and it's time I either find out or leave them out of the conversation. Who am I to judge that man by the information coming across the news or by watching him on TV? I know better and God had to waste a perfectly good opportunity for me to be a little more compassionate to these awesome people by having to let them set me straight. Again. Wow.

This Lent, for 40 full days, may I keep my mouth closed tight and my eyes wide open and my heart ready to love those You send. May I give more than I receive.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Everyday, whether in our homes or our communities or our businesses, we ask someone this very question, "What do you want me to do for you?" We serve and serve and serve, no doubt. Well today (every day for all that matter), we draw the lucky straw because we hear Jesus ask blind Bartimaeus, and therefore us this very question, "What do we want Him to do for us?" What are our wants and our fears? Go ahead. Tell Him. He wants us to speak. He is listening. Ask.
Well, if He's asking: I have one graduating from college and I pray she finds a job that she loves. I have 2 signing up for classes for next year and I pray they make the right decisions and get the classes that will help them in this world. I have one who just turned 13 and I pray she softens her ways. I have an intense little eleven year old and I pray he chills. And I can just pray, pray, pray for this nine year old that reminds me of me. May God hold them all in the palm of His hand. Bless my husband and send customers to our bookstore and watch over my parents and my siblings and our church and our country. And as for me, I'd like all of the above to work so that I have no stress and can sit and write my little heart out.
Now, a warning, as always, we must be careful what we wish for because He will give us what we need, not necessarily what we think we need. Look at St. Katharine Drexel today who went to Rome to ask the Pope to send more missionaries to help the Indians and the poor in her state and Jesus chose her to give away all she had, evidently millions, and start missions and schools in 16 states. Eeek.
Seriously, today, He's asking. What do we want Him to do for us? Answer Him.