Wednesday, August 29, 2012


If you've paid any attention at all over the last months, you have seen that my marriage has had its share of challenges.  Do I think we're headed for divorce court?  No, we're too stubborn for all of that.  Do we argue and scream all the time?  No, that's too much drama.  Could things be a lot better?  Yeah.

We have been to a few counseling sessions.  Since June, I think we've managed three.  With dear hub's job, one never knows when he will be home.  So we make an appointment, only to cancel it because he is gone, or he hasn't gone anywhere, but might, and we can't afford to turn down any jobs, because things are slow.  In the interest of full disclosure, I've cancelled a few, too.   A few months ago, I saw a blurb in the church bulletin for a program called Retrouvaille.  It wasn't totally foreign to me.  My parents had separated many years back, and they had attended this 20 or so years ago.  It seemed to have helped.  They advertise the program as "a lifeline for marriages".

It is a weekend program, followed by six 4-hour follow-up sessions (or twelve 2-hour sessions, I guess).  Hubby agreed to the weekend!, but not the follow-ups. They let us sign up anyway.

This past weekend, was our weekend.  It was held at a retreat center about 45 minutes from home.  We had to be there Friday night around 7:30.  It was rainy and overcast, but as we turned off the main road to the road that would take us to the location, there was a rainbow in the sky!  I took that as a good sign.  Our accommodations were not five-star, but comfortable.  No TV in the room.

They kicked things off that evening at 8:00 pm.  As I looked around, there were about 20 other couples.  I was struck by how young many were.  One wife was pregnant.  At least one couple was separated.  Another wife, who I chatted with during breaks said she'd filed a restraining order last week.  I'm sure there were all kinds of issues.

The weekend was full, but the time seemed to fly.  We explored feelings and we dialogued with our spouse.  There was no group sharing.  There would be a presentation led by a priest and three couples who had been down the same road we were now traveling, and then a question to write about and share with our spouse.  Saturday started with Mass, and things continued until 10:00 p.m. or later.  Sunday, was also a full day - ending with Mass around 5 pm.  Even though, it is Catholic in origin, and there is a priest on the team, people of all faiths (or none at all) are welcome.

It was a weekend of discovery for me.  I discovered things about myself and how I have affected the relationship.  What a bummer to find out that it's not all the other person's fault!  ;-)  I also cannot fail to mention how much I appreciate my husband's willingness to come and attempt the program.  We have not spent that much time together without distractions in about 100 years.

And the rediscovery - what "retrouvaille" actually means - is a process, I think, for each couple.  As we left, the presenters told us that couples leave on one of two roads:  the Road to Damascus or the Road to Emmaus. Those on the Road to Damascus are hit by a sudden realization of what they need to do (like Paul - when he was knocked to the ground...) and just need to get to it.  Those on the Road to Emmaus are like the two disciples that walked along the road after the crucifixion, disappointed and dejected that all that they had hoped for did not seem to be working out.  However, Jesus was walking along with them.

We are on the Road to Emmaus, I think.  There were a lot of ups and downs.  We have - so far - been faithful to our "homework" and are both interested in making it better.  I am pretty sure that dear hubby will come with me to the follow-up this Saturday unless he is working.  I contacted one of the couples after the weekend with a couple of questions, and they were encouraging, but mentioned that it is often 1 step forward and a couple back for a while.  So, if you're a praying person, please keep us (and the other couples) in your prayers.  And if you think your marriage could use a lifeline...consider Retrouvaille.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

back to school

It has been a while.  With my laptop down, I miss the ease of popping in my SD card and easily inserting pictures.  There is also something about sitting with a laptop on your lap and composing. Things seem to flow better.  My parents also haven't gotten much in the way of emails since my laptop broke.

Summer has ended.  School has started.  I have two weeks kids have 6 days in.

A few pictures from the time period.

My oldest flew to Florida with his grandmother to see his big brother (and big brother's kids) before he deployed.  He enjoyed some big brother bonding time.

While we were in New Orleans dropping them at the airport, SIL and I made a quick run by the church where Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos ministered to German immigrants in the 1800's.  It is a b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l church inside.  However, it is not air-conditioned while not in use, so we did not stay long.

A new statue in the courtyard at the Blessed Seelos shrine.  Do you sometimes feel like this when you pray?

When we got home from the airport, I discovered this in my son's room.

A gift from younger brother and a friend.  3 rolls, they said.  You know what they say about pay back....

Saw a rainbow one day.  I think we were on the way home from church.

And not just a little piddly half rainbow...the whole thing.  Unfortunately, it did not end over my house.

But it still is a promise that God has things under control.  Right?

Things that I do not have pictures of....

I have given a deposition.  I have appeared in and testified in court in an insurance case involving one of my students.  (took 3 different trips to court and about 3 hours altogether of waiting, which was aggravating).  Scratch that off the bucket list.  Oh wasn't on it!

I have started school.  So have the kids.  No pictures were desired by them.  I have a sophomore and a junior this year.  I am teaching the son of one of the students I taught in about 1990.  I guess that means I am officially old.  There are lots of changes for us as teachers this year. New stuff from the state and new stuff from the district. It is a little overwhelming and discouraging. I think I am at the age where it is getting more and more difficult to learn and remember new things.  I used to laugh at my older colleagues.  Now I laugh with them.

I have gone back to working out, after putting my membership on hold for the summer.  It wasn't as bad as I expected.

I have been exhausted at the end of the days.  Anything that requires more thought than posting a facebook status hasn't really happened.

Going next weekend on a couples retreat with my husband.  Please pray that it bears good fruit.

I think that's all I've got for now!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

catching up

That's a title I use a lot, I think....catching up.  It's a good subject line for emails, too.

Here, summer vacation is breathing its last.  I start school in 5 days - next Monday.  I spent 2 good hours today sitting for a deposition in a lawyer's office wreaking of stale cigarette smoke, regarding a lawsuit involving one of my students.  They said I get to go with them to court next week.  Can you sense the excitement??

We had our annual altar server appreciation pizza lunch a few weekends ago.  I love that our pastor comes and eats with us.  I love that he brings the credit card and is more generous towards those who tag along with the altar servers than any one should expect.  I love that he was willing to [patiently] answer follow up questions from our conversation earlier in the week.  He does a nice job of imitating Jesus, who ate with sinners, invites us to the table, paid our debts, showed us the way, and was much more generous than any of us deserve.

We didn't take our annual group picture this year.  The lone picture of my 15 year old tuning the toy guitar that he selected with all of the tickets that he won from the games.  He was so proud.  And so funny.

Last week was the feast of Sts. Ann and Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus.  My sister-in-law invited me to a St. Ann Novena that a church near her was having.  I went one morning.  Being there at 6:15 a.m. was a little difficult.  It was the first I had heard of a St. Ann Novena.

They prayed a shortened Rosary - a St. Ann chaplet or rosary??  One group of Hail Marys was prayed in French.  There is a strong French heritage in the area, as you can see in the inscription on the statue.  Good St. Ann(e), pray for us!

My 17 year old and I went to the local art museum one rainy afternoon last week.  They had an exhibit featuring artifacts from local Catholic churches, and that was what I wanted to see.  I think I enjoyed the photography exhibit from some local artists more, however.

The Catholic church has many breath-taking works of art, vestments, vessels, etc, but I found little at this one that inspired too much awe. The Bicentennial vestments were just a bit over the top, I thought.  Our local pastors have chalices that are more exquisite than the ones featured in the exhibit, and if you ask, they (local priests) are usually more than happy to let you see it close up and tell you some of the history.  Our previous pastor's chalice had incorporated his mother's antique engagement ring in the design.

Anyway, here is the picture that I was allowed to take to document this event.

The big event of the past week was my 30th reunion.  My favorite part was the tour of the renovated school....$50 million + in renovations.  We were quite disappointed when we got there too late for the official   tour and found the doors locked.  Our little group on the front steps....I am on the left.

But not to worry....we found an open door - workmen are there frantically trying to finish the renovation before school starts in a week or so...and we gave ourselves our own tour.  It was a mixture of nostalgia walking the halls and reliving memories from 30 years past and awe at the beautiful additions and improvements.  The school "specializes" in academics and performing arts.  The library was amazing.  There are new radio and TV studios.  Several stages of varying sizes.  There was quite a bit of excitement over the two "black box theaters".  An outdoor amphitheater in the new courtyard.  My classmates remembered using a loading dock as a stage.

Much of the old beautiful detail in the main building had been restored.  The doors in the foyer.

The intricate work on the outside of the building and in the auditorium.  Windows that had long been covered over were found in the auditorium, and the natural lighting they provided was stunning.

They just don't make things like this any more!  It seems like just about everyone in the class had at least one tale that involved jumping out of windows in the course of their schooling.  I can remember doing so a couple of times.  In the back of the building, covered walk-ways provided a great exit point for the second floor windows.  Not sure the new windows will open as easily as the ones in our day.

The grand finale event was held in a ballroom overlooking the Mississippi River.  We remembered our deceased classmates...12 that we know of....

I am a small group kind of person, so those big extravaganzas are really not my thing, but it wasn't too bad!  I reconnected with a few people and enjoyed catching up with those who were close friends back in the day.

And so here we are today.  School starting soon.  I saw my classroom yesterday.  They painted it last week, and it is a wreck!  I have an idea of the schedule I will have!  First time I can ever remember that happening before school starts.  We are off to a school board meeting in a few minutes - my offspring and I - to try to knock out a requirement for their Eagle rank.

And maybe - since today is Chick Fil A Appreciation day - we will stop there and show a little love.  Love that they are true to their founding principles.  Too bad our country can't say the same.

Edited to add:  We endured the School Board meeting.  Oh my.  Upon leaving, my older offspring remarked, "That's what's wrong with the schools...."  We did go to Chick Fil A.  The picture below shows the line of cars at 7:45 pm waiting to turn in to the parking lot.  We parked and went inside.  Took about 15 or 20 minutes to get our food.  At that point in the day, they were out of chicken strips, grilled chicken and some salads.  We saw several people we knew.  One family had matching One Nation Under God t-shirts.  Another was taking pictures at the table.

Till next time....