Ugly Crying on the Beach

If I ever write a book, I think I’m going to title it, “Ugly Crying on the Beach”.

Catchy, right?

I know. I’m so stinkin’ creative.

Anyway, you know that awesome vacation I was so super excited about?

Well, much of it was spent ugly crying on the beach. Not entirely unlike this:

ugly crying

I mean… Ew.

Why, you ask?

WHY?! Why would I spend most of my vacation if not actually ugly crying, then trying not to ugly cry on the beach?

Because…

Because…

Well, for starters…

I mean…

It was all…

Okay, looking back, none of these things probably actually warranted ugly crying on the beach… in front of everyone…

But at the time…

I was all discombobulated and overwhelmed and overwrought.

There was the allergic reaction over half my body had to the sun.

Yes, THE SUN.

The big, burning globe up in the sky? Yeah. Apparently, that side note that the doctor mentioned three years ago about me having a slight allergy to the sun? Yeah… apparently, that’s an actual THING. Which is why over half my body broke out into these hideous boil-like swollen hives… that had to be iced and aloed and calmed the frick down with lots and lots of Benedryl.

I mean… it was ridiculous. I put on a bathing suit for the first time in a decade and my entire body decided to revolt. So, of course, I had to spend the rest of the trip covered up underneath umbrellas, popping Benedryl and keeping any sun exposure down to a minimal.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the beach condo, Jack’s chillens were all spazzing because apparently he was spending more time on the vacation with me than he was with them, and so they brain-stormed these crazy elaborate plans to manipulate every possible situation so as to keep me at arm’s length and make it known that just because it was okay for me to hang out with them at home… vacations were a completely different beast and I just needed to…

bye

GET OUT.

Even though… in my defense… I barely saw the guy all vacation. And every time he would even venture to sit near me, there were dislocated shoulders and projectile vomiting and pandemonium and chaos of near apocalyptic proportions… all in an attempt to keep him away from me. And if we did manage to sneak in a moment here or there, there ensued a great wailing and gnashing of teeth about how he never spent time with them and they’d barely seen them all week and this was the worst vacation ever. And I was all trying to figure out what happened to the previously wonderful kiddos I had grown to know and love. Apparently, they had decided to take a vacation too… while the cyborgs filling in for them plotted my demise.

And then of course there was the food poisoning from a local waffle place, trying to be on my best behavior because I was on vacation not only with my guy’s kids, but also his parents, and the constant bickering, complaining and drama coming from the pre-teens. Oh, and apparently, while I was away, every work e-mail that has ever existed in the history of work e-mails needed to be answered that week… and also, there was the homeless meth head wandering the halls of my apartment building in my absence…

So… YAY!!!

So, by the time my sister called to see how things were going, I was all…

crying

Can I go home now?

Suffice to say, it was wonderful coming home to more screaming kids to nanny and even more confused kids to tutor.

Apparently, I needed a vacation from my vacation.

And now that everything is back to normal (Jack’s chillens no longer hate me, and my skin is no longer breaking out… although it is still in the process of healing from that horrible, ugly sun) I want to go back and try it all over again.

*sigh*

Geeze, Annie… you’re just never happy, are you?

 

 

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A Christ Follower

Being the nerd that I am, most weekends, I spend a decent portion of my time watching documentaries. Sure, I could watch any old thriller or comedy… but I’d much rather learn something… anything… if I’m going to stare at a TV screen for a couple of hours.

This weekend, it was learning all about eating disorders in “THIN” and the process of a proper Amish shunning in “The Amish: Shunned”. It was during the latter that I heard the following quote:

“For the Amish, Jesus alone is not enough. Working, trying your best, following the rules and traditions of the forefathers. You do it all just right hopefully, you’ll make it into heaven. To me, all the good works, and traditions, and rules, and regulations covered up the simple, easy play of salvation…. Are we going to follow man or are we going to follow the scriptures?”  –The Amish: Shunned

This quote, oddly enough, describes much of my experience within the Catholic Church. The church would claim that they too, believe that faith alone in Jesus Christ is what is necessary for salvation… BUT… it is the good works that aid us in our journey toward heaven. To counter that, the Protestants claim that the good works are a direct result of faith in in Jesus. So, to simply things… Catholics believe that good works aid in our salvation. Protestants believe that salvation aids in our good works.

That was something I struggled with entering the Catholic Church. Yes, I believed in the teachings of Jesus. Yes, I wanted to serve and honor God in all I did. Yes, I had faith and a relationship with my Lord. BUT, it was my baptism that first sanctified me, and it was the works that I did that further sanctified me and fully prepared me to be accepted into heaven.

IF I went to church every Sunday. IF I received the Eucharist worthily. IF I went to confession once a month. IF I did corporal works of mercy. IF I prayed daily. IF I asked for the intercession of the saints. IF I observed all Holy Days and Feast Days. IF I kept up with the daily scripture readings of the church. IF I tithed and fasted and lived well and kept a good witness… THEN, I would at least be accepted into purgatory to be further sanctified and perfected until eventually I would earn my heavenly merit badge and be accepted to be with Christ for all eternity.

It was a long year and a half of walking on egg shells. I couldn’t miss Mass. I couldn’t miss confession. I couldn’t forget to say grace. I couldn’t refuse to learn more about the saints. I couldn’t not know my catechism front to back. I couldn’t read a non-Catholic Bible. I couldn’t listen to Christian music, (but rather, it was best to listen to Catholic pod casts.) I couldn’t forget my Holy Days of Obligation. I couldn’t go to another church. I couldn’t receive communion anywhere else. I couldn’t not appreciate or embrace suffering. I couldn’t not silently judge and pray for the salvation of my non-Catholic brothers and sisters. I couldn’t not perform to my full ability. Anything less would mean not offering all of myself to Jesus. Anything less would be one further step away from purgatory. Not even heaven, but purgatory.

Looking back, I can’t believe how tied up in knots I was. Every day… trying to prove my worthiness. Every day… worrying that if I were to die that day would Jesus still want me? Worrying that I hadn’t done enough to merit His grace and mercy and love. I needed to earn it. I needed to trust the teachings of the Church, follow the rules, and hope for the best. That’s all any of us could ever do.

Admittedly, I feel like a good portion of churches all around the world have begun to rely too heavily on the grace of Jesus Christ – as though it’s a Get Out of Jail Free Card. We can do what we like, forget about God, and somehow His grace will see us through. Yes, His grace is a gift – it’s not something that can be earned – but we’re still expected to live rightly.

I think some Catholics fail to understand that Protestants don’t view salvation as a “One and Done” deal. I haven’t met a single Protestant who believes that. We still believe we have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling… but we don’t believe that we can earn brownie points just by doing the right thing. We don’t think we can shave time off our sentence in purgatory simply by praying for the dead. We don’t think “work” of any kind will ever make us more worthy. Because our righteousness is as filthy rags. There’s nothing we can do to deserve His grace. It’s a gift. A true gift. No matter how much time I spend in church praying, no matter how much I give to the poor, no matter how consistent I am with confession and communion and charitable works… I still won’t deserve it. I’ll still be unworthy. And God knows that. That’s why He sent His son to die on the cross as reparation for our sins. So, why are so many of us working so hard to EARN it?

I look at my time in the Catholic church and sometimes I wonder, “What was I thinking?” and yet other times I think, “Meh… you know what? They’re right about that.” There are things I vehemently disagree with within the Catholic church and things I downright love. Thus the struggle. This “breaking” so to speak with the Catholic Church wasn’t a sudden, overnight epiphany. I didn’t wake up one morning and realize, “Huh. Maybe I’m not Catholic after all.” It’s been months of praying and seeking and reading… and I still don’t know all the answers. All I know is that I want to throw these expectations of what a Catholic is and what a Protestant is right out the window. All I want to be is a Christ follower. What’s so wrong with that?

Annie and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Week

So, to summarize my week….

On Monday, while in the midst of planning for a coworker’s baby shower and doing laundry and grading papers, Sir Winston started dragging his butt across the floor. Just like he had been doing in February. Just like he had done in December. DANG YOU, ANAL GLANDS!

On Tuesday, I had a complete meltdown because of all the things I have yet to do as a teacher this year… and there is no possible way to get it done by NEXT THURSDAY. And despite my control freak tendencies, I was forced to ask for help and delegate responsibilities for both the field trip and baby shower that I had PROPOSED AND PLANNED. (It nearly killed me. I’m not gonna lie…)

On Wednesday, the noises my car was making got so bad I realized I better bring it in before the wheels fell off. And then I spent the evening curled up in the fetal position waiting for the mysterious waves of nausea and light headedness to pass

On Thursday, I brought a bus-load of hooligans to meet some sisters and tour a cathedral amidst waves of nausea and light headedness. Let’s just say it could have gone better.

On Friday, I was forced to cancel the trip to the cabin, the car appointment AND the hair appointment in order to figure out what was up with Winston’s Butt Scootin’ Boogying… and now I am forced to stay home, hawkishly watch his every move, ensure he’s still eating and drinking, and force feed him medicine twice a day while he froths at the mouth. Oh, AND my principal decided yesterday was a good day to pop in for a surprise observation… while I had NOTHING to teach. (I seriously can’t make this stuff up.)

Meanwhile, the man came in with a carpet cleaner to get the remnants of all the CAT DIARRHEA out of my carpet, while I scrubbed everything by hand… and YET, after ALL that, I awake this morning to the scent of cat urine. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, CAT?!

And to top it all off, my shower drain is completely clogged because of all the baths I’ve had to give smelly Sir Winston, the man thinks I’m a complete fruit cake because I’ve been crying about EVERYTHING, my neighbor keeps bothering me and asking me for help despite the fact that I have NOTHING else to give at this point of the week, and the man gets to spend the weekend with the kiddos up at the cabin WITH the boat AND the dock in, while I sit half-heartedly watching TV and staring at Sir Winston to make sure he doesn’t DIE.

Oh, and the cops were called to my apartment building yesterday.

IT HAS BEEN AMAZING.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, ya’ll.

SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP, my precious.

Can we all just agree on one thing?

Sleep is pretty much the best thing ever invented. Ever.

I don’t know who invented it (God, probably?), but it was surely a stroke of genius.

I love sleep. It is the cream in my coffee. The pep in my step. My silver lining.

Sleep is sometimes the highlight of my day. Oftentimes, I fantasize about the moment I get to crawl back under the covers and block the world out.

Is that weird? That’s probably a little weird. It probably sounds like I’m clinically depressed. Or have some sort of sleep disorder. Just so we’re clear… I don’t… but it probably sounds like I do.

It’s just that sleep is… well… it’s amazing! Is there anything better than a soft comfy bed with a warm cozy blanket to sink your tired body and over-worked mind into after a long, arduous day of doing? NO, I SAY! THERE IS NOT! (As I type this, I am lustfully eyeing my bed and pillow wondering if I should just give into a quick 15 minute nap. 15 minutes. What could it hurt?)

I probably like sleep a little too much. Especially recently. At first, when my life imploded, I couldn’t sleep AT ALL. Now, I’m all like, “Hey! I’ve got a great idea! Let’s go back to bed! YAYYYYY!!!!” (Yeah, this is starting to sound more and more like a problem…)

This morning, I had my alarm set for 8:30. Now, before you go and get all, “Psh. 8:30? Girl, I’ve gotten more done by 8:30 than you get done all day!” remember that I’m on SUMMER VACATION and I have a right to sleep in after getting up at 5:45 to go to work with little hoodlums all year long. I deserve it. So, you shut it, you judgers.

I realize, 8:30 is no big feat… but DUDE… I couldn’t even do THAT. I was like, “UGH… 8:30? Ugh… too early. Is it even light out yet?” I was not able to peel my body from the covers until 9:20. I am a failure. It’s just that… it felt so good. And if I could have stayed without feeling ridiculously guilty about it, I probably would still be there even now… at 11:25.

I am… so lame.

The thing is… I LOVE mornings! Mornings are great! It’s probably the best time of day to get things done! It’s just that… I also hate them with the hatred of a thousand burning suns. I mean, why can’t morning start at noon? THAT I could handle. Why does morning have to be so freakin’ early? Seriously, who was the genius who thought that one up?

And now, tomorrow, I have to drop off my car at 8:00 in the morning to get it looked at because it is acting ridiculously stupid. 8:00! Eight freakin’ o’clock! I don’t even have to be up at that time… I have to be AT THE SHOP by that time! What the what?! Who’s even up that early?! I mean, besides responsible, contributing members of society?

Blar. I need more coffee.

AWWWWKWARD

Oh, the horribleness of coming back to the town you grew up in. You cannot – CANNOT – go anywhere without running into someone you know. Or grew up with. Or went to school with. Or worked with. Or graduated with your brother. Or once knew because he/she/it was arrested for drunk driving and it was plastered all over the local newspaper. (The joy of small towns…)

Just now, I ran into my old yearbook advisor. She still knows my name. Recognizes me from the back of my head. (How is that even possible???)

She asks about my mom. Asks how often I come to visit. Asks if I’m just up for the weekend. Asks if I came for a visit alone. (Because she was AT my wedding. She KNOWS I’m “married”. Or was…)

I wanted to die. How do you explain the awkward situation of your life to someone you’re just passing by, saying hello to?

Well, you do what I do. You LIE.

Oh, I get up every couple of months. Yeah, I’m just up for the weekend… by myself. You know, it’s cool, it’s casual, no biggie.

No biggie because I’m NOT living at my mom’s house. I’m NOT some shamed wife whose husband left her because he claims he never loved her and just wanted to be *happy*. I’m NOT currently unemployed. My life is NOT currently in shambles.

Even though ALL of the above is true.

BLAR.

I should just hand out pamphlets to people who ask. Because, seriously, there’s no way to explain that in polite, passing conversation.