Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Tip for Ash Wednesday in Downtown Dallas

I started a new job in belly of downtown Dallas. I am still learning my way around, taking walks, foraging for food. In my wanderings, I found a Catholic church that isn't the Cathedral: St. Jude's Chapel.

St. Jude's Chapel has four Masses on Ash Wednesday: 11 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. (Call ahead to make sure these haven't changed year to year.)

If you are Catholic and work (or are otherwise in the area) in downtown Dallas, and you want to attend Ash Wednesday Mass to receive your ashes during your lunch hour, I highly encourage you to attend the 11 a.m. Mass! It was fuller than usual (daily  mass), but there were still a handful places to sit. After Mass, ushers routed foot traffic from inside the church through one of the two sets of doors. They had people lining up outside the other set of doors before allowing them entrance.

I wormed my way through the aisles, eventually trekking my way back to the office.  I had to cut through a line of people waiting to get inside the church that was about ONE BLOCK LONG and growing!  I really don't know how all those people will inside that little church, but I'm sure the ushers know what to do! I left feeling glad I attended the 11:00 Mass. :)

Anyway, my advice is clear: Go to the 11:00 Mass (and save me a seat if all y'all start going then too)!

Happy Lent!


Addendum: A co-worker said at the last minute, a 1:00 p.m. Mass was added to the schedule and it wasn't nearly as packed as 11:40 and 12:30.

Ash on, brothers & sisters!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day: Orange is the New Red

I think it's fair to say that most, if not all, parents are challenged with instilling the character trait of 'respect' into their children.  That's a two-way street. Speak to your kids with respect, receive their respect. The truth of the matter is, that doesn't always reciprocate, especially in equal proportions.

A few years ago, a friend of mine shared an entry from a blog on her Facebook timeline. It was from a website called The Orange Rhino found here.  I was intrigued by the name of the website (hey, it's cute!) so I clicked on the link to see what it was all about. I was directed to a Challenge page. 

The Challenge: don't yell at your kids for a year.

As I read through the page, I was reminded of the many times I yelled at My Children and how it only made all of us feel worse. I'd yell at them for not doing chores, or leaving their backpacks on the floor, forgetting to feed the dog, talking rudely to one another. I wasn't always a yeller. As with most mothers, I have a "look" and a "tone", which I employed on occasion.  After feeling unsuccessful over a lengthy period of time, I resorted to yelling to get their attention.

Too, as I read through the challenge, I remembered feeling belittled when I was yelled at as a youth - any time I'm yelled at, to this day!  I don't want to belittle My Children. I want to bolster them, allow them their independence while still honoring what courtesies and obligations are necessary to be a part of the family unit.  I want them to feel empowered, not squashed.  I didn't name call them, nor did I say phrases like "you're lazy", "how disappointing", etc. I did yell phrases such as, "how could you??" and "WHY would you DO THAT?!" and "why DIDN'T you do that??".  I was frustrated with other life goings-on, or lack thereof, so I was taking those frustrations out on them.

(Ugh, I feel a pang of shame in my belly just typing it right now!)

The most important aspect of yelling I learned from this blog: yelling is about ME. It's my frustration for not being heard, respected, validated, acknowledged. It's about my shortcomings: impatience, intolerance, inability.  Yelling is disrespectful.

The Valentines Day, my Valentine is The Orange Rhino
I haven't purchased the book & various marketing items. I haven't blogged about it (until today). To be perfectly honest, I have only ever visited the website twice: that day it found me a couple years ago, and again today, in order to reference it for this blog entry. I did, however, tell My Daughters, about three months or so into it. They held me accountable, which I embraced. It was difficult at times, but mostly, I felt liberated. What resulted was a more harmonious home, and even more remarkable: a more full way to love.  I have learned to be a more patient teacher, a kinder caregiver, more compassionate - to them and myself. Where I lacked in ability, I have sought ability. Thankfully, forgiveness is a big player in the relationships between me and My Girls. I feel closer to them more now than ever!  I pray that my behavior change is something they internalize and, as they become mothers, they organically love with patience, prayer and compassion.

Do I still get a "tone" and use that "look", yes! But I am here to tell you that the no-yelling WORKS, and I have had to rarely use the "look" and "tone". I still get frustratedvoice, but the volume stays at acceptable levels.  I'll always be a work in progress.

I'm so grateful to my friend who posted this website on her Facebook timeline! This website changed my life, and ultimately, the lives of my children!

So Happy Valentine's Day to The Orange Rhino! Thanks for bring me L-O-V-E!
Are you a yeller? Try the challenge. You can do it!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Racism Sensitivity

A couple of weeks ago, MLO had a friend spend the night. We went shopping, and the girls were looking at various little toys they like: Shopkins, My Little Pony blind bags, Funko POP dolls, and the like. They settled on the My Little Pony Mystery Minis.

MLO: Oh! Here they are in the black boxes!
Friend: shhh! Don't say that! That's racist!
MLO: What is?
Friend: *whispers* black
MLO: It's not racist.
Friend: uh huh *looks over her shoulders*
MLO: No, it isn't. Mom, is it racist to call this 'black'?

I smile.

Me: No, it isn't. You're describing the color of the box. And even still, black people don't mind being called 'black'. It's okay to say it.


Is that what our society has come to?
I shudder to think the answer is 'yes'.

Come on, Humans. Step up your game. We're better than that.


Saturday, February 07, 2015

Year Fourteen


Has it really been that long?

I guess so....

Where does the time go?

Fourteen years ago you winked in the wake of your death, leaving me a better woman than even the hour before you died.

I wish you were here.
In a way where I could laugh with you, play some cards and hug on ya. In a way where my kids can get your wisdom directly from you. But I will always be glad to carry that duty for you and mom. Always.


Today one your favorite songs played:

There were seven Spanish angels at the Altar of the Sun
They were praying for the lovers at the Valley of the Gun
When the battle stopped and the smoke cleared,
There was thunder from the throne,
And seven Spanish angels, took another angel home

Just thought I'd let you know I know.

Missing you,

P.S. I found a penny on the train today. Thanks, Daddy. I love you, too.