Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Top twenty-two...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So... twenty-two years ago, I married a funny guy.  I knew what I was doing.
    Twenty-two years ago today, I married the most wonderful woman in the world.
    I knew she was the one for me before I ever even asked her out on a date. We dated only six weeks before I asked her to be my wife. I never had a doubt. She had no faults... she was smart... she was funny... she was clever... she was nice... and she was beautiful.
    She is still smart... she is still funny... she is still clever... she is still nice... and she is still beautiful.
    My beautiful wife just came downstairs and she was clearly irritated. Why? you ask...
    She was in the upstairs bathroom and was calling out for... ahem... how do I put this delicately?... toilet paper. Nobody heard her, so nobody responded. She yelled and yelled and finally stomped her feet on the bathroom floor. The stomping attracted the attention of Matthew, but he had no idea why she would carry on in such a way. It was not as if she was stomping out... I need toilet paper... in Morse code.
    Despite the fact that she had received not one, but two new rolls, she was still aggravated!
    How did you not hear me? I was yelling and screaming for toilet paper. 
    I was on the phone... Matthew was in the bathroom... Gracie was in the car waiting to go out to dinner... and Noah is 9. He has the attention span of a gnat!
    But I called and called several times. 
    We were not ignoring you, sweetie, we just did not hear you. 
    How could you not hear me?... I could hear you guys!
    Okay, Jaime Sommers, we all don't have bionic ears. 
    So to commemorate our 22nd anniversary on this very Friday, I give you the top 22 reasons that I love my wife...
    Number 22... Her super power is super hearing!
    Number 21... She gets all of my stupid obscure references... like Jaime Sommers.
    Number 20... She is the best editor in the world. Every week, she tells me things like "Jaime Sommers only had one bionic ear, so you should have said we all don't have a bionic ear instead of we all don't have bionic ears... oh yeah, and your tenses rarely, if ever, agree!"
    Number 19... As an editor, she gets final say in what I can and cannot write about in my FGF posts. She is pretty lenient, but she does have a few topics that I have to tread lightly around. They include my mother-in-law, Catholic priests and salty language... in no particular order.
    Number 18.. She actually agreed to marry me on our second date. I had her ring size and everything after eating ice cream at Friendly's in Crofton. We waited six weeks to make it official, you know, so  people wouldn't think that we were rushing into anything.
    Number 17... She says the same prayer almost every day before I leave in the morning, and she often thanks me for going off to work every day. I often wonder, what is she doing behind my back that she is so anxious that I am happy to leave every day?
    Number 16... I have never, ever, ever, ever, thought, for one second, that she would actually do anything behind my back.  
    Number 15... She has never, ever, ever, ever, thought, for one second, that I would actually do anything behind her back... which is nice because it makes it kind of easy for me to do stuff behind her back, hee hee!
    Number 14... She thinks I'm cute!
    Number 13... She is funny about money. She will worry aloud whether or not we have enough money to eat at the Green Turtle, yet in the very next breath she will tell me that we have to donate a couple hundred dollars to some worthy cause or to a friend in need.
    Number 12... She is devoted to her Catholic faith (another topic that I need to tread lightly around). Don't tell her this, but there are times when I question things about the Catholic church just to see her get all upset and irritated. Did I mention that she thinks I'm cute?
    Number 11... My mother likes Cheryl better than she likes me. That is when you know that she is a good daughter-in-law!
    Number 10... She absolutely loves baseball! Okay, she really, really likes baseball! Alright, she enjoys going to watch the boys play baseball... when it is nice and warm. I'll take that.
     Number 9... No matter what the circumstance, she stays upbeat and often utters that things could be worse and God has a plan! Now I must admit that I don't always appreciate her uttering these things as I am taking the car to the repair shop or paying to have the hot water heater replaced, but she is correct. I mean, I suppose the whole house could have been flooded and not just the basement.
     Number 8... She bundles up in a sweatshirt and covers herself with towels and a scarf over her head whenever we go to the beach and the temperature is below 95 degrees. She looks very Jackie-O-esque when she peers out from behind her scarf her big sunglasses. That is not the part I love... the part I love is that she puts sunblock all over herself before she goes out.
     Number 7... She always makes sure that she uses I and me, we and us and they and them correctly in a sentence. Now, she also can't stop herself from correcting anyone that doesn't... and that can get a little annoying. Go ahead, ask the kids who gets annoyed when she corrects us and they will point at me and answer... us and him! (I am curios to see if she will let this stay in here after she edits it).
     Number 6... She is a wonderful mother to...
     Number 5... Grace
     Number 4... Matthew, and...
     Number 3... Noah.
     Number 2... We have a great life together and I could not imagine sharing it with anybody but her... no matter what I might say about Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. On a side note, Brad Pitt is my hero!
      And the Number 1 reason I love my wife...
      I often say, Cheryl is the nicest person that God has ever put on this earth. Many people would agree and have told me that your wife is the most easy going person and she must be such a joy to be around everyday.  
     To this I say... she is... just as long as she has enough toilet paper!
     I love you, Cheryl.  Happy anniversary.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Give it up for Lent...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     We are coming to the end of Lent and I have to admit, I have not always been a big fan of the Lenten sacrifice. When I mention this to Cheryl, she explains Lent to me... we deprive ourselves for forty days and exercise self discipline, just as Jesus exercised self discipline for forty days in the wilderness. This brings us closer to God and makes us stronger in our faith. 
     I don't have the heart to tell her that I understand it... I am just not a big fan of it. More specifically, I am just not a big fan of it when it comes to me. I just don't see it working for me in my life.
     I was raised as a Lutheran.
     Frankly, if most Catholics were to be dropped down from outer space and plopped right in the middle of a Lutheran service (not a Mass), I would bet that that would think they were at a Catholic Mass... assuming, of course, that the pastor (not the priest) were a man and not a woman.
     Apparently, when Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five Theses, and addressed the Diet of Worms, he never waived his hands up in the air woofing and shouting, Let's give it up for Lent!
     By the way, are you impressed with my Martin Luther knowledge?  
     You should be. Of course, I am not exactly sure that I have the Theses thing and the Worm thing exactly correct, but I am in the ball park. I am just saying, don't use Funny Guy Friday as a research tool.  
     I'll take this moment to tell two "Lutheran" stories.
     The first occurred when I was attending Confirmation classes at the Lutheran church. We had a classmate that rarely attended, and when she did, she did not pay that much attention. Near the end of the year, the teacher asked us some basic questions of each student and gave her the softest of softball questions... Who was Martin Luther? 
     Martin Luther... was a guy... who was a church guy... who fought for civil rights in the 60's!
     No, that was King... Martin Luther King. King!
     Martin Luther was a king? 
     The second involved my brother Paul who is a Lutheran pastor (Mom always liked him best). When I made the decision to become Catholic, I thought it would be a good idea to go spend some time with my brother and see if he had any thoughts. On the five hour drive to Durham, I prepared for any and all questions that he might fire my way.
     We were out playing golf on the third hole, and I decided we would have fifteen more holes... and plenty of time... to hash things out.
     Hey, uh, I just, uh, wanted to let you know, uh, I have uh, decided to join the Catholic church.
     Have you told Mom and Dad?
     No, I thought I would run it up the ol' flag pole with you first.
     It's pretty much the same... Would you use a five iron from this distance? 
     That was it? I demanded a religion trade, and one of the coaches accommodated me with no questions asked?  I suppose... Have you told Mom and Dad? and Would you use a five iron from this distance? qualify as questions, but they were not what I had in mind.
     Anyway, back to Lenten sacrifices.
     It is not as if I don't have the willpower to give up stuff that I love. I can... and I do.
     One year, I gave up soda and did really well. In fact, I gave up drinking Dr. Pepper three Easters ago and never went back to it. Of course, this resulted in an addiction to sweet tea... the sweeter, the better... that had to be given up the following year.
     And therein lies one of my problems: if I give up something that is bad for me, should I really be  replacing it with something equally bad for me? For instance, is it right to give up Snickers bars but still gobble up every Baby Ruth that crosses my path?
     So, instead of giving things up, I try to make an effort to make myself a better person. For instance, I strive to be more patient and understanding of other people. To put myself in their shoes and see things from their perspective.
     The problem is that these "other people" don't always cooperate, and they end up irritating me. Perhaps "other people" could give up irritating me during Lent, and we would all be better for it.
     What I really need to do is commit my issues to prayer. Unfortunately, I don't really have a great prayer life.
     You  know, I just came up with a great idea. I could improve my prayer life by making a conscious decision to commit fifteen minutes a day to prayer. If I were to do this for say, oh, I don't know, about five or six weeks in a row, it would become part of my daily routine.
     But as for this Lent thing, I just am not sure it really works for me!
     Hey, wait a second... I see what just happened. Oh wow, this is a little embarrassing. If I do it right, this Lenten sacrifice will work for me. If I commit to something for forty days, it might just change my life and bring me closer to God. In fact, now that I think about it, I never drink Dr. Pepper or sweet tea anymore.
     Ignore what I just wrote... have a blessed Easter!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... A wonderful celebration of a life well led...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     I never really plan what I am going to write for Funny Guy Friday.
     I mean, things just happen during the week that strike me as funny... then I take it from there.
     Although, I don't always plan what I will write about, I sometimes plan on what I will not write about. This mainly applies to topics that I have covered in the past... or events that really deserve a special level of reverence and honor.
     One event that I had decided to avoid writing about was our friend Dave's funeral last Monday. I mean, it was a funeral, for goodness sake. But then something happened... I attended the funeral and was left awestruck by the whole day. Especially, three unbelievable eulogies. Each paid a tribute to Dave in a unique way.
     Before I talk about these eulogies, I want to point out that I have delivered one eulogy in my life... at my father's funeral. I don't want to brag or anything, but I was informative, I was poignant, I was witty and according to my kids... I made a stupid scrunchy face about five or six times. 
     I was trying not to cry.
     Yeah, that's what we thought... but your face got kind of all twisted and scrunchy.
     Okay... informative, poignant, witty, stupid and scrunchy... that about covers it. Suffice to say, it is a difficult thing to do.
     Anyway, Dave's brothers and sisters, and then his parents, were the first to speak. Each spoke briefly about Dave, giving a bit of insight into what kind of man he had become. These last few years, the more he had suffered physically... the more he had grown spiritually.
     Dave was the youngest of six, and to summarize their thoughts... he was multi-talented, a great brother, son, husband and father, and he was super-competitive. His oldest brother concluded that he was so competitive that, of course, out of all of them, he would have to be the first to reach Heaven!
     Score one for Dave!
     When Dave's mom spoke, she mentioned that Dave loved music, so, as a tribute, the family sang him a song, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Mrs. McGee is a good friend of Cheryl's mom, and she had played the piano and sung with the church folk group that my mother-in-law led for years. The family hit every note! I know nothing about music, but I knew that their gift of song was impressive in many ways. I spoke to Mrs. McGee after the funeral and told her that she never sounded better... and Dave would have loved it.
     I also got to thinking... What talents do my siblings and I have that would allow us to get up in front of a crowd of people and perform in this type of circumstance. 
     Sadly, the only thing I could think of is that we could take a baseball up there with us... and throw it around the church like we were taking infield or something. And even at that, we would have to make short throws to account for our older, weaker arms... and we would have to avoid throwing it to our sisters.
     But, I digress.
     Next up was Dave's wife Maura. As soon as we saw from the program that Maura was going to speak, Cheryl turned to me, shook her head a little, and advised that she would not be able to speak at my funeral. I looked around at the packed church and wondered aloud if anyone would even come to my funeral. Cheryl advised that people would come... just to be sure! 
     Thanks honey.
     Maura read a letter that she had written to Dave, and there is nothing that I can say or write that would do that letter justice. The only thing better than the words that she wrote was the way she read it. Every person in that church had tears in their eyes... with the notable exception of Maura. She was composed... she was loving... and she was amazing.
     And get this... no stupid scrunchy faces to speak of.
     The final speaker was Maura's father.
     It speaks volumes as to the type of husband and father Dave was that his father-in-law would speak so lovingly on his behalf. He recounted how he had first met Dave... as a little boy stealing the parents' tennis balls from the tennis courts at the local swim club... and he recounted that, all those years ago, the last thing that had gone through his mind as the little thief ran off was... There goes my daughter's future husband and father to six of my grand kids!
     Dave always spoke highly of his father-in-law, and it was crystal clear that the feeling was mutual.
     Although we had known Dave and Maura for many years, we only got to know them well over the last eight years, after they invited us to be part of a group of families that go on a family retreat every August. Apparently, we were not the only ones that were touched by the McGees, as the church was packed with friends and family.
     Heck, there were about ten priests in attendance. My theory on that is that Dave was either a great guy, or he just gave some really unforgettable confessions. Maybe both!
     The following day, a friend commented that he thought Dave might have planned much of the ceremony. I have no idea if he did or did not, but Maura had mentioned that Dave had asked her to read her letter.
     The only thing I have ever asked Cheryl to do at my funeral is to wear black. In fact, I want her to be like those old Italian women from the old country, and wear black for the remainder of her life... but that might be asking a bit too much. She insists she doesn't look good in black... and asks if plum will do.
      Anyway, here is what I do know, whoever did plan Dave's ceremony, pulled off a wonderful celebration of a life well led.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

If you get there before I do,
Coming for to carry me home,
Tell all my friends I'm coming, too.
Coming for to carry me home.

I'm sometimes up and sometimes down,
Coming for to carry me home,
But still my soul feels heavenly bound,
Coming for to carry me home.

The brightest day that I can say,
Coming for to carry me home,
When Jesus washed my sins away,
Coming for to carry me home.

One final note... we all know, no matter what Dr. Seuss says, you can never have too many Daves!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... In memory of Dave McGee...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband, Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     I just came back from confession... and I'm not sure if I am committing some confession faux pas by revealing this... but one of the things I confessed was that for the past two days, I have been hoping that  my will be done... and not His. I am guessing that God is not a big fan of my questioning Him. Sometimes it is hard to understand.
     For these and all my sins, I am heartily sorry, and I ask for forgiveness.
     A good friend of ours, Dave McGee, lost his battle with cancer this past Tuesday. If you are a regular reader of Funny Guy Friday, you may remember I wrote about Dave before, here.
     He passed away the day after his 45th birthday.
     The previous two-and-a-half years were rough on him and his family as he underwent various treatments. It seemed that with every step forward, there would be two steps back. Through it all, he and his wife, Maura, persevered with grace and dignity.
     Being a good friend was a sidelight to Dave's main roles as a great father to six wonderful kids and a faithful, loving husband, son, and brother.
     We will miss him.
     Having said that, I was driving down the road today thinking about Dave, and I broke out in laughter. I started thinking about a story that Cheryl heard from a friend this morning. They were talking about Dave, and our friend recounted a scene from a party that Cheryl and I had last summer. A group of kids, including this woman's 11-year-old son, found themselves out on our deck with Dave and several coolers filled with icy cold drinks. Dave challenged them to see who could keep their hand in the freezing ice water the longest.
     Who does that?
     Dave, of course.
     And of course, Dave won.
     Did I mention that he was competitive?
     The King of Corn Hole... and the master of Corn Hole smack talk! The family retreat Corn Hole games were classic battles. When he would beat me, he would tell me... You used to be such a good athlete! ...or my personal favorite... Your brother would have never let that happen!
     Fortunately, I am not competitive, and that kind of teasing never really bothered me... although I personally think that if he doesn't get into Heaven it is because of those thoughtless taunts and jabs... at me. And besides, those things he said weren't true... I am still a good athlete... and I was always better than my brother. I don't care what he said! And Corn Hole is not even a real sport!
     Dave was also a great story teller who could impersonate just about anyone. Friends... family members... no one was above it. A personal favorite of mine was his impression of one of the priests at our church: He died for our sins. For our sins. He died for our sins. Think about that... He died for our durned sins. 
     This was a retreat tradition that never got old.
     When something like this happens to a friend, I struggle as to what it is that I can do.
     I want to do something!
     I have, of course, been praying.
     Like many, I had been praying for a medical miracle. This morning, I read a Facebook post from another retreat friend who had a bit of a revelation. He, too, had been praying for a medical miracle, when he realized that perhaps he needs to pray for Dave's wife and children... for the grace to stay strong in their faith throughout this agonizing process.
     It was that post that got me thinking about my own thoughts and led me to that aforementioned confession.
     I will continue my prayers for my own acceptance of His will. I will pray for Dave's soul, and I will pray for Dave's family... but I also have a little project in mind.
     I help run the Labor Day Festival at Sacred Heart Church, in Bowie. This past year, Cheryl and I went a day early to post some signs. Ironically, Dave and Maura pulled up to offer some heckling and some help... mostly heckling. We wouldn't have had it any other way. While the gals gabbed, Dave walked across the little field to help me hammer in our signs.
     Each year, when Festival time comes, Dave and his family are always one of the last to leave, staying to the end to help out with the clean up. Even when his body was beaten down by chemotherapy, he was out there moving tables and trash cans.
     If you have ever been to Sacred Heart, you know that there is a Grotto down the hill in the back of the church. It is, perhaps, the most beautiful part of the church's property.
     The entrance of the little lane leading to the Grotto? Not so beautiful. There is a chain linked fence with a red No Trespassing sign... a red Employees Only sign... a red Turn Back sign... and a red Surrender Dorothy sign.
     I exaggerate a bit... but not much. It's really not very inviting.
     Not to throw Cheryl under the bus or anything, but last year, in order to make the place feel more welcoming to visitors, she cut two of the signs down and threw them into the woods. She is a bad assistant, and I would replace her if I could get anyone else to give up their entire Labor Day weekend for me!
     I digress.
     Anyway, I started thinking that it would be nice to create two stone columns and a pretty stone fence that match the outdoor Stations of the Cross that are on either side of the little lane leading down to the Grotto. I mentioned this to our parish priest and he thought it was a good idea... a really good idea... he thought it was a durned good idea. I call this permission!
     I mentioned it to our priest, then I promptly forgot about it. Now the idea is back!
     I have no idea how much it is going to cost to clear out the area and then build the stone entryway, but I want to make it happen as soon as I can, and I want to dedicate it to Dave. 
     So, now I am going to ask for your assistance. You can help with prayers, ideas, encouragement, or donations. We may hire a crew to clean out the area and haul away the existing broken chain link fence and debris... or, if we have enough volunteers, we may do that ourselves. You can also help by passing this along to folks that knew Dave, Maura and the kids. Or if they didn't know Dave... but wished they had... we would love their involvement. The more the merrier!
     If you have any interest in helping out in any way... contact me or Cheryl... and we will let you in on the details... just as soon as we know them. Any donations can be sent to Sacred Heart Church, Bowie, with a note that it be dedicated to the Beautification of the Grotto project.
     I have never done anything like this before... and maybe it's a dumb idea, but I want to do something; this is the best I could come up with. My other idea of dedicating a trash can to Dave seemed kind of silly.
     It is important to me to have a tribute in memory of a good friend whose example of obedience, humility, and faith touched so many.
     Perhaps even a plaque would be cool:
     ~ In Memory of Our Good Friend ~
     ~ Dave McGee ~
     ~ Loving Father ~
     ~ Devoted Husband ~
     ~ King Of Corn Hole Plus He Could Hold His Hand In A Bucket Of Ice Water Longer Than Any Other Kid ~
     We can work on the wording of the plaque. Like I said, I have never done anything like this before.
     May God bless you, Dave McGee.
     You didn't lose your battle. You are the victor here! You ran the race and fought the good fight. Just as you always did! And you won the ultimate prize.
     You are in a Better Place... and doubtless... that was His will.

Dave and Maura

Camp Maria ~ several years ago

The McGee kids 

Related Posts with Thumbnails