Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gainfully Employed

As I write this on Thursday evening, I realize I might be one of the few people excited to work tomorrow morning. After all, by the time most of us reach Friday, we've already started to think about the weekend. But, while my actually time unemployed has been short, I've been anxious about my situation for a little while longer than I've actually been out of work. So, having a job to begin on Friday morning is very exciting!


You're invited!

  • Who: YOU!
  • What: A celebration of Paula's new job
  • When: Any time - but I encourage you consider this now instead of later...I know it can be easy to forget
  • How: In lieu of buying a celebratory cocktail, consider putting that money toward an organization that helps those who are hungry. Even $5 will help!
  • Where: There are three places that are close to my heart when it comes to feeding the hungry:
    Feed My Starving Children - Feeding the poorest in the world
    Franciscan Brothers of Peace - Local foodshelf on the "East Side" of St. Paul (try here to donate)
    Second Harvest Heartland - Maximizes donations for local people struggling to put food on the table
If you decide to participate, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

A cause to celebrate
Originally, I thought I would organize a little happy hour celebration or informal gathering at home with some friends when I began a new job. It would certainly be a welcome reason to gather, and I am known for throwing a good party. Most definitely, I want to offer my gratitude to all those who have prayed for me or supported me by listening and encouraging me.

However, the more I reflected during my time of unemployment on this hoped-for celebration, the less it seemed fitting. Continually, I returned to the remembrance of the many times I was anxious about what I would do if my savings ran out. Throughout the time of worry, I often felt so afraid that I began to despair. Consistently, whenever I felt like I couldn't handle it anymore, a different person would, unprompted, let me know they would do what they can to make sure that I will be okay.

Over and over, I was struck by how needless my anxiety was (despite how real it felt) and how many other people don't have the "safety net" I am so blessed to have. And in these cases, it wasn't anything I'd worked harder to earn. It was simply the gift of the people in my life.

This post has (like most of them) taken a different path than I expected. There are some details about some of the choices I made that I wanted to discuss in this post, but they'll have to wait. I wanted to share some humbling and hopeful experiences as I struggled to remain mindful of my gifts and give what I had in abudance (time) when other resources (money) were (are) tight. (There is, of course, a purpose other than to be selfaggrandizing.)

For now, suffice it to say, I decided a couple of weeks ago that, when it came time to celebrate my new job, I wanted to celebrate in a way that helped others who face economic challenges and are not blessed with the support networks I have.


A few job details...but only a few
In addition to the fact that I now have to train myself to go to sleep earlier in the evening (and it's starting to get late), I simply can't tell you a lot about my job, especially not on a blog. Currently, I am an employee of Humera, a staffing agency. If/when the job becomes permanent, I might be able to share more about where the job is located. I'll be working as an administrative assistant and also doing some customer service. I'm very excited to have a "regular" daytime job, although during the near future, I'll be spening much of my night and weekend hours studying.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Leap of Faith

Particularly for my Facebook friends who knew “something” was going on, but didn’t know “what”, and were kindly praying for me, here is a little bit of information about what’s “new” in my life. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to discuss detail of what/why/how in this format, but I do plan to continue to share some of my reflections in the future. So, while my blog might not have the detail some people want, at least you’ll know what’s new. :)

The Summary:
I finished my job at Saint Ambrose on December 30. I am now unemployed, which was never my plan. I am, however, confident now that this is part of God’s plan for me. I will be starting at St. Kate’s in February, working toward a second Bachelor’s degree. I’ll be attending the Evening/Weekend/Online program and studying Accounting. I’m actively pursuing employment, and I am blessed that there are real opportunities before me. No guarantees, but there is much hope. Oh, and I’m also doing some freelance writing. I can’t talk about it yet, but when it becomes “public knowledge”, I’ll definitely let you know!!!

The Detailed Version:
After much prayer and discernment, as well as discussion with those who know me best, I had decided that it was time for me to make a career move. After doing some soul-searching and career-researching, I decided that Accounting is the right field. (No surprise – I took several Business & Accounting classes in high school, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.) I needed to return to school, and it was best to begin pursuing new jobs with daytime schedules in a business setting.

Initially, my plan was to begin school next fall. I would take the time to research schools and choose the right one. After the first of the year (so, this week), I would begin job hunting. I figured that it typically takes several months, so a new position might work out toward end of the school year, ideal timing for my position at Saint Ambrose.

However, shortly after I began to research schools and programs, my excitement to return to school increased. (After grad school, I swore that was my last time. Obviously, the academic in me won out!) It also just seemed practical not to delay another semester, since there was nothing standing in my way, and tuition is likely to increase each year. So, I began to make plans to return for the 2014 Spring Semester. After researching programs and visiting colleges, I decided that Saint Kate’s Evening/Weekend/Online program was the right fit.

I also figured that I could make a part-time program fit around the craziness of my work schedule for a little while, but it wouldn’t last forever. So, I began to put some intentional time and effort in to finding a new job. I did not begin initially with a full-scale effort, but it was no longer a passive hope.

Additionally, I was offered a free-lance writing project during this time. Thoroughly excited, I said yes. However, this additional piece of the puzzle meant my social life had to take a backseat. As challenging as this has been, it’s been a really important choice for me. Time has become an even more precious commodity. The relationships in which I invested and the gatherings where I’ve spent my time had to be limited, forcing me invest in my family and in close, deeper friendships, while learning to let go of people and relationships that had no meaning or were even destructive. This is a thought for another day – maybe even a “private” bit of writing – but I’ve been overwhelmed by the blessings of true friendship and continue to grow in this area.

All of this “action” happened over the first few months of the fall, but I’ve spent almost two years praying and discerning about my career path. At Saint Ambrose, as in any parish Faith Formation & Sacramental Preparation program, the fall is very, very busy. This particular fall, that intensity provided much clarity for me. Two distinct experiences at work during recent months were key decision points for me. As a result, I moved from making the plans to find a job to putting those plans into action, and doing so several months earlier than intended.

The job searching paid off pretty quickly, or so it initially seemed. Through a temp agency, I was offered a position at a great company. Entry-level, but exactly what I was looking for to get my foot in the door. Without getting into the details, I had to quickly put things in motion to start with the new company as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there was an issue at the company, and the job didn’t work out. Despite the looming probability of unemployment, I truly believe it made the most sense for me, for returning to school, and for my continuing job search to stand firm with my decision to leave Saint Ambrose. I extended my time a little bit to leave things as organized as possible, but I stayed the course with the decision to move on.

Of course, I'm very scared. But, I know that God will provide. I will simply need to strive to be Ignatian: "Pray like everything depends on God, work like everything depends on you."

Anyway, I pitched slow-pitch softball for years, and the Twins could really use one more starter. Maybe I'll give Terry Ryan a call.

Advent is a season of hope, and this Advent was a supremely deep experience for me. The week before I announced I was leaving, but when my decision had already been set in motion, one of my Jr. High kids asked why Jesus' birthday is on December 25. I explained that there are several reasons, and one beautiful symbolism we see this time of year is related to the winter solstice. Humanity has always felt fear of the dark. It is an act of courage and an act of faith that we celebrate the Incarnation - God becoming man and entering into history - literally on the darkest day of the year (well, give or take four days...). Advent finally ushers in Christmas. At the time when we are most tempted to despair because everything is so dark, we celebrate the Light of the World.

I know the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings/Magi) was yesterday, but it seems appropriate to hold on to the Christmas season a little longer this year.

Thank you for those who have been praying for me – it means so much! As anxious as I am, I am striving to be hopeful and to trust that God has a plan for me. He’s never let me down before!

So, stay tuned…

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tell the Twins I should win the "All You Can Tweet Seats"!

It's been an eternity since I've blogged, I know. And I have several things I should blog about. I will try REALLY hard to do that soon. :)

In the meantime, I'm asking my faithful followers to help me out. The Twins are hosting a "Twins All You Can Tweet Seats" contest, and I've applied. Basically, they are going to choose one person to take over the Twins' Twitter account to live tweet the September 26 game.

(If that sounded like gibberish, basically, the Twins have roughly 172,000 people who "follow" them on Twitter. The winner of this contest gets to tweet to the followers [think texting over the internet] throughout the game. And the tickets are paid for by the Twins! #bonus [the "#" is called a hashtag and...oh, never mind.)

Seriously, do you know anyone more fit for the contest than me? Passion for baseball, knowledge of the game, Twins Tweeter and a love for Minnesota's Boys of Summer - I've got it all covered!

I submitted an application for the contest. I hope to win! I also think that showing my social media prowess can't hurt. So, if you want to help me out, try one of the following:
  1. Tweet the @Twins and tell them to choose @PMinell for the "Twins All You Can Tweet Seats" contest
    THIS IS THE BEST OPTION
  2. Send the Minnesota Twins a Facebook message or comment and tell them to pick @PMinell for the "Twins All You Can Tweet Seats" contest
  3. Email keithbeise@twinsbaseball.com (he's listed as the "Coordinator, Social Media" on www.twinsbaseball.com) and tell him the @Twins should pick me.
If you are wondering if I am the best candidate, you'll see my application responses below. Thanks for your consideration!

APPLICATION QUESTIONS & RESPONSES

Why should the Twins choose YOU to sit in the All You Can Tweet Seats? (500 words or less)

I love the #MNTwins and I love to tweet about them!! Check out my Tweets. They're almost exclusively about the Twins. #obsessed
 
I'm followed by @Twins, @TPlouffe24, @KirbyPuckettJr_, @963KTwin & @GameOnTVMN. As you probably know, that's the organization, the third baseman, the son of one of the #HOF Twins greats, the flagship radio station and one of the "K-Twin Final Call" hosts. Those are some significant followers. #tweeps #followers #entourage.
 
I've been known to live tweet the game as I listen to it on the radio. Check out my tweets - it's like I've practiced for this already. ;) #putmeincoach #takemeouttotheballgame
 
I'm positive about the @Twins on Twitter because I love to cheer for my favorite @MLB #boysofsummer. I'm proud to be a fan, even if the season isn't ending how we'd hoped. #readyfornextyear #MiLBpotential #watchoutALCentral
 
Also, I used to blog about the Twins on www.puckettspond.com (@PuckettsPond), a www.fansided.com site. So, I have experience commenting on and analyzing Twins baseball. You can ask @AaronJSomers, Editorial Director @FanSidedMLB if you'd like a reference. #therealdeal
 
Oh, and #TargetField is my favorite place. #happyplace #heavenonearth #alwaysstaythroughthelastout
 
You can count on me to be a positive, knowledgeable and savvy voice for the Minnesota Twins' twitter account. #pickme
 
What, if anything, would you change about the way the @Twins tweet? (100 words or less)
More tweeted game video! For example, I was listening on Sept 11 & heard Gardy’s ejection. I wanted to see it; the Gameday video showed most of the conversation but not the actual ejection. I felt cheated.
 
Most importantly, I think the @Twins should "live tweet" games. ESPN sends text score updates to my phone, but that doesn't cover plays like @Twins could. Also, I subscribe to the paid version of the MLB13 app. However, sometimes I don’t want the generic MLB notes, I want a quick summary of the game from the Twins' perspective.
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Meeting Dan Gladden

It's been a really long time since I've blogged. For those of you who faithfully follow me, I am likely to write a bit about my absence in the near future. I'm thinking it's time to get back on track. However, I'll get to that another day.

Today, I'll just share the AWESOME post-birthday gift I was able to set-up for my Dad. No credit to me, all credit to the Minnesota Twins and to two-time World Champion Dan Gladden. I sent an email; they made the day awesome!!

Let's begin at the beginning...
In May, my family gathered at my parents' house for dinner. I enjoyed the rare opportunity to watch a Twins game on FSN. (As you know, I love my Twins baseball. However, I haven't yet justified an FSN-level cable subscription after taking into account time available to watch vs. money left in budget vs. the high quality of Twins radio broadcasts.)

So, during the Twins game, Dad and I commandeered the recliners. (Dad always deserves priority, and it was my birthday celebration. Totally justified.) As we chatted about the game, I vividly recall Dad saying "Man, what I wouldn't give for 10 minutes to talk with Dan Gladden."

From the time I was a kid, I knew Dan Gladden. I used to sit on my brother's bed and study the framed baseball cards of the '87 & '91 World Series Twins teams. I knew Gladden was good because his picture was with both teams!


So my Dad's wish percolated for a few weeks, when I suddenly thought, "WHAT IF I COULD MAKE THOSE 10 MINUTES HAPPEN?"

It wasn't a lock, but I knew the Twins were one of the fan-friendliest organizations in baseball. So, I decided to give it a try. In brief, I emailed Twins President Dave St. Peter and explained that I am a dedicated Twins fan whose love of the game was first inspired by my Dad during my formative years, which just happened to include two Twins World Series victories. And my memories of my Dad were always connected to his recognition of Dan Gladden as one of the Twins Greats. Mr. St. Peter "cc'ed" me in an email to Kevin Smith asking his help to make this visit happen...and I almost peed my pants.

On Saturday, August 3, Dad got his 10 minutes. It may have even been 15. Danny Gladden greeted my proffered handshake with a laugh and a big hug, and his friendly, sarcastic banter took over from there. Below, you'll find pictures and a note at the end about the FANTASTIC Twins personnel we met.


My parents & I meeting Dan Gladden

The only other picture opportunity I had was with Cory Provus. I'm only including this picture to prove I met him. It was certainly not my best photo op, but the evening was all about my Dad. Meeting anyone else was a bonus for me, and I'm glad to have the evidence to prove it. :)

Many of you are aware of my new hobby, so it won't surprise you that I brought these for Danny & Cory:


Speaking of meeting other people, WOW - what a great evening! First of all, before I can even talk about Danny, I have to say a huge THANK YOU to Senior Director Kevin Smith, who might be the nicest guy on the planet. He coordinated our visit and was genuinely interested in making sure our family enjoyed the evening. I am totally indebted to him for making my Dad's day. Or year? I'm guessing it's the #2 day of the year, as I imagine it will only be second to Steve & Molly's wedding day later this year. :)

The man of the hour...Dan Gladden is exactly like you would guess - greets the ladies first, is sarcastic (in an endearing way), brutally honest and absolutely hilarious. He'd be a fun guy to have a pint or two with. My Dad got his "10 minutes"...maybe even a few more, and we each received an autograph. All of us were highly entertained.

We also had the opportunity to meet:
  • We rode on the elevator to the press level with Stew Thornley, Official Scorer for the Twins. When I explained that I knew who he was, Stew got a little nervous. I tried to assure him that I only knew him from the good commentary, but I'm not sure he was buying it. Official Scorers can receive a lot of criticism, but I wasn't leveling any. I was in awe of his role. He doesn't know how much of a baseball geek I am, so I don't think he realized he's a celebrity to me.
  • As evidenced above, we were able to meet Cory Provus, whose baseball commentary I have enjoyed since his final season with the Brewers. I think he and Gladden are a great match on the radio, balancing the game call, stories, strategy and humorous banter.
  • Dick Bremer stopped by our group to trade predictions with Gladden. Bremer expected two Plouffe HRs; Plouffe didn't hit any dingers. It is, however, difficult to criticize a bad guess when the boys won.
  • Terry Ryan walked past us as we were walking towards the elevator back to the concourse. This moment clearly showed that my Dad is much more mature and composed than I am, as he was able to coherently say "hello" while I was still picking my chin up off of the ground and doing a quadruple take as Terry said hello to the most important person in the office, Peg.
  • We also met Peg, a 38-year employee who clearly makes sure everyone has what he/she needs for the evening. I bet she would have some great stories to tell. If I had been thinking more clearly, I'd have taken a picture with Peg.
In any case, my Dad enjoyed Saturday even more than I'd hoped. I don't think I can top this birthday, and I couldn't be more grateful to Kevin, Dan and all the Twins personnel!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 All-Star Game: What's Your Vote?

Last night, I did my duty as a baseball fan, and I voted for the 2013 All-Star rosters.

(Actually, I hate that fans pick the starting rosters. I believe that we are not, as a whole, objective enough. We each have definite favorites and biases, and the largest group [almost always the YANKEE fanbase] wins. There must be a more objective voting group out there. But, this is how the All-Star Game works, so I go with it...)

For the sake of fun and discussion, I would LOVE to hear your reaction to my votes, which are posted below. So, please leave a comment with your reaction or write your ballot in the comments. To cast a real ballot, click here. Voting ends July 4 at 11:59 PM.

Note: You can cast up to 35 ballots. Each can be different, which allows you to split your votes if you're torn. I chose to submit the same ballot 35 times.

For my selections, I reviewed my options, using the comparison tool that was right on the ballot. I looked at the stats before I made my decision. Here are the two biases I admit to:

  1. I voted for two Minnesota Twins players. One of them I believe deserves the starting position straight up; the other is my current infatuation, and I want him to be an All-Star more than he probably deserves. If you've interacted with me/creeped on Twitter or Facebook, you'll know which is which.
  2. I seriously considered Robinson Cano as my AL Second Base vote, but I decided not to vote for any Yankees. They'll get enough votes without my help.

My 2013 MLB All-Star Ballot
First base - AL: Chris Davis (BAL) / NL: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)
Second base - AL: Gordon Beckham (CWS) / NL: Matt Carpenter (STL)
Shortstop - AL: J.J. Hardy (BAL) / NL: Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
Third base - AL: Miguel Cabrera (DET) / NL: Pedro Alvarez
Catcher - Joe Mauer (MIN) / NL: Buster Posey (SF)
Designated Hitter - AL: Ryan Doumit (MIN)
Outfield - AL: Jose Bautista (TOR), Mike Trout (LAA), Adam Jones (BAL) / NL: Carlos Beltran (STL), Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Dominic Brown (PHI)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Catching Up

It's been just about a month since I last blogged. There are many reasons for the gap, and I won't be going into them all here. However, in fairness to all who have been supportive with the bullying situation I described in that blog post, I'll give a brief update.

First, an update on the bullying situation
My understanding is that the person told a friend of mine that he would stop posting anything about me, and to my knowledge, that has happened. Another person shared with me that this person indicated he would like to confront me in person. Therefore, I have decided not to become more involved in a new (to me) young adult group I'd begun to attend and that this person frequents. I'm carrying out a team commitment I made to them, but I don't think I'll go to any of the other events, other than maybe the ladies-only events (where this guy can't attend).

I find that terribly frustrating, but I've decided not to dwell on it.

My take on the Minnesota Twins
Well, they've been more fun than I expected, but I doubt they'll see .500 again this season. I'm looking forward to at least two more games, likely at least five more, this season, and recent minor league moves are adding some anticipation for the next season or so.

I'm guessing the Twins will make a trade before the no-waiver trade deadline. If Morneau gets his homerun swing back, it will be him, as many suspected prior to the season. If things don't change for him, then it will be Doumit. Both make me sad for different reasons. Morneau because I think he wants to be a Twin for life, and Doumit because his get-it-done attitude has been fun to have on the team. I definitely have a baseball crush on him.


The Elephant in the Room...the Weight Loss Challenge
I weighed myself last week, after a month or so. I was still 9 pounds or so down from my original weight. That's good. I don't know if I still am that far down or not - I finally was able to work out some again, but the eating habits are far from back on track.

I'm not giving up, at least, I'm telling myself that. But I also don't feel ready to be all gung-ho about it, or as open about it as I started out. I hope I'll get there again.

Sometimes, I need a loose structure - completely winging it doesn't work, but being too rigid sets me up for failure. I've got a plan that's been helpful in the past, but it didn't work last week. However, I'm going to give it another shot. Even though it's already Monday, I'm going to fill in the blanks for the rest of the week. Here's the format I use:

I look at my calendar, jot down major things that will affect where/when I eat meals, look in my fridge, and make a meal plan. (Then I update my grocery list.)

Last week, I outlined the days in green, yellow, or red: five were yellow, one was green, and one was red. The yellow meant I followed the main meals exactly and could have any of the snack options I listed for the week, as long as I was hungry. Green was a day I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as I stopped when I was full. Red was to be a day where I ate precisely what was on the menu and only two snacks specified for that day. I think this color step might have been the tipping point; too much structure for the week and too much pressure. When I'm back on track, I think it will be a useful addition. For this week, I'm going to start with a simpler plan.

But I'm going to plan, and I'm going to work at it.

It's not just the food/exercise/weight thing
Food and exercise habits, and the corresponding affect they have on my weight and how my clothes fit, are symptoms of some overarching issues. One of those is how I deal with and respond to stress. I felt like a lot of things in my life spun out of control in April and May - work stress, the bullying, and some other things. Through all of this, I've been reminded that I can manage multiple "projects" that are ongoing. But I know how I work, and I need to do it the way that is best for me. That means:

  • Keeping a list of what needs to be done
  • Scheduling blocks of time to focus on a particular task under one project
  • When something unrelated crops up, set it aside
  • Organize papers and other items into broad "piles" based on the general topic, and tackle one thing at a time

The stress in my life has been evident by the state of my living environment - my home has been both disorganized and in need of a good cleaning. Both of those things drive me crazy, yet for some reason it's easy for me to slip into disorganization and to eschew cleaning when I'm stressed. And that stresses me out even more. Which makes me more disorganized and the cleaning becomes even more overwhelming...

So, I decided to schedule my cleaning in small blocks throughout the month. It's easiest for me to be consistent by day of the week, so I decided to break up my cleaning schedule that way. Here are my cleaning goals for each month:

I fully admit I'm already behind, but I'm catching myself up. Today was my first completely unscheduled day, probably in years - no work, no events with family or friends I was going to attend, no events with family or friends I was going to skip in the name of de-stressing & then feel guilty about, no meetings, no errands, no leaving the house. I focused on the chaos in my living/dining/kitchen area (which all flows together), and it is almost completely organized and fairly clean.

It's so much easier to be calm in a space that has a low level of clutter, is clean-ish, and has "empty space" on the counters, refrigerator, walls, table, and floor.

Your feedback
What do you do to help yourself reduce or alleviate stress? I am looking for options besides food for when I'm feeling stressed. Things like massage are wonderful opportunities, but I can't just come home after a stressful day at work and decide "I'm going to get my 10th massage this month". My friends and family (people like you) are very supportive, but it's not always feasible (and not always fair) to call when I'm feeling overwhelmed. What are some in the moment things you do? Comments are appreciated!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Powerless

It was my intention to regroup and try to move forward after last week by shifting gears this week. I had my first trip to the Legends Club to write about, which was made perfect by Aaron Hick's curtain-call-worthy night. After a conversation with my mom, I looked up some words of wisdom our beautiful Pope Francis had about the importance of keeping our focus on serving others rather than on simply improving ourselves. There were some positive and unselfish (or at least, less selfish than usual) things worth reflecting on.

Instead, I can't spice up my blog with relevant pictures or find helpful links to go with my thoughts. I can't write anything hopeful or happy tonight. I'm frustrated with myself about that, as I think about the Pope's words about selfishness, but I can't move beyond myself tonight.

Tonight, I feel so utterly powerless. It's a debilitating feeling.

In the last day or two, I've been made the victim of bullying, primarily cyberbulling. This is not the first time this bully has victimized me with his disparaging words. As I feared, my attempt to stand up to him has led to retaliation. I'm still trying to figure out what to do next. To a large extent, there is very little I can do. I've told him to stop, I've unfriended him on Facebook (the primary locus of the bullying) and I've blocked him on Facebook, meaning neither of us can view or contact each other. I've avoided social events because he would be present. I've now learned that it hasn't kept him from making his disparaging remarks about me on Facebook; he just can't "tag" me or directly link to my account. He has been posting his assessment of me and his assumption of my opinions on his own and others' pages. What's scarier is that I am not even able to monitor what he is saying about me, and I'm only aware of it from friends who saw the commentary.

This bully has said in his posts that he is fueled by people in my circle of "friends" who complain to him about me. To those of you who gossiped to him behind my back, I don't know who you are. However, if I ever have occasion to learn your identities, our false friendship is over. Bullying isn't acceptable just because we're now adults. It's just as wrong as childhood bullying, and the fallout, though different than what a child or youth might experience, can be just as devastating to an adult. Shame on you for fueling that, for not dealing with your issues with me as an adult, and for fueling someone who has been a known bully.

Navigating friendships, family relationships, work relationships and living as one imperfect person in a fallen world of imperfect people is our reality, and we will daily face challenges in all of those relationships. Sometimes, those challenges are more difficult than at other times. Now is one of those difficult times. In almost every one of my circles, I've been attacked, put down, or been treated as worthless by someone or someones. I've continually had the worst assumed of me. Normally, when I have those experiences, I strive to take them and reflect on the times I have treated another person harshly and change my behavior in the future to be more loving and compassionate. Of late, I've lost my resiliency.

What does one do when one is crushed under the weight of it all and unable to get up again? When one cries oneself to sleep more days than not? When those vicious messages are all one hears anymore, day and night?

I love the liturgical calendar of our Church, how we as the Body of Christ journey through the life, death and resurrection of Christ together each year. At the same time, in can be maddening to be experiencing a personal Good Friday when everyone else is celebrating Easter.

To those of you who have been my Simon or my Veronica over the last day or two as this bully reared his ugly head - and especially to those who have been and continue to be Simon and Veronica throughout the Lenten seasons of my life - thank you. I only hope that someday, I can be your Veronica when your cross is crushing you.

For now, I just hope there will come a time when "It is finished."