Category Archives: Humorous tidbits

So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance!

powerball oddsTo my lotto loving husband, my Powerball pursuer, my dreamer — this is dedicated to you. 1 in 175 million, Babe, so I’m telling you there’s a CHANCE!

Our Powerball odds bring me back to that quintessential “Dumb and Dumber” moment where Lloyd Christmas famously asks:

Lloyd Christmas: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me… ending up together?

Mary Swanson: Well, Lloyd, that’s difficult to say. I mean, we don’t really…

Lloyd Christmas: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary Swanson: Not good.

Lloyd Christmas: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?

Mary Swanson: I’d say more like one out of a million.

[pause]

Lloyd Christmas: So you’re telling me there’s a chance… YEAH!

Play on, Hubby, as somebody has to be the 1 in the 175 million, right?!  

 

 

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Because We All Could Use a Laugh

As I drove to the airport to pick up my Husband last night, I was trying to properly channel the many thoughts interlacing somehow in my spaghetti brain. I knew he’d be tired and hungry when he arrived home from his West Coast business trip – I felt the same at 8:00 pm – so what would perk him up?

A good ol’ BURGER.

Yep, just like my Mom did, my Hubs reaches a sublime state when burger consumption is involved.

“Oh yeah,” I remembered, “I have those Groupons I bought for MOOYAH, and it’s kind of on the way home.”

Driving, still, with my iPhone safely docked on the windshield on the left-hand side of the steering wheel, I attempted to bring Siri into the mix at a light. I had to make sure MOOYAH would still be open before I suggested it.

Holding the button down, “Siri, what are MOOYAH’s hours?”

She proceeded to show me some movies concerning eyes. Apparently there is a market for that.

Chuckle. Still waiting at light, “MOOYAH website.”

Siri then took me off in some other completely non-beef related direction.

Let’s try this again. “MOOYAH Burgers.”

Still not getting it.

Not so much chuckling when I reached try #5.

As the light is about to turn, I grew desperate impatient. I felt the urge to resort to “call tree mode”: After a really bad customer service experience for the 3rd time, and my voice grows louder, slower, with strong overtones of condescension, as I continue repeating the same three words to the automated teller. [And yes, eventually, she’ll stop saying, click click click, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that…” if you push her hard enough].

While I didn’t go full Delta Airlines on Siri (those were my latest 2 experiences), I admit that I did have a tone in my voice, which grew a bit louder as I repeated, “MOOYAH, Mooyah, MOOYAH!!”

Here is what Siri responded:

Siri fails

Seriously? If she could have found a restaurant named Lilliott Vieudelou Ya Lilliott, eat my dust Mooyah. I bet the Crab Bisque would have been delightful.

But here’s the rub: I can’t even recall what she sounded like saying that gibberish?! So, I like to reimagine it done as  the Swedish Chef. And then chalk it up with other funny Siri fails.

Since I’ve met “Siri” before, I should tell her two things: 

1. I’m sorry for getting snippy with you. I know you were just trying to do your job, and you really thought I actually said, “Lilliott Vieudelou Ya Lilliott”.

2. Thanks for the belly laugh. I really needed that.

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Blog Birthday Bash

happy4BdayBlogTime to blow out the candles, cause it’s my Blog Birthday at closed doors open windows! Four years ago I really began to dig into my journey of self discovery with some major doors closing in my life, leading to some incredible open window opportunities. I’ve shared things across the gambit here: joys, sorrows, updates, my family life, recipes, crafts, home decorating, business tips… I’ve shared some of my life’s lows — from my Mom’s battle with Cancer and her passing — and highs — my Engagement and starting out as an Entrepreneur. Wow, how life has changed in these past 4 years, and its gratifying to look back and see some life-defining moments captured here!

It is my hope that in a world where we are bombarded with information, that at some point these ponderings by yours truly have brought even a bit of delight or a moment of reflection. Thank for joining me in my little space on the interwebs, for celebrating my Blog’s Birthday, and for taking time to share some of yourself with me here. Writing is one of my first loves, and using it to connect with other people one of my greatest joys, so sincerely…I’m grateful. I am blessed.

Happy Birthday closeddoorsopenwindows.wordpress.com!

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The Gift of Laughter

I’m knee deep in video editing again today for a client. In the midst of downloading my footage from our DSLR Camera days ago, I also had some family footage from the past few months that I dropped into my editing program. I’m coming clean – YES, it’s April and I am just getting to download family videos that I took from LAST year. Frankly, it seems like a miracle that I’m even doing it now, I’m so up to my ears with getting our business fully-functioning amidst the brouhaha of life.

When life gets rushed and is robbing me of much needed leisure–it is precisely in these moments when taking time for the little things, like to appreciate what a gift laughter is, is well worth it.

In the midst of all my splicing and transitioning, I clicked on this clip and heard my sweet little Godson’s voice breakthrough. Instant MELTING occurred. Seeing his little eyes peer through the cutouts of the Kickboard, I traveled back to that time and place, remembering the sights, sounds, and smells. I smiled.

My Godson and I were sitting by my Dad’s pool in his screened-in porch, on a sunny, warm Florida day right before Christmas (Hence “White Christmas” playing in the background). The night before we had played with the cardboard pizza boxes, peering through the cut-out while giving a warm, “HELLO!” to each other and laughing in between. This little montage of our Godson brought me the gift of laughter today. I call it “The Art of Salutation” by Jacob.

With all that life gives us that we could complain and cry about, it’s nice to celebrate these moments. When life gets hectic, remember to take time to savor the memories that make us laugh and be grateful for our loved ones.

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2012 Year in Review: Annual Christmas Letter

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

-St. John of the Cross

PROLOGUE

If I don’t send this–our Annual Christmas Letter update–folded up in our Christmas cards every year, then I usually send a note with the card directing folks here for the proverbial dirt on our comings & goings, highlights of the year, and photo fun. Well, if you happen to be a close-knit friend/family member that’s on our card list, if you hadn’t noticed that a card has not arrived from us, you for sure know now. If you sent us a card, know that we are grateful and truly loved it; and this update is written from our heart to yours. We don’t talk, see each other, message each other, etc., nearly enough–so this is my feeble attempt to connect. Pardon the public format, please.

(Violins play in the background of this part of the prologue). Since we moved up our departure date to Florida 1-week earlier, amidst everything else, it may tip you off to the extreme time crunch we’ve been operating under, especially this season, and the great need to re-prioritize our ever elusive friend and foe, TIME. I easily could have been Martha – determined to still send out Christmas cards come what may; but, I’m thankful that Mary took over, choosing the better part. I’ve been spending some desperately needed downtime in a sunny spot, surrounded by a subset of the circle of loving and large family we are blessed with.

Paul Jacob by Waterside

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you’ve likely been seeing a surge of posts and pics from me, i.e. playing with our Godson, visiting with my Brother at my Father’s home–during the short days that our trips overlapped in Florida–baking Mom’s beloved Christmas treats, taking time to blog again, photos, making 1st Turkey dinner, working on our business ventures (more to come on that), etc…

If you are a new blog follower, or just-popped-on-your-blog-cause-I-searched-something guest, well then, WELCOME! Glad you are here, and hope you stay awhile, as well as come back for more visits in the future!

This time for me to “retreat and recharge” has mainly been provided by Mike’s kindness and unwavering support, as well as the flexibility provided by his boss to telecommute into work. And my Dad’s kindness in always opening up his home to us. For all these things and more, I am grateful. Without further ado, here’s the 2012 update!

2012: THE ONE-PAGE BULLETED VERSION, in PROSE

(perfect for speed readers, skimmers, SEO optimizers, you know who you are, etc and such)

Some 2012 Great Moments, in random order:

  • Celebrating our 1st Wedding Anniversary on June 24th. Yep, still Newlyweds and loving it!
  • Being asked to be Padrinos, or Godparents, for the first time together for our youngest nephew, Jacob, also on June 24th
  • Seeing our Texas family, and being back where we got married-South Padre Island-before our 1st wedding anniversary
  • Dad coming to visit us in Texas during the summer
  • Finally seeing my 1st Ordination – congrats to our friends in Dallas who have made fine, young Priests
  • Visiting with friends and family coming to or passing through Dallas – always a blast!
  • Having one of our dearest friends, Kelli, get engaged to Marcelo and ask both of us to be in their wedding. This will be my first time as Matron of Honor 🙂 Incidentally, she was our Maid of Honor.
  • Making the 1st part of “Our Big Announcement”. The 2nd part at the end, folks, so hang in there.

Travel-related 2012 Highlights:

  • Began the New Year traveling back from our Christmas trips to be with both sides of the family in South Texas and in Central Florida
  • South Florida in May for Alyssa’s (niece) Quincinera, a great celebration!
  • San Benito in June, a brief visit with Mike’s family, swinging by South Padre beach where we celebrated our marriage the previous year
  • Louisiana in October for Jeff & Erika’s (friends) wedding – we stayed in a lil’ Cabin on the Bayou. Mike got a Gumbo-making lesson, and we enjoyed a short time to see friends and be back in the country
  • Michigan in November. We took a health scare from my Grandma as an opportunity to visit her and stay with my bro & SIL, Chris & Jen, visiting a couple of other friends and family members in between
  • South Texas in late November – we spent Thanksgiving with Mike’s family in San Benito (we made a mighty fine Turkey, I might add), and then to San Antonio with SIL & BIL, Rose & Jesse. Mike & I were honored to be chosen as Padrinos of the Rings for our newlywed cousins, Thomas & Claudia! We also got to have a yummy brunch with our other cousin, Robert
  • Full circle to Central Florida for Christmas

NOTE: Since we’ve gotten several tempting offers, the list of places-we-WANT-to-travel/friends-& family-that-we-want-to-see is always MUCH longer then what we’ve accomplished. Despite working fulltime and laying the groundwork of 2 businesses, we still were able to squeeze out several trips, as you can see, mostly visiting family since we are both Dallas transplants. Looking forward to more adventures in 2013 – and please continue to be patient with us if you’ve been on the “to visit” list! We’ve not forgotten you – it’s all about the right timing though. Praying for us to have an increase of time and money may move you up on that list though, LOL!!

Several of the Cool New Things I’ve Learned to Make/Do in 2012:

  • Crochet
  • Movie promotionFor Greater Glory, an inspiring and historic film that premiered in the US in June
  • Decoupage
  • Twitter, @LSanMartini at your service. OK, so…I held out until 2012 to dip my toe into that Social Media pool. I’ve got a whopping 20 followers as of this 3rd day of Christmas, to sporatically try and entertain in 140 characters or less. A challenge for the verbose, truly. Trust me, I’ve got Facebook and Pinterest down pat; but I basically feel like I’m wandering round the Twitter Kiddie Pool with a life jacket, and am just now learning how to use the big girl potty instead of the ol’ catch and release method. Did that just get weird? Sorry.
  • Foodie Progress: Homemade Packzi’s (for Fat Tuesday), Brined Turkey, healthy & hearty meals, (click the recipes tab for a few more – but many haven’t been posted unfortunately!)
  • Graphic design – dabbling in logos, icons, new and old programs
  • WordPress-based website development & design– a blog redo, involved with development new websites from scratch – including working on mine (not live yet)
  • With the help of a great new Doc, learning what and how to fight back my Chronic Neck Pain/Migraine Headaches that’s gone on for far too long
  • Photography – we recently scored our first DSLR during Wolf/Ritz Camera’s Going-out-of-Business Sale, and it’s been a blessing. Have loved learning, getting blu-ray interview of my Grandma, and even doing our first engagement photo shoot! This is a good segue way into a a very brief year-end photo tour, courtesy of the Sony a77 and my Hubby & I.

Jacob & Pilar

Gloria in Excelsis Jacob Santa Letter

Jeff & Erica Wedding

Lisa Molly dancing

Mike

Midday on Bayou

brined thanksgiving turkey

Josie at Thanksgiving

Mia

Dustin

BW Lisa & Jacob

Kelli and Marcelo

St Mary's Austin BETTER

Karla

MJ bunny hat

Birthday Family

Jacob in Suitcase

Paul pushing stroller

OL Guadalupe

2012: The Heart of the Matter

2012 has been quite a teacher, as the virtue I was given to work on was perseverance—aka endurance. Through the highlights, as well as personal and professional trials in a downward-facing dog economy, I’ve learned, adjusted, and grown.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:3-5

The Big Announcement Part II, is something we’ve been building over the years, months, and more so then ever in the past weeks. Honestly, it’s something we feel strongly that God’s been preparing me for, especially through all of the work experiences and skills that I’ve gained over the past 20+ years. Looking back on the doors that have closed and the windows that have opened, it all makes sense. I am moving into being a full-time small business owner , serving as Co-owner/COO of Illuvint as well as Owner of Little With Great Love, Online Boutique.

What is Illuvint? The formal version:

Illuvint LLC, a family-owned and operated company, specializes in custom solutions for small business owners. From online presence to ecommerce, PR to sales, operations to advertising, IT to logos, consulting to implementation, we desire to be involved in what makes you successful! Our diverse, collective expertise provides creative and powerful approaches – from our entrepreneurial experience to yours.

The informal version:

A marriage of the skills, experience, knowledge, talent, resources, outsourcing contacts…that we’ve doubled through our own marriage.

SPECIAL THANKS: I’m very grateful for the diverse and nationwide group of people that have been involved in the preparation of this journeying out into the world in this new way. You are far too many to name, but I pray that you know who you are and how you’ve made a great impact on us. Your support of the work Mike and/or I have already done, mentorship, encouragement, prayers, love, help, yadda yadda yadda, have made us better versions of ourselves. I’m excited to be a full-time Entrepreneur!

Stay tuned for more to come on Illuvint! We will need your continued prayers, encouragement, support, and referrals as this start-up is about to get a kickstart into 2013.

We pray for you, and for us, that 2013 will bring abundance. Abundance of grace, blessings, love, joy, peace, health, wealth, and wisdom!

Love and prayers,

Lisa + Mike

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Spring, Getting Down to Business, and BIRDS!

The office

Another Friday at "The Office"

Ahhh, April in Dallas!  The wild Blue Bonnets cascading across the fields, the trees flaunting their new emerald plumes, the wild Spring wind whipping around, and Birds fluttering both IN and OUTside of the home.

I’ve got nothing against birds, really.  My Grandmother raised me to be very conscious of their wellbeing, actually. She was always gathering up bits of food for either my Grandpa or to feed the birds.  To this day, loaf of bread “butts” are considered bird food.  And just last weekend, my husband and I rented, The Big Year, the recent Birding movie featuring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson — and I enjoyed it!

See, I am a bird advocate — when they are outside of my house.  Let’s be honest, I doubt that they are all too fond of my stuffy, small attic or our dark, spooky chimney either.

So the Property Manager sent out her Maintenence “guy”, (I really love when people have A GUY) this morning to scope out our Bird Invasion situation and take action.  Gosh, I hope it works.

As is the Sanchez family norm, there is a long saga that is much funnier shared in person with waving arms, silly sound effects, and a nemesis.  In this case, it was a guy named George from a local Extermination company. Albeit friendly, George proceeded to chatter on for more then an hour of my hubby’s time walking around the exterior of our condo, theorizing about the “infiltration”.  He discussed, in great depth, all the possibilities of what could be in our attic and all the ways it could have gotten there.  This was all done without ever actually getting up in the attic to SEE.  Things got worse from there, but I digress.

Today I prefer to join the birds outdoors, on this lovely Spring afternoon. A city girl has got to take advantage of the mid 80 degree weather when possible, yes?  Not a bad office space either. It’s time for me to write. I’m doing my weekly warm up here.   Friday, I love you.  OK, going to get down to business.  Or at least try 🙂  Just getting the writing juices flowing…

UPDATE: Back inside the house. Unhappy bird is STILL in the Chimney. UGH! Dick van Dyke & Mary Poppins, where are you when I need you??

“Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky
As lucky can be”

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Dancing Machine

As you await with bated breath Part 2 of my annual Christmas update, I’m giving you a little something extra.  In Louisiana, they call that Lagniappe (lan YAP; and not with the nasal Michigan ‘a’ either).

I love this video, so I had to edit it, then share it.  It features my cutie-patootie nephew, Jacob, at 6 months, and my Dad.  This was taken right before my wedding, so it was June, at my house.  Next week Jacob turns ONE – I can’t believe it has been a year already…

In this rare footage, you will see how we do it in the Sanchez family:  We start the love affair with music and dancing young.

Enjoy watching Jacob, breaking it down to Chaka Khan. Choreographed by Grandpa.

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Remembering My Yankee Roots

Although I’ve curently set up shop in the dirty South, in many ways I still am a Yankee at heart.  I  remember when I made my first move to Lousiana six years ago, I did experience real culture shock.  I thought, “You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl!”

I remember speaking with one of my roommates from Michigan not long after I moved to the country, and she asked, “So what’s it like?”

I responded, “As far is the North is from the South, we are so different!”

“Like what?”  Michelle inquired further.

“Well…they put gravy on everything down here–not just using it at Thanksgiving on the Turkey!  And the other day we pulled up to a house and the ‘fella’ I was with asked me if I was going to ‘get down’, and as I wondered why we would dance in the driveway, he clarified by asking if I wanted to come inside. People are always fixin’ to do something in the South, whereas we just do it.  And why is everyone always wondering who my ‘Momma’ is?”  We shared a good laugh.

Despite the differences, I truly have come to love the people, culture, and atmosphere of the South.  I have welcomed the addition of y’all to my vocabulary.  I can hang on the dance floor from a Cajun Waltz to a Texas Two-Step.  I can Tex-Mex it up in the kitchen.  I feel like I’m able to embrace all the best things of my Yankee roots with my Southern nuances!

The beautiful beaches of Michigan, the "Great Lakes State"

The beautiful beaches of Michigan, the “Great Lakes State” 

I’m sharing a little Yankee humor with you in the spirit of remembering where I’ve come from; because, as I always say, “If you can’t laugh at yourself, someone else will.”  Trying to remain cutting edge, Jeff Foxworthy has expanded his comedic repertoire to include some well-founded Michigan humor.  So without further ado…

  • If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in Michigan.
  • If you’re proud that your region makes the national news 96 nights each year because Pellston is the coldest spot in the nation, you might live in Michigan.
  • If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March, you might live in Michigan.
  • If you instinctively walk like a penguin for five months out of the year, you might live in Michigan.
  • If someone in a store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you might live in Michigan.
  • If your dad’s suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead, you might live in Michigan.
  • If you have worn shorts and a coat at the same time, you might live in Michigan.
  • If your town has an equal number of bars and churches, you might live in Michigan.
  • If you have had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you might live in Michigan.

You know you’re a true MICHIGANDER when:

1.  “Vacation” means going up north on I-75.
2.  You measure distance in hours.
3.  You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.
4.  You often switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day.
5.  You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching.
6.  You see people wearing camouflage at social events (including weddings).
7.  You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked
8.  You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them.
9.  You design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
10. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
11. You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.
12. You can identify a southern or eastern accent.
13. Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your blue spruce.
14. You were unaware that there is a legal drinking age.
15. Down South to you means Ohio.
16. A brat is something you eat.
17. Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new pole barn.
18. You go out to Fish Fry every Friday.
19. Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.
20. You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.
21. You find 0 degrees “a little chilly”.
22. You drink pop and bake with soda.
23. Your doctor tells you to drink Vernors and you know it’s not medicine.
24. You can actually drink Vernors without coughing.
25. You think owning a Honda is un-American.
26. You know what a Yooper is.
27. You know that UP is a place, not a direction.
28. You know it’s possible to live in a thumb.
29. You understand that when visiting Detroit, the best thing to wear is a Kevlar vest.
30. You actually understand these jokes, and you share them with all your Michigan friends!

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When in Doubt, turn to George Costanza

Four months in, scouring hundreds of job postings, and too many resumes to keep track of has brought me to my first job interview since “the split”. Business casual…tomorrow afternoon…office in Irving…  Don’t go breaking out the bubbly yet – read on. I sent my resume to a Monster.com posting for a Marketing Rep last week, and as it turns out when they say Marketing, well they really mean Sales.  If you know anything about my recent experience in Sales, well, you may understand why I am now turning to George Constanza for advice.  Moreover, when it said Energy Solutions in the company name it wasn’t so much about energy in the traditional sense, but more in saving it through the purchase of some pricey windows and doors.  And when they mean pay, well, it’s all commission darling.

In the meantime, God has been my best boss ever, and has been steadily sending me work.  I have been doing some Independent Marketing Consulting and Freelance Writing. Anything from Press Releases to Webcontent, and having a blast the whole time.  Working in my new office, aka the Patio, is my new favorite especially since the commute is so short.  Definitely beats a fluorescent-lit cage, er uh cube, hands down.

Regardless, I believe that in order to truly know if a door should close, you must make the effort to become well informed.  So I consider tomorrow a fact-finding mission.  If nothing else, it will be good practice in polishing my skills when presenting myself.  In order to prepare for an event of this magnitude, who else to turn to besides George Costanza?!  I hope this will squeeze a laugh from your lungs, yet also hope it will not inspire you to adopt a new work ethic! Sit back in your favorite chair, grab a cold beverage, and prepare to be inspired by  George Costanza’s Rules For Working

George

God help you if you follow George Costanza’s Rules for Working!

Rule No. 1 – Never walk without a document in your hands. People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they’re heading for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they’re heading for the toilet. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you do.

Rule No. 2 – Use computers to look busy. Any time you use a computer, it looks like “work” to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal e-mail, chat, and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren’t exactly the societal benefits that the proponents of the computer revolution would like to talk about but they’re not bad either. When you get caught by your boss — and you will get caught — your best defence is to claim you’re teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.

Rule No. 3 – Keep a messy desk. Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like we’re not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year’s work looks the same as today’s work; it’s volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you’ll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.

Rule No. 4 – Use voice mail. Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don’t call you just because they want to give you something for nothing — they call because they want you to do work for them. That’s no way to live. Screen all your calls through voice mail. If somebody leaves a voice-mail message for you and it sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour when you know they’re not there — it looks like you’re hardworking and conscientious even though you’re being a devious weasel.

Rule No. 5 – Look impatient & annoyed. One should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give your bosses the impression that you are always busy.

Rule No. 6 – Leave the office late. Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines and storybooks that you always wanted to read but have no time until late before leaving. Make sure you walk past the boss’ room on your way out. Send important e-mail at unearthly hours (e.g. 9:35 p.m., 7:05 a.m., etc.) and during public holidays.

Rule No. 7 – Use sighing for effect. Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are under extreme pressure.

Rule No. 8 – Opt for the stacking strategy. It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor etc. (thick computer manuals are the best).

Rule No. 9 – Build your vocabulary. Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use the phrases freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember; they don’t have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.

Rule No. 10 – Don’t get caught. MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t forward this to your boss by mistake!

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Carrying On

In an effort to determine the subject matter of this next post, I consulted my Funny Book. As you must be wondering what that is, I will expound further. A former roommate of mine had encouraged me to keep a book of funny happenings/quotes to reference later for material or even just a hearty belly laugh in time of need.  As such I have kept a few noteworthy funny book entries in a journal with a picture of the chubbiest-cheeked baby wearing a cow costume on the front cover.  I call it The Moo Cow Funny Book which I hope will later translate into some MOOlah, but I digress.

The following tale is true and the names have not been changed to protect anyone’s identity because frankly it’s not that kind of a story.  These moments took place against the desert backdrop of Cuatro Cienegas, a city in the northern state of Coahuila, Mexico.  The name of the city literally translates to “four marshes” and was aptly named by the first settlers due to the natural springs in that region which have yielded extensive areas of wetlands and lakes.  I was there to participate in Mission work with Misiones de Caridad (Missions of Charity, not to be confused with Missionaries of Charity which was Mother Teresa’s order) for two consecutive Easters in 2005 and 2006. This experience I now wish to divulge stemmed from the latter year.  The characters include the missionaries who joined me, hailing from the heart of Cajun Country in South Central Louisiana.  The number of us were slight enough to fit in two 15-passenger vans yet large enough not to be ignored.

Filling nearly one van themselves was a Catholic family of the surname Richard, led by parents Donnie & Michelle.  Among their clan was 6-year-old Murphy, a spirited young chap who already was cultivating a talent of impeccable comic delivery.  I personally witnessed his comedic development when I saw him repeatedly giving an unassuming sleeping bag pile-drivers after being warned to stop. He must have felt the eyes of objecting adults further observing his wrestling prowess despite that warning, and stopped long enough to exasperatedly state, “I just can’t help myself!”  Young Murphy certainly had a way of keeping us light-hearted amidst the work of our Mission.

A fellow single woman of faith, Diane was another missionary on our trip. Accompanied by her friend, Gustavo, they took the children one scorching afternoon to a nearby Rancho to distribute candy and shoes to those in need. Let’s face it, candy can be a vital life force one regrettably may need to forego during tough times; as such, I see great value in both ministries. I’m trying to remember what book and verse to reference, but I thought I once read, “Blessed are the sweet givers, for they shall inherit the fruits of the Oompa Loompas.”  It escapes me now, but if someone can assist with that citation, I’ll send you a Wonka Bar…

At any rate, Diane and Gustavo had planned about a half an hour for this disbursement activity, but true to Mexican form it somehow ended up taking more along the lines of an hour and a half. Assuming that some of their little legs may be getting tired from the additional walking, Gustavo graciously offered to carry any of the children who may have felt weary by that point. After pondering that proposal in his little heart for a moment, Murphy’s sincere response came forth, “Yeah, you can carry me.  Because if I could, I would carry you.”

Retelling that tale later in the day to all the missionaries, we all chuckled sufficiently.  That element of childlike wit and simplicity, stating the obvious, was so endearing.  Yet looking beyond that sweet response provides the opportunity for both psychological and spiritual significance to be attributed to it as well.

I wish to go back to the lecture by Jackie Beavers that I referenced in my last post wherein she had been discussing her book, Pour for More.  She suggested that each of us either has known, currently do and/or will know someone – considering all that they are struggling with in their life – who feels like they may not be able to move forward.  In psychoanalytical terms that is referred to as an impasse, or blocked road.  Impasse has been suitably described as that which is both “difficult to discover and complicated to resolve” by Horacio Etchegoyen in The Fundamentals of Psychoanalytical Technique.  As such, Jackie suggested that we may be called to be a bridge to that individual to assist them during their time of need.  During my Franciscan University of Steubenville haydays, my Little Flower household sisters would label that as “standing in the gap”.  Regardless of the terminology – the feelings, the experience, and the need for assistance all remain the same. People all need someone or something else to offer to carry them at some point in their journey. We simply cannot do it all on our own, despite our stubbornness in thinking or trying to accomplish it on our own terms.

For many people the impasse that they continue to discover, despite their vain strivings, eventually leads quite likely to either depression or despair or to some type of religious experience and/or affiliation.  As I have been a cradle Catholic with the gift of Faith present in even my first memories, I would not count myself among those who have discovered their faith in a season of suffering. Rather I see myself sometimes crawling, sometimes stumbling, sometimes jogging, but always trying to press on along side those who have had their faith tested and hopefully strengthened during times of trials.  I view it as an opportunity to rediscover my faith, as it likely is in need of growth, or an awakening.  If we are not continually experiencing a conversion, we are either regressing or standing still and I personally do not have much patience with the contrary options.

To bring it back to the tale of Murphy, the Gustavo that I see in my own life offering to carry me when I am too weary is Jesus.  The words from Matthew’s gospel written over two thousand years ago continue to provide me with hope and solace: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.  For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”  My legs may feel weak along this journey from time to time, but thankfully I do not have to rely on my own strength in those times.

I’d like to wrap up here with a further expression of gratitude.  Thank you to all the people along my path who have offered in their own special way to carry me for a time, in an effort to bridge me to places of growth, healing, and comfort.  And to those who currently are cheering me on and helping me further progress in my journey, I say “gracias” as well.  As I search for that next open window in this time of transition, I am humbled.  To feel your words of encouragement, your prayers, your acts of kindness all lifting me up and coercing me to continue to carry on – it is a true gift, YOU are a true gift!  May we continue to be sources of encouragement to one another along the way.

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