#MondayBlogs: Abundance: Trust vs. Hoarding

I have a pantry in my basement. This is an old photo, taken when all the kids still lived here full-time and we went through several boxes of cereal each week. My pantry is less crowded now, because there are only three of us here full-time. I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of shopping for only three (or four, when my daughter’s home from college). This means that I wind up buying too much, and some of it gets wasted because it goes bad before I can use it.

But I feel the need to keep that pantry (and my upright freezer) full.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

There’s this threshold in my mind — this imaginary line I must not cross. I was down to less than a quart of milk on Wednesday, and I knew I wouldn’t get to the store before Friday. Never mind that I live 1/4 mile from the nearest gallon of milk; I was expending a lot of mental energy over the lack of “enough” milk in my house. It’s not like anyone around here (except me) even regularly uses milk. But that milk level was below my threshold of comfort, and it bothered me until Saturday morning when I finally made it to the store. We still had some milk in the jug. We had not run out. And as I said already, my neighborhood is not food-insecure.

Thinking about this gets me a little anxious — even now that I have almost a full gallon of milk in the fridge.

Where do I draw the line between having too much stuff that I “might need someday” and having enough to use for what I need right now, as well as something to share?

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12: 25-26)

I’ve run into this issue before with medical supplies, but that’s different. VERY different. Medical supplies are non-negotiable, and I do need to be very aware of what we have, what we need, and whether there is enough.

As for the other things, how do I stop feeling that I must fill that available pantry space and instead be grateful for what is there? How do I dial back my threshold of “enough” when there is obviously plenty there? How do I trust enough to share from that abundance?

Because I really want to stop the worrying that kicks in when there’s only a quart of milk in the house.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

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#WorthRevisit: A Podcast About Worry that I Need to Hear Again

I chose this fairly-recent post for Worth Revisit Wednesday because right now I’m feeling pretty anxious and overwhelmed, and I need to revisit Jeff and Gary’s podcast!

I figured I’d catch up on an episode of The Catholic Foodie Show. Yesterday’s program featured Gary Zimak, a Catholic author and speaker who lives in a neighboring town and who specializes in the subject of fear, worry and faith.

As Gary and Jeff shared about worry and how it tends to short-circuit prayer (except for the “God, help me!” kind), they encouraged listeners to remember to always praise God.

That reminded me of a line from St. Francis of Assisi’s Letter to the Faithful. Copy this down and put it where you’ll see it every day:

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility.

This is going to be my focus, going forward. Let’s see where it takes me.

from fear to faithRight now I’m reading Gary’s book From Fear to Faith: A Worrier’s Guide to Discovering Peace. It’s an excellent book to bring to Adoration. Chapters are short and there’s a lot of room for thought, prayer and reflection.

You can listen to this podcast here. When you’re done listening, bookmark the Breadbox Media website or download their app (free for iOS and Android) so you can find your favorite Catholic radio shows online or listen to archived episodes!

The fine print: the link to Gary Zimak’s book is an Amazon affiliate link, which puts a little extra in my pocket at no cost to you when you purchase this book through my link. Thanks!

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Worth Revisit: High Anxiety

Dentist appointment today! The same loose crown I was dealing with just about 3 years ago is, once again, loose. 2 weeks ago I went to the dentist to have them fix it, only to be told that if they removed it then, it might not be able to go right back in (and the day before your kid’s graduation is not the day to be looking like a hockey player). I unsuccessfully fought back tears as I made the appointment for today, to see the hygienist, get X-rays, and maybe have this crown fall out in the process and maybe they’ll be able to fix it today, but maybe not, in which case I’ll look like a hockey player at my kid’s graduation party.

There was anxiety to spare yesterday, and there’s plenty this morning as well. I’m offering my struggles with this for a young lady who’s also had a tough time with anxiety recently. I hope, at least, that my suffering will do a little good for someone this way.

From the Anxiety Archives for Worth Revisit Wednesday, I bring you some food for thought from 2011:

Remember that prayer that was on all those posters in the 70s: “Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that you and I together can’t handle”?

Photo via BarnImages.com. Text added in PicMonkey.
Photo via BarnImages.com. Text added in PicMonkey.

I’ve been letting anxiety get the better of me a little (a lot?) more than usual recently. And really, this has got to stop. When I was talking about this with a good friend, she mentioned that, lately, she has been making an effort to pray when anxiety starts to overcome her. She asks God to help her hand over the situation, to guide her words and actions.

Good advice.

But I don’t want to pray that prayer from the 70s posters. To be honest, I find that prayer a little arrogant.

As Father Cavanagh says in the movie Rudy, “I have come up with only two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I’m not him.”

Better to pray that God will guide me through a situation. I prefer this prayer, attributed to Father Mychal Judge, OFM, who perished in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center:
Lord, take me where you want me to go;
Let me meet who you want me to meet;
Tell me what you want me to say, and
Keep me out of your way.
There’s only one thing I may need to add to that: “Keep my foot out of my mouth.”

Amen.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Out of Control

I’ve been driving everyone around me crazy lately. There’s a lot to worry about, and if there’s anything I’m really good at, it’s worrying.

god first family then notre dameFor my birthday, my folk-group friends generously gave me 3 tickets for the Notre Dame-Temple football game. That game’s happening this weekend. Middle Sister loves football a lot more than Hubs, so she’s appropriated his ticket.

As the game approaches, I’ve found more and more things to worry about.

  • It’s an 8:00 game. That’s PM. I have a hard time staying awake through an 8:00 game, and now I’ll have to drive home afterward.
  • We’re fans of the visiting team. In Philly, that can be difficult.
  • I’m going to have to navigate TheKid, and his string backpack full of diabetes supplies and snacks, past whatever inspection stations you have to get past in order to get into the Linc.
  • Middle Sister wants to take the subway and meet us at the game. But it’s at night, and the return trip to LaSalle (past Temple, with all the Temple fans who will either be super euphoric or super angry) wouldn’t be pretty for a fan of the other team. And a 19-year-old girl traveling on the subway alone at that time of night? NO.
  • The game’s on Halloween. And did I mention that it’s an 8:00 game?

I just want to enjoy the opportunity to see my team play. And I know that’s all my friends wanted for me when they gave me those tickets.

Right now I’m deep into a state of general anxiety that makes me pretty difficult to live with. I’m getting ridiculously worried about all kinds of other things, things that I normally don’t think about. For example, last night we dropped TheKid off at the play. We had tickets, and he was called early, so we decided to go out to dinner before the show. I was wearing a white fleece jacket. All I could think about was that I should have packed a complete change of clothes (down to shoes) for both of us just in case a waiter spilled something on us, because we wouldn’t have time to go home and change.

I didn’t even say anything about that to Hubs, because how insane is that?

This morning I headed out to Wawa to get a hoagie for TheKid’s lunch today (he has two more shows, and we have to head straight from Mass to the theater to drop him off.) As I was driving, it occurred to me that no one knew where I was; they were both still sleeping at home; what if I got into an accident? How would they even know?

I need to make it stop, but I’m not sure I know how. I’m manufacturing worries here.

There are enough real things to worry about, and I suspect that I’m inventing fake worries to take my mind off the real stuff. I can’t do anything about the real things.

In four days, Hubs has an appointment at the cancer center for his 3-year, 36,000-mile checkup. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years. It feels like yesterday, and it also feels like forever ago. But that appointment is coming up. He’s super-stressed at work; I don’t know what’s going on there, because he has never been one to talk about things that happen at work. (He says he thinks about work enough while he’s there so he doesn’t want to talk about it at home.) He’s stressed about his mom in the nursing home. He doesn’t take good care of himself. Put all that together and you get a perfect storm for health problems.

I can’t control whether or not Hubs’ cancer has returned. There’s nothing I can do to change that.

Controlling every other little thing isn’t going to keep Hubs cancer-free either. So why can’t I make it stop?

A Must-Listen: The Catholic Foodie and Gary Zimak talk about worry

This morning I was up early worrying. I have a meeting later this morning, and I know the meeting itself will be fine. It’s just the pre-meeting preparation that gets to me. Every time.

I’m actually glad that I signed up to bring soup for the lunch we’ll have after the meeting, because cooking is one way I relax. Chopping, stirring, measuring and pouring–I find that very calming.

No one else in the house was awake yet, so I decided to cue up a podcast to keep me company while I prepared that soup. Since I was going to be cooking, I figured I’d catch up on an episode of The Catholic Foodie Show. Yesterday’s program featured Gary Zimak, a Catholic author and speaker who lives in a neighboring town and who specializes in the subject of fear, worry and faith.

As Gary and Jeff shared about worry and how it tends to short-circuit prayer (except for the “God, help me!” kind), they encouraged listeners to remember to always praise God.

That reminded me of a line from St. Francis of Assisi’s Letter to the Faithful. Copy this down and put it where you’ll see it every day:

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility.

This is going to be my focus, going forward. Let’s see where it takes me.

from fear to faithRight now I’m reading Gary’s book From Fear to Faith: A Worrier’s Guide to Discovering Peace. It’s an excellent book to bring to Adoration. Chapters are short and there’s a lot of room for thought, prayer and reflection.

You can listen to this podcast here. When you’re done listening, bookmark the Breadbox Media website or download their app (free for iOS and Android) so you can find your favorite Catholic radio shows online or listen to archived episodes!

The fine print: the link to Gary Zimak’s book is an Amazon affiliate link, which puts a little extra in my pocket at no cost to you when you purchase this book through my link. Thanks!

My Superpower: Thinking the Worst

This afternoon I got ready to drive Hubs back to the airport so he can go back to Kansas. (This is the fifth straight week of business trips. He says the end is in sight.) We waited for The Kid to get off the school bus, and Hubs gave him a hug goodbye.

“Wait, he’s not coming?” I asked.

“He’s 13. He can stay by himself.”

That was my cue to ratchet up the anxiety level to Red Alert. Not because I’m worried that The Kid would do anything he shouldn’t do while we were out. Not because I’m worried that he’d run into blood-sugar issues while we were out. Not because I’m worried that someone would try to rob the house while The Kid was the only one home.

I was freaking out because this trip to the airport was happening at the beginning of rush hour. And the airport is in another state. It’s 30 minutes from home, but it’s in another state. And what if there was a car accident? Then The Kid would be home alone for God knows how long until someone could get to him. Especially if the accident happened on the way to the airport.

I’ve been home for almost 2 hours and I still clench up inside to think of it. This cartoon sums me up perfectly:

Anxiety Girl, found at NatalieDee.com
Anxiety Girl, found at NatalieDee.com

Now, obviously I got back here just fine. But that trip home from the airport, while I was alone in the car, was a tough one.

I wasn’t paralyzed enough to keep me from being able to make that drive. But I certainly had a hard time getting past those irrational thoughts that kept me from making a mildly-stressful trip in only a mildly-stressed state of mind. And the whole time I was well aware that I was making a mountain out of a molehill.

Yup. I’m a mess. And I have no idea how to stop it.

But I Switched to Decaf (well, Half-Caff, anyway)

I was having a really good (and quite productive) morning. By 10:30 AM I’d started laundry, hung one load on the line, had some “prayer and coffee” time, made my to-do list for the day, set up the kids’ chore schedule for the week, and gone to Mass, the bakery and the supermarket.8046b-michelesplanners

Then I got home and started working the phones and the planner.

I needed to call the soccer camp where we’d just registered Little Brother to clear up a few questions (such as why I’d never received an email confirming his registration, for starters).

I called the pediatrician to schedule Little Brother’s physical.

I called my gynecologist to make an appointment for my mother-in-law, who has dementia and needs to see a gynecologist (but can’t remember who her GYN is or when she last saw that doctor).

I scheduled 4 college visits in the next 3 weeks for Middle Sister.

And then I couldn’t settle down. I was so agitated that I couldn’t sit here and write. I’m having a hard time writing this, actually. I can’t get calm.

I decided to run over to the GYN’s office and pick up the new-patient packet that needs to be filled out before the appointment. Then I went to the Carter’s store to get a baby gift for my cousin’s little girl who’s being christened this weekend.

Driving home, I was still agitated and really wondering what the problem is. I’d had 2 cups of coffee today, but one was half-caff and the other decaf. Yet I feel like I’ve had a whole pot of high-test.

Then I thought about how I spent my morning. Phone calls, scheduling of appointments and college visits and other things that are going to be unsettling at the very least–no wonder I’m agitated. Anxiety is in high gear right now.

And there will be no more coffee for this mama today.