Stupid kids

Kids are so stupid. By kids I mean young “adults”.  By stupid, I mean really, really, really dumb. I know that sounds harsh, but I stand behind it 100%. I know for a fact that this is true, because I was stupid too. I was so stupid that I still apologize to my parents weekly for the ages of 12-23. (For real, I do. Ask my mom!) No matter what other, let us say “wiser,” people told me, I had to find out for myself. Whatever advice was lovingly offered, I shrugged it off. Whatever warnings were given, they went unheeded. I was your typical, bullheaded, stubborn, self absorbed teenager. The world revolved around me and my friends and we knew best. We were…in a word, invincible.

I see how stupid we were, now. You know, hindsight being 20/20 and all that. We made foolish choices. We were so concerned with ourselves and what we wanted to do, that we seldom considered how our actions would affect others. Our stupidity wasn’t done intentionally to hurt others, but it did. We weren’t aware of the collateral damage of our actions, but it was always there. This has become so much more apparent to me now that I am, well, a parent. (ha!) Now that I am on this side, I feel the sting of my kids stupidity. I feel the hurt and disappointment that my parents must have felt. I feel the anger and the sadness of realizing that our kids aren’t always going to be what we want them to be. But I have also experienced an unexpected feeling of mercy towards my stupid kids. I feel bad that they have to learn the hard way. My heart hurts a little bit to know that sometimes life hurts. My kids aren’t invincible. They will definitely make dumb choices. And one of the hard lessons that life teaches us is that stupidity eventually catches up with you and you will have to deal with the consequences. That is how we grow. It is also how we learn. So if my kids have to learn the hard way (like their mother), I will be upset for sure, but I will also try to be forgiving. I will try to remember how stupid I was, a long, long, long time ago. I will try to remember that my parents were upset too, but they always loved me. And I will always love my stupid kids.

The first step…

Today is the first day of the “Hough Grand Adventure!” This is also known as the “period of hugemungous transition” or “I hope that I don’t lose the last shred of sanity” or “is there enough coffee or wine in the world???” My sweet husband starts his new job today. He has been waiting for this opportunity for years…yes, literally years. He is going to be amazing at his new job. I just know that. His whole life has been preparing him for this. It is so crazily perfect for him. Wow. I am 100% on board with all of it, the new job, the move, the transition, seriously all of it. It is going to be great for our entire family. I know this. My brain TOTALLY knows this. The rest of me has automatically shifted to “Holy Crap! There is soooooo freakin much to do!” I am looking face to face with a house full of 11 people’s crap. That is a lot of crap! As I always do I am panicking and I feel very overwhelmed, sort of paralyzed. I am really good at looking 10 miles down the road. In some cases this is a good thing I am usually prepared (mostly) for what is coming. For example, the day that they called Brian to see if he was interested in interviewing for this position, I had a list of potential houses for us to look at. I may go a tad bit overboard, but that is just how I roll.  In other cases it would be much better if I could be more like my better half and live in the moment. He refuses to look too far ahead. This can be very annoying. I was begging him to look at houses and he flat out refused. I was figuring out which schools would be the best for the kids, which neighborhoods had the best parks, where the public library is. He, on the other hand was all, “I don’t even have the job yet!”

Holy Freakin Moly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Ok. Now that I got that out of the way, maybe I can actually accomplish something. I need to clean and organize and purge and pack and plan…..Yet here I sit, sipping my coffee, on my couch, binge watching Rookie Blue while I am typing this.

Ok, pity party is over now. It is time to do something….right now….ok, now for real…

New adventures can be exhausting, mentally and physically. The great adventure is full of unknowns, like where will we live, when will we move, how will we sell our house…At least I have a good team around me. My husband and the Houghlings will be there with me the whole time. My family, my church people, my friends, all of them will be there. I know this. But still, Holy crap.

Family Prayers and yes God actually hears them

Soooooo we do, or I guess TRY to do, family prayers each night. If you actually watched us, you would probably have no idea that we are, in fact, praying. The only give away is that we are all holding rosaries. Well, those of us that have not had our rosaries confiscated for using them as a lasso, we are holding them. We have good intentions. We all start out sitting around the living room on the rocking chair, recliner and our ginormous sectional. There is, without fail, at least one argument over who sits where and by whom. I usually end up with Aiden on one lap and Jonathan on the other one. Good thing that God has seen to bless me with plenty of lap to go around! Our prayers usually go something like this:
Our father, Who Art in Heaven, stop kicking your brother, Hallowed be thy, I said stop it NOW, name. Thy kingdom come, get your feet off of your brother’s face, Thy will be done, NOW! On earth as it is in Heaven…
You get the idea. It is because of this that I have often wondered if it really counts. Does God hear our prayers in the midst of the chaos?

Well, my friends the answer is a resounding yes. YES, God always hears us. I know this for a fact because we have been praying for a new job for Brian for 10 years now. There were many job opportunities that had come up over the years that we were sure were “the one,” but they never came to fruition. Each time we prayed that if it was where God wanted him that he would get the job. But we always prayed that he would only get an offer if that was where God wanted him. Time and again we were disappointed. You see, my husband has been blessed with an amazing gift of being able to understand and explain the faith. He has used this gift in many ways over the years, through Faith Formation, Youth Group, Marriage Prep, the Catholic Men’s Fellowship group, Pastoral Council and many other things. Being a part of these groups allowed him to utilize these gifts in ways that he would never be able to in his daytime job as an accountant. It has been our prayer that he would somehow find a job that would allow him to some how use these gifts in his work. I begged God to provide him with a career that would allow him to go to a job that he liked. Every night at family prayers the kids would pray, “That Daddy would find a new job…” Over and over again, we prayed this prayer for, well longer than half of our kids have been alive!

Over the years my prayer had changed and instead of praying for God to provide Brian with a job that he would like, I started to pray that He would instead bless him with the grace to accept His Will for him, whatever that might be. If it wasn’t a new job, then I just wanted him to have peace with where he was. I saw this prayer answered over and over again. He would settle into his job with a new sense of calmness. But after a while I could see the stress of his current situation start to catch up to him. He was always thankful to have a job, but it didn’t make sense that God would want him where he was. Well, you are probably thinking that it just wasn’t the right time. It wasn’t God’s timing yet. You would be right. How many times have we wanted something and have begged God, much like a toddler stomping our feet and whining that He just give us what we want? Sadly, for me it happens more than I care to admit. This situation was one of those for years…and years. We finally got to the point where we didn’t understand it, but for whatever reason, Brian was where he was supposed to be, whether it was what we wanted or not. We just accepted it.

Our prayer changed again into something like this, “Ok God, I have no idea what your plans for us are. At this point it would take a miracle and You just dropping a job from heaven into Brian’s lap. But whatever you want for us, we are in. Just please give us a clue.” I know, it isn’t the most poetic prayer, but it was a truly heartfelt one.

Well, it happened. It actually happened. God literally dropped a job from heaven right into his lap! A couple of weeks ago the phone rang and the caller ID read Franciscan University of Steubenville. I almost didn’t answer it, but since that is where Coley goes to school, I figured that I should in case something had happened. It wasn’t Coley, but instead a person from the Christian Outreach Department. They were calling to see if Brian might be interested in a position at the school. The position would be to handle the budgets and such for the retreats and conferences that the University hosts. Ummmm yes, he would definitely be interested in working for one of the best Catholic Universities in the country!!! I immediately called him at work and relayed the message. He was intrigued and cautiously excited about the opportunity. He was curious as to how they had his resume, because he hadn’t applied for the position. He didn’t even know about it. Apparently they had it on file from a position that he had interviewed for over a year ago. The director of HR remembered him and recommended him for the position. Wow! He first had a phone interview and then they asked him to come in for a final interview. When I talked to him after his interview, he said that he thought that it had gone well, but who knew what would happen.

They called him after the weekend was over to offer him a position, but it actually wasn’t the job that he had initially applied for. Instead they offered him the position of Director of Conference Operations! I have no idea what that really means, but it sure sounds important! Needless to say it is the answer to many, many prayers. It is going to be an interesting year for us. Brian starts his job in a week and a half in Steubenville Oh, which is about an hour and 45 minutes from our house. Once again God has taken care of us and my extremely generous cousin and her husband are allowing Brian to stay in their river house that is about 20 minutes from the school. This will make it much easier on him. He can stay for a few nights a week to help with the crazy commute. It will also be nice during the winter, so that he isn’t making that drive in a foot of snow. God’s fingerprints are all over this one! We are going to take the winter to get the house ready to put on the market and hopefully get it sold before school starts next year. We don’t want to pull the kids out of school in the middle of the year, especially during Jake’s senior year. This gives us some time to figure out where we want to live and check out the schools around there and just to process everything. It is a grand adventure! I am so excited and thrilled and terrified and pretty much every emotion that you can think of. That pretty much sums up how I feel right now. But most of all, I am so proud of my husband, and I am thankful that God answered our prayers in an even better way than we could have ever imagined. Thank you God!

Sooooo, stay tuned for some interesting posts in the upcoming year. It’s going to be a wild one!