Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on May 12, 2013
There is that whole saying that you don’t know your faith until it is tested. Well before 2010, I would have said that I had pretty good faith, but it had never really been tested.
Over the past two years it has been tested greatly. However, for some reason that I can’t even figure out on my own I still believe. I was laying in bed the other night being pretty mad at God, which is the usual feeling I have for my creator at the moment. However, I had to stop and think for a moment, “Well I must still believe in Him if I am still spending all this energy being mad at Him” I dug a bit deeper looking for that seed that bit of faith I can’t get rid of, even through trials and pain. For some reason the seed is still there. For some reason I can’t even fathom it is there. I have no idea why I still believe, and yet I do. I can’t even explain it. My belief has changed though. I used to believe in and fear greatly all the dogma and rules. I don’t feel that way anymore. My relationship with the creator has grown into one of a bit more maturity. One where I can be real, and voice my opinions, and yes even my extensive anger.
I began to wonder if it was perhaps the many answered prayers.
Before I married my ex husband, I was single and miserable in Chicago. I was working as a consultant, and I hated it. I worked tons of hours at a desk and the rest of the time I slept. I felt the true tedium of life, and had no one to share it with. One day I went to church, and in tears said this prayer, “God, please either find me someone to marry, or teach me to be happy alone!” Literally two months later my ex husband waltzed into my life. At the time I thought it was an answered prayer. Here was my dream come true. When I think back to that prayer I get chills all over. God actually answered both prayers. He found me a husband, but one who would neglect me to the point that I had to learn to be happy alone, which I was just starting to do when he left. And now I have had to spend the last year and a half really learning to be happy alone. I know I have said it before, and I will say it again, be careful how you pray, and the answers you get might not be what you thought.
Two weeks before my husband left me, I knew something was off. I went to church, and prayed for God to fix my marriage. I stayed there for an hour begging and pleading. I went home for a week, and not much changed. The next week I went to church again, and this time, I knelt for about five minutes, and said, “God I am so tired, whatever your will is for my marriage is fine” I thought his will was to fix it. I actually left church that day and had a pretty good afternoon. When my husband got home from work, he grabbed a beer, told me he wanted to talk, and sent the kids upstairs. Then he told me he wanted a divorce. Upon sharing this story with my sister, she thought it was a very quickly answered prayer.
I have no idea why I still believe, but for some reason I do, and for some reason I am trying to be more careful with my prayers. I actually stopped praying completely for a very long time. I have recently come to the knowledge, that I never grew up learning how to be a part of any team. I don’t know what real partnership looks like or what real love looks like. I think God is teaching me this through my kids a bit. However, just very recently with great trembling and trepidation, I have prayed for God to teach me how to love, and how to be loved, and that if he intends to ever send me another life partner, for it to be someone who loves me, and who will be a partner with me in all things. Have my back in other words, and whose back I would be happy to have.
I am a little worried, because I have no idea what God will make of that, but that seed is still there, and apparently it has some prayers for me to utter.
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on April 6, 2013
My divorce has officially been final a year. It has been a year of learning, growing, and moving on. Today, I made my first on-line video depicting Year One of this new dynamic for me and the kids.
It is amazing how far you can come in one year. I always thought that a family of four was just about perfect. The loss of that number was hard to stomach at first. However, it looks like three might be the perfect number for me and the kids.
CLICK HERE and Have a look at our YEAR ONE!
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on April 5, 2013
You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it.
I love this piece of a quote by Jim Morrison. We are all so scared of pain, and yet when I was in the greatest pain of my life, that is the one time I can truly say I felt God. While living in my pain, my mind was so quiet. It was the quietest my mind has ever been. When in terrible pain, there is not much else to focus on, and so the mind quiets down, and a true focus can be found.
Yes, maybe I was hallucinating, and even now, it is hard to recall the moment without reading my own writings about the moment.
In intense frustration, I have been looking for reality, for beliefs and for understanding of my own life and how I have been living it. My mind has lost the quiet of the pain, but the scars are still there, and so the search is now deeper and more centered.
Now looking for labels and understanding of the portion of pain I caused myself is much harder. The righting of a life, and a looking for peace and reality is much much more difficult than the experience of pain.
In intense frustration, I questioned my therapist last week, “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?” he is a retired Lutheran preacher. Here is what he said.
“You know that line in the bible about the sins of the fathers being repeated upon the sons and daughters for generations to come? Well, I don’t believe that is what God intends, but I believe that is what happens.” Then he said, “My father was an angry man, and I have to remember every day that I don’t want to be an angry man.”
Moving on is so much harder than the experience of actual pain. I believe that is why so many people get stuck in the survivor mode, and never move on to the thriving mode. Survivor of anything, not just breast cancer and divorce. It is easy to get caught up in the peace of the pain.
A priest told me once, during a class for my teaching license, that he was jealous of the trials I had been through. Apparently he had not been through any yet, and was praying for some trials. When he said that to me, I shuddered a bit, because, who would ask for pain. Job himself didn’t enjoy his trials very much.
However, now two years out from my cancer diagnosis, and one year out from the finalization of my divorce, I have to say; I am beginning to understand, that until I can see the blessings of the pain, I will not see the truth of thriving in all it’s amazing glory.
Until we can be thankful for our trials, we can’t truly move on. I believe that there is beauty to be found here and now in this life. I love Christian radio stations, but I can’t stand this one song, that talks about us not being where we belong. If we don’t belong here, than where. If the trials of this life are of no consequence than what is the point.
To be quiet honest, God and I haven’t been speaking much lately, but very recently with light and simple steps I have begun to pray again, and I have a new prayer.
I am reaching into something that C.S. Lewis talks about in his Narnia books. When the children earn something in the world of Narnia they hang onto the gift for all of eternity. So weather you believe in one life or many lives, the lessons you learn will be yours forever is the idea.
And so this is my new prayer, “God, please I am learning so much in this life through pain and trail, please let me hang onto the gifts of these lessons for eternity!”
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on April 2, 2013
Last year, I took my kids to Utah for spring break to teach them to ski, and this year we are spending spring break in Colorado cementing their new found skills. It has been such a fun, awesome and exciting time! Here are some really cool shots and videos of our adventure!
Kenny getting ready for ski school.
McKinley playing in the snow and with her friend Jacob
McKinley, Mommy and Kenny, heading to ski school and then on top of the mountain
Our sleigh ride. Hot coco break!
Video of Kenny Skiing!!!
Video of McKinley Skiing!!!
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on March 22, 2013
I wanted to update everyone on the “Hugs for Isaac” fundraiser that I am holding with some students at my school. For those of you that read the original post. We are selling “Hugs” Tiger’s Eye bracelets, for $20 a piece, and 90% of the proceeds are going to Isasc’s famiy.
Issac is a 5 year old child, the nephew of one of our Dominican Sisters at my school. Isaac is dying of neuroblastoma. The family has been told to just enjoy the time they have left with Isaac, but unfortunately all the medical care has been so expensive, there hasn’t been much money for enjoyable family outtings and activities.
As of today, we have raised a bit over $1000 for Isaac’s family!!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am!!!! I want to thank each and everyone of you who bought a bracelet, or just donated to the cause. Because of you Isaac’s family, will have some money to do a fun outing. Isaac’s mom, said that he loves the water, and there is a hotel in their area, that has a beautiful and fun indoor waterpark. They are planning on spending some quality family time there together with their wonderful baby boy.
FYI – I am not closing the fundraiser until next Wednesday March 27th, so there is still time to get your donation or bracelet purchase in. If you are interested please call me at 602-790-6053!!!
Hugs, because we are all HELD UNDER GOD’S SPIRIT!!!!
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on March 18, 2013
For a while, when I was sick, I started meditating. It really helped. However, somehow after my ex-husband moved out, I fell off the meditation wagon, so to speak. Recently Oprah along with Deepak, started a 21 day meditation challenge and I must say; I am loving it! I just meditated for my eighth day in a row, and it is really calming me down, and helping me to find my center. I want to talk for a moment about my three favorite mantras so far.
1.) Om Bhavam Namah
This means; I am absolute existence. I am a field of all possibilities.
As I get older, I find that I am starting to love the phrase, “I don’t know”
What do you want to be when you grow up, “I don’t know yet” would have been so much more preferable to the complete and unchangeable predictions I always made starting from the age of 5. That whole dream of being a Doctor, took me down an incredibly painful path.
How much better to settle into your surroundings and just wait to see. For someone like me (a planner) this can be very hard to do, but I must tell you that it is also quite liberating.
The thought of being a field of all possibilities is so much more beautiful than the thought of being tied to only one path and possible outcome.
When I first started teaching, I used to envision myself in this same classroom 40 years from now an old lady wandering around between the desks, and it used to depress me. I am so much more calm and happy about the possibility now, because I have accepted the fact that I have no idea what I will be doing 40 years from now.
All I can tell you for certain is that I am teaching now, and I love it. I have a few trips planned with my children, but I am open to what those adventures will offer the three of us. After that, “I don’t know” what my life holds, and not knowing is a beautiful thing. It is after all the journey that makes life worth living.
2.) Om Anandham Namah
This means; My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.
How many times have you done something for an outcome that you intended, without regard for the action or the cost?
Be honest with yourself. Are you friends with certain people because you think they might do something for you? In an even worse scenario; did you marry someone because of something they might offer you? Or even worse; did you divorce someone because of some greener grass you may have the possibility of partaking in?
Now be honest with yourself again; those people you were friends with because of something they might offer you (did they ever offer it, and if by chance they did; was it any good anyway?) Did your spouse offer all the dreams you had before marriage, did you marry for an outcome, or do you know the work that comes with the development of real and lasting love? Finally, if you left for merely greener grass, is that grass really greener, does it require less water and tending?
When your actions are blissfully free from your attachment to outcome, you have in fact freed yourself from the bonds of what human life has to offer. You can make choices for your higher good, rather than from that needy and scared fear of abandonment or codependency place that unfortunately defines the basic human situation.
3.) Om Kriyam Namah
This means; My actions are aligned with cosmic law
How important is this mantra when you consider the last one? If you are blissfully free from attachment to the outcome following your actions, don’t you hope that your actions are aligned with cosmic law? Christians call this, “Doing the will of God and Christ”. If your actions are aligned with cosmic law, or the will of God, you are more able to be unattached to outcome, because your actions are properly aligned anyway. It is all God’s will, or all Cosmic Law.
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on March 11, 2013
I have had a pretty quiet day. I went to brunch with some girlfriends this morning. I had tons of plans after that, and not one of them panned out. Instead I spent the day home, weeding through paperwork and relaxing while watching old movies on TV.
Anyway, I was just watching Napoleon Dynamite a minute ago, and I have to say, Ahhhh the 80’s and you poor people who were either not born, or too young or old to enjoy them.
In this movie Napoleon is a high school kid in the 80’s in Colorado, and for most of the movie he runs around in a pair of moon boots. Do you remember moon boots? I sure do!!!! I had two pairs in my younger life. See pictures below of some ski trips my parents took me on to cement my skiing skills. I can promise you for most of these trips I was wearing those spectacular moon boots.
In this picture, you can see I am in rock hard ski boots, but I promise the minute my friend Ian and I took off our ski boots, it was moon boots all the way!!!!
I am older on this particular trip, but I promise that to top off that amazing 80′s perm I had a pair of awesome blue 80′s moon boots to match styling up my feet below!
We thought it was so cool to swim in a heated pool surrounded by snow, but I promise it is a rocking pair of moon boots that are keeping my toes warm for the swimsuit photo shoot!
I have to say there is one thing I remember really really well about moon boots. While they work fabulously in climates such as Colorado (Dry and not very wet snow) they work abysmally in cold wet Indiana weather. I remember the first puddle I stepped in wearing those amazing pair of moon boots and the way they just sucked up all that water like some amazing foot sponge.
Anyway, after watching this funny funny film, I wondered if they still sold moon boots, so I looked it up! THOSE BABIES SELL FOR OVER $100 a pop today in the 21st century!!! Can you believe it! I guess my children will not be blessed with a pair of moon boots for our Winter Park outing this spring break. We will just have to be content with soggy tennis shoes, and rock solid ski boots. Anyone wanting to donate a pair of these rocking moon boots to either of my children for our impending ski outing feel free to contact me via Katrina_kaczmarek@yahoo.com where I will make sure to let you know proper sizes and color preferences!
Love and Hugs my adventuring Friends!!! xo
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on March 10, 2013
I had no idea, but apparently, I am an introvert!!!! It is crazy what you learn about yourself, when you take the time after much tragedy to actually explore yourself.
I was always sure that I was an extrovert. I have lots of friends and acquaintances. I enjoy a good get together, and I am a teacher, so I talk for a living.
However, lately I have been really questioning my assumed extrovert personality. I have weeded through my past, and I have realized that I prefer one on one or small group functions. As I thought through my past, I can still re-experience uncomfortable parties where I did not know many people in attendance. I can re-live in my mind the uncomfortable wedding (even with my then husband at my side) where I only knew the bride or groom. I can envision the glass of wine that I needed to calm down loosen up and have a good time.
I really do like people, but I have discovered that I prefer to work alone, which is what makes teaching so perfect for me. I also prefer to pen my thoughts. I can’t believe I have kept a blog journal going for two and a half years now, but I have. I can’t believe how much I am learning to enjoy my newfound alone time. I haven’t been alone this much EVER! Now that I have to share my children I have been granted time I didn’t expect and didn’t really want, but I am starting to learn to sink into it. I think in the process it has made me a better person when I do have activities that require socialization. I am totally present when I am with my children, and I am totally present when I do find myself in social situations.
I am also learning to choose my social situations carefully. I choose situations in which and people with whom I wish to be involved.
It is adding much peace to my life to be making these discoveries about myself, and it is adding much clarity in choosing my path. I had a day alone today. My children are with my ex-in-laws this weekend, so I had some alone and unplanned time. I spent the majority of the day writing and reading. I wrote all over town. I spent some time in the library, and some time at Barnes and Noble. I spent some time at a café, and I spent sometime at home in my family room. I decided late in the afternoon to see a movie with scenery that interested me greatly. Now I am home finishing up the last piece of writing before closing my computer and cuddling up with a love story that I find timeless.
Whoever you are and wherever you are in life, take some time to discover who you are. You may be WAY ahead of me and already know. However, coming from someone who always thought she was an extrovert and is actually an introvert, I am just saying you might want to double check. Here is a great web site with a test if you are interested. I actually saw this woman’s best selling book at Barnes and Noble ☺
One more thing! I have a funny story about me being a complete ass with my foot in my mouth at a party. Again the uncomfortable situation! This was a big party where I didn’t know anyone except for my parents and my date. This happened a long time ago, I am not even sure how many years ago, but my parents had taken me to a party at the hospital where my dad worked. This wasn’t even a costume party, but when I was introduced to a certain man, the first thing out of my mouth was, “My! That is the greatest fake nose I have ever seen!” The people I was with (my father included) looked at me with mouths agape and faces plastered with utter shock and horror. The man himself handled it quite well I must say. He grabbed his nose, shook it a bit and said, “No, honey it’s the real thing” and walked away. Foot in Mouth for sure!!!!
Cheers and may we all encounter some self-discovery!
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on March 8, 2013
My original oncologist moved to New Orleans about three fourths of the way through my treatment. I stayed with her partner, because frankly I was too tired, and depressed to go through the switch. I decided a while ago that we didn’t really click, and so today I made the jump. I went through all the paperwork (quite the size of a lengthy novel now) and changed doctors. It seems so easy, but we humans get attached to routines, and we don’t like change as much as we claim to like change. So switching doctors was a big step in the process of honoring and learning to listen to my gut, my hunches and my own inner instincts. While waiting for the new doctor (who I am REALLY HAPPY WITH) I took some notes in the waiting room. It is funny, while fighting cancer I was never really depressed. It was a job. However, now when I go back for the check ups, I hate the process. I hate spending an afternoon there when it is beautiful outside, and I don’t want to be associated with “the disease” anymore. I want to be done, so these little trips to the hematology/oncology office feel like a bad little secret that I am trying desperately to keep.
As I walked in today the office was busy like a beehive. They must have had many appointments today. A quick scan of the room told me that, again I was the youngest cancer survivor or fighter or whatever in the area. The room was littered with signs of aging. I am only 37, it stings, and makes me think yet again, “Why me”. I don’t really ask that so often anymore, but there is a sense of gloom on these cancer doctor days, kind of a necessary evil and savior all at the same time. I guess something can be bad and good at the same time after all.
I can get in and out of my plastic surgeons office in less than 10 minutes. He is never late. Just goes to show the difference between life and death procedures versus cosmetic procedures. In one we need the doctor to save our lives, so we are willing to wait and wait and wait. In the other situation plastic surgeons (at least in Scottsdale) are a dime a dozen. You don’t need to wait; they need to earn your business and wait on you so to speak. I spend a good three hours here today.
The plants don’t even look happy to be here. In a fruitless attempt to cheer the place up, someone has placed a few houseplants around the room, but they are drooping and begging to be let out. The walls cry out in their painful cement clay color, littered with black and white pictures of Native Americans, whose race has unfortunately endured their own personal pain. Similar to that of a cancer patient I am sure.
The only splash of color to be found is well behind the only sign of youth in the room. The colorful paintings sit behind the reception walls. It appears to be a desperate attempt to separate the young and healthy from the pain on the other side of the wall.
I am in the office of one of the best oncologists in the Southwest. That is a good thing, and yet WHO would ever want to get excited about such a thing. Life can be a pretty tricky game.
And out walks the nurse dressed in her cheerful scrubs of happier places not looking up, looking down at the paper in her hand, and as she stumbles through and butchers my name, it doesn’t matter, because it is my turn!”
“Katarina Kaczmarek, Katarina, come on back!”
This is not meant to be post of depression. I am working on my descriptive writing here. As some of you know, I have dreams of one day completing a novel, so I am working on my descriptions. As I waited at the oncologist office the other afternoon, I thought it was a good time to practice, and to take notice of my surroundings. This description, to me, is a very accurate picture of what someone feels, sees and thinks about while waiting for their cancer cure!
Posted by Katrina Kaczmarek on March 1, 2013
As some of you may know, about a year ago I bought another domain called Adventures of a Single Mom.com. It was and still is my intention to eventually blog the adventures I have with my kids at that web-site, but as I haven’t really gotten it up and running the way I want it to be yet, I am going to start adding my adventure blogs here, and somehow, hopefully connect them in the future.
As my readers know, I have now been divorced for almost a year. The one year anniversary of my divorce will arrive on March 29th. It has been a roller coaster, but is has also been a really big opportunity for personal growth.
One thing I know for sure, is that I still want very much for my kids, to have every opportunity that children of married parents might have. I also want other single parents out there to realize that they can do it on their own, they can have adventures (AMAZING Adventures) with their children, even single. I want them to realize that adventures can be big, but they can also be small. It is all about the time, the Quality time, that you spend with your children, married or single.
So this is one single mom’s attempt to show her children the world, and to have adventures with the new family dynamic that has been created.
I am writing this, because I am getting very excited about an upcoming adventure. As some of you know, last year for spring break I drove my kids 12 hours up to Alta, and Snowbird in Utah and gave them the opportunity to learn to snow ski!!! It was amazing as you can see from the videos below. Kenny was only four, and McKinley was only eight.
This is McKinley running the flags in Snowbird
Video McKinley Ski’s the Flags!
I am trying to get a video up here of Kenny skiing the flags, but as of yet I haven’t been able to get it off of my phone! Hopefully it will be up soon!
They really took to it!!! I have friends from graduate school who just happen to live about 10 minutes from the slopes, so we stayed in their beautiful Utah mountain house, the kids played, we visited, and we headed up the mountain during the day to tackle the slopes.
As you all know we live in the sunny Southwest so my children we aching to see some snow. God was watching over us, because right after we arrived, it snowed all night and the following morning, my kids were fortunate to jump and play in this!!!
Kids Romping in the snow our first morning in Utah!
Here are some more images of our amazing ski adventure last year!
Kenny with two of our friends!
Mom and Kids Ready to ski Alta!
And Finally Easter Morning, the snow down by the house had melted, and we enjoyed a sunny day of egg hunting and playing!
Now for the exciting part!!! The adventure continues. We have been invited to spend this spring break up in Winter Park with some friends for four days, so we are going to cement the skiing skills and knowledge!!! Also these friends are going to treat us to a day of sledding, which my kids have yet to try!!! Following our little trip up the mountain we are going to spend the last four days of our adventure trip staying with friends down in the beautiful city of Denver, where I will treat my kids to a ride up to Rocky Mountain National Park, and possibly a day down in Boulder! Never too soon to start looking at colleges right
Anyway, I hope that I have convinced some of you out there! YOU CAN DO IT!!! Take your kids by the hand and show them an adventure! I promise, you will never regret it! These after all, are what dreams and memories are made of!!!