Saturday, May 30, 2015

Truly Present

Spring brings new life, hope, refreshment, and new beginnings. For me this year, it's brought sickness and medical issues. Not directly to me, but to several people I love. I visited my mom on the east coast back in March. She's been having serious health issues which prompted the trip. I brought Andrew and Kaitlyn with me in the hopes they would cheer her up and create some nice memories together. Instead, while we were there she suffered from a stroke and had to be hospitalized. She was still in when we had to fly home.

The kids entertain themselves with a mini-casino
 Leaving in that way was SO HARD! The week we were there was one of the worst I can remember. Those who've had a front row seat to watch a dear family member suffer can attest to the feelings of helplessness and inadequacy as you know there is nothing you can do to remedy the situation. Hopefully my two children will not remember this as a snapshot of their otherwise very engaging and child-loving grandmom. One evening, I sat in the family room I grew up in thinking about the lack of interaction between my mom and the kids and the bad memories they were creating. I lamented, " We shouldn't have come." My dad rebuked me saying, " I'm glad your here. I need the company. I need someone to talk to. I need the distraction. I'm very glad you're here!"

That was enough for me to realize our very presence was the lift he needed to have the strength to carry the burden of that difficult week. We were right where we needed to be-- not so much for my mom, but for my dad.

Recently I received a text from a cousin that I had just re-connected with while I was visiting my parents. She had received a terrible diagnosis and was headed into surgery. Through the world of texting (which I happen to love for many situations), I've been able to stay present to her, assure her of our prayers and support, and receive regular updates. This has diminished the miles that separate us and even though I can't lend a shoulder in-person, we've kept a connection and she's thanked me for "being there with her". Present even though physically not.

As I write, I've been at the hospital with my husband for three straight days and nights. He's had major abdominal surgery that will require a long recovery at home. I slept one night on a sofa in a lobby like a hobo, until they brought a sleep chair in for me so I can rest at his side. I haven't breathed in fresh air or let the sun kiss my skin since arriving. Our kids are home fending for themselves and I think it's wonderful that they are stepping up to care for one another and also take charge of the activity schedule and pet care. We've received many offers for rides and food, but they've got this and I am so grateful for older children when extended family isn't nearby. 


I've been able to focus on my husband and be attentive to his needs. Whether it's covering him with an extra blanket, combing his hair, looking up the patron saint of pain, or simply holding his hand, I have no distractions tugging me away; no agenda  or to-do list spinning around in my head. For the past three days I am present to him and even though he sleeps alot of the time and the nurses have been wonderful with their care, my presence brings comfort and companionship and tells him we are in this together-- he just got the raw end of the deal. I am ever thankful for being able to stay here and weather this storm united with my spouse and once again, I'm keenly aware that this is where I am called to be, completely present.


While I nurture my husband and beg prayers for his recovey, I am fed spiritually. This hospital is world-renowned and attracts patients from all over the globe to come here for treatment. I've found solace in the chapel sevearl times a day. This one is different than the plain chapels I've visited in other hospitals. Tucked off in the corner, with a kneeler placed in front, stands a tabernacle holding the Blessed Sacrament. My Jesus is also physically present here! I've watched numerous medical personnel stop in before starting a shift to kneel before this holy throne. What comfort to know He is here and feeding those who care for our sick loved ones. I
      I've also knelt before this sacred spot to pray the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and just speak my heart. I attended a noon mass yesterday and was able to hand-out some Divine Mercy holy cards both in English and Spanish. It's such an honor to both be given spiritual peace and participate in spreading His message, especially to people who are going through trials right now. 

Outside the chapel in a main hallway hangs this picture:

Next to it is an explanation which reads that this was taken at the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, using film. The miraculous white apparitions showed up once the film was developed. They are believed to be those of Jesus/Mary and angels. I was pretty impressed to see this hanging in such a prominent public place! 

The True Presence is here and inspires me to be present to all those in need. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter Daybook

Outside my window:

Another gray, damp, dreary day. I call this New Jersey weather and  I sure don't miss it. Fortunately, in Texas it is short-lived and sprinkled with days of sunshine and spring-like weather. It has been relatively cold since the holidays with our 'winter' extending longer than usual this year. Our fireplace wasn't working until we had it serviced at the end of January. We sure missed it and it's now a spot that the whole family has been gathering to warm ourselves.

Around the house:

It is clean and purge time. Typically after the holidays I start to nest and redecorate, or at least dream of how I'd like to redecorate. The purging has gone quite well. Last week, the 13 yo boy suddenly decided his room was too cluttered and he wanted to get rid of half the 'stuff' in there. I had planned a few other chores for that day, but immediately redirected our focus and handed him a 'donate' bag and a 'trash bag'. Both were filled!! (we actually had several of each bag)
I love little bird decorations. My family has generations of bird lovers and anything having to do with them reminds me of my childhood.  I picked up these cute little figurines to place around the house. I often find myself just looking at them and smiling!

I am creating: 

My friend recently delivered her 10th child! Now that I've been crocheting over a year and have made a few things worthy of giving away, I tried my hand at little baby booties. It took several tries of stitching and ripping, consultation with a friend, and many views of a youtube tutorial, but the end result wasn't half bad! I really enjoyed this project. 

Kaitlyn also did a little creating of her own. She was invited to a 50's theme birthday party. We had a quick study of Poodle Skirts, a little thrift shopping (her skirt is actually a halter-type top for a teen!), and she hand sewed the applique and beading. Such a cutie!!

Our newest endeavor is painting saint peg people for an upcoming exchange within our homeschool group. More on that next time!

I am reading:

"The One Thing is Three" by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, the third book in the All Hearts Afire program. I am once again blown away by his writing. This one focuses on Catholic theology and the Trinity. I am participating in the study of this book at my  parish. I feel so blessed to have participated in and facilitated groups based on his New Evangelization books. I have grown so much on my spiritual journey and just want to spread his message of Marian Consecration and Divine Mercy. I'm feeling called to something that I know will be relevant to spreading the Kingdom of God, just haven't quite figured it out yet. Hoping that upon finishing this book/program I will know what path God is calling me to. 

I am pondering:

Fasting. From The Word Among Us (lent 2015) "Fasting helps us see the difference between what we need and what we want, between what we have to do and what we want to do. It helps us push through the clutter in our lives so that we can find the clear, single-minded path that will get us closer to the Lord. As we fast, we come face-to-face with our reluctance to change--and we find the grace to step into God's transforming grace." I stink at fasting whether it's food, especially if it's food!, or just cutting back on non-essential busyness in my life. But, "When we link it (fasting) to prayer, fasting is also about experiencing spiritual breakthroughs." Did you catch in the above note that I feel God is calling me to something, but I don't know what? Hmmm. Also, "Our heavenly Father always responds when we fast with a disposition of humility and repentance. It makes our prayers of intercession more powerful." That's enough reason right there to put a little more effort into fasting. Pray for me, please?

I am praying for:

My mom is very sick right now and possibly will not recover. I am heading out to spend a week with her and my dad in 6 days. Please pray for safe travels and for my mom's healing? Thank you!

For better health:

I am finally getting caught up on some women health check-ups that are way overdue. I feel glad that I can give myself a little attention in this department. It's so easy to be the care-taker of our kids and spouses that we neglect ourselves. I just switched doctors too, which delayed my appointment a few months, but I'm really happy with my choice and feel like if I don't take care of me, I can't take care of my family. 

The rest of the week:

Is busy!! Hosting our parish's supper club on Saturday and need to cook a good, homemade Italian feast for 20+ guests, piano recital, and packing for our trip. Just agreed to rescue a pregnant mama dog from the shelter to keep safe until we leave. I still have this mama dog from last time:

I've become very attached to her!

Happy Lent!!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I made it through Advent and Christmas!

What a horrible title, right? I know! And I so wish I could write, " Thriving in Advent and Christmas" or " Reflections of a holy Advent and Christmas". But truly the most accurate title would be, " I tried really hard to have an awesome Advent and Christmas and it started out on track and somewhere between eating too much sugar in the Christmas baking and ringing in the New Year, I turned into a melancholic whirlwind of emotional mess", but who would want to read that?!!!

My intentions were really on target and everything was organized for a great Advent. I started by adding this prayer: Saint Andrew Novena . If anything was truly good during Advent in my spiritual walk, it was this prayer, said 15 times a day from Nov. 30 to Christmas Day. Yes, 15 times every. single. day. I found it best to do 5 in the morning, 5 at mid-day, and 5 in the evening/ bedtime. What did it do, well it focused my "busy-ness" on the true meaning and also gave me a chance to pray for a special intention each time. I loved it and will definitely keep it in as part of my Advent prep in future years.

  So many years I've wanted to have a Jesse Tree and actually keep up with it through the season. So we brought this lovely branch in our house and using Ann's new book , we dove in.

 All started well, until about half way through Advent. We did finish the book, albeit, not before Christmas (but before New Years) and it was a charming way to bring to life the story of Jesus' family tree and all those Old Testament Bible stories. We only finished making about half the ornaments, but that's okay cause there's always next year, right? We also finished the third in the trilogy, Bartholomew's Passage, which we love to read every year. I'd recommend this series for ages 8-adult. 

The Advent picture book basket came out. I love picture books and think it doesn't matter what your age, they are just lovely to read. I added a few new ones (self-proclaimed book junkie!): "Our Lady of Guadalupe" by Bernier-Grann, "Mary" by Demi, "Mary" byWildsmith, and "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey" by Wojciechowski. We only made our way about half way through the basket this year, a little disappointing, but I did notice Kaitlyn digging through on her own, so I think it's good to leave them all out and available throughout the season.

 We also celebrated our favorite saint feast days of December, which included Saint Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, OLOG, and The Immaculate Conception.

 From Christmas Day to the Epiphany, we read The Twelve Days of Christmas and placed an ornament on our little tree. I think we really "Lived the Liturgy" this year!

So what went wrong? Nothing really except the depression that clouded my head about a week before Christmas. It happens every year when we don't have major plans for guests or travel-- which is most every year! I tried to fight the darkness, but it settled in. Brian stayed with his fiancee in a different city, but they both came the day after Christmas and on for 3 days with us. That was perfect!!! A full house, lots of activity, big celebratory meals. Love it!!

Then they left, and I was exhausted and New Year's loomed with no plans. In the past we usually host a few family friends because we otherwise get invited no where. I know you hear those violins playing a dirge in the background, but it's a sad fact. "Invite someone!", my desperate husband encouraged while he tried to keep me from sinking deeper into the well. I wasn't up for it, so instead we went to mass on New Year's Eve and came home so I could cry. I know, sad display of patheticness. It's not really about having no where to go, it's the loneliness of being away from my roots, my family, my home. We've been back with family twice in 9 years for this holiday and both times it was pretty depressing too, with lots of events that did not live up to my prepared expectations of how things should go (perhaps you're seeing a red flag here!). Mike and I decided in future years, we will make our own plans to go out, buy a ticket somewhere, something to keep me distracted and looking forward to something celebratory.

I don't think I'm alone in these feelings mostly because I've heard those expressions, "getting through the holidays", "the holidays are so hard", etc. There's something about being out of the cadence and rhythm of my day for week after week that can really make me just feel "Yuck!". I try each year to not fall prey into this downward spiral, but so far, there is an empty feeling each year. It is best remedied by planning a full schedule around those times I know will be hard, but that takes energy too! Next year I hope to plan earlier so I can avoid the depression and focus on the blessings.  So.......

Back in Ordinary Time, back to our routine, and I'm feeling good!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Autumn Daybook

Outside my window:

It's fall and for the first time that I can remember since we moved here, it looks and feels like it too! We had a 2-week cold snap in early November and the leaves that change have started to do so. The timing couldn't be more perfect as it is Thanksgiving week. Usually the leaves change the week before Christmas and my brain gets all confused!!!

These pics are from around my neighborhood:

I am wearing:

It's sweater and jeans weather.  New riding boots and also scarves as accessories. I really love the scarves-- they dress up an outfit so well and keep me toasty. It's one of the few items my daughter and I can share. The only problem I'm having is how best to organize and store them?

From the kitchen:

Well, I did mention that it's Thanksgiving week, so there will be turkey with all the trimmings, pies (not homemade, but lots of them), ham, raviolis, and turkey soup.

I'm getting a kick out of my recent "Suzie Homemaker" instinct kicking in. This almost always happens soon after the holidays when I suddenly have more time on my hands. Surprisingly, this year it has happened a few months early. What am I talking about? It's the time of year when I suddenly want to try new recipes! I think it's come early this time because I purchased this book last year, tabbed interesting recipes, but never had time to try them out. In the hopes of getting dinner planning organized, I recently purchased this book as well, marked it all up and eagerly shopped in order to stock my freezer. So far, I'm enjoying them both and trying to cook up something brand new at least once a week.  The Ree Drummond book has some delicious recipes, but is not easy on the calories! Her pictures and recipe descriptions are both amazing and hysterical. It's worth buying the book just for that!

Around the house:

We have a sweet new Mama dog and her beautiful seven pups. They are cuties and will all need forever homes by Christmas. It broke my heart weaning the pups as their Mama still wants to keep a watchful eye on them and as soon as she got near the pen, they all piled up as close to her as they could get. Precious!!

For better health:

We've been dealing with upper respiratory viruses, coughs, and anxiety producing stress in our family. Rather than use only traditional medical methods of treatment, I've been exploring the use of essential oils. Armed with my  Modern Essentials book and a variety of DoTerra oils, we've been massaging, diffusing, and adding droplets to our drinking water for better health. Have I thrown modern medicine out the window? Absolutely not! But, I have found benefits from supplementing with this other modality of treatment. We love this oil so much when we have congestion, I've already needed to order a new bottle. 

A few favorite things:

So much has been going on, but two recent happenings have made me smile. The first was our mid-October trip to Disney World. It was a whirl-wind, but fun and sadly, feels like a dream. I think I need to put together a couple photo books to help bring back the memories. Savoring Disney is hard for me because we always seem to be on a treadmill from the time we get there till we are heading home. It's hard to process what's happening and stay in the moment when we need to hurry on to the next attraction. Guess we'll just need to go back again soon!!

Another fun event was attending my son, Kyle's, Texas A&M ring ceremony. I think everyone in our family can honestly say we love this school. It's so much more than a college, it's a philosophy, a virutous character trait, and a way of life. To say you're an Aggie carries an esteemed label and it is something to be proud of. I never thought I would feel this way about a Texas university, but there ya go, I really wish I'd gone to TAMU, then I could say "Gig- 'em" and "Whoop" and be legit!!


I am praying for:

Safe travels for all those who will be on the road this week, especially my children returning home and my extended family on the east coast who will be fighting a nor-easter while attempting to make their turkey feasts. 

An end to the persecutions of all Christians,

Two dear internet friends who have serious turmoil in their families. Satan really wants to destroy sacramental marriages and holy families. I'm praying these two can endure the battle.

I am pondering:

"The heart is rich when it is content, and it is always content when its desires are fixed on God."                                        ~Blessed Miguel Pro

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Lady of Sorrows Reflection

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows; a day to think about all the Mother of Jesus suffered while on earth. This, coupled with the 10 week retreat, "Consoling the Heart of Jesus", I am presently  participating in, has got me thinking....

A few years ago ,while with a group of friends, my (then) 18 year old son was in a bad skateboarding accident The friends immediately sought medical care and took him to a hospital. His accident included a severe concussion/mild head injury also requiring head sutures and an operation to fix a shattered collar bone needing 6 screws to put it back together. All in all we were very thankful that his injuries weren't worse, especially since what they were doing was extremely risky, reckless, and illegal. In the days immediately following the accident, my son rested at home. None of his "friends" called or came by to see him. I noticed my son feeling neglected by them, forgotten, and uncared about. I felt so sad for him as I could see the loneliness in his eyes and that he felt in his heart that he could so easily be pushed aside. By about the third day I was able to get in touch with one guy and asked  him why they were not checking up on my son. "We were all so scared  you'd be mad at us that we were afraid to come by", was the response I received. I assured him we weren't mad, and truly we weren't. Within an hour a small group had gathered at our house, lifting my son's spirits and offering him consolation. I breathed a sigh of relief mixed with joy, my son was not forgotten.....

It never occurred to me before, but perhaps that was a very small share in the type of sorrow Mary experienced at the foot of the cross. All but one of Jesus' apostles abandoned him in his time of greatest suffering. Did Mary, as she stayed with him the whole time, look around and wonder where all his "friends" were? Why were they not giving him comfort and support? Did her heart ache as she saw her son look down upon the crowd and realize only one of his closest friends had stayed with him? Oh, how a mother's heart weeps when her children are hurting! Instead of standing by Jesus, the apostles hid. Were they afraid to be near his mother? Were they afraid she might rebuke them and say, "How could you let them take him? Why didn't you defend his teachings and works?"

Mary was indeed grieved to stand at the foot of the cross and watch her son suffer, but I"m sure she felt worse only having the arms of one beloved apostle there to hold her up. However, she understands what fear does to people; how we are weak in our humanness and lack fortitude. She didn't leave that dark Friday to go find the men and chew- them- out for abandoning her son. No, she stayed with them, prayed with them, and no doubt soothed their heavy hearts with words of comfort that were balm for their deep sorrowful souls; souls full of cowardice to the point of denying the man they knew was the Savior. She gently and purposely stayed near to her son's friends until he breathed the Holy Spirit, her spouse, into their souls.

It is the same for us in our sinfulness. We are shameful and turn away from Jesus. Instead of running to the Blessed Mother and asking her to help us have the courage to go to Confession, we hide and pretend we aren't stepping away from the cross and casting our gaze upon other "things" of this world. But the Blessed Mother is always there, waiting for us, to hold our hand and gently lead us back to our Lord. She will stand by us and present us to God as one of His own. She speaks on our behalf and never leaves us, as long as we welcome her.

So today, as we honor the Blessed Mother under the title: Our Lady of Sorrows, let's stand at the foot of the cross and tell Jesus we will "Be the One" to give him consolation. We will stand with the one chosen to be his Mother by our side and  we should never fear so much to run because we know she's got us wrapped in her mantle and she will only take us in one direction, toward her Son!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reflections from Edel '14

 I just spent a most incredible weekend attending the Edel Gathering. For the past two days, I’ve spent way more time than I should on facebook reading the recaps. As the days before Edel shortened, I noticed the feed on our private fb page started filling up with anticipatory notes of excitement. The news feed has now exploded in post-Edel  comments of gratitude and reliving moments that will keep us laughing for months (years) to come as we try to keep the feeling alive. There are links to blog posts recapping the event from our own personal experience. I’m devouring them all and finding a common thread… Edel far exceeded everyone’s expectations!

I actually posted a selfie of myself. Edel made me feel like a teenager!
My story is a little different. I am in the scant majority of Catholic moms in attendance who would be considered an “experienced mom”.  My 30 year old high- top pink converse sneakers that I wore to crazy shoe night were older than some of the ladies attending!  A few months after my dear friend, Julie made sure I bought a ticket for this, I started feeling apprehension. I was reading about all the moms who were bringing their infants. It’s been 10 yrs. since I had a baby, perhaps I didn’t belong here. I have a bad habit of over-thinking social situations, especially big ones, and placing myself all alone in a corner living that, “have you ever been in a crowd and felt all alone?” situation.  A day before the big event, I went into complete panic mode of not wanting to go, I didn’t belong, it was a mistake. I texted Julie, who is, by the way, used to my spazzy freak-outs before anything major happens in my life. She was supportive, but I needed more. So I took a deep breath and posted my insecurities on the fb page. I was relieved to find comments on that thread that were so encouraging and also, that others felt as I did.  My spirit calmed and I knew it was ok. I was going to Edel the next day after all!

How do I describe Edel to others? A conglomeration of Catholic moms of all ages and stages of life who get together in a supportive social setting to reaffirm our vocation and see that while living that vocation is often against what society speaks, that together, whether we are physical neighbors or cyber –sisters, we are united as beloved daughters of Christ, under the mantle of the Blessed Mother, bonded to the one True Catholic Church. We are building in our own homes, in our husbands, in our children, a Cathedral of Love.  “We discover God in each other in relationship. Christianity is communal”. This is accomplished not by losing ourselves in motherhood, but by letting God find us there amidst the dirty diapers, piles of laundry, cranky toddlers, sinks full of dirty dishes, adolescent hormone surges, teen rebellion, and financial strain.  “We each have our own personal vocation and if we are always watching others we will miss God’s plan for us. We are only called to love in all situations, that will lead to self-lessness”.  We are a community of like-minded women who are spreading a glimmer of hope to all who see us faithfully wading through the muck in life and knowing at the end we won’t be beat up, weary skeletons of who we used to be, we will have a soul which emanates the light of Love of our creator and spreads to those we’ve touched.  “Our witness to others must be rooted in Truth and a witness of Hope”. We know that we are sanctified in this work and we are cathedral builders in the place where God dwells in us all. “Christianity isn’t a set of rules; it’s a relationship in love.”

Edel co-founder, Jennifer Fulwiler
So, this group of moms who listened to inspiring speakers and chatted freely with new friends can also party!!!  It was clear to me that while we take our vocation very seriously, we aren’t what upper society might deem ‘proper ladies who carry themselves with utmost decorum” Ummm….. there was some such rapping, karaoke, closing down the bar, drinking margaritas on 6th street, and dancing for hours.  It is obvious that Catholic women know how to have fun and need to let loose on occasion before getting back to the business of building…….

I am so blessed to have had this experience and hope to follow the blogs of all who attended and keep in touch with new friends so we can all live in that little community where we build each other up and crack the mold of how society says women will climb over each other to make themselves look better. I only wish this type of support was around 15-20 years ago when my domestic church was in the neophyte stage and I would have benefitted from receiving affirmatin from the most awesome and inspiring women I’ve ever known!

“Every fail to love is a sin.”*

I was one of the nerds taking ‘notes’ during the talks because I can’t remember anything. There are many inspiring take-aways from those gifted speakers. I’ve tried to weave some of their thoughts into this post and also know they are being written about on other blogs.    

*All bold quotes are from the talk given by Marion Fernandez-Cueto

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mid-Summer Daybook

Outside my window...

Our backyard is shaping up. We are in the process of building an extended covered patio roof. I should say, Mike is in the process and I just told him my desires for it. He's good at following through with my requests but is frustrated that he can only work on the project in small increments of time before life calls him back to other obligations.

I am wearing....

My exercise shorts, dry-weave top, & running shoes. I will have an hour of time this morning to wait between picking up kids and driving them on to the next activity. I want to be ready to use that time wisely!

I am grateful for....

This life I've been gifted....a secure marriage to a holy man, beautiful children, friends I can grow in faith with, a comfortable house, and the financial means to make homemaking a priority in building up the domestic church.

I am pondering....

Marian Consecration. I re-consecrated with a group from St. Edwards last Wednesday. I was privileged to once again facilitate the group. It is such a spiritual gift in my life because every time  a new group forms, I am in such need of renewal and I am never disappointed by the end of the 6- weeks.  It is a joy to be able to spiritually refresh and even better to watch the incredible transformations that happen to those in the group, many of whom begin with alot of trepidation and timidity. I feel like a mother hen watching them spread their wings and take off. This has been a treasure in my life and I am so blessed to be a part of this devotion on the parish level. Here is the program we use: 33 Days to Morning Glory .

I am praying for....

My sister's family is going through a big transition and even though it will be good for them, it is bringing alot of stress. I am saying a novena to  Our Lady of Good Remedy for them.

I am praying for my children, especially those that are young adults, I place them under the Blessed Mother's mantle. She knows what they need and can "mother" them with more influence than I.

A few friends have asked for prayers for broken-ness in their immediate and extended families. The devil loves to destroy families and so much healing is needed in this area.

I am reading...

I am always reading a few books at the same time. I've been working on "The Little Oratory" by Clayton and Lawler summer series here at Summer in the Little Oratory along with Elizabeth's blog . More on how that is changing our home later. I just finished the "33 Days to Morning Glory" retreat book as I talked about above. Also, just finished "The Shadow of His Wings" by Fr. Gereon Goldmann, which was an inspiring account of a priest's life while being part of the German army during WWII. If you don't believe in divine intervention, you will after reading his story! I am about to start " The Everyday Catholics Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours" by Daria Sockey. You can probaby figure where I hope to go with this read.....

I am learning.....

How to play the piano!! Taking lessons once a week with Andrew has been a treat. I am progressing, slower than he is, but I am still improving bits at a time and I love that I can sit at our baby grand and actually play a tune. I also learned to crochet last summer. It's been nice having something creative to do at the times when there is idle "sitting time" which seems to happen most at swim meets, long car rides, and doctor appointments. I am more than half way done a shawl, which is the first project I've worked on that isn't lopsided! I am also learning to keep my  mouth shut. This handy skill has helped keep peace when certain people who live with me are feeling grumpy or rebellious and whether consciously or unconsciously try to get me to play that game....

For better health....

"Don't be obsessed with the number on the scale", perhaps you've heard this before. Well, I've always been maybe not obsessed, but aware of that number. I decided after the holidays to stop weighing myself weekly and just eat healthy, exercise, and judge my eating habits by how my clothes fit. Epic Fail!! So, I didn't exercise regularly, ate whatever I felt like, and felt my clothes get tighter. At my annual doctor's appointment last week I had gained 8 lbs since the year before. So, I am back to eating healthy-- which means green smoothies for breakfast, juicing veggies, limiting breads, smaller dinner portions, adding in regular exercise, and weighing myself. So while I can fool myself into thinking the second bowl of ice cream won't hurt, or 2 days of exercise is just as good as 4, the scale doesn't lie, especially not in middle-age.

The week ahead...

 Lots of appointments to take care of: vet, 4 dentist visits, piano, parent volunteer obligation, Daddy-daughter dance, squeezing in a morning visit to a friend's house and then the end of the week is......

I am looking forward to.....

The Edel Gathering !!!! This Fri-Sun I will be in Austin enjoying a Catholic Mom's getaway weekend. I will be traveling with some friends, making (hopefully) lots of new friends, and just having a blast! This has been months in planning and it hasn't hit me yet that it is just days away!