making the trek

Trekking through life: Faith, family, friends and a whole lot of coffee!

The rest of the story July 23, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 3:34 PM

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If you know me in real life (IRL) then you know that I have long held Jeremiah 29:11 as MY verse.  The verse of our family.  The promise that is the glue that held us all together, that continues to hold us together.  It IS my email address.  It is in my signature on my personal and work email (gotta love a faith based corporation).  It is a lovely framed print on our kitchen wall.  It is the verse that people tell me reminds them of me when they hear and the verse that strangers comment on and have thanked me for.  I live it.  I breathe it.  I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU.

He doesn’t always share those plans with me when I’l like him to.  There are some plans I am still waiting on to fall in place.  And that’s ok.  The point is, I am well familiar with verse 11.  This week as I went through the Consider the Lilies study with the Take up and Read group, this verse was the focus……..along with verse 12-14.  And it took my breath away.  As if God himself basically asked me,  “Do you see?”.  Affirming the YES, He is with me.  Every step.

When I seek Him, He is there.  When I don’t, He is waiting on me.  Waiting for me to seek, knock and ask so that He can allow me to find Him, let me in and answer me.  Time and again, He is faithful.

When I put my trust in Him, He blesses me abudantly.  Restoring what has been destroyed to even better than it was that first go around.  I’ve seen this in so many facets of my life:  relationships, health, peace, guidance, wisdom and even some material comforts.  He is good beyond my wildest dreams.

This season of life has me turned a little upside down.  Our kids are getting older and I find myself in levels of anxiety that I have never experienced in their childhood.  Have we prepared them enough for life?  Have we given them a strong enough foundation?  Will they make the right choices?  The list goes on and if I give into the doubt it is a long climb out.

This weekend we attended the funeral Mass for a CRHP sister who suffered from a form of leukemia.  We were blessed as a team to have had her in our lives and especially blessed as we gathered one last time together a few weeks ago in her home to pray together and begin the Our Lady, Undoer of Knots novena.  Yesterday, Vera reminded me that our job is to live our best life and to look forward to the eternal life we have ahead.  Wrapping myself sideways about the “what-ifs” in life are non-productive and life-stealing.  God has it under control.  So, I am going to work on giving it all back to him to sort out.  Our Lady will untie those knots on my behalf and my job is to continue to Seek, knock, ask and trust that His plans for me are indeed far better than I can imagine.

Blessings!

 

Gardening  June 21, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:39 PM

These flowers have been a balm to my soul this week.  A Mother’s Day/Birthday present two years ago, these gorgeous lilies were transplanted into the backyard bed in hopes of propagation and long life.  Sadly, they withered up and all but died away.  I never dug them up because I’m really not a gardener…if it doesn’t thrive with minimal to no care on my part it should just move on elsewhere.

Fast forward to this Monday while walking the yard with the pup, lo and behold this beauty stood loud and proud where prior there was nothing.  NO. THING.  I mean one dead a** leaf pile and now this.  Just WOW!

After an epically crappy parenting weekend this was quite the incredible gift.  Trust me.

And then we have these lovelies that I am terrified to split and separate for fear they will all die a horrid death, and yet if I do prune them and thin them out it is quite likely they will be even more spectacular each year.

Kind of like parenting.  Sow the seed.  Nurture.  Give them room to grow and even when you have to step in and walk them through the hard and horrible stuff of live and learn….even that can grow tremendous beauty and healing.  (fortunately, I am a slightly better parent than gardener)

Walking a lake loop during another child’s counseling appointment and the glory of God is just all around.  So much to be grateful for.

Even these lovelies are pruned heavily for a period of time and their blooms are so incredibly lovely to stand in the shade of.

John 15:2  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

And so even though we weather the storms from time to time, I have every faith and hope that the seeds that we planted will bear abundant fruit in due time.  Parenting is not for the weak, my friends.    Thanks be to God for His endless mercy and grace to fuel us along the way……and for the interecession of Our Blessed Mother as she unties these knots to pave the way to glory.    Often the most amazing gifts are revealed after the strongest of storms.  Thanks be to God.

 

Where mercy lives June 3, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 7:58 AM

It is a wonderful season right now of graduations, vacations and the promise and hope of a lazy summer ahead before these babies begin the next season of life come fall.

I was commenting on one of my friend’s graduation posts the other day as to how surreal it was that her son was graduating and her response was of pride but also of trepidation and prayers that he would make the right choices at this crossroad in his life.  The reality hit me that we ALL have those same concerns for our children.

How often we savor the sweet and tender moments and share the pride and joy of our children’s accomplishments with all the world yet when our children struggle it is generally a burden we often bear alone and yet it is a natural part of growing up and preparing to leave the nest.  Sometimes that means less than ideal choices on our kid’s part.  Maybe we made some of the same or similar choices at their age.  The question is how do we RESPOND to the choices?  They are young adults, they are often of legal age or close to it and so that transition of itself is not only on them but us as parents.  In this season of life we have yet to cross over to that “friend” bridge with our kids but we are committed to the construction period, an arduous time for sure but when we exercise mercy and grace the tradeoff is priceless; this is, of course, far easier said (and written) than done.

My memory may be incredibly spotty and unreliable but this I CLEARLY recall:  the age between 17-21 was a tough road of “finding myself” and learning by the loving and ever-patient example of my mom and more often, by life’s unforgiving natural consequence.  It is a time that we no longer dictate every activity and problem solve every speed bump, nor should we, for if we do we stunt the ability for these babies to sprout their own wings and manage life on their own.  The whole “failure to launch”—it’s a thing and we parents are fully to blame.  I am eternally grateful for my own mother and her ability to calmly (on the outside anyway) let me navigate that time but knowing she was ALWAYS present for a soft landing, advice and guidance from her own life experiences.

The truth is good kids can make bad choices and it often has nothing to do with parenting.  Now don’t stone me, I realize that parenting DOES affect how our children turn out, but you don’t have to look far to see kids from “good families” making crappy choices and kids from tough situations rising above and wildly succeeding.  The point is they will all come to this transition and it is our responsibility and gift to help them along mercifully.  gracefully.  lovingly.

I was reminded recently that sometimes these kids make fatal choices when a young man and his friends were riding their motorcycles at ridiculously unsafe speeds, being reckless and lost his life the night before prom.  The devastation reached far in this community as he was well-liked but one parent (a former police officer–who clearly saw much of this in his career), responded callously with a “what do you expect?” attitude.  The comment and the attitude struck me as thinking perhaps his son would never do that, but in reality ALL of our children are one choice away from any number of consequences.  And we must respond IN LOVE.  IN MERCY.  WITH GRACE.

Our kids will make bad choices.  Just like we did.  They are human.  Just like we are.

Obviously a lifelong history of good communication and fairness goes a long way in lessening the frequency of “bad” choices, but we can start that relationship over every day by just making the choice as a parent to respond with grace, mercy and love.  For it is in these times of transition it is most needed.

The fact that we do not have to forge this period on our own is a tremendous gift.  St. Monica, St. Augustine, Mary, and a host of saints have all shared in this suffering beauty of parenthood in every season and they are there to cheer us on.  Chances are you have real-life friends and family there to do the same.

So,  may the force be with you (and me) during this transitional period.  May we all remember that: 1) free will and bad choices often go hand in hand 2) it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent 3) your mom was right–you’ll catch more flies with honey and if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all  4) pray without ceasing

Peace.

 

May! Mamas and birthday celebration! May 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:55 PM

Raise your hand if May is a busy month!

Throw in a few birthdays and Mother’s day and every May is SUPER MAY around here!! (followed by June’s plethora of birthdays, anniversary and Father’s day–it’s practically a month of cake!)

I know this day isn’t easy for everyone for a variety of reasons and I offered those intentions up during Mass this a.m.  Right after crying through our priest singing “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman”.   

I’ve got zero complaints and 1 trillion blessings.  It’s been a fabulous weekend all around just being with my people, getting a few things done and having some down time—allegedly snoring during my nap today.  (ok, I even woke myself up a time or two…whatever.  worth it!)

Got my first paddle board of the season in on Saturday before the rain with the hubs, snuggled the SWEETEST puppy and spent some quality time with my kiddos and hubs.  We even tried to recreate a favorite Mother’s Day pic of mine (click HERE for the original) and it erupted into a li’l fit….that’s parenthood….not perfect.  and it is all good.

Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

 

Quick taking and sisterhood March 31, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 6:37 AM

Linking it to Kelly and all the Quick Takes of the week gang because LONG LIVE THE LINKUP (without it I barely blog…..).

  1. Last weekend I had the awesome opportunity to present a renewal retreat for women at church.  This gift of faith and growing together in sharing and caring for others is flat out amazing.  Exhausting.  Exhilarating.  Fulfilling.  Healing.  Peace in the midst of the upper room.
  2.   I actually had to present a witness and if you know me, you know how difficult that was.  Truth is though, it is incredibly difficult for ANYONE to present a witness on their life because life is hard and to place yourself in that spotlight is making yourself vulnerable to the unknown and that is scary.  However, the reality is, if that is where God is calling you, He will make it happen.  He will protect you, give you the strength  you need and bless the heart that needs to hear what you are saying.  Easy?  Nope.  Freeing?  Definitely.
  3. Six months ago the process of the retreat was restful and rejuvenating to my faith and key to building a faith community.  The past six months opened my heart to amazing women whom I’ve come to know intimately and despite our differences in ages, backgrounds and lives He has knit us together to support each other.  I have been through this before and it is still just awe-inspiring that I would be blessed again with another phenomenal group of women to do life with.  What a gift!
  4. Life is busy.  Work and home life balance are tough, never mind taking care of ourselves as wife, mother, daughter, friend, woman.  But, man….do we ever need to take that time,  not only to take care of ourselves with exercise and good food and all that jazz but to tend to that spiritual side, that mental side—-they drive it all;  if we can’t give our heart and soul some love the rest will crumble.  Find the time, you’re worth it.
  5. My Blessed is She Lenten study, “Put on Love” by Elizabeth Foss is amazing and I don’t know what I’ll do when it ends.  It is so good.  How have I gotten out of this habit????  Another example of amazing sisterhood….BIS….and the faithful work of Elizabeth.

I’ve run out of time, my people and will have to call it a 5 QT.  It’s time to be intentional with my family and get this Friday morning freight train rolling!!  FriYAY!!!

 

Springing in to Friday! March 24, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 6:11 AM

It’s been a few weeks so I thought I’d jump in with Kelly et al. and catch you up a bit!

  1.  It is spring!!  I celebrated the other night with a walk on the beach to switch it up.  Shorts, t-shirt…..it was a little cool, but if you walk fast enough and long enough you warm up, so it was good!  The surfers in the water with wetsuits though…..I’m not ready for the water; I’ll keep it on the sand for a little bit longer!

2.  With spring comes the planning for the next school year which means…..our BABY enters high school.  Our BABY!!!   That’s all, folks.  Elementary=check.  Middle school=almost check.  High school.  You’d think since I have been there and done that x3 it would have been easy.  It was.  Truly.  She’s ready.  I’m ready, too.  But, I swear it was a hot minute ago that no-sleeping toddler was waking the house at 2 a.m. to come down the stairs…”Mama, I talkin’ to  you!!”  Sigh.  But it’s good.  We were born to do this.

3. Speaking of milestones…..another driver enters the arena.  She is essentially the driver anytime we leave the house and even though I’ve done THIS x2 you’d think it would be easy.  You’re wrong.  It’s hard.  I suck at not grabbing the door handles, imaginary floor break and raising my voice unintelligibly instead of using words like, “slow down.  that’s a red light.  coming in a little hot.”  Instead of mgjhkdflkdgkkgmj.  But.  It’s been a few weeks and we’re both improving, so that’s a plus.   And so we motor on…….sometimes to a yummy breakfast!

4.   This dude.  Can’t find a spot ON the couch to his liking so he just stuffs himself between the couch and ottoman so that I can’t get up without stepping on him.  So cute!!  No worries, that’s just a leaf on the floor, not poop.  Plus, he’s just killing time until we go to bed and he can lay across my shins and trap me in my bed so I can’t put him in his crate.

5.  Last weekend I enjoyed some solo time while the Hubs was on retreat and the kids were all occupied and such.  I was able to nail down those pesky CEUs, enjoy the weather, some walking with my pup, get sh** done and it was amazing.  This weekend is the ladies turn to present the retreat so if you get a minute to offer a few prayers this weekend that would be awesome–especially since I’ll be giving a witness around lunchtime ish, 1, 2 o’clock somewhere!!

6.   Out oldest son is 19 and knows IT ALL just in case anyone needed a better reference than Google—I wanted to throw that out there for you.  Well, he spent the better part of the last 6 months without a motorcycle (I loved that part!), however,  he was building his own, pretty much from the frame/motor up (I didn’t love that part).  Do you have any idea how much CRAP goes into a motorcylce to make it run?!??!  A lot.  And it’s greasy and smelly.  Now you know.  Fortunately, most of the build was at a friend’s house in Orlando because he has all the tools and stuff, but by the grace of God he pulled it together just in the nick of time for the last weekend of Bike Week. Yeah.  I hated that.   It’s still not exactly where he wants it and there will be endless “tweaking”, but it’s rideable.   He even won a trophy for something and is going to be featured in a chopper magazine, so he’s pretty pumped his vision came to life.  And then some.  Regardless of my feelings about motorcycles and my children riding them I must say it’s a pretty amazing feat.  So.  He might know a few things.  But not everything.  winkety wink

7.  My sister came into town with my nephew and his girlfriend so we hit Main Street the first weekend of Bike Week with the kids and mom and her Hubby–because we are amazing moms like that.   Let’s just say, Main Street, you do not dissapoint in the holy cow department!!!  One quick stroll up and back was plenty eye burning and entertaining, so it made for a fun afternoon.  Of course, the perfect weather and the “rest” time in Joe’s Crab Shack didn’t hurt that’s for sure!!

Peace out y’all.

 

Be Transformed March 23, 2017

Filed under: Faith,Reading,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:53 PM

I have been incredibly blessed in my life to have a few truly spectacular people who provided me with strong spiritual direction.  The kind that isn’t always comfortable but comes from a place of love and TRUTH.  Friendships such as these are both a blessing and a challenge and the end result is  tremendous growth in faith.  One of these friends is Dr. Bob Schuchts, our former marriage counselor and now friend (not to mention nationally renowned speaker, author and presenter of amazing healing conferences!).  Time with Bob is thought provoking and soul searching, at some point ususally resulting in tears–but good, cleansing tears.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of the conferences of the John Paul II Healing Center, I strongly urge you to take full advantage of it;  you will not regret it!  Bob is the founder and we had the opportunity to experience one of his conferences, Unveiled, a marriage conference recently and it was phenomenal.  Truly.  Such a gift.

OK.  Ending my “Bob” commercial, but onto the author portion of Dr. Bob Schuchts and enter his newest book Be Transformed.  If you are looking for some Lenten reading or just a deeper dive into the sacraments, this is it.

In Be Transformed  we dig into the sacraments one-by-one and learn how they configure in our lives and WHY they are important.  We may recognize the importance of some (like Holy Communion and Marriage) yet others we don’t always get the up-close on or see the how they can truly transform our lives.  It moves you beyond Mass and moves you INTO the sacraments one at a time and reveals how all the sacraments are truly interwoven to grow us closer to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

One of my favorite parts of how Bob gets us to participate throughout the book is through HIM:  healing, identity and mission**  We are taken through each of the sacraments with personal stories, scripture verses and a view into our own hearts and relationship with Christ.  It’s a perfect format for a small group study, as well as on your own for contemplative and personal growth.  Each chapter has questions to reflect on and a scripture verse to be read lectio divina style as it applies to the specific chapter as well as your life.  Fair warning though, be ready to dig deep and understand that you will be doing some serious heart surgery.

I’ll admit that for me, personally, some of this book was challenging as it forced me to slow down and to listen to what the Holy Spirit was uncovering in my own heart.  It was a struggle for me in being so introspective.   As Bob’s friend, Simeon says, “Reading God’s Word is like seeing yourself in a mirror…….people are afraid to see themselves.”*** Nail meet head.  Ouch.

Do yourself a favor and add Be Transformed to your collection, you won’t be sorry!

***quotes from Dr. Bob Schuchts book, Be Transformed.

 

 

 
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