making the trek

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

Lent, life, loss, hope March 13, 2014

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Once upon a time, there was a couple who had been married a long time.  Blessed with 4 children who were happy, healthy and going through the usual ups and downs of childhood.  No complaints, just normal life.  This couple was open to life.  Even though they are both approaching mid 40s, they were healthy and open to God’s plan in regards to their family.  Lo, and behold one day it happened.  The woman suddenly and without warning re-gained her sense of smell during Mass whilst seated next to a woman who clearly hit the garlic rolls the night before,(heavy emphasis on garlic).  Confused with this return of olfactory sensation and accompanying nausea, a quick count on the PeriodTrackerApp prompted a visit to the local CVS.

Confirmation post peeing on a stick.  Twice.  And the world began to spin.

Fast forward through the week of sudden shock and awe at this life turn of events as the couple quietly processes the news with prayers, trepidation, joy, laughter, wonder and trust.  Clearly God has a plan here; who were they to question.

Then.

Just as the reality settled itself and planning stages were to begin:  when to tell the kids, the family, friend, etc., doctor’s appointment, bedroom rearranging, financial rearrangement, etc, etc, etc..  The woman began to bleed.

And cramp.

And reality readjusted.  And plans were undone.  Tears were cried.  A mental day was taken.  And with Lent upon them, they clung to the promise that God’s plan is infinitely better than their own.  Despite the temporary confusion and fog, He has great things in store.  In addition to His promise of hope and plans and future, He has given this family, this couple a special soul to intercede on their behalf.

Thanks be to God.

imgres Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

 

Conclave….. March 12, 2013

Today it begins…..Anyone else excited???  FOCUS has several great tools for learning about the conclave and Pope election  and all that jazz AND……they have this awesome alarm….texting or email…..to let you know when the Pope is elected.  For lots of reasons, many of us can’t be “connected” all day, or watching the TV for days on end, and for this reality check I LOVE this alarm!!!

Happy Tuesday all, back to wrangling grumpy time change chillen’ and preparing for work on this rainy day!!!

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Friday: caffeine, cooties and chicken edition August 3, 2012

All I can say is T.G.I.F.!!!!!!  It’s been a full and exhausting week and I pray, Pray, PRAY we have zilcho going on this weekend—-even though I know it’s doubtful….I’m still going to pray for it!  Read about Sunburned Jen who also enjoys her coffee (especially when it’s free!) and her other friends/groupies/bloggies and their week HERE!!

  • The Olympics.  Holy.  Cow!  I am loving it.  Every bit.  Diving, swimming and gymnastics take up most of our viewing time due to our TV window in the evening, but a little beach volleyball, rowing, biking have snuck in and I’m really looking forward to track and field.  Anyone else  completely in awe and inspired by all this athletic talent?!?!?!?  The only down side is that with such a time difference here in the States, many of the results are spoiled before we can see the contest AND I’m up WAAAAAAAAY too late and am taking in seriously increased amounts of caffeine to make up for it.  I’ll suck it up.  It’s worth it.
  • The Chicken.  Holy.  Non-cow.  I thoroughly enjoyed my chicken biscuit for breakfast the other day, but I REALLY enjoyed all the pics and news coverage of people all over the country waiting in MASSIVE lines supporting Chik-fil-A, traditional values (crazy, right?), and freedom to speak DIFFERENTLY.  Political correct-ness, be damned.
  • Strep.  Round 2.  What the FUDGE!??!?!  Our youngest is going to have her tonsils yanked (by me!!!) if this keeps up.  OY!  And then dear ole dad/Hubby succumbed to the cooties for a double dose of fun.  Let’s just say the week started off quite bumpy and grumpy but THANKFULLY is smoothing out.  Phew!
  • Adoration.  For a dear friend’s daughter.  There is simply NO better way to spend a lunch hour…although with the drive to and fro it’s a more like 30 minutes, but….I’ll take it!!!
  • Boot Camp.  I make it back.  One day anyway.  (planned on this morning, but last night’s Olympic-viewing killed me for this morning…apparently I didn’t hear the alarm)  I did get some walking in the evening though this week during soccer and cheer practices.  So there’s that.
  • Cloning.  Can we reconsider this?  I’d like a clone of me.  To send to work.  Then I could shuttle kids to and fro to practices/games and work on dinner….OR.  OR.  OR.  I could learn to LET GO and share tasks with my Hubby, my helpmate, my love.  (but it’s so haaaaaaaaaard to not do it all, I say!!!)  Either way, something’s gonna give since with soccer and cheer our fall will be full…right up to January.  I do believe I will begin a love affair with my crock pot, otherwise our family will surely starve to death these next 4 months!
  • Back-to-school will be what kills my weekend.  We start the 20th (yes, 17 days away) and this weekend is “tax-free days” and with 4 kiddos to supply we’ll take every percentage we can get.    I’ll need some beach time to recoup from it for sure!

How’s YOUR week been?  What’s YOUR weekend shaping up to be?  How’s YOUR Olympic experience going??  Check out Jen and the throngs @ Conversion Diary and see what’s going on around the world!   If you haven’t already seen this, I’ll leave you with this tasty idea in caffeine enjoyment! Blessings and Happy Friday!!

What?!?! A cookie coffee cup! Yum!

 

 

Olympics=International AWESOMENESS!!!! July 30, 2012

image cred: CP entertainment

I love the Olympics.  Winter or Summer.  They are so exciting, motivating,and  inspiring and I love to soak up as much as I can get.  In between a full-time job, 4 kids and a Hubby it’s often not much, but thanks to technology…..I CAN get every bit of info and playback I need!  Phew.  I mean, there’s only so many hours in a day and there’s no medal in Olympic viewing….

So far, for these London Summer Olympics here are my Olympic observations:

1)Seriously over-the-top creative opening ceremonies.  Um, the baby thing was a teensy bit creepy but overall (what I saw) was extremely imaginative and told quite the story spanning decades.  I loved Daniel Craig and the Queen and got a kick out of trying to explain to our daughter how Her majesty got from the plane/parachute to her seat for the ceremony so quickly and gracefully.  Lots of unexpected twists, however, like it or lump it….that show was some SERIOUSLY creative work and immense effort and organization to pull it off.  My head almost blew up imagining the logistics of it all!

2)  Awesome commercials, WAAAAAAY better than the Superbowl!  My current fave is Ryan Lochte (local boy done good….except for the UF part, but hey this ‘Nole will let that slide…) swimming to London.  David Boudia “diving” off world’s tallest building for Visa is pretty phenomenal, too.  Of course, there’s the P&G commercial with the nod to Moms in the training of Olympians and the sacrifices made in getting to the Olympics. Truly though, if you look in the stands you certainly see lots of dads and other family members present as well.  I only have to look to my own friends and their swimming/lacrosse/running/baseball/soccer/volleyball kids (and my own) and see the sacrifices made on an ongoing basis.  The crockpot is your friend, repeat after me….

3)  Speaking of families, I also love the numerous olympic stories that we hear about.  John Orozco, one of the US Men’s gymnast hopefuls was one that I caught last night. The amount of drive and discipline ALL of the Olympians have is astounding and this young man is no different.  His desire to make a better life for his entire family is touching.  The dude’s strength and prowess on the pommel horse and parallel bars, sheesh!  These guys make it look so easy, meanwhile I am huffing, puffing and using a chair and maybe get my chin up over the bar for a second.

4) The watching of the Olympics itself is an event.  An all-day event (thanks to the time difference here in the States).  The weekend has been great, but now it’s back to work, what to do?  what to do???  Ah, but there’s an app for that (and an app for walking/running if so inspired by the Olympics….):

Sshhhh, don’t tell my boss, but I am hooked up for work-day viewing! Just need to keep it charged!

Of course there are also Olympic watching parties.  We went to one last night. A friend of a friend hosted it at their mansion house on the river.  Food out the wazoo and Olympics on about 72″ of HDTV.  New people to meet, watching boats troll down the river from a day out on the water, fireworks to the south.  It was exhausting!

This little hairless kitten was one of the host’s pets…oh the interesting things you come upon when at an Olympic watching party…

5) The outfits which so far have been mostly swimsuits and gymnastics-wear, which just further point out the differences between the Olympian’s discipline and my lack-of-discipline.  Whatev. (If AT&T comes knocking on my door for some sponsorship I may consider cutting out the sweets.  Maybe.) I was interested to see the US women’s beach volleyball and Australia’s women beach volleyball match and even more interested in the difference in uniforms.  Once I got past the fact that the Aussies were quite covered up I realized at least those girls didn’t have to deal with the sand digging into areas sand ought not be AND that they also didn’t have to keep yanking up their bottoms.  It was different for sure.  However, they may be on to something.  Don’t get me wrong now, I was FULLY cheering our US moms on and thrilled for their win to move on!!

**speaking of outfits, how about the Dutch women’s field hockey team.  Wow.  Beautiful ladies.  Eye raising uniforms…..

6) More watching today with rowing, swimming, synchronized diving–China is the SHIZ, but SO happy our girls did so well!!  I was so exhausted from so many sports I needed a 2-hour nap to recuperate from it all.  Sheesh.  We should get bonus workouts just from vicariously participating in all this activity, in my opinion!! Who’s with me???  No worries, I’ll still be up at o’dark hundred for boot camp, even without sponsors and fanfare. (or not, since apparently we have a little bug going through our house and Hubby and daughter are battling it out for my doctoring skills….and it’s 1:40 a.m.—–guessing this is the REAL reason God gave me a huge nap today!)

I’m sure there will be more likes and inspirations as the days carry forth with the medal watching and you can be sure I’M watching whatever I can squeeze in!!  How about you?  Are you cheering on your country and becoming a little bit obsessed, or are you like my boys:  all like….whatever??  I swear, I don’t even know who they are…

 

A little education is a dangerous thing…. July 25, 2012

I know it’s not for everyone (though it really IS)……however, knowledge is power, peeps!!  For us, NFP frees me up from remembering to take a pill, get a shot or have something foreign in my body.  NFP is openly communicating with my hubby and growing in faith whether we decide to abstain from (SUPER challenging, BTW…and in my opinion, probably one of the main reasons people don’t want to practice NFP) or embrace the marital bed.  There is ALWAYS the possibility of a new life, plain and simple.  The fact is, life is FULL of unknowns, unplanned-fors and surprises.  Life is fluid.  Always changing.  Never the same.  The more we try to control it, the more restless we become in this futile act of “control”.  Life IS.  The better we become at “rolling with it”, the easier it becomes with ALL unknowns, unplanned-fors and surprises.  For us, that is the bedrock of our faith, trusting that GOD has plans for us that we may not understand now (or ever), but His plans are ALWAYS far better than we could imagine and NFP fits right in that belief.  

NFP.  Natural Family Planning.  For some, these words strike fear deep in the hearts, for others its a lifestyle.  That lifestyle can be one deeply entrenched in faith and trusting in God’s plan for family size and being open to the children He provides us with (complete with sleep deprivation, dirty diapers, tantrums and potty training…..as well as that sweet baby smell, soft coos, chubby cheeks, and reliving life through all the “firsts”) OR perhaps it’s a lifestyle of eco-consciousness and organic living.  Whatever the reasons, it’s worth learning about if you are stuck in the mentality of the “rhythm method” or would rather just trust in this amazing body we have and learn to understand it in regards to our health and reproductivity.  One of the places you can learn more about “NFP” is on the long-awaited site, iusenfp, there is a wealth of information about the various methods of NFP, HOW to implement NFP as well as a blog (of course!) and a “real life” section on folks like you and me and how NFP works in their life and in their marriages.  There’s even a great article by Simcha Fisher–in her usual sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek manner on NFP and marriage. (**all cute little buttons are from their site)

 

There’s also 1Flesh.org a site filled with (more) blogging, stories and conversational topics anti-pill, pro-life, etc, etc, etc.  Geared toward a younger generation but a truly In-Your-Face, Let’s-Dialogue on the benefits of an NFP lifestyle.  It’s all kinds of confrontational….in a good and positive way.

There’s the Faith and Family website, where not only are there a myriad of articles each day on, yes, faith and family, as well as each day a forum geared toward a specific topic and today is….NFP.  And trust me, the questions are raw, honest and eye-opening.  You can learn a lot.  I sure do!!

And Catholicmom.com for a variety of topics and columns filled with testimonials, advice and information on NFP, in addition to news, homeschooling, prayers, crafts, parenting and faith topics galore!

These are but just a few areas to look around, feel free to leave your own link in the comment section if you’d like to share.

Blessings!

 

 

Life giving friendships July 7, 2012

These girls, ladies, women, amazing friends and sisters in Christ.  They’ve been an integral thread in my life for a dozen years.  We met during a women’s retreat at our parish and many of our husbands participated in the men’s retreat that took place after ours.  Our retreat group was probably twice this size after formation, but this group……THIS group struck a bond.  A bond that went beyond formation and providing the next retreat.  A bond strengthened over bible studies, rosaries, dinners and desserts.  In spite of busy lives and season changes, we’ve managed to stick together, each taking a piece of the other’s heart so that we are all forever sisters regardless of distance and life’s plans for us.  These are life giving friends.

This picture captures a rare moment of togetherness recently,  and marks the move of one friend and her family to Washington D.C.  The fact that we were ALL able to make the dinner (with school over and summer ON, one with laryngitis, one leaving the next day with her husband and 6 kiddos on vacation, myself being 4 hours away, and one with a newborn) was an amazing accomplishment in itself–on a Wednesday night no less!  It was a bittersweet dinner (saying goodbye is NEVER easy) however, we were ALL able to take turns “catching up” in a roundtable discussion and enjoy each other’s company, laughing at stories and enjoying super delicious food, too–BONUS!

12 years brings much opportunity for prayer, encouragement, hope, love and comfort.  What a blessing in these friendships, an abundant harvest resulting from following the prompting of our Lord to attend a weekend retreat.

These friendships are a tapestry of prayer and God reveals the image one story at a time.  Through the years He’s weaved that tapestry through praying for one another and sharing in each other’s lives.

Prayers for struggling marriages and praises for God’s gift of forgiveness, compromise, commitment, and strength in fighting through the challenges and the fruit of  healed hearts.

Prayers for babies born and unborn and praises for those who took their sweet, sweet time.

Prayers for being open to life  and praises for the many varied gifts of life in this culture of death.

Prayers for children’s health, novenas for treatment and praises in God’s gift of talented physicians, compassionate nurses and a network of prayer warriors storming heaven.

Prayers for children lost in the sea of peer pressure and hurt as they spread their wings and fly solo, praises for God’s path and the gift of  healing through angels on earth who allow the Holy Spirit to form their words and gently redirect their path.

Prayers for the unfairness of cancer and all the promises it robs, praises for the power of prayer, God’s will and the promises of His plan far exceeding our own.

Prayers for guidance and advice in the ongoing vocation of motherhood and marriage, and praises for God’s wisdom and love provided through friends as we all weave our families through this obstacle course of life.

Prayers through job loss and financial struggles and praises for jobs found, opportunities presented a faith to step out of comfort zones into Trust.

Prayers throughout a family’s prison ordeal and praises for a family restored.

Prayers for friends who move away and praises for the unexpected gifts received in stepping out in love and hope.

Prayers spoken, fears whispered, tears shed, hope restored, love shared, faith renewed.  Prayer warriors and lifetime friends.  A bond not weakened by distance.  A bond strengthened through prayer, sharing, love and faith.

Thank you, Lord for the gift of friends.  I am truly blessed.

Proverbs 11:14 

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

For more on friendship Scripture check here…

 

Morning time=Quiet time July 4, 2012

Morning time is my favorite time of the day.  Yes, it’s full of promise, fresh start, good intentions and all that jazz, but it’s truly the QUIET TIME of the day for me.  Which is why it’s worth it to me to get up a good hour (or more) before my offspring.  I want my coffee in peace.  I want to read the daily Readings.  I want to think and process through the day or yesterday.  I pray in peace.  There is no speaking (something Hubby has finally realized!).  And at some point, when Hubby has moved on to getting ready for the day or has left for work our little cat settles for Lap#2 (me).  His first choice is Daddy.  A fact that perplexes and infuriates our daughters to no end.  Either way, when it’s MY turn for some kitty cuddles, he’s all up in my business, paws on keyboard, nose on coffee mug, head butting my petting hand.  It’s his quiet time, too.

And…..since today is July 4th and we will be celebrating America’s birthday with my sister and her family in town for the night, I am enjoying the only QUIET I’ll see all day 😉  It will be beach in the morning and then pool and BBQ in the afternoon and a certainty of fireworks tonight which will be going off despite the fact that I will be getting up in the morning to work.   It’s all good though!  There’s something to be said for having a day off mid-week!

 

 
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