Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 facts about me and my better half

Although I gave up reading and commenting on blogs for most of the week during Lent, I still see all the titles on my sidebar and on the list of the blogs I am following, so I thought I would jump in too.

1. My hubby and I met after daily mass at Franciscan University.  I was told I should talk to him because he was an RD and just finished his MA in counseling and I was in the MA in counseling program and applying to be an RD.

2. Even before we met, my roommate at the time, Michelle, wanted to set me up with my future husband.  I said no.  I do not get set up.

3. I first fell for my husband's sense of humor.  He interviewed me for the RD job.  He was lucky and got the "lunch interview" (free food). So he drove me and another RD to the restaurant for lunch.  After my husband got in the driver's seat , he said, "Here, let me turn on the air conditioning for you."  And he reached over me and rolled down my window!  Normally, I would have thought that was totally tacky, but with him, I thought it was so funny! Luckily,I got the job and got to hang out with him more!

4. And many other people thought we would be a great match too.  During the lunch interview, I got up to use the restroom, and while I was away, the other RD at the interview asked my husband, "What do you think?"  After my husband gave a great answer on how he thought I would be a great RD, the other RD looked at him and said, "No.  I mean, could you DATE her?" 

5. Although my husband and I were in the MA in Cousneling program together, we never met before I became an RD.  We were at the same grad/non-trad events, same counseling Christmas parties, etc and never even got introduced.  (And the department is small!)  I have pictures from one dinner that my hubby said that if I just took the picture a few feet over in one direction, he would have been in it!

6.  We started dating 10 months after we met.  We got engaged 7 months after we started dating and got married 9 months after we got engaged.

7. We went on two honeymoons! We spent a week in Cabo San Lucas Mexico (thanks to my husband's brother) and then we went on a cruise to Bermuda.  The pink sand beaches were beautiful!

8. My husband is an extrovert.  I am an introvert.

9. My hubby is 4 years older than I am and he just hit the big 40.  I guess you now know how old I am.

10. We will be married 10 years in July and it has been the best 10 years of my life!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joy

This past weekend was my Grandfather's funeral.  We packed up the van and headed to NY Friday morning and arrived in the evening in time for the wake at the funeral home.  I am glad we made it in time.  It was so good to see so may family members that I had not seen in years. 

Saturday morning I woke up and got the family ready for the funeral.  I miscalculated the time it would take us to get the funeral home and, we, of course were late!  Then we headed to the church.  As the mass began, I was overcome with a great deal of peace.  Over the last week, I have realized, more than ever, that there is no reason to fear death.  I knew that all along, but I was struck by it even more so over this weekend.  In death, we are reunited with Christ.  As we spend our days here on earth, that is what our soul really longs for.  Our soul longs for the day we are reunited with HIM and get to spend eternity with HIM in heaven.  Any earthy death is not to be feared, or really something to be sad over.  We are to rejoice for those who have gone before us to truly be HOME.

At one point during the mass, A began to sing (and no one else was).  There were so few children at the mass, that his singing could be heard by everyone there.  I walked him out of the church and into the hallway and let him run around.  Standing in the hall, I watched A run up and down the hall joyfully, light streaming in on him from the windows that lined the hall, as my Grandfather's soul was being committed back to God in the church; a soul that was really HIS 94 years ago,on the day of his baptism. And, as I was standing there, watching A run and smile, and hearing the funeral mass, I was struck:  life is full of many hardships, many trials, pains, beginnings and endings, as I am sure my grandfather could have attested.  But there is so much JOY around, as the smile on A's face could attest.  The joy, HIS gifts to us are all around.  We just need to look. 

I knew I could foucs on one of two things that day: (1) The sorrow at the loss of my grandfather or (2) The joy of knowing that he "ran the race"; that he was a sinner, yes, we all are, but that my grandfather was also a good and faithful servant and that my grandfather is now where we all long to be. And the joy of being surrounded by family. 

It is truly a matter of perspective. There is Joy everywhere.  And I pray that I may have the eyes to see it, even at the hardest moments.

Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes - The "what a week" edition

1. If you read my previous post, you know that my grandfather passed away.  The funeral is on Saturday.  I would have been somewhere around mile 18 in the National Marathon (my first marathon) at the time I will now be at my grandfather's funeral mass.

2.  By the time you read this post, we will be packed up and headed North for the funeral.  It is cool here, but they just got 6 inches of snow there on Tuesday.  Their high for Saturday is our low.  I am not looking forward to the cold.

3. Wednesday was a HARD day for me.  I have really not been sad for my grandfather's passing.  Since he went in the hospital last week, we knew it was coming and we knew he was ready.  I truly am happy for him and that happiness that his pain is over, truly overcomes all of my sadness for losing him in my own life.  So why was Wednesday so hard?  It was the day that the funeral plans were confirmed and that I knew for sure that I would not be able to run the National Marathon.  When I opened my email up that afternoon and saw an email from the Suntrust National Marathon with the title "Final Instructions", I cried like a baby.

4. For those normal people (AKA: non-runners) reading this, it may seem hard to understand why I would get so upset over not being able to run my first marathon.  Let me try to put this another way.  Imagine you have a goal. Something you have wanted to achieve for a long time.  Six months before you are ready to achieve the goal, you start to plan.  You pick the day.  You map out, week by week, what you will do to get to that goal.  About 4 months out from the goal, the planning and work to achieve the goal becomes more intense.  You spend hours a week working hard.  Sometimes HOURS a day.  You sacrifice time with family and friends.  Finally, the week, when all of your months of hard work comes to fruition, is here.  You are nervous, you are excited. You visualize reaching your goal.  You have put the work in.  You are ready.  Then, days before you are to reach your goal, something happens, out of your control, and you are not even given the chance to reach your goal.  Dissapointing, isn't it?

5.  And, honestly, for most of the day Wednesday, I was very dissapointed. I wanted to give up.  I wanted to forget about the marathon for good.  I prayed about it and by the end of the day felt like I needed to press on.  So I started to look for some marathons in the area.

6. And I found this one.  The Garden Spot Village Marathon.  It is my only viable option.  Contrary to what people think, there is not a marathon everywhere every weekend (at least that would fit in my budget and my family's schedule).  It is the opposite of the National really.  It is small, and the National is fairly large.  It is in Amish country (ie: farmland on backroads) and the National is in the heart of DC.  I chose the National for my first because (1) it was close to home, I could drive down the morning of the race (2) there were enough people running it that I would have runners around me most of the time (3) and the crowd support would be fairly good. And eventhough this other marathon has none of that, I do not think I will mind the smaller race.  I am used to running alone and I think I will enjoy running through farm country.  It will remind me of where I grew up. Plus, its medal is fairly cute:

7. The only problem: It is two weeks away.  Which means I would be in taper for that.  But I just fininshed my taper?  I am worried that I would not be as prepared for this marathon as I could be.  I will not be able to get any running in this weekend.  Between the funeral and 16 hours in the car (total), I doubt I will be running at all.  I am not going to make any decisions about the marathon until after the weekend.  I will let ya'll know what I decide!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mourning the loss(es)

It is the middle of the night. I cannot sleep.

I got a call this evening from my Aunt. My grandfather passed away this afternoon.  I am sad I did not get to see him again before he died, but I am so happy for him.  He was ready to go. His pain is over.  But, I will miss him.  Although I have not lived in the same area as him for the last several years, I was blessed to grow up so close to he and my grandmother.  There are just a few of the memories I will cherish:
- The "Freddie" hats he wore
- The way he loved my grandmother and, nearly 10 years after her death, still cried when he talked about his "girl"
- That until his health failed, he would always guide you out of his driveway when you left the house.  It did not matter how cold it was or if it were raining or snowing, he always helped you back out of the driveway.
- His propensity for falling out of trees ;-)
- The trip when he and my grandmother took me, my brother and my cousins to the "North Pole" (A park in the Adirondack mountains in NY . . . . I really thought we had driven to the North Pole!).
- His hard working nature
-The fact that he could go anywhere and see someone he knew in some way!
-How he loved to tease
- The GOOD man that he was

Goodbye, Grandpa!

And, I am embarrassed to admit, I am mourning the loss of something else . . . my first marathon this weekend.  As of right now, it looks like the funeral will be on the same day as the marathon.  Is it strange that I cried that I will not be able to run it?  I am hoping that it is totally human and not just me being selfish.  But, I have trained for this marathon for months.  I have planned it for months.  Put in lots of work.  Went to the chiropractor.  Went to a physical therapist so that I could get to the start line this weekend.  I ran two 20 milers. I even already bought the 26.2 sticker for my car.  I was looking forward to crossing the finish line and knowing that I had put the hard work in, I had run the race.  I was a marathoner.  So, yes, I am very disappointed it will not happen.  And, I know there are other marathons, but I trained for this one.  And running 26.2 around my neighborhood would not be the same. 

So, with the loss of my grandfather and the most likely loss of the marathon swimming in my head I cannot sleep.  Hopefully sleep will come soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Offer it up

When in pain, or frustrated with a situation, my much holier husband would sometimes say to me, "Have you offered it up?"

Me, not being so holy, would think, "Really? Do I have to?" And I would get angry.  Mainly because I had not thought of it.

For those of you not familier with the term, we are taught in our faith, our Catholic faith, that none of our pain, whether physical, mental or emotional, is in vain.  There is value in suffering.  It is called Redemptive Suffering.  We can be transformed by it and we can help to transform when we unite our suffering with Christ's suffering.  When we "offer it up" for the benefit of others.  As you can tell, I am not a theologian.  But, if you are interested in a more profound description of the topic, you should read Redemptive Suffering by Fr Sam Tiesi.

Anyways, I always thought I had a good grasp on the topic.  I have been through tough times, I have had physical pain (3 c-sections, one in which the epidural had not taken and I could feel the pain as they cut into my skin) and many of those times I consciously prayed through it all and asked God to take my pain and use it for some greater purpose.  But,I have gotten better at it since I started training for my marathon. I am not kidding.

I love running, but there have been runs that have not loved me back.  They were hard and I was in pain for more than one of them.  And during those times, I could have: (1) given up and walked home (2) gotten angry about the fact that I was in pain and focus on it or (3) pray through it and offer it up for any number of people that I knew could really use prayers.

I chose #3.

Why has marathon training given me a greater appreciation for "offering it up"?  First, because this is the first time that the pain was optional.  With the c-sections, I had to go through those to have my three boys.  But, I chose to run.  I chose to challenge my body.  And I chose the aches and the pains that came with the long runs.  There have been times, with long hours on the road, that the only thing that had kept me going is prayer.  Offering it up.  I would consciously pray for the little baby girl that was born way too early and is struggling for life.  I would pray for others I knew that asked for prayers.  I asked God to take any physical discomfort I was feeling and use it for His Glory. 

And, so, it may seem crazy that I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon, which will be my second marathon, even before running my first.  But it is for a greater purpose.  I am running with the Archdiocese Run for Vocations Team.  I have done the 10K with the Run for Vocations for the last two years and have loved it.  I was more than happy to raise money for the seminarians.  But, I get it now.  I want to offer up my training, each step made, each mile pounded out, for the priests and seminarians of our Archdiocese.  It took training for the National Marathon for me to realize the power in my training and giving it all to Him.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Thousand Gifts



242. my 2 yr old playing with his shadows
243. brothers who stick up for each other
244. a great Zooma run
245. a great Zooma dinner
246. rain
247. an unexpected dinner invitation
248. time at the park and friends showing up at the last minute
249. the Nun Run
250. a great time with new women running
251. crown of thorns
252. candles to light our Lenten journey
253. faces lit by the candles of Lent
254. my son who knows so much more than me (at times)
255. dinner with friends
256. a comfortable window bench
257. ice cream cookie sandwiches
258. flowers from my husband
259. boys who sing about Jesus while lying in their beds
260. toy cars lined up on a picture box
261. blueberry muffins
262. a boy who read one whole chapter book in a day
263. a boy who read two whole chapter books in a day
264. daily mass
265. a taped IT band
266. an outing with the boys
267. daffodils blooming
268. seeing my boy, all comfortable, reading on the couch
269. the elliptical at the gym
270. the smell of wood
271. my in-laws who watched and played with the boys
272. green cookies
273. for a Saint who left his home country to be a missionary to those who enslaved him (thank you, St Patrick)
274. boys dirty from playing outside all afternoon
275. brothers having a picnic on the back deck together and say grace without even being asked

Friday, March 18, 2011

7 Not-so Quick Takes

1.


 Yesterday we celebrated St Patrick's Day.  We ate Irish Stew, Irish Soda Bread and Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies. We watched this St Patrick video and we colored this St Patrick coloring page and read this book about St Patrick.  The boys had lots of fun.





2. Taper Madness.  7 more days.  I am nervous.  I get nauseous anytime I think of getting to the starting line and waiting in my corral to go.  Plus, my IT band started acting up during the virtual 10 K I did last weekend.  It is my own fault, I have done too much running on a track over the past few weeks and I did not switch directions!  So, I am icing, stretching and rolling my leg several times a day.  And I am doing lots of cross training.  My PT said I should be fine for race day.  I think my IT band worries may be due to the fact that I am tapering.  Every ache and pain is something major: over the past week I have had: Shin Splints (oh, great my legs will be burning during the marathon), ITBS (my knee will be in so much pain, I will have to crawl to the finish line, Random leg pain?: It is either compartment syndrome or the beginning of a stress fracture. Sheesh! Enough already!

3. I wish all the race time prediction calculators were correct.  If I plug in my time from my virtual 10K from last weekend (which I took easy), I should finish the marathon at my "dream" goal time of 4:30 (ie: if everything is going my way that day).  I would love that to happen, but I am not counting on it.  Ultimately, I will be happy if I finish under 5 hours.
4. J has become a reader! J learned to read a while ago, but has never read on his own.  If he does not have to read for school, he will not read it.  A week ago a friend recommended the Magic Tree House books.  She let us borrow a few.  A couple days later, I handed one to J and said "read this until I have all your books out for school."  I got the books out and he was still reading.  I decided to do school with K.  We finished. J was still reading.  I decided to let him read until he stopped.  A little while later, he looked at me, big smile on his face, and said, "Mom, I finished the book."  He read whole second book of the series later that day.  I just put a few more on hold at the library!

5. I am pages away from being finished with One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I LOVED the book.  It got better and better as it went along and I underlined several sentences because I want their messages to stay with me.  I will admit, I still do not like Ann's style of writing, but the book's message is incredible.

6. If you think of it, please pray for my grandfather.  He has gone into kidney failure.  Pray that if it is God's will that he recover, that he recover quickly.  But if it is his time to die, that he have a peaceful death.

7. I have not one, but four knights in shining armor.  I feel like a queen!






Have a blessed weekend everyone!

To see more 7 Quick takes, head on over to the Conversion Diary.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A marathon that I would like to run . . .

This is one marathon that is close to my heart.  If I could afford the plane ticket, I would be there! And it would be a great way to raise money for our adoption!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nun Run Virtual 10K

Today I ran the Nun Run 10K virtually as a part of team All For from the Joyfilled family blog.  This virtual run is in conjunction with the Nun Run supporting the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration

I started this morning with a 3 mile run at the Zooma Annapolis race kickoff (more on that soon!). It was a great run with a great bunch of ladies.  After the kick off was over, I headed back home to the local high school track to do the 10K.  Since I had run earlier today and am officially tapering for the marathon, I did not want to run this 10K really hard.  I wanted to run it at a good pace, but slow enough so as to not do anything silly to injure myself this close to the marathon.

I took a before picture: 
As you can tell I am not very good at taking photos of myself.  Then I headed to the track.  It was colder than I expected today and I did not have my gloves, so the first 3 miles were chilly.  I felt really good during the first 2 miles.  Normally, the first miles are the worst for me, but I think since I had already run today, my body was ready to go.  After mile 2, I stared to have troubles with my IT band on my right knee.  I have been doing too much running at the track in the same direction for too long and I think it caught up with me today (Note to self: NO MORE track running for the next two weeks!!).  My knee started to HURT.  So, I switched directions and began run/walk breaks that I normally do at longer distances (9 min run/1 min walk).  That helped alleviate the knee pain somewhat.

The last 4 miles passed uneventfully.  By about 4.5 miles, the knee pain got much better and was barely noticeable.  I felt really good and finished the 6.2 miles in:
57:05 min

Still smiling after!

This was a fun run and I will definitely do it again next year! To check out other virtual runners, go to the Joyfilled family Blog.  Way to go team All For!

We have NOT ARRIVED.
We are far from the finish line.
But we are on CHRIST'S TEAM.
His love ignites us.
...His power fuels us.
His mission compels us.
WE ARE COMMITTED to CHRIST
and to this race.

We will run STRONG and run LONG.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lenten Plans


I am a bit behind in posting this.  I have been meaning to write this up, but I feel like I have writer's block and cannot put any words together eloquently right now. 

I have been excited for Lent to come.  It is such a great time to refocus and realign priorities.  I have prayed a lot about what I wanted to do personally and as a family.  I was blessed enough to go on a retreat just a week before the start of Lent, so I could really focus on how to make this Lent prayerful.  So, this is what I am going and we are doing as a family:

- We have given up TV.  The boys are allowed to watch any Saint's videos or Veggie Tales videos sparingly.  My husband and I will only watch one TV show a week. 

- The boys have given up computer games for Lent.

- The family has given up sweets for Lent.

- Prayer: At the start of the school day the boys and I light the Way of Light Wreath that is pictured above and can been seen at Ann Voskamp's blog. We read from A Family Journey with Jesus through Lent (which is perfect for younger children). And then we pray the stations of the cross using The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children.  The boys have really enjoyed this prayer time so far.

-Prayer: I am continuing to pray Liturgy of the Hours in the morning.  All books I am reading are of a spiritual nature (except for my marathon book!).  And, I am going to attempt to take the boys to daily mass once a week.  That one continues to be a struggle for me because my youngest can be difficult at mass and I think it may be better for me just to stay home than to get frustrated 90% of the time I got to daily mass.



- The boys made the Crown of Thorns today at co-op, so they will be practicing small sacrifices and doing charitable deeds to remove the thorns from the crown before Easter.

- And, although I have already struggled with this one: I will only be viewing other blogs and commenting once a week.  This is the place that I have found I can tend to waste the most time, so I am going to limit it this Lent.  I will still be blogging, so please continue to stop by!

Have a Blessed Lent Everyone!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One Thousand Gifts



214. a good homeschooling day
215. french toast bake
216. an email - I am a finalist
217. the young woman who paid for our parking in downtown DC when I could not find any more change
218. our trip to the Museum of Natural History
219. the wonderment of all the boys
220. "Take a picture Mommy."
221. J's love for history and the mystery of skeletons from Jamestown
222. my husband's goodbye party at work
223. hugs and smiles
224. others' appreciation for him
225. Fr Bill
226. Fr Panke
227. Sr Trinite
228. for the woman behind the camera capturing all the memories and entertaining the boys
229.beautiful weather so the boys could play outside
230. a few miles on the elliptical when my legs needed a break from the pounding of running
231. my 4 yr old pushing his two yr old brother in the swing without being asked
232. pillow fights, tickles, and laughter
233. bear counters turning into Colonial and British Armies
234. a boy running in the backyard, proclaiming that he is a priest-knight
235. a little boy in love with his Godmother
236. a husband who pushed me back out the door, knowing I would not be happy with only 15
237. a nap
238. Lenten plans set
239. the laughter of my 2 yr old as he hits a balloon
240. crocuses blooming
241. the yellow of a daffodil bud ready to open
241. birds chirping

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Marathon Meanderings

The National Marathon is 18 days away.  Yikes!  It seems so close, but too far away.  I am finally at the, very needed, taper.  Here is an update of where I am at:

- I have done two 20 milers.  The first was great.  I came home feeling like, "Yes, bring on the marathon!"  My last one, which was this weekend, was miserable.  If I feel like I did during that run during the marathon, I will be crying at the end . . . and it will not be tears of joy!  It rained a lot during the run.  My legs were sore.  By mile 13 it started to rain hard and I headed home.  I came home at mile 15 and told my husband, "I am done."  He, lovingly, told me to get dry clothes on and finish the last 5 miles.  I did.  The last 5 miles were really HARD. But I got the 20 miler done and was glad I did.

- I feel under prepared.  I have pretty much stuck to the training schedule.  I have shortened some of my weekly runs because my legs have been hurting (just muscular issues) and I have not wanted to push it.  I fear getting injured and so I try to take it slow.

- I have realized that the marathon can go very badly or it can go very well, no matter how hard I have trained at this point.

- Have I mentioned that I am slow?

- I am tired.  I need more sleep.

- I am still trying to figure out nutrition during the race.  So far I am leaning toward Nuun, and Honey Stingers Energy Shots, and a Clif bar.  I have used these on my longer runs and seem to work well.

- The outfit: I have got it picked out, but am hoping the the running skirt does not end up chafing me . . . the one I wore this weekend did, which was a first for me.

- Finally, I have the desire to tell everyone that I am running a marathon and that I have actually already run 20 miles.  I really try to not talk about it, but sometimes it slips.  I do not do it to be like, "Look at me, I am running a marathon and I ran 20 miles."  It is more like, "I cannot believe that I am running a marathon and have survived 20 miles already, maybe if I say it out loud it will be more real."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Running for the Nuns!


As mentioned in a previous post, I am running the Nun Run virtually.  And, I am trying to help the Poor Claires of Perpetual Adoration raise money.  Please click on my donation page to make a donation to this great order (Mother Angelica's order).

Our St.Michaels Getaway


The Old Brick Inn

Last week my husband told me that he wanted to surprise me with a night away.  He had been planning it for a while.  Between co-op, clients, and the many doctors appoints we have been trying to get in before our insurance changes, there were not many options.  Except for this past Monday and Tuesday.  Monday afternoon we dropped the boys off at a friend's house and headed to St. Michaels.




St. Michaels is on the Eastern Shore in Maryland and around an hour and a half from where we live.  It is a quaint little town and many of the original homes from the 1700's are still there.  We stayed at the Old Brick Inn Bed and Breakfast.   This was the first time I have ever been to a bed and breakfast.  I have always wanted to go to one, so I was so excited to actually get to stay at one.  After we checked in and opened the door to our room, I was in awe.  The room was beautiful. 

After we settled in, we went for a walk around the town.  It was raining, but it was still nice enough to enjoy the walk. 

The following day was cooler, but the sun was shining and it was perfect.  I woke up several times early that morning to check the clock . . . I did not want to miss breakfast.  Each room has a journal in it and those who stay there can leave an entry about their stay.  I read several entries and EVERY ONE of them mentioned how wonderful the breakfast was.  So, I was ready to get out of bed and go down for breakfast as soon as it started. 

The breakfast was incredible.  It started with a fruit cup. 

What's the big deal, right?  Well, see the dollop of whipped cream on it?  I am not sure what was in the whipped cream, but it was incredible.  Next, came the cinnamon and vanilla oatmeal pancakes with pepper bacon. 


Oh, it was so good!

After breakfast we headed out for a walk around town again.  We walked down a lot of the side streets and saw so many historic homes. 


 By the time we finished with the walk, it was nice enough out and we had digested enough of our breakfast, so we decided to go for a run around town.  4 miles later we got cleaned up, packed up, and got ready to go home.  But, of course, we needed to eat lunch first.  We went to Ava's pizzeria and wine bar.  Its name does not do it justice.  Both my husband and I got sandwiches. My sandwich was the best sandwich I ever tasted.  I am really not exaggerating!  It was an toasted Italian sandwich with goat cheese and an olive salad on it.  You really could put olives on anything and I would love it, but this was amazing.  Even my husband, who does not like olives, LOVED this sandwich.  Then, we had dessert . . . chocolate molten lava cake.  All I can say is that I am glad that this restaurant is not closer to where we live!

After lunch, we headed home to pick up the boys.  We were in St Michaels for less than 24 hours, but the whole time there was so restful.  I am so glad that my husband and I were able to get away for that short time.  It was worth it!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Thousand Gifts, a review and the reset button

Over the past two weeks, I had been in a kind of funk.  I was tired.  Old, bad, habits (ie: sins) were creeping in.  I had not been keeping up with my thousand gift journal.  And, my prayer times were severely lacking. 

Then, this weekend, thanks to my amazing husband, I was able to push the reset button.  On Saturday, my husband told me that he would give the talk, that we were supposed to do together, by himself, so that I could go to the woman's day retreat at our parish.  It was AMAZING.  Great speakers, great prayer times, great food.  It was what I needed when needed it.  I was able to pray about Lent and what I needed to do to re-order in my life.  I was able to go to confession and get my "slate wiped clean."  My spiritual reset button had been pushed.

Then, Monday, my husband took me away for a night away to a Bed and Breakfast to this cut town, called St. Michaels, MD.  The boys went to stay with friends.  We were only gone for 24 hours, but again, an amazing 24 hours.  We were able to walk around the town, talk, and have dinner without having to clean up the dishes.  And we could stay out without having to worry about rushing home to get kids to bed. Perfect.  Rest button pushed.

Through the last several days, with time to pray and reflect, I have come to realize a few things.  One, I am happier when I am counting my blessings.  Over the months that I have been keeping my gift journal, thank you Ann Voskamp for the idea, I have been more focused on the gifts I have instead of what I lack.

I am currently reading Ann's book, A Thousand Gifts, and I highly recommend it.  Although, I think I have to say that I recommend keeping a gift /gratitude journal for a while first before reading the book (You can read about the list at her website, A Holy Experience).  Ann has a gift with words.  She can craft words into beautiful sentences and it reads like poetry.  She uses a lot of imagery in her book as well.  Altough, I like it, it is not my preferred style, so I am not sure if I would have believed all that she says about how the gift journal can transform if I had not been keeping one already. 

Counting the gifts. Finding gifts in each moment has taught me to savor the moment.  Live in the moment.  Today, at lunch in St Michaels, just a short time before we would pick up our boys and return home (and the list of to dos would overwhelm me), I felt so blessed.  I enjoyed each bite of my sandwich and the conversation with my husband more than I would have before.  Before; my mind would be hours ahead of my body.  My mind would have been anxious for the work ahead of me.  But, today, I stayed in the moment.  Looking for more gifts.  Looking for God's gifts in that very moment.

Therefore I tell you , do not worry about your life .. . Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? . . .But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew: 6:25-34

So, my journal is opened on the counter now.  Pen waiting by its side.  When I see Him in the moment, I write it down.  Because it really all is a gift.  I just need the eyes to see it. 

194. for my husband (I could wirte his name on this list a thousand times!)
195. for the women's retreat
196. for talking to the right person at the right time when I felt most alone
197. Chocolate zin
198. the Old Brick Inn
199. feeling like a princess
200. a walk in the rain
201. the sound of church bells chiming out the hour
202. friends who watched our boys so that we could get away
203. the sound of rain hitting the umbrella
204. cinnamon whipped cream
205. a street lined with old style lamp posts
206. a run with my husband through St Michaels
207. an incredible sandwich for lunch
208.learning to savor everything
209.a perfect time away
210.the sun beating down, warming me through the window
211.chocolate molten lava cake, yummy and decorated to perfection
212. hearing the crackle of the fire in the brick oven while eating lucnh
213. a view of the kitchen from our table- watching the chef, like an artist as he paints a canvas, decorate a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting as if it is a canvas, each movement done to create a masterpiece - it reminded me of something that St Josemaria Escriva said about work:

It is time for us Christians to shout from the rooftops that work is a gift from

God and that it makes no sense to classify men differently, according to
their occupation, as if some jobs were nobler than others. Work, all work,
bears witness to the dignity of man, to his dominion over creation.
Before God, no occupation is in itself great or small. Everything gains the
value of the Love with which it is done. (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Imagination Movers: In A Big Warehouse Tour

My boys love music.  Once school is over and they are done with all of their work, they love to listen to music.  I am pretty picky about what they listen to.  There is no top 40's playing in our house.  If it isn't classical or christian music, the music needs to be uplifting.  And, fun, of course. 

A new favorite in our house is the Imagination Movers. We were first introduced to them while on vacation thanks to the Disney Channel.  Their show, also named Imagination Movers is a fun show where there is usually a problem to solve and the Imagination Movers work together to come up with a solution.  The show is often goofy and highly entertaining. Each episode also contains music that the group performs. It is one of the rare shows that the boys laugh all the way through.

So, when I was contacted to share the great news about their concert tour, I was more than willing.  A few things I like about the group and their music:

- All four of the men are dads. Which means that they know what kids will like.  And, since they are dads, they also know what parents want to hear and want their children to hear.
-The songs are fun and get you moving. Which is a huge bonus when you have kids!
- The songs are positive.  The lyrics are positive and fun.
- Parents enjoy the music too.  Watch out, you will be singing the songs too!

Here is some more information from the Imagination Mover's Bio:
The Movers’ own story provides a good example of the power of imagination. In 2003, four New Orleans friends – Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith – started gathering after their kids’ bedtimes to write songs and brainstorm ideas about a children’s television show. Two years later, they had become the latest sensation of their musical city, attracting parents and children alike with an eclectic pop sensibility and lyrical turns about healthy snacks and playing catch and conquering childhood fears of bedtime. Lines to the Movers’ shows stretched down blocks.


When the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina, the far-reaching disaster turned the Movers’ world upside down, but it didn’t put an end to their dream. Even while band members salvaged their belongings from flooded homes – and Smith reported to his day job as a fire fighter and first responder – they never stopped living according to the Movers’ motto: “Reach high, think big, work hard, have fun!”

We have their newest CD, In A Big Warehouse.  Let's just say it has been playing in my house, everyday, since we received it.  I cannot speak for girls (since I do not have any), but this music is a favorite among my boys.  My boys' favorite song : The Sensible Life of a Pirate!  It is such a fun song that I am willing to put it on repeat for the boys.  Plus, it is so cute hearing my two year old say "Rrrrrrrr" with the song!  I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun CD for their kids.
 
Here is one of their songs called "Brainstorming."
 

 
And, the Imagination Movers have just started their In A Big Warehouse Tour.  My boys cannot wait to head to Linser Auditorium at George Washington University to see this band of four in concert.  The tour will visit more than 50 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. Tickets for all dates will go on sale November 12th via Ticketmaster with a special pre-sale for all dates beginning online at Ticketmaster.com November 9 at 10:00 a.m. There will be VIP packages for fans available in many cities. For details on the tour dates, VIP packages and venues visit http://www.imaginationmovers.com/.
This quote from "Mover Rich" captures the experience of the concert:
“Nothing beats the excitement of playing live rock n roll with the help of thousands of great fans,” says Rich Collins (aka Mover Rich). “We encourage our audience to be an essential part of the show by singing, clapping, shouting, dancing and generally letting the energy of a real rock concert lift their spirits. Everybody needs a nap after one of our gigs. Including the grownups – and especially us!”
I cannot wait to take my boys.  I hope you can join us! Go here to see if the Movers will be in your area.

Note: I was not paid for this review.  I was given a CD and two tickets to the Imagination Movers Concert for an honest review and promotion of the Imagination Movers concert tour.