Sunday, August 3, 2014

A life changing weekend and the thoughts that have followed...

Over the last few days my thoughts have been swirling around in my head with no rhyme or reason.  They have been scattered and I have pondered.  Pondered so many things.  The main thing that rings true over and over is that the Holy Spirit was the one running this show.  There were too many chance encounters or mystical occurrences that without a doubt we all know who was the one providing us with the joy, companionship, love and strength that we all felt when we left.  We were empowered by the only One who can truly empower us.  Our Lord.

Months ago I came across a blog I sometimes read.  I say sometimes because I'm not a big blog reader.  I find myself enjoying blogs, but too often become overwhelmed by others "perfect" lives.  Too much comparison going on in my head.  Well, I was reading Conversion Diary when Jen posted about a great idea she had for a party for Catholic women.  I was hooked.  I couldn't wait.  When I heard the news that the tickets would go on sale I was on the computer waiting at the exact moment. I talked my best friend into coming too. Leading up to the weekend I had nothing but joy and excitement flowing through my veins.  I couldn't wait.  I felt no guilt about leaving.  I was ready.  The whole drive up...exhilaration.   We got to the hotel and were greeted by friends and it felt like home.  But then we got up to the room and I became a 14 year old version of myself.  I was so shy.  People that know me now don't believe that I am shy.  But I am extremely shy.  I overcame it to a point, when I became a mother.  There was something so powerful and fulfilling about being a mother that my insecurities didn't matter any more.  AT ALL.  I looked into my beautiful daughter's eyes and realized that she didn't care.  She loved me unconditionally.  I felt a confidence I hadn't felt before.  But back to the room...I looked down onto all the ladies sitting in the lobby and I was hit by the shy bug full force!  ACK!  I don't like being shy.  I am truly an extrovert, but only when I know people and am not the "new kid."  We moved around a lot when I was young.  Actually I moved a lot all through college too.  So I think it's harder for me in those new situations.  We got to the cocktail party and mingled around.  I found that it was not at all intimidating.  Every lady there was so friendly and so welcoming.  I met several new friends and no one judged.  No ONE!  It was like no other party full of 225  women that I had ever been to.  We were all alike.  Not that are lives were the same, but we were all there because we are daughters of our One True Lord.  We all connected.  It didn't matter if our journeys were different, we were all one.  The party was incredible and I went home feeling like I had 225 new friends, even though I hadn't met them all.  It was peaceful.

 WHAT??? An In-N-Out in Austin!!!  Lunch time!

 The Cathedral on Friday night.

 Old friends and a new at the cocktail party!

 I'm not big on selfies, but this is one I will treasure forever!!

The next morning Suzi and I headed out to find the perfect place for breakfast and, because it was THIS weekend, we did.  We found a fantastic crepe place that reminded me of Paris.  We ran into four friends that we had met the day before.  It was so nice to hear about their families and children.  Then we headed to the cathedral for confession.  Again the Holy Spirit was in charge because everything the priest said to me was the exact same message I would hear later that day.  We as women do so much to glorify God and we must remember that in all we do.  And it's ok to admit that it's hard, but it's such an important vocation.  After confession, it was time for the gathering to begin. We all gathered and visited and met new friends that felt like people we had known for ages.  Definitely a communion of saints feeling here on Earth.  There were so many wonderful vendors to check out and name tags to create.  Then the talks began.  Marion had us all in tears.  Her words of wisdom were so touching and inspiring.  Then it was time for tea, snacks, shopping and meeting more new "old" friends.   The feeling that comes back to me over and over was how in a room full of all these women, there was this overwhelming feeling of love for each of them.  No one complaining about husbands, or other women, or anything gossipy.  It was such an overwhelming peaceful feeling.  

 Yummy breakfast and I even got one for dessert with Nutella to bring me back to Paris.

 Touring the city on our way to the Cathedral.  Horrible picture of the capital but I didn't want to get run over.

 The Capital.  It's actually larger than our nation's capital.  

 The altar at the Cathedral...LOVED this place!

After the talks were over we all went our different ways to prepare for the evening.  Some went to Mass, some to sleep, some to swim and explore the hotel.  Suzi and I went exploring the hotel then went to get ready for the evening.  After we got all pretty, it was time for the amazing party to begin.  It started with a delicious tex mex dinner and an inspiring talk by Jennifer. After dessert the karaoke began and then turned into the BEST DANCE PARTY EVER!!!   I haven't had that much fun dancing in as long as I can remember.  We danced until the hotel kicked us out and then we headed to the bar to continue visiting and still meeting new friends.  By the time I got to bed, I was exhausted with such a glorious feeling that could only be compared to the love that our Lord has for us in such a human way.  I'm not sure that makes any sense, but so be it.  :)

 Suzi and I at the top of the Omni.

Photo booth fun!!

 Jen's inspirational talk.

The next morning we went to Mass at the cathedral at 9:30 with many of our new friends.  And again there was the Holy Spirit filling our hearts with the same message.  It was beautiful!  So each of us were able to leave this gathering with such an inspiring message that has been with me each and every day and has kept inspiring me through all that I do.  I pray that this message will reach all of us who are in the trenches of our daily vocations every day and keep us feeling inspired knowing that God is reaching us through each other.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My aunt...

This is my aunt.  After each of my daughters were born she would come and stay with me to help me.  During each of her breaks from teaching, she would come and stay with me and help me.  We became very close and I will always treasure the time spent with her and the time my children have had with her.  When she retired from teaching, she moved close to my sister to become her nanny.  She has a heart of gold and cares so much for others.

About a year ago she moved to our area to be closer to my mom (her sister) and me. She had started struggling with memory issues and we felt it would be best.  She was unable to drive anymore and take her medications without confusion.  We found the most amazing independent living home and she moved in.  She was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.  We love having her close and my parents and I are able to be there for her for all her dr appts. and anything else she needs.  The bond my children have has only grown closer as they now help care for her.

Almost three weeks ago she fell getting out of the shower and broke her arm.  My parents were out of town.  Hope's play was finishing it's last weekend of shows.  It was a crazy time.  We quickly realized she needed more help than I could give her alone.  We found an amazing company that has the most caring, knowledgeable, and kind caregivers to be with her every day all day and all night.  It has been the hardest time in my life.  Having to make decisions for someone who has been independent her whole life.  She taught in inner city San Francisco for over 30 years.  She has a brilliant mind and it's so hard to watch her struggle with it.  She feels so ignorant.

Being able to be there for her through this all has been such a gift to me.  It has been difficult and my children have seen me reduced to a helpless person who can only be carried by Our Lord, who has allowed this beautiful suffering to grow me.  Spiritually.  This Easter is truly one for rejoicing.  Not because all is better, and the struggles are over, but because with the struggles comes the Love and feeling it and knowing it are the reasons to sing "Alleluia" from the top of my lungs!

May you all find the joy in the times of suffering and may you all be able to sing Alleluia from the top of your lungs!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jumping in where I am...

So many posts have made it into my mind, yet none have made it onto these pages.  There is something therapeutic about writing that I feel brings me a peace that I am desperately in need of.  For the past few years I have had my Lenten sacrifices chosen for me.  Usually a sickness but last year was surgery.  A surgery that would forever remove my chances of having a child inside of me again.  I was truly at peace with this decision, it had to be done.  In order for me to be present in my husband and children's lives.  I am still at peace, but definitely feel a yearning every so often.  But then I think about grandchildren and it will be no time at all that I will have a joy that will surpass anything that I have yet known.

In March I came across a workshop that looked interesting, but didn't really appeal to me.  It was for those suffering burnout.  I'm a pretty busy person, but never really felt I have suffered from burnout.  After spending two days with the workshop, my dearest friend, insisted that I join.  So knowing that I would get something out of it, I signed up.  Ha!  God had a plan for this Lent that has thrown me into complete and total submission to His will and has left me so helpless that only He can take over from here. This workshop was with me every step of the way.   I have been pulled into every direction even when I had nothing left to give.  It all fell on me.  With the support of my amazing husband and children, I got through it.  I was able to rejoice on the most beautiful day of the entire year.  I feel a joy in the new life that is ahead.  The journey that I have traveled has allowed me to grow in ways that I didn't know I needed to and allowed me to be pruned into more of His image.  I rejoice in the sufferings and I rejoice in the new birth. "We are an Easter people and Allelluia is our song!"  St. Augustine.

I pray that you will find joy and peace in all the sufferings brought to you in your life, because it truly is where He allows us to know Him, to serve Him and to love Him.  
Happy Easter from our family to yours!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Time for remembering the Roses...again.


It's time to catch up on all the beauty that God has sent our way.  We went to Rockport for a week in February, and spent the best week just all being together focusing on each other.  Nothing else... It was amazing!!

The Big Tree is at least 100 years old.  It has survived fires,  wars and hurricanes.  It still stands as beautiful as ever surrounded by it's offspring.

Searching for sand dollars.

Ballerinas dance wherever they can.

Strolling along the water.

It was so cold but that didn't matter to Love.  
He had a blast jumping over the waves.

Early morning at the Rockport Beach.

Time for love!

Charity trying to stay warm.

Tons of nature study all week long.

Sunrise under the umbrella.

On your mark, get set...

The Black Skimmers nest in a protected area near the beach.  When we go at this time of year, the beach is always empty and we get to get up close to these beautiful birds.

Daddy even had fun relaxing!!

Hope got a pedicure by the best!

Charity finally warmed up enough to play in the sand.

Whenever we get to a beach, 
Love's favorite thing to do is run as fast as he can straight for the water.

Beautiful sunrise!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This week's Roses...extended version.

These are the special moments from our very hectic lives over the past few weeks.  
The Roses sent to us have been amazing, although sometimes difficult.  We are traveling on an 
amazing journey together as a family.  We are grateful for every moment, rose and blessing sent from above.  We are truly on this beautiful journey to grow closer to the One who Is.  

Beautiful ballerinas at their end of year recitals.

Amazing Nature centers and guides who love to share their love with our homeschooling group.  Great friends who work so hard to set up these amazing adventures!

This is Alligator Pond.

Yep, that's a REAL LIVE alligator!  

In the exact middle of the screen, next to the reflection of the white tree, you will see the creature from the above picture.  We were pretty close.  

Sunbathing turtles.  They were pretty big.  The alligators will feast on these and other small animals in the pond.  

A tarantula was next...

Mr. Al with a corn snake on his neck.  We learned so many new things that we didn't know before about all different types of reptiles.  

The kids were able to ask any and every question they could think of.  

Love was mesmerized. He couldn't pet the snake enough.  
FYI, sweet boy, we will NEVER have one in this house.
Pickwick Society with our dearest friends.  Sewing and crafting at the park on a spring day is another amazing joy of homeschooling.

And it wouldn't be Pickwick without snacks.

Little brothers chasing geese and ducks.

More brothers and more ducks and a momma who is now snuggling that baby in her arms.
Congratulations to the V. family!  We can't wait to meet that sweet girl.

 Highschool group.  So grateful that my children have such wonderful friends.

Thanks to another great mom in our HS group, we had classes at the Houston Zoo.  I took the kids early in hopes that we would see the animals more active.  It worked. Except for the sleepy bear, we saw many active animals.  The two leopards were wrestling and playing.  It was so cute.  The zoo has a commemorative of all the Cougars who have stayed at the zoo.  We had to stop and take a picture for Daddy!