Wednesday, December 31, 2014



At first glance, this picture might seem a little cheese-ball.  My sister made and sent this to me on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  To be honest, as you've probably witnessed through this blog, I really think race is discussed completely backward in this country.  That being said, it is super important for me to recognize and acknowledge that less than 75 years ago, our little family would have been quite impossible in this country. There is a strong sense of thankfulness I feel deep within my heart for civil rights leaders of the 20th century.  This picture represents that to me.


February was long wasn't it?  The fatigue of our very long winter starting to set in (though I'd love me some true winter now).  This is a good representation of our February.  Pajamas and lounging around.


Ah.... look at these little leprechauns.  My dear cousin Judy bought matching sweatshirts for the boys (you know I love me some matching sweatshirts) and we got to enjoy all the Joy of this very special day for my 1/2 Black, 1/4 Irish, and 1/4 Polish babies.


What a special day!  On this day, John Paul Francis Wilkerson's Godfather, Uncle Deacon Mario, was ordained a Deacon.  It was a beautiful thing to see my dear friend transitionally give of his life in service of the Church.  Keep him in your prayers as he prepares for Priestly Ordination in 2015.


It ain't perfect, but it is us.  


June was awesome.  Our little family went on a sweet family vacation that started with Chicago (and one of my favorite pictures of my boys) and continued to the Wisconsin Dells.  It was drama free and lovely.  And a good opportunity to really bond with Big Aaron's family.


And that, my friends is JOY.  the JOY that only summer time and childhood can bring.


I'm not gonna lie.  August was pretty terrible, and this picture kind of sums it up.  Aaron lost his job on the last day of July, his company (the worst company in the world BLAZENT), did it intentionally, so they wouldn't have to pay out any more insurance.  It was/is a small company, so they knew we had three little babies at home.  The next day (I think) Joey fell and cracked his head open, needing stitches.  Thank God for my responsible husband, we had funds to cover it, but it just perfectly encapsulated this month.  We had a trip planned to Mexico, but Aaron was still trying to find a job and we missed our flights.  August really stunk.  But don't get too sad, because there was a September...


September was awesome.  My kick butt husband worked his butt off hustling to find a new job.  By the end of August we had two really good offers to choose from.  My sweet cousin Judy (do you notice a theme here) came to watch the boys, so Aaron and I could go up to the outlet shops in order to get him fancified  for his new role as team lead.


So, if you read the ol' blog, you know I am not a crafter.  Which is why I was more than proud of my creative moment in costumes when I made all three boys race-cars out of cardboard boxes.  I am pretty much Martha Stewart.


So, just for the record, Joey does not have his finger in his nose.  This picture was from Thanksgiving morning.  It's my sweet little family, under covers, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  You know how sometimes, we get those moments of overwhelming gratefulness?  This was one of those moments. I felt so blessed for my family and the life we have, I couldn't stop crying.  Aaron, my fancy husband, had just accepted a new position as an IT Manager.  My family was coming into town, and I got to snuggle with my family. I am still, to this day, overwhelmed by what God has done in such little time (5 years) to my life.  My cupeth, truly overflows.


This one was really hard to choose.  This month has been a mixed bag.  St. Nicholas Day, Advent, Christmas morning, but in the end, I chose this one.  This is from our second annual 'friends Christmas' at the Chamberlands house.  We are so very blessed with good friends.  Friends who are truly very much like family.  It's been wonderful watching our friendship grow and sustain through years of experiences.  In this picture is Jay, a high school/college friend and my son's godfather, his wife Beth and their two children Thomas (my godson) and Ethan.  Mike and Kellie- my ministry partner and my college roommate.  Aaron- my best friend.  Jodi- my dear friend who made my 10 years at St. John Neumann so much fun,  My sister Annie, who is cooking my newest godchild and our dear friend Father Craig, who married us almost five years ago.  I am so blessed by my circle of friends, and this is just a few of them. 

As many of you know, we found out 1.5 weeks ago that one of our closest friends has an incredibly difficult cancer road ahead.  At the end of this week, we will all find out exactly what that road will entail. It's helped me to step back and feel so very thankful for the moments I have with those who God has placed in my life.  It has helped me feel grateful for all of you, as so many of you have offered prayers, support and financial help to a man you've never met. 

2014 was a mixed bag.  But I can say with confidence, the good Lord has been too good to me.  And with that, I leave you with a Pearl Jam song that was recently put on my radar.  ENJOY.

Monday, December 29, 2014

How Paul changed my brother's life...

My friend Ann posted today about Paul. I told you about Paul on Friday.  I told you he's the best kind of dude, because he is.  Everyone is praying for a miracle, and I am hoping, hoping, hoping a miracle will happen.  Her post today wasn't full of awesome.  Here's what it said...

"Update:  Paul's been coughing up a good deal of blood and having some breathing/pain issues, so the dr is getting him in early for his CT scan (today instead of Wed). Please pray that it goes well and that his lungs will miraculously be clearer than they were in his last x-ray.  Thank you for all your continued prayers.  We couldn't get through this without you all!!!"

Obviously, when your friend who is more like your family is sick, it gives you a moment of pause, a moment to reflect.  The other night, I was with my sisters.  We started talking about Paul and we all ended up crying a bit.  He's that kind of good you guys.  The kind of good that has you crying at even the thought that things won't be okay.  Paul hasn't just been a huge influence in my life, he's been a huge influence in everyone's life who have the pleasure of knowing him.

My brother Brian was Paul's best man. I already told you about that.  But I didn't tell you the story of their friendship. I'd like to do that now.  Then I'd like to tell you why my heart is so overwhelmed with gratefulness and what I really really need from you.

I went to a pretty fantastic Catholic college called Franciscan University.  A lot of you know that. The school has it's problems, and I could probably list some of them for you.  But overall, it was a pretty perfect college experience.  Mostly because I was able to be with peers who believed in a God who loved them. For four years, I was able to let that impact my life.  When I went to college as a freshman, my brother Brian was busy sewing his wild oats as a junior in high school. I could tell you stories, but I think he describes it best as 'sex, drugs and rock and roll'.  He wasn't making good choices.  My family was worried about him.  My mom and him were going to come visit me and Brian was upset.  He figured my mom was trying to manipulate him into some Jesus environment so that his heart would change (he was probably right).  I remember talking to Paul and telling him,

"Paul, my brother is coming...I need you to show him you can still be 'cool' and Catholic- can you please do that for me???"
Super cool freshman Catholics

With confidence, he promised he would.

Then my brother visited.

And freaking Paul shows up at my dorm with a ridiculous outfit (probably a neon shirt and those silly gecko pants he used to wear), but worse than that...he had put on a MULLET WIG.

Paul proceeded to tell my brother that he was showing him how to be cool and Catholic.

Evangelization Manipulation Fail.

Big. Time.

us at Paul and Ann's wedding
But time went on and Paul and my brother Brian stayed close.  Paul and him are very athletic, they used to rock climb together, camp together, do stupid stuff that's just barely legal together.  And slowly, my brother started to see that being Catholic or Christian didn't mean you had to have a lame life.  Being Catholic could mean waking up and going for a four mile run, hitting up daily Mass, reading some bible, pulling some pranks, and ending your day jumping off a cliff somewhere in West Virginia.  Being Catholic meant being joyful.  And Brian wanted a piece of that.

Brian's heart changed.  And he eventually decided to accept that God loved him enough to want what was best for him.  Brian was in the seminary for a long while before discerning he was called to marriage.  He is married now, to a lovely woman.  He has seven children, three through adoption, three in the last four years and his wife is cooking the 7th.  He's a man of faith, who inspires others...

But, if it wasn't for Paul- he would have been a different man.  Paul's friendship changes people.  That's spreading Jesus.  We (as Church professionals) read books, attend conferences, listen to speakers... all to figure out how to show people Christ.  Turns out- you can just love Jesus, climb some mountains and occasionally throw a lizard down the back of your best friend's shirt (freaking paul did that to me 12 years ago- I'm still not over it) and show people the person of Christ.

We can all learn from Paul.

men who love Jesus...my brother included :)
I asked you to pray.  And you have.  I have gotten so many messages of prayer from so many of you who don't even know Paul. I am so thankful. We are praying in our house.  Our kids are praying for Uncle Paul. So many of you are offering novenas, sacrifices, intentional prayers for a miracle.

And we need them, because, although I am miss positive positivey... but our Paul had to have his CT scan rushed because he is coughing up blood.  And it scares the hell out of me.

I asked you to prayerfully consider donating, if you have room in your budget.  And you have.  I was blown away, literally blown away by MY friends and family who have never met Paul, but who made a donation. Some of you did it anonymously. Thank you. So.Much.  Some of you posted and I will be able to thank you because I saw your name.  Friends from ministry, friends from social media, family members... you have blown me away by donating to my friend who is so deserving.

We have more work to do. The prayers need to be intensified.  We've got to pray Paul through this because Paul shows people Jesus.

A couple years ago
The monetary donations have blown me away, but we have to get more.  Would you believe almost 20 k has been raised in three days?!?!  But. I promise 25 k is just the tip of what my friends are going to need. Please please consider donating.  There is a new site put up because more of the donations can go directly to Paul.  Please link here.  Donations of $10 are great, Everything matters.  And like I said, it will make Jesus happy.

Thanks for reading this you guys.  Thanks for praying. Please pray more.  Share this if you can, to get more people to the site where they can donate much needed money for Paul and Ann's housing and medical expenses.

I'm just so worried.

Praise God updated from Paul's sister at 1015 pm...

Thank you all SO MUCH for the prayers, Masses, sacrifices & encouraging words on Paul's behalf today! I'm so thankful to report that, in spite of the dire symptoms, his CT scan didn't show anything that they didn't already expect to see. He still has all the cancer nodules on his lungs, but the dr. thought it might have spread to his abdomen too, and there's no sign of that in the CT scan! Praise God!!! They're trying to get an appointment with an oncologist later this week to develop a treatment plan. Another small miracle: his primary doctor is ok with him traveling to CA next week for our brother's wedding! That is contingent on the treatment plan, of course, but it's good news that his dr. isn't too concerned to have him travel! He's still physically wiped out & in pain, but those of you who know Paul know that a little (or a lot) of pain never stopped him  I have such a thankful heart this evening! I know your prayers sustained Paul & all of us today...thank you! Please keep up the prayers, and I will keep you posted on his treatment.
Keep those prayers up!!!!!!

I'm not gonna tithe...

...because I just can't afford it.

How many times have you said this?
How many people do you know who have said this?
How many young adult Catholics/Christians do you know who do not give financially to the Church?

I didn't tithe through most of my 20s, I always made sure to make up for it with the 'talent and time'.  But the 'treasure' is important as well.  Feeling so strapped that you can't give is an awful feeling (I know, I lived that reality for many MANY years).

How do you give?  Should you give?  How do you get enough money to give?  Can you give if you are in debt?  These are questions Aaron and I have grappled with since the start of our relationship.  Besides being able to be at home with my children, perhaps the single greatest thing about being in control of our finances (vs. having them control us) is our ability to give a tithe and more.  It's a bit taboo to talk about - and many, many faithful Catholics/Christians don't think they can do it...which is why I think this blog is so very important. 

Today, my husband at Happy Budget/Happy Life tackles this important question...

"Most of us love giving.  It makes us feel better about ourselves and gives us that warm fuzzy feeling inside when we do good deeds.  I've been involved with going to church on a regular basis for the past 6 years or so.  In that time, I've found that there's a particular form of Christian giving that throws off a lot of people: Tithing.  I've found that tithing is the golden unicorn in terms of Christian personal finances.  Everyone wants to do it, but most people can't figure it out..."

To read more, CLICK HERE

Friday, December 26, 2014

No Quick Takes this week, but I thought I'd give you seven...

... seven things you should know about my friend Paul.  He's going into surgery today, and he's gonna need our help for the road ahead.  He's a father of four here on earth, and he found out last week he has cancer.  And it's bad.  But he can face bad, because he's Paul.  Many MANY of you know him, but some of you don't.    I want you to know him. So you will pray for him.  And, if you are able, you can consider being part of the community who are financially rallying for him and his family . So, here's seven things I want you to know.
college life.


He is the craziest person I know (in a good way) and pretty much anything I have done in my life that is crazy, I have done with him.  Jumping off train bridges?  Check.  Camping on cliffs?  Check. Jumping off a water fall?  Check.  Those just name a few.  Paul challenges people to do more than they think they can, and I have an insane amount of memories of doing things I never would have, if it wasn't for my friend pushing me.  

That's me...jumping off a freaking bridge?!?!

There is only one person on the planet earth that I know of who doesn't appreciate Paul for all that he is.  That's my Polish Grandmother.   When Paul lived in Michigan with my family, we kind of had this tradition of engaging in silliness often.  One year, on Thanksgiving, while waiting in the buffet line, my brother and paul decided to see if they could crack the 'good dishes' over their heads in line.  Brian (my brother) tried, to no avail.  Paul, cracked the plate in two.  We all just about passed out laughing.  Except for my Polish Grandmother....she was NOT impressed.
Is it really fair to blame them for their thick skulls??!?


Oh Josephine, my how we miss you!
Paul is the ultimate road tripper.  It's kind of poetic that Paul became a truck driver in real life for a period of time, truckin' across the country with his new bride.  Some of the best memories of my life were on spontaneous roadtrips with the bestie.  As a freshman, we decided to drive to Niagra Falls one night to see the sunrise.  It was beautiful. It was worth it.  As a Sophomore (I think), we decided to see if we could make it to the Grand Canyon and back in one weekend .  As I like to say, 30 hours there, 12 hours exploring and 30 hours back, doesn't quite give you full picture.  If you are thinking of five of us in the back of a pick up truck (named Josephine), flat tires, broken brakes, and donuts soaked in gasoline...then you are probably picturing the right trip.  Post college we did a trip across country in that same ol' pick up truck that ended for me in California, but for the rest of the crew in Alaska.  I'm telling you- no one can road trip like paul.

Niagra Falls- it was cold.

There is no one on earth who could have married Paul except for his Annie.  I remember when Paul called to say he was getting married, to this lovely lady.  Paul and I were living our lives single through our twenties, so him getting married was kind o' crazy.  So as we waiting to meet the woman who captured his heart, we wondered who on earth it could possibly be.  And then, within a few minutes of meeting her- it all made perfect sense.  Annie is, in every sense of the phrase, Paul's perfect match and has become one of my very closest friends.  I remember when Paul and Ann asked me to be in their wedding- I was so honored.  This woman who barely knew me, knew of Paul and I's friendship and so she allowed me to be one of her bridesmaids.  Can you even believe it?  They are an example of Christian Marriage to all who have the privilege of knowing them.  And watching their family grow has been an honor.  My favorite?  Annie can tell a good story, so whenever we have the pleasure of being together, Paul always has to remind Ann to eat before her food gets cold.  :)  It's pretty much the cutest ever.

I got to be a bridesmaid.  My brother was the best man


Paul has a faith put into action that has changed the way I live life.  I talk about him sometimes when doing ministry, because the way he lives his life has always kind of been a mystery to me.  I have known him for over 15 years and I have yet to hear him say anything bad about ANYONE.  Ever.  In the fifteen years that I know him.  I mean, that's pretty darn impressive.  When he lived with my family, you'd always see him with his bible, at daily Mass, encouraging me when I had times of doubt.  It's a wonder this man of faith ever became friends with a big ol' sinner like me.  But his friendship has made me understand God in a fuller way- and that's pretty amazing.
Paul apologizing to me for every male in the world

He's a dad.  Of lots of kids.  Some are in heaven, including the twins him and his wife lost last year.  And some are here.  Their oldest son Christian came to them when he was 2 (maybe 3) RIIIIIGHT before my wedding.  New parents to a toddler, breakin' him in at a reunion of sorts with the whole crew from college.  Then they have sweet Damian, born a few weeks earlier than my lil' Aaron. I can't even tell you how cool it was visiting with them 1 month after Aaron was born, putting our babies side by side.   Then, a few months later, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my house (my first time hosting) with our kids!  Insanity.  They've added a sweet daughter to their family and Paul and Ann are currently expecting another.  So many blessings.  


The new besties


Friends.  Paul is also the healthiest man I know.  Which is why this diagnosis of cancer has all who know him reeling.  Ann and Paul have a tough road ahead.  They need our help.  So pray.  Please pray.  Add Paul to your daily prayer list.  If you are open to it, join in the novena Annie has laid out in her blog.

And I know not everyone can give, and we all have different ways that we choose to donate .  But, if you are a person who has a little extra room in your budget, even if you don't know my friend Paul, would you consider helping?  You see, they don't have a home they can move into yet, and their medical bills are going to add up, so they really need it.  It will make Jesus smile, I promise.

Thanks for reading.
I can't wait to for cancer to find out who it decided to mess with!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes where I might just judge you

Here is the dealio.  Usually, if I don't get the ol' takes done first thing in the morning on Friday, they don't get done.  Naptime is usually spent cleaning/etc/catching up on work, etc... However, the littlest boy just woke up, after sleeping for only an hour, and I am trying desperately to get him to go back down without waking up the middle child (they share a room).  So, I don't want any movement in my house for the next 1/2 hour.  Easy excuse to sit down and write a 7 Quick Takes.
And, as an added bonus to this take, I'll just let you know naptime has been TERRIBLE this week.  And my house is evidence to show it.  John Paul is pushing out more teeth (I think) so he keeps waking up after only an hour or so.  BUT, when he wakes up, he wakes up Joey.  And then I am doomed. 
You guys.
I love naptime.  This has been REALLY REALLY hard for me.
Next week, we are switching the rooms around and putting Joey/Aaron in the same room.  This should help restore my midday break (but it's not really a break, it's more like quickly eat lunch and then clean/organize/work while listening to 'Watch What Happens Live' in the background).

Speaking of "Watch What Happens Live"- I love Andy Cohen you guys.  A Lot. I wanna be his best friend.  He was singing last night on Stephen Colbert's last show, and I laughed, then rewound it and then laughed again.  I find him to be the most delightful of all celebrity news people.
Also, I know a lot of you have no idea what I am talking about.  But those that do...right?!?!?

I'm about to get all judgy judgy on you...so you might wanna move along.  I HATE Victoria's Secret and really don't understand how people who don't dig porn shop there.  For real. And I have heard how lovely the bras are, and how comfortable they are, and what good quality they are made of.  But they use soft core porn to sell their products. Now, if you don't care about soft core porn, I get why you don't mind shopping there.  BUT, if you do- you should probably stop shopping there.  Because it matters.  I was at the mall the other day, walking with my three boys, and one of their eyes were caught by the porny angel who was on display in the store window.  He pointed and said, 'wow mommy look at that!'.  I didn't think it was cute.  I was totally appalled.  And it's REALLY not okay. So stop shopping there. Or, at the very least, send a letter to ask them to stop using porny angels to sell their stuff.

Back to happiness. To my FUS friends, look what happened the other night!
Life gets busy.  Busy means not seeing people who are important to you.  Last Sunday though, I had made some plans to watch a Christmas movie at one of my closest friend's house.  And then her husband came home (my ministry partner) and then another one of our best friends came over (my son's godfather).  It was so lovely.  All of us graduated from FUS nineteen thousand years ago- but it's delightful to see our bond is still there, despite life's ups and downs.  Good stuff.

Last Sunday I fell down the stairs.  It was really scary.  In the morning, the kids and I always go downstairs.  Now that John Paul is 'scoot down the stair on his bottom' age, I usually walk down with my coffee and my laptop.  As I headed down, John Paul was about a stair in front of me, and little Aaron turned to throw something at him. I went to correct him and somehow lost my footing. I went flying down the stairs, dragging John Paul with me, scalding hot coffee flying everywhere. I cut my ear, and my elbow and bruised my leg.  Do you feel bad for me?  You should.

Thursday was our Saint John Neumann Alumni Christmas party.  You guys, it was so lovely.  The only part that SUCKS is I have about 30 seconds to talk to each alumni and I want to talk to them for an hour each.  I really can't stay out late, because it screws up our week too much, so only staying an hour feels terrible.  BUT, it was so good to see everyone.  And, as per usual, I am amazed at how everyone gets all grown'd up.  Insanity.

Today is Friday.  Aaron is off for two weeks. We have several family plans that I am so so so excited about and everything is done in terms of Christmas.  Bring on Jesus' Birthday!!!  We are making a Peppa Pig cake for him.  Fascinating right?!? I always let the boys choose and that's what they chose.  YAY Christmas.

I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For more Quick Takes, check out their new home at This Ain't the Lyceum (what the H is Lyceum?)

Friday, December 12, 2014

7 quick takes about one of the best nights of my life...and other stuff

I love surprises. I just do. I love them so much. And I married a guy who is good at them.  One week ago, I started posting on Aaron's social media that the counting crows were coming to town.  They are my favorite band.  I adore them.  I knew they were coming in town, but also didn't really think about going (concerts kind of lose their awesome when you are old- at last for me).  However, about a week ago, I started to think it would be really FANTASTIC to go to a Counting Crows show.  So I started asking for it for Christmas, not really thinking it would happen.  Heck, I even threw in, 'we should go in a limo' because riding in a limo with my love is something I have always wanted to do.  But Aaron said we couldn't, and even the part of me that still thought we were going to was crushed when Aaron explained he'd be working from Indiana the day of the concert.  So the morning of the show came, and I was sad.  Aaron got home at 5:15 as I was feeding the kids.  I might have even said something about what a meanie he was for not getting me tickets, when he did, indeed, get home in time for the concert.  Then he went to the door and came back and said it was a man about the lawn.  A few minutes later he told me to go look at the Christmas lights across the street...I knew there weren't Christmas lights across the street.

YOU KNOW WHAT WAS THERE?!?!?!  The most beautiful limo I ever did see. It was white and stretchy.  Aaron said, 'Go get dressed' (I was in my housewife finery of sweats and a t-shirt).  I got dressed so darn fast.  My sister then arrived (I KNOW!!!!) to sit the kids.  I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, while occasionally stopping to give my kids kisses and my husband huge snuggles.  We walked outside, made a necessary stop to the liquor store to get some bud light (because who the H would ride in a limo without budlight?!?!?) and then got to take the long way to the city.  It. was. awesome.  We pulled up to the Filmore in Detroit (straight up Real Housewife like) and got out...it was time for the show.
I was gonna write a whole emo blog post about the experience of seeing Counting Crows, but imma slim it down to one take.  Here's the thing. This band has been my favorite since my late high school years, when my crush introduced me to them. I have seen them somewhere between 12-15 times in all different stages of my life.  The first time I saw them I was a broke college kid, probably couldn't truly afford it. I saw them in Dublin, while spending a semester in Europe, we found out at a hostel they were playing that night, and we raced to get tickets. I have seen them in New Jersey, and Pittsburgh, I saw them in Chicago.  I can truly track my 20s through counting crows shows. I have been in nosebleed seats and front row.  I have related to songs about loss, and songs about joy.  I remember when their album was released that had the song 'Butterfly in Reverse' and it was a song about 'Mary Ann' so I pretended it was me (I am SUCH a loser).  But, the last few years, seeing them hasn't been as fun.  We went in Chicago, to this venue where you could bring picnic baskets. I was first trimester pregnant with our first kid. I threw up the whole time.  The drunk 20 somethings made me want to slam my face into a glass window.  We went a couple summers ago, but I was 9 months pregnant with John Paul. I had to pee every thirty seconds.  We had lawn seats.  It was great being with friends, but the music I didn't so much care about... I was too uncomfortable.  So I thought, maybe the live concert thing just becomes less fun as you get older.


When Mr. Durtiz and friends came out and began the bestest version of 'Round Here' tears just started rolling down my face.  Here I was, with the love of my life, seeing my favorite band, in fancy seats, with a fancy drink in my hand (bud light is fancy right?!?!) after riding in a fancy limo.  PINCH me.

Adam and I have come a long, long way since the early days of being a fan...and Tuesday night was somethin' special.

That is all.

Moving on from one of the best nights of my life.  Remember when I told you we were thinking we were gonna move this year?  To a house with a dining room, a fireplace and a bathroom where my face doesn't smash into the toilet whilst bathing my kids?  Yea- I'm not so sure now. I'm thinking we might stay here for five more years.  I love my house, I really do.  And if we stay here we can do some things I want to do (Catholic schools, travel, Michigan Season tickets, giving...).  In five years we can have this house paid off.  It seems a bit smarter, but I'm not sure.  Tough decisions in store for us...

Social media was the worst during the Ferguson stuff. I wanted to delete so many people from my connection (just being honest).  It made me cranky for a week or so.  I, once again, discerned the role of social media in my life (cause I am all over that shiznatch).  Then, I read this blog earlier in the week- about how lonely being a stay at home mom is.  And I realized I never feel alone.  I got my buddy Erin, we chat via messenger throughout a lot of days about our frustrations, joys, etc...  I get to engage with people a couple times a day about Religious things, and Political things.  I get to be challenged by articles I find, and sigh relief when some blogs names what's been on my heart. Anyway, I never feel lonely.  I think it's because of social media. So I like it again and am reminded it is a 'profoundly human experience' (Pope Francis said it, not me).
Lil' Aaron does this thing now, when he gets sad.  He shrugs his shoulders, gets a big frown and waits till he is acknowledged.  When he is noticed he says, 'I'm sad...because....' with the most desperate sad tone possible.  He is SUCH a freaking drama-queen. I wonder where he got that from.
 I gotta tell you friends.  Aaron (the husband) is off for two freaking weeks beginning next Friday.  When we considered this new position, one major perk was vacation time. It was better than any other company we had been exposed to.  And the dude is gonna get TWO WEEKS off of work.  And he will have 14 more vacations day left.  It's insanely awesome.  But I have decided a couple things.
1)  We are only gonna do one or two projects.  Our lives have been on "GO!" for a long time now, we need a breather.
2)  I am gonna try to plan as little as possible during those two weeks.  It's hard, because it's the time of year when lots of people are in town, and it's really REALLY easy to end up having plans the entire time.  We've got a party on New Year's Even, but other than that, during those 2 weeks, I think I'm gonna back off the 'catch up' train and just enjoy our little family. It might be a little selfish, but I also think it's more than a little needed

I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For more Quick Takes, check out their new home at This Ain't the Lyceum (what the H is Lyceum?)

Friday, December 5, 2014

7 Quick Takes Sadness and pretty pictures

I'm just gonna come right out and say it, I'm still really not okay with what happened in Ferguson and the aftermath.  You know how sometimes, it just takes one thing and that one thing consumes you because it is the representation of so much more?  That's how I feel about this.  I had a good friend ask me, 'Are you okay, because lately you seem a little off?'  And I am feeling a little off.  A lot off actually.  To me, what happened 2 Mondays ago just tipped the iceberg of all I feel is gross in our society.  Lies, sensationalism, evil, powerlessness, relative truth, etc... I'm not quite sure what to do with it yet.  And part of me is like, 'you need to get over it, stop posting about it, stop talking about it, move on...' and the other part of me is like, 'why the heck aren't more people freaking out about riots happening based on a lie that our president made a choice to feed into?'  It's all very interesting right now.  I'm trying to consider a lot of things, including the type of people I want in my personal life and the lives of my children.  And what that might mean in terms of sheltering vs outreach.  I'm trying to decide what place social media has in all of this, because, like Pope Francis, I believe social media is a profoundly human expression, and I always try to remember there are humans behind all the gross on the digital highways and it's kind of unfair to blame the digital highways for the humans who are acting gross.  I don't know, it's just a lot.  And I am really cranky about it all. So I thought I'd update you.  BUT- my life is really really really awesome, so the rest of the quick takes are gonna be about that.  Let's get into the good shall we?
A lot of you guys know Bonnie at Aknottedlife.  She is an awesome blogger.  She does things like host awards, and affirms other bloggers, and connect people, and is real with others.  She is a breath of fresh air on the interwebs.  So a few weeks ago, she had a blog about an Advent Care Package.  And I skimmed it because I never do give aways.  The rules are always too confusing, I don't generally 'win' at stuff and I get nervous with give away marketing (because I am weird).  So I read it, then moved on.  BUT then, she shared a post about how to be a good online friend/blogger/etc... and I read it.  And I want to be a good online friend/blogger (but, I have a huge problem I will talk about in another take) so I wanted to see how to do it.  One of the tips in the article talked about entering contests of the blogs you read.  SOOOOOO, later on that day, or another day, Bonnie posted on facebook, 'Last chance to enter the drawing'.  And it was so obvious she was doing the drawing because she was excited to bring someone so advent cheer- AND, all you had to do was comment to enter.
So I entered.
ON the cranky night.
And last week I got packages...in the mail, with PRESENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How awesome is that. seriously.

Just one of the gifts, a lovely Rosary Bracelet
In my fun package came these prayer resources for Lent. I think because I am feeling so yuck about the world, I am trying so very hard to enter deeply into the season of Advent, both personally (check out Mary's blog on that) and within our family.  My sister Theresa made the CUTEST Jesse tree package for each sibling for Christmas, and made it so easy to pray with kids.  We've been doing that every night, along with a song and then prayers.  I have also been praying with the great book and journal that was in my fun little package.  So the package, in a way, is a great answer for focusing me during this Lent.  And for that, I am crazy thankful.
The prayer tools

You guys, I cannot figure out the comment thing on my blog.  As you can probably tell, I am not a 'blogger' in that I don't do fancy things and I don't really have a desire to. I just like to write sometimes and even when I do that, it's generally not even grammatically correct.  BUT, I used to be able to 'reply' to the comments people left on my blog. Now, I can't even do that because something changed, but I don't even know what, because I am not a real 'blogger'.  Does someone have a real easy/dummy proof way to explain to me a system of commenting?  Talk to me, what do you use and how do you easily respond to others?

us, watching the parade. 
This is a true story of how awesome my life is.  When I was a kid, I always used to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade with my dad/family. It was always lovely and I always looked forward to it.  This Thanksgiving, I was able to watch the parade with my three sons and husband snuggled under covers on our couch.  I was so incredibly moved by the blessings we've been giving that I kept crying.  A couple times the boys even asked me what was wrong, and I kept saying, 'this is all just so beautiful'.  Being a mom...coolest thing I get to do.  

We had so.many.leaves. We have a rather small yard.  But the leaves, oh my gosh. I think because of the placement of our house, we get hit the hardest in our neighborhood.  We had a service come take care of it professionally for a couple different reasons. I want you to look closely at this picture.  And this was AFTER he had already sucked up over half of them.  Worth.every.penny.

So you know how I stay busy with all the presentations?  I am starting to figure out which ones really work, and where God might be calling me.  I have talked about our presentation on homosexuality...it's def. something unique that isn't being done in the way we do it anywhere in the country that I know of.  So I love being able to serve in that way.  But, I decided last night my second love.  Talking with women.  About all the things that matter.  Like God, and faith, and sisterhood, and families, and mothering, and all that jazz.  I had an opportunity to present for around 200 women on Advent and the movement of the season.  It was by far the most spirit filled presentation of the semester and a great way to *almost end a really busy season of ministry.  The ability to be authentic about the unique crosses and blessings we, as women, walk with, was nothing short of inspiring.  #Godisgood

For more Quick Takes, check out their new home at This Ain't the Lyceum (what the H is Lyceum?)