Monday, December 24, 2012

The Christmas Edition-Mema, Mom, and Me

Christmas eve has to be my favorite day of the year, hands down.  Or, well, it used to be.

When I was little, from my earliest that I can remember, Christmas eve, (among other time, lots of other times) was spent with my Grandparents (Mema and Grandpa).  We even went to Florida one year to visit them for Christmas and when we got home to my beloved Pittsburgh, we had presents under the tree!  Santa came while we were gone!  That is why to this day, at 43, I still believe in Santa.  But I digress.  Christmas has always been, for me, family, mainly Mema.

I don't know when it started, but after Mass, we would go to Mema's.  She made the traditional Croatian, Christmas Eve dinner.  We fasted from meat so the meal was yucky. lol  It was Christmas bean soup type thingy over little bread balls with cottage cheese.  See, yucky.  And, since my sister and I never ate it, my Grandpa would order a Vincent's (the worlds best, although now defunct, pizza) cheese pizza just for us.

As the years have come and gone, my very favorite Christmas eve was when I was a teenager.  I'm not sure how hold I was.  Mema and Grandpa had six kids.  Four boys and two girls.  I've got a myriad of cousins that even though we lived not too far away, we never really got to see.  Maybe once every couple years.  This particular year four of the six kids with there families came to Mema's.  (Note, Grandpa was still alive and kicking at this point.  In fact, he wouldn't pass for many, many years, however, it was and is always called Mema's :D )  Then, Mema used to do this neat thing where she would order surprise boxes from the postal service.  They were full of odds and ends and sometimes, junk lol.  Mema would wrap it all in newspaper, then all the kids would pick a number and viola, a fun game! lol  We got potato peelers, spatulas and cameras that you'd probably find at the dollar store today.  It was always full of fun and laughter.  Having almost the entire family there at Mema's made the small house a lot warmer and not just in my heart.  Dude, you did not need the heat turned on!  It remains my favorite Christmas to this day.

As the years passed and I grew up, we stopped fasting and Mema would make a ham for everyone, but I like to think it was mainly for my sister and me.  Through moves and miles, even if I wasn't there, Christmas eve, for me, would be about Mema.  I'd always call and the phone would get passed around and it would tear my heart out, in a good way. 

Mema has been gone now for too many years than I'd like to remember, even if it is still under five lol.  And, this day, as much as I love it. it just breaks my heart.  I can't call her and tell her Merry Christmas.  I can't make her laugh, I can't hear her laugh.  My heart is so filled with missing her that it's about to burst. 

I also miss my Mommy most at Christmas time.  She's alive and in Myrtle Beach.  And, I only get to see her every couple of years.  Which is not nearly enough for me.   However, I miss her most at Christmas time.  There's this movie we used to watch as a kid Little Lord Fauntleroy.  At the end of the movie (sorry to spoil it if you haven't seen it) the little boys mother comes out from behind the tree on Christmas day.  Every year, Every.  Single.  Year.  I wait in great hopes that my mom will come out from behind my tree.  Even though I'm 43.  Even though I talk to her and know her Christmas plans.  Even though I know she's not coming...the little girl in me, who misses her mommy something fierce, secretly hopes (well not so secret now) that she'll be behind the tree.

I am no different Christmas eve then I am the other 364 days of the year.  The moon rules the tide.  My heart rules me.  So, I will have a good cry.  Enjoy Christmas Mass with my family, and make memories for my wonderful children.  Thank you all for being here for me.  It's been quite a year from graduation to new jobs and everything in between.  Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of new years!

Until next time,
Hug everyone you meet.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advent, Angels, and Indigo Girls

Last time we spoke, I told you of my prayer life and of one of a study I'm doing for Advent.  In doing the study for the last couple days I have been remembering things.  Mainly, my early prayer life after CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) retreat that I attended 8 years ago.  This retreat lit my fire, my zeal, my zest for God.  I saw these women who had such a personal relationship with God and Mary and Jesus and the Saints.  I wanted that!  After this retreat, I couldn't get enough.  I was in every study I could find.  I collected prayers like trading cards.  I prayed wrote prayers, I cried out to God often.  I spoke with Him all the time.  I saw Jesus just about everywhere I turned.  I learned to bind my pain/struggles with the souls in purgatory.  I was much more sincere in my prayers. 

What happened between then and now?  Why did I forget about the souls in purgatory?  Surely, I have had many aches and pains, headaches and thanks to the accident, back pain.  I could've bound those with the souls in purgatory.  No, my prayer life changed.  I grew in a different sort of way.  I once heard Fr. Corrapi say that when people would ask him to pray for them, he would immediately say, in his head 'I place you in the hands of the virgin Mary and all the angels and the saints'.  He said something to the effect that it was the most powerful thing he could do and his prayers wouldn't do any better than theirs  So, I started saying that whenever I ask people what I could pray for them.  A) It was quicker and b) sometimes I might forget to pray for that person and then I'd feel bad so I'd ask God to pray for all those who asked me too (and sometimes, I still do that).  But, I noticed that for me, that wasn't exactly a sincere prayer.  Sure, God still hears me, but inside my heart it just wasn't the same.

My prayer life, now, while different, is deeper and more shallow at the same time.  It's shallow because I shy away from wrote prayers most of the time.  I want to use *my* words not someone else's (although, wow, have you read some of the Psalms?  I've been using some of those, they're amazing!).  It's deeper in the respect that I am still learning how to pray.  This study is teaching me more about myself.  Yesterday's reading was from Phillipians.  It said 'in EVERYTHING with thanksgiving make your requests known to God'.  I am paraphrasing big time because if I go downstairs to look it up, I'm gonna get sidetracked and forget this post for about a week! lol  Here's what caught me, two words, everything and thanksgiving.  I have not come to God with everything.  Irks, irritations, struggles, sure.  Happiness, dishes, laundry, dinner, nope.  Now, you're probably saying "Gina, God doesn't care that you're doing laundry or struggling for the gazilionth time what to make for dinner (Dear God, please not chicken AGAIN! lol) and you would be wrong.  God doesn't just want part of my day, or part of me.  No, he wants it all.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  He wants me to come to Him with EVERYTHING (Dear God, please make that person go faster! Dear God, I had so much fun with Sarah tonight making truffles!) 

The other word that got me was thanksgiving.  How many times to I come to Him with thanksgiving.  Sure, sometimes.  There's always "thank you, God for having that work out" but rarely a thank you, God for today, or my morning coffee, or snuggles with the kids.  Sure I thank Him for the big things, but I also need to thank Him for the small as well.

And lastly, our guardian angels.  One of the Priests and I am so sorry I can't remember which one, said we can talk to our guardian angels.  My poor Gabriel!  He's my guardian angel.  I haven't talked to him in forever!  He must think so horrible of me!  I do love him and count on him to be there.  He is like breathing.  You take it for granted that you do it.  I don't always think "breathe in, now breath out" unless my friend Kathy at work is trying to get me to relax lol  In the same vein, I don't think of Gabriel.  And that pains me and makes me sad.  He is so amazing and has always been there for me and will always continue to be there for me.  I'm sure, like God, there's many times I've caused him to drink! lol  And, like God, and my amazing husband, he stays.

So, this advent, I haven't said the prayers every night like I wanted to (a little less than half), I haven't said one rosary by myself or with the family, and I haven't had deep faith filled discussions with the kids.  However, I am learning more about me in my daily prayers.  I am becoming closer to God in my own way and thereby teaching my kids about God.  I used to think prayer was like the Indigo Girls song Closer to Fine.  There's a line that goes "the less I seek the source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine".  Prayer use to scare me.  God use to scare me, death use to scare me.  Now, God and prayer is where I find myself.  And as for death, well, we'll just let that go for today.

Until next time,
Say a prayer for yourself today.  If you don't take care of you, you're no good for anyone else!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Prayer is scary

Prayer is hard.  At least for me it is.  There are all kinds of prayers out there, all sorts of ways to pray.  And, yes, it's pretty easy for me to pray for so and so for whatever they need.  What's hard is the kind of prayer life I am after.  I want the meditative, spiritual connecting, deep rooting type prayer life.  Where I can spend an hour (or even thirty minutes) in the morning so deep in prayer connecting with God that the time flies by so fast I don't know what happened.  And, afterward I am refreshed, renewed, and ready to do His work.  That has yet to happen.  Yea, yea, Blessed Mother Teresa never felt the love of God and she was one of the holiest of our time.  Have you met me?  I am so not her.

My prayer life ebbs and flows.  I'll go from Rosaries to none.  I'll go from study to study.  Group or alone.  The one I started a while ago (and finished a bit late) was the Good Morning Girls one on Collosians.  It said in the beginning how that at the end how we would come to know Jesus better and have a deeper relationship with him or something to that effect.  Well, study is done and the result is I really don't feel all that different as I did when I started.  But I will persevere, sort of a fake it till you make it thing.  And, I started their Advent study...a week late, but I made up good time and as of yesterday, I am on track.

So, I'm in Mass on Sunday and Fr. Tim was the presenting the Mass.  Lately, with my prayer life all whatever, I haven't exactly been present during the Mass.  So, this past Sunday, I finally took out my journal and started writing.  I wrote through the entire Liturgy of the Word (except to participate) including Fr. Tim's homily.  I wrote about everything that's been weighing heavily on me.  Absolutely everything.  During the homily, something Fr. Tim would say would pull me away here or there.  Then, at the end, Fr. Tim read this prayer.  It was a way to begin the first week of Advent.  It was so great, I couldn't write it down fast enough.  I even left my pew to ask that they publish the prayer on the web or Facebook, which thankfully, they did.

I can tell you *exactly* why that prayer spoke to me.  Because it was me.  It's everything I've ever felt.  It wasn't a scary prayer.  "What is a scary prayer, you ask?"  The Litany of Humility.

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should…

While incredibly beautiful, this prayer is scary to me.  And, for a while I tried to pray it, but I knew in my heart I didn't mean it, so I stopped.  I cannot help it, but I desire to be loved.  Call it baggage from my childhood or whatever, but I have not just a want, but a deep, deep seeded NEED to be loved.  On the flip side, when I am loved, it freaks me out, mainly when it's with friends.  Don't they know who I am?  Don't they know all my failings?  Can't they see how black my heart turns sometimes?  There are so many other people worthy of their love than me.  Even my husband who has seen me at my worst.  There are so many other women smarter, prettier, thinner, etc than me.  

So, you see, it's a scary prayer.  The prayer Fr. Tim prayed on Sunday was this:

Let us begin our Advent Season with an act of personal prayer-a petition, a prayer for myself, that I may have:  A sense of purpose
To make a difference
To be appreciated
To feel God's forgiveness
To live a clean, uncomplicated life
To be assured of your acceptace, O Lord.
To know that my family will miss me when I die.
To know that I am ready to die.
To know that I am taking good care of those who have been placed in my care.
To believe in the future and not worry about the past.
For good health.
For healing.
For spiritual gifts:  generosity, courage, compassion.
And the courage to pray "Maranatha" (Come Lord)
To say it and mean it absolutely.
That we want him to come.

Come, Lord Jesus.
(Revelation 22:20)

The prayer hits on one of the things that I think of most.  I want to know that I will be missed when I die.  I don't want to be forgotten.  Sure you can say 'who will forget you?' or 'of course you'll be missed' but how will I know?  And once everyone who knows me passes then what?  I certainly don't remember my great grandparents.  Do you remember yours?  Exactly.  I want to leave a legacy of love.  To me, this is an honest prayer that I can pray.  I want everything in it and can pray it wholeheartedly verses the Litany of Humility.

I've also found that the more I pray, the more it pisses the devil off.  I have been genuinely happy and feeling more like myself since I started spending morning time with God.  Then yesterday, the devil hit full force.  Of course, I didn't realize it was him till the end of the day.  I just chalked the really, really, really, really bad day up to pmsing and other peoples stupidity.  Patti, it truly sucked pine cones!  But, I have to remember to be alert.  So, I'll try to work on that.

When it comes to my prayer life, like everything else, I'm a control freak.  Sure, it's not the way I want it to be, but maybe it's the way He wants it for now.  I don't know.  He has yet to share His plan with me lol

So, until next time, learn from my failures (Lord knows I don't always! lol) and try praying the Advent Season prayer.  Or if you're brave enough, the Litany of Humility.  And, pray for all those who feel alone.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Voices, Minions and Socks...oh My!

Have you ever heard the voice of God?

Have you ever heard the voice of God laugh and call you an idiot (in the best way, not in a mean way)?  I have.  More so than I'd like to admit.

So, last night, after the election, I am not ashamed to say, I cried.  I cried for all of the unborn who are going to die.  My faith is not a just a big part of who I am.  At my core, it IS who I am.  I believe (and you are absolutely free to believe otherwise, it doesn't mean I won't love you or that we cannot be friends) that life is from conception to natural death.  No exceptions.  Now, being Catholic and going to Mass you would think that everyone who shares my faith would feel the same.  However, that is not the case.

My first thought this morning was 'how can that person receive communion every Sunday and still vote like they did?'  This is where the voice of God came in.  He just whispered and reminded me that every Sunday, I receive communion too.  And, just because I cast my vote for life doesn't mean I do not sin.  Just because someone sins differently does not make me any better.  Then, I thought of the scripture 'let those without sin cast the first stone'.  I guess that's why I have receipts and pens and napkins and keys in my purse instead of rocks.  And, believe you me, I am very thankful that those around me (and those with great aim) do not carry rocks around either.  I would be hit all day!

It's no surprise I've been under a ton of stress lately.  Today marks week four of my pt.  House stuff, kid stuff, pmsing, work crap, other work crap.  All this stress makes it very, very easy to be filled with hate.  I start most days thinking 'I'm going to pray for those who annoy me.  I will be kind, I will be the face of Jesus to them when they irk me'.  But then, I'm at work and it's so easy to get sucked in to the vortex that is gossip and so and so isn't pulling their weight and the hate rises up and I become a minion of satan showing others evil instead of a disciple of Christ showing others Jesus.  Then, I get more mad at myself and then get down on myself.  I am better than this!  I can do this!  Why do I constantly go into the vortex and get sucked in to all the drama!?  Because, I am human.  I can almost guarantee you that if I knew it all, if my faith was so great and I showed Jesus to those that torque me off everyday then I would not be here.  I would be in heaven with my Mema and George's Mom both whom I miss with every beat of my heart.  I would be praising WITH the angels instead of praying to them for aid. 

So, what is a struggling girl to do?  Keep praying.  I saw a sign on facebook the other day that I just love.  Faith-forwarding it all to heaven.  I just have to remember, it's not the church of Gina, or Gina's North America, or Gina's world.  Sure, the skies would be a brilliant pink/orange hue and everyone would wear mismatched socks (because life is too short to wear matching socks!) and there would be singing and dancing a lot.  I would also be like the evil queen who yells "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!"  And, that is just not good for anyone.  So, be thankful that you don't live in Gina's world, remember, like me, we are all sinners, and God loves us regardless of who we vote for or how we sin.  It's still sin and His love still remains greater than any of it.

Until next time,
Have a blessed day and GO ALLEN EAGLES!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Prayer, Control, and Mentors

I having been never one who is satisfied with my prayer life, went looking as I sometimes do, for something more.  My prayer life ebbs and flows.  And, it's truly never as deep and a spiritual as I'd like it to be.  I look at my spiritual mentors and think "I want *that*".  So, a couple months ago, I was lamenting to one of my spiritual mentors about wanting more.  There was a new study coming out (Colosians) called Good Morning, Girls and said "you're doing it!"  So, I've been doing it.  Granted, I am not always faithful in my daily studies, but I do however make up missed days!

So, today, I was doing my study (I am a half a week ahead.  I figure it makes up for when I'm running behind) and it was Colosians 3:18-19.

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper to the Lord.  Husbands love your wives and avoid any bitterness toward them. 

Scripture tells me I'm to be subordinate to my husband as I am to God.  This got me thinking.  I don't think I have a subordinate bone in my body.  Reverent, sure.  Humble, yes.  Subordinate?  Not so much.  So then, I thought of my relationship with God and about me being subordinate.  Have I ever been?  Again, not so much.  Turns out, for those of you who don't know me, I am  huge, HUGE control freak.  While God's timing is perfect, most of the time, heck who am I kidding, 99.9% of the time, it's not perfect for what I want to accomplish! lol  There's a saying "you want to hear God laugh?  Tell Him your plans".  I do this just about everyday.  I have a time table on which I'd like things accomplished.  Not prayer request mind you, more like my projects.  For example, getting the house ready to put up.  Putting the house up.  Selling the house.  Finishing up the insurance from the accident.  Having pt be finished.  My back getting better.  I have a time table on which I'd like things.  Originally, knowing it was a pipe dream, I had hoped to be in a new house by Christmas.  As I said, I knew it was a pipe dream.  We met with the realtor on a Tuesday and had the accident on Sunday and everything has gone the way of a pile of pick up sticks.  Scattered.  So, I have this schedule in my head, and then I get overwhelmed.  I'm dealing with paint and carpet and roofs.  I'm dealing with my two jobs one stressing me out more than the other, but still stressing me.  My eighteen year old...the boy is trying to kill me by giving me a heart attack.  I've bitten off way more than I'll ever be able to chew with volunteering ("I have no senior next year, I'll have plenty of time!) I am stressed.  So, why can't I just say "Okay, Dad, here you go, I surrender it all to you?" and let Him keep it and do His thing?  Because I am a control freak.  I have to feel like I have a purpose, that I am doing something instead of just sitting around with my thumb up my bum.  I mean, come on, doesn't scripture say "God helps those who help themselves?"  I think help is the operative word.  Help themselves, not do, themselves.  So, one of my gurus had told me one Sunday a while back to surrender, even if it means surrendering every day.  Every minute.  I forgot about that.  I think that's something I have to continuously employ.  Surrendering.  I am a control freak without control.

So, if I can surrender to God, and learn to be subordinate to Him, and let Him reign, then when it comes to my husband, I can do it too.  Truth be told, I think I surrender to him more than I realize and not in a you won I lost thing.  It's a lot of 'what do I do?  How do I handle this?  And, can you help, please?'  Maybe between the two most important men in my life, God, and my husband, I just might be able to loosen my grip on my control freak gene and learn to be subordinate as I am called to be.  Quit laughing, I said 'maybe'.

Until next time,
Please pray for my friend who is discerning the diaconate.  Also, pray for my many spiritual mentors and gurus as I couldn't do it without them.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hadassah, Genie and Andy Grammer

I have so much to tell you.  I have so much I want to share.  And, every night when I lay my head down to sleep, everything I want to tell you comes rushing into the forefront of my head and everything from the day, or week, or month just floods me.  Now, when I sit down to tell you of it all notsomuch, lol.

I've been at war with myself as of late.  I'm sure I cannot be the only one who has done this.  My spiritual side and my human side and my emotional side (I guess I am a triangle?) battle.  There is so much going on with the kids, with both my jobs, with getting the house ready to sell, to the whole accident mess, including, but not limited to my physical therapy which I have today.  What is a floundering, spiritual girl to do?  Well, hiding doesn't work.  People find me.  And, truth be told, it is a beautiful feeling when people don't let you hide.  Selfishly, it means, to me anyway, that I was missed.  And, that makes me feel loved.  So, hiding didn't work, so, I sought out those much, much, much wiser than I.  A few weeks ago, I was lamenting to one of my SA's (Spiritual Advisors).  She recommended I read the Mark of the Lion series and a couple other books.  When I asked her which one I should start with, she said with everything going on in my life, I should start with A Voice in the Wind.  So, I did.

First off, the first sixish chapters made me want to stab myself in the ear with a pen.  My SA said "keep going, it get's better" and it did.  In this book, I found who I want to be.  Sometimes, I feel like my relationship with God was that of someone who finds a lamp with a genie inside.  I would rub the lamp and then I would tell God what I would like Him to do and then back in the lamp he would go.  And, in the beginning of the book I truly felt this way.  Then, I felt, well ashamed.  I took a look back at my relationship with Him and yes, some of them were genie moments.  Then, I kept reading and reading and I devoured the books, all three of them.  And, what I learned is that I don't treat God like a genie.  I treat Him like He truly is, my dad.  This woman, Hadassah, has so much faith it's amazing.  She questions God.  Her prayers are conversations and lots and lots of questions.  She doesn't always do as God wants her too either.  The more I read, the more I could see the similarities in her and I.  However, she is so much braver and faithful and cooler than I could ever hope to be.  Then, I really got to thinking.  Mainly about the saints.  They struggled, a lot.  No one has the answers.  I always thought I had it down when talking to God/Dad.  I'm not one of those Thou and Hast people.  I'm all Dude or Dad when I talk to Him, and I still am.  I would just talk to Him.  Some days it was in thanksgiving for things as little as a sunrise (as if that could be conceived little!) or as big as watching over my family during the accident.  But, when I would walk in the valley it would be lots of 'why me's'? and prayers to get me out.  After reading A Voice in the Wind, I came to the conclusion that no one has the answers.  That I can be like Hadassah.  My prayers have changed slightly.  When I talk to Dad, it is not just from my heart and for others and myself, I pray from my soul.  I found solace in some Psalms and prayers.  And in these Psalms and prayers, I have realized, like the saints, it is okay to flounder.  My cries never go unheard.  That my conversations with God are a prayer in and of themselves.  And, all the bumper sticker quotes from the bible that I love are nothing if I don't put them into action.  Sure, I can tell you I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.  It is another to believe that with all my heart AND soul.

Where does that leave me now?  Well, after stress came confusion.  I'm still somewhat confused and I'm confident that I will remain in my state of confusion until I die.  I don't think I'll ever understand it all.  But I am blessed with moments of clarity.  And, while I still have many questions (at what point do you go from having a servants heart to being a doormat?), I will always have questions.  I know that God has a plan (I just threw up a little lol I hate that saying) and I know He knows what I need.  He hears my cries.  He's got this.  I really, really need to quit getting in His way.  So, now, today starts another morning in the eye of what is my hurricane.  But, like Andy Grammer tell me, I'll keep my head up.  God's got this and I've got pt (ick).

Until next time,
Read a Voice in the Wind by Francene Rivers!!!! 


Sunday, September 30, 2012


Life doesn't happen like the movies.  At least most times.  I haven't intentionally been hiding out.  Life just took a turn for the weird.

I've been introspective.  Trying to pray more (thanks, Mary!), trying to get things in some sort of order, and in the mean time, have been dealing with a ton of stress.

First off, we are moving locally this year.  Truly, it's the only time we can do it, since in the next two years I will have back to back seniors.  With the arthritis in my knees, going up to bed has just become more difficult.  We have a fabulous realtor whom we adore (thanks, Jenni!!), and are slowly getting the house in order to put on the market.  Then, three weeks ago, everything came crashing to a halt.  Literally.  We were leaving Mass and running to Target.  My son was driving and did an amazing job.  We were all in the minivan.  A guy ran a stop sign and hit us.  I remember the noise, the curb, the spinning.  Airbags were deployed.  We walked away with George getting the brunt of it, which were scratches from his arm from the airbag.  I immediately thanked God that we were all safe.  Our guardian angels were working overtime that day (thank you, Gabriel!).  My friend, Thad, happened upon us and gave me his jacket as it was raining.  Carol took us home and the real fun began.  The minivan was totaled (it was almost paid off! UGH).  Wednesday, I took George, Sarah and myself to the ER.  Sarah's back has been sore, my sciatic nerve is aggravated, and George got a shot.  Then, on Sunday, I took Jaime and Maria.  Three hours on Wednesday and another three hours this day.  Double UGH.  Jaime's back and Maria's neck.  This Tuesday we see an orthopedist (thanks Javier, Joan and all for the recommendations!).

Did you ever fill out one of those stress papers?  You know, have someone close die within the last year, etc.  You know what's on the list?  Buying a house, selling a house, accident.  Yup, I'm just a bit stressed.  Then add in the whole car buying process.  You would think that buying a car would be fun, but not so much.  I'm happy to say that that part is just about finished.

I'm working both school and Bennigan's which I love.  Big changes in Bennigan's lately.  Dealing with that and the house, and the accident, and buying a car, and the insurance company, I am just overly stressed.  So, I have my close group who has known what's been going on and they have been awesome.  From taking me for ice cream and letting me cry (thanks, Tina!) to good morning/good night texts to make me smile (I love you, Shelia), to texting me from a wedding to make sure I'm okay (thank you, Patti!) to asking me how they can pray for me (thanks, Mary!) I have been well covered.  In all this stress, I have been doing a bible study with my Mary.  One of the things that I've read is about enduring your trials with joy and patience.  This makes me laugh because I am the least patient person I know.  So, these past two weeks, I have been really trying to endure with joy and patience.  It hasn't been easy.  Then, at work, I've been singing to myself in my head this song called He Said.  The refrain says "remember what He says "I won't give you more, more than you can take and I might let you bend, but never let you break and no, I'll never let you go".  It's been helpful, especially in the hardest times.

If it's possible, the accident brought us all closer together.  We've always been an especially close family, now even more so.   It's been really beautiful.  And, it is wonderful to know that when I shut out the world, my husband is there waiting for me and it is just us taking on the world.

So, until next time,
Pray for those who have no one to talk to.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to school

So, a year ago, I was emotional as it was my son's senior year in high school.  I had a plan how the year was going to go and that a year from then (now) he'd be off in college.  I'd be missing him something fierce and getting the girls ready for their sophomore and junior years respectively.

Ahhh ha ha ha ha ha!  That was a good one!  I don't know what I was thinking!  I can't tell you how many come to Jesus moments I had with my son his senior year.  I can't tell you how bittersweet I felt about him leaving and going off to college!  Then he graduated.  I went through the whole "my baby is all grown up when did this happen" thing.  Then, as June progressed, and I started to cry over my son leaving, we soon became aware that he might not be leaving home.  So, I decided I wasn't going to cry.  I was going to save my tears until he actually left.  You know, why waste good tears.

That was one of my more brilliant ideas.  Turns out, due to lack of housing, my son is attending Collin this year.  Fine and dandy.  NOT.  I was all prepared for him to leave!  The girls were finally going to have their own rooms!  He was going to sink or swim on his own and I wasn't going to have to play lifeguard anymore!  I feel like a kid.  All my friends kids are going off to college and not living at home!  But, God has a plan.  I just threw up a little.  I hate that saying so much.  No matter how true it is.

This is going to be one trying year.  Not only with my son though.  Through his senior year, as parents, we 'learned' a few things.  Like how we are going to be all over our Junior daughter like white on rice.  How we are pushing both girls to study and that their social lives are at the mercy of their grades.  Not that the girls are bad students mind you (and neither was our son) but we learned about class ranking and its advantages.  Oh joy!  Another year of me being the gestapo.  A job I loathe!

So on the eve of another school year, after our annual first day of school breakfast at McDonald's tomorrow morning, in case your wondering, it's only 86 days till Thanksgiving.

Until next time,
Pray for all the parents and teachers.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Sheep are awesome

So, how have you been?

Me?  I'm alive.  I'm a control freak who has no control over things at the moment.  Very stressful for us ADHD, OCD, control types.  There's my plan and then there's God's plan.  His supersedes mine all the time.  Occasionally, they'll line up.  Which is great.  But also not so great, because then I think my plan was the better one and not that it was actually His plan too.

So things that have been happening...

Got an additional job at Bennigan's Plano which I love.  Through extenuating circumstances Jaime is going to Colin instead of Blin (and driving me crazy, which I'm almost convinced is part of Gods plan).  Maria got a job.  Sarah's been doing band for the month of August and rocks.  And, George is loving his new job.

I've been irritable and crabby lately.  I've done sort of a internal inventory and found some stuff I didn't like and it's really torqued me off.  And, if we're being honest here, and if I'm not, what's the point of this blog, I haven't seen the inside of the gym in forever.  I haven't exercised at home, and my eating isn't exactly stellar as of late.  I've hidden myself away again so as to not infect others. I deeply appreciate my friend Amy who checks in on me to make sure I haven't checked myself into a rubber room without her :D

Then, last night, something amazing happened.  God happened.  We were at the kick off pep rally in our new stadium and I really didn't want to sit with anyone but my family.  Then, a member of my extended family texted and asked if I'd save her a seat.  She was the only person in the world that at that moment I would save a seat for (as in being a hate the world mood you hate everyone).  And she came and sat with me and it was exactly what sitting next to Jesus would be like.  My Patti is absolutely amazing.  Just being around her lightened my mood.  We sang, we danced, and we laughed, a lot.  In between cheers and the reverie, we chatted about what's been going on with each of us.  And, when she left after the event, I felt lighter and happier than I had in a very long time.  I felt Jesus with me telling me everything is going to be okay.  Patti is and always will be Jesus to me.  Sometimes though, when I turn my back on the world, God tries talking to me and I don't exactly hear Him.  And, it's times like last night, when He physically comes looking for me and gently puts his arm around me and brings me back into the fold that I being to feel like myself again.

Being a sheep is awesome.  I know my masters voice and He knows mine.  And, when I am lost, He comes to find me.  Every.  Time. 

Until next time,
Pray for all the students going back to school


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hide and Seek

Yes I have been hiding.  Mostly intentional, partly notsomuch.

I am stressed.  Getting son ready for college.  Orientation, will he get housing?  What if he doesn't get housing?  When is this all going to work out?  Can't I make a call and get "why yes, Mrs. Schafer!  We are so excited to have your son!  Everything is splendid and we cannot wait to meet your son who you have raised to be a wonderful upstanding man, no doubt!"  Ya, haven't had that conversation yet.

My hormones are going crazy.  Shark week is once again almost upon us.  Then add in hot flashes and wacky hormones, it's no wonder I'm going crazy!

Maria's liking her new job.  Sarah's still trying to get one (crossing fingers).  Band starts up soon, then the school year.

On the plus side, while I am distant from God (it's a valley time) George is absolutely loving his new job.

I'm still doing boot camp.  That's it right now.  It doesn't look like I'm losing anything to me (could be all the cheesecake chimichonga's I've been addicted too) but George says I am.  Today, my thighs and biceps are sore from yesterdays workout. 

My son is going off to college (maybe if housing works) and that hurts my heart.  I can't control housing, I can't control anything and that is not good for us control freaks.  Add in almost shark week and menopause it's no wonder I'm going off the rails.

Just wanted to give you an update.

And now, back to hiding.

Until next time,
Please pray for Godly spouses for the single


Monday, June 25, 2012

Where do you belong?

The thing about depression, what the commercials don't tell you, is how alone you truly feel.  How slowly, without warning, you stop calling people.  You turn inward.  Even when you're around people, you feel alone.

The last two months have been a blur.  Yes, as I've said before, we've had a ton of stuff going on.  Then two weeks ago, after all the family gatherings, I thought things would settle down.  That didn't happen.  God decided to smack me down in the middle of vacation bible school last week.  Which is fine.  It's all for the greater glory of God.  He puts me where He wants me and I go.  On top of everything, I had another sinus infection.  I'm surprised that after as many as I have had, they still wear me out.  I haven't been feeling well at all.    I was seriously bummed that I had missed the last week of boot camp.  The last three weeks with my depression and downward spiral, I have not been sticking to any workout.  I haven't set foot in the gym in three weeks and to top it off, my food choices haven't exactly been stellar either.  I stopped having breakfast, which resulted in me having a hypoglycemic episode after vbs one day.  I can't remember ever being so scared.  I didn't know what was going on.  My husband and son knew exactly what was happening and not only took care of me, they calmed me down.  Living with anxiety and panic disorder on top of depression (what can I say, I'm a ball of joy), having them calm me down was a feat in and of itself.  So, I've made a point the last few days to have breakfast.  During this time, one of my favorite people in the world, Shelia kept me going.  We had heart to heart emails where I told her my deepest, darkest fear.  I don't know what I was expecting for her reply.  Probably, "oh, don't worry about that" or some other generic response.  That wasn't what happened at all.  She spoke from the heart and was calming and wonderful.  She is amazing and I love her.

Then, I knew the time had come.  This morning was back to boot camp.  No more hiding.  No more hiding from the gym, from my scale, from my bad food choices. I've got two good friends at boot camp, Deb and Rebecca.  I have come to care about them very much.  Rebecca, sadly, isn't going to make this round of boot camp (I'm on round three) because of schedule conflicts.  I'm bummed, but I know my Deb will be there.  Last night, I didn't sleep at all.  I was up just about every hour.  Then, it was time to get up and go.  My first thought was "I'm tired".  My second thought was "Well, Rebecca isn't gonna be there".  My third thought was "Maybe I'll skip this round of boot camp and stay in my depressed state."  But, I made the hardest decision since I've been in my downward spiral, I chose to get out of my bed as tired as I was.  I made a conscience decision that I had to go, and go I did.  It was hard.  This boot camp was the hardest one I've done yet.  I had let me self not exercise for three weeks.  I have not been to the gym.  I have done nothing.  So, I showed up.  I had to modify a couple things.  I ran (hey Rebecca, I gave 110% just like I said I would!)  I gave it my all, even in my modifications.  At 530 in the morning, it's extremely hot.  Not only was I sweating from the heat, and my workout, but because of the hot flashes.  All this heat and working out I realized how out of shape I really am.  I was light headed for a while and I almost threw up and almost past out at least three times.  But, I kept going because goonies never say die.  Rudy only gave up once and then he came back the same day.  I can't give up.  I won't give up.  While sweating and pulling my tire (man, did I miss my tire) I gave it my all.  And, at one point my coach says to me "Welcome home, Gina.  Welcome home".  Between Shelia, my friend Rebecca and Deb's love and support and my coach welcoming me back, I am on my way up from my spiral.  It is wonderful to know and cemented in me time and time again, that I don't just belong to a gym.  I belong.  That is a wonderful feeling whether you're riding sky high, or in a depression.  Belonging is lovely.  So, yes, I'll get up Wednesday morning and give it my all.  I have my support system who are there and I can't let them down.  I won't let them down. 

Until next time,
Pray for those suffering from depression.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Spiral Staircase

This past school year flew by in a blur.  For work, that makes me happy.  For my life outside of work, not so much.  What age were you when you gained your concept of time?  You know when you're little and 7pm seems late and summers seem so long.  Then, as you get older, school seems to drag on and summer vacation goes by so fast.  Then, you realize, really realize how cyclical it really is.  The year starts a new and you're in school, then Valentine's Day, then Easter, then Mother's Day, and Memorial Day, then school is out.  Father's Day, July 4th, summer goes by blurry.  Then it's August and time to go back to school.  Labor day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Then, it all starts again.  At what age did it stop being languid and become so expedient?

I miss the long lazy summers that seemed endless.  I miss the days when you could enjoy each holiday as it came.  Revel in picking out a costume for Halloween.  Inviting family and friends for Thanksgiving.  Christmas planning and shopping.  Now, it's so fast, it's so early.  Christmas comes in September.  Halloween in August.  We must get a jump on it all.  All of this jumping on things ahead of schedule is making me tired and maudlin.

The last two months have flown by in a blur.  If you missed it, see the post prior to this.  The blur has left me tired, melancholy and going down my spiral staircase.  Every few months or so, I've noticed are valley times.  And, it takes me a while to realize I'm in them.  I didn't notice till Sunday exactly how far down the staircase I have fallen.  Technically, I'm not sure I've fallen inasmuch as gone down on a yo-yo.  I say that because in all my valley times, I always come back up.  It just takes time.  I had the rare occasion last month where I had to stifle who I am (to some extent).  And, the result has left me exhausted and emotionally spent.  My mom and George's dad came to visit.  They haven't seen each other since our wedding almost 13 years ago.  With my mom, I am my goofy self.  Anything that flies out of my mouth, flies out of my mouth.  We laugh, a lot.  We joke.  We kid and sometimes, we're serious.  She sees the kids and I being playful and having fun, and sometimes yelling at them.  With dad, I am more serene.  More calm.  We sit and talk about everything and anything (as I do with mom), but in a more calm reserved manner.  I'm still me, just more reserved and not fly out of my mouth me.  I actually have to think before I speak.  If I had to do that all the time, surly, my head would spontaneously explode!  Having them here at the same time was wonderful.  We'd sit on the back porch and just talk and be.  It was so wonderful to have them both here at the same time.  However, I was in inner turmoil.  Having to think ahead what I wanted to say while at the same time being my spontaneous self was difficult.  Not impossible, just difficult.

Then last week, with everyone leaving and the myriad airport trips, it made the week fly by so very fast.  George came home for a little over 24 hours.  It was a whirlwind of activities.  Birthday party for my friends daughter who turned 1, walmart, kroger, post office, then grand opening celebration for my other friends new Catholic bookstore.  And, in the times in between, he is trying to spend time with the kids and with me.  Stressful on all counts.  He left again for his final week of training on Sunday only to have his flight delayed THREE HOURS (thank you, Delta!!!)  This week isn't so busy.  I've got a bible study tomorrow morning for about an hour.  Thursday afternoon Maria comes home (yay!) and in the evening, bunco!  Then Friday, I'm doing McKinney Trade Days, and he comes home.

I need to get back to the gym.  I haven't been there in a couple weeks.  I missed the last week of boot camp (gasp!).  Derailed by airport trips and now a sinus infection.  I know working out will make me feel better, but it's hard to garner the energy to work out while I'm in my valley.  This week is going by so slow.  I'm so happy for my husbands new job.  He is truly the happiest I've seen him in ages (thank you, God!!!!  A three year prayer answered!!!)  Yesterday was choc full of running errands.  Today, not so much.  I wish I could will it to be the weekend and have my whole family back in tact, under one roof.  Our roof.  And, trust me, I know in a matter of minutes after their arrival I'll be all "why did I want you back again?"  It's the parents conundrum. 

Then, this summer, we are heading out to get Jaime all set with his college plan and schedule.  And, then in August, drop him off for his first year.  Yea, I'm not exactly 'looking forward' to that.  I am, but I'm not.  Another parent conundrum.

So here I sit, on the steps of my spiral staircase, towards the bottom trying to get energy to climb back up.  Eventually, something will click and I will fly up those stairs faster than my ramp at the gym.  Or, I'll climb up the yo-yo.  I don't know, we'll have to see.

Until next time,
Pray for my friends, Diane, Ryan, and their family.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How much time do you have?  I've got so much to share and so much to say.

It's been a very, very busy and stressful, but blessed May.

Jaime attained Eagle Rank with the Boy Scouts.  Three days later, he turned 18.  Three weeks later he graduated high school.  George's dad and my mom came into town for the festivities.  George got a new job.  George left his old job.  Had Jaime's Court of Honor Eagle ceremony (so beautiful).  Then, had Jaime's graduation/Eagle celebration party.  Dad left, George left, today mom left.  Tomorrow Maria leave's to Philly for a week (16th bday present from Grandpa!).  George comes in late Friday night and leaves Sunday to go back for his last week of training in Detroit and Maria comes back next Thursday.

My husband who is my rock (along with God, obviously) is gone.  I'm sad dad is gone.  I'm sad my husband isn't here.  And, very sad my mom isn't here.  It was so good to see both mom and dad.

Now, to get three teenagers jobs.  Get my son his license, and try and enjoy my summer.  Thank you my Carol and my Tina as always, for your unwavering support and love.

Until next time,
Please pray for safe travel for George, Mom, and Maria (Dad's already home).


Thursday, May 10, 2012


There's so much I want to tell you, so much I want to say!  It's all trying to come out at the same time, so bear with me today, please.  Also, grab your smoothie, or green tea, or coffee and settle in and let's chat!

One of my favorite songs is about candles.  Yes, candles.  How a single candle can expel the darkness.  How we have people in our lives who are candles to us.  Who light our world when it dims or sometimes goes completely dark. 

I have many, many, many friends who are candles, Carol, Tina, Julie, Sharon, Amy, my bunco group, my friend Kathy from work, my children, (on some days lol), my husband and many, many more (forgive me if I didn't mention you, but trust me, I know you're there!).  And, most surprising to me, people at my studio.

When I joined the studio in January to better myself, make myself get in better shape, look better, feel better, and quite frankly, look pretty, I never, ever imagined the journey I was embarking on, the friends I would make, or the candles that would be lighting my world.

The studio has many classes, all of which I love.  All of which inflict some sort of torture for my own benefit.  Through these classes I have found many, many candles.  Boot camp is never dark in the morning.  It can't be, as I am surrounded by many flickering candles there from Coach Steve, to Rebecca, and Deb.  There's my favorite Zumba with Lori who I haven't seen in forever because it's the end of senior year and life is way hectic right now who I just love.  She is such a candle.  To the people in the class, Janna, and Liza and the others.  Yup, candles.  There's the chisel and boxing classes, Coach Teresa, Sheri, and Kim, and some of the others I mentioned above.  All candles.

Yesterday, I did my morning boot camp (yay!) I was feeling good.  Then, in the afternoon, I had to buy a dress for the black tie orchestra banquet for Friday evening, another senior event.  I found a most beautiful dress.  However, um, let's just say my 'cup runneth over'! lol  Feeling down, I posted on my studio page about my predicament.  I even included pictures of me in said dress.  What awaited me there was more than I ever could have imagined.  I don't know what people were going to say, but my own head was telling me I was a failure.  That all my Rudy moments, all I have done since January has done nothing because blatantly staring in the mirror was my overflowing cup!  What greeted my reply was nothing short of burning, flaming, candles.  From, try this idea, with links and pictures where to get it, to how beautiful the dress was and how beautiful I looked in it.  Now, let me explain something here, my daughters told me how beautiful I looked in it and that my cups were fine.  My husband thought I looked amazing too.  My son, hated the dress not for the cups but for all the legs I was showing lol (he's the senior).  It was me and my mirror alone who told me it did not look good.  How weird is it that I didn't believe my family?  What do they know?  They haven't been on the ramp with me at 6AM!  They haven't done bear crawls with sand bags on their backs (my new favorite!).  They see me as mom and wife.  And, skewed glasses.  My studio peeps, my candles, they see me through clear glasses with the eyes of love, truth, and Jesus.  Where can you get that at a gym?  You can't.  No matter what gym you belong to.  You are a number, a quota, even to a trainer.  At my studio, we get involved in peoples lives.  We pray for each other.   I have a friend who moved to Boston, Belinda, you are missed!  I have a friend who's son died who has the biggest heart in the world.  She's now a nurse!  She is such a giving person!  How she get's out of bed and has such a beautiful outlook in life I can only presume is from her amazing love and faith!  I can tell you one friend works for Yahoo, another for Verizon!  I can tell you my coaches have a beautiful home and a loveable, crazy dog!  I can tell you that there are people who are in computers and people who are teachers.  I can tell you one of my friends mom's has Cancer and that another friends husband just had surgery and her dad just got out of the hospital.  I can tell you these things because I don't belong to a gym.  I belong to a family.  A place where I am challenged to push myself.  To make myself better, for me.  A place where the motto isn't 'no pain, no gain'.  A place where love and candles reside. 

Don't let the aforementioned fool you.  We don't sit around on our stationary bikes singing kumbi ya for an hour.  Not a chance.  It's a studio, not a gym.  No machines.  You walk in, you get your butt kicked by weights and tires and heavy bags and Zumba and Teresa, and Steve and you go home.  You go home sweaty and stinky and sore and feeling the best you've ever felt because you just had an amazing workout, and that you are loved.

So to all my candles at home and work and the studio, this is for you.  Thank you for being my candles and lighting my way.  I love you all!

Until next time,
Go light someones world today, they need you.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Peanuts, the Bishop, and Fr. Tim!

I must confess that since the retreat, I've started more of my days with rice than with peanuts.  More so than I'd like to admit.  Sure, I have peanuts at some point, but I'm not starting my day with them.

Bob is really cool, have I told you that lately?  Yesterday, I went to church to watch my nephew Ben get confirmed.  On top of that, my son was asked to assist Bishop Farrel during conformation, so I was doubly excited!  As my family and I were walking in the parking lot to the church, one of my dear friends stopped me and asked if I could do her a huge favor.  Of course I said 'yes'.  Her daughters sponsor was unable to make conformation and asked if I could fill in!  I was so excited!  How sweet was that?  Then, during the Mass, her daughter and I got the Eucharist from the Bishop!  Yea buddy!  After we got back to our seats, I pointed that out and excited, we fist bumped!  What can I say, we some cool Catholics!

Watching my nephew get confirmed and watching my son on the altar was so cool!  I was a proud mama and Aunt!  Ben has grown into quite an amazing young man.  And, I love getting to be the cool Aunt and corrupting him in good ways the way a good Aunt should :D

Then, this morning, we went off to Mass.  It was truly the first time in a while that I have been fully present during a homily (yesterday notwithstanding.  Loved the Bishops homily on living our faith).  I even took notes.  I don't know if I was running on my great weekend high (Friday evening was spent with one of my best friends Amy at the Bret Michaels concert and samba dancing afterwards on top of all the fun from Saturday's day of celebrating my nephew and then my kids at the AHS bowling banquet) or what, but I was so present today during the homily.  Fr. Tim's homilies are usually good, but not "I gotta write this down" good.  I knew at one point that I had to write it down.  He talked about the Ten Commandments and then he talked about ten other things we should work on.

1.  Life is not for experimenting.
2.  Life an unselfish life.
3.  Help the poor.
4.  Sacrificial love is different than ordinary love.  The world wills how you ordinary love.  The church will show you sacrificial love.
5.  We have a problem with things.
6.  If all you have to show for your life is your money, you are not courageous.
7.  People are more important than things.
8.  To lose your dignity is worse than losing your life.
9.  Friends must be cultivated.
10.  You have a calling God wants you to do.  He uses the calling to change us and perfect us.  It will be difficult.  Is is the only way we will find happiness.  God wants us to be happy.

I wish I could have wrote faster and could tell you what he said in detail about each one, but if you go to, you can find the podcast of the homily.  It is well worth the listen!

So, what a wonderful weekend this was.  Full of lots of love, blessings, and peanuts.  And, while I will try to start my day with them, the point is that I have them throughout my day, all day, everyday.  There is nothing better!

Until next time,
Pray for all of those who got confirmed this weekend.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Glimpses of Mary

Eighteen years ago today, I was blessed with my son.  I was beyond excited to have a boy first.  While I would have loved having a girl too, I always wanted an older brother, and I wanted that for my children.  God must have thought it a good idea too, because he blessed me with Jaime.

When you have your first child, you sterilize everything.  I made people wash their hands before holding him.  That is, if I even let people hold him!  I couldn't wait for him to start walking!  How cool would we be?  Mom and son walking hand in hand.  I couldn't wait for him to hold the bottle himself so I could hold him with both my arms and just snuggle with him.  Then, one day, I realized I was pushing him to grow up.  I stopped that right away.  I can remember he and I were playing with my mom and his first word was 'more'.  More playing.  Little did I know this would turn out to be the best description of Jaime himself.  More.  There is never enough of, good times, friends, love.  More, more, more.

When he was a toddler, he was such a ham.  He was so adorable, like most children.  I got pregnant with his first sister and he couldn't have been happier.  He even told my doctor that "there's a baby in there" and pointed to my belly.  He would call my belly 'his baby' and he would try and feed his binky to my extended belly button!  After she was born, he would hold her and shout with delight 'I got a baby!' or 'my baby!' And, then he tried to feed her a chip.  Hey, he wanted to share from an early age!

As he started to grow, really grow my heart began to ache.  It would ache at the boy he was growing into.  One year, about five years ago, we went out to celebrate his birthday.  And, he grabbed my hand as we were walking (this is nothing out of the ordinary for him, he is such a loving boy) and for the first time, his hand was bigger than mine.  This brought tears to my eyes.  I knew it was going to happen eventually, just not so soon.

This year, his senior year, we have had many 'come to Jesus' moments.  Being a senior, working, working for and attaining his Eagle badge with the Boy Scouts, testing his independence, all of this led to those aforementioned moments.  We've also had lots of laughter and of course, lots of love.

This morning, after I hugged him, while crying of course, I headed off to Mass to thank God for my son.  And, while I was sitting there, instead of listening to the homily, I thought of Mary and Jesus.  See, as I've said before, my heart is my greatest and my worst asset.  It feels everything.  Not only all the love, but every ounce of pain, bitterness, and hurt.  So, having my son turn 18 is happy (and I am happy, truly I am).  Having my son turn 18 and getting ready to go off to college is happy.  And, not happy.  While my heart swells with pride and gladness, it aches with the pain of him leaving.  I cannot imagine not seeing him everyday (he's not away at college, he's on an extended weekend camp out! lol) and not hearing him laugh.  But as my friends tell me, this is all part of life.  I remember how scared Mary was when Jesus was missing for three days and the gladness she felt when she found Him.  I wonder how Mary felt when Jesus went off on His ministry.  Was she happy that her only child was gone and she could rest for a moment?  Was she scared for Him, knowing He was traveling in all different places?  How scared she must have been for Him when He was sentenced to death.  How her heart must have ripped out when she held Him in her arms for the last time.  No, no, I'm not comparing my son to Jesus at all.  But I wonder how much of the pain that I feel at the growing of my children did Mary feel at the growing of her son?  She 'kept all of these things in her heart'.  Unfortunately, I was not gifted with that talent.  My heart is worn on my sleeve.  Heck, my heart is worn on my whole body.  Actually, I'm probably just a heart with eyes.

Eighteen years ago, I gave my son life.  And, every day since then, he has given life to me.

Please pray in thanksgiving for my son, James on his birthday today.

Until next time,

Monday, April 30, 2012

Round two!

Last week, three of my boot camp friends (more like Angels) asked me to do boot camp with them again.  They are so awesome, and so supportive, and I agreed.

This morning was our first day back after a two week absence.  It was a lot different this time around.  Waking up was no problem.  Starting the exercises was no problem.  My body, while glad for the rest, was happy to be back. 

Did you know I'm a possessive person?  Just ask my friends, they'll tell you.  This morning, when we go to the ramp, there's people on our ramp (WHA!?!) Then, if that wasn't enough, they were copying our moves!  They had tires and were doing tire flips!  One of my friends, Deb, even commented how they're stealing our ideas.  So, I told her 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' even though I was irked. lol  But, after that, I didn't give them a second thought.  I was too busy trying to breathe.  The cool thing about this morning (one of many) is that we moved from car tires to truck tires!  WOOOHOO!  I knew I would be happy to be back, I just didn't realize how happy I would be to be back!

With everything happening the next few weeks, I'll be needing my boot camp and my boxing to work out my stress and not kill anyone.  I cannot wait until Wednesday!  I might just go in myself tomorrow!  I'm ready, let's do this!

Until next time,
Pray for my dear podmate whose birthday is this Friday!!!  Happy, Happy Birthday, Podmate!  I love you most...FOR GOOD!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

12 down zero to go!

 Six weeks, twelve hours, 6,000 calories burned.  Muscle gained.  Weight lost.  I went from hating tires to loving them.  I ran/speed walked the entire roof this morning.  I've done countless push ups, dips, medicine ball sit ups, tire pushes, tire flips, tire pulls.  I've ran with tires and medicine balls.  I've ran with weights tied to me.  I've ran while carrying sandbags. I've ran with a rope around me being pulled by someone else.  I've ran more in six weeks than I have in 42 years.  When I say 'ran' I mean run/speed walked.   I have made great strides and great friends. I don't know what possessed me today, but the tire I picked up was heavier than I'm use too.  My first thought was "that's okay, it's the last day of boot camp and I'm in the mood to kick a little tire."  It was a toss up, the tire kicked my butt and I kicked its butt.  I found out I am stronger than even I realized.    I found out that 5:30 is *really* early in the morning.  I found out that I have a love/hate relationship with Coach Steve.

Coach Steve.  The man is a maniac in the best way.  For someone who loves to swim, he sure loves to run a lot!  Coach Steve is amazing.  I don't know if the Coach was anyone else if I would have followed through.  Coach Steve is tough.  He keeps pushing you beyond your limits.  He doesn't tear you down to build you up.  He just starts out building you up and keeps going.  In his eyes, there is nothing we can't do.  And, if he believes it, it must be true.  If he lit the ramp on fire and said to go up with my tire, I would.  As usual, I'd say he was drunk or crazy (note, he's never drunk or crazy) but I would go up nonetheless.  He knows my strength better than I do.  I started boot camp wanting to throw up the first ten minutes.  Then, that threshold moved.  It got further and further into the hour.  Today, I left everything I had on the ramp.  I left so much sweat and energy on that ramp it will short out a car and restart it.  I wanted to throw up at the very end.  I was worried for a while that if I didn't feel like I wanted to throw up, I wasn't pushing myself.  I was, I just had gotten stronger.  And, that's because of Coach Steve.

Then, there's the other participants.  They are equally amazing.  When I'm always the last one up the ramp they never complain.  Not once.  In fact, quite the opposite.  They cheer me on with 'you can do it!  Come on, Gina!"  When I had 10 dips left to do and nothing left in me this morning the cheered me on to finish, and I did.  They are such a great source of support.  We take care of each other.  We started out with 11 people.  Two guys.  We finished with five women.  Zero guys.  We rule!

There are my friends.  My Carol is nothing short of amazing.  Every boot camp day, I get a text either wishing me luck, telling me to work hard, or how proud of me she is.  There's the countless email and texts I get from my friends telling me how proud of me they are.  There's the greatest compliments of 'skinny minnie' and my personal favorite 'skinny bitch' :D  And finally, there is my husband.   He has not complained once when the alarm (which he sets) goes off at 4:45am on boot camp days.  He never complained when I come in afterwards to shower and accidentally wake him up.  He always tells me how proud of me he is.  Sometimes, it hard for him to see changes because he sees me everyday and that's okay.  Because everyday, he loves me.  Everyday, he tells me how proud of me he is.  Every boot camp day he says "go get 'em" or 'how'd your do?"  He is my biggest cheerleader and I love him for it.

Six weeks ago, I signed up for boot camp to help push me through the end of my fit & fierce program.  I figured it would give me an extra kick.  It did more than that.  More than I ever thought possible.  I gained in wisdom and in strength and I could not be happier!

What now?  Well, I started fit & fierce 4 life last night (similar to fit & fierce but the next level).  I also signed up for boxing!  I'm going back to my regularly scheduled routine.  I miss my Zumba with Lori more than I ever thought possible (I have a meeting at church tonight, but I'll be their Friday, Lori!).  I found that I couldn't do both in the same day, that it was just way too much for me to handle.  I will continue with my new ff4l program and I will continue pushing myself.  And, rest assured, I will still have my love/hate relationship with Coach Steve.  He's teaching boxing!!!!  I expect to be pushed beyond my limits and I am looking forward to it!

So, I implore you to try something new.  To push yourself beyond your limits.  You can do anything!

Until next time,
Sign up for fit & fierce for life!  It starts next week and you will thank yourself for it!


Monday, April 9, 2012

11 Down, one to go!

Today was the penultimate boot camp.  I hated Coach Steve mostly from the word go.  He made us walk up to the roof.  Truth be told, that's the part I hate the worst, almost more than running.  We ran the roof, ran it with our medicine balls, then did drills.  Then, we walked back down.  He had us grab our tires (yay!  It's just not a good day if I can't get my hands on my tire!), a rope and two 10 pound weights.  We tied BOTH weights to the rope and around us and up the ramp we went.  Oh, and every three seconds (not really, but it seemed like every three seconds) we had to drop and do 15 push ups on the weights.  Then, when that was done, we did tire throws.  This is where I got one of my two favorite compliments of the day (and the day has barely begun!).

A tire throw is just what it says.  You get in the squatting position and then throw the tire.  Coach said "Gina can throw a tire!"  I didn't realize this.  But, it turns out, man, I can throw a tire at least 5 feet :D  I know this because the yellow lines in the garage are five feet long and I threw it a little further than that consistently.  Then, we put one of the weights IN the tire and carried it up the ramp.  We did more tire stuff.  Lunges, etc.  My arms and legs feel like jell-o.  I don't think there is a muscle in my body that isn't screaming out, and I could not be happier.  Yes, yes, I give Coach Steve a hard time.  But I love him.  How can you hate someone who only wants the best for you?  Who knows your limits better than you do?  Who pushes you to be your best?  When your pulling 20 pounds up a ramp, it's easy to hate him lol, but I say it with love.  I am not going to say I'm in the best shape of my life, because I only lost 20 pounds (and almost 14 inches and 2 jean sizes in TWELVE weeks!).  I have way more to go and that's okay.  But I am feeling awesome and that's what counts.

I love that I can walk in the studio and our first words are "Happy Easter!" and about how Jesus is Risen.  You can't do that at any other gym that's for sure.

As most of you know, I gave sweets up for lent.  I told everyone who would listen that my Easter basket better have Peeps, black jelly beans, and gummy bears in them.  Then, Coach T said no.  She said not to.  She's such a great coach so I changed my basket.  I got a beautiful mug from my amazing husband.  I had one mini Reece's cup and one twizzler.  Then, my niece made this AMAZING chocolate pudding cake.  She gave me a slice, but I didn't eat the whole thing.  Almost, but I didn't.  Our appetizers went from chips and dips as the usual to a cheese and pepperoni tray and crudites!  I had ham.  And more ham.  And, pineapple bread pudding.  What?  It had fruit in it.  And, my Carol makes it special just for me :D  So, all in all, I didn't go hog wild with the sweets like I thought I was gonna.  And, I kept reaching for water all day.  I did have about 4 oz of sprite, but the rest of the day was water.  It's mostly all I drink now.  So over the last twelve weeks, little by little, I made lifestyle changes without really realizing they were lifestyle changes.  Pretty cool, huh?

So, what was the other compliment I got?  A sweet friend at boot camp asked me how many kids I have.  So, I told her "I've got a freshman, sophomore, and senior in high school".  Her response was "how old ARE you?"  She did not believe I was 42.  I had to say it like three times.  She thought I was in my 20's!  I credit, God, the gym, and my Mary Kay products (which I was not wearing for boot camp!).   AWESOME way to start my day!

I hope each of you have had a blessed Easter.   I wish you all a beautiful day and remember, when you feel that no one loves you, or no one cares, I do.

Until next time,
Happy Monday!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Jesus and Billy Joel

So, as I woke up this morning, Bob started talking to me.  My eyes weren't even open, and He had much to say.  I just went to confession last weekend and one of the things I mentioned was that I judge.  I can't help it.  Well, um, apparently, I can.  It's something I really need to work on and Bob reminded me of that on this Good Friday morning.

I have a close group of friends that are like family to me.  I have a wider group of friends that are some of my closest friends.  I have a parish full of friends.  I have friends in other states and other countries.  I have friends who are atheists, who are gay, who are straight, who have had abortions.  I have friends who have been married and divorced.  I have friends who judge.  Basically, all my friends, even the holiest ones that I have, we are all sinners.  Yet, I really don't judge my friends.  I don't hate my friends who have had abortions.  I don't hate my atheists friends.  I don't pass judgement on them.  I love them unconditionally because they are my friends.  No, they weren't always my friends.  We grew in love and in faith.  Even the atheists ones.  I don't judge any of them.  So, why do I judge others?  Bob reminded me this morning that Jesus was friends with tax collectors and sinners.  Now, in no way am I saying I'm like Jesus.  Nope, I'm a sinner too.  But I thought it interesting.  Jesus didn't judge the tax collector or the woman who had an affair.  Why should I?

I've never claimed to be perfect.  Nope.  far from it.  So here's my quandary.  If I don't judge my closest who sin just like everyone else, why do I judge those who are not my friend?  Why do I judge the conotworker who drives me crazy?  And, more importantly, how do I stop?  I like to say "I don't gossip so listen close the first time" lol  but mostly kidding.  How do I not judge the person and just love them?  Jesus calls me to love them, not like them.  Thank God, because that would take more energy than I have to give.  I learned that it's okay not to like some people.  Different personalities and all that.  But I can still love them.  Some are easier than others to love.  But, then again, Jesus never promised it would be easy, He only promised it would be worth it.

And, to tell you the truth, I love hanging out with my friends.  With people.  As someone once said to me (I forget who it was, forgive me, please) "you've never met a stranger".  Which is true.  I consider most everyone a friend.  How can I not?  And, since Jesus is the only perfect person I know, we are all sinners and like Billy Joel said "sinners are much more fun..." in Only the Good Die Young.

Today is Good Friday.  One of my ultimate favorite days of the year.  I love tonight's Mass.  I love the veneration of the cross.  If Jesus can forgive those who betrayed Him, Judas, Peter, those who crucified Him, who am I to judge?

This is one of my very favorite pictures.  It's called forgiven.  You can see the sorrow on the man's face who hammered the nails into Jesus.  Look how limp his body goes when he realizes what he's done?  Now, look at Jesus?  He is not only holding the man, he is holding him up.  He is gripping the man.  Look at Jesus' hands how they are passionately gripping him.  Almost as if they are the only things holding him up.  That is pure love.  That is pure forgiveness.  

So, one day at a time is the way I see it.  Today, I will work on not judging.  I make no promises of being perfect, but I make a promise, that I will try.

Happy Good Friday.

Until next time,
What are you working on today?


Monday, April 2, 2012

We've only just begun

Is my least favorite Carptenter's song.  But, it is true.

Twelve weeks ago, by the Holy Spirits prompting I joined the Fit & Fierce competition at Leading Cast Rhythms & Fitness.

I've joined many gyms over my time.  When I was in my 20's and still stick thin.  And, in my thirties, when I was not.  I liked the swimming pools, the sauna's, and the treadmills were okay.  Watching tv while listening to my music and working out was great for my adhd.  I'd meet with the personal trainer as one visit was always included.  I've always had bad knees (at least in my thirties and up) and couldn't do the stair master, so I stayed away.  The trainer showed me how to work the weight machines and how many reps to do and then I was off on my own.  It got very boring.   And, I'm not gonna pay some trainer who looks like a model to watch me sweat.  I'm self conscience enough, that's why I'm at the gym in the first place!  It never stuck. 

Other than the Holy Spirit, I can't name the reason I joined the studio this January.  I don't know what my catalyst was, I just knew I wanted to do it.  There, I met the best most supportive people.  I learned about nutrition.  I learned that you can't target an area to lose weight and that it's gonna come off wherever and whenever in whatever order it comes off.  I learned that I like sprouted bread.  I learned what sprouted bread is.  I learned I wished we had a Sprouts store in Allen and that since we don't 10-15 minutes really isn't that far to drive for good, fresh, vegetables.  Yes, miss 'loves everything that's fried' is eating fresh vegetables.  I learned how to cook kale.  Although, I prefer it in my sandwich.  I learned that grape seed oil is yummy and that people will not look at you funny when you tell them you don't like olive oil.  I learned that my beloved margarine is one chemical away from being plastic and that I actually like real, honest to God, real, butter!  I learned that exercise is good and that I can do anything given the right tools.

That's exactly what R&F did for me.  The people, the coaches and the members gave me the tools to change myself.  And, the change was so subtle, I didn't realize, how much my food choices changed.  With Bob's prompting (the Holy Spirit) again, five weeks ago, I joined the boot camp program with Steve.  Three more classes to go!!!  I learned that there's not a lot of people up at 5:30 in the morning, but there is at 6:30  I learned that insanity is fun and that tires are great exercise.  I could change a tire before, now I'll not only change it, but I can get some reps in while I'm doing it!  I learned that boot camp does not mean military screaming in your face and that my boot camp friends (and the ones at the studio in general) are some of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life.  I learned that when I grow up, it might be fun to be a zumba instructor (I say this because every other song on the radio I'm either making up a routine to it or thinking "I must tell Lori so she can make a routine to this song".  I learned that it's not about fast, fast, fast.  That I didn't put 70 pounds on overnight and it isn't going to come off in two hours. 

I've spent years trying what didn't work (for me), weight watchers, lightweight, special k (the cereal not the drug lol), slim fast, herba life.  And almost always felt like a failure.  I've spent twelve weeks with my new friends and I couldn't be prouder of myself!  You who have been with me through the years with this blog know just how amazing that is!

But, like the Carpenter's song that I hate so much, I've only just begun.  I am sticking with the studio, doing another twelve week program.  Looking forward to with great excitement (and dreading) the end of boot camp, and excited about the possibility of boxing.  I think I figured out why R&F is the place for me.  It's God centered.  The owners, my friends and coaches, are wonderful God loving people.  They don't hit you over the head with their love for Him, but when you walk in the studio, all you feel is love, that is until you lift a tire or a medicine ball, then you feel love and pain.

I just had to thank my coaches, Teresa, Angela, and Steve and all my friends at R&F for their love and support.  I could not have done, nor continue to do this journey without all of you. " Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  Philipians 4:8 That should be the R&F motto because that is what they live.

Until next time,
Stop in for a Zumba class and as my Carol is so fond of telling me, "let go, let God"!


When love sees you

Six years ago, I went with the women of St. Jude to what seemed to me, a mystical place.  I had tried to go for two years in a row, but other stuff got in the way.  I was so excited the day the bus pulled up to our destination, I cried.  I couldn't believe I had finally made it to Montserrat Jesuit Retreat house.

My first trip I was so anxious.  What does God want to say to me?  Will I hear Him? etc.  I have come to cherish my time at Montserrat.  This year is no different.  You go when you're suppose to go.  Normally, as I said, I go with my friends from St. Jude's.  However, this year the retreat falls on my Sarah's birthday.  And, when I called to cancel, was told about an upcoming retreat.  So, nothing on the calendar, I called one of my favorite people in the world, my Patti, and she and I went together this past Thursday.

Now, I must tell you, it's not immediate silence.  You arrive Thursday for dinner and can talk during dinner.  After that you must remain silent until lunch on Sunday.  After unpacking, the first thing Patti and I did was hit the dock.  We sat there and chatted and as we did all the tension left me.  All the anger, all the anxiety, all my worries and I was filled with almost immediate peace.  It was such a gift.  I received so many gifts this weekend, it's like it was my birthday or something.  I had peace restored to my soul, I met amazing women, Patti and I got to witness to others.  I went to confession.  Oh, and I tried tilapia and it was AMAZING!  And, I hate seafood! lol

The retreat master was a wonderful woman.  She's the second woman I've had as a retreat master.  See on the weekends, it's not roaming about silently the whole time, only part of it.  You go through the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius (awesome guy!).  The exercises are only 30 minutes long and then you spend time contemplating them or whatever is on your mind.  There are three a day.  There's Mass, stations of the cross, the Rosary, meals.  You can be as busy as you want.  My favorite part of the retreat is when my head finally just empties.  No more thoughts.  It finally quiets down.  And then my thoughts are "look at the duck, oh wait it's a goose".  " Look at the clouds, that one looks like a cartoon dinosaur" and stuff like that.  It is truly a gift when your mind shuts down and you can just be.  It takes me a full day for that to happen.

Then, I reconnected with Jesus.  And, I learned things I didn't realize before.  Things I knew with my head, but didn't realize with my heart.  The retreat master did something different than most.  She had some songs that were pertinent to her talk.  One such song brought me to my knees on Friday night.

Can you guess which line brought me to my knees?  Let me know what you think!

The rest of the weekend was full of color and wonder and amazement.  God is so awesome.  I think one of my favorite gifts was confession.  My gifts this weekend were during confession, during the healing service, during the stations of the cross, reconnecting with a friend from St. Jude, spending precious alone time with God, spending precious alone time with my Patti, and spending time with my spiritual adviser.   A couple of my friends have had them for years and I always thought "I gotta get me one of those!"  So, this weekend, I did!

I arrived back into the real world yesterday afternoon.  Happy to be with my family again.  However, I did not want to go to boot camp this morning.  At. All.  But, with four classes left, how could I quit now?  I went, I'm sore.  I have three more classes left!

I wish you all a beautiful Holy week.

Until next time,
What can I pray for you?


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You're right.

I've lost count of how many boot camps I've been too and how many are left to go.  All I know is that I keep showing up until I hear "welcome to our last class". 

Today's boot camp majorly kicked my butt.  Today was the first day that I truly didn't want to be there.  I didn't want to get out my bed.  But I did.  We worked our butts off today.  And, my knees were hurting, but I kept going.  Every exercise, every challenge.  At one point, towards the end, I cried.  Not a lot, but my eyes were definitely leaking.  I just kept going and going and going.  Then it occurred to me, I thought by now that boot camp would be a piece of cake.  I thought that all this exercise I'm doing that's making me stronger would make boot camp easier.  So, I asked Coach Steve this very thing.  Coach Steve is a wise, wise man.  He said we always need to push ourselves.  That if we did what we did on the first day, sure, that would be easy, but in order to grow we need to keep pushing ourselves.  And man did I push myself today!  Thanks be to God that I don't have to go back to boot camp until Monday.

You know, the biggest response I've been getting, other than how good I'm looking, is how people are like "I could never do it", or "you're stronger than I am".  And I don't believe that for one second.  I never thought in a million years that I'd be a size 12.  I never thought I'd be enjoying the gym or that I would join a boot camp.  To this day, I don't know what possessed me to sign up for boot camp.  But I'm glad I did.  Yes, boot camp is hard.  Yes, I ache and I'm tired.  All I know is I never stop.  I am the epitome of 'if I can do it, you can do it'.  You guys can do it!  There's a saying that goes "if you think you can, or think you can't, either way you're right". 

I'll be gone for a few days.  I leave tomorrow to head to Montserrat for my silent retreat.  I'll be back Sunday afternoon.  Not to fear, I will be getting my exercise in :D

Until next time,
Thanks podmate for yesterday.  You are amazing!  I'm so glad God gave me you!
Pray for everyone today.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Seven down, five to go!

Today was week four, day 7 of boot camp.

I do a lot of praying at boot camp.   Of course it's a lot of 'Dear God I'm going to die', ' Dear God, please don't let me die',  'Dear God, this man is insane' and, Dear God, please let it be 6:30'. 

Today was the hardest for me in a while.  I started of running and I ran farther than normal before I had to speed walk (yay!) then I speed walked the entire roof.  I was thinking over the weekend about my goal to run the whole roof by the last day of boot camp and if I didn't start pacing myself, there was no way I was just gonna do it on the last day.  So, today I did the whole roof.  Then we got my favorite, the medicine ball.  I don't know why it's my favorite, there's just something about the pain that it brings, even days later, that I know I'm doing something right.

Then, we go downstairs to my tire and the ramp.  But then, we get the sandbags and rope.  We do lots and lots of stuff this morning.  At one point I'm like 'it HAS to be 6:15!' but it wasn't.  The great thing about 6:15 is I know we have only 15 minutes to go.  I worked my butt off this morning.  Thought I was gonna heave at least three times.  My face felt amazingly hot (hey Coach Angela, you probably could cook one of your eggs on my face! lol) and I thought I was gonna die.  At one point, Coach Steve asked if I was about to cry and I put my fingers up to indicate I was almost there lol. 

Along with the prayer today there was a lot of "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you" in my head directed at Coach Steve.  And, I even told him I hated him.  He just laughs and says "you'll love me at 6:30" which is true.  I actually love him the whole time.  How can I hate an evil genius who devises and plots dastardly ways to get me in shape for my own good? 

And, then there's everyone else.  We all have the same dedication to boot camp.  One girl (my burgh buddy) just ran a half marathon yesterday and showed up this morning!  Another one of my friends, this is her THIRD boot camp!  And I thought I was insane!  And, at one point today, when I thought I was going to die, she said to me "think of your size 12's you just bought".   For those of you who live under a rock, or are not my friend on facebook, yesterday I bought a pair of size 12 jeans.  I screamed it from the rooftop all day yesterday.  This is huge because I was a size 16 when I started the fit & fierce competition 12 weeks ago.  AND, I haven't worn a 12 in over ten years!  I was so happy and I still am.

That's the great thing about boot camp, and the studio as well.  They are so encouraging.  It's not like going to a gym where you get on the treadmill and watch tv or read or even listen to music.  It's not like having a personal trainer work with you and pretend to push you.  Which I think is why in all the gyms I've joined in my life (3 or 4) nothing ever stuck.  Here, at the studio, there is no treadmill, no machines only you (and tires, and medicine balls, and ropes and a few weights).  The owners who are coaches (Coach Steve and Coach Teresa), and all the other Coaches genuinely care about each and every one of us.  AND, if that wasn't enough, the members care about each other.  The studio is it's own family.  It is one of the most amazing places I have ever been.  I have never felt so supported at a gym.  They push me to my limits and beyond.  They see what I can do, even when I can't.  I think having a 'I'm not gonna quit' attitude is it's own curse and a blessing.  Because they know I won't quit (no matter how much I want to), they push me and help me to become a better me.  Be it through Zumba, the fit & fierce competition, or boot camp.

It would be easy for me to say the fit & fierce competition is over, boot camp is over, I'm done.  It's just me and Zumba.  But why?  In twelve weeks, thanks to fit & fierce competition and 3 weeks of boot camp (almost done!) I have lost almost 20 pounds.  I have lost countless inches off my body (I'll let you know as soon as I find out), and I have lost TWO pants sizes.  I have changed my eating habits (not because I was made to, because I wanted to).  It would be silly for me not to continue.  So, I know for a fact I am going to do round 2 of the fit & fierce competition.  The next round of boot camp, I don't know yet.  I'm sure it would be beneficial and I could make a gazillion excuses (kid graduating, it's summer, etc).  but I haven't made any excuses so far, so why start now?  But, I think I'll play that one by ear.

My goal when we started the program 12 weeks ago?  I didn't have one?  Now?  My goal is to see how far I can go by my birthday in July.  Why not?  What have I got to lose?  It's just weight.  And, I have everything to gain.

If you can read this, I would love for you to come dance with me at Zumba, or come do one boot camp class with me!   Sure, your bed and couch are comfortable.  But one hour at the studio and you will feel amazing!

Until next time,
Please pray for the repose of the soul of my friend.  Her funeral is today.