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,