The expectation when we uncover or open something is one of wonder, curiosity, doubt, maybe even fear.
As Jesus was laid in the tomb, Roman guards watched over it, in an attempt to stop His resurrection. When the women returned to the tomb Sunday morning the stone was rolled away. The tomb was found empty and the Lord had risen.
Holy Saturday invites us to move the rock, and lean into the reasons we feel broken, worried, sad or unsure.
Tonight at Mass, Monseigneur reminded us that we all have big rocks in our lives. Major obstacles that prevent us from finding joy, tapping into our creativity, finding our true selves. If we always focus on the heaviness of the stone that blocks our own resurrection, our own renewal, the stone will be harder to budge until we allow our faith to roll it away and find our joy. Will you move the rock, who will conquer the stone?
Perhaps we should think of Matthew 17:20: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.”
On Faith and Fitness:
Roll your stone away…you may have to go on several walks to get to it, but stay strong and have faith.
“Don’t worry, you’re not going to Hell!” I yelled back.
Then I stopped and thought for a second. I suppose I can’t really promise where any of us are going, in the BIG picture, but I can guess.
I figured…he’s a really great kid, so I was confident with my response.
I had some time, so I did a little research…just in case St. Peter needed a good explanation at the gate other than “My mom told me it was fine!”
Here’s what I learned: As most Catholics know abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent is a way to remember Jesus’ Passion and to offer a small sacrifice for God. Fridays are seen as a time to fast and pray (or say Rosary’s, like we did growing up).
According to the Code of Canon Law, “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday” (Can. 1251).
What is a day of “solemnity”?
Days of “solemnity” are the highest order of liturgical feast, meaning that Catholics are to observe it similar to a Sunday. Both St. Joseph’s feast day and St. Patrick’s Day are considered days of solemnity. They are days of celebration, therefore any type of fasting or abstinence from meat is not requited on those days.
IF for some reason you have made, eaten and digested a large roast beef sandwich while taking an Algebra test on a Friday during Lent like my son, you really are okay. Why? Because there was no intent to disobey the Church by eating meat. For a sin to be a sin, it requires active engagement of your will. Sins aren’t accidental.
There can be, however, a venial (smaller) sin involved if we simply forget the day — which shows we have become too distracted by other things and should focus on keeping God at the center.
That was my goal today…focus on God.
Jesus held my inner gaze today. Typically Good Fridays are rainy and dreary. Today it was cold, but sunny…so I worked outside, washed the cars, weeded, mowed the lawn and cleaned inside, my prep for Easter Sunday, the Resurrection.
The best part of the day was going with my daughter and two of her friends to Good Friday services. I’m always amazed and so pleased when teenagers show up to mass after they are confirmed. Usually that’s their ticket out..the moment they figure out they really don’t need to go.
Today we showed up for services willingly and gladly, kneeling together, praying side by side, all sharing the same intentions and values. Jesus at the helm.
Whether you ate meat today or didn’t hold to your Lenten promises every moment for the last 40 days, it’s okay. As for me, I misspelled, fell asleep writing posts, and posted late. But I have felt every word, every moment, every day. My small struggle to get words on a page will never compare to Jesus’ sacrifice.
I do hope I have touched you all…thanks for reading.
Stepping out of the last car at carpool with very little motivation to exit the warm, cozy SUV was a sweet Pre-K student with shiny jet-black hair and eyes. He gave his Dad a slight glance as he walked away, partially annoyed (in a 4-year-old kind of way) that Dad had to leave…and he had to stay. So I grabbed my cold coffee and told him I’d walk in with him, chatting in Spanish as we walked. His already slow pace geared down and waited as I caught up.
As we walked through the school entrance, we each chose a sectioned-lane lane headed toward three thermometers. After eight months of the same routine, he stood on his tip-toes, forehead aimed toward the freestanding thermometer the school nurse lowers for the little ones each day. I held my wrist up to the device in my line and we both heard the same “not yet” beep and saw the big, read letters “Lo”. Instinctively we both waited about five seconds and tried again. “Normal temperature” the thermometer voices declared. One small success under our belts for the day.
We started out our day with the correct temperature reading. Made bed or not, it’s a win to start a school day in 2021.
We walked in silence through the gym (shout out to Walt Whitman) and as we entered the hallway he conquered the quiet and mumbled, “fifth grade and sixth grade”. We were in the upper grade hallways and he was very interested in the big kids filing through those hallways.
As we made our way down the stairs, we talked about all the grades. He continued saying the words as slowly as he stepped, “kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th.”
“Then what?” I asked.
“Then we go to MEDIUM SCHOOL.”
“Next?” I asked.
“Then big school.”
“Then what? I probed.”
“Then I’ll get to drive the car.”
“Next?” I asked.
“Then I’ll have my own babies.”
Curious, I continued, “Then what?”
“Then I’ll die.”
Just like that, a four-year-old put the back-of-the-book definition of life into a few sentences and it felt strangely safe, simple and calm.
It’s easy to get caught up in between the lines and fill them with stress and fear. Instead, let’s embrace the moments, keep them simple, serve others and as Ghandhi said,
“Live simply so others may simply live.”
On Faith and Fitness:
Walk briskly for 30 minutes. Good Friday will be dawning soon. Take care and be grateful.
On this last night of Women’s History Month, let’s continue to honor women not just for a month…but always.
There is one thing my mom always told my sisters and me: “learn as much as you can…because nobody can take away your education”. In fact, she just told our son that today on Face Time. Mom always wanted to make sure we were able to take care of ourselves, have a career and be independent. Dad wanted the same, he just hoped we would all be independent and live on the same street.
Here is a compilation of some of the best quotes out there from the most notable women!
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” RBG
“Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.” – RBG
“You can disagree without being disagreeable.” – RBG
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” – RBG
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” —Nora Ephron
“Don’t let anyone speak for you, and don’t rely on others to fight for you.” —Michelle Obama
“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.” –Michelle Obama
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same as ‘making a life.’” – Maya Angelou
“Buckle up, and know that it’s going to be a tremendous amount of work, but embrace it.” — Tory Burch, Fashion Designer
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
“You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
On Faith and Fitness:
This Holy Week, take the time to meditate, breathe and say a decade of the Rossary.
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, doctor, coach, or even a priest, you’ve Zoomed or did a Google classroom, or streamed.
Students in particular have downloaded new apps for studying or “helping” and tried to prepare for the right quiz, turn in the correct lab and ultimately press SUBMIT before it’s too late.
In school – virtual and face to face, one thing that is different this year is leniency with due dates. It’s like somewhere in a COVID accommodation rule book that doesn’t really exist, but should, there is an unwritten understanding that since we’re all trying to make the best of this COVID Titanic we’re floating on, late submissions are okay.
Therefore the workload never stops. Kids are constantly submitting, teachers are forever grading.
But wait, there’s more:
Didn’t do well on a test? Luckily, remediation is also a big 2021 buzz word in the education world. It’s essentially a glorified “Do-over”.
Today I should have had a blog posted. I have 90 kind followers and missed my due date. I did not press PUBLISH. In fact until today, I hadn’t even started the blog…
…because last night was like most nights in this tricky (heavy on the -icky) new normal. Our kids stayed up late clicking, searching, taking pictures of assignments, videotaping presentations or scales for the trumpet or saxophone, attaching labs, and ultimately stressing——–because——- it’s a lot.
IT IS A LOT and we are ALL TIRED. FRUSTRATED, and over it. I’ll bet you are too.
Back to my excuse reason, for not blogging:
Last night, after my youngest finally clicked SUBMIT (I hope) for his Biology Lab, Algebra assignment, and studied for his quiz, he plopped down on an over-sized chair with a fluffy after-Christmas-sale pillow and a cozy blanket. It was 11:30. My blogging time is always after 11…because that’s when the lights are out upstairs, country/pop/music, or white noise is humming and everyone is typically in bed…even the dogs. So now I had company, my sleepy son. I flipped on the TV and we started watching an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” which I think is hysterical.
My son and I watched Raymond’s family antics, laughed out loud and within minutes,
FELL ASLEEP! Until 4:30! Thankfully it was not a baseball workout morning since 4:30 is the time he usually gets up to get ready.
Gee Whiz. I slept through my blogging time. I didn’t press PUBLISH.
So I asked for grace. And here I sit. Ready to click PUBLISH.
On Faith and Fitness:
Say your prayers before bed every night and get as much sleep as you can! You’ll be grateful you did!
Today marks the first day of Passover, a day when families gather around tables to retell stories, share food and pass on traditions that mean so much to so many.
On this night, the youngest member of a Jewish family asks four questions at the Passover Seder meal. “Why is this night different from all other nights?” is one of the four and the answer is shared:
Traditionally, the story of the Exodus out of Egypt when God “passed over” the Israelite homes. “As the story goes, during the tenth and final plague, God passes through the land of Egypt and strikes down the firstborn of every household. But the Jews have been told to mark their doors with the blood of a lamb they’ve sacrificed — the Passover offering — and so God “passes over” their homes. Jews give thanks for being “passed over” and protected from the plagues: it’s a reminder that even when Jews are oppressed, the Bible teaches that they are a chosen people and will survive.” (NPR)
Listening to NPR this morning on a drive into Atlanta, I heard a remarkable story about horseradish and Passover.
Horseradish sits on several Seder tables for the start of Passover, “symbolizing the bitterness ancient Hebrews experienced during slavery in Egypt. It’s part of the participatory ritual that is the Seder — something people do, and eat, and ask, to bring the past to life at the table.The Hebrew word for bitter herb, maror, comes from the same linguistic root of the word that’s used to describe how Egyptians “embittered” the lives of the people they enslaved. And by eating it, participants are supposed to feel that hardship.”
I would imagine we all have a bitterness in our mouths after the year we’ve had. A bitterness that neither sorbet nor even Colgate will take away.
But the Seder plate will have that bitter herb or root to symbolize the harshness Jews were treated with when they were slaves in Egypt. Slaves. That is so sad, wrong and as bitter as it gets.
The sting of the horseradish while grating, cutting, and eating is a connection to the feelings generations have felt…a sting that lives in the hearts of all who celebrate Passover.
“Rituals change as the people who make them change. From lettuce to horseradish. Ancient Hebrews to 21st century Americans. Lockdown to normal life. And as Jews taste whatever bitter symbols are on their Seder plates tonight, they’ll feel something. It could be the full weight of this past year, the sharpness of the grief. Or it could be the fresh shoots of freedom, and the spring that’s just starting to emerge.” (NPR)
On Faith and Fitness:
Pray for all celebrating Passover and please move your body today! Give lots of hugs with your immunized friends and family. I read somewhere we all need at least eight hugs a day.
The brightest eyes and 4-year-old spirit sprung out of her grandparent’s leather-seated Toyota this morning during carpool. “Today is the day! Today is the day!” She bellowed.
I reached in and pulled up the handles of her blue canvas tote bag, where a tiny umbrella, water bottle and a pet rock peaked out. Her sky blue eyes locked with mine and said it one more time, this time with a clear crescendo,
“Today is the day! I’m a big sister…I HAD A BABY!”
She wiggled and giggled happily as I strapped her bag over her shoulder, closed the car door and said goodbye. She yelled out, “!Adios, Señora!
I saw her curly ponytail bounce down the walkway grabbing the shirttail of every teacher to let them know that “Today was the day!”
I thought back to when our youngest was born. His brother (2) and sister (3) arrived at the hospital with my husband that afternoon, the greeting by our son seemed to give his baby brother a cool toddler “What’s up?” nod, then was off to see how many things he could wrap the hospital phone cord around. Big sister, on the other hand looked right at him then straight into my eyes and asked, “So when is my sister coming?”
Gee whiz. Hours of labor, and my three-year-old daughter is scouring the place for a receipt.
Over the years, the relationship between our kids has ebbed and flowed. Flowing when they were younger, building forts and playing matchbox cars/barbies; and ebbing lately as they attend virtual school together, make lunches on the same counter top and walk the dogs opposite directions because “he walks so slow!”
One of the most important requests I’ve had for my kids is “take care of each other”. That’s all I can hope for…and I pray they will.
As for the sweet little gal at carpool, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind she will take care of her sister. In fact, I think her older self would have finished her “Today is the day!” proclamation with “I will be the best big sister ever!”
On Faith and Fitness:
Take care of your siblings, cousins, and family. Best thing to do is go on a walk together, or better yet, go on a run like I do with my oldest sister!
SHOULD – this word creeps into my mind a few times a day, but I intentionally try to avoid saying it. Instead, I tell myself, “Stay positive, do what you can, stop overanalyzing!
Honestly, I feel like the word “should” is “regrets” big bossy sister.
I’ve been thinking about the word SHOULD and all the undone tasks that follow that word. I SHOULD figure out a blogging schedule, I SHOULD learn more about growing my audience, I SHOULD work on my husband’s blog: Keeping Kids in Motion.
Ever wake up, glance at the clock, and say, “I SHOULD have gotten up earlier”? Only to follow it with I SHOULD have gone to the gym, prepped dinner, called my parents, run with the dogs, played with the kids, or checked the pockets for that pen before I tossed everything in the wash.
The “S” word is verifiably toxic, yet to avert our gaze away from what our lives would look like if we accomplished all of the SHOULDS is nearly impossible. Haven’t you marveled at the early birds who amble into work chatting about their early morning run, seamless commute, or the dinner menu they prepared for the month? Oh, and if you need the template, it’s on their blog.
When our minds harp on these unaccomplished actions, we sadly allow the only NOW we have to circle the drain.
Here are three ways to shake the SHOULD NARRATIVE:
BE YOURSELF: Change the lens through which you see yourself, and celebrate who you are and where you are today.
ACCEPT AND ALLOW: Your reality may be vacant of the plans you slated for your self-years ago, but by clutching onto the people we love, our “SHOULD HAVE” world dissipates. Some say, “Let go, Let God” it’s worth a shot.
SET YOUR INTENTIONS: Our deepest hopes are shaped by our intentions. Step out of the noise, serve others, find your passion, and share it!
As I finish this post I think about how I SHOULD have gone to bed earlier, cleaned the toilets, emptied the dishwasher, and bathed the dogs, but this time I’m going to “Let go and let God.”
P.S.: Dear God, the bowls go in the cupboard on the left.
On faith and fitness:
Go for the walk or run, then call someone you love.
One year ago, we packed up our classrooms, cubicles, or offices, went home and thought everything would be back to 2019 normal “in 2 weeks”. That was the magic number…2.
Then, like rabbits multiplying, so did the days we were home. Teachers propped up white boards for virtual lessons in their kitchens, backyards, or closets. Parents set up offices on counter tops and beds. Kids from Pre-K to College Seniors bellied up to borrowed, personal or work computers, phones, or tablets.
One of the most notable changes in our home happened when all sports came to a screeching halt. Much like the lone tree in a forest falling, there is a definitely a sound when kids can’t play their sports. In fact, it can get really loud with frustration or actually really quiet as they delve into device mode…tik-tok-ing away.
Being an active family, we knew creativity was key. For weeks, our boys played a combination of baseball and tennis, where one practiced serving and the other would “field” the ball.
Our daughter powered through a zillion Peleton workouts thanks to their free trial.
My husband and I ran outside and were pleased to see a new crop of people walking their dogs, running or riding bikes.
But the happiest hearts beating in our home were our dogs. They were our go-to’s —
When we needed to make a phone call and gripe about all of it, we’d walk and talk.
If we needed a slice of solitude, we’d leash up.
If the kids needed a parental break, off they’d go, dogs in tow.
Typically, if we weren’t walking the dogs, I’d find one of our kids snuggling with them, head resting on their belly or chatting quietly. The realization is — in this big COVID collision we’re living and breathing, here’s what we are missing:
Connections with friends. Connections with families. Connections with colleagues. Connections with the guy at Trader Joe’s who always remembers I’m a runner and asks how my latest run was.
Connections are crucial for our mental and emotional health. Unfortunately during COVID, the bonds we so desperately need slip away each day. However, there’s one furry friend who can be the savior in all of this desperation for love.
According to a Japanese study reported by Science, dog owners experienced a 300 percent increase in Oxycontin (the happy hormone) levels after interacting with their dogs and gazing into their eyes for only 30 minutes.
I have always found that once I can stare directly into my dog’s eyes, mutual trust is understood.
So I did some research and found that during that locked gaze is when the oxytocin flows. According to a study in Science Magazine, scientists noted there was no notable increase in the dogs and owners oxytocin levels who had spent minimal time looking into each other’s eyes.
Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a powerful part in the bonding, trust and altruism between a mother and her infant. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it is often called “the love hormone.” Like the Japanese study found with dogs, oxytocin is released at its greatest levels between a mother and baby when the two gaze into each other’s eyes.
Domestication of dogs makes sense when you begin to follow their keen sense of interaction with owners.
“It’s not just the walks and the Frisbee catching; canines seem to understand us in a way that no other animal does. Point at an object, for example, and a dog will look at where you’re pointing—an intuitive reading of our intentions (“I’m trying to show you something”) that confounds our closest relatives: chimpanzees. People and dogs also look into each other’s eyes while interacting—a sign of understanding and affection that dogs’ closest relatives, wolves, interpret as hostility.”
Now that school is in session and our kids are virtual or face to face depending on the situation… the walking has waned, but the snuggling is on the rise every day.
On faith and fitness: Walk your dog or your neighbor’s dog…think about the word dog spelled backwards… 🙂