Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Get me to church on time

Day #2 – Lenten Reflections

Growing up, our Saturdays were reserved for hair washing and curling, ironing, and (a personal favorite) changing earrings in my newly pierced ears. No, it wasn’t the 1950’s. It was the 1970’s in our very traditional, Catholic home.

All of this prep was executed by my very measured Mom and was orchestrated to ensure a seamless and calm drive to the 9:00 a.m. Sunday mass the next day. For Mom, it made complete sense to have everything ready so we could arrive to mass early, shuffle into our left side of the altar pew spots (bride side, naturally), kneel and say a prayer before Father Gallie appeared like Oz from behind the large altar.

To Mom, “late” was not acceptable. Especially to church. Dad, on the other hand, with five minutes to spare before “go time” would pull his boots on, stomp around abruptly as if he was ready, and covertly slip into the bathroom minutes before our departure, Albuquerque Journal in tow. My sisters and I would crowd in our bathroom wincing as we pulled stubborn wire curlers out of our otherwise straight hair, and placing bobby pins in recycled Sucrets boxes.

With five minutes to go, Mom would flip her wrist to check her thin banded, tiny faced watch (which she always remembered to wind), and said once and only once, “Let’s go”. With the donation envelope packed securely in her roomy purse, her clicking heels headed out the door.

Then the frenzy began.

Dad would start the car, someone would lose and find their glasses and we’d load up. My spot was the middle front seat with the lap belt. The girls sat in the back and WAY back and more often than not, one of my sisters, would dash out the door, shoes in one hand eyelash curler in the other howling, “I’m coming!”

Finally, we’d make it to church, but never as early as Mom wanted…because on time is late, right? Or is arriving on time simply on time?

Whatever it is, I do know as grown adults, we are better at making it to mass on time… especially if we are watching from our living room.

On faith…

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Mother Teresa

On fitness…

Go for a walk outside today. Put your phone in your pocket, walk briskly, and count the different sounds you hear…maybe that sound will be your own breath.

Take care.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

40 days – What will you do that matters?

Photo by Pits Riccardo on Pexels.com

Day #1 – Lenten Reflections – Ash Wednesday

Although the year 2020 was riddled with ragged edges, I try to focus on the moments of joy…the extra walks for the dogs, family dinners at the table, organized closets (if only for a week), endless games of double solitaire, and weekly meals prepared by our teenagers.

It’s hard to believe that prior to Lent last year, our “old normal” was still at the helm. In fact, here’s how my 2020 Ash Wednesday post began:

We arrived at Ash Wednesday mass tonight and parking was sparse. During mass, my daughter returned from the bathroom and told me in her loud church whisper that the sacristy (church lobby) was full of faithful Catholics waiting for the next mass. “It’s like Black Friday out there!” she said.

Today, it’s nearly impossible to remember squeezing into a pew or sharing a kneeler with a total stranger. Today, we did not attend church, nor did we receive our ashes, other than the fireplace ashes my son crossed on his head while we all said “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”. Our daughter – ever the rule follower – proclaimed, “It’s not a Holy Day of Obligation, so we’re fine.” – ah, the on ramp to heaven remains open.

So ready or not, another Lenten season is upon us. As always, I turn to Pope Francis to guide me towards moments of solace. He has said in order to give hope to others, it is sometimes enough simply to be kind, to be

“willing to set everything else aside in order to show interest, to give the gift of a smile, to speak a word of encouragement, to listen amid general indifference”.

Pope Francis

Let’s allow kindness to break the barriers indifference presents.

So whether you wear a mask, or not – listen to NPR or Fox News – or believe in God or Ganesh, let these 40 days be yours to grow in faith and love for yourselves and one another. Please join me as I reflect on the next 40 days of Lent. I’ll share stories, prayers and words of encouragement to keep your mind and body sound.

Now is the time to accept life as it presents itself and do good anyway.

Take care.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

“WE DEEED IT!” – 5 Takeaways from 2020

When my oldest son was three and accomplished what seemed to be a herculean task, he would yell out, “I DEEEEED it!” He would then toddle out of the room carrying a self-invented toy and tinker with it for hours.

Well, we “DEEEEED it!” We made it through 2020.

We’ve wrapped our brains around puzzles, now know our dog’s favorite marking spots on walks, discovered mind-bending podcasts, maybe even learned how to draw “Tippy” from Highlights. That was just me.

Through all of the changes, bumps and scars we’ve endured this year, here are five takeaways and shoutouts from my corner of life:

  1. Applying to college is not a lark: to all those kids who go through the process of applying to college, you deserve heaps of credit just for pressing “Submit”.
  2. Voting matters: to all the newly turned 18-year-olds like my daughter who voted for the first time in the Georgia Run-off Election, thank you for showing up to vote, your voice was heard.
  3. Societal change is possible: to those of you who pulled out the Sharpies, made a poster and taught civil rights in your living rooms, thank you for helping seek justice for all.
  4. Calling your parents is gratifying : to those of you who can, call or even Face Time your parents. Sure, you might only see the top of  your dad’s head or your mom’s elbow like I do, but it is always worth it. Listen, learn and cherish their stories.
  5. Focus on goodness more than grades: to those parents, like me who ask our kids the same questions every day…How do you feel about your test? Any homework? HOW can you study on your phone? Dig deeper. Ask what they think about all day, what makes them angry, sad or joyful. Yes, give your kids another reason to think your “soooo weird”.

We can’t just shake out 2021 like a wrinkled shirt and hope it will emerge smooth and seamless. 2020 left potholes in need of repair and human connections that need mending. It’s up to us to show up and do good work that matters, together.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

Be not afraid

Lenten Reflection #40

So I did it. 40 days of writing. 40 days of sharing. 40 days of memories.

And 40 days filled with unfathomable change.

Lent started out like every year. I contemplate giving up all the sugar and carbs in the world. Plan to blog every day…and vow to be kind, on-time, patient and generous.

Never did I think I would be at home watching Holy Saturday Mass streamed online. On Thursday I mentioned to my family that MAYBE we should watch Mass at the Vatican…because we COULD. I was immediately barraged with a slew of questions:

“Do you think they’ll do ALL the readings…Wait, that sounds like it’s going to be LONG…Don’t they say everything in Latin?”

Nevermind. I acquiesced and we stayed local.

We finished coloring our Easter eggs, ate dinner outside, and after every dish was washed, plopped down on the couch for Mass. I noticed each one of our kids disappear for a few minutes, returning to our living room dressed as if we were headed to church.

It seems that after weeks of living in sweats and workout clothes, our kids knew what was appropriate to wear to Easter Mass, albeit at home, and settled in for the next hour or so.

As we held hands while praying the Our Father, I looked at our little circle of faith and beamed. Our dogs roamed in and out of our legs as we gave each other a sign of peace, loving the fact that we’ve been home so much. I held each hug a little longer than usual knowing we all need extra comfort right now, including me.

Sadly, hugs, handshakes, and human contact are obsolete if we decide to cautiously step outside our front doors. This absence of togetherness is hard on all of us. Even as we listened to Father Walsh’s sermon tonight, the church echoed with a melancholy emptiness.

But his words rang true: “Be not afraid”.

At times like these, it’s hard to digest this advice, but we MUST be courageous, trust in God, do what is right, and take care of ourselves and each other.

Happy Easter and thank you for walking through the last 40 days with me.

“…do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be alarmed, for I am your God. I give you strength, truly I help you, truly I hold you firm with my saving right hand.” -Isaiah, Chapter 41

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Good Friday – a time to reflect

Lenten Reflection #39

Today is Good Friday. A day when millions of people reflect and pray. Some will fast, others will think back on the fragility of Jesus.

My mom always says Good Friday is the one day when we are attending services, not Mass. Because today there are no miracles of water turning into wine, or blind finding their sight. There are no sermons or parables, no abundance of loathes and fishes. 

There are the Stations of the Cross when we watch Jesus go through unrelenting mental and physical abuse. And in the midst of all this humiliation, and pressure, and exaltation, he finds grace and calm.

Through all the bleeding and pain, He prays, He forgives, He loves.

Ultimately He rises again.

Take today to reflect on all the hardships and loneliness you are experiencing. Know that deep in your soul, a rock will be pushed aside and reveal the strength you need to persevere and rise again.

Listen and reflect.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets

No Social Distancing at the Last Supper? Scoot over Judas!

Lenten Reflection #38

As the world continues to keep a six-foot distance from one another, the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, Holy Thursday’s Mass, was streamed online this year.

As I stared up at a copy of the famous artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci given to me by my grandmother, I noticed the lack of personal space between the apostles. Honestly, why didn’t anyone sit on the other side of the table? But in all seriousness, this masterpiece depicts the moments after Christ let his chummy crew KNOW-HE-KNEW that one disciple would betray him before sunrise.

We all find ourselves in that space sometimes. That skeptical time when our trust in ourselves and others circle the drain and our own Judas or Coronavirus creeps into our world. But Jesus didn’t lose hope, and we shouldn’t either.

Keep your faith strong and know we’ll get through this time. Pray for the souls lost and do your part to not let the spread continue.  And for goodness sake tell all the Judas’ in the world to scoot over because they are sitting WAY to close.

In my research of the painting, I found a few rare facts about this stellar painting on leonardodavinci.net to share:

  1. Leonardo Da Vinci hadn’t worked on such a large painting and had no experience in the standard mural medium of fresco.
  2. The spilled salt is symbolic – speculations about symbolism in the artwork are plentiful. For example, many scholars have discussed the meaning of the spilled salt container near Judas’s elbow. Spilled salt could symbolize bad luck, loss, religion, or Jesus as the salt of the earth.
  3. Was it eel or herring? Scholars have also remarked on da Vinci’s choice of food. They dispute whether the fish on the table is herring or eel since each carries its own symbolic meaning.
  4. Da Vinci used a hammer and nail to help him to achieve a one-point perspective. What makes the masterpiece so striking is the perspective from which it’s painted, which seems to invite the viewer to step right into the dramatic scene. To achieve this illusion, da Vinci hammered a nail into the wall, then tied a string to it to make marks that helped guide his hand in creating the painting’s angles.
  5. The existing mural is not da Vinci’s work. At the end of the 20th century, restorer Panin Brambilla Barcilon and his crew relied on microscopic photographs, core samples, infrared reflectoscopy and sonar to remove the added layers of paint and restore the original as accurately as possible. Critics maintain that only a fraction of the painting that exists today is the work of Leonardo da Vinci.

Be Kind.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

Now that we have time, what if…

Lenten Reflection #37

Throwback Wednesday! Why not?

Given the time we’ve had in our homes lately with those we love…our kids, parents, grandparents, I thought about the “what-if” questions I always ask myself.

Now that time is abundant, I’m going to tackle some of these “what-ifs”. Here’s my Throwback Blog, I hope you enjoy.

Stay safe friends.

Ever feel like you’re constantly making mistakes as a mom, and wonder “WHAT IF I would have just done things differently?”

I do.

And every day I pray I’ll be the mom who guides with love and trust. Where God’s knock on the door is always answered, and grace soars in and ushers our kids through the messy moments of their teenage years.

Every day these “What if” questions herd my mind into a corral like an overzealous border collie with a flock of sheep. Sure, I know the right answers, yet the day flies by and I’ve botched it all again. Or have I? Maybe I did something right. As moms we have to forgive ourselves, trip, fall, grab onto something, stand up on our arthritic ankles and keep going one day at a time.

Here are my “WHAT IF’S”…

What if I went all day without saying one negative thing to anyone?

What if I didn’t complain to my kids about being on their phones?

What if I trusted more and criticized less. A lot less?

What if I admitted devices help with socialization?

What if I invested in what piques my kids’ interest or makes them laugh so crazy hard on their phones?

What if I walked by a messy-made bed and thought of it as ALMOST MADE?

What if I were able to feel their anxiety on the first day of school?

What if I didn’t complain once about my own appearance all day?

What if I focused on one task at a time?

What if I hugged my kids more?

What if I always made time for my husband?

What if I called my parents every day?

What if I walked my dogs more often?

What if I read a book, cover to cover…just because?

What if I sifted through my 42,644 digital photos and only kept my favorite 200?

What if I donated everything we haven’t used in one year?

What if I knew a magic word to rid my kids of their teenage worries?

What if I planned ahead for dinner?

What if I helped my kids learn to study and GET IT rather than memorize?

What if I reminded them more often how special they really are?

What if I told them I know being a teenager can be awful these days, but it will get better?

What if I was as proud of myself as I am of them?

What if we could have had one more baby?

What if I felt their fear every time they tried something new?

What if I listened? Really listened?

What if I counted my blessings instead of yelling at them?

Do you have any WHAT IFS? Please share yours and together we’ll conquer this mom thing.

 

“If you give freely, there will always be more.”

-Anne Lamott

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Clear skies bring a respite

Lenten Reflection #36

Looking up at the sky and seeing an elephant or funny face in a sea of clouds is something I continue to do even though our kids’ gaze has since lowered.

So when my husband reminded us about April’s Full Pink Supermoon tonight, my daughter and I dashed out to see it. We peaked up and pretended to blow on the clouds to try and move them so we could see the wonderment behind this so-called Paschal Full Moon. (We also wanted to finish watching another episode of The Office). My daughter is 17, appreciates literature and music, and her childhood imagination rekindles in a blink as if committed to muscle memory. So without hesitation, we stood an extra few minutes and stared at the bright light behind the clouds.

The sky was beautiful. In fact, our dear planet has been the sole beneficiary of this unforgiving virus. Since the stay at home measures taken by most of the world, there has been a sharp decline in pollution and carbon emissions resulting in a positive development for the planet and the humans who live on it. Paris skies are clear, Madrid’s sunsets are spectacularly vibrant and Italy’s waterways are like crystal paths.

Tonight is the perfect night to look up and see our big bright, beautiful sky, so we did and I hope you did too…

I hope you looked up at the moon tonight, I hope in that glance or gaze you saw hope. I pray you saw our children playing tag on the playground again and families not going hungry. I hope you looked deep into the soft silver-lined edges of the moon and saw a love-filled world where together we survive our darkest moments. And I hope you found faith that we will all embrace once again.

“And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky.”

-Disney’s An American Tale

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets

How do I manage my mental health during the Coronavirus?

Lenten Reflection #35

Experiencing and processing our emotions during this time of uncertainty may be new for some of us. Personally, running and exercise provide the daily respite I need to keep my sanity.

Luckily, there are several ways for all of us to manage this new inevitable stress seeping into our lives.

According to the CDC:

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Here’s what they recommend:

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

  1. Take care of your body.
  2. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  3. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  4. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
  5. Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  6. Make time to unwind. 
  7. Do other activities you enjoy.
  8. Connect with others.
  9. Sleep – it will improve your brain health.
  10. Know the long term effects of social isolation.

With the spread continuing and the fear of what lies ahead looming, we must continue to optimize our human resilience. People throughout history have made it through terrible times and as their descendants, we will too. a955307432ce1e28b4c6c3ff966169cc.jpg

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Do I need to wear a mask when I run outside?

We are all home, and as runners, all we want to do is get outside and move.

BUT after we lace-up, should we strap on masks too?

For all-things-running, I went straight to my favorite resource, Runner’s World Magazine.

Here’s what they say:

Rachel Levine, M.D., Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, suggested that cloth face coverings may not be necessary when out for solo exercise if you will be in a place you won’t encounter anyone else. There is no advantage to wearing a face covering if you are not going to be near people at all, explains Ferrari.

“And that’s what we should be striving for, keeping big distances,” Ferrari says. “Face coverings do two possible things—they contain spread from the ill and prevent inhalation in the healthy. The degree to which they achieve these things is debated, but one thing is not: they are only really effective if used properly. And most people are not trained to use masks properly. Even taking a mask on and off incorrectly can be risky and increase your hand-to-mouth exposure.”

“Wearing a Buff or other moisture-wicking face covering while running as well as maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others may help cut down on droplets being spread to others due to heavy breathing if you’re in an area where you may encounter others, Nieman says.”

COVID-19 RUNNING REVIEW:

  1. We can run outside as long as we keep the six-foot distance from other runners or walkers.
  2. We don’t need to wear a mask when exercising outside, however, we must maintain the six-foot rule.
  3. We can workout at home and focus on strength training or flexibility.
  4. We should eat nutritiously to boost our immune systems.
  5. We should stay home and rest if we feel sick as to not spread the virus to others.

So get outside, go the distance and keep your distance!

Take care!  –runonmom.com