First Communion

Sunday was a special day as we witnessed our nephew (and John’s Godson) make his First Communion. It was fun to watch Seamus take this step in faith and know that just a few short years ago we witnessed his baptism in that same church.

John’s sister rented out a room in the church, and we had a family party to follow.

Congratulations, Seamus! Your faith and wonder about God is awesome. I pray it continues to grow and you never doubt God’s love.

Back to the RMHC for Easter

Last year John and I woke up on Easter morning at the Ronald McDonald House. I had a small breakdown when I saw the Easter baskets at the bottom of the stairs, knowing our son was sedated and getting ready to undergo another surgery that day. Instead of going to church on Easter, we sat in a patient waiting room and had lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Even after great news that evening, John and my Easter supper came from the gas station and we crawled in bed at the Ronald McDonald House again late that night.

This year, we spent Easter at the Ronald McDonald House again. But this time, we brought Elijah.

After some serious thought about how we wanted to spend Easter, John and I decided we wanted to give back to the place that gave us a shower and a bed last year on Easter. I contacted the volunteer coordinator and asked if we could serve an Easter meal to the people staying there. The date was available, and we started making arrangements. We decided a menu: traditional Easter ham, mashed potatoes, beans, fruit, rolls, and desserts. We purchased the groceries, and we brought everything with us to Iowa City.

With the help of my parents and my aunt, we spent the day preparing food for 35 people. One of the requirements for serving a meal is that everything must be prepared in the RMHC kitchen. While the ham baked, we prepped the other food. Thankfully my aunt is a master potato peeler and handled 15 lbs to feed all of the guests. In between preparation, we utilized the amazing playground out back and took in the gorgeous weather with Elijah. He was a rockstar all day and contributed his cheesy smile to the guests.

The day was emotional, and hearing people’s stories was inspiring. I can’t say much more because of confidentiality, but I’ll tell you it was the best Easter.

Wise Lenton Words

Matthew Kelly’s “Best Lent Ever” reflections have stopped me in my tracks more than once. Here are two quotes I paused the videos for while I searched for pen and paper to write down his wisdom:

“Multitasking is the great enemy of awareness.”

What?! I used to praise myself for being a multitasking queen. Checking two things off of my to-do list was always better than one. I was even working on something while I played this video, so I felt like Matthew Kelly was calling me out. Rightly so. This statement made me really think about being present in each moment. This is a huge challenge for my task-driven-self, but I’m working on it. Besides, I’ve read multiple articles that state “multitasking is a myth”.

“If you want convenience, you should stop trying to be a Christian right now.”

This statement brought me back to a blog topic just weeks ago. The motivational quote, “I never said it would be easy, I said it would be worth it” applies to everything in life. If we’re willing to work hard for degrees, financial freedom, and physical fitness, why is our faith life any different? For me this means if I can make time to read novels and run multiple times a week, I can make time to study God’s word.

“Lifting the Ban”

If you’re Catholic and Irish, the Lenten “obligation of abstaining from eating meat” may be lifted in your archdiocese tomorrow. While people including my husband are thrilled with permission to consume meat on one of the Fridays during Lent, I think it’s criticizable (and I’m Irish and Catholic).

If you gave up alcohol for Lent does tomorrow count? What if it’s green beer? Guinness?

I’ve blogged about my struggle with this “sacrifice” before, and my stance remains. 

If giving up meat on Fridays during Lent is supposed to be a sacrifice, why would the “ban be lifted” for a celebration. What about other celebrations that fall on Fridays during Lent? Just because other celebrations don’t come with the traditional corned beef and cabbage doesn’t mean they don’t include meat on their menus. Christians are told standing up for the faith is not easy, so wouldn’t this be an opportunity to ask Catholics to face this challenge and commit to their Lenten sacrifice in one of the tougher times within the season?

I’m not judging anyone who eats meat tomorrow or any Friday during Lent. My assumption and hope is that you’re doing something even more meaningful to strengthen your relationship with God.

Make Us Interruptible

I have never thought twice about why Lent starts on a Wednesday. However, today’s Faith ND reflection made me think about the start of Lent. As with everything, God has a purpose for exactly why Lent is 40 days and why it begins in the middle of the week. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the IF Gathering I attended a few years ago: “The Call of God is Inconvenient.

“Lent is an interruption. It starts, for heaven’s sake, on a Wednesday. It tears a work week in half. This is not convenient timing for us, if God wants our attention. We’re busy people, and we’re doing good things.

But the interruption of Ash Wednesday is about as intentional as it can be. Today it is not business as usual. A lot is at stake. Whatever we cling to tightly, whatever tethers us or binds us or weighs us down from the true freedom for which we were made—today we want to at least begin to loosen our grasp, and give it back to its rightful owner.

O Lord, make us interruptible.

Father Michael Connors, CSC, ’83 M.Div.

*For full text, here is the link.

“Jesus the Physician”

600-jesus-484Today’s Gospel Reflection from Notre Dame referred to the photo “Jesus the Physician”.

I was unfamiliar with the photo so I went searching.

I now see Dr. Pitcher behind the surgeon’s mask while Jesus rests his hand on the doctor’s shoulder and guides his hands.

Elijah and I presented Dr. Pitcher with a gift over the summer, and I mailed him a Christmas card. I’ve been trying to think of a gift to send him on Elijah’s birthday, and I think this picture is my answer.

2016 Recap

January

Family Weekend Away

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Baby Shower at School

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Baby Shower with Family/Friends

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February

Preparing for Baby W (and an updated photo)

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March

Embracing March

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Surprise Baby Shower at School

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Elijah James 3.25.16

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The Biggest Test of Our Faith

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April

Rest and Recovery in the NICU for “God’s Miracle Man” and lots of Swaddles and Snuggles

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Bringing Elijah HOME!

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A Minor Medical Setback

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May

Baptism (on Mother’s Day)

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Our First Road Race

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June

Celebrating 31 with this sweetheart!

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Celebrating Six Years of Marriage

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Meeting Miss Mollie

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July

4th of July

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Livin’ the Lodge Life

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Vacation: Music City

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August

Standing by Mollie’s Side

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EJW Community of Faith Scholarship

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Healthy Check-Ups

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Starting My Ninth Year Teaching

Another Road Race

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September

Notre Dame Weekend

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Flood Week

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Celebrating SIX months

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October

Raech’s Birthday/Wine Tour

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Presenting at ITEC

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Halloween

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November

UIHC Children’s Hospital Open House

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Thanksgiving

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Turkey Trot 8k with Matt

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December

Celebrating John

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Christmas Blessings

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Thank you for being one of the many blessings in my life!

May 2017 offer you health and happiness.

St. Matt’s 5k

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Another road race is in the books for Elijah.

Our church festival included a 5k Saturday morning and my friend Jenni and I decided to break out the jogging strollers and support our parish.

Not many people participated in this event, so hopefully Elijah understands it might be the only time I bring home a 2nd place medal for us.

Faith ND

I start every week day with The Skimm and Faith ND.

The Skimm gives me my news, and Faith ND gives me the daily scripture with a reflection. I know I’ve blogged about both of these resources.

It seems like these readings and reflections arrive when we need them. Throughout the years I have bookmarked so many of these daily emails with every intention of going back through them. Maybe a separate folder for these would help this become a reality.

Today’s reflection from Matthew 15: 21-28

“…this healing was the easy part for Jesus. Transforming my selfish heart and my prayer life was far more difficult and would have never happened had my petition been answered immediately.

The delay that led me to persist in prayer taught me to first seek and love Jesus wholeheartedly, to trust him by submitting to his perfect will, and to nurture an intimacy with him. This trust now sustains me when I approach him again and again with these words, ‘Lord, help me.'”

Goodnight Blessing

img_4263“May God Bless You and Keep You Safe, Elijah”

I know every day is a gift, and there is something scary about putting my child in his crib at night and just praying God grants us another day together.

Since nothing I do will change God’s path for any of us, I just do my best to turn my worries to God. My faith got me through the worst time of my life in March/April, and I know it will guide me if it’s a part of my daily routine.

This is why I make the sign of the cross over Elijah’s forehead and say “May God Bless You and Keep You Safe, Elijah” as my final words each night at bedtime. It’s my way to telling God that I trust Him and His plan.

Elijah already holds his hands together in prayer a majority of the time, so it won’t be long before he’s offering his own prayers of thanks.