Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just Take a Detour

So, we are on week 3 of a heatwave in St. Louis.  The only thing there really is to do to find relief from the miserable heat is to go to the pool or sit inside a freezer.  That being said, we've opted for going to the pool.  On Friday, we tried out Aquaport in Maryland Heights.  It was a lot of fun and we were really enjoying ourselves when the lifeguard made everyone get out of the pool.  When my friend Candace came back from riding one of the water slides (yes kids, mommies like to have fun, too!) She asked why everyone had to get out of the pool.  All of the kids insisted it wasn't "Adult Swim" because they knew that this pool didn't have adult swim.  I answered, "Eh, their probably just checking to make sure no one drowned."  I don't think Candace was thrilled with my sarcastic remark, as she replied "I sure hope the life guards would notice that without evacuating the pool."  In my defense, the pool was somewhat crowded.

Actually, there was a "public health emergency," which is just code for "someone pooped in the pool."  Apparently, it was quite a doozie because the entire water park was immediately closed.  All guests were issued rain checks to come back another time.  I have to say, that was pretty awesome customer service.  We were gong to be leaving soon anyway, so this was a nice bonus to get passes for me and the boys to return again before summer ends. Kudos Aquaport!

Later, the boys were telling the story to Chris about how awesome the pool was, but how disappointed they were about leaving early.  One thing led to another, and pretty soon the conversation turned into all of us "suggesting" that we should just get a pool of our own.  This is not a new topic of conversation in our house.  I'm pretty sure I ask, well maybe beg, for Chris to get a pool for us at least once a week.  Never mind the fact that we actually can't afford a pool right now (as I'm sure it would be upwards of $40,000).  The pool idea is based on the idea that we would win the lottery or become independently wealthy.  Chris's argument is that our yard isn't big enough for a pool.  I think he needs his eyes checked, but that's beside the point.  I think he's gotten sick of us "asking" for a pool because last night on the way to dinner he said very firmly, "WE WILL NEVER GET A POOL."

Needless to say, the car fell silent.  After a couple of minutes Andrew replies, "Well if you and Mom take a detour to Heaven then Joey and I can get a pool."  That is a solid argument Andrew.  Once we are dead, I guess you can do what you want.

I'm not giving up, nor am I ready to take a "detour to Heaven."  I just want some relief from the heat and to swim in a pool that we don't have to worry about a "public health emergency."  So, I guess I better start playing the lottery to help fund this pipe dream.  Oh, and here is a picture of the back yard, which is TOTALLY big enough for a pool.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finally Getting to Enjoy Summer!

Gosh, I can't believe it's been so long since I've updated the blog.  Of course, I just posted about the awesome U2 concert, but before that post it had been since June.  So much has been going on, like we've finally been able to REALLY enjoy summer.  Due to the horrible, no good, bad case of swimmer's ear, the month of June was a complete wash for us.  However, since July 7th we've been swimming up a storm to make up for lost time.  So, although things have been all that exciting around here, the boys are enjoying summer, once and for all.

Best. Concert. Ever.

On Sunday, July 17, 2011, U2 brought their epic 360° Tour to St. Louis.  It has been dubbed the biggest concert ever to come to St. Louis.  Every major news outlet in the area started covering the concert about a week before the show.  Busch Stadium had to be completely transformed for the stage.  The sod ripped up, aluminum floor put down, and "The Claw" had to be constructed.  It took an entire week and the hype of it all was pretty exciting.

I have been a U2 fan for most of my life.  I remember listening to U2 with my parents as a young girl and even got to go see their Rattle and Hum movie with my mom back in the late 1980's.  I've only been able to see them live only once before, during their Pop Mart tour.  It was a good concert, but it didn't rank as one of the best show's I'd seen.

When it was announced last year that U2 would bring the 360° to Busch Stadium I was ecstatic!  I bought tickets the day they went on sale, heck, the minute they went on sale!  Then the waiting began.  I'd never bought tickets to a concert 8 months in advance, and it felt a bit silly at the time.  However, I knew if I didn't get to this show, I would regret it later.  I surprised Chris with the tickets at Christmas, although I'm pretty sure he had an idea...

As the big day approached, so did my excitement.  Chris was able to score a room at the Hilton Ballpark which meant we could really enjoy ourselves and not have to worry about driving home and dealing with all the traffic.  The hotel was "sold out" but because of Chris's Diamond status with Hilton, we got a room.  One of the great perks of having a husband that travels a lot!  The show was sold out with over 52,000 people expected to attend, so I had a feeling navigating Downtown traffic after the show would be a nightmare.  My friend Candace confirmed that it indeed was as it took her quite some time to make it home that night.  But back to the awesomeness of the concert...

Friends for nearly 20 years!
We started out the night having dinner with our great friends, James and Kat.  Now that I think about it, it was quite fitting that we shared the night with them.  They were the best man and maid of honor at our wedding and Chris and I's first dance was to "With or Without You."  So, it was quite a full circle experience!  After a tasty dinner at J Buck's, we headed to the stadium.  We could hear Interpol playing their opening set as we walked the 3 blocks to Busch.  Seeing 'The Claw" upon our arrival was pretty spectacular.

The Claw

At about 9:15 pm, the lights in the stadium went off and "The Claw" lit up.  It was spectacular!  They started the show with "Even Better than the Real Thing" from Achtung Baby.  They went right into "The Fly" and "Mysterious Ways."  Bono started off conversing with the audience and brought up their first time in St. Louis.  It was in 1981 at Graham Chapel.  To see how far they've come is amazing!  Some of the other songs played:  "I Will Follow", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Pride" and "Boots."  I have to admit "Boots" is much better live than on the CD.  "Beautiful Day" was spectacular.  Commander Mark Kelly shared a personal message with us from the International Space Station as the opening of the song.

The view from our seats

The highlight of the show for me was "City of Blinding Lights" which went right into "Vertigo" and a remix of "I'll Go Crazy."  The only thing that could have been sweeter is if they would have played "Miracle Drug" but I knew that was a stretch.  The only song I was hoping to hear but didn't was "Magnificent," but the show was so amazing it didn't really matter in the end.

The encore was absolutely amazing.  The lead in to the "Where the Streets Have No Name" was a cover of "Hallelujah."  Of course "With or Without You" was in the encore and the finale of "Moment of Surrender" was dedicated to the people of Joplin.  

Bono did an amazing job of bringing a local touch to the concert and the interaction the band had with the audience was fantastic.  Even though the show was in a huge stadium, it had an intimate feel to it.  Of course Bono used his platform to remind us of great suffering in the world and he reminded me to be more thankful of the freedom we have living in America.  

The concert was absolutely epic.  It is the best live show I've ever been to.  The sound quality was amazing, the visual effects breath taking and the energy was so powerful.  U2 is definitely a band that can perform live.  Bono is 51 years old and has so much energy I'm jealous.  The Edge is still so sexy and probably one of the best guitar players of all times.  U2 is a band that spans several generations of fans and their sound will never go out of style.  The only drawback to the night was that it was SO good.  The bar has been set for all future concerts I attend, that's for sure.  Thanks for a wonderful night U2 one I surely will never forget!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Quite Possible...

I. Can't. Believe. It. There is a good chance I may attempt to train for another 1/2 Marathon.  I realize how crazy that sounds.  I didn't blog about the last race, but in October 2010 I ran my 2nd 1/2 Marathon.  It was a fantastic race, and I finished strong with a pretty decent time.  2:10 and some change.  That was 12 minutes faster than the first race just 6 months prior.  A pretty good improvement, but not quite that 1:59:59 I was hoping for.  The training and journey to race day is quite a story.  6 weeks of physical therapy and 2 cortisone shots in the foot.  It was time consuming, demanding and all around unpleasant.  I said it would be my last distance race.  I even gave my friends permission to slap me silly if I ever mentioned running another distance race.  Then the announcement of the MO Cowbell Race was made.  Let's face it, we all need more cowbell!    I guess I better get ready for some red cheeks....

Seriously though, my Morton's Neuroma is still  there and I've even added some hip pain to the mix.  But, I'm still running.  I won't give up.  I'm doing weight training to correct the muscle imbalance that is causing the hip pain.  Apparently, you CAN outrun your muscles.  I admit, I have slacked on hitting weights.  I know how important weight training is to the overall health and injury prevention of a runner.  My hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes are weak.  Focusing on strengthening  those muscles will hopefully help the hips and decrease the aches and pains.  The neuroma is a different story.  I'm either going to learn to live with pain or I'm going to have surgery.  Thanks to Twitter, I've found a doctor that performs a procedure for Morton's Neuroma that has a high success rate.  Guess I better make that appointment.

I can think of a hundred reasons why I shouldn't train for another race.  Summer training is awful, aches and pains, not wearing my beloved high heels (because they aggravate my neuroma) and having to limit my wine consumption.  Seriously, why would I want to run the MO Cowbell race???  One reason, the feeling of crossing the finish line is AMAZING.  Words cannot describe it.

I'm not signing up just yet, but I am going to start adding some speed work runs and slowly increase my distance to see if my body will hold up for another 12 week training schedule.  I'm also thinking of starting a petition to get Will Ferrell to attend the race.  He would be a Grand Marshall of sorts, lol!  It would be similar to Ellen's petition to Oprah to get on the cover of O Magazine.  This would be a petition to get Will Ferrell to come and bang a cowbell at the finish line.  Wouldn't that be a reason in itself to run 13.1 miles?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Our Summer So Far...

School was officially out for the boys on May 27th.  Thank God!  I was ready for a break from the routine, alarm clock and homework.  We kicked off the summer with a get together at our house with some of our great friends:  Candace- mom to Connor and Nathan; Colleen- mom to Aiden, Colin and Caroline, Jenny - mom to Jessica, Ryan and Andrew and lastly Elizabeth- mom to Drew and Ben.  The kids had a blast eating pizza and playing outside all afternoon.  The weather was perfect!  While the kiddos were playing, the mommies indulged in a couple of yummy beverages!  Don't worry though, we just "sampled" as we had to make sure we didn't get tipsy.  We were responsible for our children, after all!  I wish I would have gotten pictures of the day, it really was wonderful and the kids had a wonderful time.

A few days later, we headed down to Dallas, TX for Kari and Julian's wedding.  Kari, who is technically a cousin of ours, is often referred to as "Aunt Kari" by the boys.  I think this is because they have a hard time understanding that they have so many cousins on the Feldt side of the family.  First cousins, second cousins, etc... It is confusing.  On the Mounts side, their aunts Anna and Ashley are only a few years older than them, so it REALLY starts to throw them off, ha ha!  Kari and Julian had a really lovely wedding and I am so happy we were able to share their special day with them!  Some of our other Texas adventures included spending time with my sister-in-law and her beautiful family, swimming at Aunt Debby and Uncle Rich's (who were the proud parents of the bride and the most AMAZING hosts).  We ended the weekend with a surprise baby shower for Nikki (or Aunt Nikki).  Baby Issac is due in late August.  We can't wait to meet him!  Here a couple more pictures from the trip:

My Niece Lexie before her t-ball game

Surprise Nicole!  We gotcha!

We returned from Dallas and the boys both had a nasty case of swimmer's ear.  Joey's was by far the worse. So no pool for us for a week!  Of course that week was the hottest so far.  It was pretty miserable.  I felt so bad for both of them.  Joey was in far greater pain than Andrew.  This swimmer's ear is going to come back to get me...but more on that later.

On June 8th, I hosted book club.  We read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  SO good.  I of course had to create a theme and served theme food for the night!  So much fun and it helped break up our week of "no swimming" due to swimmer's ear.

I was going crazy being stuck at home by the end of the week, though.  By Friday, June 10th, Andrew was all back to normal and Joey was on the mend, too.  So, I decided to get them out to attempt to have some fun.  I just couldn't take another day inside!  Although a bit warm, we went strawberry picking (a first for us), to the library and then finished our morning out by getting 25 cent slushies at "On the Run."  If the Cardinals score 6 runs, all 20 oz. drinks are only 25 cents!  I gotta say, the smiles I got from the boys made that the best 50 cents I've spent in a LONG time!  As Andrew told me "Mom, this is what summer is all about!"  God, I love that kid!  Here are a few pics of our day:

12 pounds of Strawberries!

We've also had a handful of baseball games so far this summer.  Andrew even got the "game ball" last week!  Coach Chris (who is also Dad, ha ha!) awards the game ball to the player who shows the best effort on the field.  Usually, since they are the coaches son's, our boys are the last to get the game ball.  However, Andrew had such an awesome game that he was given the big honor mid-season!  He was EXTREMELY excited, to say the least.  I unfortunately had to miss the game because Joey was still down with the swimmer's ear.  Damn swimmer's ear!  It just keeps coming back to bite me in the ass!

This week has been a wild one!  We've has some crazy weather.  Lot's of thunderstorms that like to hit at 3 am.  They wake me up, Chris up and of course the boys end up sleeping in our room.  Since the storms make sleeping hard, we are sleeping in much later than I'd like.  I've missed most of my morning runs because of the crazy weather.  That and a nice little stomach bug I picked up.  Luckily it was short lived, but I gotta tell ya, I felt pretty cruddy on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. I'm back to normal now and enjoying a glass of wine to celebrate!  I haven't had a glass of wine since Sunday, so you KNOW I was sick!

Well, that's about all so far...oh wait.  I forgot about that damn swimmer's ear.  After seeing some nasty discharge from Joey's ear, I took him back to the doctor.  Actually a new doctor because I'm fed up with my pediatrician (but that's another story).  Anyway, Dr. Williams wants us to do another 7 days of drops in the ear and NO swimming until our ear recheck on June 27th.  Seriously?!?!?!? It's going to be SO HOT this weekend.  I have to say, I HATE this thing called swimmer's ear.  The only good thing is that I didn't splurge and get a membership to a pool this year and I still haven't been able to convince Chris to put a pool in our backyard.  What a waste that would have been.  I guess this is all a part of God's plan...but seriously, I could do without the swimmer's ear, and I'm sure Joey is done with it, too.  Here's to the rest of the summer and many adventures to come!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Would You Do?

OK, I need some advice.  I purchased  one of those "deals" a few weeks ago for a house cleaning.  It was a 3 hr coupon for $50.  What a deal, right?  When I scheduled the cleaning, the owner of the company told me it would take 4 hours to clean my house because they do a "good, deep cleaning" on the first visit.  Thus, I would need to pay out of pocket for an hour of cleaning.  I was fine with that, because I wanted to treat myself and have the house really clean.  It was the day before Joey's First Communion and I didn't want to have to stress about the house.

For those of you who know me well, I am a bit "Type A" especially when it comes to cleaning my house.  So, I'm sure my expectations were high on the quality I expected.  When the cleaning crew arrived, I was surprised to see just one woman.  She took a look around and said she would get started.  She estimated that it would take 3 hours, which concerned me since I'd previously been told it would be 4 hours.

After 3 hours of cleaning she was done.  The house looked good, but if you looked too closely you would think otherwise.  She didn't sweep or mop under the kitchen table, she didn't sweep or mop the bathroom floor of the boys bathroom, she didn't move picture frames and dust behind them on my entertainment center. Nor did she dust my dining room table.  Also, she didn't vacuum my stairs, which needed it BAD.  The exposed wood treads of the stairs were also overlooked.  If you've ever been to my house, you know I have dark cherry wood throughout, so it shows every speck of dust.  I myself have to dust every 2 days because I can't stand it.

When she finished, she mentioned that she was going to be cleaning houses anymore because she was starting a catering business and asked to leave some of her business cards with me.  I said sure, because at the time I didn't realize all of the areas she had missed.  Obviously, I won't be calling her for my next event!

So, here is my dilemma.  Do I tell the owner of the cleaning company about my experience or do I just chalk it up to "I got what I paid for?"  After all, I only paid $50, which is probably 1/2 of what it would have cost full price.  Since this person isn't working for the company anymore, it probably won't affect their business in the future.  What would you do?  I'm not one who likes to cause a ruckus, but it was frustrating to have to go back and clean after I'd just had someone "clean."  Tell me what YOU would do!  Thanks and cheers!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Whew, What A Weekend!

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful mothers!  Days like today make me realize how blessed I am.  I have a wonderful husband and 2 amazing children.  Add to that a wonderful extended family and life is good!  Although I wasn't able to spend the day with my mom, it was wonderful to talk to her on the phone.

Our crazy weekend started on Friday with all of the final preparations for Joey's First Holy Communion.  For the first time ever, I hired someone to come clean my house.  Thanks to a recent deal on My eWOW, I was able to get a 3 hour house cleaning for only $50.  It was a great deal and worth it.  Since the cleaning was (mostly) done (another post to follow on that), I was able to get all the food prepared on Friday evening.  This allowed me to get a good nights sleep and I felt well rested on Saturday.

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous!  Andrew had an early morning T-ball game.  Its so sweet watching them play at this age.  Their hearts are so into the game and it is really enjoyable to watch.

After the game we headed home to get ready for Joey's First Communion.  He looked so handsome in his suit. I can't believe my baby is all grown up!  He is turning into a man right before my eyes.
After the beautiful Mass, we celebrated back at our house with a party with family.  It was so relaxing and enjoyable!  Plus, the weather was amazing.  We went into the day with a 60% chance of rain, and God blessed us with a short rain shower in the morning and not a drop of rain the rest of the day!  Our only small hiccup was that Joey and Andrew both woke up with some "rosy" cheeks on Saturday morning.  Fifth's Disease has been going around their school, and I think they both have (or had) it.  Usually the children run a fever for a couple of days and then a rash appears that looks like the kids have a sunburn on their cheeks.  They never had a fever, but both have the tell tale slapped cheek look.  It is a common childhood virus that isn't contagious once the rash shows up, but the rash can last for 3 weeks, yikes!  I was so worried that Joey was going to look he had blush on in all his pictures, lol!  Luckily, all was well and he looked great.

Sunday, today, has been all about relaxation.  We started out the day at Mass giving thanks to God for all of these amazing blessings!  The afternoon was spent chatting with my mama on the phone (one of the major bummers of my family living 800 miles away) and then reading on the patio.  I even managed to get a little sun to give some color to my start white legs!
My in-laws treated us to dinner at K Pub and Grill.  We were planning on Outback Steakhouse (boy that steak sure sounded good) but unfortunately our 6 pm call ahead seating time was actually going to be closer to 7 pm upon arrival because they weren't turning tables as fast as they thought they would.  I think my hubby was starving because he wasn't too keen on the idea of waiting that long and suggested we just order pizza.  Not exactly my idea of a mother's day dinner, but I was just so happy I didn't have to cook and clean I wasn't going to say a word.  Luckily my father-in-law spoke up that he didn't want pizza and saved the dinner.  It wasn't the NY Strip I was looking forward to having, but my burger and onion rings at K Pub were mighty tasty :-)  Plus, the company was wonderful so it ended up being a great night out.

Thanks to everyone who shared in our special weekend, we are so blessed!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

First Bikram Yoga Session...I survived!

My sister Stephanie has been telling me about Bikram Yoga for a few years now.  For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Bikram Yoga is "hot yoga."  You do a combination of 26 postures or poses in a room that is heated to 105 degrees.  Thanks to Groupon, I bought a voucher for a month of unlimited classes.  The studio is in Chesterfield and the class times are perfect.

I decided to give it a try today so I could use my month before the kids are done with school.  The benefits of Bikram are supposed to be amazing, ridding your body of toxins as well as building strength and stamina.  I'm really hoping to tone up and improve my running, too.  

I have to be honest, I was a bit concerned and very nervous after my newbie orientation.  The instructor told me my goal should be "not to leave the room."  She told me I might get nauseous, and even vomit because of the heat.  Yikes!  What the heck have I gotten myself into it?

I'm not sure if it was all of the running I did in the heat last summer or what, but I actually survived the first session with ease.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy.  The room was HOT.  I MEAN HOT.  I was sweating before we even started.  By the time we were half way through the class, I was drenched.  However, it felt so good, because I knew I was ridding my body of toxins and impurities.  My muscles feel stronger already and I can't wait to do it again.  I'm hoping to practice 3 times a week while I have the Groupon.  I've heard some pretty amazing weight loss stories because of Bikram, too!  I gotta say, that makes me excited, too!

So here's to sweating A LOT in the next month!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter!

He is Risen!  I hope that all of our family and friends had a very blessed Easter.  We did!  The Easter Bunny was REALLY good to the boys this year.  Along with candy and some Lego's, they got a basketball hoop!  Talk about an awesome gift!  We started off our morning with an egg hunt around the house.  For the first time ever, Joey found the coveted "Alleluia Egg."  The Alleluia egg is special because it has money in it.  The finder of the egg has to yell Alleluia upon finding it.  It is Catholic tradition that Alleluia not be said or sung throughout the 6 weeks of the Lenten season, so we have a special egg to represent the celebration of the Resurrection.  Andrew has found it the past 3 years, so it was exciting that Joey got it this year.

We went to a beautiful Easter Mass at 12:30.  After Mass we hosted Easter dinner at our home.  My in-laws came over and we had yummy pork steaks!  Finally, it quit raining long enough for the boys to shoot some hoops on their new hoop!

Presents and money from Grandma and Grandpa in Colorado

It's All About Surrender

In my previous post I briefly mentioned my 6 months of CRHP.  After the initial Renewal Weekend, the team goes on to "formation." Formation is a 6 month process of spiritual growth.  Every one on the team has a "role."  Some of the roles are small in commitment, others are big on the commitment front.  The roles are not picked or assigned, they are prayerfuly discerned.  We were all given a couple of weeks to read about each role and then we had an Evening of Discernment.

Before I go on I should back up.  During the initial renewal weekend, I actually questioned if I was going to go on to formation.  I spent much of the first day of the retreat asking God why I was there.  I really felt like I was just in a different place with God and that I didn't "need" healing like I was witnessing from everyone else. At the conclusion of the first evening of the retreat, I asked God for a sign if I was supposed to continue on with formation or if I was being called to do something else. At that exact moment, I turned my head to the left and I saw 2 Stations of the Cross.  Station 13 and 14.  What were the chances?  I got my answer.  What was the answer exactly?  To surrender.  This CRHP wasn't about me or what I wanted or needed.  It was about God.  It was about what HE wanted for me.  You see, I was now a sister of the CRHP 13 team, and if I continued with formation, I would be part of the team giving the next renewal weekend to the sisters of CRHP 14.

Back to the Evening of Discernment...I KNEW God was calling me to be the Lay Director of CRHP 13.  Lay Director would be a "big" one on the commitment level.  I would need to be at every meeting, every activity and every CRHP activity.  Chris travels so much I knew this was going to be impossible.  I was in complete denial and wouldn't admit it to myself or anyone.  I wanted an easy job, one that wouldn't have a lot of responsibility or time commitment.  Since both boys are in school full time now, I was ready to be selfish and spend my days exercising, scrapbooking, reading and decorating the house.  All things I had been neglecting. God sure has a sense of humor, that's for sure!  So, because I was in such denial about the call to lead, I was physically ill.  The entire day of the discernment I was sick to my stomach and couldn't get more than 2 minutes away from a bathroom.  (Sorry TMI.)   While at the actual discernment, I thought I was going to be sick.  However, when the time came, I made a deal with the man upstairs.  I told Him that I was just going to write down "Lay Director" on my sheet.  I thought for sure there was another one of my sisters better suited for the job.  As soon as I wrote the last "r" in the word director, I instantly felt better.  It was as if I had imagined my entire day of intestinal "distress."  Talk about an instant reward for surrendering!  I wish I would have figured it out a little earlier in the day.  I was ready at that point to get going and head out for fellowship. I was ready to celebrate that I was able to surrender and I truly felt free!

As it would turn out, no one else in the team felt called to be the Lay Director.  6 months later, I am able to look back and see God's plan for me and how beautifully it all worked out.  He called me to do HIS work, and because I trusted Him and Fully Relied on Him, He made it all work out.  I didn't miss one meeting after I discerned the role of Lay Director.  AMAZING!  I did have to sacrifice time with my family and friends, but I knew it was what God wanted me to do at that time.  I grew so much over the past 6 months both spiritually and personally.  I practiced patience (although I've not mastered that virtue yet), acceptance and compassion.  I learned to Let Go and Let God.  It was a life changing experience.  It didn't happen all at once, but little by little and day by day.  My heart will always carry a soft spot for the 18 women I now call my sisters.  My life will NEVER be the same.  It has been forever changed, but in the most amazing way possible.

As I sit back and reflect on the past 6 months, I am in shock and awe that I almost missed out on this whole experience.  I shudder to think if I wouldn't have done formation.  If you ever have a chance to go thru CRHP, do it.  Yes, it is a Catholic program, but I'm sure other denominations have something similar.  I promise you, it will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself.  God will give you so many blessings in return.  Remember surrender it's not up to you and never was" - Sara Groves.  
So, what's next?  Rest.  Lots of rest.  And time with my family.  I'm catching up on all the things I put off the past few months and I'm enjoying reading and running!  Until God calls again, I'm going to enjoy this time to focus on myself and my family.

Here's a picture of my CRHP 13 Sista's.  Aren't we a beautiful bunch of ladies!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've been MIA...

Wow, it's been quite some time since I last posted! So much for my promise to stay on top of the blog. Well, I do have a good excuse for not keeping up with the blog, I promise I do! In October I went on a Christ Renews His Parish Renewal weekend at our church. While I didn't have a life changing experience from the weekend, I did feel Christ at work in my heart. After the retreat weekend, there is a 6 month formation process that the team continues on with. I was so unsure of my purpose at CRHP that I debated continuing with formation. But after receiving a CLEAR (I'll dedicate an entire post to that!) sign from God that I was to continue on with CRHP, I trusted Him and went on with formation.

The formation period consisted of weekly meetings every Wednesday night, for 6 months, followed by "giving" the next renewal weekend. Depending on the "role" you discerned, affected the amount of time spent planning and preparing for each of the meetings. The first couple of months of formation were not too busy, but once we discerned roles (more to come on that subject) my life went into warp speed. I've realized over the past few months that God truly is in control of my life and that I am here on this earth to do HIS work.
The role I discerned was that of Lay Director. I couldn't believe that He chose me to lead this group of women. Luckily, He gave me a phenomenal Spiritual Director to guide me and the entire team. I don't think I'd be sane right now if it weren't for Marianne Hicks!
Having such responsibility to lead these women in spiritual growth was life changing for me. While it didn't come with out challenges, I truly enjoyed every minute of it.

Leading in such a major capacity taught me so much. It taught me to be quiet and listen, to bite my tongue (hard for me to do!) and to stop being so selfish. I had to put the needs of CRHP and our group before my selfish desires like scrapbooking, reading and watching TV. Most importantly it taught me to "Fully Rely On God" or FROG. FROG was a common theme throughout our formation period. Thanks Sandra!
I had to learn to FROG every day, to pray before every word I spoke or email I sent. I was doing God's work, not my own, and needed Him to guide me every step of the way.

Well, he did and it was AMAZING! Witnessing the spiritual growth in the women of CRHP 13 was amazing. Add to that sharing the experience with the women of CRHP 14 on April 9&10, 2011 and I was literally blown away. I was blown away by the power of God's love, Forgiveness, mercy and acceptance.

So, the purpose of the post was to say I'm back, for now, that is until God calls me again. CRHP did teach me better time management, so hopefully I will be able to work on the blog at least once a week.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm published!

Most of you who read this already know that I started writing a column for O'Fallon Patch. What is Well, Patch is an online news site that is dedicated to bringing the local news right to you. And by local, I mean really local. The editors at work their tails off staying up to date and current with what is happening in your town. I first heard about Patch over the summer when our cousin, Brian Feldt, accepted the job as the Patch editor in Bolingbrook, IL. Then a few months later, my dear friend Alyssa Stahr became the Pacth editor for Oakville, MO.

So, when I received a phone call from the O'Fallon Patch editor, Jordan Lanham, I jumped at the opportunity to write a mom column. I've always been the type of mom who will "tell you like it is" so the title of my column is "Real Mom from O'Fallon." I will try to "keep it real" all the time, especially since there seems to be some unwritten rule that as mothers we are supposed to have it all together, all the time. I'm not sure who came up with that, but seriously, NO ONE has it all together all the time! We all yell at our kids, we all forget the lunch, library book or snack from time to time, and we all certainly have moments when we question why we became mothers in the first place. But then, one of our precious children will smile at us, hug us or just say "I love you Mommy" and we remember exactly why we had kids.

My goal with the column is to break down the mommy barriers. Whether you work at home, outside the home, married, divorced, single...the column is for you. I want to dispel the myth of the mommy competition and show a more vulnerable side to myself and to being a mom in general. What is that old saying, We may not have it all together, but together we have it all. Fellow Moms, it's time to unite! All for One and One For All!!!

Look for my column every Wednesday, and while you over at O'Fallon Patch be sure to register and leave a comment. I encourage your feedback. And if you have an idea for a column, let me know, I'd love to hear from you, Lastly, if you are looking for info on your community, check out Patch .com and see if Patch is your neighborhood.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Goals

Wow, another year has come and gone. I know I've been horrible at updating this blog, but I'm hoping 2011 will be the year that I can stick with it! Usually at this time of the year, everyone is so focused on looking ahead that it is easy to overlook all of the accomplishments of the past year. So, as we embark on 2011, let’s take a minute to look back on 2010. Personally for me, 2010 was a pretty great year. In January 2010, I set 3 goals for myself. I really don’t like the term “resolution” because that has such a finite meaning. A goal on the other hand is something that I can constantly be working towards. So my 3 goals of 2010 were: 1) to finish the Go! St. Louis ½ Marathon, 2) To watch less TV and to read more, and 3) To spend more time playing with my boys, which meant not focusing so much on housework.

Well how did I fare? Not only did I finish the Go! St. Louis ½ Marathon, but I also ran the Lewis and Clark ½ Marathon! I logged over 500 miles in running alone in 2010. Not too bad for someone who just started running a little over a year ago. This was not without difficulty, though. I ended up getting 2 cortisone shots and underwent 6 weeks of physical therapy to achieve that goal. It was totally worth it though! As for #2, I read 20 books in 2010. That is almost one book every two weeks. As for the amount of time I spent watching TV, well, I can’t say that I succeeded in that area. Thanks to FINALLY getting a DVR this past Fall, I’m pretty sure the amount of TV I watched increased significantly from October to the end of the year, which ironically is when my reading tapered. Coincidence? And finally #3, spending more time playing with my boys. For someone with a Type A personality, I thrive on organization. And for me, a clean house is an organized house. However, I didn’t want my boys to grow up thinking that I was too busy to play with them because I needed to “wash this” or “dust that.” Well, I have to say, by the way my house looked when the boys went back to school in August, I succeeded in my last goal! It took me weeks of cleaning and organizing to get the house back to normal, but the hours of fun I had with my boys this summer I will treasure forever.

Now, as I look ahead to 2011, it’s time to set a few more goals for myself. I want to challenge all of you to do the same. I like to set 3 goals, one that will challenge me physically, one that will challenge me mentally and the last one that will benefit my family. Goal #1: This year I want to focus on eating better. I plan to do this by cooking more so my family is eating better. It’s time to ditch the drive thru! Last year I was able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted because I was running so much. I still plan on running, but I don’t see any long distance races in my future. My body doesn’t seem to fare well with the training. Goal #2: Spend less time on the computer. I love technology and all it affords, but come on; we all know that it can be a major time waster! I plan on using my extra time playing even more with my boys. Goal #3: Get back into scrapbooking. I didn’t scrapbook one page this year, not one! I have a closet full of scrapbooking supplies just waiting for me. I want to create heirlooms that my family will treasure for years.

So,I challenge you to set 3 goals for yourself this year. They don’t need to be anything over the top, just goals that are attainable and that will help you to be the best person you can be. I have one friend who made only one goal for herself this year, to reduce the amount of yelling she does at her kids! Whether you have one goal or ten this year, write them down and make an action plan of how you will attain them. Good luck and I can’t wait to hear all of YOUR success stories. Here’s to the best YOU in 2011!