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.