Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Soul Core

An organized routine is part of who I am.   Once getting up in the morning, beds are made, coffee is made, lunches are made, and getting ready to begin the work day begins.   

Being organized in my business has to be one of my top priorities.   My busy season begins in October, but way before that certifications have to be done, classes have to be attended, and clients need to be notified about changes in their plans (My business is in the Health and Medicare Insurance industry).   

Once the busy season begins, my schedule consists of seeing between six to eight clients each day.  In between that, applications have to be processed, questions have to be answered, and the phone never stops.  The only way to really get it all done and do it in a way that works for me is to be organized.  

Right before this hectic time of the year started, my husband awoke in late September with pain in his right arm and right hand.  Thinking he just "slept wrong", he toughed his way through the day.  The next day, the same pain.  When the pain started to go across his chest, there was no more waiting.  We headed to the doctor.    

He was diagnosed with a ruptured disc in his neck.  When the disc ruptured, it was laying on nerves that were causing the pain in his arm.  

What followed surprised us both.  The pain was so severe that use of his right arm and hand were extremely limited.   In fact, his arm was just about paralyzed.    

He needed help with just about every aspect of his life.   He wasn't able to drive, not able to work, and had all he could do to even feed himself.   

As his wife, I did everything I could do help him.  

With my busy season starting and John still needing help, family and friends supported us by bringing us meals, stopping in to check on him, and took our dog for walks while I was working.   

In the middle of one night, John woke up in pain so severe he was screaming to make it stop.  He had been going to physical therapy during that time and they taught me how to give him traction should he need it.   Once I gave him the traction, the pain didn't go away, but he was much more comfortable.   

He took my hand during this night and asked me to pray with him.   We said a few prayers and I laid back down next to him.    

Both exhausted, we feel asleep and slept soundly for the next two hours.   

The next day, I was back at my hectic schedule and during that day, I thought about how we prayed together.   It was amazing to me how much peace ran through every aspect of that day.   

It was then that I realized that my organized schedule wasn't organized at all.   

Instead of putting God first, he was barely in my schedule.   My prayer life was almost non-existent.  

Just a week later, a friend from church reached out to me inviting me to a Soul Core class.   She described the class as a way to pray the rosary while doing low impact exercises.    

My first thought to be very honest was that there was no way that this class would fit into my schedule.    

Just saying it, I was brought back to the very moment that my husband and I prayed together.  Peace came over me once again and I knew that time wasn't the problem.   I was the problem.  

Getting to this class wasn't an option; it was a necessity.   It was necessary for my physical health, but most importantly, my spiritual health.   

I had no idea what to expect, but upon getting there we prayed the whole rosary while doing some exercises.   I left feeling peace and tranquility.   

Worry about my husband was turned into trust that night.   I got home feeling more relaxed that I had been in weeks and not only did I sleep that whole night like a baby, but so did my husband.   

It turned out that he needed me to relax just as much as I did.   

From that night on, the rosary has been a big part of my prayer life.  When I run or walk the dog, I find myself saying a few decades of the rosary.   Soul Core is held once a week and every chance that I can, it is an opportunity for me to nourish my body and soul.   

There are many evenings when I will listen to the rosary on YouTube while doing a few of the exercises that we do at class.   

Most importantly, Soul Core is another tool that God provided me when I needed to trust in his plan.  It was a tool that helped me to not worry as much.    It was a tool to guide me back to him when I needed to feel the warmth of his love and peace.   

Soul Core has been in my life now for the past three months.    

After four months, my husband is healing and went back to work for the first time today.   God made what was a difficult and painful time more bearable.  

The impact of Soul Core and the rosary has made me want to share it with others.    So much so that I applied and was accepted to go to a retreat on how to teach the program.   

Where it goes, God only knows.    

What I do know is that I trust in his plan.   

God is in control of my schedule.   It won't always be as organized as I would like, but he is always faithful to give me exactly what is needed to guide my every step.   


Monday, June 12, 2017

Run For God


The pain hurts to the very depth of your soul and breaks your heart in half.   You wake up in pain and go to bed in the same pain you woke up in.   With each step you take during the day, you attempt to put a smile on your face, but in reality, you are are always on the verge of tears.  

You feel alone in your pain and can't seem to move forward.   You seek counseling and although it does help, there is still an underlying thought to attempt to understand why someone would want to hurt you in such a way.    

The reality is we may never know why some people purposely hurt others.   I read this quote recently that states,  "Hurting people hurt others".   It doesn't answer the "why" question, however, it does help to put the pain in perspective.  

In the last few years, my family has lived through betrayal.   It doesn't do anyone any justice to rehash all the specifics, but what I can say is that the pain hurt worse than anything I personally have ever gone through.  

The way for me to help heal, forgive, and move forward in a way that serves me best is to turn to the one that knows how to help me through it all - God.  

Each week, my husband and I spend time in the adoration chapel at our church.   We dedicate one hour of time each week to sit in front of the blessed sacrament and pray.   It never ceases to amaze me how I will think about what I am going to pray for before I go and then during the hour's time, God has other plans that I never would have thought about.  

One particular week and about one year after this situation occurred that hurt me deeply, I felt the urge to join a program called "Run for God".   The program is a twelve week Bible Study that parallels faith and endurance all while preparing to run in a 5K.    Each week consists of Bible readings, listening to someone talk about their faith journey, and then pounding the pavement.   To be honest, I had started the program a few years earlier and decided that running just wasn't for me.  

"I really don't like to run", I said to myself as this urge to join this program again came to my mind. "I tried this once and it didn't work", I said to myself as I sat there.   "I can barely run one minute; let alone a 5K" as I kept fighting this urge.  

"This isn't about you; it's about me and what is good for you".   This is what I heard as I continued to strive to come up with excuses on why I shouldn't do this program again.

Knowing how to listen to what God is attempting to teach me, I joined the program "Run for God" last summer and again this past winter.   As soon as another class comes around, it will be another opportunity for me to learn what I need.  

Let's be clear - running is difficult.  

It's a struggle for me, but yet with every step I take, I am running towards healing.    I am running towards forgiveness of not only the ones that have hurt me, but to ones that I myself have hurt.

I am not a fast runner, yet with each stride, I pray for whomever comes to my mind with each step.  

Continuing to run on a regular basis has helped me get into better shape physically, but even more so emotionally.   You may be sore from the run, but no more than sitting and doing nothing.  

The fact of the matter is we will all be hurt at some point in our lives.   The movement of running has helped me through this pain.  

We can each choose to dwell in the pain or move through the pain with the one who can help us through it all.   We can run from it or we can run through it.  

I ran with my arms open wide in his love and mercy.    I ran with an open mind about seeing that we are all sinners that can hurt others.  

I ran with the one gift I could give myself.    I forgave even when I never heard the words, "I'm sorry".  

I will always Run For God and him alone.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What the World Needs Now

When someone speaks of love, they have a smile on their face.  

When someone speaks of love, they may think of a special place.  

When someone speaks of love, it is done with fondness.   

When someone speaks of love, it is done with kindness.   

When someone speaks of love, it is not with dismay.   

Let us speak of love and brighten someones day.  

I'm not sure who wrote this poem, but it sure put a smile on my face.  Just thinking about falling in love with my husband and the first place we told one another, "I love you" can lift my spirits in a heartbeat.

After making the decision to limit my time on Facebook and realizing not only was my mood and energy lifted, another decision to limit my time and in most cases do away with watching the news was also made.   It has helped me on so many levels that I can barely wait to get things done!

This realization has helped me to birth a project that has been stirring in my heart for several years now. I'll be sharing more about this project in the weeks and months to come, but what I can tell you is that I am calling it, "What the World Needs Now".

When I was asked to pray for the country the evening before President Trump took the oath of office, I did look throughout the news and on social media to see what people were concerned about.   People were arguing back and forth and the disrespect was troubling.  The media hasn't helped the situation; it just seems to fuel a fire that at times feels that it will never be extinguished.

Some people did share that many people were acting out of fear and taking that into consideration helped me to understand why anger was playing such a big role in their behavior.   This didn't make some of the comments or actions acceptable, but it did help me to listen.

So, what does all of this have to do with love?

Within my own marriage, John can say something one way and I will hear something completely different.   It's what we call, "He said, she heard" and it works both ways.   It's when we open up the conversation and listen to one another that any issue that was there gets resolved.   Some may call this compromise - we call it commitment and compassion for one another.  For us, this is how compassion starts for not only us, but for our family and everyone we come in contact with.

Since February is the month of love, it seemed like a perfect time to begin this project.    All of the details have yet to be worked out and it will be far from perfect, but knowing that starting is half of the battle is what is giving me the drive to start.

For me, this project will be about compassion for all.   It will be about commitment to listening and learning from one another.  

It will be about caring for each person in the world and being sensitive to what matters to each of us.

It will be about sharing ideas about how kindness can change the world.

It will be about brightening someones day.

It will be about love.

It will be about making a difference to even one more person.  This is a fire that I want to burn brightly and to never go out.

Because this is "What the World Needs Now."

"Spread love wherever you go: first of all in your house.   Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."  - Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Have you ever watched a movie or a program on television that really affected you?   Do you have a favorite program or movie that you don't mind watching over and over again because you like the way it makes you feel?   Or, are there some shows and/or movies that you stay away from?  

For me, watching a scary movie where someone is frightened out of their mind is not my idea of a good time. It may appeal to some, but for me personally, I stay away because I don't like how I feel during or after the movie.  

I remember one movie that I watched as a teenager late one night with my Mother called, "Imitation of Life." That particular movie had both my Mother and I sobbing in one of the final scenes.   I remember going to bed actually feeling a little sickly because of crying so hard.   When I woke up the next morning, I had a hard time eating because I still felt sick to my stomach.   Don't get me wrong; the movie was great.   It just affected me very strongly as a young teenager.  

Late last year when I was looking over both my personal and business goals for 2016, I was happy to see that I hit many of the goals I reached for.   When I started working on 2017 goals, they just were not coming together as easily for me.   And, to be honest, I couldn't understand why.

When this happens to me especially in my business, I start analyzing everything.    I take some time to pray about the situation and what I should or should not be working on.   I kept telling myself that the biggest reason was because I was waiting to see how the Affordable Care Act was going to play out.  

It turned out to be something very different.   I noticed something changing in me, but it was truly of my own doing.   When things aren't exactly going the way I am striving for, social media becomes a crutch for me.   Only this time, it really became so much more.  

Since the New Year began or really since the election, I've noticed that the posts that I love to see aren't as plentiful as they were once were.  I would read posts of people attempting to say something nice and no matter what, things would get misunderstood.  This blog post isn't about what I saw, but more importantly what I noticed about myself as I logged on to social media.   My mood changed.   I could go from happy to sad reading just one post.   When that happened, work would not get done and a draining feeling washed over me.  

Rather than feeling that way, I started to "hide" posts.   I would make sure to log on to the groups that I belong to that are motivating and uplifting.   I have a prayer group that sends me prayer requests and I made sure to look at that each day.  

Last week, I was determined to finish up my goals for 2017 when I received a prayer request to pray for the country.    I decided to go to social media and see what people were posting, what their concerns were, and how to pray for each of them.  

To say that I was shocked was an understatement.   The posts that I hid to keep off my news feed broke my heart.   Hatred seemed to be at the heart of what I saw.   I did pray for the country that day, but I also couldn't get any work done.  In the next few days,  I went through the motions of the day, but I realized that my clients were not getting the best me, my family wasn't getting my best, and most importantly,  I wasn't able to be my best self.  

After President Donald Trump took the oath of office, I decided to try an experiment.   I wanted to see if my mood was better if I limited my time on Facebook.  I wanted to see exactly how I felt after reading motivational posts as well as how I felt after skimming through posts that were less than desirable in my eyes.

Just after a few days of limiting my time on Facebook, my goals for 2017 are done.   An idea that has been going through my mind is now being brought to life.    An issue that I have been striving to find a solution for has been solved.  

I wrote a post on Facebook late yesterday afternoon that I would be limiting my time on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me with your understanding.   It means so much and didn't go unnoticed.

Just like a movie that affected me years ago, Facebook has an effect on me too.   I could choose to continue to let it drain me or I could choose to take steps in helping myself.  

My clients deserve that.  

My family deserve that.  

I am respecting myself enough to know that I deserve that too.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I Believe in our Great Country

On Friday, January 20, 2017, the United States of America will have a new President and Vice President.   President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will put their hands on a Bible and take the oath of office just like 44 other Presidents and Vice Presidents have done in the past.   For me, I will be in the comfort of my own home praying.

I will be praying for both of these men.   I will be praying for their wives and families.

I will be praying for their safety.   I will be praying for the thousands of people that will protesting.   I will be praying for the men and women working to provide protection for everyone in the DC area and throughout the country.

I will be praying for a peaceful transition.    I will be praying that the new President and Vice President will look at all the needs of all Americans.

I will be praying for all of us just like I did eight years ago when President Obama took the oath of office.   In fact, if Donald Trump would not have been elected and it was Hilary Clinton taking the oath of office instead, I would have also been praying for her.  

It is not my desire to get into pinning one side against the other.   In fact, I don't see sides. What I see is a family of the United States of America each with different values, but values none the less. It is not my desire to see people arguing trying to make each other wrong. It is my desire to listen to one another, support one another, show kindness, and most importantly, show respect for the President of the United States.   I have not always agreed with everything that each President did or didn't do, but showing them support by praying for their own hearts was the only way I could wrap my head around things I couldn't understand and did not support.

For the record, I do not believe in sharing who I voted for.   It is a personal decision for each of us and for me, one that I spent many hours praying about.   I had to seek my own heart and my own beliefs just like everyone else did.   I never appreciate anyone tellling me who I should or should not vote for.   We each have our own thoughts and our own gifts that we like to share with the world.  When attempting to change someone's mind or thoughts, it is like telling them that they aren't important.

And, that is never true.

There will be protests throughout the country on Friday.   Some I agree with and some I don't, but I will show them respect because they are sharing what they believe to be true in their own hearts. There were women that protested and earned each women in the United States the right to vote.   And, that is also important.  

On Friday, I will be spending a good part of my day in prayer.   It is important to me that we have this right here and I will use it for each person that lives in this great land.    I will pray for Donald Trump.   I will pray for Mike Pence.   I will pray for the protestors.   I will pray for all of the Nation.

I will pray for my family and I will pray for yours because:

I believe in you.

I believe in your rights.

I believe in our country.

God Bless You and God Bless America.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kona - Our Beautiful Chocolate Lab

Soon after losing our beloved dog, Jazz, the topic of getting another dog came up.   At first, the thought of losing another dog was just too much to bare and my husband and I said it was just too early to think about. After a few months, we spoke about it and agreed that having a puppy would be too difficult for the two of us.  When Jazz came into our family at eight months old, we had two sons at home that were such a big help. With only my husband and I at home now, we had to think about the dog and what was fair to him or her.  

Then one day, I read this poem:   

Before humans die, they write their last will and testament, giving their home and all they have to those they leave behind. If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I’d ask…
To a poor and lonely stray, I’d give my happy home; my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I loved so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.
I’d will to the sad, scared, shelter dog the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.
So, when I die, please do not say, “I will never have a pet again, for the loss and the pain is more than I can stand.”
Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him.
This is the only thing I can give…
The love I left behind.
 – Author Unknown

Not long after reading this poem, a post from a friend on Facebook caught my attention.   She was moving and was looking for a new home for her furry five year old Chocolate Lab/Chesapeake Retriever dog.   I knew the dog and how friendly she was and immediately responded letting my friend know that if she had trouble finding a home for her that my husband and I would consider it.   My friend was hoping to find someone that lived in the country because that is what the dog was used to so I just trusted that if it was meant to be, then God would make sure it happened.   
It wasn't long after that my friend asked us to take her for a week to make sure it worked out.   Like any good dog Mom, she wanted to make sure that my husband and I got along with the dog, make sure that the busy road we live on would be a good fit for the dog, and last but not least, make sure that the dog was good around our granddaughter, Rosslyn.    As soon as she came into our home and as I suspected, John and I were in love.   Her name is Kona and she is full of life.   She adores John and loves to greet him at the door when he comes home from work.    Just like Jazz, she eagerly awaits her nightly rub down and patting.   
Even more so than Jazz (which I never thought was possible), Kona loves the water.   Even if she hears John turn on the faucet outside to water the garden, she comes running through the house to get outside.   We have set up a kiddie pool outside for her to play and chase her tennis ball.    Several times a week, we take her for a hike that has a river that she can swim in. Just as soon as she hears the waterfalls, she is on a mission to get into the water.   John and I just watch her and smile as she plays around.   She enjoys picking up a sock or shoe and brings it to you as you get home.   She has me back into walking at least an hour a day.   Most days, it is more than that and not only do I feel better physically, but mentally as well.  Many people tell me how lucky she is to have us, but we are truly the blessed ones.  
In case you are wondering, we did adopt Kona.    She has been with us for almost two months now and the life she has brought into our home cannot be denied.  You know she is more comfortable when she has started to get into things.   We made the mistake of leaving a ham steak on the counter after cleaning up after dinner one night.    After a few minutes of relaxing with my family, I heard a crunch crunch noise.   She had the whole ham steak gone.   Thank God, she didn't get sick.   
Our granddaughter loves her and really enjoys playing fetch with her.   Kona loves to play with a frisbie that Jazz had and has her own special favorite squishy orange ball.    We taught Rosslyn to give her commands and Kona is great about listening to her.   Rosslyn really enjoys placing a treat down and making her wait to be freed before getting it.    
As you can see, she is loved.    I know that Jazz would be happy to see us enjoying her.   She doesn't make us forget him; in fact, she has helped us to remember all the great memories we have of him.   He left a huge gift behind and that was his love.   Kona is now basking in that love and our hearts grew a little bigger from the moment she entered our home.    
                                                    Our Kona - a beautiful girl!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Our Family is Growing

When our children were born, all my husband and I ever wanted for them was their happiness.   On June 13, 2015, Michael married the love of his life, Courtney.    From the moment she entered his life, we knew that she was the one.  

They have a story all of their own and we are happy to see what their future holds.   In the meantime, it is our prayer that they enjoy everyday they have together and grow in both love and happiness.    Please enjoy a few priceless moments and memories of their special day.   

                                                    Our sons, Michael and Andrew
                                              Michael smiles as he waits for his bride
                                       Our granddaughter, Rosslyn, and the ringbearer
                                                  The beautiful bride, Courtney
                                               Time for Mom to pull out the tissues
                                                   Sharing their personal vows
                                                       More tissues for Mom
                                              Gorgeous day for a gorgeous couple
                                   My husband, John, my sweet mother in love, and I
                              Andrew's wife, Christina and both my Mother and Sister in love

                                   After 31 years of marriage, this man still takes my breath away
                                                      Michael and Courtney
                                                       The Bride and Groom
                                                            Their first dance
                                                         Seating Arrangement
                                                          Gone, but never forgotten
                                      A beautiful tribute to the ones that are watching over us
                                                        Courtney and her Dad
                                              Michael and I dance to "Mother Like Mine"
                                                       The "Shoelywed" Game
                                                This game was a big hit for the guests

                                              Michael and his Grandmother/Godmother
                                    The love of my life dances with the love of Michael's life
                                                                The cake
                                                  Will they smear one another's face?
                                                                   All smiles

                                                              There they go!

Congratulations to Michael and Courtney.    We love you both and wish you all the happiness and blessings for your life as husband and wife.