Recent Posts

The Most Amazing Race EVER!

The Most Amazing Race EVER!

I’m not amazing—YOU’re amazing! That’s how I want to respond to people who say that I’m amazing for having completed 4 marathons in 4 days in 4 states with Mainly Marathons. (For the record, I completed the last 4 marathons of the Heartland Series—a 7-marathon […]

Worry vs. Trust

Worry vs. Trust

Worry sits on one side, trust on the other. Two enemies that could (should??) be friends. Friends who have each other’s back when life gets complicated and crazy. I find it disheartening—not sure if this is the right word or not—that I can experience both […]

The Trees We Plant

The Trees We Plant

My kids were not having a good morning.

My older kids were fighting with each other. My younger kids were following the not-so-excellent past actions of a couple of their older siblings.  I had had enough!

Into my ‘War Room’ I went, knelt steadfastly in prayer and carried my cross to Jesus and asked for His help.  Then, I turned to His mother, Our Blessed Mother and asked her to lead me to the place of Better-Motherhood, that elusive place where I would instinctively know what to do when the time was right.  In closing, I began saying Hail Marys until I suddenly felt my heart burst full of warm fuzzies and sensed a sudden kind of calmness that I can’t even begin to explain.

My life had become a litany of, “You are in control of your choices, but not the consequences of your choices.”  I felt like I was fighting a battle that I would never win.

Then, my mind wandered back to Sunday’s gospel. It dawned on me that the parable about the fig tree planted in the orchard was well-suited for this occasion.  After all, many of the complaints of my older children stem from the natural consequences that come from not setting a good, or Godly, example for their younger siblings.

I gathered my children together and matter-of-factly stated, “Each one of you is a tree.  Now, think in your mind, what kind of tree are you?”  I then asked if they were the kind of tree that grows fast or slow, one that bears fruit or nuts, cones or leaves.  I let them think a moment and then asked”  If you are the kind of tree that bears fruit, what kind of fruit would you bear? Rotten, stinky fruit–or– big, huge, delicious apples?”

Next, I asked if fruit-bearing trees bear fruit in the very first year they are planted.  The point I wanted to make is that it may take several years for a tree to bear fruit.  The same goes with the consequences of our actions.  It may take several years before we see the ‘fruit’ of our labors…whether the result is good or bad.

Since I was now on a roll with this whole tree analogy thing, I encouraged my children to visualize every choice they make as a tree they plant in the forest.  I asked, “Are the trees you are planting the kind that live in harmony with the rest of the forest?  Or are they ones that steal the sun for themselves and choke out all other living things (trees and surrounding vegetation)?”

I am happy to say that none of my children desired to be stinky, rotten, sun-stealing trees!  And while the lesson seemed to sink in, I imagine there will be a lot of reforestation going on as my children begin to realize (hopefully sooner rather than later) that the tree they just planted might not quite be the right one to continue growing.

Little Flowers Girls’ Club® & The Virtue of Cheerfulness

Little Flowers Girls’ Club® & The Virtue of Cheerfulness

  My youngest two daughters joined the Little Flowers Girls’ Club® this year, and it has been an absolutely wonderful…or should I say blessed…experience for them!  Based on the example of virtue modeled by St. Therese of Lisieux, there are four Wreaths [of flower badges] that can be earned altogether.  […]

Monday Morning Meditation

Every Monday morning, I receive a Monday Morning Meditation email from Salt of the Sound, a husband and wife music duo (a sensation, really) that I recently fell head-over-heels in love with. Salt of the Sound is often featured at Pray As You Go, a daily […]

Our Catholic Homeschool

Our Catholic Homeschool

We are in our 7th year as a homeschool family, so I just thought I'd share some 
fun facts about us!

–>Name of our homeschool: Little Saints of Divine Grace Academy

–>Grades we homeschool:  1st,  2nd, 5th, 7th, and 8th

–>Home ‘room’ names: Fatima 1, Salesian 2, Friars 5, Salvation 7, and Ecclesiastes 8

–>Our school mascot: Honeybee (we are beekeepers)

–>Our school saint: Saint John (Don) Bosco

–>Our school colors: Red, white, and blue (we are a retired military family…Go Army!)

–>Curriculum we are using this year: Catholic Heritage (grades 1-7) + Tail Guide to Learning: Journey Through the Ancient World (grade 8) + Saxon Math (all grades)

–>Extra-curricular activities: Karate (1-7 grades), cross-country running (8th grade), Little Flowers Girl’s Club (1-2 grade), Troops of Saint George (5-7 grade), private music lessons (1 and 7th grades), and Religious Education Program (REP) at our local parish (all grades)

Saint Peter Chrysologus, Pray For Us!

Saint Peter Chrysologus, Pray For Us!

Motivation is a Mean, Mean Animal

Motivation is a Mean, Mean Animal

I’ve been having major motivation troubles lately…mostly in regard to mornings and running. I began this post a couple of years ago before a back injury set me b-a-c-k…way back!  Since then, I’ve learned a lot about mornings, motivation, and keeping fit. A disclaimer: I’ve […]


Dear Diary

My Catholic Conversion Story

My Catholic Conversion Story

 

I converted to Catholicism at the Easter Vigil in 2007, just days before running my first Boston Marathon. This is the short version of how that came to be.

Just after Thanksgiving in 2005, my Mother-in-Law passed away as a result of a tragic accident. My husband, who was Active Duty with the U.S. Army at the time, was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. As a result of his mother’s death, he received a delayed reporting date of March 2006.

At the time of my Mother-in-Law’s death, I was employed as a Human Resources Specialist at Fort Drum, NY. Feeling overwhelmed and wanting to be closer to family during my husband’s deployment, I sought out employment in the midwest (primarily Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan). As luck would have it, I secured a reassignment to Fort McCoy, WI, the interview for which came just a couple of days after my husband deployed.

Now, I must explain that going to Fort McCoy was like coming “home” for a couple of reasons. First, I was born in Wisconsin (in Burlington, closer to the Milwaukee side of the state). Second, the first duty station that my husband was assigned to after we married was Fort McCoy. We spent two years here before moving on to Fort Wainwright, AK (for three years) and then Fort Drum, NY (for eight years).

During his time at Fort McCoy in the 1990’s (1993-1995), my husband worked with a retired Army veteran turned civilian. As this was my only connection left to Fort McCoy, he…well, actually his wife…was the first person I contacted upon securing employment there. Although I hadn’t seen or been in contact with them for years, they opened both their hearts and home to me, as well as my two dogs, and one cat (luckily for me, they also run a kennel and grooming business :))

While I simultaneously sold our home in New York state and bought a new home in Wisconsin, I stayed with my old-new again friends and accompanied them to various events, including a barn dance sponsored by St. Patrick’s Parish in Sparta, WI. It turns out that this particular event – during the end summer of 2006 – would be absolutely life-changing!

You see, up until the night of that barn dance, I had come up with just about every excuse in the book to NOT to accept their invites to church. It just wasn’t my thing at the time – I was spiritual, but not religious – if you catch my drift. Then, came that barn dance.

Ah, yes, THAT barn dance. You see, I lost a jacket at that barn dance. Not just any jacket, but a Boilermaker 15K race jacket from a venue in New York state. At the time, it was nearly as coveted as the Boston Marathon jacket that I would eventually earn the right to wear in April 2007. I absolutely LOVED that jacket.

So, anyway, about the jacket. It wasn’t until we were getting ready to go that I noticed it was missing. We searched high and low to no avail. And while it seemed silly to think that someone would purposefully steal a jacket from a church-sponsored event, I couldn’t completely rule it out. After all, it WAS a pretty cool jacket!

Fast forward to the next day, which just happened to be Sunday. Again, the invite to church was extended and again I declined. But, something (someone?) prompted me to reply with the following challenge: “I tell you what, you find my jacket from last night, and I’ll go with you to church every week until I move into my new house.”

Upon their returning home from mass, I was greeted with the biggest, “You are NOT going to believe this” that I’ve ever heard in my life. It turns out that someone – whom they had never, ever seen before in THEIR lives – came up to them after mass and asked them if they had lost a jacket. They responded that they hadn’t, but they knew who had (meaning, me).

That, my friends, was the beginning of the end of my non-Catholic life. As promised, I attended church with my friends until I moved into my new house. But, it didn’t stop there, of course. I wouldn’t otherwise have a conversion story, right?

The message that I received at every Sunday’s homily turned out to be exactly what I needed to hear. I can’t explain it. I can’t deny it. I have no way to reason that it wasn’t meant to be – for me.

Now, seven years later, I am raising five kids in the Catholic faith while strengthening my own. This blog is my {im}perfect journey toward the goal of becoming a more Christ-centered Catholic.