Endless Strength Header

 photo blogheader-2.jpg

January 7, 2019

The Little Way - Day 1

Journal Entry, January 7, 2019.
Workout: Couch-to-5K, week 2, workout 1
Playlist: Untitled (12 songs, 48 minutes):
Photograph by Ed Sheeran
You Say by Lauren Daigle
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Broken by lovelytheband
What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction
Don’t Forget Where You Belong by One Direction
Midnight Memories by One Direction
If I could Fly by One Direction
Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
Perfect by Ed Sheeran
All of Me by John Legend
Stand By You by Rachel Platten
Questions to ask myself:
1.       What am I trying to lose?
2.       What do I want to find?

Keeping a journal has been something that has fallen off my radar in recent years. I used to keep up this blog that served as a sort of journal, but then something happened and I lost my motivation to continue it.

As I read the reflection this morning for the "30 days of The Little Way" something stuck out to me (that I am sure was intentional):

“…here comes your FIRST hard training lesson. A better version of yourself is NOT going to satisfy. If you make this training all about YOU getting what YOU want, it’s sure to lose steam and fall apart.”

Oi. I’m certain this has always been my problem. Growing up with the challenges I did, I often mistook this notion that everything was up to ME. As a child, I learned that I could not rely on my parents for help or guidance and being one of the older siblings, I also didn’t have a big sister I could lean on. I have a big brother, but just like me, he was having to rely on himself since we could not rely on parents, so the both of us were just treading water, so to speak.

I’ve always been a hard worker. I would bet you that somewhere in my subconscious was the thought that I would out-work everyone, every day, and I would out-work them by so much that there would be no doubt who the hardest worker was. This is a part of my soul. This is something I will never outgrow. But perhaps what I need to do is release myself from this pressure and rely on God more, rely on my family more. (My word for 2019 is “RELEASE” by the way.)

God gave me this gift of a strong work ethic, however, so He must have a reason for it. He must expect me to use it some way, somehow, to bring Him glory. So I guess what I want to lose right now (besides weight – always trying to lose weight, lol) is some pride in myself. And I want to find some understanding and true commitment to the belief that this ability to work, this ability to identify the important work that needs to be done, and my ability to efficiently and effectively go about that work has been given to me by God and start understanding what more He wants from me with these abilities.

So, there are my answers:
  • What am I trying to lose? (Some pride, to release some pressure on myself that everything is depending on me.)
  • What do I want to find? (A higher purpose for this huge gift I have been given – the ability to identify work to be done, the ability to put my “nose-to-the-grindstone” and effectively complete it – where is a better place to focus this energy?)

March 1, 2016

I've Moved!

Well, I finally moved my blog to Wordpress.

If you still want to follow me, please come see me here:

I will leave the blogger site up for a few more months, but eventually will shut it down.

Thank you for reading!


November 12, 2015

When Things Are Hard

I know I don't blog all that much any more. The days fly by too fast, and the nights even faster. I blink and another month has gone by. It's surreal. And that is when things are good or bad. Busy is busy. 

When things are good, we chug along like a choo-choo train. Chug-A-Chug-A. Chug-A-Chug-A.

And then something takes our breath away. Stops our choo-choo train in its tracks. Maybe a parent has fallen ill. Maybe it's a friend. Maybe we lose a job. Maybe we struggle with something physically or emotionally. 

And sometimes...several things hit us right where it hurts. But it's confusing because it's not us, directly, but it still impacts us in a meaningful and real way.

That is where I have been lately. One thing directly impacted me and then all sorts of indirect impacts that make it all feel like one big avalanche on my train track of life.

Things hit me harder than they used to. I have always strived to be an empathetic person, but somewhere along the way, I started taking even more of the feelings within myself. When I see a friend struggling with a particularly hard cross, I admire the strength but I break down and cry thinking there is no way I could shoulder that sort of burden. And I wonder how they go on.

Maybe it is this stage of my life. I'm right on into my 40s now. Is this what middle age is all about? Watching parents age...being hit over and over again with announcements of illness among friends and family...struggling to stay afloat amid the turmoil of everyday life?

I have prayed a lot lately. I'm sad to say that I had gotten into quite the rut of not praying enough. I haven't been to confession as often as I should. Thankfully, I've been to Mass. But lately, I've pulled out my rosary more often, I've spontaneously busted out a St. Michael prayer, and I've simply shut off the radio in the car and asked God to please (PLEASE!!!) heal people, comfort the parents of those stricken with illness as well as the friends and family. I have begged our Blessed Mother's intercession and asked God to please (PLEASE!!!) comfort me, help me to understand why young and old alike must carry these crosses. 

Recently, I've had Gregory on my mind and how I felt in the months following our loss. Part of that is because Sarah opened up and wrote about it. But part of it is taking in all the hard information of the past few months and finding that I process it with Gregory on my mind. That was a huge moment in my life where I lost something so dear that the only way to move through the grief was to realize that I gained a powerful intercessor in my little saint. That experience, I believe, prepared me to open my heart to more heartache as I experience the suffering of others in a completely different way than I did before.

In all of our trials, Jesus is close to us. He is close to those who suffer and ache. I remember when I felt Him close to me. And now, I can see how close He is to those around me experiencing pain in life that I cannot ever imagine and no one can take away except for God, Himself. 

If you're reading this tonight, please keep some people in prayer. I want to ask that you keep a man, and his family in your prayers for continued healing. I ask that you keep a woman who is loved by many children and families, and her family, in your prayers and ask for healing, strength and peace. I ask that you keep a child who is a strong and beautiful and positive influence on an entire community, in your prayers (her family, too) and ask for healing, continued strength and peace. I ask that you keep a young man just on the brink of his magnificent life, who is ill...please pray for him and his family. 

October 2, 2015

Just Another Life Flying By Way Too Fast

Some day I'm going to look back on my life and see how fast it went by.

Look at this sweetheart!

Wait a minute, I already do that.

Here's the thing. My kids have early release at Catholic school today. They are going to get out at noon and my plans for them include cleaning the house and getting laundry done.

Sometimes I really hate that I am not a fun mom. I am not the mom taking my kids to the park or to the museum the afternoon after they get out of school early. Because we've been running around with school, activities, sports, workouts -- the house has been woefully neglected. And Sarah's having a friend come home after practice today to prepare to attend her high school's homecoming football game.

I totally said to Craig this morning, "Well, we have to get this house cleaned up because it's her first time coming over. I mean, once she's been over a few times, I might feel a little more comfortable with her seeing how we really live."

I literally just want to cry right now. Today is my day off work and I already worked out and showered this morning, got the kids off to school, went grocery shopping and put it away and got my laundry almost all done. I won't even tick off the to-do list that remains because that really will start the waterfalls.
Dani and me -- Taylor Swift Concert!!

There's a lot of stress around here. I know in my head and my heart that stress can be good stress and still take its toll on my mind and body. We have a combination of good and bad stress going on right now, and I'm trying to do my best to handle it, but any of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time know that while I do my best...sometimes it's just not good enough.

I've been making a serious effort to try and live in the present lately. Worrying was eating me inside-out -- whether it was the future or the past. So, every day I take stock of what's on our plates and tackle it in the best order possible and at the end of the day move over any unfinished business to the next day. it's been awhile and I still haven't ever been able to start with a clean list with no carryovers.

Vincent having fun
I guess that is what life is like in this stage. Five kids, ages 14 down to 4, two full-time jobs, school and activities for everyone...it's starting to get crazy. Good crazy, but crazy, nonetheless. I'm gonna try not to beat myself up too badly for not having a fun activity planned for this afternoon. I think I'll just be present at lunch with the four kiddos who are home for it today, listen to their school stories and laugh with them. Then, we'll have to knuckle down and get to the business of the afternoon. And they'll whine a little bit, but they'll do it and we'll make it through.

Tonight when I get into bed, I will have driven Dani to swim practice, dropped Sarah and her friend off at the football game, picked Dani up from swim practice and eagerly awaited Sarah's arrival home. I'll have to follow-up with Sarah about the shoes she is wearing to the dance tomorrow, finalize the schedule as to when we are planning to be where for pictures and dance drop off, figure out how Dominic is getting to a birthday party and how Craig and I can attend (however briefly) a social function at church/school.

And...I guess it will all be all right.

August 28, 2015

Life Happens Whether We're Ready or Not

Hello, again!

There has been a lot going through this ol' brain of mine the past few weeks, but I just haven't had the courage to put anything out here. I fell out of the rhythm of blogging almost a year ago and I have to say, that while it's freeing in some ways, it is making me sad in others. I'm a person with a need to share. Share my experience, my feelings, my happenings. And I haven't been sharing anything. And I'm full, and feel like it's about to spill out, so I need to find a way to share again.

Many changes have taken place for my family in a very short span of time. I had already shared my husband's job change from last fall. That's still going well, praise be to God! He seems to enjoy the work and it's providing nice benefits for our family, though not of the take-home pay variety. But nice benefits, nonetheless. His job change made a career move for me possible.

At the beginning of this month, I started working toward getting licensed to sell real estate. Due to the location of Kansas City, it was required that I get licensed in two states. I've completed all the requirements and am simply waiting on notification that the second license has been awarded. Within another month, I will be trained and able to begin selling new homes. I'm really excited about the opportunity, but scared, too, because it is something completely different.

So...I'm trying my hand at new home sales. St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

This new work schedule has some perks: days off mid-week, when everyone else is working, so I get to run through a quarter-full grocery store, get kids' dentist and doctor appointments done without calling out of work, etc. But...it's also pretty crazy since our children are active in school, activities, etc.

I began the search for a part-time nanny. St. Gianna Molle, pray for us!

My Sarah began high school this month. I'm excited for her. She's in honors classes and she selected electives that she truly wanted to learn and will enjoy, she's playing volleyball on the Freshman team and has made some friends.

Dani started middle school, too. I'm reminded of how this period of time started for Sarah, and while it's somewhat different for Dani, she's going through the moodiness of a preteen. I guess experience is good because I just shrug most of it off. But...SIGH. I'm just kind of not ready to do middle school again, but I have no choice, haha. At least Dani is active in cross country, still reads a couple books a week in addition to her school work, and has taken the time to continue developing her artistic talents. And, she really is a good girl. She's helpful in many ways for me since she can babysit the younger children and help get dinner on the table. All useful things in life.

Helen started fourth grade. Promptly, within the first 5 school days, she and I had tears over homework. Thank God Beth (her godmother) can still come once a week this year to do extra work with Helen. You know, I've thought many times about my inadequacies, since I can't handle much homework time with Helen. But then I remember how blessed I am to have good friends who can pick up my slack. Helen is still doing swim lessons each Saturday. I think she has a goal to do the summer swim team next year and I hope that happens. It would be fun for her! She is also playing volleyball with her class and I am glad for that, too.

Dominic started first grade this year. He seems to love it so far. He's also playing Flag Football and he also takes swim lessons each Saturday at the Y. He has started to enjoy lego sets, reading independently, and still likes to play with his little brother.

Vincent is going to Pre-K this year, Monday through Friday all day long. it's good for him. He cried when I dropped him off, but then we discovered that he wouldn't turn on the water works for his sisters. So, now they walk him to his room and he has a great start to his days.  He's going to start swim lessons each Saturday at the end of September. Maybe I can get all of the younger four to do the Barracudas next summer...that will be cool.

One change for our family this year is that I am enrolling all the kids in the parish's Sunday night program. It was a requirement for Sarah anyway because she is to be confirmed in the spring, so she has to attend the confirmation program. But Dani will be attending public high school when the time comes and if she gets involved in the middle school youth programs at the parish, she will have the opportunity to start meeting some kids she will go to high school with. Helen and Dominic are kind of getting thrown in for good measure. I don't have a specific reason to send them, other than I'm excited that our parish's Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program extends through 5th grade now. Vincent will be doing the preschool Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. All four of my other children were able to attend this at their Grandma's parish with an overnight visit thrown in. But, with Vincent attending pre-K M-F, it's not possible for him to go do that, so I still wanted him to go through it. Maybe Craig and I will be able to take advantage of any programs they have for the parents on Sunday nights (sometimes they have apologetics type programs on Sundays...or they did at one point).

The last 8 weeks or so have been a drain on the emotions, I am not gonna lie. The first week of Sarah at high school, I had to stop myself from thinking about it. Everyone I know that has had a kid through high school says that it's over so fast. I know that is true. It's only four years. And Sarah could be off to college in four years. Away from me. So, thinking about that just made me tear up too much. And it's weird because I've always been on the side of wanting my kids to grow up. I love it when they tackle something new and meet new milestones. But, it's been so weird for Sarah to hit this point in life. It's that bittersweet feeling, I guess, where you're so proud of this child that you have watched grow up thus far, so excited for what life has in store for them, but yet worried about them leaving the nest and being on their own and sad for the end of your parent-child time. Well, I need to keep it together and stop thinking about it and live in the present. That is what I have been trying to do when I realized I was getting too sad thinking about Sarah growing up and leaving for college or something...live right now, enjoy this awesome girl living in my house, watch her grow and learn and conquer the world she lives in today.

The job change has also contributed to the emotional swings. I'm excited. I'm scared. I just want to get started, but I have so much to learn. I have new team members and I want to know if they like me and how we will work together.

Finally, the emotional changes over the course of the last 10 months have aided in my ignoring health and body cues and, of course, I've gained weight. Because that is what I do when I lose the control over external factors in my life. I just don't handle it well. I'm really glad the gym is doing a nutrition challenge starting in September. I am hopeful I can commit and get that part of my life back under control. I've maintained my rigorous workout schedule, I just haven't monitored the food side of things very well. (But you knew that would be the way it goes down with me, now didn't ya?)

I remember when I was having a baby every two to three years and I thought life couldn't be more hectic than it was then. But, I haven't had a baby in the house for 2+ years now and life only seems to be getting more hectic. My family is growing up quickly and in so many different ways. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pray for us!

July 24, 2015

16 Reasons I Have Been Married 16 Years

Happy "Sweet 16" to my marriage today! After my workout this morning and while I was getting ready for the day, I thought that there was nothing that could really top my husband's "Happy Anniversary" post tagging me on Facebook. 

Yeah, this is how we do :)

So I am not trying to top anything, but I decided to think of 16 reasons we have made it this far.

16 Reasons I have been married 16 years:

1. Complementarity. Honestly, I married the perfect, complementary personality for mine. I'm as Type A as a person can get, I'm intense and I like to make the rules (and enforce them). Craig is laid-back and he is relaxed and he is a rule follower. :)

2. Teamwork. We work together. Working two full-time jobs, raising 5 children, keeping a household running...can't be done effectively without teamwork.

3. Communication. it's not always face-to-face, because we have worked opposing schedules for most of our marriage, but e-mail, texts, phone calls...we talk to each other.

4. Goals. We set them. Many times we surpass them. Often, I think of the time I found my slip of paper that had goals Craig and I wrote down when i was pregnant with our first child. I wrote down that we planned for three children, I would complete my MBA and be making a certain income. By the time I found that sheet, our fourth child was on the way, I had completed my MBA 6 years before that and I was making about what that goal had stated. It was kind of crazy.

5. Re-evaluate our goals and our situation regularly. Goals are awesome because they can be reached and surpassed, or they can be re-assessed and modified. We do both.

6. It's our life and we'll live as we want to (sort of). We live our lives and don't worry about what others have to say about it. If we would have listened to well-meaning family members, we would not have 5 children (many thought that when #4 came along, that was just too much). And we make job changes and school decisions and all of that stuff together as a team of two. sometimes a team of 7 if the kids' opinions are relevant. But mostly a team of 2.

7. Place each other first. We don't get many date nights or trips together without the kids these days, but we both know that the other's consideration gets first nod as we put schedules together, make vacation plans (even with the kids) or make any other decisions affecting the family.

8. Commonality. Enjoy those things we have in common. We both love the Royals, Chiefs and Jayhawks. It's a priority to share the games together. We love sharing that with our children, too.

9. Laugh. A lot. My husband is naturally funny with great timing. He makes me laugh more than he makes me cry. It matters.

10. Hugs. I'm more of a  hugger than a kisser. My children appreciate that, by the way -- at least where their father and I are concerned. But we give lots of hugs around this house.

11. Respect. There is always the undertone of respect when we communicate, even in disagreement. We also use manners like "please" and "thank you" and "you're welcome" and are careful in our speech. Even (and especially) when no one is there to witness it. I love that.

12. Trust. We always trust that the other is looking out for our well-being and that of the children.

13. Attend Mass often. Of course, we go to Mass together (usually) on the weekends. But we also find other times to attend Mass, if we can make it work with our schedules. Because we are not together very often for other prayer times, this seems like a critical piece of our prayer life together as a married couple.

14. Partake of the Sacraments together, when applicable. When I have taken care to go to confession more frequently, I have noticed I am more focused and at peace in my vocation as a wife and mother. When Craig and I both attend confession, I notice a tenderness and understanding that runs through our communication to each other for some time after that. There's something about acknowledging our human limitations in confession that keeps us grounded.

15. Say, "I'm sorry" when we have wronged each other. Apologizing -- a TRUE apology (not one of those, "I'm sorry IF I offended you..." -- shows the acknowledgement that one of us has been a jerk and a validation of the person who was hurt. It seems our society these days is so hung up on this idea that we don't do anything wrong to another person and many seem to justify every behavior. Sometimes it's good to just take a deep breath, see the hurt you have caused and look at your spouse and say, "I'm sorry for hurting you."

16. Forgive each other. Knowing that Craig forgives my faults and loves me through it all makes all the difference in my life. Extending that same courtesy to him frees me from whatever ill will I may have taken toward him and helps us move forward.

In general, Craig has supported me in everything. He has been there rooting me on in all of my crazy physical endeavors (marathon, Crossfit, Triathlon -- whatever the next thing I want to try), the different jobs I have attempted, and trips to see family. But I would say the #1 way he has blessed me and our family and our marriage has been his support of learning and living our Catholic faith and raising our children in it. He and I share a common goal of joining God in Heaven someday -- and we recognize each other's part in staying on track together and with our children. 

So, happy anniversary Craig. 16 years. Mostly good times and a few sorrowful times and we've faced it all together. I love you.

July 5, 2015

Alright-y Then

It's been awhile, right? Well, hello. :)

It's been four months since you've heard from me. There's a lot to catch up on!

Most recently, Vincent turned 4 years old. Check it -- my youngest child on Earth is Four. Years. Old. I won't lie, it's a bit surreal. I love it. I'm happy. And it's bittersweet, too, because I do miss having a baby around. Just a little bit. (a real...little bit.) He has only one more month of daycare and then he'll be attending Pre-K at the same school as the other three who are still in grade/middle school. That's just crazy-talk!!

A cool 4-year-old
We just took a short road trip to visit some friends in Algona, IA. It was so great to see them. One of the daughters was in Dani's class and they have kept in touch via e-mail. One of the daughters was in Helen's class and they have kept in touch via snail mail. Just a really great family.

This is really high up over a walkway into the Grotto
While visiting, we went to the Grotto of Redemption in West Bend, IA. If you are ever traveling through Iowa, I recommend stopping there. My pictures and my descriptions will never do it justice. It's the largest man-made grotto in the world and the story of how it came to be is incredible. Father Paul Dobberstein (1872-1954) started construction of the Grotto in 1912. He worked on it for 42 years. The reason he started it was that he fell ill with pneumonia back when they didn't have penicillin to treat that and most people usually died once they had pneumonia. He prayed for our Blessed Mother's intercession and promised her that if he came through pneumonia, he would build something in her honor. So, the Grotto of Redemption is what he began. At the time of his death in 1954, his Grotto covered one city block. It was built completely by hand, and his attention to detail -- like I said -- I cannot do it justice so I will just post some of the pictures. But...go see it if you're in Iowa.

From the parking lot (so from afar)
In June, Sarah took her first high school classes. (Gasp! say, what?!?) She took a 1/2 credit of her P.E. requirement by attending school from 7:15-1:15 Monday-Thursday for four weeks. She also is completing her health requirement by taking it online and it ends July 10. She's doing really well and she said that she is glad I coaxed her into taking Health online because she was "so glad she didn't have to discuss some of this stuff in a classroom."

Oh! so before the summer high school, Sarah graduated from 8th grade! On her last day, I was in Florida on a trip for work and I was going back and forth between tears and no tears over this milestone. At the graduation Mass, Father said a little something about each of the kids and I was not surprised to hear what he said about Sarah. Well, I take that back...I'm not surprised by the words, but I think it's always nice when someone else recognizes something in your child that you have witnessed first hand yourself.
On her last day of school
Sarah allowed a picture with me at the Graduation Mass

Photo was actually taken at a wedding in June,
but this was the dress Sarah wore for Graduation Mass.
We hadn't gotten a photo of her with her Dad at the Graduation Mass.
Dominic also finished Kindergarten, so that's a thing. :) He was so cute on the last day getting pictures with his friends. He and I are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He loves to listen to me read it to him. One time I saw him with his eyes closed and asked if he had fallen asleep. But he said, "No mommy, I close my eyes because I am watching the story while you read it to me." How cool is that?

Helen finished the school year with flying colors. Her reading improved and so did her math. I think she got a good handle on how to do 3rd grade, which helped. And her godmother coming twice a week made a huge difference for her throughout the school year. We've continued with once a week reading sessions that even Dominic has participated in. She also attend Camp WIN which is a girls camp that introduces girls to as many as 14 new/different sports. She got the "Determination" award because she kept trying to ride the bike, didn't get flustered, and was determined, even though she never quite got it.

Dani did Girls on the Run and I ran the 5K with her. It was a lot of fun. She is moving on to Middle School next year and seems excited by the challenge. She did well in 5th grade and completed the D.A.R.E. program. She kept swimming, too, and is now doing the summer neighborhood swim team and loves it.

Here we are the morning of the Girls on the Run 5K
Dani with her Finisher's Medal
Craig is still enjoying his job at Ford. He's been trained on a couple of different jobs and really likes the team he was assigned to. He and I are still crossfitting. He also ran a 10K in June and got a PR. I nursed a strained achilles tendon for a couple of months, but I think it's all better now!

Oh and we attended the entire Easter Triduum this year! I was able to take all the kids to Holy Thursday Mass (Craig had to work). Then the entire family went to Good Friday service. And THEN!! we all went to Easter Vigil, too. I was excited because that is the kind of thing I have been looking forward to doing as a family as the kids got older and with Craig's new job. :)

My children before we went into Church for the Easter Vigil

I think that should be it for the updates! I'm sure it's not everything, but I could never get it all in I don't think. Crazy what happens in 4 months.

I'm not sure what I'm going to focus on with this blog going forward. I think when we lost Gregory and I wrote so much about that on this blog, I lost track of any other thing to focus on. Then I did the weight watchers stuff and found I really enjoyed writing about health and fitness, but once I hit my goal weight, I wasn't sure what to do about that. (And truth time -- I've put some weight on that I'm trying to take off again, so...there's that.)

So, if you're reading and want to continue -- hello again and I'm so glad you're here!