Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Am I just a pew filler?

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Am I just a pew filler?: My blog thinking has been more on the religious level lately. I guess that 's a good thing. My mind should be preoccupied with thoughts ...

Am I just a pew filler?

My blog thinking has been more on the religious level lately. I guess that 's a good thing. My mind should be preoccupied with thoughts of God.  I don't know why the phrase 'pew filler' came to my head the other day but it did so here's the pew filler blog...

Are we just pew fillers? What do we do to BE the Church?  I have heard plenty of good preaching, read many fine, inspiring books and articles but what has impacted my faith more than any of these? Seeing faith in action.  The examples of others shows me how to live the faith.  So what if I go to church?  Sure, it's a good, necessary thing for my soul. God wants us to be there on Sunday. But when I am there am I really there? Or is it just a motion I go through? I'll admit, it sometimes is for me.  But I am there. I'm hoping it counts for something!

Now that my babies are older, I don't have the cry room excuse, I have NO reason to not be fully immersed in the Mass. But I fail. I am fairly attentive during the readings and homily but the most important part of Mass I take for granted, the Eucharist.  When we receive communion, we become Jesus and it is our duty to be Him and build up His kingdom on Earth.  When we partake of his body and blood we are like little Jesuses everywhere.  He wants us to become Him. If we become Him, we should spread his message of love and peace.  How do we do this? That answer can be as simple or as complicated as we make it.  I like the simple version. "Love one another as I have loved you." Although, that is not as simple as it sounds because no one can love as Jesus has loved, but we can sure try.  So how do I love others?  I look to others that have lived before us to give us that answer. Whether it be grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, family or friends living or in heaven, those are my inspiration, also, the Saints.

We celebrated St. Andrew the other day.  He was a behind-the-scenes kinda guy.  That's how most of us are. But what is our behind the scenes role?  Our talents are ours alone. God gave each of us a unique gift. Our job is to figure that out and to use it for His purpose.  It is more than likely a very simple gift. The gift of shoveling sidewalks on an early Sunday morning, the gift of remembering birthdays and making that person feel special that day, the gift of cooking for others, the gift of organizing events, the gift of greeting others with a smile, the gift of volunteering, the gift of cleaning, the gift of speaking up, the gift of friendship, the gift of laughter, the gift of comfort, the gift of compassion, the gift of praying.

What is your gift to give to Jesus for his birthday this year? Your gift may not (in your eyes) be spectacular, but to God, it is.  In the words of St. Therese, the little flower, your 'little way' is not little. You are a stone, a pillar, in the church as much as the great saints.

The the saints.  I am a convert to the Catholic faith. One secret treasure the Catholic Church has is the Saints. Saints SHOWED us how to live as Jesus. Before the 1500's it was just us Catholics. We endured a lot during those years.  It's easy to judge the mistakes of the pass but many great, holy people had to figure out what God wanted us to do. Church history is so much more than what is in the Bible.  The Bible is the instruction manual but the real work began after Jesus ascended to the Father.  It is those years after that the challenge arose.  Jesus was not here in physical form. He sent the Holy Spirit upon our ancestors and the saints to SHOW us how to live.

Pope Francis is being quoted right and left, but the Saints are just as he is.  I am constantly inspired to try to live holy as they did. Some of my favorite saints: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Therese of Liseux, St. Bernadette, St. Mother Theodore Guerin, of course St. Joseph and St. Mary!, St. Augustine, and hopefully soon to be saints; Mother Theresa and Bishop Fulton Sheen.  'We are all called to be saints.' Our saintly path will more than likely not be anything more than a simple version of who we are lived out in a very holy way.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  These are the spiritual gifts we are to give each other to build up the kingdom of God. It is advent. The time we wait for Jesus' coming at Christmas and Jesus' coming at the end of times.  What are we doing with our lives to fill up this time? How are we giving our spiritual gifts to Jesus? Are we doing more than just setting in the pew?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Transitional Seasons

While I would love to blog all the time, it seems that time is my problem. So, I am happy if I can write once a month. I figured right now, while I am inspired by this changing season of fall, would be a perfect time while the trees are in full fall firework fashion.

We just finished up a busy fall soccer/volleyball season. I think we might have a month's rest before some other sport begins. While my kids sports are winding down, I am hoping my sport of running will gear up again.  I have suffered from serious lack of motivation.  I still run, but I am down to 3 days a week.  I am going to sign up for 1/2  marathon in December. Maybe I will increase to at least 4 days.  Races are always a motivator.  I do pilates/yoga on 2 off days so I am not terribly lazy ;).

The other morning was one of those I had to force-to-lace-up mornings.  But as with all runs, I am glad I did.  The sun was shining and the golden, maroon, burnt orange array of hues were a reminder of God's beautiful creation in nature and in the human body.  My pace was not fast, but I breathed in the crisp air, my mind was clear, and I felt inhuman.  I think that might be what is described as a runner's high.

Fall and spring are short lived seasons but by far the most beautiful, in my opinion.  They are a time of transition. Kind of a metaphor of life. We are always in a state of transitioning.  Some transitions are short lived, some are lifelong.  Some good, some bad. The transition that should be lifelong for believers is that we should be constantly in the state of conversion.  

The sacraments of initiation have been on my mind lately (baptism, communion, and confirmation). Baptism and communion mainly because we started back religious education classes and that's what I have been teaching about.  Our parish only does confirmation every 4 years and this is the year for it. Sadly, with confirmation, this the last religious education a believer has.  They do not do much beyond that to grow in their faith.  So, it's no wonder many Catholics when asked the tough questions have no clue. Their faith is that of a teenager.  

I fail miserably, but I try to do spiritual and biblical readings every day. I am constantly aware of how stupid I am!  We do have a weekly bible class for adults.  With all the busy-ness with my kids, I can never make it.   (Devil is smiling-he loves us busy).  Maybe this winter I can attend.  Regardless, I do say my 'canned' prayers with my children, we pray for others and our own needs daily.  I was told it is good to do 30 minutes of spiritual reading a day.  Some days it happens, others zero.  I do believe one thing we must do daily is pray.  Prayer is a way to be constantly converted, this is a way we can deal with life's constant transitions.

If I could recommend anything, read, read, read.  Not only your Bible, but find something that speaks to your soul.  Lives of the saints, church fathers, contemporary authors... I am reading Bishop Fulton Sheen now.  Watch religious movies and documentaries. Fill your mind with all things religious so to keep out the evil temptations.  

Spring and fall are the short transitional seasons, but most of our time is spent in summer and winter. Our lives are constantly transitioning with the busy-ness of living. But, how are you going to live your seasons now as to transition your soul to our Father in Heaven?

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: A New Season

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: A New Season: Where have I been? Last post was June. I did not accomplish my goal of living simply this summer. Now it's been nothing but 'stupid ...

A New Season

Where have I been? Last post was June. I did not accomplish my goal of living simply this summer. Now it's been nothing but 'stupid busy' (my new phrase).  We are in the midst of soccer and volleyball season with marching band thrown in.  Still driving continuously back and forth to town. So much, in fact, a deer ran into my husband's path and decided to murder our 17 year old, 319,000 mile civic. My daughter was with him.  All I have to say is those two have some rockin' guardian angels.  By looking at the car, it's by God's grace they were not injured.  We are still in mourning. However, a reluctant seller sold us his very used, beloved civic with only 312,000 miles.  Honda owners are like a special fraternity.  We understand each other.

So now what? Summer is gone, cool days are being mixed in with hot.  Leaves are slowly changing. Mums are on the porch. Fall is approaching.  I love fall. Really, all seasons, but certain things about fall speak to my soul.  The beauty of the trees, collecting funny shaped acorns with the kids, crisp air, perfect running weather, pumpkin flavored everything, candy corn and peanuts, gourds decorating my porch, bonfires, hot cider, etc.  I love living in the midwest so I can experience God's 4 seasons and their uniqueness.

I have began a new phase (season) in my life and am still trying to figure it out.  It's been a month since school started and I have no little ones at home.  For 14 years there has been someone along side me.  I have to admit, it's nice to hear quiet.  There are some days my heart tugs a little because they are growing up, but that's what they are supposed to do. I can't stop time.  It's hard to be sad when your kindergartner LOVES school. I am so happy for him.  It seems though, I still cannot accomplish anything.  I had an epiphany the other day.  My mind is thinking 'ok, no kids, you can get a lot done'.   So I work fast and furious and the next thing I know they are getting off the bus.  I think my to do list is a little ambitious therefore placing undue stress upon myself.  I will figure it out.  Like today, I am going to blog and clean the house later.  What good is living if you  live off your to do list every day? I do my best to take care of my family but do they really care if the walls were wiped down today? I think they would prefer a mother that was ready for them when they get off the bus. Not finishing up cleaning or errands.  I discovered that I need to start supper at 2:00 because every night we are either running kids to practice or going to games,  throw in homework, baths and cleaning up the kitchen, it's pretty crazy.

So there's a new season approaching in the air and a new season in my life. What's on my to do list today? 7 loads of laundry (that's what you get when you don't do laundry one day in this house), vacuuming, dusting, dishes, making homemade applesauce, sweeping the porch, watering the flowers, doing some volunteer paperwork, all before starting supper at 2:00.  Or maybe I'll just take a walk with Bosco in the crisp autumn air, soak in the sunshine and enjoy a hot tea on the porch.  Who am I kidding? I'll get the to do list done because I have a problem with knowing how to live  a simple life.

Or, maybe, my approach to this is all wrong.  I should live the example of the Saints. Mother Theresa said 'do small things with great love.' St. Benedict's rule of work and prayer “Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore all the community must be occupied at definite times in manual labour and at other times in lectio divina.” (The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 48) There are times for work, prayer and rest. My work is not only for myself, but for the benefit of others.  I can sometimes work and pray at the same time. One time I read an article about mothers and housework. I wish I could reference it.  One practical thing I took out of it was when folding laundry say a prayer for that person's clothes you are folding.  Work can be prayer, it can be holy. There are times when we need to set  time aside to feed the soul, but the bulk of our time is spent in work and our attitude towards it makes us either holy or bitter.  

I am blessed.  I embrace this role as a stay at home mom.  I LOVE not having to leave the home for work and my husband spoils me rotten. I can't imagine a better life. I am truthfully, undeserving.  Now that my new season is beginning, I pray that God leads me in my next phase of how to spend my time. Whether is be endless loads of laundry or a new ministry, I pray that I am willing to take on the task with holiness.

How can you take on work with holiness?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Simply least longing for it

Where did May go?  Not one blog during that month.  I kept saying "May is busier than December." It's true. With all the end of the school year activities, field trips, spring sports finishing, summer sports beginning, Josef's First Communion (which I really, really wanted to blog about), and his birthday, our anniversary, memorial day weekend....oh vay!  My head was spinning. So much for the simple life.  June is not looking good either.  These kids are in way too many activities for me, but whadda do?  The white board with all our activities are still full. So much for a relaxing summer.

So what do I do?  I make numerous trips back and forth to town and spend my evenings at the ball park because I love my kids and they love their activities.  I plant less in my garden (finally June 2,  want blog about my redneck gardening too), expect only bare minimum housework, and try to keep the peace.  We have plans to go camping and attend the hillbilly/hoosier reunion in West Virginia (with a side trip to Heinz field to visit our beloved Steelers).  Maybe a few other spontaneous activities will happen.

What do I long for?  Reading books on my porch while sipping some Kombucha (my new tea, I should blog about that one too), while petting my Bosco. Watching the kids play their own pick up baseball game (maybe join them), watch my garden grow, pick wild berries, lay out in the sun, swim, make homemade ice cream, cloud watch, run, blog, catch fireflies... I want to savor summer.

God has given me 5 wonderful children.  I want them to have a good childhood experience. I don't give them everything they want, and I don't always deny them the things they like to do.  So, it's not about me.  I have been a little emotional, reminiscent lately. My oldest has her driver's permit and my youngest will be going to kindergarten.  They won't stop growing! So, I am trying to 'chill out' and make summer about them and about fun.  My kids do better if they are structured otherwise it's bickering and boredom.  Structured doesn't necessarily mean numerous organized activities but today we are going for a walk in the woods or getting ice cream at the Sundae Shoppe.

Summer should be the time when the simple life should be lived to it's fullest.  My life is not simple. I try to make it that way but no matter how hard I try, it gets more complicated.  But it's a goal, something to strive for and I am not giving up.

How do you live Summer simply?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Zip-pity Do Da 21.5 Mile Almost Marathon

100% chance of thunderstorms predicted on race day. Whadda ya do?  Already invested a hundred bucks and endless hours of training.  You go for it with an attitude like Lt. Dan "You call this a storm? BLOW, you son of a B%$#@!, BLOW."   You prepare your mind with nothing but positive thoughts.  Songs like Zippity Do Da, You Are My Sunshine, Singing (running) in the Rain, Sunshine Day, and Kermit's 'Rainbow Song'.  I was going to embrace whatever came my way on my second marathon. After all, I trained in sleet, blowing snow, and negative wind chills so what's a few raindrops and claps of thunder?  Well...that's about the only thing I don't like running in (and no one should).  Lightening is nothing to be taken lightly. The race officials had to do what they had to do, such is life.

My goal was to run the Illinois full marathon (26.2 miles) in 4:45 so I signed up with a pace group.  A few miles in, I met a gal and we hit it off. She was running the half. It's funny how instantly you bond with a fellow runner.  I already have a place to stay if I wish to race in the St. Louis area!  It really helps having a running buddy, keeps your mind off what you are doing.  There was an on and off drizzle for the first half.  Right before she left me, I spotted another Break Wind Running Club runner! He was doing pretty awesome. I saw my new friend PR'd.  What a day for her.  PR means personal record, all runners are truly happy for each other when they hear someone does that!  After I left her, I had to catch up with my pace group.  About mile 14,  my dear husband brought all 5 kids and they were holding awesome signs they made.  I stopped and kissed each one. Got a little teary eyed.  I gave him my jacket (mistake) and took off thinking I would see them again along the route.

I was in mile 17 when we heard the announcement "the race has been cancelled, seek shelter immediately."  UGH!! I was doing so good! No porta potty stops YET!  Well...I didn't know what shelter to seek and our pacer left us.   Just about mile 17 was when I was beginning the stages of self-doubt and despair. "Should I just leave the group and slow down?"  Mr. Thunder robbed my of fulfilling those stages of the marathon and I never got to meet 'The Wall.' Shame on him. Decided to NOT run with a phone (dumb).  So I did what everybody else was doing...just kept running.  A police officer said we need to go to a high school. Well, I didn't see anyone going inside so I...just kept running.  I heard another say, a bus will pick you up. Mile 18, no bus.  They blockaded part of the route so I was able to skip over to mile 23.  About mile 23.5 I thought "I bet my family is at the 20 mile marker, but not turning around now."  I did see a bus ahead of me, but missed it, so I....just kept running. That's when the downpour started.  Heard 3 claps of thunder. I never felt really threatened.  It was a little storm, but lightening none the less. Started saying some "Hail Marys".  My body wasn't feeling that bad, my feet hurt, my calves were chaffing (who would have thought to lube the calves?), but my pace did slow.  The community is so awesome in Champaign-Urbana, there were signs on yard saying 'emergency shelter'. When the water stations closed down the people still gave out waters and jelly beans!  So, after missing the bus, I thought it's just another 5K to finish line. If I see a bus or my hubby, I will stop.  It was very weird when the 9 minute pace group passed me. I actually did LOL!

So, I....just kept running to the finish line. Got my undeserved medal and cool fleece blanket. My Garmin said 21.5 miles.  Trudged up the stairs for water and pizza. I called my husband and he had no idea the race was cancelled. He thought he missed me finish! As I was walking through the crowds of people to get to gear check, I thought my calves were going to explode. One lady looked at me and said "are you all right?" NO! but I said yes.  I was so worried about meeting up with my family, I didn't properly cool down and stretch (big mistake, still paying for it 3 days later).  I stretched my calves a little and then took off for the most miserable walk of my life.  There was construction so to get to the shower and the meeting place of my family, I had to walk another 2 blocks in down pouring rain.  I could hardly move my hips.  I thought to myself, forward is a pace.  The bag they gave us had a mesh side and so my clothes I was going to change into and my towel were getting wet.  But once I was able to get in the shower, all was forgotten. I tried stretching in the shower stall! Funny.  I paid $5 for a shower, but it was well worth $100! I did leave my "I have to poop" headband there. Bummer.

Afterwards, we went and got my post race steak, drove an hour home and laid around the rest of the day cuddled in my finisher's blankie, watching movies.  Why I didn't stretch and ice?  I don't know.  Another mistake. I was just spent.  Now that I have had time to reflect, I still don't know what to do.  I researched May/June marathons in the area. One June 6th possibility but our local 5K is that day which I always do and love to support.  I guess, I'll just let it go.

What did I learn from this?  Lots.  1. Attempting a marathon in a thunderstorm is the most insane thing I have done, but I was glad to run with others that share this insanity. 2. I appreciate so much  volunteers!!!  Especially those that were directing traffic. They had NO choice but to continue. Some runners had to keep running to the finish line because they had no ride or bus.  As I thought about this I got teary eyed.  I even said to one police officer "thank you for putting up with our stupidity."  He just smiled and laughed.  Also thanks for those who still stayed handing out waters at the station and at the finish line.  They really deserved medals too!  3. Life is like a race, you must embrace what comes your way, weather the storms, enjoy the mile you are in, love the rain, the finish line is your rainbow and...just keep running.

How do you embrace the storm?

My race fans...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Annoying God in Prayer

Prayer is like an annoying child.  This is my reflection after my morning Bible reading.  Imagine yourself looking up at Jesus and pulling at His robe.  Here is the conversation:

Scenario  1: 
You:  "Jesus I want a cookie. Jesus, I want a cookie. Jesus, can I please have a cookie? Jesus, I will do anything, I'll be good, I won't sin, if you just give me a cookie."
Jesus: "My child, I see you are hungry and since you were persistent, I will give you your cookie."
You: "Thank you Jesus!  I am satisfied now."

Scenerio 2:
You:  "Jesus I want a cookie. Jesus, I want a cookie. Jesus, can I please have a cookie? Jesus, I will do anything, I'll be good, I won't sin, if you just give me a cookie."
Jesus: "My child, I see you are hungry and since you were persistent, I will not give you a cookie but rather an apple."
You:  "Jesus, I don't want an apple, I want a cookie."
Jesus:  "Dear child, a cookie is not bad, but this apple is better for you."
You: "Humph." Pouting with your head down, you take the apple and eat it, after a while you say: "Thank you, Jesus. I am FULFILLED! This apple tasted better than I could ever imagine."

Luke 11:5-10

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence[a] he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Sometimes I feel like the annoying child, asking for the same thing over and over and over.  Every once in a while,  I realize maybe I am asking for the wrong thing. His plan is always better. I love this Bible verse. It gives us permission to be an annoying child and gives me understanding on how I need to be patient with my own children.   A simple prayer to say is "God, whatever your will, make it mine." We have permission to ask this over and over and over and over....

Is your prayer annoying?

Don't think of the things you didn't get after praying. Think of the countless blessings God gave without you asking him.

Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank God in everything no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18 AMP)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Why I Run

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Why I Run: I am writing and eating my favorite post-run breakfast, quinoa with maple syrup and dried fruit. Sippin' on my yummy black coffee. Just ...

Why I Run

I am writing and eating my favorite post-run breakfast, quinoa with maple syrup and dried fruit. Sippin' on my yummy black coffee. Just got back from my early morning (5:30) slow run.  This week I start my tapering for the Illinois Marathon.  It's in 2 weeks. Tapering is when you start to run less and eat more.  Well, I really won't eat more until a few days before.  My long training runs are done. Why did I do this again?  I still haven't figured it out.  Last year's marathon was my first.  Not a good experience.  I was doing great until mile 14 then the heat, gus, gatorade, and bbq grippo potato chips I ate the entire week before kicked in. Let's just say my Break Wind Running Club shirt I was wearing with our logo "we never run out of gas" held to it's name.  In fact, I was walking for a period and a woman (rather arrogant) ran past me and said "looks like you ran out of gas." I said "nope, I still have plenty left, that's my problem." Thank goodness for the 4 porta potties.  Yes, this is TMI but if you are a runner, you have empathy for one suffering from runner's trots.  So, I think my motivation for this marathon was to simply do better. My time was 5:19.  My goal is to have a race that I only visit porta johnny once and beating the 5 hour mark would be nice.

I started running April of 2011 when my youngest was 18 months.  My reason was not to lose weight. My 5th baby burned me 500 calories a day nursing.  I lost my baby weight pretty easily. In fact, I gained 10 pounds within a year when I started running!  I started running because I was so tired of going up and down the stairs feeling like crap. I had no energy.  My husband had started running and had ran a couple marathons.  He was a huge source of inspiration.  Another reason I ran is because of my birth defect.  I was born with hip dysplasia.  I had casts on my legs as a baby, a surgery on my hip when I was 8 and another on my knee when I was 12.  My doctor said I would start to get arthritis in my 30's. I was starting to notice it especially when I got above a certain weight.  I figured maybe I could keep the arthritis at bay if I exercised.  So far, it has worked!  Looking back at my experience with my dysplasia, I believe I was truly blessed with a progressive doctor.  I could always do sports and now am running marathons.  He fixed me up good!  I wish I could find him to say thank you.  I know of another gal who was born with the same condition.  She is just a few years younger than me and just had a hip replacement.  She may have been born with a more severe case so I don't know if I am comparing apples to apples.  I am so thankful and know that I am blessed to have the opportunity and ability to run. I pray often when I run.  I usually begin my prayer "thank you for this ability to run,  I offer up my pains, tiredness and weariness as a sacrifice for those that can't."

I have run 5 half marathons and soon to be 2 full, a few 10ks and countless 5k's.  I love racing. It gives me a goal.  I love the camaraderie of fellow runners.  Some may think it vain or boasting to post a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car, but I beg to defer.  Well, ok, maybe a little sin of pride there, but it's also the (not so) secret society club symbol.  I yell out 26.2 to my kids when we pass a fellow marathoner.  However, I do find the 0.0 stickers hilarious.  I call them honorary members because they at least know the language.

A few years ago a group of not-so-serious runners here started a running club.  The master mind behind the name was inspired by another club named 'Second Wind'.  He, my husband and another guy have ran together for awhile and would joke that they were the CRC, Covington Running Club.  We were at an expo and he said what about "Break Wind Running Club?"  We all laughed. It was perfect!  We made a  facebook page and voila the club was born!  Some people ask me what you need to do to join.  I honestly laugh and say "can you break wind? you can only join if you can break wind."  We are truly a not-so-serious grassroots club that just wants to run.  We post funny stuff on fb, try to get together to run once a week, eat a few times together and support each other.  Recently, I wrote the BWRC Creed:  "I believe in never letting anyone face a long run alone. To keep what's said on the run, on the run. To never judge the smells that linger around me. To always keep handy a Kleenex, lend a sock or hankie for my fellow runner. To allow a right of way to snot rockets (aka farmer's blow). To support local races and be an enabler for our addiction."  FREE BWRC membership belongs to those who run, walk, ride, cheer from the sideline, dream about running, want to run or basically interested in  running.  I have  made some good friends through this club and look forward to our early Saturday morning runs.

In my very first blog, I mentioned my problem of keeping life simple.  Running is probably the simplest sport there is. Just lace up your shoes and go (the most complicated part of running is to make sure you do have good shoes, many injuries could be avoided if we had the right kicks). My problem is I can't just lace and go, nope I have to run races, join a club, subscribe to runner's world, track my miles, study high protein food and carbs,  analyze my run on my Garmin, oh and am a race director for a local 5/10k.  My husband is starting to come back to the joy of running. He decided not to run any marathons this year and if he feels like it, he will go out for a 20  miler if not, oh well, nothing is lost.  After this marathon, I am looking forward to the joy of running. Sometimes when you are training it is just another thing on your to do list, it seems like a chore.

This morning's run I got a glimpse of why I remembered the reason I run.  For the health of it. Health not only for fitness and not being able breath when I go up the stairs, but for the health of my sanity and soul.  I had been using my daughter's mp3 player. I usually run 1 mile before I put the plugs in.   This morning when I was done with my 6 miler, I took the plugs out and was disappointed. I had missed the most musical symphony ever composed.  It happens every spring and summer morning around 6 am, the explosion of birds singing their morning song. I am convinced there is an alarm clock bird. One bird chirps, wakes up another and within 2 minutes they are all awake jabbering about how their night went, what to eat for breakfast and what today's agenda will be.  So why this talk about birds? These original tweeters reminded me why I run, for the joy of doing something good for me, the chance to hear their beautiful voices and be outside enjoying God's creation. It really can be that simple.

Runners, why do you run?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


March 31st fou-tay-one years ago, I was born.  A quick glance at my life.  I have had a very blessed one. Good parents, a simple childhood that we had everything we needed but not necessarily everything we wanted (which is a good lesson for today's kids).  A nice, small Indiana hometown to grow up in.  Did well in school and in college.  Have always had awesome friends.  Found an incredible husband and we are in the mist of raising 5 very active kids. Life is good.

I woke up feeling fou-tay-one. I had a bad night sleep, night sweats, achy legs, icky stomach.  My daily reading was Psalms 71 "Prayer in the time of old age".  Oh vay...hope this is not any indication of how 41 is going to be.

My plans to celebrate this one day a year that I should feel special...enjoying the outdoors.  Cleaning up the garden, raking the dead leaves out of flower beds, Fulton wants to jump on my niece's  trampoline (something a woman with 5 children can no longer do).  I might have to come inside a little to do dishes, laundry and tidy up.  After school, Kevin and I will wave at each other on the road while we run kids to their various activities.  Probably not going to have a family dinner together tonight.  Understand now why I long for a simple life?

Or maybe (if even the coffee kicks in and I start to feel better) I will just 'play sick' and lay on the couch all day eating cookie dough.  Oh but that's not me, I will get bored.  Plus, the weather is beautiful.  Maybe I'll just brew another pot of coffee and Fulton and I will make chocolate chip cookies. Cookies are my request in replace of cake, but no one else has time to make them, so Fulty and I will just do it and eat 1/2 the dough!

Having my birthday this time of year it often falls around Easter and a few times, on Easter.   Easter is this Sunday.  I love coloring Easter Eggs.  I adore the imaginations of children. I believe they are true artists.  I am proud of my kids artwork.  More importantly, they understand Easter is not bunnies, chocolate and eggs.  

To get to Easter, we have to have Holy Week.  Thursday the Lord's Supper, Friday the Passion, Saturday waiting in the tomb...then boom SUNDAY! Christ will rise!  One thing I did last year was pull my kids out of school for the Good Friday service at 2.  They loved that.  I encourage parents to do the same. Losing a little school time for the Lord is not going to hurt their academics. 

So, my birthday and Easter and aging body...all in one blog.  My life may not be as simple as I want it, but it is more blessed then I deserve. My fou-tay-one years have felt like I am living heaven on earth, I can't  imagine wait the real place will be like.

Are you living Heaven on Earth?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Simply Playing

Something weird is happening in this family today.  Three of my kids are getting along. And playing. And spent about 3 hours OUTSIDE in the snow/rain sledding and throwing snow balls.  It's a snow day. No school. Well, it was supposed to be an ice day, but looks like the forecasters were a little off (score!).  I have a big window in my living room that looks out into the woods.  I was sitting in  the quiet thinking "I love my kids, especially when I can watch them play off in the distance while I sit  warm and dry on my couch and listen faintly to their scream and laughter."  The woods is hilly so you can see so much wildlife activity when it snows. I was watching a red cardinal and is it blue birds or jays that stay? I can never remember.  I do like snow.  "Sigh"....then all peace is disturbed when they come into the house. It was a nice moment while it lasted.

At least they didn't come barreling in tattle telling like about every day after school when they get off the bus. No, they came in made their own cocoa and talked about playing house. I guess my middle child's "boyfriend" was Bosco, our dog.  They are now in the basement in shorts, not asking.  My kids are normal. They fight. But on those rare occasions when they play well, it makes me proud. I hope they look back and appreciate that they had playmates every day.  We didn't have to call a friend to come over.  I was told once that people in Italy are emotionally healthy because they don't hide their feelings.  They fight like mad but love like crazy.  I would say that our family may be part Italian not German.

Aren't kids imaginations something?  With all of the electronic devices the best toy still is imagination.  Simple play.  Making things up as you go along.  I often joke the best toys are sticks, rocks and mud (legos are pretty good too).

The day started when my dad called and said we better take the buckets off the trees because of the ice and cold temps coming in.  That may cause the buckets to burst.  Which is the reality of using 50 year old galvanized buckets instead of the blue bags on the trees.  With all the extra work, I still love those buckets.  Today probably would have been a good day for the trees to run, but we can't collect tomorrow so later this week we will have to hang them back up.  Oh well, it forced us to go outside and get some exercise.   Good thing the kids didn't have school, we had lots of help (and a little complaining) but it went much faster.  Although, I wouldn't have minded doing it all myself.  A walk in the woods in 10 inches of snow makes for a good and peaceful workout.

I am proud to say I did live simply today.  It was relaxing or I can't decide, maybe just lazy. I even dozed off for 20 minutes!  It was productive. I got what I call 'bare minimum' done: laundry, dishes and tidying up.  I also helped my 6th grader with a cell model.  I didn't run. Maybe that's why I feel lazy.  I think we need the simple, lazy days to rejuvenate our souls even if it is on a Tuesday.  Some schools are going to these e-learning days where the kids have school at home on snow days.  What a shame.  Snow days are needed.   It's a time for simple play, resting, and your kids just might discover that they like each other.

What was your favorite simple play as a child?

Minions - kids when they are fighting or irritating each other in the car...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lent and I'm not talking the belly button kind.

Oh me, oh my. It's been forever since I've blogged.  I'm putting my simple life into practice. Eliminating things that are not necessary, like blogging.  Lent has started. I am also trying to cut back my computer time.  It really is a time waster.  While, the internet is a marvelous invention, as with all things...moderation.  Today, I am writing as a sleeping little boy is on my lap. He was up all night vomiting while holding his stuffed puppy (so cute) and another is on the verge.  Three down, four to go.  Not a bad time of year to be sick. Today it's another school delay. -4 degrees outside.  What else do we have to do?

It's been really cold and I am becoming  worried that it's  not going to be a good year for syrup. We've only made 2 batches so far.  I love making maple syrup. It's the time of year I can spend in the woods. Once poison ivy comes on, I just look at it and it creeps on my skin.  I've been experimenting with maple running candy, I call it. Once I have perfected it, I will post the recipe.  Maple syrup has almost all the nutrients that are in the running gus and other endurance sports candy and supplements. I may be on to something. I've seen syrup in gu-like packages but I think it would be too messy to run with.  The candy I am making is like a mint-like candy. Easy to run and eat. I've added ginger to help with tummy issues. I am super excited to experiment with this.

 Lent is my favorite time of year!  The ending of winter, the beginning of spring.  Time to take restock of your life.  What are you doing in your life that needs to change so you may be a better person for God?  I recently went to confession and my priest gave me simple advice that seemed so obvious, but I never thought of it.  Regarding gossip or being critical to others, the next time you see that person, compliment them or say something nice about them to someone else.  As a 1st communion teacher, I have to also teach 1st confession. We often talk about vice versus virtue. Virtue is the opposite of the sin you are committing.  Here are some examples:
Pride Vs Humility
Greed Vs Generosity
Lust Vs Chastity
Anger Vs Gentleness
Gluttony Vs Moderation/Restraint
Envy Vs Charity
Laziness Vs Zeal
So this lent I will try to better practice virtues instead of committing vices. Especially when it comes to impatience versus patience and negativity versus affirmation .

Lent is a time for charity, fasting and prayer. How can giving up chocolate and meat on Fridays make a difference? I like what my priest said, 'lent is not a 40 day weight loss program.'  Giving up something you like or indulgence and learning to live without does make a difference.  We choose those things we like so that we may focus on higher things.  I am a big meany. I make my family give up tv however, I do allow my children to watch 'Jesus videos'. We have quite a good collection of them that do not get watched the rest of the year.  Whenever we fast, we also are praying.  If you put a meaning behind not eating snacks, chocolate, meat, watching tv, computer, sleep so that you may pray or whatever you 'give up' you are offering up your sufferings with Christ's sufferings.  How little or big your sacrifice is, God knows your heart and your intention.

I've decided to run my 2nd marathon in April.  I say the hardest things about running are getting started and staying motivated (esp when it's -4 outside).  But with running, if you put a meaning behind your run (like running for those who are sick, suffering, for peace, for charity) you will have great motivation and your sacrifice is a prayer. The same with putting meaning behind your fasting. Offering up your fast (or run) with Christ's passion, is a  great source of motivation to become the child God needs you to be.

How can you be a better child for God this lent?

Download a Prayer for Lenten Grace and use it in your home or parish to prepare for and to celebrate Lent.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Recipes

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Recipes: Maple Apple Pork 1 pork tenderloin (1-1 1/4 pounds) cut into 8 medallions 3 T corn starch 1 1/2 cups apple juice 1/4 c pure maple syru...

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: A Book Report and Satori

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: A Book Report and Satori: I recently read a book that I think was meant for me to read at this moment in time.  It's been a long time since I have done a book rep...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Book Report and Satori

I recently read a book that I think was meant for me to read at this moment in time.  It's been a long time since I have done a book report, a dreadful assignment as a youngster, yet I feel compelled to report this read!  Since I am on this path to try to live more simply, this novel spoke to me.  "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. A Book that Changes Lives" by Dan Millman.  There is also a movie made that is very good.  A brief synopsis: a young Dan is an unhappy college student seeking something but he doesn't know what. A wise teacher, Socrates or "Soc" enters his life to show him the way of a peaceful existence.

Soc tries to teach Dan to quiet his mind.  Live in the moment.  He asks him many times, "What time is it?  Where are you?"  The answer should be "it is now, I am here."  I need to remind myself this because my mind is constantly chattering, never shuts up. The moment I awake my to do list is already forming (although it does motivate me to get out of bed).  Sometimes I have multi-tasked so much that I forget the task I started out to do!  But there are a few moments when I can quiet my mind, I will explain later.

Another gem I read is when Dan asked Soc if he thought "rich people are any happier than poor stiffs like us."  His answer "If you have enough money to satisfy your desires, you are rich...or you can cultivate a simple lifestyle of few desires that way you always have more than enough money." Aren't the best times the simple ones?  Laughter, listening to kids sing, watching a silly puppy, seeing God's creation by walking through the woods, and of course running (although thank goodness my hubby can afford my $100 running shoes).

Satori as explained by Soc "A Zen concept...the warrior's state of being; it occurs at the moment with the mind is free of thought, pure awareness the body is active, sensitive, relaxed; and the emotions are open and free." "The final step for the warrior is to expand his clarity into daily life. Then satori will become your reality."  When I read this I immediately thought "that's how I feel after a good run!"  Alas, I found the meaning of the "RUNNER'S HIGH!"

I won't tell much more about the book because it is a wonderful study to read. I will however pass along some Soc and Dan tidbits that may help on life's journey.  "Just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world...there is no problem, never was and never will be.  Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away our concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine."  Thank you Dan Millman for your quiet mind.  Your book surely has changed lives.  I plan on reading more of your thoughts.

Soc kept telling Dan to "open your eyes!"
Are you looking but not seeing?

Dan Millman #quoteA story about a man's journey and can help you with yours. I recommend it to everyone.   Be present - it is the only moment that matters. ~Dan Millman~  Image:  The time is now, the  place is here. stay in  the present. you can  do nothing to change  the past, by Dan Millman #1397

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Feeding the Spirit

OK back to the whole purpose of this blog...the simple things.

Pulling your 4 year old over the ice on a sled.
Finding a new hill to sled on.
Laying face up on the snow.
Listening to 100 geese flying over.
Listening to silence.
Noticing not a cloud in the sky.
Seeing your son be "king of the mountain."
Petting your big Bosco puppy.
Listening to your kitty purr on your lap.
Seeing if the ice is safe to cross.
Watching Sesame Street.
Reading a book.
Making a homemade supper from scratch (with maple syrup as the main ingredient).
Spotting a cardinal in the snow out the window.
A simple blog.

That's what I accomplished today.

What did you accomplish that spoke to your spirit?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vanity of Vanities...All things are Vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2

I really should name my next kid or animal Ecclesiastes.  It's such a cool name and I am sure they would be wise.  That's not the topic of this blog. The topic is me.  Me, me, me.  It's all about I, it's all about me, it's all about number 1... or however the country song goes.  I'll admit, I am vain. I'm so vain that I just KNOW Carly Simon wrote that song about me.  I am becoming increasingly vain since I turned 40 this year (or as my girlfriends say foh-tay).  It's this hair.  I am refusing to go grey.  I have been this way for a few years.  One of my running friends, who isn't much older than me said "girl, you just gotta embrace it!"  She looks fabulous grey.  I just can't do it, yet.  My husband wants me to let nature take its course.  I know, it's vanity

I've always wanted red hair. So, in October I did it. I am not a red head. You have to be born that way.  I found myself looking good in green, a color blondes steer clear of and I couldn't wear red, a color that blondes embrace.  I decided I may as well try it before I let it go all grey.  Mistake, now it's a process to get it back to the dirt blonde I was before. I am in a transitional 'white trash' looking stage.  Good thing it's hat season.  I also decided I should get bangs to hide the wrinkles and receding hair line. Maybe I could pull off the red, but I sure couldn't keep up.  Within 3 weeks grey starts creeping in.  Same when I am blond but it seems to hide it better.  Vanity.

Another vanity of mine: selfies.  I don't like taking them because I usually don't like what I look like.  If I wasn't vain then I would be posting some pretty ridiculous photos.  I definitely would never win most photogenic.  This selfie is of my new hat and scarf my mommy made for me!  I wanted to show the blond hair in hat season.

I joke and say you know you're 40 are plucking chin hairs and fighting wrinkles but still have to borrow your teenager's pimple cream.  Ugh. Running is a great way to keep you young. The only negative thing is it doesn't help with the wrinkles.  My legs are even wrinkling.   All that jarring and sun wreaks havoc on the skin. You see older people who are running, they look great, but not in shorts.  Vanity.

Some things I am not so vain on...I wear make up only on Sundays, special occasions or maybe on Friday, shopping day.  I like (live) in yoga and pj pants.  Jeans are an equivalent to a dress for me.  I may not have embraced grey, but I have embraced my crooked teeth.  My  hair is in a pony tail most days.   My husband met me in peach sweat pants, no make up and a pony tail and that's how he prefers me.  So, I am just making him happy. ;)

My intent in writing this wasn't really about my appearances but as David's son Quheleth says, "all things are vanity."  What's all this really matter?  And boy, now more than ever, is this culture vain. Selfies, status updates, tweeting, blogs.  I have been thinking about writing a blog for about a year.  The questions I struggled with were "am I vain in doing this? is it showing off? are people going to roll their eyes? what does it really matter? how much of my life do I want to share? Do I really need to spending more time on the computer?"  People really have been writing blogs for years. It was called either a journal or diary.  "Nothing is new under the sun" another Qoheleth saying from Ecclisiastes 2:9. I tried writing a journal for about 3 months.  Blogs are just your thoughts out there for everyone to read. 

What can we learn from vanity?  Lots, if you are people person.  I do enjoy learning from others, seeing how they live, appreciating the differences in each unique creature God has made. For those of us that have constant thoughts in our heads, it's a good, positive outlet for creativity.

Are all things really vanity? The introduction to Ecclesiastes in my bible says yes, unless we give thanks to the Creator who has given us all. (The New American Bible) I really think Qoheleth was depressed.  What's all this really matter?  It doesn't really. Nothing is new. We just recreate it in the time and space we are in today.  War is not new, writing is not new, family drama is not new, love and hate are not new, politics are not new, history just repeats itself.  The only thing that is new are inventions and our spin on the world we live in during our lifetime.  To think any different would be vanity.  We are not really that special.  I think the lesson Qohelelth is teaching is humility. 

So my advice, (I am so vain as to think you will take it) that in this social media world we live in be vain, be the unique person you are.  Post your grey hair status', write your blogs, hashtag your thoughts.  But be mindful, be positive, be loving, be giving, be thankful. Use this awesome invention as a way to connect with others to create a world we love, tolerate, embrace each other and help build up the kingdom of God.  Maybe your vanity will touch others in a way that they need, bring a smile to a somewhat depressing day, or help you make a new friend.

One thing I don't get in Carly Simon's song, she says "your so vain you probably think this song is about you" well, isn't it really about him?  So, in my opinion you can be vain, not in an arrogant way, but humbly vain.

Do you think all things are vanity?

Ecclesiastes Chapter 1

1The words of David’s son, Qoheleth, king in Jerusalem:* a
2Vanity of vanities,* says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!b

Vanity of Human Toil

3What profit have we from all the toil
which we toil at under the sun?* c
4One generation departs and another generation comes,
but the world forever stays.
5The sun rises and the sun sets;
then it presses on to the place where it rises.
6Shifting south, then north,
back and forth shifts the wind, constantly shifting its course.
7All rivers flow to the sea,
yet never does the sea become full.
To the place where they flow,
the rivers continue to flow.
8All things are wearisome,*
too wearisome for words.
The eye is not satisfied by seeing
nor has the ear enough of hearing.d
9What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun!e 10Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us.f 11There is no remembrance of past generations;g nor will future generations be remembered by those who come after them.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Wonder Woman


Finally, I figured out how to post a picture.

This is a short and sweet blog.

Explanation of my profile pic.

I am not 'Wonder Woman' in the sense that I am a 
strong-save-the-world woman who looks good in bikini briefs. 

 I refer to myself as 'Wonder Woman' because I always 
wonder what the heck I am doing.

This blog's question.  What super hero do you relate to the most?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

It's Super Duper Cold!!!

It's cold outside. I mean really, really cold. I mean like SUPER DUPER cold.  TV says the temp is -8. We are expected to have -25 to -35 degree wind chills. School is closed. We have 4 inches of snow on the ground.  What fun is a no-school day when you can't go outside and play?  I think I might send my kids outside for 1 minute without coat or shoes so they can appreciate a warm house. I know, I know, that would be borderline cruelty.  I would go out with them.  Some lessons need to be taught.  I did smile last night when my 7 year old son prayed for the homeless.  Something is getting through. 

Don't let all this complaining fool you, I do like winter.  I used to not be a fan. I would only like it on snowy 30 degree days that were perfect for sledding and snowmen. As of the last 3 years, I have come to appreciate it this season.  One reason: maple syrup.  I'll explain later.  I should say I live in Indiana.  I do like the Midwest seasons.  As a kid, I wanted to live along the ocean. If I were to do that now (which I have no desire to) I would have to be in the Northeast.  I love the change of seasons.  I couldn't imagine being all one all the time.  I will admit to spring being my favorite, but if it were spring all the time I would grow bored. Kinda like in CS Lewis' Narnia books, "it's always winter but never Christmas." 

Last winter, I believe the average temp WAS -8 or at least it seemed like it. It was brutal. Of course, it would be the winter I decided to train for my first marathon.  Luckily, I had other crazy runner friends training for marathons too so we all bundled up in our balaclavas and would go out for 12-15-18-20 mile runs.  In our small hometown, we are SO SO SO fortunate to have a beautiful running trail. It's a 10K out and back (6.2 miles).  When finished, it will be a 10K loop.  Unfortunately, there is no snow removal so it was impassable for 2 months. So, we had to find other routes. I live in the country and have a beautiful 4.2 mile run.  On one run, my running partner drove to my house and I had 12, she had 10 to run.  We decided to go out and back as many times as we needed (thank you Garmin for your invention). We had 30-40 mile winds with a gazillion inches of snow already.  I live on a dead end gravel road. Each time we came back, the snow was drifting more and more.  The last loop I said "you really need to go home now, my road is going to drift shut."  I think the entire run we kept saying how crazy we were.  That was just one example.  It was like that all winter. My husband, a totally awesome runner, and two other running buddies ran in a 'Fat Ass' trail race. 7.45 mile loop. We had 14 miles that we needed to do. Decided to run 7 on the road and the rest  on the trail.  Took  a little over an hour to do the first 7 and THREE to do the rest.  It was a foot of snow. We did not run, it was a slow hike. I call that race the "dumb ass" race.  At least they had beer and chicken at the finish.  Last winter, I embraced the brutality. I found I love the cold air on my lungs, the stillness of the land, the only noise is the sound of my breath, when I am finished, total exhilaration.  This year I have a new running buddy, Bosco the dog. Sadly, my other running partner, Francis died last December after 9 years. So, Bosco the big puppy is  a joy to watch pounce in the snow.  This morning I am looking outside and know it would be dangerous to run in the snow and am feeling a little depressed. It is a 'dreadmill' day but still I know when I am done, I will feel better.

Maple syrup.  Our family has the tradition of making maple syrup. My grandpa started in the 50's helping a friend and then built his own sugar shack.  I have many fond child hood memories of riding the tractor, gathering in, eating all day long while the syrup was boiling down.   My grandpa passed away and we stopped making it for about 10 years. The old shack was falling in and the evaporator was in need of repair.  My brother decided to rebuild just down the road and we started it up again  about 3 years ago.  We begin around Valentine's day, just the time you are in deep seasonal depression.  Nothing pulls you out of cabin fever like the prospect of maple hot dogs and sassafras tea boiled in sugar water.  I love tromping through the woods, tapping the trees, carrying in the sap.  I try to get my runner friends to help. You want an excellent cross training exercise?  Try carrying two 5 gallon buckets full of sap while wearing heavy boots on uneven, hilly terrain. All those calories burned are quickly replenished (and then some) when we start boiling down.  Usually takes 8 hours to boil a batch and my mom cooks up plenty of food for us to eat. I try to bring healthy  snacks but it's hard to resist good home cooking.  In our family, we really have 5 seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Maple Season.  I joke  saying the Summers' family blood is really maple syrup. This cold day is a reminder that the veins of the trees are getting a good deep freeze.  Good thing.  I will be happy just snuggling with my kids today and let nature do what she needs to do.  Which reminds me, I need to order jugs.

Snow reminds me of when our Priest sprinkles holy water on us and sings from Psalm 51:9 " Purify me with hyssop O Lord, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Also Isaiah 1:18 comes to mind "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow."   Winter's purpose is to wipe away all the old so that the earth can begin again.  What better analogy than snow to demonstrate God's great mercy for us?  I 'let it snow' each time I go to confession.  I then have the peace like the calm of winter when I exit the confessional know that Jesus has forgiven my sins.

On this Super Duper Cold day, what ways can you embrace winter?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Simple life

I would like to call myself an overachiever, I am really just an over-doer.  I seem to make the simple complicated instead of making the complicated simple.  Today's average family is 2-3 kids, nope not me, had to have 5.  Started running almost 4 years ago, can't just go out and run, have to help form a running club and run every race I can afford, including a marathon.  I will say I totally overachieved when I married my husband. He rocks. One thing I do try to keep a handle on is my volunteer duties. I do say no to some things but still....overdoer or overachiever or overly crazy?  I can't just teach religious education I have to chose First Communion class AND be Director of Religious Ed. Can't just volunteer for a race have to be race director. I can't just put out a few tomato plants, I have to put out 60. I have to pickle, can and freeze everything because dare we let one zucchini go to waste.  Although this year in the mist of winter, I am having deep regrets to not canning enough green beans because the store kind are crap.  I have problems.

My life has been blessed with a wonderful, hard working husband that has a good job so I can stay home and raise our five children.  Four of them are in school and one is in his last year at home with mama until he starts kindergarten (starting to get a little antsy about this). Of course, I am busy, but a challenge I have is what to do with my time. I am the master of it. My daily prayer of lately is "lord, help me make good use of my time."  I find myself too long on the computer instead of mopping the floor or whatever task needs to be done.  My mind runs a mile a minute of all the duties I have and the next thing that needs to be marked off the list like keeping a clean house, doing the laundry, exercising, planning meals, shopping, volunteer duties, spending time with my children and poor neglected husband...the list goes on.  Busy, busy, busy.  Now, I start a blog. Probably not a good use of my time...

So as this new year starts I am committing to one new year resolution: recycle cardboard.  This,  because it is simple. I am at my best when life is simple, as we all probably are. Spending time outside, reading a book, laughing at my 4 yr old when you look over and see he is sucking the ketchup straight out of the leftover McDonald's packet that has been in the fridge for 3 months (just happened), talking with my husband,  making maple syrup with my family, running...I am living in the moment.  I also resolved to live life  more simply. Even when designing this blog I looked forever at all the different layouts and finally decided I was wasting my time and went with the 'simple' format.

This blog was just interrupted so that my son and I could make snow ice cream.  I made maple snow and he invented his own recipe with honey, milk and sugar. It is the simple things...And interrupted again for the dire need to make kool-aid for supper even though it's only 3:00.

What kind of life is it if we are to busy to live? I do hope to blog at least once a week and end each blog with a question for the reader. If anyone choses to follow this blog! Ah well, if I don't get any readers, I simply don't care. I am simply enjoying an outlet for my thoughts.  I am also simply overusing the word simple. :) This blog's question is obvious.  What are you doing to make your life simple?

Live Simply - Paulo Coelho - FREE PRINTABLE