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Friday, December 26, 2014

well done, friends

Cheers! Salud! Or whatever your toast of choice may be. We did it! Congratulate yourself for giving it all you had to make the ones you love have a wonderful day. I know you did a lot. And now its time to enjoy your tree with your wine and favorite book. Mine will be War and Peace ( I know that sounds snobby but you should give it a try. No one understands women better than Leo.).

And as you rest, I am sure the refrain is re-echoing Gloria, in excelsis Deo...


Saturday, December 20, 2014

its beginning to look a lot like christmas!


Ok, but truly, it is. I hope you are enjoying it and taking it in. I hope that the stress has subdued and that you are coasting into the last week and actually able to have some quiet, reflective time; something we all crave. It is part of how we are made. It is that restless yearning in us that longs for something more. Make no mistake. :)

Besides striped sweaters and skinny jeans; caramel macciattos, boots and bags; the idea of a shimmery olive table cloth for Christmas dinner with bits of red, coral and peacock thrown in; and black nail polish with gold glitter for Christmas I can't get enough of relationships. It is such an honor to be mom. The one the kids confide their deepest secrets in. The one the baby looks to and checks for affirmation from. The one who holds court and hears both sides before making the sentence.  WHAT?!?! Back the truck up! ;)

A young family has all the opportunity of the world. From the very beginning, we show our kids life and frame their viewpoint of it. We show them what is normal, what is special, and what is most important by what we say, but mostly by what we do. For better or worse. And therein lies my gratitude. Yes, we all make mistakes daily. I am not living in the clouds. But, we have the opportunity to reflect and grow in our understanding and in our lives along with our children. We have the chance to help them to speak to each other and listen to each other. When there is a conflict, which there always will be because as a favorite Saint says, stones are polished with stones and souls with souls ( St. Josemaria), it is a great opportunity to promote communication skills. That sounds so trite, but aren't relationships the things that really matter in the end? And the kids will grow up and form close bonds of their own one day. They will have learned that not everyone thinks and feels like them. And they will have learned to respect that and cherish it.

So, my prayer for my family and yours is that we make the most of the break and truly enjoy each other's company, seeing each one for who they really are. Each person is an entity unto themselves and is part of making the tapestry more beautiful.

Have a great day, my friends!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

on the road with Mary

There are 2 very diverging topics on my mind today. Let's see if at the end, they connect somehow. :)

I have two very beautiful friends who are always dressed smashingly. They have two very different styles. One is very classic European who wears blazers better than anyone I know. The other rocks bohemian pants and shirts with the best of them. But fashion sense is not the only thing I have learned about them. I know their clothes, meaning, I could count their go-to outfits or pieces that they wear in different combinations. For them, looking good isn't about quantity but quality. And they just don't buy a lot of clothes because that just isn't a part of their culture. They buy clothes that they truly like, that express themselves, and they wear them. They aren't the least bit concerned about people seeing them in the same thing in a week's time. It's actually quite normal.

Our culture, on the other hand, puts so much stock in what we have, including what we wear. We loose sight of dressing in what we like and instead, try to keep up with what is on trend. And this season the buying craze gets in our psyche.

So instead of showing you outfits that look great or things you can buy others ( which I love as much as the next gal!), I'm going to propose making the most of what is already in your closet. Making the most of the gifts you give. It is rewarding in its own way to use what we have and buy smartly, only purchasing the special thing that would make something put together.

I felt this way when I was trying to figure out what my boys were going to wear for a more dressy Christmas party recently. They had pants and these cute blue checked shirts they wore for Easter with these adorable mint green bow ties. How could I recycle these outfits? The idea of hot-pink suspenders came to mind.. but I then realized that may not go over too well. :) So, I went for red suspenders and THEY LOOKED SPECTACULAR, if I do say so myself. I was so proud of this little accomplishment that made so much sense.

So, I didn't get to Mary yet, but I am thinking more about her as our friend as we approach Christmas.  What was she thinking? What was she feeling? She new she was on the way to a crowded city and was probably going to give birth there. Did she know she was going to be flying to Egypt soon to save the life of her son? Did she know they wouldn't find a room in an Inn? Being closer friends to this holy, marvelous, beautiful woman will teach us many things just by being in her presence...

Have a wonderful day, my friends!
I am off to enjoy some gift wrapping later in the day.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

why i love florida

Growing up stays with us. It seems like childhood is always our frame of reference for much of our lives, and we measure other experiences according to the norm of our childhood. This goes for customs, surroundings, smells, and culture. I know the smell and feel of a Maryland Fall day, the barrenness of winter, the feel of our ocean condo and the beach in the early evening when we were all cleaned up from the salt water. These are all part of me now, and I love them.

If you asked me five years ago whether I saw Florida in our future, I would have definitely said NO. But as the saying goes, some doors were closed and a window that was Miami was opened and we took the leap of Faith. And those of you who have read this for over a year know how much Miami will be in my heart. But we weren't meant to be for forever.

So here we are on the West Coast, and I have had time to reflect about my own kids and what their childhood is like. I used to lament that they wouldn't remember or for the youngest ones, know what a snow day was. They wouldn't smell Fall and feel the change of Seasons. They wouldn't know the Mall ( which is the place where all of the monuments are in DC) and the grandeur of our Capitol City each Christmas.

But they have seen an armadillo in our backyard. Instead of a million squirrels, they can catch lizards and make them their pets. Instead of robins, bluejays are the norm, and dolphins are their deer. They swim all winter; they go to the beach whenever we feel the whim. Nature is a part of you down here. I see them commune with it. A tangible manifestation of this was when we visited my parents last Christmas and a bird got into the house. The frightened bird found friends in them and proceeded to let ALL THREE of them hold it in their palms without flinching or flying away.

And what about the seasons? The other day, just as I was feeling a bit remorseful over the kids not experiencing Fall, my daughter turned to me after taking a break from swimming and said, "Mom, it's Fall! I can smell it!" Their childhood will be it's own thing, just as their lives will be.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

'tis the season


for what?

I am not being facetious. We are meant to be waiting, searching internally for something, for Someone that the ancient hebrews were awaiting quite literally. Maybe we are not waiting at all, except for the gifts we are going to give and get; for the festivities. We feel no need to be redeemed from ourselves, no inner longing for something more.

Those gifts and parties are all fine and good, but Advent is supposed to be about something more. About something deeply personal and communal.

I'm not complaining. Or maybe I am. I am getting ready to throw a great birthday bash for my little guy and this is something I love to do. But hovering over my head and all around me are the demands: the Christmas play outfits that haven't come from direct channels so that I'm not sure what the requirements actually are and so the certain knowledge I will be scrambling around town looking for an all-red shirt at the last minute, infant in tow; the gifts for family members near and far, ready and wrapped and sent on time if far because no one wants to wrap extra presents sent to their home from Amazon; the idea that I will be making countless trips to Target or Walmart because I have forgotten something each time or they don't have that certain toy; the family picture that hasn't been taken for the Christmas cards that haven't been bought.


It's so funny, I could cry..


So, what am I going to do about it? Nothing for now. I'm just putting it out there because I know you all feel the same way. Sometimes just sharing makes it better.

Have a great day you all. And perhaps if we embrace our inability to do everything perfectly this season, we will have made a small start toward letting a Savior in.