Thursday, December 29, 2005

Becoming God's

I've tried to start this post several times today and am having trouble finding the words. Today is my one year anniversary of being received into the Catholic faith. One year ago today I experienced confirmation, reconciliation and first communion plus the sacrament of marriage all in one fell swoop.

All I knew at the time was that I was going forward in obedience to the best of my ability. I did worry I was going to become some religious zealot....someone who did all these religious things without any substance on the inside. I think it is sometimes the lack of words or the confusion over language that makes things more difficult than they need to be. For some reason being described as a devoted Catholic brings negative connotations to my head as opposed to being described as one who is on fire for God. I've lived for too long hearing people say that this or that person is a Christian despite being Catholic. I mourn the divisions that stand between people that aren't necessary.

I thought if I just brushed up on apologetics and could have every answer at my fingertips when questioned that that would somehow count for something in any person's eyes, whether they were for or against my choice. I gave up on that idea quickly. I am no different than the next person. I believe when I want to and I dismiss when I want to. Someone can question my choice but not hear a thing I say because they have already made up their mind that I am in error. I do it to other people too. It's not only God that I do my "la la land dance" with. You know, the one where I stick my fingers in my ears and sing loudly, "la, la, la,..." so I don't have to hear what the other person is saying? That one. It's been freeing and frightening to find out that the Catholic church teaches one to be open to the truth wherever one finds it even if finding it means in another faith altogether. A professor I had responded to the question one of my classmates posed about Bhuddism by saying, "Sometimes I think God is elbowing us and saying, look at that truth there that you have missed." When you are used to people just telling you everyone is wrong but the way they see it, it does a number on your brain to have it stretched in this way.

So it is a year later on my journey. In every which way the best year of my life. Most painful. Most healing. Most discouraging. Most hopeful. If I've become a religious zealot it's okay.

I remember sitting with a Catholic priest about 3 years ago and hearing him talk about his niece and her husband and how they were attending such and such a church and were finding a home there. I was still in the place where I thought everyone had to see things my way in order for me(who do I think I am anway!) to bless their journey. I remember puzzling greatly over his acceptance at his niece's choice.

I think about Rich Mullins and how he told people when they heard he was exploring the Cathoic faith that it wasn't really about becoming Catholic or not it was about him becoming God's. And that about sums up my year. A knowing that I am truly becoming God's.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Living The Experience

One of my favourite authors is Jean Vanier. I was pleased to receive his new book, Befriending The Stranger this Christmas. Here is an excerpt:

"We all have to ...come to a greater understanding
that those who are blessed
are not those who succeed 'religiously'
but those who keep trusting
even as they live the experience of failure."

Before I started writing this post the phrase "How do you like your humanity? came into my head. Some days I want to put as much distance as I can between me and my humanity. Today is one of them. This too shall pass.("Thank God," the choir said.)

I am tired and crabby today. Okay, that is an understatement. I am extremely tired and crabby today. I'm having a hard time accepting that my humanity will always stick with me like a bad case of static cling. Would it be a groan-worthy play on words to say that God is the ultimate humanity softener?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Have A Very Merry Christmas....

My world is a richer one this Christmas because of you. Yes, you. Thank you for your input into my life and for being such an encouragement. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2006. I don't know about you but I like my life. Right now. As is. I think I really may be absorbing the reality that life is a journey, a process and for that I am grateful.

God bless you this holy season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Waiting

Sometimes after a session with Father Charlie I feel like it's just the same crap different pile. It feels like I've been visiting these piles forever. I asked myself on the way home the other day which pile was I stirring this time. As if I had nothing better to do with my time. Sigh. I'm weary of it. Father Charlie told me today that even so it was movement, it was progress, and sometimes a person stirs just a little but it's still movement.

That means that even when I feel like I'm standing still I'm not.

I had a restless sleep last night. There are blurry lines in my head between me and my mom and me and my daughter. The patterns of abuse from my childhood home I repeated in my own home. Certain images of my actions haunt me. It was a slow ride up out of the abuse pit to break the cycle for the next generation. One may turn a corner abruptly but the baggage they carry with them cuts a wide swath and it takes a while for the momentum to stop. I was shocked when Father Charlie asked me about my feelings towards my mom to have the image of wanting to strike her flash through my head. To pummel her mercilessly for the pain she has caused me. I am so tired of there not being peace when I think about my mom. It comes occasionally in small doses - like when she was in the hospital with congestive heart failure....but whenever I go inside to that tender spot where the pain is the greatest there are waves of anger, pain and fear. Jesus, could you just heal me already?

One of the books I bought when I went to West Edmonton Mall was about one man's 30 day Ignatian retreat. Within its pages he shared his experience of an exercise called a Triple Colloquy that stuck with me. Here is the gist of it:

Triple Colloquy: from St. Ignatius:

I go to Mary that she may ask, on my behalf, for three favors from her Son:
~ deep realization of what sin is in my life,
~ an understanding of the disorders in my life and how to amend them,
~ and an insight into the culture that surrounds me and leads me to seek empty things as if they could bring happiness.
In the book I bought it describes it as an understanding of how the Prince of this World works, and to hate those works.

Next, in the company of Mary, I go to her Son, Jesus, and ask that he may obtain these same graces from the Father.

Finally, with Mary and Jesus, I approach the Father and make the same requests.

Last night by candle light I visualized going with my mother to Mary. The look of compassion on Mary's face...her knowing as a mother herself...she made haste to bring us to Jesus. I felt like a bit of a bystander because I was curious what it looked like to see my mother going to Jesus. Tears and more tears as I sensed her longing for mercy. When we went to God together, the final scene of Braveheart came into my head and I realized that extending mercy towards my mother meant freedom for me. I have always loved that final scene where William Wallace cries "freedom" with every last ounce of energy left in his body while the crowd wants him to cry mercy to be saved from the pain of a brutal death.

This morning as I did some research I had no idea that the theme of the Triple Colloquy was mercy. I could remember none of the specifics. Last night I forgot there were three points or anything. All I knew was that I was to go in prayer to Mary, then with her to Jesus and then together to God. I'm not sure why I brought my mother along with me.

After this time of prayer I went to bed and dreamt I was standing outside my bedroom door in a dark vise-like grip. Picture a silhouette outlined with a thin veneer of concrete and that is what it felt like. On my own power I could not move. The very Prince of this World held me tight. In the dream I struggled for a long time, I prayed different things. Nothing made any difference to the hold Satan had on me. Finally I prayed through the Apostle's Creed and started to say 'Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.' As soon as I said "Christ have mercy" whatever was binding me let go. I woke up gasping for breath from the strain of trying to break free.

Last night I had prayed for the courage to drop the baggage I have been carrying around with me for 43 years. Today I am more than hopeful that my prayer will be fruitful.

I also read through Being Home. This selection says it for me:


How hard it is to know
when the pot is too small for the plant.
Some plants need to be contained, held very close.
Others cannot be crowded.
I don't know when I myself am too pot-bound,
lacking courage to be replanted,
to take the shock of new soil,
to feel into the unknown and to take root in it.

This drying out, this self-crowding
sneaks up on me. It seems I must always feel
a little wilted or deadened before I know
I'm too pot bound.

This african violet must first be cut
and divided. The knife goes through the root.
The white flesh exposed and moist
looks as if it is bleeding.
It must have soil immediately
so the plant won't die.
Then water. Water taken in from below.
This water must seep up into the plant
by infusion. Then comes the waiting
as the shock registers.
Days and weeks of waiting.

It will be months before a new leaf appears.
Perhaps the plant won't make it.
So it is when the time comes for me to be cut
and divided so as to grow again.

Help me to see this not as a problem
but as a process. Help me surrender
to the growth that only comes with pain,
with division, with helplessness, with waiting.
Especially the days and weeks of waiting.

~ Gunilla Norris in Being Home

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I'm feeling raw and vulnerable today. Yesterday's session with Father Charlie was full of pain, fear and tears. Tears coursed down my face as I spoke my fears outloud. This morning the picture in my head is of being wrapped in a loose, whirlwind-like cocoon of soft red, blue and white strings. Red anger, blue pain, and white fear. I am crouched down hugging my knees. The cocoon only goes part way up my torso. I have a sense that Jesus is holding the cocoon and lifting me up to God.

Snuggled up to my husband this morning, waiting for the sun to rise yet at 9 am, I shared some of my fears outloud with him. I worried that he would think less of me, hold against me some of my actions of the past. Oh, how I thank God for this man. He said to me, "Only the legal system punishes people for things in the past."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Looking Both Ways

Sunday mornings one of the local radio stations plays songs from their Country Classic Collection. This morning I listened to Charlie Rich, Conway Twitty, and Charlie Pride sing songs that took me back to my childhood. My mom loved (still does) listening to these guys.

I get pretty homesick this time of year. Phoning home on Christmas day and hearing the sounds of family in the background makes me teary inside. I just want to be home with my parents and siblings. The six hundred miles between us seems to stretch forever at Christmas.

Tonight our only daughter comes home for the holidays. On Friday our oldest son joins us and while our youngest son is still living at home, he is counting the days until he turns 18 (before the end of the month!). We haven't been real big on Christmas traditions. My husband came from a tradition that treated Christmas just about like any other day of the year except for going to church that day, no matter what day of the week it was(isn't that a hot topic this year?!) They were very poor and presents were few. Typical Christmas decorations were not part of his culture or religion. No Christmas tree, no lights on the house, no Santa Claus, no Christmas carols on a radio. The one thing we have carried over from his childhood is the making of Peppernuts. This morning I have the dough rolled out in logs, chilled and ready to bake so that when only daughter walks in the door tonight that is the smell that greets her. From my side of the family the tradition that continues is the hanging of Norwegian flags on the Christmas tree. These flags come in a package of two strings of about 15 tiny flags each and cost only $2. The Christmas that my older sister sent me a package of them I cried.

There was something special this morning listening to my mom's favourite singers on the radio while I was preparing peppernuts for my daughter's homecoming. With a finger on each generation it was as if I was looking backwards and forewards at the same time.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Shades Of Grey

This comimg Monday I have an appointment with Father Charlie, who has gone from being my spiritual director to my counselor. Two weeks ago I took him a copy of my Advent Prayer. We discussed the nitty gritty specifics of the darkness within me. I spoke outloud the sin in my life that I have skirted around for so long. There was no accompanying panic, no urge to hide. It simply felt like I was saying, "Here I am in all my humanity." Incredibly, I left the session filled with much hope. Two weeks later it's still there. The hope I mean. The darkness, a lighter shade of grey. The shade it turns when Light shines on it. That sounded corny to my ears even as I typed it, yet I can't help but be overwhelmed by the grace that is greater than any sin. The scripture "Mercy triumphs over judgement." is a balm of sweetness to my ears.

This is a different season in my life. It's the first December since I've lived in the north when I haven't dreaded the encroaching darkness. By this time next week we will be past the day when we see but a scant 6 to 7 hours of daylight. I can't seem to muster up the sinking feeling which has come unbidden every year in the past as that day presents itself. For once I am okay being in this season instead of wishing away the hours waiting for the next one. I haven't been straining and searching for the coming of the light so I could wave goodbye to the darkness. I hesitate to say that darkness has its place, yet we all have a shadow side. We all have things we could write on a post card and send to Post Secret.

That warm and red egg shaped symbol is still cropping up in my prayers, thoughts and reflections. I don't know what it means. The tightly wound spring that appeared in the middle of it seems to have unwound itself.

I have no idea what my session on Monday is going to be like. I think for the first time I will go with no printed out blog post to share. When I first went to Al-Anon nearly 18 years ago, I took my newborn baby with me more as a security blanket than anything. I have a hunch that sharing my blog posts with Father Charlie has two edges to it. I do want him to know that this is who I am but the posts have also been a bit of a security blanket for me too. By sharing specific posts I felt like I was a bit more in control of the sessions.

I'm 43 years old. At last it feels good to be me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Being Home

A few weeks ago we stopped at this mall, which was once dubbed the largest mall in the world. There is only one store I absolutely have to go into when we go there. The other 800 stores pale in comparison to The Book Outlet discount book store. I love it. Leave me alone for a few hours while I scour the shelves. Most books are between 5 and 10 bucks, brand new. This time I came across a book I treasure. I have taken it out of the library several times and was thrilled to find my own copy for 5 bucks! The author writes meditations on everything from Awakening to Planning The Day and Setting The Alarm.

Here is an excerpt from it for you:

Getting Dressed

You have made us so naked.
We have no plumage to speak of -- no fur
or feathers against the cold. Does that mean
you want us to dress ourselves in nakedness?
To have only thin skins between us and You,
between us and Your world?

When I contemplate such nakedness
I know I cannot bear it.
I want immediately to cover myself.
Even so, You have placed Your life
within this exposed skin on purpose.
You have asked me to feel with You...
to be profoundly touched.

Let my need for safety not make
layers of insulation against the majesty
of Your trust in my vulnerability.
As I put on these clothes today let me remember
the intimate life You have called me to:
to touch and to be touched.
I don't want to shy away from knowing this
when I am with others. Let me wear
these outer garments lightly...for warmth
and for shelter...within them, let me remain
as you made me...utterly naked.

~Gunilla Norris in Being Home

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Excruciating Faith Of Leo

I read this post by CHB last night and returned to it this morning because it struck a chord with me. I thought of many of you who comment here and felt that you might have some insight to give him that would help him know that he is not the only one with these kind of thoughts and struggles.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Being Out There

My husband was raised in a religious tradition that kept their distance from all things worldly. In a remote farming community with no radio or TV in his home, his thoughts on what the heck the world was like out there was mostly influenced by what he heard from the pulpit. In brief, the world was anything that wasn't of their church. Capisce? He heard countless messages about those other pretend wanna-be Christians of other faiths who were worldly and therefore lost, and he heard plenty about the people who weren't even pretending, who ran around and drank, smoked and danced.

When my husband decided the night before his baptism that he simply couldn't go through with it, he believed he only had one other choice. He had to act like that wicked world out there. So he promptly bought a pack of smokes, went to the bar and got drunk. After all, that's what those not of his parent's church did, right? It was the starkest black and white thinking ever. He stumbled into his parents bedroom in the wee hours of the morning smelling like the bar, and told them he wouldn't be getting baptized that morning. This many years later we can only imagine the pain they would have felt. He had already made a profession of faith adequate to pass the scrutiny of an all member meeting as to whether his conversion was the genuine thing. The embarrassment at having their son be a no-show for that all important rite that tied him forever to membership in their church and his ticket to heaven, must have been most difficult.

I was wondering today just how much kinship there is in my thinking with that of his parent's church. I shudder at thinking that outloud here but the reality is that it does flit in and out of my head. No, I don't doubt my now adult children's place with God. Or do I? I keep stubbing my toe on thoughts that rise to the surface and embarrass me. Thoughts that I just want my adult kids to at least look like they are doing the right thing. Could they at least go to church, not swear, not drink, not smoke dope, not do this that and the other thing? I can easily get hung up on the external. I hate it when I see how skilled I am at talking out of both sides of my mouth at once. I hate it that I often seem to want them to project the acceptable image with less concern about the internal workings of their heart than the outer actions of their lives. Just how human can they be and still be okay with God? In their mind, fully human.

It all seems so ironic. I was raised in that scary worldly world my husband was taught to fear while he was raised in the shelter of a community that shunned it all. Yet today my husband never gets his insides in a knot over the behaviour of his kids. It's not that he doesn't get concerned but he never automatically ties their behaviour to their heart relationship with God. Oh man, I feel like I am digging a bigger hole the more I try to explain my thoughts. I can hear some of you saying that you can't divorce the two. I don't know about you but if my actions and attitudes are a reflection 24/7 of my heart relationship with God then I am in big trouble. It is only recently that I have been able to relax enough to know and I mean, know that God reads my heart and understands my humanity far better than I do. I hold my humanity against myself more so than God does.

Okay. In the circles we have raised our kids in if a kid was drinking or smoking dope or going to the bar or doing any number of other things, it has always been equated with them walking away from God. There was no wiggle room. There wouldn't be a sigh of relief until they were back going to church and not doing that stuff. And I wonder why it has to be that way? I think about all the things I struggle with in my walk and how people don't doubt my relationship with God because of it. They give me the room to be human but that doesn't always seem to be the case with our young adults/teenagers. Why is that? And why can't they stumble on the way and be supported as they try to keep on the path? Oh man, someone please read between the lines and get what I am trying to say.

I was thinking today of our kids' pastor and how I would answer him if he asked me how they were doing. And how I couldn't say that they were doing this that and the other thing because his concern for them would overshadow all else. He wouldn't stop being concerned for them until they stopped doing these things. They wouldn't be okay with God unless they did. And how I wouldn't be able to find the words to tell him that God was underpinning their life despite how it looked. And that none of them doubted how firm a grip God had on them.

Maybe that is what bugs me. My kids are freer to live in the grace of God than I am. They accept they are human and feel at ease with their humanity. They know that their intrinsic worth in the sight of God remains the same. Always. In my mind, mine tends to fluctuate. They don't equate a list of behaviours with being in or out with God. That they believe this sometimes makes me feel like I have failed.

Our kids come to us and tell us what they are doing. I realized today that they don't fear condemnation from us for it. Oh, I do throw a great hissy fit, there's no doubt about it. Because of that they go to their dad first and me (sometimes) never, (most times) later. They aren't fessing up necessarily. They are just sharing their experiences with him honestly and openly. He tells them how he sees it but he doesn't judge them for their experimenting. He has seen how God has kept him in His sight through his own life, and trusts that God will do the same for his kids. Maybe what I am seeing is that because of how approachable their dad is, my kids are not scared of God. And I want them to be. A bit. Enough to walk my line.

I had lunch with my oldest son today. He is experimenting with dope a bit. He talks about it freely. Not bragging. Not keeping secrets either, though. We talk about addiction and his decision long ago not to drink because of the generational alcohol addicition in my family. We talk about the dangers of things becoming coping mechanisms and stress reducers. We talk freely about it. I'd rather he didn't experiment at all. He knows it. We talk about things his brother is doing. He tells me he is shocked I didn't kill his brother for his own recent admission of things that could get any mother's shirt in a knot. My penchant for temper tantrums is still intact and it just about kills me to have to respond to it all like I'm an adult too. They are so matter of fact about life and so free to admit this or that wasn't a good choice without any embarrassment. And free to remind me it is their choice when they continue to make a different choice than I would.

I sit here and wonder about my trust level in God, in my kids, in the world. How much easier it would be to belong to a tradition that spelled it all out and kept everyone in bondage under the guise of being right with God. How much I still find that desirable and abhorrent both. It should come as no surprise to me that if I struggle with wanting to clean up this blog post and portray a different reality that I would definitely want my kids to portray an image to those they actually meet in person in their day to day lives.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Mirror, Mirror.....

I've been keeping a journal for many years now. Yesterday I was reading over my journal for the past year and came upon an entry that I would like to share:

"I feel like I've been freed to do His will. There is a willingness within me that is free of guilt or obligation or all those words that make me feel like I'm striving. Instead, I feel like I am becoming. I feel like God is coaxing me towards a mirror so that He can reveal to me the fullness of who I was created to be. He has this beautiful beaming smile on his face, pleased with his creation and he wants me to see myself through his eyes. What he sees is good.

And I'm finding that as I inch my way towards the mirror I am already looking at those around me differently. With more grace, more compassion. Or so it seems. When I make a stabbing comment about someone I hear it for the sounding gong that it is. The comment reveals more about me than anything. I know from experience that in those times when negativity seems to radiate from me in waves that it's because I'm viewing myself in the same way.

As the mirror gets closer God is telling me that how I see myself is not the sum total of who I am. Yes, I have all these human foibles. I get moody, pissy. I can make a verbal attach that has the power to mortally wound a spirit. I have compulsions and coping mechanisms that embarrass me. But God seeing it all doesn't condemn me for it. He encourages me to embrace it all. As he does."
~January 13, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

Patience? I Think Not

There is a standing joke in my parents' home - I am always greeted with a chuckle when I make a birthday or anniversary phone call a day or two early. The real surprise is when I actually wait for the right day to call! I also either send the card early or not at all (sorry Dad I found your Father's Day card in a pile of papers last week). When I buy gifts I feel like I am a horse with a bit in its mouth, being held back by God-knows-what, when I can't give the present the moment after I've bought it. I like celebrations. I like to surprise people. I really nearly jump up and down when I match the perfect gift with the right person. It's too bad I can't jump on a trampoline anymore because that is what my heart does when I give a gift.

You will have to forgive me for being early with this post. You see, in 3 days from today, on December 8th, it will be one year since I wrote my first post on this blog. I am a bit giddy about it. I want to dance and shout and make merry. I want to celebrate me and you and you and you. Every member of my family will be laughing, but not surprised, that I could not wait to write this post. It is one way I am sooo predictable.

I have a commitment phobia of sorts. I avoid making commitments as much as possible. Other than being married for nearly 24 years and meeting regularly with friends for the past 216 weeks(it's been that long all you boundary people!), well, don't count on me to show up, okay?

So that I have shown up here is something to celebrate. That you have shown up here is incredible. This morning when I clicked on my blog there was the little counter at the bottom showing I've had 10,000 visitors. Okay, okay, minus 2,000 at least of those hits as mine and well, I am still dancing around in my heart.

I have been stretched in unpredictable ways by reading all of your blogs. Recently my husband had a dream about his brother who passed away 18 months ago. In the dream his brother said to him, "You don't see the whole picture." I still don't see the whole picture but I see a bigger one than I did before I met all of you. I had thought of listing you all but with my blog favourites somewhere over 200 blogs it would be a mammoth list. Thank you for the regulars who keep encouraging me to write and letting me know that I am not alone on the journey.

Two things now. First, could you lurkers post a comment to let me know you are here. With hits just about at 100 a day curiousity gets the better of me. Oh dear, I am so full of myself. Sigh. Some things never change! Second, below are links to my favourite posts. I got over the fear of posting "shitty first drafts" as Anne Lamott calls them and have learned to hit the "publish post" button far short of perfection. It feels much better than the days when I laboured over every sentence before I considered anything worthy of being read by anyone else ('cept my sister).

My Favourites:

The Whole Journey
Getting My Fix
Note To Self
Jockeying For Position
Saran Wrapped
Having A Q-Tip Moment
Head Noise
Sweet, Sweet Days Of Summer
Give Me The Goods
Come Dine With Me...Not
Of Sawdust and Icons
The Full Monty
The Truth Shall Set You Free
Believe In You
Cracked For good

Seven Things Meme

from Bobbie

7 Things To Do Before I Die:

1. Publish a book
2. Hold a grandchild in my arms
3. Learn to play a dulcimer(thanks poor mad peter)
4. Belly dance
5. Keep that darn hoola hoop aloft
6. Visit the ocean again
7. Meet at least one person from the blogsphere

7 Things I Cannot Do:

1. Roll my tongue
2. Sing in tune
3. Change oil in my van
4. Change a tire either
5. Use tact without effort
6. Make small talk
7. Make my face not express what I am really thinking

7 Things That Attract Me To My Husband:

1. His heart for God
2. His sparkling, mischievious eyes
3. His hands
4. His soft spot for animals
5. ooh, those kissable lips of his
6. His laugh (the one that's just for me)
7. His sense of humour

7 Things I Say Most Often

1. Oh crap
2. I'm just gonna check my email
3. Really?
4. I love you
5. No, no, no, no don't (when ice cold hands are approaching my skin)
6. You're kidding right?
7. Good grief

7 Books or Series I Love:

1. Little Britches Series by Ralph Moody
2. The Way To Love by Anthony de Mello
3. Little Notebook by Nicole Gausseron
4. The Nickel-Plated Beauty by Patricia Beatty
5. Being Home by Gunilla Norris
6. Everyday Sacred by Sue Bender
7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

7 Movies I Would Watch Over And Over Again:

1. As Good As It Gets
2. Chasing Amy
3. Love Actually
4. Wit
5. Crash
6. Life Is Beautiful
7. To Sir With Love

7 bloggers to tag: Amanda, Jan, Daisymarie, Katy, Eija, WhichJo, Jackie

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Make-A-Flake Fun

In the spirit of play that Father Charlie is always encouraging me to discover, have fun making your very own snow flake. The scissors are a bit hard to figure out how to use - at least they were for me. It's a little bit of creativity to make you smile. Enjoy.

Via Lisa

Break A Leg

We're going away for a few days - only daughter is in a production at the little theatre school she is attending. We are thrilled to go see her in action! Our sons both took time off work to make the trip so this will truly be a family affair. It's our way of saying to only daughter collectively, "You go girl!"

I leave you with this quote:

"Can you, from time to time, just nurture a little warm feeling toward yourself? I truly believe that's all it takes (for sanity and realistic expectations). A little warm feeling creates an atmosphere of acceptance, of allowing, of permitting. And within that atmosphere there is a kind of encouragement for the goodness to grow: the goodness that is you, the goodness that is life in you, the goodness of creation in you, God's goodness in you."

~Gerald May in Simply Sane