Sunday, June 12, 2016

my sunday best - vol 7...bold...


Summer has unleashed her hot and humid weather here in NoVa. As y'all know I am a fall/winter girl. I love the crisp cold air. Hot and humid is not my cup of tea but one must soldier on. Dresses and skirts are the staple of my summer wardrobe. As always, color and bold print are front and center. 

This morning I went with a scuba pencil skirt with a wide striped, bold graphic print. I paired it with a solid emerald green top with a long bow tie. I realized once I was at work that the green's didn't really match but at that point I can't change. I just smile and make it work. Confidence in what you are wearing is your best accessory my friends. Always. 


The second outfit I wore earlier this week to work. I love plaid. This Lane Bryant blouse is a lightweight cotton in a bright orange buffalo check with a white cami underneath. I don't usually go for such a large scale check but not that I have lost some weight, I can tuck things in. That makes all the difference. 

I paired it with a Navy blue cotton pencil skirt from Talbots that I've had for three years at least. My weight has gone up and down by about 15 pounds in the last three years, so I have two different sizes in my closet right now. I am hoping by the end of the summer to have just one. This whole weight loss thing is a journey through grief for me and I am taking my time. Slow and steady wins the day. 

Head on over to Rosie's A Blog for My Mom and check out some other My Sunday Best posts. Inspiration is all around my friends.

Have a great week! 




Monday, June 6, 2016

day 23 ~ to be seen...


You can begin here...

When I was in high school, I struggled to find my own identity. My brothers were athletes, and very good ones. I hated to sweat. I was one of eight and in that large a crowd, you gotta shout form time to time to make yourself heard. My kind of shouting usually manifested in me getting into trouble. This allowed lots of one on one time with the parental units whether that was my intended desire in that moment or not. 

Believe me when I say there was some serious crazy. Have you ever gotten your braces stuck to a cute young boy as you were kissing, only to have his mother find us, call my father, who showed up with wire cutters? Or did you steal some make-up from the local drug store, because your father forbade it, only to get caught by said parent and marched back up to the store to apologize to the manager? Or maybe you had a white denim mini-skirt, bought with your own babysitting money even though you were forbidden to wear it, hiding it in your room then slip out of the house, wearing it to school for spirit day only to be unprepared when your cycle starts forcing you to call your mother to come and get you, thereby revealing said ownership. I mean how did they survive the embarrassment I caused them, let alone what my other siblings did? Told you, cray cray people. 

It wasn't until my senior year that I found a little circle of friends that I grew to trust. Once I had peeps, I stood a little taller, wasn't so self conscious about my loud laugh or my 5'10' stature. If they accepted me, than I must not be that bad.  
 
I think back now and I realize how different things would have been for me if I had made other choices. If I had given into the loneliness and rejection, filling those holes with drugs, alcohol or sex. Even with all the parental humiliation I caused, my parents drew me in instead of pushing me away. They never gave up on me.

They watched as I started the youth group at my home parish with two other teens. I became a volunteer for different events and a lector. I won a scholarship for one year at the local Junior College. I had found my footing and I have no doubt it was due to my parents constant prayers for me to Our Lady. I know because my mother told me so. 

After high school graduation my mother took me for lunch one Saturday, just the two of us. A miracle really. Just me and my Mom, alone, no interruptions from little people, and there was pizza! She told me about her continuous prayers over the years, that I would not give up on myself and give into the dark side. She told me of her worry and strife over my choices and how desperate I seemed at times to be loved and acknowledged. She told me how much she and my Dad did love me, and how proud they both were of me and how blessed they were that I was their daughter. 

 It is a day I will never forget and it was decades ago. I can still smell the pizza and see my mother's smile. My mother saw me that day. She looked into my heart and knew that I needed to know without a doubt that I was loved and cherished. That I mattered. My Mom had figured out that through all my shenanigans, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. 

Sorry, I couldn't resist. 

I was finally in a place that I could hear what my mother had to say and to accept that love. She had been saying and showing it all along but I wasn't ready to humble myself enough to listen. I have no doubt it was hers and my fathers prayers that softened my heart. 

I find that I still struggle from time to time with this old temptation to "make people take notice". I think I will always have that with me. It's just a part of who I am. 

I have a need to be seen. To be loved and accepted for who I truly am. I wasted so much time on pretending, so no one will see the truth that I see in the mirror. The physical imperfections, the eyes that have lost their smile and a heart that is broken. 

It's in those darkest moments that I look to Mother Mary for the confidence I am lacking. One of my favorite prayers is the Memorare. The line always gets me "Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided."

She is there waiting for me each and every time. Waiting to hold my hand and listen to my needs whether they be silly or serious. Mother Mary stands by, arms waiting to hold whomever calls her name. 

Pray with me won't you;

Dearest Mother Mary, 

I fly to thee my Mother with a heart filled with pain and hurt. I ask that you kneel with me as I ask for your Son's help and guidance. I am confused. I am scared. I am reaching for understanding in the midst of chaos. Help me Mother Mary to rely on your Son trusting that he will not harm me but help lift me up from my agony. I implore your intersession, sweet Mother, on my behalf. May my prayer be answered and my needs met swiftly, allowing the pain to end and the hurt to heal. 

We ask this in the name of your son Jesus, 

Amen   

Sunday, June 5, 2016

my sunday best ~ vol. 4, 5 and 6...



I have been remiss in my wardrobe postings. When life get's busy, I have trouble keeping everything going. So today let's play a little catch up shall we?  

#1 - Canary yellow skirt from Lane Bryant, yellow/navy paisley top from Dress Barn, navy polka dot sweater from Land's End and my JCrew flats. All pieces I have had for several seasons save the yellow skirt. That one is newish and I love it!! It makes me smile. 

#2 - These pale pink jeggings are from Nordstrom Rack, a generic house label I think. The top is new to me, from Melissa McCarthy's "Seven" line. I love the colors and the fit. So comfy. This is my first time wearing "jeggings" and the jury is still out on these.  I look at this photo and I feel like I have elephant legs, all wrinkly. I just don't know...

 
#3 - This knit dress from  is a new addition to my wardrobe and I am really happy with it. It's light and very comfortable. I can dress it up or down. It has an angled hem which makes it very contemporary. I am wearing it with my green ballet flats from Talbots and my favorite Kendra Scott necklace, in green of course. 

#4 - My canary yellow rain coat. I love it. It's not new or old or anything but awesome. I have worn it nonstop through the month of may and into early June. SO much fun!!


#5 - Sometimes I have to go in on my day off to finish paperwork or polish brass candle followers or drop off dry cleaning or reset the altar or whatever. It calls for comfy clothes that breathe and move but can still be worn in a professional atmosphere. This sleeveless top and coral patterned cropped pants are from Dress Barn. The fitflops are awesome and so comfy. 

#6 - Last Sunday was Corpus Christi Sunday. It was a long day filled with four Masses and a Eucharistic procession followed by Benediction. It was very warm and muggy so cool comfort was the name of the game. Of course color is always my happy place. This skuba fabric is bright and full of personality. It was just what the ticket.

 
Let's talk white shall we. I have not worn white many times over the years. All I could see was Courtney sneezing her spinach souffle and it would be all over. Since my girl now dances around the clouds of heaven, I feel a bit more confidant in my wearing of it. 

#7 -  I wore this today. This cotton eyelet fit and flare has been in my closet for a few seasons now. I paired it with  yellow cardigan and a long necklace and my favorite gingham flats. 

#8 - I wore this shift dress on Friday night for our parishes Confirmation Mass. I paired it with my gingham flats and simple earrings. It was a marathon of a day and as always, comfort is key.

We had 86 Confirmandi, one bishop, seven priests, two deacons and 825 family and friends who joined in the celebration. It was a full house and a beautiful Mass. Such a wonderful sacrament. 


So there you go. All caught up with "My Sunday Best". Head on over to Rosie's at A Blog for My Mom to check out a few other bloggers and celebrate their sense of style. 





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

june?? seriously?? for real??


I know, I know, I am only on Day 21 of the Love Letters from One Mother to Another. I promise you, I will finish publishing them over the next two weeks. 

There is laundry to be washed and folded, meals to be prepped and beds to be made. Work is craziness with Confirmation this Friday and then a funeral on Monday and the...and then...and then...


But the MOST insane thing is the fact that it's JUNE 1st!! 

Holly macaroni where did the time go?

No seriously, where did it go??

Wasn't it just March and it was raining? Or maybe that was April? Oh right. It pretty much rained all the way through spring and today it's hotter than a hornet's nest out there and it's JUNE 1st!!


I just can't seem to wrap my brain around this. I know things have been slow here but work has been crazy and the weekends filled with obligations which means very little blogging time. Much less than I had planned on so my apologies friends. I hate to leave you hanging.


Now that summer is almost upon us, traffic here will pick up a bit. Lot's of wonderful things coming up to write about. Weddings, new outfit combos, road trips, women's conference's and a few new recipes to share as well. 

What are your summer plans? Share away y'all...share away. 

Good stuff is coming. Can't wait. 

Happy June 1st!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

day 22 ~ the remembering...



You can begin here...

There are moments when grief is brought to the for front of your heart and smacks you about the head and shoulder daring you to ignore the pain and emptiness it's bring with it. You try your best to push it down, to lock it in a box until a more appropriate time comes along to handle all the big feels, but grief will not allow it. My heart skips a beat or three, my hands get sweaty and I just know that the tears will come with the next breath. I just know it. 

This happened to me recently when attending a wedding. The bride was resplendent in her gown of white, her hair swept up supporting a veil edged with lace. She was glowing.Her groom was glowing. They had made it to their wedding day and you could not take your eyes from them, their joy was palbable. 

Then the dancing started. First the couple and then the Father-of-the-Bride and the Bride. "Fly Me to the Moon" started and the room filled with the couples cherished guests started serenading them and sang along. It was just awesome. I sang and smiled. I smiled and sang. 

Then I looked at my husband and the expression on his face silenced me. A single tear rolled down his cheek. His eyes were glazed over as if he wasn't really here with us but far away lost in his own thoughts. 

It took me a moment to realize what was happening. 

Courtney

He and his beautiful daughter would never share this moment together. Jerry would never sing "Fly Me to the Moon" while twirling his sweet Courtney, dressed all in white, on the dance floor. He would never hold her in his arms again. He would never her take her hand and lay it with love into the hand of her future spouse. 

My husband's heart was breaking anew and it would not be the last time.  

I gently put my head on his shoulder and gently grasped his hand in mine. I stood still and just leaned into the moment with him and silently sent up a prayer to Our Lady for my beloved and his hurting heart. I asked her to gently hold Jerry's other hand and intercede with her Son Jesus, allowing her Son's grace and love to flow through him and repair his brokenness. 

After all, she carried Our Lord in her womb for nine months. She watched him grow up to preach and heal. She had watched as his life slowly left his body. She knew exactly what Jerry was dealing with in that moment and I knew without a doubt that she was right there with us, praying and loving us in the hurt. 

After the dance was done, the floor exploded with youngsters doing their best to out dance each other. So much fun to watch. Eventually we made or way, hand in hand, to join in the insanity. My guy was smiling again, laughing, singing and dancing. He had weathered the remembering and the pain that brought with it. 

The remembering sometimes brings joy and sometimes tears but always love for the one we lost. For our sweet girl who now dances with her Beloved Lord day in and day out, we will always love you and we will miss you every single moment of every single day as long as we both draw breath. 

But one day? One day we will be together again if God so will's it.  

Until then we live, taking the good with the bad, the joy with the sorrow, the hard with the easy. 

We remember...

Pray with me won't you...

Dearest Mother Mary, 

Oh the things you endured. The pain your heart must have felt as your son was ripped away from you. The endless humiliations he suffered and all you could do was pray for it to end. No mother ever wishes to lay her child down in death, but you showed us how to survive that very event. You wept and mourned and then you carried on with the Lord's work, your heart pierced by the sword of grief. Help us Mother Mary. Help those of us who have laid our children down in death to weep and mourn our child and then help lift us up to carry on the Lord's work. Our job is not yet done. 

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus, 

Amen 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

day 21 ~ the cross...


You can start here...

Our hearts were never meant to break. That wasn't God's plan in the beginning. We were meant to live in full communion with the Father for eternity. We were never meant to know fear or worry. We were meant for love and all consuming happiness. 

Adam and Eve changed that for us. She gave into temptation and he stood by idly as she did. There is fault to be found on both sides. Even in the garden God did not abandon his creation. There were consequences for their actions for sure, but God was still there, walking beside them, encouraging and loving them through every difficulty and suffering they endured. 

I am always a little taken aback when I hear so many grumbling about the sufferings in their lives. Don't get me wrong, I am a compassionate and empathetic woman. I understand suffering intimately, both my own and watching those I love dearly go through it. What gets me is that they think they can avoid it in life. Suffering is not easy or pleasant in any way shape or form but it is pretty much a guarantee in life. At some point in life you will endure pain and suffering. It's how you respond to it that's important. 

When my father died fifteen years ago, I thought I would never smile again. We were very close and I did not know how I was going to make it through that pain that was breaking me. I had never lost anyone that close to me before. It was horrible. 

I remember talking to my mother some weeks afterward. She had nursed and cared my Dad for ten years as he battled non-hodgkins lymphoma brought on by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. My mother's heart was shattered when God took her husband home but she still laughed as much as she cried when she talked about him

I told her I didn't know what to do without Dad here with us. Where was I going to go for advice and counsel? How was I going to find joy again when I felt such a deep sorrow over his death? Her answer has never left me. 

"You're father will never leave you Mary Beth. He stands outside of time now. Every lesson he was meant to teach you has been taught. You just need to dig in to figure out those answers. Listen for his voice in those close to you. He is at peace now, no pain of suffering. It's what every spouse wants for the other. That's why I can smile. He is feeling nothing but joy in the arms of Our Lord. It will be OK. Listen to you heart and he will speak to you. Do not be afraid of the hard things. You Dad showed you how to weather a storm with unfailing faith. Just do what he taught you to do. Everything will be OK." 

Just do what he taught you to do. Everything will be OK.

My father had a tremendous devotion to Our Lady. He had a rosary under his pillow for the nights he could not sleep during chemo. He would pull it out and say rosary after rosary for those on his prayer list. He taught me to do the same. Mine is next to my bed at the ready. 

My father always tried to put family first. He was at every game, every band concert, every award ceremony. He wanted us to know how much he loved us even if he didn't say the words. We knew by his actions. I have strived to do the same. 

My father would say "Don't waste your time on regrets. That's the devil's way of stealing your joy and clouding your vision. Look to the Cross. All the answers are there, written in blood."

I thought I knew grief when I lost my Dad. Then my Courtney died and my heart was shattered. I didn't have a clue what grief was until I laid my child into the ground. 

Today I look to the Cross and the woman who stood with Our Lord until the end as I stood by my daughter.  

Pray with me won't you;  

Dearest Mother Mary, 

You never left your son. Not once, even as He made his way to Calvary. You prayed for strength and fortitude that He would do as the Father had asked. What glory He brought to the Father as his plan was fullfilled. Every lesson we have ever needed to learn was written in your Son's blood upon that Cross. May we always remember the sacrifice He offered freely for us, so that we may know the joy of heaven. May we emulate His strength, His fortitude and His humility as we go about completing the plan God has for each of us. 

We pray this in the name of your Son Jesus, 

Amen      
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