Monday, February 8, 2016

being grateful never gets old...

Life is never perfect. It's not supposed to be this side of heaven.

I have faced many tragedies in my life with my fathers death and my daughters death. I have struggled with finances, spending most of my adult life in debt, living from paycheck to paycheck. I have struggled with positive body image and my weight, choosing humor as a way to deal with things. I have had prayers answered immediately and some answered decades later and many answered only in a way God would understand. 

One thing that has always helped me in the midst of whatever drama I find myself in, has been to focus on having a grateful heart. I even spent 31 Days counting how many things/situations/people/etc. I was grateful for. 

I realized this past weekend that it has been waaaaaay too long since I have sat down and written out what/who I am grateful for, like way back in June 2015 long time ago. That is no mas good. 

So today I decided to rectify that right away. There is so much to be grateful for, not the least of which is #2321 - the electricity stayed on during Boris the Blizzard. with another storm headed our way tonight, I pray that will continue to be the norm. 

Gratitude is a powerful soul bending change that affects every aspect of my life, both physical, emotional and spiritual. In my darkest moments I held onto the fact that I was blessed with this life and ALL that came with is, the good, the bad and the heartbreaking. It's all part of God's plan for me and as I have endured and persevered through the madness I trust in the plan completely. I amy never understand it but I TRUSt the Lord to lead me through whatever trail that comes.  

I am so grateful for...
#2320 - #2354
~ heat, it's a beautiful thing
~ chocolate pudding, just as sweet as heat
~ the electricity staying on during Boris the Blizzard
~ warm quilts
~ socks and boots and flannel lined jeans
~ fuzzy and soft blankets to snuggle in while watching my favorite movie
~ hot water bottle at the foot of the bed on a particularly frigid night. 
~ hot soup and warm buttered bread
~ strong backs to shovel 30 inches of snow
~ my husbands job that provides health insurance
~ my son's work ethic
~ my job which challenges me everyday to seek Christ in everything I do. 
~ apple crumble pie with ice cream
~ clean laundry, folded and put away
~ warm sun shining on my face
~ independent contractors that came and shoveled our streets all during Boris the Blizzard. Amazing work gentleman. 
~ the joy of children's laughter as they sled and throw snowballs
~ my son, my husband, just because I love them so and only want the very best for them
~ strangers who continue to pray for my daughters soul and for my families healing
~ my Mother who taught me how to love and sacrifice with joy
~ a great football game played between two legends.
~ an even better game when my team won. 
~ my daily prayer time
~ periscoping for the first few times,
~ Hallmark Channel movies that make me laugh and sometimes even cry
~ fresh spinach, avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms and eggs over easy
~ home appliances that work
~ an open window on a cold day so that the fresh crisp air is able to bring new life to a musty dry room.
~ to love and to be loved
~ life, no matter how complicated and overwhelming
~ the color blue. every time I see it, no matter the shade, I smile. 
~ friends who are willing to pray and sacrifice for me and my family. 
~ for the opportunity to raise money for Mary's Mantle...the Mama's and the babies are always on my heart. 
~ you faithful readers who still come to see how life goes. Y'all make me feel loved and supported no matter what is happening in my world. 
~ the Lord God Jehovah for his astounding grace and mercy

Sunday, February 7, 2016

charity auction to benefit mary's mantle...

"Caring for each precious life, hope is restored and untold possibilities unfold"

Get ready to celebrate Fat Tuesday Zelie-style!! 

@zelieandco is hosting their first charity auction on Instagram this Tuesday, February 9th to get us into the giving spirit for Lent. 

Each artisan is partnered with a blogger to raise money for a charity of their choice. I'm working with the amazing Rakhi from Rakstardesigns and we will be raising money for Mary's Mantle, a Catholic maternity home in the metro-Detroit areaMy Mama grew up in Detroit. It is a city still close to her heart. She is also a HUGE pro-life supporter. This is for you Mama  

So honored to be a part of this charity auction on Instagram this week.

Here is a little love note directly from Rahki:
When Mary (@marylenaburg) and I first started talking about what charity to choose, it did not surprise me at all that she was all about the mamas and babies - Mary is one of the most giving, loving, authentic mamas I have ever had the joy to know. So when we decided on Mary's Mantle, a maternity home in metro Detroit, I knew I wanted this set to exude the richness of our blessings. It seemed like the perfect fit to use God's creation to center us upon how he manifests his beauty in the midst of unplanned chaos and trial. God and His promises are with us always. Sometimes our blessings just come in disguise. ‪#‎zeliecharityauction‬ 

 Here's a quick sneak peek of the set that we will be auctioning is all about blessings, grace, and hope! We wanted to encourage families, especially Mama's to have a quiet space somewhere in there home that they could go to that was filled with encouragement and love. Rahki's art is beautiful and creates a sweet peaceful surround in which to pray. There is a lovely candle to light, and a mug to fill with your favorite hot beverage. 

My part of the package was smile and fun to put together. I have my favorite Catholic Women's Devotional Bible, a bible cover in a lovely shade of Marian Blue, bible highlighters, tabs to mark the books to make things easier to look up AND a sweet prayer journal for your love notes to the Lord. 

I have also included three of my favorite Harney and Sons Tea to use in that fabulous hand painted mug. Everything you need to create a beautiful, peaceful prayer space is included in this package. You are set to begin a wonderful journey with the Lord, knowing that you are loved. No shopping required. Woohoo!!

So my friends, let's do this thing shall we? Knowing how competitive I can be, let's show the other bloggers/artisans how it's done. Let's raise some money for the mama's and babies. 

How the Auction Works:

-There will be 10 sets up for auction! Each one has a value well over $100.

-The auction will start at 9am CST and will end at Midnight CST.

-The bids will increase by $5 increments.

Bids will be taken on the @ZelieandCo IG page only, but all images are sharable!

-Shannon ( will be on the Jennifer Fulwiler Show promoting our event!

-The bloggers whose set earns the most for their charity will receive an honorary award “The Heart of Zelie”.

-Please join us in asking St. Zelie and St. Therese for their intercession for the success of this event, for all of our participants, and our charities and the people they serve!

Happy  bidding!

Friday, February 5, 2016

life is full...sometimes bursting...

Hello Friends,

I know it's been a week since I have been here. So very sorry. Sometimes real life get very, very busy and I run out of hours in the day to come and share. 

This new life of mine is very full. Some days like today, it feels full to bursting. For example I was up at 6 am, at work by 7 am, meeting at 8 am, set up for Mass at 8:45 am and then Mass and Adoration. By 10:30 I am at the Historic Church prepping for a visitation at 11 am and then the funeral Mass at 1 pm. Internment followed. Back at my office by 3:15 then there was paperwork, putting out a fire or three, prepping for Scout Sunday, BLA commitment weekend and so on. By 5:15 my dogs are barking big time and there are still five phone calls to return before I can consider leaving. At 5:43 I am out the door. Home by 6:30, twelve hours after I left. Then there is dinner prep and putting on my pj's. Small talk with hubby over dinner and then sofa time watching Blacklist on the DVR. 

Next up bed time. So excited for bed time. 

Please do not think for one moment I am complaining. Not for a second. I LOVE my job. I love my parish. I love the people I get to help in their darkest moments when everything is confusing and painful. I love the challenge of all the moving parts of the liturgy and how, in the end, it all comes together beautifully to celebrate, honor and glorify Our Lord. 

I am challenged every single day. I amazed at the grace that pours forth and covers me and all my faults everyday. I am grateful for the fullness of my day knowing that it is worth something. I am doing something of value. I am honoring my daughter and my God doing what I do best. 

Taking care of people.   

Yes, life is busy and full. Yes, it feels like I might loose my mind some days with all the details I am required to inhale and exhale without skipping a beat. No, this is not even close to what I had in mind for my life twenty years ago.

But I am happy y'all. So happy

There is joy after grieving so deeply my friends. There truly is. The grief over my Courtney will come and go as it needs to, it will always be there. My heart will always be broken and that's OK.  I will enter into it as I need to, but in the end, life is for the living.  

There is hope. There is joy. There is chocolate. 

Hope comes in ALL forms my peeps.  

Life is full, full to bursting and it is very, very good.   

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

wednesday musings...a tired spirit...

tonight i am tired ... just so tired ... i love the snow but seriously ... 30 inches ... all at once ... just a little too much ... it's been a tough few weeks ... two car accidents ... praise God no one was hurt ... then insurance claims ... deductibles to pay ... phone calls upon phone calls to make and receive ... aches and pains from muscle strain from said accidents ... body shops ... rental cars ... doctors appointments canceled ... rescheduled ... canceled and rescheduled again ... then there was the grocery trip from hell ... followed by two more for good measure ... at least those people were nice the second time around ... then came the snow ... and more snow ... and then more snow ... then came the shoveling ... and more shoveling ... then I feel and hit my knee at just the right angle to give me the most spectacular goosegg ... along with some lovely purple bruising ... it hurts like hell ... another co-pay at urgent care ... hard to bend but nothing is broken ... I can get to work now ... the world continues on ... God calls people home ... their families grieve ... i help as much as i can ... i  create a plan with them ... we celebrate their lives with the Eucharist ... god is forever ... the beginning and the end ... the alpha and omega ... and the sun goes down ... and the sun goes up ... i am tired ... my heart is heavy and i know why ... i need god ... i need him something fierce ... i haven't been spending as much time with him as i should have ... and it shows ... i am tired ... and i need him to carry me ... to lay my burdens down and rest ... but my mind races and worries ... it's hard to sleep ... it's hard to lay those troubles down ... it's these times i miss courtney the most ... i miss holding her and loving her ... i miss our simple life together ... yes there was drama and worry ... but somehow we were stronger together ... i know she intercedes for me everyday ... i know she does for many ... but it's not the same as holding her ... looking into her eyes and knowing we had each other ... i feel like the cars above ... buried and struggling to figure it all out ... to make it all work right ... there is a new medical condition for me that needs attending ... it requires more change in my life ... i am tired of change ... so much new ... no more new ... even if the new is good and wonderful ... i want my girl in my arms ... surrounded in flannel and love ... just us and the blessed mother ... having a little chat ... knowing it will all be ok ... it's hard to lose a child ... it's really, really hard ... survivable yes ... but damn what i wouldn't give for one more look into courtney's eyes ... one more smile ... one more laugh ... i am so tired of the new ... of the change ... of the challenge to live without her ... not depressed friends ... just sad ... change is hard ... missing her is hard ... handling lots of stress and change at once is hard ... but jesus ... he got it all figured out ... now to seek him and hold on ...

Monday, January 25, 2016

lent...time to restore...

As we continue to dig ourselves out of lovely Boris the Blizzard, my mind is filled with thoughts of the upcoming liturgical season of Lent. Yes. My job as a liturgist really has invaded every aspect of my life. Living the liturgical year is serious business my friends. 

Lent is a biggy.  

In my liturgist world preparation begins early in the summer with a discussion of what the pastor wants to do as far as making materials available to our parishioners (i.e. The Lenten Magnificat, or other materials), then there is a penance service to plan, a parish mission and finally we tackle The Triduum. One thing at a time.

What do I do for my personal Lenten Study? Well typically I do two things. I have really enjoyed the Blessed is She studies as well as Nell's @WholeParenting. They are short and make me think. But I like to mix things up and I get bored very easily.

So this year I am really looking forward to Elizabeth Foss's "Restore: A Lenten Journey to Restore the Hearts of Women" I don't know about you but I need a little rest and restoration at this point. 

I started a new job, survived the Christmas season in this new job and have come through the first anniversary of Courtney's death, survived my husband and son starting new jobs, had a car accident, survived my husband having one as well, and we have come thorugh Boris the Blizzard. 

I am tired. I need to make some changes in my daily routine for my health and my sanity. Most importantly though, I need to continue to enter into that sacred conversation with my God. The more I pray and read scripture and listen to his prompting, the closer we become. 

If I am willing to spend so much time building up human relationships than shouldn't I spend even more time with My Savior.

Elizabeth has a way with words. It's her gift. It's part of her vocation to softly sit, listen and encourage women in their journey's. I look forward to walking this Lenten journey with her and some of her good friends. A few you know well since I have shared their goodness here many times. 

Ann, Ginny, Colleen, Danielle, Aimee, Sarah and Anne are joining in on the fun with Elizabeth to provide a wonderful, gentle and productive Lenten journey. I am so looking forward to this. I really am. I want you to join in the fun with me if you can.  

I know, I know, money is tight for many of us, myself included. It is well worth it I promise. If you can't take advantage of the full bundle with printables, e-books and podcasts for $49 not to worry, Elizabeth has made a bargain bundle available for only $15 with two e-books, two printables and two awesome podcasts

Y'all really don't want to miss this. 

This is my very first time doing anything with an affiliate link but this is something I feel very strongly about so  I am happy to be a part of Elizabeth's efforts to help women everywhere.

So if you are looking for a little more interactive lenten study, join me with "Restore: A Lenten Journey to Restore the Hearts of Women". You will not be disappointed. Just follow the links at the bottom of each photo to register.

May there be joy in your journey,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

digging out...

Hello from the frozen tundra known as Northern Virginia. Thirty inches of snow on the ground, a travel ban in place, the power still on (thank you Jesus) and plenty of football to watch. Not bad for a blizzard if you ask me. We have certainly experienced worse situations. 

I started my day with a little winter fun. I went outside and made an epic snow angel. You can check out the video on my FB page, twitter or Periscope (@marylenaburg). It was very cold. Never have I loved a hot shower more after that little adventure.

I had ambitious plans to re-organize and work in the house while it snowed and so far I have done none of it. Not one darn thing. I have however watched three movies, made some awesome beef stew and mashed potatoes and enjoyed hours of conversation with my guys, since all three of us are actually being in the same place at the same time. Such a rarity these days. 

Today calls for lots of hot tea, some great football games, homemade Macaroni and Cheese for my hard working boys who have spent at least three hours trying to shovel us out. Jonathan has to work tomorrow but Jerry and I are home thanks to some prudent calls from the local county government. 

It will be a few days before things return to normal here but we are on out way for sure. Jerry is not a fan of the snow for the simple fact that he has to shovel it. Jonathan thinks everything is an opportunity for movie quotes. For example his Braveheart "Freedom" stance. Those are my guys and I am blessed beyond measure that they care for me so. 

Miss Courtney made her presence known as well during this storm, the first one since she died. Jerry and I were lying in bed last night as the snow continued to come down and we talked about how different things would be with our girl here. We reminisced about how different our storm prep used to be. Heck three year ago we were in the hospital for the first snow of the season. 

This morning she was on my heart as I went out to look at the winter wonderland the Lord had provided. I looked over at our snow covered cars and noticed a beautiful snow drift. 

It was like Courtney was reaching down to us, offering a hand up. There is beauty to be seen even in the midst of a blizzard.

I just stood there for a few moments and talked to my girl, thanking her for her intersession time and time again since she went home to the Lord. I miss her. I don't miss the the worry and the panic when things went awry, but boy howdy do I miss the snuggles and the laughter.  

That's what's happening in our neck of the woods. Digging, digging and more digging

How about you?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

jonas? no boris i think...

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to shovel we go. Or maybe not. At least not until the snow stops coming down which could be a day away. 

Welcome to #winterstormjonas2016. 

Yep. I was underwhelmed with the name as well, so Jerry and I have renamed it #boristheblizzard. Much better don't you think? This storm is not taking any prisoners. I love snow and winter but this is a wee bit cray cray even for me. 

Six inches? No problem. Twenty-four inches and counting? Cray Cray for sure. Thank goodness we still have power. So very grateful for electricity.  More hot chocolate please...

Jerry and Jonathan had to climb up to unblock the main vent pipe on the roof which allows us to flush the toilets. They handled it well and I fed them a hot breakfast when they came back in. Thank you Lord for two strong men in my world. 

I have beef stew going in the crock-pot. I will serve it over horseradish mashed potatoes for dinner. Again so very grateful for electricity. My hope is that it will stay on. We are prepped with candles, blankets and peanut butter and jelly if it doesn't. 

I do wish we had a fireplace or a wood stove. I really do miss it from our time in Maine. Maybe one day I can convince my hubby to put one in. Until then it's fuzzy blankets, warm socks and layers of flannel. 

Speaking of which,here is a look at my Boris Blizzard attire:

Sexy no? I mean talk about pattern mixing? LOL! I keep it simple and warm when home. The leggings were a special order from Nell @wholeparenting. She is awesomesauce. I am usually always wearing an apron when I am home, being in and out of the kitchen so much. This beauty was made for me by the fabulously talented Kristin Foss. It's one of my favs. 

So that's what's happening here in Boris Blizzard land. What's happening in your neck of the woods? Are you in the midst of this insanity? Is it sunny and warm where you are? 

Check out updates on Periscope, Twitter and Instagram. You can follow me @marylenaburg

Stay safe and keep warm, 

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