02 November 2010

November Rain

It's already only just the second day of the month of November, and already we're seeing the dreariness of the month. In fact, for the past 2 days I've had to check outside to make sure that we are, in fact, still in Arkansas and didn't somehow magically appear in London during the eve of all hallows.

Despite the dreary weather, we have two beautiful feast days to celebrate here at the beginning of the month, both of which we celebrate the beauty and joy of the life to come. Perhaps the weather is a perfect metaphor for what this earthly life is in comparison to what it will be when our day comes.

The feasts of All Saints and All Souls remind us that those who have gone before us are no longer subject to this life which binds us all; they have become more living than we in this life could ever be and remind us that such is to be our destination if we persevere in faith. We celebrate with the hope of one day joining the Saints, known and unknown, who came before us and ask for their prayers that we may persevere in faith become “the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:14 Ora pro nobis!

At All Saint's we pray for those who have gone before us; those souls in the process of being cleansed prior to entering heaven. We pray that their process of cleansing will be sped so that they will sooner see God face to face. We pray: Eternal rest grant unto them, oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. Dona eis requiem.

Wishing a blessed All Souls day to all. And GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!

27 October 2010

Where to Begin?

Because I have shamefully neglected my blog for so long, I thought I'd do a run down of why I haven't been blogging recently.

I just started back to school in August. I'm working on getting some prerequisites for a Respiratory Therapy program. So, after my already 8-hour long day for four out of five days, I add on another 4 hours of school and/or school work. When I'm finished with that I meet Sarah at the gym 3 out of 5 days for our 3-day-per week Couch to 5K training and lifting weights on the other days. When I'm not doing that, I've been working back at my old job to make some extra money.

When I get home, I pray my rosary and go to sleep. No time for the frivolity of writing blogs, but I'm taking the time to write one this morning.

We went for a visit to my parents earlier this month. It just so happen to coincide with the LSU-TN game (for which we were able to get tickets). That was interesting. It was so great, though to be back in Death Valley (right next to the student section and band)! Ahhh...the sea of purple and gold surrounding us....man, that's a peaceful easy feeling right there!

Upon our return, Sarah and I started the Couch to 5K program, and we are now on the third week of the training program, even though I did do the 5K mud run this past weekend. (as seen below) Love that race!

We've been working out 3 times/ week increasing our running along with the training program guidelines. It's not easy, but it's helping us to get into shape! Hopefully, we'll do a 5K in December for time (and fun, of course!)

Well, that's pretty much all I have time for today...more to come soon. Promise!

REMEMBER TO GET OUT THERE AND VOTE! Don't let other people make these decisions for you. VOTE TUESDAY, 2 NOVEMBER!!!

13 August 2010

I Like to Cook and I Cannot Lie...

So this week, I've been cooking as much as I can. With Scott's family out of town, someone needs to make sure that he eats, right? I'm a good Cajun girl and as such, I've been programmed since birth (pretty much) to make sure that anyone who is left alone by his (or her, but mostly his) family is taken care of, e.g., fed very well! Of course now that I'm writing this I'm thinking I should have taken pictures of all my lovely dishes!

I went over on Sunday before mass and made some pancakes. We then were (FINALLY) able to make it to my cousin's lake house for the day and spent some time swimming and watching movies and eating and hydro sliding. We had such a great, relaxing day. It was awesome.

Monday, I made some awesome chicken and rice and gravy with onions and mushrooms and steamed zucchini and yellow squash. The funny thing is I accidentally added cinnamon instead of paprika on the chicken, but it came out to be one of those great mistakes that lead to a discovery, one which I will be using occasionally from now on.

Wednesday, I tried my hand at chicken-fried steak, white gravy, and french fries. Of course, I've made french fries tons of times, so they came out okay. The steak came out great, but, I believe that I failed successfully on the white gravy. I don't eat it, so I couldn't tell if it was good, but Scott did not enjoy it really, though he tried to mask that fact (such a great guy! :) ) I guess that just gives me room for improvement, right?

Thursday night was more of a success. Scott invited the Smiths over for dinner and I cooked turkey burger-steaks; brats with onions and mushrooms sauteed in red wine; roasted tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and red, orange and green peppers (not too much , though...about 1/4 of each pepper); and avocado and tomato salad tossed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. That was a masterpiece of a meal. It was enjoyed by all...and super easy! It took about 1.5 hours to prepare and cook everything, the veggies taking the longest, and I clean as I go, so nothing to do but put the dirty plates and servers into the dish washer after dinner.

Quite a nice week it's been! :) I do love cooking, and at least Scott knows that he will be fed well when we get married! :)

02 August 2010

Pretty Low Key Weekend...FINALLY

It was finally a calm weekend for us, which doesn't happen very often. Not only was it low key, but I was able to spend the weekend alone at the house and enjoy a Sunday dinner with Scott together at the house with just the two of us. That happens like once every 6 months or something. So nice to just be able to chill and eat and watch a movie.

Anyway, Friday, we went to Grampa's Catfish for Scott's brother's 25th birthday. Then we went back to their house for some cake and ice cream! It was yummy! I had a special gluten free chocolate cake that Scott's mom made so I could eat some, too! It was super awesome!

Saturday, I had to work until 3, but when I got off of work, I went over to Scott's and we made some (awesome) hot wing dip and mac n' cheese for our trip over to the Smiths' house for dinner. We had BBQ chicken, grilled shrimp, mac and cheese, hot wing dip and a plethora of other goodies. We also ate and watched two movies. It was a great relaxing way to spend the evening with our friends. We watched Daybreakers and Hot Tub Time Machine. They were both pretty good, and we ended the night with a little of the Jimmy Buffett Gulf Shores Concert on 11 July that they DVR'd. Such a great evening!

Sunday, Scott came and picked me up for mass, then we went back to my place for dinner (dinner in Louisiana is actually early afternoon on Sundays and holidays!) We had left over mac n cheese, I heated up some of my mom's wonderful BBQ Deer meat she sent home with me a couple trips ago, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. We had some Boar's Head pepperoni (which is my fave pepperoni...and it's Gluten-free!) and Muenster cheese as an appetizer. That's such a good little snack! We watched JFK, which was on some TV channel...I can't think which one. It's a really good movie! I'm surprised that I'd never seen it until yesterday. We then headed to NLR to look around at houses for sale. There are quite a bit of them, actually, but none were open houses, so we didn't get to look at any, though there was one that I really liked and the price was great!

After that, we had some ice cream at McD's and then went back to the house for some good supper with Scott's fam. All-in-all it was a great weekend...and a relaxing one, too, AND it marks the beginning of our training/ working out/ healthy eating. We are going to go for 6 weeks of diet and exercising everyday (except Sundays) with no cokes or junk food (except Sundays) and see if we meet our goals for the next six weeks. We'll see how that goes!

29 July 2010

Busy Busy Beaver...

It seems like it's been forever since my last post...because it has! I've been super busy here these past few weeks...

I got a chance to go down to Louisiana for my mom's birthday and my niece's 1st birthday. She quite enjoyed her presents. Her favourite was this little rock n' roll guitar she got. Sooo cute!

Anyway, the BIG weekend was this past one. We went to Las Vegas for the Right Online conference, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. It was amazing! Over 1100 conservative bloggers and online activists came! It was pretty awesome, and I got to go to Las Vegas. How sweet is that?

That's the strip on Las Vegas Boulevard. I took it as we were descending onto the airport tarmac.

We stayed at the Venetian hotel , had some pretty awesome food at the Cheesecake Factory in Caesar's Palace Forum Shops, ate breakfast at the Hash House where they DO NOT skimp on portions, that's for sure, ate at Margariataville, and did a little gambling. I only played on 20 bucks and I ended up winning another 20 on top of that, so that was pretty cool because I'm not a big gambler.

We got to see the fountains at the Bellagio:

All in all, it was a pretty awesome weekend. I was able to take 2 days off of work and go on a semi- actual vacation! (What?!?!) I haven't had one of those in like 3 years (seriously). Can't wait for the next one, now! I've already started planning a couples trip to Vegas for about a year and half from now. EXCITING!

Anyway, I suppose life will get back to normal, here, shortly. Totally not looking forward to that (especially since it includes 5 day work weeks. I want 3 day ones!!!)

07 July 2010

Oh beautiful for spacious skies!

Well, we had not only a long but a busy weekend this weekend. After hearing that my parents were not going to be able to make it up this past weekend, I was pretty saddened but I did look at it as an opportunity to do some things we would otherwise not have been able to do. (Even though Friday had to be the worst day I had had in a LOONG time - and I'd like to keep it that way - I will discuss more pleasant things.

Scott's sister and her family came in from Missouri Friday night. We got up early Saturday and went to cheer his brother on at the Firecracker 5K race. He made pretty good time, 00:25:19 (I think) so we were back in the car and headed to the house by 8:00. My car desperately needed an oil change, so we took her to the Jiffy Lube and then to the car wash place. Even after all that, it was still only 9:30, so we couldn't eat anywhere that we wanted. Of course, we headed to Sam's for some good G-F deli meat and cheese and chips (of course).

We got to the house, had some sandwiches, and I went to take a nap (at 10:30)! Anyway, I got up around 12:30 and Scott and I headed downtown to meet up with the Smiths. We had a great afternoon just relaxing with them - something that we do not get to do often. We headed to the house for Scott's niece's birthday party.

We had some excellent hamburgers that Scott's brother-in-law grilled and then, of course, sang happy birthday, ate ice cream, and opened presents. We got Grace some adorable gardening tools and watering can to help her dad outside with the plants and such, which I OF COURSE got at The Wonder Place!

On Sunday, we all went to mass together and then had brunch afterward. I love doing that! It always reminds me of when we would get together every Sunday at Maw Maw Lou's house as kids and have dinner. I miss that sense of family...and I'm glad that Scott's family has given me that opportunity to have that with them. They are just so great!

After everything was all cleaned up, everyone but Scott, his brother, and I had left for a movie/ babysitting, so we all decided to take naps! (I don't think I've napped so much in a month much less a weekend before! - ok, so when I got back from my summer in Italy I did, but that doesn't count!)

We headed to a 4th of July party, where I FINALLY got to meet Scott's childhood best friend and his family. It was great...I'd heard so much about them it was like I should have known them but didn't! Anyway, it was such a wonderful time (again) just relaxing and talking and eating and drinking and having a good time - things that we love to do, but don't usually get the chance of. We got back and I ate and then I crashed at like 9:30 because I was wiped out from all that relaxing!

The next morning, we got to go to Murfreesboro, where the Crater of Diamonds State Park is located. We got there with our buckets and shovels and started digging. After about two hours of finding not much but dirt and rocks, our biggest find was a plastic purple beach shovel that some kid had probably left behind...oh well! Maybe next time we'll find "The Big One," right?...right? Oh, well, maybe not...especially with my luck!

Anyway, I couldn't think of a better way of celebrating our nation's independence than the way we did, so it was wonderful despite the whole purple shovel thing. Family is such a wonderful gift that I've been blessed with, and I am thankful for it!

Thank you, God, for the freedoms we enjoy everyday, and thank you, God, for the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep it that way!

That being said, I'll leave you with a line from one of my favourite national pride(?) songs!
"Oh Beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesty above the fruited plan! America, America: God shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!" Let's do everything we can to keep it that way!

29 June 2010

Toy Story, Hibachi, and Birthday...Oh My!

So, this weekend was great! It was nice to (finally) be in town for a whole weekend with nothing in particular to do. (Well, I had to work for a few hours, but that was no big.)

Anyway, Friday night, we took my 2 little cousins to go see Toy Story 3 in 3D on the IMAX screen. That was something! They had a great time (and we did too) and I'll even admit that I teared up watching it! It was an excellent end to the Toy Story trilogy. Then, we had some ice cream at Maggie Moos. Oh, it was sooo good because it's been well over 90 degrees for the past month or so. My littlest cousin (of course) gets the Blue Cotton Candy ice cream, and, of course, gets it EVERYWHERE. The important part, though, is that she enjoyed it!

Saturday, I had to work for a few hours, but after went straight over to Scott's and we just hung out and watched TV, namely the USA v. Ghana FIFA World Cup game. Sadly, USA lost in a game (Soccer) with the most confusing rules ever, but whatever. It was relaxing and we got to nap for a little while before getting ready for dinner at Benihana, our favourite hibachi grill!

The chef actually knew Scott, so we got a little extra attention and the food was AWESOME! After that, we said adieu to the family and went on to Underground Pub for $1 wells and beer. Gotta love recession night! Anyway, we had a good little group and sat down and (again...like 3 times in a row) watched the US-Ghana game on the big screen in the pub while talking and hanging out with our friends. It was a very nice, laid-back evening. After everyone deserted us at the end of the night, we went onto MidTown Billiards for a Midtown Burger (which I shouldn't eat, but did anyway...TOTALLY worth it). He dropped me off around 2:30-ish, which wasn't REALLY late, but is late for us.

Sunday, Scott's actual birthday, he came over to the house and we had fried fish, french fries, onion rings, sauteed shrimp, broccoli, and asparagus and green beans with the family. It was a nice impromptu gathering, something that we haven't had the chance to do in a while, and we got to spend time with my family, which we don't get to do often.

We got a chance to relax a little after lunch (again, something that we rarely get to do) before going to adoration. Adoration was great, as always. I love sitting in the presence of the Lord...it's so peaceful and comforting to know he is right there in that room, physically present with us. Praise God for the opportunity to worship in such a way!

After mass, we went back to Scott's for dinner and desert. His sister made Gluten-free peach cobbler, which is sooooo awesome, and then he opened presents. We all watched a Masterpiece Theater Mystery movie in the living room, and then I headed back home.

All-in-all, it was a fantastic weekend. I hope that we have many more just like that! :)
Thank God for great families and great friends!

23 June 2010

The Joy of Family

This past weekend Scott and I went down to the good ole South LA to visit with my family for my parents' anniversary and Fathers' Day. We left (of course) later than we wanted to, but we got a chance to hear Scott's favourite, Jimmy Buffett live from Massachusetts on Radio Margaritaville, XM55. We were well into Mississippi after stopping in the Southaven at Chik-Fil-A (our have-to-stop-on-a-road-trip place) before we hooked up the portable DVD player that we got on my first-ever Black Friday purchasing trip to the auxillary input in the car.

That is freaking awesome, by the way...the whole movie plays through the sound system in the car so that we can both actually hear it. It's like being in a movie theater, only in car. I got to choose since I was the passenger, so I forced Twilight, House Bunny, and New Moon on him. He didn't complain too much, endured it like a (real) rock star.

Anyway, the reason we went down there this past weekend was, of course, Fathers' Day. I hadn't spent a Father's Day with my dad since 2007, when I went to visit him and my mom in St. Croix, USVI. Not to mention the fact that my parents celebrated their 40th anniversary on Sunday!!!! How awesome is that?

We got there around 3:30am Friday morning, which actually wasn't bad. We didn't stop that much, and we really didn't get tired like the last time that we traveled through the night like that for Easter. It was really nice to wake up the next morning to the smell of good community coffee, grits, and eggs cooking on the stove!

Mom and I went to run some errands with my sister while Dad and Scott went to play some golf, and then she and I went to a Physical therapy appointment. Later that evening, we had fried fish, shrimp, and I did beer-battered onion rings, which were awesome. We had a pretty nice spread and my sister and brother-in-law came over with the kiddios. My Godchild spent the night with me, which is something that she looooves to do! She loves slumber partyin' with her nanny.

Saturday morning, we went down to bayou country to visit my grandmother and parrain and nana. It was a good visit, and we stopped for Sno-Balls on the way. I got a dreamsicle with extra condensed milk....mmmmmmm...soooooo good! They definitely don't have anything like that up here in yanksville (as my mom would call it!).

When we got to their house that evening, as a gift to my parents on their 40th, my sister and I and Scott (because he loves doing this) made pizza for them. We purchased the ingredients and did all the work while they got to play with the grand-babies for a change. As my sister, her daughter, and I all are gluten-free, we made everything of the gluten-free variety. It came out very good, actually. We will continue to work on a pizza crust that actually looks like pizza crust for the most part. It was good and they liked it, too!

Sunday morning, we awoke to pan perdu, my favourite!!! Of course, I couldn't have the real kind, but I got the g-free version, which is pretty good. We went to mass with the parents and then came back for dinner. We had grilled steaks, brats, andouille, potato casserole, boiled carrots, and shrimp salad. Oh, it was soooo good!

As always, our trip was way too short, but at least we got a chance to visit. Hopefully, we'll be entertaining them for 4 July weekend, if my dad can get off from work on the Friday, 2 July.

It always fills me with such joy to be around and spend time with my family. We may have our picking, teasing, fighting, and what not, but we are, after all, always family, and we love each other! I thank God for them, though not often enough as I should. In any event, it was a great visit, filled with lots of good food and good times! Can't wait until the next one!

14 June 2010

Tour de Rock 2010

So the day started out great! The ride began at 7:00, and we had to get there for around 5:30 because they were doing a broadcast from the starting line.

I made it to the first rest top about 7:50, but I had left Scott behind somewhere, so I waited until he met me at the rest stop. Apparently, he had gotten a flat somehow and didn't know if it was something that popped the tire or was just a leak. He was able to get his tire pumped and it was going strong, so we headed onward.

We got a horrible headwind, and what had been about 15-17mph was more like 10-11mph. It was definitely hard work getting to the next rest stop, but we made it. At mile 27, the rest stop was there with more water, pickles, bananas, oranges, etc. to keep us going.

We headed out from there for the third rest stop, which was about 16 miles away. At about mile 38, Scott got horrible cramps, and we kept having to stop for him to work them out. It was incredibly hot and the route had little shade from the point of the second rest stop to the third, so we just had to wait it out. I ran out of water about 8 or 9 miles away from the next rest stop, so when we finally made it there, we breathed several sighs of relief and took a long rest so Scott could work out his cramps and I could get hydrated.

We headed onto the Fourth (and final) rest stop, which was about 12 miles away. After about 2 miles, the cramps hit Scott again, so we had to stop again. Once we got underway again, my head was beginning to hurt, but I thought that I would just push through it and keep going. I only made it about 3 more miles before my head was hurting so bad, that I couldn't move it.

At that point, mile 50, Scott said, "Nope! We're not going to do it. There's no way that you can make it 8 more miles with (almost) no water left and your head hurting that bad. I'm calling in the reinforcements to come get us." They did (and I'm so glad!) I totally could not have made it further with the way I was feeling and little water. (I went through nearly 48 oz in 5 miles!) It was also a heat index of 107 degrees! It was hottt!!!

Anyway, I'm disappointed that I didn't get to cross the finish line, but I'd rather that than crossing it and then collapsing (as another rider did). Anyway, there's always next year, and how many people can say that they rode 50 miles on a bike in 107 degree heat?

All in all, it was a good ride, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to do it, but I do have to admit that I've never been more happy to take a shower than after that ride!

08 June 2010

Wedding Extravaganza

So, Saturday was the end to our galavanting around to weddings here and there. We were actually in this one, so we had to do lots of good prep work for the wedding. We went to the rehearsal and dinner on Friday evening. (I got to leave work early, at least, so can't complain!)

The rehearsal actually didn't take that long. We only had to go through twice and we were finished. We got our instructions for showing up for pictures and dressing, hair, makeup appointments, etc., then headed on down to the big Pine Bluff for the dinner part.
It was really nice. There were twice-baked potatoes (of which I ate 3!) that were sooo awesome, I could have just eaten that and been totally fine! There were steamed veggies, salad, chicken cordon-bleu, roast beef, and a few other morsels. I was too busy eating to get any pictures of them. We got our wedding party gifts, which were awesome! A (super cute) gift bag filled with jolly ranchers, room spray, lotions, hand soap, and jewelry to wear for the wedding the next day. The boys got flasks with their names engraved thereon and chopsticks (some inside joke thing).

In any event, it was an enjoyable evening. Of course, we found the bar located at the rehearsal location and chilled there for a little while before heading back home. We got back pretty late and started all over the next morning (early).

The boys hauled tail to the driving range, while we girls headed onto our hair and makeup appointments (which were all scheduled an hour earlier than we all thought). Luckily, though, the wedding party following us had canceled not only their hair and make up appointments (which turned out great for us) but also their wedding, apparently.

Check out the do. Pretty nice, huh? Too bad I didn't get any pics of the complete ensemble.

Anyway, we were all finished just in time to enjoy a margarita, cheese dip, and fajitas at the local Mexican restaurant. The looks we got while there were pretty interesting, needless to say.

We made it to the church to finish getting ready in ample time for pictures. We even got a chance to wait in our tiny little waiting room for an hour before we processed up the aisle.

The church was so packed that the groomsmen had to bring out folding chairs so that people could have more room to sit. The ceremony was nice (and short), and we headed onto the PB for the reception.

There was dancing and singing and cake cutting and all that good stuff. I caught the bouquet (surprise) and Scott caught the garter (again, surprise). Apparently, that's supposed to mean we're next. (Hmm) It's a good thing I'm not superstitious because I'm sure that the meaning would have been canceled out by the fact that it was purposely done (shock! awe! ;) )

In any event, everything went off without a hitch, except the kind that always happen but no one ever notices. All in all, the wedding was a successful event, the bride and groom made it safely to Hawaii, and no one ended up in the pool (at least not with their wedding attire on. We changed into scrubbies first).

Here's wishing Shawn and Julie and lifetime of happiness and a marriage full of blessings.

Here's to being thankful that we can take a breather from wedding festivities for awhile, and here's to hoping that we don't pass out and/or get dehydrated and/or some other series of unfortunate events at the Tour de Rock this weekend.

Wish us luck! Details to follow.

02 June 2010


Today has not been the best of days, though it hasn't been the worst of them, either. I'm tired, have a migraine, am babysitting for the day, and having a money problem. It's difficult, sometimes, to see the forest through the trees and to remember that more good can come from the trouble if I rely on God and use these issues to bring me closer to him. Faith is so important. Without it, we can do nothing. We must allow our problems and sufferings to draw us closer to God in order that we may benefit from them and offer them up for all the wrongs we have committed against the one who loves us so much.

That is all. Short post today.

God Bless.

01 June 2010

Memphis Adventures and More

Let me start this by saying that I absolutely LOOOOVE 3-day weekends. That being said, I can now begin discussing said weekend.

So, my friend Mandy from LSU got married this weekend. She and I were on the retreat team together at Christ the King at LSU, which is where she met her now-husband.

Anyway, I went over to Collierville (yet another weekend in Tennessee. Maybe God is trying to tell me something. hmm...) We headed out early on Saturday so that we could make it to the hotel and get changed and not smell from traveling at the wedding, which started at 2:00pm. I've gotta say, I hate GoogleMaps. They screwed up the directions from the hotel and we got to the wedding late (although the hotel was honestly 200 feet from the church) but before the lovely bride walked up the aisle.

The wedding mass was lovely and the bride gorgeous (as I knew she would be). The bride and groom just looked absolutely rapturously happy. It was a very interesting and eclectic mix of people at both the ceremony and the reception, as Mandy is cajun, Gerardo is from Honduras, and the wedding was held in Tennessee being officiated by a priest from Vietnam.

As Mandy's heritage is cajun, there were masquerade masks and mardi gras beads passed out to the guests as we walked into the party. It was super cute! The wedding party did the second line as they walked in wearing their masquerade masks. It was lovely, and there was some excellent food, too! Fried fish, grits and shrimp, salad, and BBQ. (Eclectic to match the couple and the guests!)
We had a great time. My friend, Kimberly, and I were happy to see each other again, as it had been 4 years (YIKES!) since we had been together at LSU. After the wedding, Scott, Kimberly, and I all went to Memphis, where we ate at Rendevous:

and had the obligatory Diver Down at Silky O'Sullivan's on Beale Street:

We also had an interesting weekend with signs. There was several that were interesting, several of which I did not get pictures. I did, however, get the picture of a giant rooster car while stopped in West Memphis, AR, and I just could not pass up the opportunity to get that picture!

We went to Riverfest with the bride and groom to-be this up-coming weekend when we got back from mass Sunday and stayed there until it ended. We got a chance to get out to the Flying Saucer after that so we could let the crowds dissipate, and then went on a scavenger hunt for a place to eat. (We went to 2 IHOPs, 1 Waffle House, and a Denny's before we found a place that we could be served BEFORE 5am.) It was crazy! Seriously, the 24-hour restaurants had planned poorly for a night when everyone would try to eat after Riverfest, the day before Memorial Day! We FINALLY ate and got home around 3am.

Memorial Day went by way too quickly! I slept in (for the first time in a very long time) and then went to Scott's sister's house, where we BBQ'd and watched a movie and enjoyed the day with the family. Last night, we watched Father of the Bride, an oldie but goodie, and then I went home and slept until work today. I tell you, my weekend would have been A LOT better had I not had to return to work today, but that's another story.

Got a rehearsal/wedding this weekend and there endeth the crazy wedding/shower/bachelorette/etc. weekends. We've got to simultaneously train for the Tour de Rock 2010 the weekend following this one. We'll see how that one goes. 62 miles...YIKES!

In honour of our fallen men and women, whom we have honoured yesterday, on Memorial Day:

Eternal rest grant unto them, Oh, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

God bless the men and women who serve in our armed forces! They sacrifice the most for our freedom.

24 May 2010

Walkin' in Memphis...

In celebration of Julie's upcoming nuptials, we took a girls' trip to Memphis. Well, we started at Cajun's Wharf here and stayed downtown on Friday night. Saturday morning, we headed for Memphis. It was a wonderful trip!

Friday, we started at Cajun's Wharf. Then we moseyed on to the Peabody hotel for the Alice 107.7 Peabody Rooftop Party, where we got in free (Thanks to the doorman who felt the need to be nice to us since it was Julie's last girls' trip as an unmarried lady.) Then, Julie's fiancee, Shawn, graciously sprung for a room for us girls downtown so that we wouldn't have to worry about driving all the way back to her place then all the way to Memphis from there. It was very considerate and nice of him.

Anyway, after hitting Cracker Barrel in the morning on Saturday, we headed to Memphis and got there around 2. We checked into our hotel room (we had sprung for the "nice room" up on the top floor, where you had to swipe your key to get to, that had concierge service, free h'ors d'erves and champagne, free valet, free breakfast, free coffee and cookies). It was REALLY nice, and when split between four of us, wasn't unreasonable.
After getting settled in, Julie wanted to go to Graceland, so we took off to Graceland. I had gone several years ago (like 15 or 20) with my family, so I really didn't remember it all that much. I had forgotten what everything looked like! Anyway, we parked somewhere close (within walking distance) because the public parking was $15.00, and we were not about to pay that just to park.
We hopped on the shuttle which took us across the street to see Elvis' digs. It's definitely interesting to see the difference between celebrities' homes today and what was considered a huge home back in Elvis' days. The strange thing was hearing that he paid $120,000 for it. My, how times have changed!

(In more ways than one, apparently!)

While enjoying some h'ors d'erves in the Club Room on our floor, we met our wonderful concierge, Ms. Linda, who gave us some advice about getting around, gave us some coupons for BB Kings, and made us feel like we were right at home with her friendly, caring personality. (I wish we would have gotten a picture with her, but I guess, that's all the more reason to go back, right?)

Saturday night, we left the room and went to Beale Street. We met a friendly couple from North Carolina on our floor and ran into them downstairs as we were heading toward Beale. They had met a girl who was (ironically) from the same area as Julie and her sister are from and she got us into Silky O'Sullivan's for free and bought a shot for the bachelorette!

We had the obligatory Diver from Silky's, and we headed onto BB Kings, where we stayed for the rest of the evening. They had some great live music there, and we enjoyed the performance.

Unfortunately, the weekend had to come to an end, and we made it back home around 3:30 yesterday. We have, however, decided to have an annual commemoration of our trip by going to Memphis again next year (and hopefully many years!). Hopefully, we began a wonderful tradition this weekend!

21 May 2010

Adventures in Cycling

Ok, so this post is probably (ok, yes, it is!) a couple weeks late.

Anyway, on 8 May, we did the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride. We had signed up for the 20 mile ride, and I was pretty scared that I wouldn't be able to do it.

I mostly got scared because two days prior to the ride, we did a preliminary ride, to follow the track and go back and do around 20 miles, just so that I would know that I could do it. During said ride, I got really dehydrated (despite my efforts to the contrary). My head hurt so bad that I couldn't even move it. We ended up going about another mile so that I could get some hydration and have someone come to pick us up and take us back to the truck. After drinking several containers full of water/gatorade mixture, I still had a headache and it lasted until the next morning. Not EXACTLY the best thing to happen two days before your first 'big' ride.

So we started the morning. I was a little uncertain and nervous, but we were with a great group from Outskirts Bike Shop, where we get all of our biking gear. (They are so great and helpful down there!) They were doing the 50-mile ride, but we were scheduled to do the 20-mile just the two of us, so we decided to take off with them at the 50-mile start. (We were told that we could start ahead of our scheduled start time, if we wanted, just not after.)

We were riding with Sherry, one of the owners of the shop, so when we got to the 20-mile turn around, it was around 8.75 miles (so would in sum be less than 20 miles), so we decided to go with her through some of the uncertain parts of the ride until she made it to the straight point, which ended up being around 12 miles. Because we are training for the 62-mile Tour de Rock in less than a month, I figured, why not just go the extra 3 and turn around for a total of 30 miles. I also made extra careful to stay very hydrated throughout the ride.

The wind was a little rough on the way back, but we made it to the base of the Big Dam Bridge, which is about a mile long (that's where the above was taken), leaving us with around 2 miles left. I made it up and down the bridge (that side is the 'hard' side because it's about 0.5miles of climbing up up up up up and my legs were burning!!!) and to the finish for a total of around 31 miles on my first ride! Woo hoo!

Plus, I raised $225 for a great cause in riding! Now, we're in training for the 62-mile Tour de Rock on 12 June. (I think we're going to do a 50-mile ride in the River to River Memorial Ride on Memorial Day, but that is yet to be seen).

It's very confidence-boosting to know that I've ridden more than half the big ride I'm training for. I'm hoping and praying that I'll do it! I'm sure that I can. I've got a great riding partner who won't let me fail (or fall, for that matter)! He's a great one to have around. God love him for putting up with my whiny self! :)

30 April 2010

En Memoriam

Being from Louisiana, it strikes me anytime there is a tragedy in or around the great state. The explosion of the oil rig hit me a little harder than usual, mostly because my father worked on oil rigs out in the Gulf for most of my early life. He no longer works out on rigs but he still works in the oil industry.

I never thought anything, really, of the long weeks he would be out on the oil rig. I just thought it was normal, something dads did all the time, and it never once struck me that he might not be coming back.

Since the explosion out in the Gulf, I have come to realize just how dangerous a job that is and how much danger my father was in during most of my young life. I praise God for bringing him back home to us safely every time he went out on those rigs to work.

I think of the little children who were expecting 'daddy' to come home and had to be told that he wouldn't be coming home this time. How difficult that must be for a child, especially a little girl, to grow up without a father.

This day, my thoughts and prayers are with those children and the families of those who were lost in the explosion.

While reading the Gospel today, I was struck by the timely words from John 14:1-4:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”

Christ is with us at all time, through the heartache and the pain. He asks us to allow Him to share this burden with us in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Jesus asks us to take on His meekness and humility. In doing so, we find rest and our burdens are lifted by having faith in and trusting in Him, the only one who can give us comfort and true peace.

For those lost in the explosion, we pray:
"Eternal rest grant unto them, oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."

29 April 2010

Anima Christi

I love this prayer! It is such a wonderful expression of desire to always be with Christ. I especially enjoy praying it directly after receiving the Eucharist.

The 'Anima Christi" is a reminder of what Jesus himself said:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." ~John 6:53-58 NAB (c) USCCB available at http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/john/john6.htm
It's a reminder of the holy presence of Christ within us at that most holy moment of the reception of the Eucharist and the desire for Christ's presence to remain in us, that we may be little lanterns carrying the light of Christ to all people.

Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)

Soul of Christ, Sanctify me;
Body of Christ, save me;
Blood of Christ, inebriate me;
Water from the side of Christ, wash me;
Passion of Christ, strengthen me;
O good Jesus, hear me;
Within your wounds, hide me;
Separated from you, never let me be;
From the evil one, protect me;
At the hour of my death, call me;
And close to you, bid me;
That with Your saints, I may be,
Praising you forever and ever. Amen

It reminds us of the hope we have in Christ, the promises he made to us, and the life we have because of his death.

This fourth week of Easter, we still sing: Hallelujah! He is risen! Praise be to God!

26 April 2010

Let the old be stripped away...

In the spirit of the Spring, I finally (after nearly 2 years) have been able to go through my storage unit and purge it of unclean things, aka, get rid of a bunch of junk that I've been hanging onto for no good reason.

I cannot take full credit for this sudden desire to clean, however. If my financial peace class wouldn't be having a garage sale, I probably would have avoided the storage unit like the plague, mostly out of fear of collapsing objects but also out of the fear of being reminded of things I didn't want to be reminded of.

I bravely (i.e. with the help of my wonderful boyfriend) attacked the mountain of junk that was my storage unit and can proudly say I no longer posses a bunch of junk haphazardly strewn about a 10x10 concrete room claiming to be a storage unit. I shredded a bunch of worthless papers and reminders of a time when I wasn't so financially responsible and now posses a sense of relief and, oddly enough, freedom.

I think a lot of times in our lives we accumulate junk and hang onto it because we are afraid of letting it go, not because we feel we may need it one day but because we don't know how we will function without it and because we are afraid of facing those issues/ problems/ whatever we want to call it head-on. We don't know the sense of freedom and relief we can feel by just letting it go.

I think this happens a lot of times with Confession. We've been walking around accumulating "junk" in our lives and we just don't (a) want to face the issues or (b) think we have to live with the junk as a consequence of our actions. Fear and doubt are tools of the devil, which he uses to attempt to keep us from the mercy and love of God.

When we fear facing issues, we are, in essence, saying to God "I'm too afraid of telling you what you already know because I don't think you can help me." By the same token, doubt and shame tell God "You can't help me. I'm too bad of a person, and I can deal with this myself." Doubt and shame, seemingly humble, can actually be acts of pride and arrogance, denying the saving power that Christ's death has over our lives.

When we openly approach the confessional and honestly come to terms with all the 'junk' we've accumulated, we're basically saying, "Jesus, I know I've screwed up, and I approach you with a sense of humility and repentance; and humbly ask your help because I KNOW that I can't do this alone. I know that only you have the power to help me overcome all the issues, all the 'junk', all the sins I've accumulated in my life, and I know that in coming to you, your death and resurrection wipes all of that away."

When it comes to junk, we need to clean it out of closets, storage units, sheds, garages, but we also need to remember that we need to clean it out of our lives, too, before we can be renewed and begin to live a life fully in the grace of God. Like the physical junk, we need to realise that we can't do it alone. The grace we receive from the Sacrament of Reconciliation is powerful but equally powerful is the resignation it takes to admit we cannot do it alone; we NEED God. To know that we need Him and need to rely on His grace and mercy and need to be submissive to His will is the most freeing and fulfilling act we can do. We need His grace and His mercy. Without it, we are nothing, we can do nothing, and we leave our role in the Lord's will vacant and like our lives without purpose. The only way to live a purposeful life is to accept the graces the Lord freely gives us through the sacraments, through prayer, through living our lives for him. And, my, what liberation to be submissive to the Lord!

Dominus vobiscum!

Two Reasons I love Latin...

Just wanted to share two of the many beautiful Latin prayers. Latin just flows so well, and I feel as though I am praying and singing at the same time when I pray them. (Both come from http://www.catholicsaintoftheday.com) They had videos of the prayers being sung, but I'm not so tech savvy as to know how to embed them in my posts just yet. I'm learning, though! Enjoy! Dominus vobiscum!

Pater Noster

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:

sanctificetur Nomen Tuum;

adveniat Regnum Tuum;

fiat voluntas Tua,

sicut in caelo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a Malo. Amen

Ave Maria


gratia plena,

Dominus tecum.

Benedicta tu in mulieribus,

et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,

ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.


12 January 2010

A Simple Life...

There are many times in our lives that we expect God to speak to us in extraordinary, dramatic ways. Surviving a plane crash, missing a plane or train only to find that you were saved by a vending machine or your lackadaisical child who made you late, meeting your soul mate on the top of the Empire State Building a la Sleepless in Seattle, having a "near-death" experience are all ways in which we expect to see God at work or to hear Him speak to us.

There is nothing wrong with looking for or listening for God in these things because He is there. He is in all things and can be heard in all things. However, God speaking through extraordinary events tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

God tends to speak to us through small, barely noticeable events and lives. Even the birth of his Son, the saviour of the world, was an unextraordinary one. Born in a stable and laid in a manger, Jesus came into the world. Until the beginning of His ministry, Jesus was himself a rather unextraordinary person doing the will of the Father by honouring His mother and father here on Earth.

One such life was the life of my grandmother. She was far from being important by the world's standards. She lived a simple life in Assumption Parish, where she was born and raised and where she got married, gave birth to 12 children and raised them. She was a person of little account by what society would tell us.

She dedicated her life to being a devoted wife and mother; seeking only to follow the Lord's will for her. For 101 years, she was extraordinary without anyone ever noticing. Her love for the Lord and her family were at the forefront of her life. She was a member of the Lay Carmelites and devoted hours each day to praying the rosary and offering prayers of petition to our Lord for her family and friends and any other person who needed prayers. She received the sacraments as often as she could and was devoted to the Lord in every way.

She was an example of unconditional love to everyone around her. She gave of herself constantly by offering housing to a relative in need, taking care of grandchildren when it was needed, taking care of her sisters' children at times, and praying unceasingly.

Never did she pronounce a word of ill will toward another, and she was generous with her time and her love. Through her life and her love, my grandmother's 118 direct descendants as well as everyone with whom she came into contact were shown the example of how to love and be loved and how to live a full and glorious life according to the will of the Father in Heaven.

In the end, she passed on to the Father in the same fashion she lived her life: surrounded by her family, with love, with devotion, and without question. As he called her name, she answered joyously and with quiet resignation to His will, not unlike the mother of our Lord. Her life of humility, love, and resignation to the Father's will reflects that of the Blessed Virgin. It's no surprise that she was called to join our Father in Heaven on the Feast day of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

An example to us all, my grandmother has touched the lives of so many, and her impact will continue to be felt for years and generations to come. Hopefully, we will pass on the example that she set for us during her long, fulfilling, profound, yet simple life.