Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Created for Care

This weekend I went to Created for Care, a retreat for adoptive moms.  The retreat took place in Buford, GA on Lake Lanier.  I must admit, I was both excited and nervous for the weekend. I was really looking forward to learning more, meeting moms that have already gone down the road that I hope to go down this year, and just take some time specifically hear what God is saying to me.

The retreat started Friday afternoon, so I flew out early Friday morning.  Once in Atlanta I met up with 5 other women who were going on the retreat.  I hopped in the car with complete strangers to take a 1 hr ride to the retreat.  But there is something bonding about having a heart for orphans, and I immediately felt as if I were among friends.

Carissa Woodwyk
 A quick version:. I went to great talks.  Amazing talks.  The worship? AWESOME.  The best I have experienced in YEARS! I got to spend time with an old friend.  And I got to talk with some pretty inspirational moms who have their little ones home already.  I was blessed to meet and thank Stephanie from Ni Hao Y'all, who so graciously wrote a post about the Run For the Little Flowers and really helped the run become what it was.  I met Gayly, a great mom with a great blog, and her friend Shannon, both whom supported the run too. And most importantly, I got to spend some pretty great, quality time with God.  I even got to go on a Date with God!

The Longer Version: I would love to share with you that that the retreat was all fun and laughter.  But it was not.  I have read and heard so much over the last few years and I knew adoption can be very hard.  But, after the first night, I was overcome by all the brokenness that happens that makes adoption necessary.  By the end of Friday night, I was a bit overwhelmed and saddened by it all.  And, truthfully, I woke up Saturday morning almost in tears.  I just prayed (and went for a run too).  I honestly, was not sure if I was strong enough to enter into this.  To take on the brokenness. To somehow attempt to bring some sort of restoration to the life of one little child.

Praise and Worship led by Candi Shelton

Saturday morning the worship was AWESOME, once again. And, this song just resonated with me for the rest of the retreat.  It reminded me just how BIG God is, how AWESOME, how Powerful, how Faithful.

 I then spent most of Saturday in breakout sessions with the titles:  Finding the New Normal; the first three months home and It's Not What I Expected. Not exactly the kind of talks that make you want to run right out and start the adoption process.  But, they were incredible and I truly could see the beauty in adoption.  I could see how much I would change, how much I would have to change. And how much I would have to rely on God's strength and grace to parent an adopted child. 

PJ panel
Saturday ended with more worship. YAY! And a fun Pajama Panel party where all the moms were wearing their jammies, and some of the seasoned veteran adoptive moms answered lots of fun questions.

Sunday was filled with more worship and an amazing talk based on Hagar in Genesis (incredible). 

The weekend was beautiful.  Overwhelming. Inspiring.  A gift. 

I came away from the weekend knowing that Adoption is:
- Hard
A growth journey
- Beautiful
- A calling
- The closest thing on earth to what our relationship with God is like.  He has adopted us.  We are broken, yet He is a relentless Father, always loving us, desiring us to know and feel HIS love.  Loving us through our brokenness and the brokenness that is ours because of the world we live in.

But most importantly, I came away from this retreat with the reminder that I have HIM on my side.  And that HE is faithful to the end. Over the last year, I think I lost sight of just how powerful our God is and everything about this retreat was a reminder of HIS strength and HIS power. And that HIS strength, power, and faithfulness would be with us as we seek HIM to love an adopted child.

I pray that our family gets to walk the journey of adoption this year.  And that HE may transform us through it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday giveaway: Can you guess which actor I have a "crush" on?

So, I am out of meaningful posts at the moment. 

My husband and I watched an older movie last night with one of our favorite actors.  And it reminded me of a conversation  I had with my hubby several months ago . . .

We were watching TV and the same actor was on.  After a few minutes, I looked at my husband and said, "Do not take this the wrong way, but is it OK if I have a crush on ______?"

He laughed, and said, "No, but only because he is Catholic!"

Now, if you know me in real life, you know that I am not one of those women who even thinks about getting crazy about actors, etc.  And when I say I have a crush, I mean that I think he is handsome, and that he is a moral, upright type of man.  Now, he cannot hold a candle to my hubby, but as far as actors go, I hold him in higher esteem than most.

So, I am trying to make this fun.  Make a guess as to who this is.  I think most of you will easily guess this.

For all who get it right, you will be entered in a giveaway! 

What is the giveaway, you ask??  It is a care package surprise with some of my favorite things!!

You have until Friday to guess and enter! 

Good luck!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pray and Stand for Life today

I know most have seen this video already, but I wanted to share here, today.  Please pray for LIFE today.  Pray for our nation and our nation's leaders that they may truly protect and defend EVERY life.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A race after my own heart . . .

I think I have found another race I really want to run this year!!  A race after my own heart . . .
Chosen Marathon and Half Marathon
Check it out here.
I would LOVE to get a team together to run at this race for the Little Flower Projects in conjunction with the Run for the Little Flowers Virtual 5K!  What do you all think???

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Food Favorites

Since completing the BeachBody Ultimate Reset Detox, our eating habits have changed even more around here.  I love that we seem to be getting closer and closer to what I envision for our family.  We still indulge in junk more than I would like, but overall I like how we eat. 

Some of my new "go to" favorites are:

1. Roasted Cauliflower

Can I tell you that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this?  It is probably the most surprising newest addition.  I have not really been a fan of Cauliflower until now.  I have made pizza crusts with it and have had it steamed or raw, but had not fallen in love with this white veggie until I roasted it. 

My favorite way to eat it is Buffalo Style . . . I make my own hot sauce and coat the cauliflower with it, roast it and when it is done, I sprinkle it with a little bleu cheese.  Yummy!

My whole family loves it when I make it BBQ style!

2. Miso Soup

Hearty Vegetable Miso Soup has become my staple "cold day" lunch.  It is quick and easy to make and yummy too.  But, the one thing I have learned is that all misos are not created equal.  If you want to try miso Soup, really search out miso pastes and find one that you think will taste yummy.  The first one I tried was gross, but then I bought one with garlic and roasted pepper and it was incredible.  Plus, miso is often made from fermented items (soy, chick peas, etc) and fermented anything is so good for your digestive health.  Just make sure if you buy a SOY miso that you make sure it is organic and NOT GMO. 

3. Spaghetti squash with sauce and turkey meatballs

I used to love Spaghetti and meatballs.  Nothing beats a nice, spicy sauce over spaghetti noodles.  But, over the last year,  I had really tried to limit my wheat intake.  Luckily, I found a nice alternative . . . spaghetti squash.  I really enjoy eating it just like pasta.  The only downside is is that they can be expensive for the whole family to eat.  That is why this year, I am going to grow my own!

4. Quinoa spinach salad

They say necessity is the mother on invention.  I planned on making a quinoa and brussel sprout dish for Christmas, but was left not knowing what to do when I could not find brussel sprouts at my favorite store.  So, I tossed spinach, cooked quinoa, goat cheese, dried cranberries and pecans with a little red wine vinegar, olive oil and agave nectar and called it a success!  Everyone loved it. I have made it for get togethers and for our family several times since and I cannot say enough about how wonderful I think it is. 

I guess this really is not an original creation, though.  When searching for an appropriate photo to go with the post, I found this recipe.

Please share, what are some of your "go to" healthy dishes??

Monday, January 21, 2013

Standing in the Gap

Warning:  "Soap Box Post" that is a little disjointed ahead.

I keep fairly silent on topics of current events, politics, etc.  It is not that I do not care or do not have an opinion.  Actually, it is the opposite.  I get very worked up when it comes to what is going on in our world, our nation.  We all know that things are not good.  Abortion has been legal for 40 years now.  Our Nation is drowning is debt, as so are many American families.  The family unit is breaking down, eroded by divorce and changes in the definition of marriage.  The Catholic Church is under attack by the government through the HHS Mandate.  I could go on . . .

For the last several years, I have just prayed.  Sure, we have helped out at polling sites during voting, and signed petitions,  or sent letters to our representatives.  But ,when I honestly look at what we have done, we have done the minimal.  We, as a family, have not really worked hard to have our voice heard.

After the Presidential election, I think it hit me even more.  I stepped up my prayers.  Mainly, for my children.  I want my boys to be able to have the, relatively, carefree, peaceful life I have had.  Yet, I know, if things do not change, they will be under attack, persecuted even, for their beliefs and live in a Nation that is not free and as prosperous as it once was.  My children will be saddled with the mistakes of my generation.  And I do not want that.

The other night, I was sharing with my husband how I really feel it is essential to pray for our president and our nation's leaders. I am not talking about a quick little prayer murmured while I am folding the laundry. I am talking about "standing in the gap" type of prayer.  On hands and knees type of prayer. To pray for changes of heart and conversions.  As the conversation went on, I was struck by this sense that if I do not pray, then who?  If I do not stand up, then who?  Aren't, we, as Christians, called to this?

It is so easy to get caught up in everyday life.  And, I have given myself the excuse, "I am busy.", "I am trying to raise my boys so they are good and holy and make a difference."  "Isn't it enough that I am a good mom and make a difference in their lives?"

As those questions ran through my head, I vaguely remembered passages from C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.  The trap of Satan . . .  to get good people, Christians, so busy with life.  Shuffling kids to school, to cub scouts, to sports practices, going to meetings, watching the newest show on TV, that they do not pray, do not enter the public circle more.

I had to answer this question for myself, "Are my kids better off with me spending an hour to take them to their desired sport, or to spend an hour to pray for them, our nation and their future?"

The answer hit me hard.  Pray, Katie.  Your prayers will make more of a difference to their future than if you trek them to all kinds of activities. (This does not mean that I stop all their activities, but I feel there needs to be more balance, more moderation.)

Yet, this post is not just about prayer.  More and more I am convicted that I need to do MORE.  While I am not sure what that looks look like (I do not think I will go out and run for office), but I know that as a Christian, God is calling me to more.  I am convicted that we need this now.  Our Nation needs, every good Christian to stand up, stand in the gap and make a difference.

Our country needs more Christians who are willing to stand in the gap and fight the good fight.  Our kids need it too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1. The storm that wasn't

So all the talk around the DC area was the "big storm" we would get yesterday.   Yes, we were supposed to get a major snow storm about 1" of snow.  And we did not even get a flake.  I really wanted to it snow.  And snow lots.  This Buffalo girl needs some white!!

2.  No neighbors

Our neighbors on our right have moved to Florida and are prepping their house for rental.  The neighbors on our left have put their house on the market and are moving to Houston.  I am really praying hard we get an amazing, catholic, homeschooling family to move in next to us.  Anyone want to move to the metro DC area??  I know of a good place!

3.  Running

I am on a hot streak!!  I have had about 8 runs now with no IT Band troubles at all!!  I am still taking it slow and I only run every other day, but this is such a big breakthrough.  I am so happy.  I am continuing to do my PT exercises and Yoga and I have totally laid off of all intense lower body workouts that may stress out my hamstring.  My SI joint is still giving me issues, but overall I will take that over the total breakdown I was having before.

4.  Leaving on a Jet Plane

Next week at this time I will be on a plane to Georgia.  I have not shared or spoken much about this, but I am going on a retreat called Created for Care.  The retreat is for adoptive moms, those looking to adopt or those with a heart for orphans.  Maybe when I share about the retreat, I will share why both my hubby and I felt God was calling me to go,but for now I will just share that I am so excited to go and cannot wait for next weekend.  And as an added bonus, I get to see an old friend from Steubenville!

5. Look how "My boys" have grown
Ok, they are not my boys, but if God wanted to perform a major miracle so that we could adopt these guys, I would not mind! (These little guys are with Little Flower Projects)

June 2012
January 2013 
6. Am I the only one . . .

 that does NOT watch Downton Abbey?

Clearly, the answer is YES!
7. My current motto . . .

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Gift

This past Tuesday I took my youngest to his music class at a friend's house.  Several of us were standing in the kitchen and, as one of my friends was rummaging through her pocket for money to pay for the class, she pulled out this smaller cellophane bag and handed it to me to show me.  She quickly mentioned that she had gotten it at the retreat this weekend that many friends went on (I did not go).  As I turned the bag over, I noticed a pretty, oriental looking bag and a rosary. 
The rosary was delicate, colorful, beautiful. Then I read the paper that was with the rosary. 
It had my heart.  It is hard to explain the emotion I felt at that moment.  It was not jealousy, that she had that rosary and I didn't.  There was a part of me that felt like I was meant to have a rosary just like that one too . . .
After my friend got her money out, I handed back the rosary to her.  I mentioned that I thought it was beautiful and we began talking about something else. 
A few minutes later, another friend, who also went on the retreat, handed me a similar bag with a rosary in it and said, "Katie, did you see this?"  I responded I had.  I mentioned how beautiful I thought they were and I went to hand it back and she said, "This is for you."  She proceeded to share how, when Fr. Dan was talking about the rosaries and that they help moms in China, that she thought of me and that she wanted to get one for me.  I was so touched. So honored.  
And it was clear that God was working through my friend.   This precious gift was like God saying, "I hear your prayers Katie."  For months, in prayer, I feel like God keeps on telling me to wait and have patience.  And I do, but this gift spoke to my heart that He knowsWait on Him.  Continue to pray. 
Thank you, friend, you know who you are!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: What kind of mom are you?

I was recently driving somewhere and was stopped behind a car that had a "Soccer Mom" decal on the back.  I looked at it and thought, "I will never be a soccer mom."  I have NO desire to trek my kids from practice to practice and soccer field to soccer field.  I cannot sit on the sidelines for hours, watching my kids kick around a ball.  That is just not me.  I do not begrudge moms that do that.  I think each family is different and each family is called to move in different ways.

But, that "Soccer Mom" sticker, got me thinking . . . . what decals would I proudly display on my car??  What kind of mom am I?  So this week, I am using my 7 Quick takes to share them with you!

1. Catholic Mom
My faith is the most important thing to me.  It shapes the person I am and the Mom I am.  It affects every area of my life and I am proud to say I am a Catholic Mom.

2. Boy Mom
I am a Boy Mom and I take pride in that.  I love that I have all boys.  I love their loudness, craziness and all around fun"ness" (most of the time).  Boys are special and, although I get looks and comments of pity from strangers because I do not have a girl, I feel especially blessed that God has given me all boys.

3. Homeschooling Mom
This is the first year I would proclaim that I am a Homeschool  Mom. Simply because, I feel like I am finally getting it down.  We are in a groove now!

4. Swim Mom??

Not sure I can totally claim this one, really.  I have friends that are at the pool 5 days a week with their kids.  I will settle for the two days a week and the boys loving it.  They even want to do a kids' triathlon this summer!

5. Scout Mom

This one should have been higher up on the list.  I think we are officially a scouting family.  I have one in Webelos, one in Tigers and one who cannot wait to be in scouts too!

And, probably because I am a boy mom and will have boys in Cub Scouts for YEARS, the Scout Master suckered me in thought I would be a great person to serve on the Leadership Committee.  So, I guess I really am a Scout Mom.

6. Running Mom

Is there a need for me to say anything else here?

7. Marathon Mom

I think there is something amazing about anyone who can train long and hard for 26.2.  But, I think Moms who do it are even more special.  It takes a special dedication to both running  and family, a generous and understanding husband, and kids who are willing to wake up early to cheer mom on on that special day.  It really takes a family effort for a Mom to become a Marathon Mom and I feel blessed to have such a great family that was with me on the journey.

So, what kind of mom are you??

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Staging a Comeback

I have a vision for 2013.  And, at some point, I am going to put it into words. But for now I want to talk about running.  Before 2013 began, I looked back at my old 2012 goal post and 2011 goal post.  And I saw MANY running goals.  Many races to be run.  A couple PRs to get along the way.  And, for the most part I hit most of the goals.

But, this year you will not see a long list of races to be run and PR goals from me.

This year, I only have one goal. 

To get back to running, fully injury free. To enjoy the run.  And to be thankful for each mile I can run.

Ok, so maybe that is more than one goal, but that is what I hope for this year.

And, I think, I may get there.  I am FINALLY at a point where I can run up to 4 miles with no IT band pain.  These runs are slower than they used to be, but I will take any mile that is pain free.  I am truly so happy when I finish a run and my IT band is not even sore.  It makes me hope that I may actually get back to running more and more.  After all, this time of year is my FAVORITE time to run outside.

And, as of right now, I only have one race on my calendar  . . .

ZOOMA Annapolis!!!  I have done this race twice before and I decided that this year I want to make this my "comeback" race.  I love Zooma and think this is the perfect race to celebrate beging able to take on distance again.  I am not planning on running ANY other races before Zooma.  And the only other thing I have in "my sights" is a sprint triathalon in the Fall.

So, that is it for me for running this year . . . . 

Maybe 2014 will be the year for marathon #3!

Friday, January 4, 2013

You know you have boys when . . .

Your nativity looks like this by Epiphany . . .

Thanks to a wrestling match and a toy car, not only was St. Joseph decapitated, but the Angel lost its wing too!