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Pilgrimage Day 100!!! New Pilgrimage Podcast!

Chartres Cathedral - our destination

Chartres Cathedral – our destination

To celebrate the first 100 days of preparation for our pilgrimage, here is some exciting news: Starting tomorrow, Monday, March 10, Ian & I will be doing a weekly podcast to record our preparations for the 2016 Chartres Pilgrimage. We’ll have that website available for feedback and for posting interesting information. Join us!!! Just click the picture of Chartres Cathedral to go there.

I am copying all of my recent posts related to the Pilgrimage to the new website, and all future Pilgrimage posts will be there instead of here.

Here is MORE exciting news: We are moving! After almost 14 years in this house, we have sold it and have bought a new one further north to be closer to Ian’s work. But that’s a whole ‘nuther post!

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Pilgrimage Day 53: St. Agnes, Pray for us!

January 21, 2014: the feast of St. Agnes.

File:St Agnese in Agone Rome interior 02.jpg

Way back in 1984 or so, I chose St. Agnes as my Confirmation saint (or did she choose me?). I had read about her in a book in my school’s library, and was struck by her courage, and her love for God. I wanted to be like her!

Here is the Antiphon from today’s Vespers:

The blessed Agnes stood in the midst of the fire * and stretched forth her hands unto the Lord, and prayed, saying O Thou Who Alone art Almighty! Who Alone art to be adored! Who Alone art to be worshiped! Who Alone art to be feared! I bless thee, and glorify thy Name for ever and ever!

I STILL want to be like her!!

Product Review:

For Christmas, my Mother-In-Law gave me a 5-Mile Walk at Home DVD with a set of hand-weights, which I have been using when the weather does not permit me to go outside for a walk. It takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to do the 5-Mile Advanced Walk workout on the video. It keeps my heart rate close to where I want it to be during the workout, so I am really training my heart and burning the fat.

Stay tuned for some exciting news!

Pilgrimage Day 39: How are the New Year’s Resolutions Coming?

I just re-read my New Year’s Resolution post from a week ago. I had already forgotten some of them! The dangers of putting promises on public display!

Well, resolutions do me no good without frequent review, so let’s get to it:

1. Save money monthly for Chartres. CHECK. I have a certain amount I am saving each month, but I really don’t know how much I will need. I’ll just keep saving until I figure out all the expenses I am likely to incur.

2. Set monthly goals: endurance while walking, weight loss, diet adjustments to level of activity. CHECK. My personal Trainer gave me a little device called a Fitbit last week. It is amazing. It links to an online account, which helps you keep track of goals, caloric intake and burning, number of steps taken, intensity of activity, etc. If you have a heart rate monitor, you can enter that info here too, to keep all your motivators in one place. I just received my first weekly report in an email, which gives best days, worst days, and averages for all this stuff. By the way, I have lost 6 lbs. since I first logged in last Thursday. Yay!

3. Learn to use the heart rate monitor Ian gave me! No, I have not done this. I have it right here, and I downloaded the owner’s manual, though. Counts for something, right?

4. Set goals and start training with a friend who has agreed to be my personal trainer. See number 2 above. Today I took my walk (70 minutes at a brisk pace. It was supposed to be at 50 – 60% of my maximum heartrate, but since I have not done #3, I do not know if I reached this.) My Trainer wants me to get to the point where I can run a marathon at abut 5 mph. I am not there yet.

5. Stay accountable with my “loser buddy.” I sent her a note today, telling her what I am doing. 

6. Walk or exercise every day. Set a specific time for this. I do not have a specific time. I am not sure I can do this yet, since the weather and temperature fluctuate so much this time of year. As the weather warms, I can set it for the same time every morning, but for now it will depend on whether my breath freezes and falls to the ground as soon as it comes out of my nose, or whether there is a blizzard going on. I have thought about walking at the mall, but that would require at least one and a half hours of driving to get there and back, and would only give me level pavement to train on. Out here, I have gravel, mud, snow, ice, hills… and my Mother-In-Law gave me a DVD and a set of wrist weights for walking at home! I will use that during bad weather.

7. Drink enough water every day. I can make this part of a daily check list on my phone. I have not been drinking enough water, and I have not put it as a reminder on my phone. 

8. Learn more about how to exercise effectively and safely. I am doing this little by little. I am glad I have the running shoes I do. They are incredibly comfortable and supportive while I walk. Today while walking, since I did not know how much my heart was working, I wondered if I should jog. But because I was alone on a country road, I thought I had better not until Ian can make sure I don’t sprain my ankle and have to lie in the gutter until someone passes by.

9. Find out about pool membership and swim regularly if not cost-prohibitive. I did find out about this, and I think we might do it closer to summer if we go with the outdoor pool, or sooner if we go with the indoor pool with the possibility of swimming lessons for the kids.

10. Schedule time to spend one-on-one with each of the kids, especially the girls! I have some Girls’ Night In/Out activities on the calendar for my daughters. The next one is this Saturday: home manicures and pedicures! I took them the other day to pick out some nail polish.

11. Make time to go to the museum with our new family membership which we received for Christmas. Have not done this yet.

12. Try to minimize or consolidate doctor and dentist appointments so I have more time at home. Well, the appointments have slowed down a bit. At least for now.

13. Dedicate a specific time to grading school papers. I am trying to do this while the kids are doing their school work, but I frequently have to stop to teach a lesson or explain something, or even to stop a fight between the younger kids or lie down with a little one so he’ll take a nap.

14. Schedule Confession for the kids and take them. Have not done this officially, but some of them have gone recently. Some have not and need to.

15. Blog every day, or at least once a week, on the Liturgical Year/Feast Days, Family, and/or Pilgrimage Prep. Set specific time to blog. Obviously I have not done this since January 1. 

16. Set specific times for prayer (Divine Office and Rosary), spiritual reading, examination of conscience, and Scripture daily. Keep prayer area clear of distractions.  I have specific times I am supposed to do the Divine Office, but I do not always follow the schedule. The rosary I pray while on my walk and in the evening with the kids. I have not been diligent about the rest, and my prayer area is a mess. I’ll clean it up this week and try to get into a better routine. Also, at my last confession, the priest suggested I add the Angelus three times a day. I already do it at noon, but he said I should pray it at 6 AM and 6 PM also, to help structure the day.

17. Schedule regular Spiritual Direction and Confession. I went to confession last night, and have put it on the calendar for every two weeks, ,which my Spiritual Director recommended. As for having regular Spiritual Direction, he is a busy man and I take what I can get. Every 2 – 3 weeks would be ideal, but not possible.

18. Find a quiet place for a desk that is just for correspondence and bills. Keep it clean. Nope. Maybe once we move.

19. Save up for a Breviary since I had to return the one I borrowed from Fr. O’Neill. Or at least get a good app for my phone. Ian found an app that might work on my phone, but we have not gotten it yet. I have not started saving for a set of books, although this is something I really would like. I will have to look at the budget.

20. Read the Etsy-preneurship book Ian gave me, and refurbish my shop. Make more dolls and things to sell. Enlist the older kids to make things as well! Schedule time for reading, making, and doing. I have not done this.

21. Set regular time aside to sew the kids’ Christmas stockings. Goal: have Susan’s, Peter’s, Maria’s and Nana’s done by Thanksgiving! That means finish Susan’s in January, and then have a stocking completely done every 3 months. Enlist the help of the older kids. I have not done this either! And I am adding more to it: I want to learn how to crochet lace, and how to play the harp if my brother makes me a harp! Oh! and I want to have a flower garden.

22. Save up for a new Bosch motor so we can make bread regularly again. I have not budgeted this in either, but it needs to take priority over the Breviary set.

I guess that’s not too bad, but I need to crack out that calendar and start doing some of this stuff! The year is 7 days old already!

New Year’s Resolutions: 2014

This isn’t anything new, since Ian & I resolved to go to Chartres back in November. But I found this web site:

Alpha and Omega Rose Window

This is a fundraiser for the restoration of stained glass windows in bay 140 in Chartres Cathedral – to be completed in 2016! I wonder if they will be finished by Pentecost that year. It would be neat to see the project completed, but I am simply excited to be going at all!

But for the Year of Our Lord 2014, I should have some goals written down.

Chartres and Fitness goals:

  • Set a fixed amount of money aside for the Chartres trip each month.

USAGOLD Coins

  • Set monthly goals: endurance while walking, weight loss, diet adjustments to level of activity.
  • Learn to use the heart rate monitor Ian gave me!

FR70

  • Set goals and start training with a friend who has agreed to be my personal trainer.

After multiple years as a DI, the frog voice sounds like some kind of demonic possession.

  • Stay accountable with my “loser buddy.”
  • Walk or exercise every day. Set a specific time for this.
  • Drink enough water every day. I can make this part of a daily check list on my phone.
  • Learn more about how to exercise effectively and safely.
  • Find out about pool membership and swim regularly if not cost-prohibitive.

Swimming

Family:

  • Schedule time to spend one-on-one with each of the kids, especially the girls!

  • Make time to go to the museum with our new family membership which we received for Christmas.

Travel back 3,000 years

  • Try to minimize or consolidate doctor and dentist appointments so I have more time at home.
  • Dedicate a specific time to grading school papers.

  • Schedule Confession for the kids and take them.

Personal:

  • Blog every day, or at least once a week, on the Liturgical Year/Feast Days, Family, and/or Pilgrimage Prep. Set specific time to blog.

Image

  • Set specific times for prayer (Divine Office and Rosary), spiritual reading, examination of conscience, and Scripture daily. Keep prayer area clear of distractions. Note: this is not my house, just a beautiful prayer space I found a picture of:

  • Schedule regular Spiritual Direction and Confession!

Prodigal Son

  • Find a quiet place for a desk that is just for correspondence and bills. Keep it clean!! (Note: also not my desk)

Product Image

  • Save up for a Breviary since I had to return the one I borrowed from Fr. O’Neill. Or at least get a good app for my phone.

The Roman Breviary - Flexible cover (Black Leather), 3-Volume Set

  • Read the Etsy-preneurship book Ian gave me, and refurbish my shop. Make more dolls and things to sell. Enlist the older kids to make things as well! Schedule time for reading, making, and doing.

15869087

  • Set regular time aside to sew the kids’ Christmas stockings. Goal: have Susan’s, Peter’s, Maria’s and Nana’s done by Thanksgiving! That means finish Susan’s in January, and then have a stocking completely done every 3 months. Enlist the help of the older kids.

This wonderful hand~crafted Christmas Stocking called "BABY JESUS" is made of felt applique on cloth and beautifully decorated with hand sewn sequins and beads.  There is room at the top to have a special name embroidered.  A precious Baby's First Christmas Stocking.

  • Save up for a new Bosch motor so we can make bread regularly again!

Pilgrimage: Day 31: What is a Pilgrim?

pil·grim
ˈpilgrəm
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons.
    synonyms: worshiper, devotee, believer

How much meaning is in this simple definition! Are we not pilgrims all our lives, if we seek God? And isn’t our God good to want to be found? He hides Himself for our good, but lets us find Him if we really want to. In fact, He seeks us and waits for our response. He is Love, and does not force Himself upon us.

“O gentle pilgrim of love, You stand at the door and wait!  How many doors in Bethlehem were closed to You: there was no room for You except in a wretched stable.  And is not my heart still more wretched, more squalid, more unworthy of You than that poor stable?  And yet, if I open it to You, You will not disdain to make it Your dwelling and the place of Your repose, as You did the stable where You were born.  O my Jesus, give me the grace to open my heart wide to You, to adhere with all the strength of my will to Your grace, to give You all my liberty, because henceforth I desire but one liberty: the liberty to love you with all my strength, to give myself wholly to You.  O Lord, how much You have loved us, and how few are those that love you!  Grant that at least these few may be truly faithful to You, and that I also may be of their number.”  ~Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, Divine Intimacy

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A friend at my parish offered to be my “loser buddy” to keep each other accountable. We will tell each other our monthly goals, and encourage each other to keep going. She decided to make a punishment for herself if she does not meet her goal for the month: to clean the basement of the church. I have never heard of doing this, as I think not reaching the goal is punishment enough, but I’ll think about it. Any ideas?

She also suggested setting rewards for accomplishing each monthly goal. That’s easier for me, but she could not think of anything except being able to wear her favorite dress this summer. My monthly rewards might include: taking a leisurely walk at a park or garden by myself or with Ian, planting flowers this spring, reading a favorite magazine cover-to-cover without a single distraction; and a more long-term incentive is to be able to wear a pretty blue velvet skirt my Sister-In-Law gave me next Christmas.

// Great Gardens & Ideas //

Today’s walking assignment: 30 – 60 minutes in the fat-burning zone at 60 – 70% of your maximum heart rate. Finish your walk at a moderate pace with 5 minutes of cool down at a very easy pace.

So I guess I need to figure out how to use the heart rate monitor Ian gave me.

FR70

After my walk: I walked more or less briskly for about 40 minutes, south on Phoebe, west on Cooper, south on Black Forest, then turning east and then north on Phoebe again, stopping for a stretch at the mail boxes before heading back home. UPS had left a package, which turned out to be Ian’s new phone, so I think he will give me his old one. I am looking forward to using it in conjunction with my exercise program and for keeping better track of my tasks!

FYI: It was about 43 degrees. I wore synthetic long johns from Land’s End, a long, navy poly/cotton skirt, my casual red windbreaker, black gloves, scarf, and knit hat. I was pretty comfortable until turning east on Phoebe. Then I removed my gloves and was fine. I noticed my right foot hurt a bit along the outer edge, perhaps because I was walking on the left side of the road, which slopes up toward the center of the road.

Pilgrimage Day 21: O Key of David

Day 21: December 20: Ember Friday

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Frosty Wind Made Moan

This morning, we awoke to a cold, dark world outside. The fog was so thick that we could not see the neighbors’ houses.

Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
Frost and cold, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord.

Thick Frost

The hoar frost was thickly blessing the Lord!

Lots of family members are coming this afternoon, and my daughters will serve an impromptu tea party. Lucy made ginger snaps, Margaret is brewing tea, and Andrew made a special gluten-free dessert for Aunti Mimi. Meanwhile, Susan mopped the bath room and Anne washed dishes. Peter and Thomas cleaned the boys’ room while Robert messed it up, and Maria cleaned up the living room. When they arrive, Aunti Mimi will cut the girls’ hair while we all visit. The kids, especially the younger ones, can’t wait for their cousins Bella and Benedict to come!

Today’s Novena prayer:

20 December: 

O Key of David, 
and Sceptre of the house of Israel, 
that openeth and no man shutteth, 
and shutteth and no man openeth, 
come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, 
and them that sit in darkness, 
and in the shadow of death. 

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Pilgrimage Day 20: O Root of Jesse

 

December 19, 2013

I have been informed by several sources that there are only 5 shopping days until Christmas. Thankfully I do not have to go into that mad rush to grab the last Cabbage Patch doll (or whatever toy is absolutely indispensable this year), or fight for the last fondue pot (or whatever kitchen gadget will make me the most beloved gift-giver this year).

Instead, I will help my kids finish their school work so that they can have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off with a clear conscience, and I will meet with my spiritual Director so that I can have meet my Lord on Christmas with a clear conscience!  What could be better in this last stretch of Advent?

Today’s walk: 25 – 45 minutes, getting the heart rate up. I’ll report in the comments about what I did later.

19 December: 

O Root of Jesse, 
which standest for an ensign of the people, 
at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, 
Whom the Gentiles shall seek, 
come to deliver us, 
do not tarry. 

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...