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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!

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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!

Day 18: O Wisdom

Here is the second day of the O Antiphon Novena:

December 17: 

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, 
that reachest from one end to another, 
and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, 
come to teach us the way of prudence! 

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

Since yesterday I took all the kids Christmas shopping, today I will go alone and do my own shopping for groceries and Christmas gifts. If I get home early enough, I will do my 40-minute walk while it is still warm outside!

Day 17: December 16: O Antiphons Novena

This Novena, though it starts one day earlier than the O Antiphons, correlates with the O Antiphons in the titles used to address Jesus between the 17 th and the 24 the of December. It would, therefore, make a good Novena to pray when your family prays the O Antiphons.

December 16: 

O Shepherd that rulest Israel, 
Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, 
come to guide and comfort us. 

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

Today I was supposed to walk 40 minutes, but I took my 10 children Christmas shopping instead. They wanted to buy little gifts for their cousins who will be in town for Christmas, so we spent the afternoon going from place to place finding just the right gift for each person. I did walk for several hours, but I did not get my heart rate up, unless you count my impatience boiling my blood.  My confessor will be seeing me soon.

Pilgrimage: Day 11 Happy Birthday to Me!

Day 11: December 10, 2013: St. Melchiades, Pope and Martyr, pray for us!

Pope miltiades.jpg

Today I turn 44! Ian is in Fort Collins at work, the kids are working on their school, and I am helping them while I get ready for a doctor’s appointment. I know it does not sound all that special or exciting, but the life that God has given me, and that I have freely chosen and accepted, is the most beautiful gift. Each moment I choose to say “Yes” to God is a diamond He adds to His Blessed Mother’s crown.

So how do I say YES today? By getting up when I would rather stay in bed. By getting the children up when I would rather enjoy the quiet as long as possible. By encouraging them to do their schoolwork when it would be easier to have a free day. By helping them with their school when I have 1,000 other things that have to get done besides this. By staying in God’s holy Presence all day, and keeping the inner peace He gives me, even when there is disorder and noise all around me. By doing what each moment demands. By giving priority to my prayer time, and going to bed on time so that tomorrow I can get up and do it again!

Here is a beautiful thought for today: “What? The cross make us lose our inward peace? Surely it is the cross that bestows it on our hearts. All our miseries come from our not loving it.” ~ St. John Vianney

Today’s walk: 20-40 minutes at an easy pace.

Pilgrimage: Day 10

Pilgrimage Day 10: December 9, 2013: St. Juan Diego, pray for us!

Today was a little warmer than the last few days, and I spent a lovely morning with my Mother-In-Law shopping at IKEA and then having lunch at Panera. I was not walking briskly at IKEA, but we were in there for a couple of hours at least. It was a lot of fun to spend all that time with Mom, looking at all the neat storage ideas and picking up a few Christmas gifts and kitchen utensils.

IKEA Chest of drawers

I came home and helped the kids with their school for a while, and now it is just about dinner time. I will do a little workout after prayers tonight before I get ready for bed since I did not really “walk” today. I have only been doing this walking regularly for a short time, and I have been feeling really good. I do not want to get out of the habit, especially since Ian bought me some wonderful walking shoes and socks this weekend for my birthday, and my feet have never felt better. Tomorrow’s high temperature is supposed to be almost 40 degrees, so I think I might be able to handle walking outside! If not, maybe I will go walk at the mall.

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Thinking ahead to sleeping on the ground, I found this inflatable hiking mattress that attaches to a sleeping bag. Just something to think about.

Inflated and stuffed size comparisons including Women’s.

Here are some sleeping bags that attach to the mattresses! Sounds like a good idea! This particular down-filled bag weighs only 1 lb., 15 oz.. Nice for carrying on the trail.

Antares 20 Sleeping Bag

Here are some walking socks, for good measure.

A priest friend who has done the pilgrimage said it would be a good idea to have a walking stick. He went as a seminarian and was very thankful that he had the stick, because he was physically unprepared in other ways.  There are collapsible staffs available also, which might be a good idea.

That’s all for now. I am hoping to hear soon from friends who have done this pilgrimage, and if I do, I will post about that in addition to the physical and material preparations I am doing.