Quick Downs

I was going to write 7 Quick Quotes today, BUT...

The Big East Football Schedule came out today, so I'm going to talk Mountaineer Football instead.  We'll call it 7 Quick Downs.  Except there's no such thing as 7th down (or 5th or 6th for that matter).  Anyway...

1.  We open the season against Marshall.  Gulp.  Not gonna lie.  With a brand new offense on our end and a head coach that knows our defense on their end I'm a little nervous about this.  Anyone else?

2.  We only have 1 Thursday night game.  Away.  In December.  This is strange.

3.  We play Pitt at home.  On Friday.  The day after Thanksgiving.  This is not strange.  In fact I will look forward to this Friday from today until then.

4.  I have my fingers crossed that our home game against Louisville on Nov. 5 gets moved to Thursday night (best case) or is at noon (worst case).  My cousin is getting married that day in Pittsburgh and it would not go over well with my Aunt/Godmother to not be at her son's wedding.  (My cousin, on the other hand, would completely understand.  He and his fiance picked this date around the Penn State football schedule!)

5.  Notice the use of 'we' and 'our' in speaking of the schedule.  Maybe someone should make it clear to me that *I* do not actually play in the games.  Or maybe not.  It might not end so well for that person.

6.  We are changing up who we order our season tickets through this year.  Typically my uncle (who works for WVU) orders our tickets for us, but I don't want him to feel obligated to do so every year.  So, we decided to ask my brother to order our tickets for us this year (he is able to order through his company for immediate family).  There are about 10 3 different scenarios that could play out as far as where we actually end up sitting.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for seats in the same section we are in and either the row we are in or a few rows back.  If you only knew how much changing seats stresses me out.  I like my seats around 'my people' and not knowing exactly where we will end up freaks me out just a little a lot.

7.  The announcing of the fall schedule is like a little glimmer of hope in the midst of 'pitchers and catchers report'.  Now to just make it through baseball season.  I'd say I was hopeful the Pirates might end the year with a winning season, but we all know I'd be lying!

Have a great weekend, be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes, AND of course - Let's GOOOOO Mountaineers!!!!


A First

I'm out of town at a conference this week (well, since yesterday morning).  I love conferences.  I love learning new things, being reminded of old things, sleeping in a hotel (let's face it, anytime I get to sleep in a bed that was made before I got in it I'm pretty happy), eating food prepared by someone else, and connecting with other professionals.

I always attend every session of a conference from start to finish.  I don't leave sessions early and I make many trips through the exhibit hall.  I also take a book or two of notes.  I like to get my money's worth, so to speak.

Not this week though :(.  Yesterday after lunch I took a quick stroll through the exhibit hall, and I haven't returned.  This morning, I skipped the keynote session and I'm not sure I'll make to tomorrow's keynote session either.  It's the first time I've ever skipped a conference session I was planning to attend.

What has caused such out of the ordinary behavior?

A lovely case of the coughing-sneezing-running nose-fever-sickness that is kicking my butt like I've not experienced in a long time.  It would be only so easy if some Day.quil and some Ny.quil could fix me up.  But a dose of Ny.quil would equal about 18 - 20 hours of sleep, and a dose of day.quil would have me so high I'd be jittery and not remember a word I heard.

I didn't skip the keynote session this morning lightly, I just could. not. get. out. of. bed.  And when considering my day, I knew that of the three sessions I planned to go to, it would have the least impact on my day to day work as typically keynotes are motivational, get-you-going types of presentations (not meat and potatoes type).

I do feel like I've learned some great information, I'm just hoping that next week when I look over my notes (that are much less than usual) they make sense and jog my memory in the ways I thought they would when I took them.

For tonight, I'll be chillin' in my hotel room wearing my fuzzy WVU slippers and hoping I make it to the end of the WVU-Pitt basketball game!  Let's goooooo Mountaineers!


Our Next Adventure

Is official!  We are going to Texas!

What?  You aren't super excited for us?

Oh, maybe I should tell you why we are going to Texas...

To become an NFP Teaching Couple!!!!

Natural Family Planning has been such a blessing in our life, more so than we ever dreamed.  And as a way to keep balance, I am determined to practice what I preach and spread the word about NFP.

So, at the end of March, The Man and I will be heading to Texas for a long weekend.

This trip has been blessed already in so many ways:  our diocese agreed to reimburse us for our travel expenses; I was able to find airfare cheaper than I'd seen it recently on flights at times that worked out really well; both The Man and I were able to take the time off work with zero problems; and the couple that will be teaching us has offered their guest room for us as a place to stay.

From a couple who was 'never going to have sex again' to a teaching couple in just under 2 years, I'd say this is one thing I am 100% sure that God is smiling down on us about.

Now, if a certain Moonhead (I know both Moonheads isn't possible) will be in Texas at the end of March I will be so excited I might, well, jump over the moon :-D!

We are one step closer to making Natural Family Planning (NFP) a well-known topic in West Virginia.

If you would please say a prayer for us as we begin this new adventure, we would be very grateful.  Thank-you!



With the House passing a resolution/law/whatever to defund Planned Parenthood, so many of you (Sarah and Calah to name just a couple) have been writing your thoughts on not only the defunding issue itself, but about just what Planned Parenthood is about.

I'm slightly embarrassed to say that until recently I, naively, thought that a place called Planned Parenthood would encourage women to, well, parent.  It was just last week that I for the first time ever visited their website, and also looked to see where the closest one to where I live would be located (I had the impression they were in every town across the US).  I was somewhat surprised to realize that the closest is in Pittsburgh.  But I then realized, that with the exception of providing abortion services, our local Health Department offers much the same information regarding birth control (I can't speak to what advice they would offer a young woman who was pregnant and not happy about it, so I won't even make a guess.)

And, as I read Sarah's post especially, I felt my familiar feelings of anger about not being given information about NFP before last year.  And really, I was never given the information, I sought it out and I found it.

And I found myself struggling to not succumb to the anger and the feelings of 'it's not fair' and 'it's not right.'  Because on one hand, those feelings are completely counter productive.  I can choose to be upset and angry that I never had the information until recently.  I can blame myself for not taking a more proactive role in learning about my body.  I can blame my parents for not taking the time to teach me or share resources with me.  I can blame my parish for not requiring NFP information prior to getting married.  I can blame our Sponsor Couple for not sharing the information.

OR, I can be grateful to know what I know now.  I can be grateful for this community that has time and time again shown me I'm not alone and it wasn't 'just me'.  I can be grateful for a diocese who is sponsoring our trip to become NFP Instructors and who wants to help us spread the word.

OR, I can get angry again.  I can get angry at the medical community for not sharing this information.  That there is a BETTER way than birth control.  A healthier, more reliable, safer way.  I can get angry at  Catholic Churches for not standing up and SHOUTING that there is a BETTER way - a better way to respond to our fertility, a better way to respond when a woman finds herself pregnant without planning it, a better way to so many things.  I can get angry at parents for not taking the time to educate themselves AND their children.

OR I can tell myself 'Rome wasn't built in a day'.  I can tell myself that I'm doing my part.  I can tell myself that the information is out there if only people would look for it.

Finding balance is so hard.  And finding the right way to keep balance is so hard.

As much as I would like to think that anyone who was shown the proof that NFP works to prevent pregnancy would use it, I know for a fact that they all wouldn't.  As obvious as it seems to me now, I'm not sure it would've seemed so obvious to me 10 or 15 years ago.  I know it wouldn't have.  I wasn't raised with Theology of the Body.  I wasn't even raised with a good understanding of the Catholic Faith.  The foundations were there, but it wasn't until adulthood that I searched out the whys, hows, and whats for myself.

So what about other adults who have no foundation?  Will some learn and change their minds?  Yes, will everyone?  No.  So where is the balance between anger and doing what I can?  Where is the line between living what I believe and preaching it?  Between sharing what I know and forcing my thoughts on others?

Between using my free will for good and taking the free will of others?

What will be the ultimate effect of defunding Planned Parenthood?  Only time will tell.

For now, I am praying hard for balance.  Balance between being just outraged enough to do something and paralyzed with anger.


Quick Takes

1.  What a week!  Moving is hard work :).

2.  I learned how to do something new on my Mac last night (how did we do things before google?)!  I learned how to take screen shots, AND save them to my desktop!

3.  Why did I need screen shots?   For the WINNERS of course!!!!!!

4.  Drumroll please........winner #1 is:  Michelle from Endless Strength at 8:08 am on 2/17.

5.  And drumroll please......winner #2 is:  Kaybeeski from Have You Been Outside Lately? at 11:12pm on 2/15!
6.  CONGRATULATIONS Ladies!!!!!!!  Michelle, please comment or email me with whether you would like the blog makeover or the photograph, and Kaybeeski once I hear from Michelle I will be in touch!

7.  Thank-you to you ALL for making my new 'home's' first week such a great one!

Have a great weekend and be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes!


Taking Care of Ourselves

Recently, Young Mom and Michelle wrote about the need to take a moment and take care of themselves.  As a woman who lives with a Massage Therapist, I hear weekly (sometimes daily) how I need to take care of myself.  The Man is always reminding me that I need to stretch before and after exercising, drink more water, and take time to recharge.  I realized I'm blessed to have The Man looking out for me, so I thought I'd ask him to look out for all of you too!  That's right, The Man agreed to guest post to share some tips for how to find a good massage therapist and how to make the most of your massage.  Please ask any questions you might have in the comments and The Man will come by and answer them :).  (And don't forget to enter my giveaway here.  It ends TONIGHT!)

Massage is a manual therapy that manipulates soft tissues and decreases muscle tension, pain, stress and depression.  Aside from the standard definition, massage is a very real way to dramatically increase your quality of life.  With the assistance of a skilled therapist, regular massage can increase your body awareness and empower you as an individual.  Through the tactile sensation and constant feedback, your attention is focused on where your pain and tension are located.  Then, reconnect with your body and discover how you can control it more effectively. Other benefits of massage include:  
  • Increases circulation
  • Enhances the immune system
  • Promotes nervous system functioning
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Relieves pain and muscle tension
  • Improves mood, intellectual reasoning and job performance
  • Positive effect on conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes and migraine headaches
Massage Therapists are not, however, all created equal.  I practice therapeutic massage.  Therapeutic massage is designed to treat a specific condition, and a licensed or certified professional is trained to assist with soft tissue injuries and dysfunctions, as well as support general recovery. Extensive training enables the therapist to take a thorough history, identify contraindications (reasons to not massage). A healthcare provider can write a prescription for massage therapy and the therapist or practitioners who fills the prescription may be able to bill insurance groups and workers' compensation for the therapy services. There are individuals that are not formally trained and do not have a license or certification. Those individuals can perform a "spa style" massage for relaxation purposes. The fees charged are comparable even though the knowledge base and skills differ. If you have no health issues, want a basic massage and do not anticipate needing any therapeutic work, obtaining the services of these practitioners is an option. However, if a therapeutic need crops up during a session, a referral should be made to a trained and sanctioned practitioner.

When you are looking for the best practitioner to meet your needs the first place I suggest inquiring is your primary care physician. Just as you would check the credentials of your traditional physician, dentist, or chiropractor so you can be confident in them, you should learn as much as you can about your massage therapist or practitioner. A few questions to ask include:
  • Are they formally trained?
  • How long have they been practicing? 
  • Have they obtained credentialing, certification or licensure from the State in which they practice?
  • Are they nationally certified?
Checking the credentials of your massage therapist may seem like a daunting task, but there are several easy steps to take. You can contact an association that represents the field of massage. The two main massage associations in the US are:
  • The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professional (ABMP)
  • The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
The AMTA can provide not only the educational and certification or licensure requirements of all the states in the US, but can assist you in finding a practitioner in your region with the qualifications and advanced training and certifications that you require.

Aside from the technical aspects, a good therapist should be helping create a safe, healthy environment in a number of ways:
  • Provide a private space
  • Provide proper draping materials and methods
  • Explain how the session will be conducted
  • Communicate during the session about pressure, pain, comfort
  • Educate about therapy, and methods at home for relief
If you aren't getting these ASK FOR THEM.

Things to remember:
  • Remove clothing to your comfort level (although more skin contact=better data feedback=more effective therapy)
  • Massage should not be painful. Maybe uncomfortable, but not painful
  • Conversation level is ultimately up to you
  • Think about your breathing; slowly and evenly
  • You won't hurt our feelings, if you dislike something, tell us. We want what's best for you
  • Trust your therapist. Don't help us when moving your limbs. While we appreciate your help, it's counterproductive
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourself so you can care for others.


Dress Yourself in Love

Come dress yourself in love, let the journey begin. 
~Francesca da Rimini 

Sarah introduced me to Betty, who asked about wedding dresses.  I'm not a decorator and I'm certainly no fashionista.  Give me a pair of black pants and a sweater and I'm good to go.  I remember being excited to go wedding dress shopping, but feeling a little disappointed with the whole process.  Yes, I'd found a dress I liked, but when I saw the photos I was completely disappointed.  What I wanted (strapless) was not going to work for me.

Many magazines later, I found the dress I knew was for me.  And many phone calls (and a favor from a friend of my Nan's) later, it was being ordered for me to try on.

It wasn't what I pictured, but I loved it.  At the end of our wedding day I remember not wanting to take it off, I'd never felt 'attached' to clothing before.  But this dress was different.


200 Days

Until WVU Football.  I think it's time the new place gets it's countdown :) -----> what do you think?

Maybe I should countdown to the Gold-Blue game?  No, it's fun, but just not the same...

While I'm wallowing in self-pity that football season is over, and trying not to die of a heart attack before the end of basketball season, don't forget to enter my giveaway to celebrate the new place!


A Thankful Giveaway (or TWO!)

Welcome to The Road Home.  I hope you like it here as much as I do!  There are a couple of people I need to say thank-you to before doing anything else.

And what better way to say thank-you than with a giveaway TWO giveaways!

So, first, I will say thank-you to Kelsey!  She did the design work and surpassed my imagination BIG TIME!  She also did my the design on Feel my Love and I wanted to keep a similar look (or at least colors).  I knew she would be able to make it amazing - and I think she did.

And second, I will say thank-you to Kim!  She provided the photo for the background and it is exactly what I pictured when I started thinking about this blog.  She has an amazing eye behind the lens and I'm so grateful to her for sharing her gift with me.

So, what am I giving away?

1)  A blog makeover from Kelsey.  She will transform your blog and I know you will LOVE it as much as I love mine.

2)  A 5x7 photo of your choosing from Kim.  The final print will be matted and signed to a final size of 8x10.

And, how do you enter?

Lots of ways - do one, some, or all - it's up to you!
1 - comment on this post for one entry.
2 - follow this {new} blog for one entry (leave a second comment saying you are a follower)
3 - tweet about the giveaway (leave a third comment saying you did it).
4 - blog about the giveaway with links to Kelsey and Kim for THREE entries (leave 3 more comments saying you did it).  (Doesn't need to be it's own post, can be included with another post.)
5 - visit Kelsey, check out her work and tell us what you think you'd like her to do with your blog in a comment on this post.
6 - visit Kim's Flickr PhotoStream, pick your favorite (it will be tough) and let us know which photo you picked in a comment on this post.

Most importantly, how do you win?

You have until Thursday at 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time to enter as many ways/times as you'd like.

That evening, I will use Random.Org to generate 2 winning numbers and will post the winners on Friday!  The first winner will win their choice of either the blog makeover OR the photo, and the second winner will get the other.

Thank-you for visiting my new 'home'!

Enjoy checking out the awesome work done by both Kelsey and Kim - and good luck!

**Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation of any kind in exchange for either of the giveaways.**

**Giveaway is now closed.***


Quick Takes

Happy Friday!  I am a little shocked that is already Friday, but come this evening I will be one happy girl, so I'm just gonna go with it.

1.  It is starting to sink in that football season is really over.  That means a winter of sorts has started for me.  I just can't seem to fall in love with baseball.  Maybe it's the fact that I am a Pirates fan.  Yes, that makes sense.

2.  I am learning to love basketball.  I am a little worried I may love it into an early grave as it is not proving to be any easier to be a WVU Basketball fan than it is to be a WVU Football fan.  *sigh*

3.  I had one interview last week and will have two coming up next week.  Not interviews that I am going on, but that I am conducting.  Interviews for the person who will take my job.  It is an interesting dynamic.  What is the best interview question that you have ever asked or been asked?

4.  I caught up a on my Bible in 90 Days reading this week and I'm so glad I did.  That Queen Esther was a pretty awesome lady!  And Job?!?!  Wow.  Hearing of him and actually reading of him are two totally different things!  Now we are into Psalms and I love how they are broken down into what the Psalm was written as a prayer for.  I have realized that I will not be able to read the books of the Apocrypha AND stay on schedule, so I've decided I will read through without reading those books and then I will go back and read them at the end.

5.  A second thought on the Bible in 90 Days.  I've been loving my Ignatius Bible for my Kindle, but when I got behind, I was glad that I had kept my New Century Version Women's Devotional Bible, Becoming.  While I know it isn't a Catholic Bible, it is written in plain, everyday English and made reading through Job so much easier!  When I got my New Catholic Answers Bible, I had started to put the other in a stack of books to go to the used book store here in town, but something told me to just hang on to it.  I have yet to find a Catholic Bible written in such simple language, so I think I will continue to hang on to this bible for those times when I need a simpler version.  (It's either that, or get a children's bible.)

6.  I'm happy to say that I'm on my way to my next 5k!  Sara and I started the Couch to 5k program again this week, finishing up Week 1 last night.  When we headed out for our run it was 18 degrees.  As cold as it was, I'm so glad we went.  We'll be rewarded with warmer days this weekend!  I'm committed to running a 5K in about 8 weeks, and then starting to train for a 10K.

7.  Finally, there will be some changes around here next week.  Some BIG changes.  Like new web address and new look changes!  I'm so excited I'm nearly bursting.  These changes have been a long time coming and  I'm so pleased with how they turned out.  Kelsey has once again outdone herself, and to thank her, I will be doing a giveaway and one of you will win a blog makeover!

Have a great weekend and be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes!


Monday Mumbles

Mumbling with TOOJE today.

1.  I really need to find a hobby that does not involve me being completely stressed out over something that I have absolutely NO control over (no matter how much I think my little rituals matter).  Exhibit A:  the Super Bowl.  I snapped at my mom and had to bite my tongue (literally) to keep from yelling at an acquaintance who kept trying to make me feel better.  Exhibit B:  my stomach is already in a ball of knots anticipating tip-off of the WVU-Pitt basketball game tonight.

2.  My brother was one of the people whose tickets was in a section deemed 'unsafe' by the Arlington, TX fire marshal.  Bad.  He was a single, so he ended up sitting in a Club Level seat on the 45 yard line.  Good Awesome.  An hour or so after the game was over, I asked him how it was, excepting of course the final score.  He answered in one word:  Incredible.

3.  We are more than 1/3 of the way through the Bible in 90 days.  I'm a couple of days behind right now, but I read that the book of Esther is today's reading, so I'm determined to catch up.  I've never read Esther, but I've heard so much about it that I'm very much looking forward to it!  What are your favorite books/stories/passages etc. in the bible?

4.  I'm freezing.  It's not even close to as cold as it's been, but I am almost shivering.  I love living where we have four distinct seasons.  I enjoy the snow.  I'm ready for Spring.  I think I said this recently.

5.  While the Steelers didn't win last night, I'm excited to say that having a house full of people was just the motivation I needed to finally move the last of the boxes out of my dining room and ask The Man to hang some things up.  Now I need to invite someone to come hang out in our office-that-is-also-a-closet/dressing room, so that I can get motivated to organize it once and for all.

6.  Much like TOOJE, I don't have a full set of 10 mumbles for today.  I really do need to get some work done!  Have a great week!


'Super' Quick Takes

1.  My brother, who lives in Dallas, is GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!  He sent a picture message last night with a photo of his ticket.  I am so excited for him.  He is frequently forced to endure tons of Dallas Cowboys love being that 1) he lives IN Dallas and 2) his in-laws are all FROM Dallas.  Yea, he's one very happy Steeler fan!

2.  We are not going to the Super Bowl, but we are hosting our very first Super Bowl party.  For Super Bowl XL, The Man was drugged up on painkillers from wrist surgery and doesn't remember much of the game.  He was so out of it, that a few weeks later he said "Did my parents stop by during the Super Bowl?".  Um, yea honey, they were here for the whole 1st half.  For Super Bowl XLIII, we went to Pittsburgh to watch the game at Hines Ward's bar on the South Side.  Remember?  And who could forget the AFC Championship game that year?

3.  Growing up, I mostly remember the Steelers being not-so-great.  And there was the Super Bowl loss to Dallas in the 90s.  But, traditionally, the Steelers are one of the NFL's all time best teams.  I grew up a Steeler fan, just like I did a WVU fan.  I loved them through those not-so-great years, and it makes these recent years all that much sweeter.  Here is look back at Steeler Super Bowl Victories of the past.

4.  I saw this yesterday and about fell out of my chair laughing (made it hard to pretend to be working...)  I don't typically engage in 'smack talk' because I don't want to jinx my team, but I can't resist, it's too cute...
Oh Cheeseheads ... say hello to my little friend.

5.  And speaking of being productive at work, check this out...

Live Videos by Ustream
How cool is that????

6.  I have two pups who are also ready for the Super Bowl too.  In the bottom right picture, that Terrible Towel that Mei Mei is standing on is actually Kali.  And in the two bigger pictures, yes, that is a football they are playing with!

7.  And what would a Steeler Super Bowl post be without this...

Be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes and have a great weekend!  Here we go Steelers, Here we go!!!


Kindle 101

Lauren asked for a Kindle post and since I ♥ my Kindle, here you go.

The #1 comment, question, concern, whatever that I hear when I mention my Kindle is something along the lines of:  don't you miss 'real' books?

To be completely honest, this was a concern of mine as well.  But, I was hopeful because 1) I ♥ technology and 2) I am a book-cover-folder-backer *cringe*.  I know it's bad, and I always regret doing it, but I prefer to look at one page at a time.

So, while I was extremely excited to be surprised with a Kindle for Christmas, I was secretly a little bit skeptical about how much I would actually use this new piece of technology.  I held out hope though, because there's no way to fold back the cover on a Kindle.

It turns out, I had no reason to be skeptical. at. all.

Some of my most favorite features to date are:

  • being able to carry multiple books around with me at once; and to turn directly to the page I left off at in any of them
  • being able to highlight, bookmark, and comment on what I'm reading
  • see how many other readers have highlighted or bookmarked a certain portion of text
  • thousands of FREE books
  • the ability to download books either using the Kindle or online at Amazon.
  • being able to read without pages flapping around because I'm too lazy to hold the book I prefer to prop my book up
  • and being able to turn the page with a click of a button on either side of the kindle
That is certainly not a complete list of features, but it's a start.

I still enjoy picking up a regular book occasionally (not all books are available electronically), but I get so much more reading done now that I have my Kindle than I did before.  I am pretty sure I'd not be current on my Bible in 90 Days reading without it.

Lauren, I hope this is what you were looking for.  And everyone else, what do you think?  Are you loving your e-reader?  wanting one?  or sticking with the ol' fashioned way?


For Today

For Today, February 1, 2011...A glimpse into my day, just an ordinary day.

Outside my window...gray skies and melting snow.

I am thinking...that waking up 12 minutes before I'm supposed to leave is not the best of ideas.  I was only 5 minutes late though.

I am thankful for...my Kindle.  Seriously. I ♥ it!

From the kitchen...for lunch:  hot dogs, baked beans, and fruit.  (I work in a child care center, remember?)

I am wearing...kahki's and a blue sweater.

I am creating...a list of things I have to do before our Super Bowl party on Sunday.

I am going...to teach Rite of Christian Initiation for Children at our church tonight.  It is my favorite ministry.

I am reading...The Bible in 90 Days and Drowning Ruth and The Power of a Praying Wife

I am hearing...the clicking of computer keys from the other office.

Around the house...I would imagine there are 3 sleeping animals there.

One of my favorite things...wine.  Specifically this wine.

A few plans for the rest of the week...WVU Basketball tomorrow, Faith Group on Thursday, and the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing...