My Trip To Rome

-How My Trip Came About-

I have to say that the reason my trip to Italy came about is because I seriously have the most considerate husband on the planet.  Months ago, Joe informed me that he had a couple of big work trips come up that would take him out of the country again. (One trip to India, one to Australia).  We engaged in a familiar conversation, which once again had me working hard to hide my jealousy and swallow any sign of resentment.  I mean, it’s his job after all.  I am incredibly thankful for all his hard work, and that he has a great job to support our family.  It’s also pretty amazing that he gets opportunities to travel the world once and a while.  However, when the really big trips come up I have to fight against having the “I wish I could do that” look in my eyes.

This last time around, I think I took the news quite well!  I had a hard time when he left for his first big trip (to Tokyo), primarily because Lucy was still so little.  But now that we are in a good family groove, the news was a lot easier to take.  We left our conversation about the matter on a good note, so it was big surprise when he came to me the next morning telling me that he thought I should go to Italy.  I was quite shocked.

What?!  Where did that come from? Me? Got to Italy?  What about the kids?  What about your work?  What about the cost, and the time away, and the fact that I have never traveled alone to another country by myself??  What about the fact that these kids need me!  What ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

But he was dead serious.  He explained how he thought it was important for me to go because it has been a dream of mine since before we were dating.  He told me that now is a good time, before our family begins growing again (God willing). He told me that I needed to have this for myself, and assured me that everything would be fine and taken care of on the home front.

I couldn’t believe it.

Since he caught me so off guard, it took me a good couple of months and a lot of prayer to actually decide to go.  I had so much anxiety and fear of leaving my babies behind.  I also felt incredibly guilty about doing something so amazing without my family.  I thought the decision to go would make me selfish and a bad mom.  How could I leave my babies?  How could I leave all this behind for my husband to take care of on his own?

After A LOT of prayer and deliberation with people, especially other moms I respect and admire, I felt closer to saying yes to the whole idea.  But I needed God’s help.  I prayed that he would help me make the decision because it was too much for me to make on my own.

And he did!

The day after I prayed that prayer, I spoke with one of the women in need of a roomate for the pilgrimage.  She was also trying to decide if she should go, and her decision hung on whether or not she could find a roommate.  The only thing, she told me, was that she needed to know by the next morning, because if she couldn’t find one she planned to go on a cruise with her friends.  She had to know the next day because that was the deadline for the cruise her friends were going on.

Her deadline made the decision for me.  We both decided, I’ll go if you’ll go.  

Prayer answered.

-When I Leave-

In just over a Week! I really can’t believe it is that soon.

-Who I Am Going With-

Dr. Ted Sri!  Funny story, not long after I booked my trip with him I was sorting through a few old files from college for a talk I was giving my RCIA class.  As I was sorting, this sheet fell onto my lap:

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I completely forgot that when I was in one of Sri’s classes he handed out these flyers to all his students.  I remember wanting to go on this pilgrimage so badly back in 2009.  I remember praying to God that if he could just make this happen somehow, how eternally grateful I would be.  It turned out it just wasn’t a possibility at that time.  In the end I was okay with that, but the thought that I would someday get to go never left my heart.

I forgot about that pilgrimage, but God didn’t.

It’s amazing how he answers prayers in their due time…

-Where I Am Going-

Saint Peter’s Basilica

Santo Spiritu Church

Many tombs of the martyrs

The Pantheon

The Church of the 12 Apostles with the tomb of the Apostles Philip and James the Less

The tombs of St. Ignatius and St. Catherine of Siena

To see Pope Francis

The Catacombs of St. Calixtus

The First Century Roman Coliseum

The Vatican Museums

Assisi

*So much more.

-How I Am Feeling-

I am feeling a lot of things.

+Pretty anxious about leaving my babies. (Pray for me?)  I’ve never been away from these beautiful faces more than 3 days since both of them were born.  The idea of it has me in knots and up late at night.  Overall, I know they will be well taken care of and loved while I am away, but I am more afraid of the pain that will come with being so far away from them.  Praise God for Facetime.

+Sad that my husband can’t go with me.

+Nervous for what it means to navigate my free time in a foreign country.  My roommate (whom I’ve never met before) doesn’t know it yet but I am going to cling to her and never leave her side…ha

+Fearful of being in the air for 7 hours.  As the years have passed, I’ve gotten more and more afraid of flying.  I find a lot of comfort in the divine mercy chaplet whenever I take off and land, and especially when we hit a lot of turbulence…but the idea of flying for so long in the air really scares me.  Pray for me?

+EXCITED. JOYFUL. READY! I can’t believe this day is almost here…it won’t entirely hit me until I am in the air, but I am so excited for this pilgrimage! When we had our group meeting conference call a week ago, I found myself in tears! The whole experience is something I look very much forward too, and though I am nervous about leaving, I also can’t wait to take off! I’m excited for the experience, the friends I’ll make, and for the opportunity to pray at so many holy locations!

-What I Am Doing to Prepare- 

Honestly, right now? Pretty much just making lists.  Lots and lots of list.  But the packing and prepping will begin asap.  I plan on starting my meal prep grocery shopping tomorrow.  I want to make sure that my family has some good meals while I’m gone and that Joe doesn’t have to worry about it after he gets off of work.

 

-Purchases I’ve Made-

+Superga Shoes.  I’ve been wanting these forever, so it was a good excuse to get them.  Am I right?  They say it’s good to have really comfortable walking shoes and I prefer not to be in my nike’s all day.  Hopefully these will do the job.

+Straightner/Curling Iron.  This is a dual voltage iron.  I’ve heard that using a power converter can still fry your electronics, so hopefully this will work well.  It doesn’t heat up as fast as my usual straightener, but it accomplishes the job well enough.  (Especially for the price.)  It is super compact and perfect for traveling!

+This umbrella, because I hear it often suddenly rains in Rome.

+A scarf for Church visits, just in case I need it.

+This book was assigned reading by Sri, to help prepare our minds for all that we will be encountering on our pilgrimage.

-Things I Am Most Excited For-

+Being so close to Pope Francis

+Visiting the tomb/relics of Saint John Paul II

+Visiting the tomb of Saint Monica

+My trip to Assisi

+Vatican Museums

-My Hopes For the Trip-

+That everyone stays safe and healthy.

+That my babies are happy and adjust well to me being gone for 8 days.

+That my husband and my other awesome helpers have an easy time with the kids while I’m gone.

+That this trip becomes a source of prayer and hope that I can carry back to my home and especially to my family.

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Though I am extremely nervous to leave, I am so glad I decided to go.   Since God answered my prayer so immediately and so clearly, it changed from feeling like an opportunity, to that of a calling.  Our faith—our beautiful, rich, Catholic faith–is steeped in tradition, and I am so thankful that God is calling me to travel on this spiritual pilgrimage to Rome to experience that tradition on a whole new level.

A pilgrimage is very different than a vacation because it is a journey made with the purpose of honoring God.  As I gather all the prayers of my family and friends, the reality of honoring God with my trip becomes all the more clear.  I get to take their prayers along with me and offer them up at all the holy places in Rome.  When I visit the tombs of so many holy men and women who fully lived the faith, I get to ask them to pray for my loved ones.  In that way I get to experience the community of faith (both here and in heaven) in a way that is so new to me, yet so familiar because that is what our faith is built upon; it is a tangible, sacramental faith built upon a rich history and tradition that leads us to Christ himself.

Though I am scared and nervous to leave, I have high hopes that God will bless me on this journey, strengthen my Catholic faith, and bless those prayers that I bring along with me.

Please pray for me and I’d love to pray for you! If you have any intentions you’d like me to take with me, please send me an email at byloverefined@gmail.com so I can pray for you in Rome! 

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It’s been a while…

Since it’s been almost two months since I was last consistently writing, let’s catch up a bit!

  • Here is what I’ve been reading lately–I will give you another update next month.   I’ve had my head in some really good stuff recently and I can’t wait to share.
  • This  was one of my most recent popular posts.
  • I recently wrote a whole series on marriage: the purpose of marriage, the freedom in living chastly in marriage, how marriage requires a total gift, the importance of fidelity, and the call for life giving love.
  • I know you have probably been hearing this from everyone lately, but I was one of the lucky ones who got to see Garth Brooks this year!  I went on a road trip with my parents and sisters to see him, and the whole experience was nothing short of awesome.  It was kind of a whirlwind because we ended up driving to Lubbock, TX to see him (a six hour drive from NM), which included me flying to NM on Friday, road tripping to TX on Saturday, seeing the concert, staying over night, road tripping back to NM on Sunday, then flying back home to KS later that evening.  Though it was a lot to cram into one weekend, everything went easy breezy since I didn’t have my kiddos with me. Now don’t get me wrong…I LOVE my kids…but flying on a plane without them is significantly better than flying with them! Ha. The whole trip was great, and it was the first time in around ten years that my family was together again, just the 6 of us!    20170401_143041The concert was more than I could have hoped for.  It was SO good.  20170401_153634SO good that I am going to see him again next week here in Kansas City with Joe!
  • Lent is over and Easter has begun! Hallelujah, He is Risen! Our experience at the Sunday Easter Mass, however, was pretty not-good. Every once and a while the kids just decide to gang up on us and give us an exceptionally hard time at Mass.  That Sunday was particularly hard.  There was crying and fidgeting, which escalated into screaming and timeouts in the back hallway. It was a mess.  BUT we pulled through and  had a wonderful rest of the day with family.  And lucky for the us we didn’t have to skip after-Church treats due to naughty behavior because…well, Easter!  IMG_0069IMG_0123
  • Big News: I am going to ITALY in less than two weeks! Yes.  I am going on a pilgrimage to Rome–my first ever!  The story of how it happened and all it took to decide to go deserves its own post, and I will share that with you soon.  I’ll also share a bit about my journey leading up to the trip, and stories from the trip itself, so stay tuned!  I can’t believe it is just around the corner.  We will primarily be in Rome, so if you have any suggestions on where to go in my spare time, tips for packing, or great places to eat, please let me know!
  • I’ve been working a lot on giving my day and schedule over to God, especially as a stay-at-home mom.   I started realizing how incredibly overwhelmed I was feeling on a day-to-day basis, and I started to ask myself, Does God really want me to live this way?? I have everything I could possibly want or need, yet I was feeling like I was living day to day with just my head above the water.  A few of my friends were talking a lot about the book “A Mother’s Rule of Life,” and the idea of creating a “rule” for your life as a mother.  I read it and found it tremendously helpful!  I plan on talking about this in depth soon, but wanted to share it with you now in case you have been feeling the same way.  Check it out!  It’s helped me establish a sense of reason and order behind everything that I do which has calmed a lot of the anxiety I have about my daily “to-do” list and responsibilities as wife, mom, and primary care-taker of our home. I highly recommend the book!

I have to admit that I have been sitting on this little post for a while now.  The first post back after a long break is always so hard for me!  I get complacent with not putting in the work it takes to write something worth reading, and start to doubt that it’s even what I should be doing with my time.  However, I know it’s a lot like my experiences when I stop praying on a daily basis, or even exercising.  Getting back after things that are good for me and that I love is hard! I’ve stared at this post so many times wondering if I want to hit publish.  It’s not the content in this post, but what I know I want to accomplish after it.  I have a lot of big ideas for what I want to do around here at BLR and pushing publish is me stretching out my legs, so to speak.  And it hurts! I am putting this out there so I can get this thing going again!  (Coincidentally, my husband Joe is exercising downstairs to “Eye of the Tiger,” which is really pumping me up right now! haha)

I know what I have been encountering is what I have spoken about in the past.  It’s that darn Resistance again.  I just recently finished reading Matthew Kelly’s book, “Resisting Happiness” and it was a great reminder that Resistance is a real thing.  It’s a real thing seeking to keep you in your chair, or knock you over the second you get up with hopes of accomplishing something great or worthwhile.

I love this little reminder from the book:

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It makes me happy when I pray.  It makes me happy when I exercise.  It makes me happy when I write.  So why stop?  Matthew Kelly reminded me how vicious Resistance can be: it strikes directly at those things that make us truly happy in life.

So, I am going to push through and get back after it with this blog of mine!!  I’m looking forward to sharing all of my ideas with you!

Once again, thanks for reading!

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