Wednesday, October 13, 2010

And much later...

...either I am a very bad blogger or I am much too busy with more important things. I choose the second.

The wedding is coming together. Landon continually tells me we are nearly done and lists off what we've completed so far, and I counter with a list of my own that sends me into a panic. Breathe, Maria. It is just one day. One stinking important day, but only one day none the less.

I just finished reading, Wired that Way by Marita Littauer. I'm no embracing my Phlegmatic self...Easy Going. Check. Peaceful and agreeable. Check. Avoids Conflict. Double check. I enjoy the list of dread on strengths much better then my list of weaknesses. I should work on that.

My Honey Do is about a thousand pages long...I'm off to work....

Friday, June 18, 2010

In Love

...and getting married. :)

The next day in front of the bridge in PA where he proposed.

Our Ring

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Do It Yourself....with Ducks.

Last Novemeber Mom and I started working on Grandma and Grandpa's old table and chair set. It is a beautiful Oak set that they started married life with and has to be over 70 years old...original paint included! We spent several days trying to strip the paint until frankly we were nearly high and totally exhausted. You need the right tools for the job and we just didn't have them.

Now I am up in OH and spend the afternoon in Kathy's gararge with borrowed sanders re-attacking the furnature. And it is working!! Still have a loooot to do, but I can't beleive how much I got done in just 2.5 hours. Yay!!

And I had help, too. 6 Baby duckings squaked encouragement then took a break in the grass with me. Joy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New and Improved

My first year of college was terribly unkind. I flew right past the freshman 15 and settled closer to 45. By Easter that year I was wearing size 16 jeans, and still didn’t really realize how bad it was. I walked everywhere, had a cute boyfriend who was forever telling me I was “hot,” and ate a salad everyday for lunch. But the problem was I was always at the cafeteria. As freshmen, we has unlimited access to “The Caf,” and would meet there in between classes to study or just hang out. I would grab a coffee from the mocha machine, and maybe some ice cream or a piece of pizza. Slowly but surely I grew and grew. Over Easter I stepped on the scale and discovered how bad it had become. Ouch.

After moving back home, I watched too much late night TV, as many college kids do. But one evening it paid off. I came across an infomercial for “Winsor Pilates.” My ticket!! It wasn’t a gimmick….if you did the workouts, you would get the results. Easy as that. I ordered the DVDs and got started right away. A few months later I was 30 pounds lighter and had abs I didn’t know I could have.

Overtime I got away from them. I joined a gym and continued to get into better and better shape. I switched to a Health major at a different school and began using the gym there. My efforts paid off. But graduation and a new job were a distraction, and a year of fried, sugary, greasy food during my overseas mission took a real toll. I’m still much slimmer than my freshman days, but not nearly as toned or energetic and I’m craving to be.

So….New Plan.

This morning I broke out my Winsor Pilates DVDs again. I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed doing them. Happy surprise. Just 20 or so minutes and I could feel all those muscles moving!

Happy. :) And Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, April 2, 2010

La Semana Santa durante mi mision

Last year at this time I was celebrating “La Semana Santa” in Honduras, and with each special Mass and service, I find myself back at out parish of San José Obrero.

We began Holy Week with a mile long procession to remember Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem. Let by a dozen alter boys and our beloved paster, Padre Ricardo, we walked around the neighborhood with our large palms, singing and praying. The church was filled to over flowing and many of the little old ladies waved their palms for the majority of the Mass.

We celebrated Holy Thursday with many of the children at our house. Rita and Regina read from the bible and explained what happened on Holy Thursday, then Memo washed the feet of each child as I led the singing. It was a beautiful blend of shyness, joy, and giggling.
Good Friday was amazing. It was already blisteringly hot as we left our house around 9:30 to the starting point of Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross. With several hundred people we made our way through the streets, climbing to a high point of the city. Dozens of adults from the church were dressed as Christ, Mary, Roman Guards, and the sorrowful woman. As we came to each station, one of the priests read the scriptures and spoke about the station, as we watched it depicted before us. (By “Us,” I mean those taller than me, or quicker. I missed most of it, too sun sick to push my way through the crowds until the very end!) The most beautiful moment was the crucifixion…Christ hung above the whole city as we watched on in tears. It was truly beautiful.

The Easter Vigil was awe-inspiring. The entire band from “El Camino” (a catholic movement incredibly popular in Latin America) was there with over a dozen guitars and as many other instruments….the church was overflowing with people singing and dancing in their seats and I loved every minute of the nearly 4 hour Mass!!

What a blessing to have celebrated such an important aspect of my faith in an entirely different culture. The Catholic Church is Universal!! How cool is that?? Happy Good Friday, everyone. :)

What did you do yesterday?

I baked for hours....10 dozen of Grandma's homemake nut rolls. Happy Easter to me and mine!:)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Free from Down and Out Chic

Check this snazzy give-a-way. I want to win the Italian Love Bandit and Mr. P!! :)

Mother Nature and Wishful Thinking

Man! I feel like a woman!

...and I took two naps today.

So there are so many things I want to be writing about....the baby ducks Landon's Mom bought the other day....the sun that is finally melting the snow(!!!!) that came the other table and chairs I am starting to refinish...cute new shoes....etc, etc. But I really need photos to capture the moments and my poor little camera isn't up to the challange. It is slowly dying and I am sad.

Landon's birthday was last Wednesday and I planned out a romanic Italian dinner of a few of his favorites. Sadly he was sick (sick enough to take 2 days off from work!!) and ate, slept for 1.5 hours, then went home early. He did enjoy his birthday present: a dream board! We talk a lot about the future and what we want to acheive and experiance in the next few years. As they say, you need to know what you want to get it so I bought him a large bulletin board and decorated it with photos and pictures I pulled out of travel magazines and etc. Lots of Italy, climbing, flying, and other adventurous things that he would definetly enjoy and probably enjoy teaching me to do.

We are going to have a beautiful life.

I am excited...I've been needing some wall art for my main wall and haven't been able to come up with any ideas. I was so excited by how his turned out I'm thinking about making up one of my own. :)

I really want to go shopping for things I don't need. I need to get on of these jobs!

Monday, March 22, 2010


I looked up from reading to notice this:

What you are looking at is my beat up old salvation army chair I’ve had for years, a zebra print snuggie, a big green pillow from the Western Sahara, a travel photo box of Landon’s letters to me while I was in Honduras, my blue travel purse, a blue scarf I bought in Italy, and my crazy, multi-colored H&M scarf that has gone to Italy, England, Ireland, and Morocco with me!!

I love having such a colorful, textured, adventurous life!! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend Update

I am behind…here are the cliff notes of the past week.

  1. I’ve gotten involved in planning a woman’s CRHP Retreat at St. Pats next winter. Getting back to my YAM roots! I love it!
  2. I found out this past week that my sister-in-law and a dear friend are both pregnant! Yaaaay!!! Loving babies. God is good.
  3. My sister-in-law and brother are also moving to Hawaii….Thank you Army. Good excuse for a vaca!! ;)
  4. Spent a few days with my fabulous Aunt Rita. That little trip will get its own post one of these days. 
  5. I bought a few dresses, shirts, and two suits this week. Finally, I have a work ready wardrobe that will hopefully go into affect after….
  6.  My interview Wednesday!! Prayers at 3:15pm, please.
  7. My man’s birthday is Wednesday…surprises are being planned! :)
  8. I should be asleep by now. Why don’t I get enough sleep??

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Worm

I love the bog "Book Hooked".... and now she is giving away books!! Check it out!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lucky Magazine pointed me in the direction of Sophie Blackhall and her incredible blog entitled Missed Connections. She checks out the NY missed connection websites and turns them into incredible Art. She has a rather cool Esty store, too!!

The last few days have been productive, but not productive enough, I think. I’ve applied to a few jobs and gathered info on a few more, and had a good interview. But still nothing. I am getting lots of little projects that needed done out of the way, which is good. Still lots more.

The sun is incredible. I couldn’t be happier about that!! I’m not even wearing a coat today!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010


To me, wisdom is listening to people who know better. Or are where you want to be in life.


"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.
Begin it now." ~ Goethe

Friday, March 5, 2010


Here are a few Videos about Life in Heart's Home!! Pretty Cool!

The photos they used are about 98% mine, too. :)

An Offering

While I was Honduras, my Aunt Rita used to send me care packages with old cards the missions sent her. We would cut the front off the cards and make birthday cards for our neighbor or create craft projects with the kids. Once we made fans by gluing two card to a jumbo popsicle stick and cutting the edges out with funky scissors. What a hit!

She would always include holy cards in the packages too, and as often the prayers were in English, I used to keep many of them for myself.

One in particular really spoke to me, and still turn to it most mornings.

An Offering of Self
Oh Lord,
May my soul be flooded with your light
And know you more and more profoundly!

Give me so much love,
Love forever, serene and generous,
That I will be united with you always!

Let me serve you
And serve you will,
On the pathways that you wish
To open to my existence here below.

~Pope John Paul II

I love this prayer. Pope John Paul seems to identify not only our need for God’s graces, but more importantly our roll in living our own lives….to know, love, and serve. The temptation for me, and many, is to wonder WHY God isn’t “holding up to his end of the bargain,” if you will. “He’s all powerful….why can’t he find me a job, help me not to sin, fix these problems in my friends lives, make it easier- doesn’t he know I’m trying???, yada, yada, yada.” It is as if we want God to be a cool babysitter who will make everything ok. But God is a loving parent, who sometimes needs to shower us with tough love to help us learn. He gives us the grace we need, the skills to be successful, the example to follow both from His life on earth and from those around us, then sends us out into the word to “get ‘er done!”

Sometimes I look at my life and get frustrated by how much good still needs done. But if I focus on each day, each can be a masterpiece, and my life will be what I want it to be. And what God needs it to be.

Happy World Day of Prayer. What are you praying about today?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sunshine Bath Time

Today my 7 minute round trip walk to the post office turned into a nearly 30 minute jaunt. My plan was to leave by the back of the building to dispose of the week's garbage before continuing on the the normal, direct route up Main Street and up a block more to the post office. But the sun!! Warmth!! There is nothing like the need to unbutton your coat in the middle of winter because spring is finally tring to creep up, even if it is still weeks away. It was wonderful to soak in the sunshine as I walked along listening to the birds. Once I had to laugh….I looked to my left and caught sight of a huge field behind the row of houses. It is easy to forget how close I am to the “edge of town” when “town” consists of one main street and 3 stoplights!

I found myself thinking about my trip to Bath a few years ago. Through a series of events that made sense at the time, I spent a day wandering around Bath, England, alone. I arrived by train early, even before most shops were open. It was March: cool and drizzly. But as the morning wore on, the sun came out brilliantly and I spend a few hours window shopping and church hopping before settling down at a picnic bench next to the River Avon to catch up on postcards.

I live for moments like these…perfect contentment, control, peace and freedom. The sun makes everything better.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Own Little Corner

When I am at at my apartment, I gravitate towards the right side of my couch. I can see the whole room, my own little world. Comforting. Directly in front of me is my white coffee table. On top are candles, a rock garden, and mounds of important papers that are waiting to be dealt with. Below are photo albums, prayer books, coffee table books, and a growing stack of magazines. To my right is a end-table with an oversized stack of books I’m reading right now, and my window, perfectly aligned to watch the sunset over the trees.

I have a desk and a little kitchen area where my fish are living right now.

And the very coolest book shelf I have ever seen. Thank you Ikea.

(Close up of the pattern on my cool is that?)

So there is home for now. I'm content. There are lots of little things I'd like to do, but for now it's great. 


Monday, March 1, 2010


My mom sent me a surprise care package today including...

A Cuisinart Coffee first one!!

A bag of whole bean Mahogany coffee from Carabou Coffee:

A big box of Maira Cookies (I had them for the first time in Spain almost 10 years ago....crazy!!)

And Hot Coco!!!

Ohh.....happy surprises. :) You are never too old for presents!! Pass it on.....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Check, Check, Check

I just gave Huntington the excusive pleasure of attending to all my banking needs. You’re welcome.

The job hunt continues. No news isn’t good news.

But the apartment is coming together! I love having my own spot. Slowly it is beginning to show a few of my true colors and I love it. Photos to follow!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mrs. Messi's Musings

I want to thank my dear sis, Mrs.Messi, for inspiring me to Blog again and helping me get started. Frankly, she's got the whole blogging thing DOWN! 100 followers, giveaways, etc, etc. I love it! I'm proud. :)

If you are reading this, check her out, follow her, and win her giveaway!
Yesterday I finished reading “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews. It was an interesting blend of self-help advice and historical novel and I found it very easy to dive in and relate to the jobless (haha) hero David Ponder who was arriving at the desperate believe that his life was beyond hope for himself or his family.

David travels though time, meeting along the way the likes of King Solomon, Christopher Columbus, Anne Frank, and others, who each teach him a valuable lesson about living in such a way that he could not only better the quality of his life, but also the lives of those around him and for generations to come. 
 In a nut shell, David learns:
  1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
  2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
  3. I am a person of action. I seize the moment. I choose now.
  4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
  5. Today I choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful heart.
  6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself. 
  7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.  
    (Andres, Andy. The Traveler’s Gift. Thomas Nelson, Inc:
    Nashville, 2002. p. 204.)

    I love reading books like this. I love KNOWING that there is so much potential in me and in those around me. That it is ok that I want a life of excitement and adventure and learning and influencing others. That is ok that I don’t want to just settle into a ‘normal’ life. I want more. That is ok. Better than ok. :)
    That being said…time to wash dishes. Wink!
    PS. The roof stopped leaking after a work crew arrived at 7:30 yesterday morning to dig out all the ice….they will be back this afternoon to start patching things together!

    And….My eyes! My eyes!! The burning!!! ;) Suns finally out!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Here's Looking at You Kid

Pinky...and the Brain

Water, Water, Everywhere

Yesterday as I was walking to the post office I noticed a huge mound of snow and thought to myself, “I sure hope we have a slow thaw. I don’t know where all this water will end up if we don’t!”

Then I found out.

I had Landon’s family over last night for a Mardi Gras Honduran meal. Keith said he thought he heard water and looked up….right at a ceiling tile about to explode! We ended up having to move two totally ruined ones and a few partly soaked ones only to discover significant water damage.

I live above a laundry mat, and right out my “dining room” window is an exhaust pipe. It appears that the heat from the pipe is melting the snow, but as it has nowhere to go because of all the ice backed up in the drain pipes, it wiggled its way into my apartment!!

It began as an annoying trickle and has morphed into a constant stream. Keith came back this morning and created a makeshift water catcher with a tarp and bucket that seems to be catching 80% of the water. My clever bucket and paper towel combos seem to be getting the rest of it.

Oy vey.

Hopefully the guy Keith hired to knock all the snow down will get here soon. I’m beginning to wonder what will happen in the whole, water-clogged insulation mess comes down….I’ll get my very own sky light!!

Going to get my Ashes tonight. Happy Lent.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Uncommon Sense

I love reading. Usually I have three or four books going at one time. Right now I have more, I think…..I’m not even sure how many! But I can knock one of my list, which turned out to be one of the best, most inspiring books I’ve read in a long time. It was “Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Travelers” by Jason Roberts.

I read and reread Robert’s words:
“As best as can be reconstructed, by October of 1846, when Holman stepped off the Channel packet, his travels totaled no less than a quarter of a million miles…Alone, sightless, with no prior command of native languages and with only a wisp of funds, he has forged a path equivalent to wandering to the moon.”

It is easy for me, and most, I assume, to make excuses for why we are not creating the life we truly want or are living up to the potential that God has placed in us. Most people don’t, I believe. So why should I be any different? Why take incredible steps to live an inspired, creative, world-changing life? All of us have a matter of chips against us. That is just how things are.


There are some people who simple take excuses away. James Holman was one such person. He had dozes of reasons to settle into a sheltered, simple, conventional life. Valid reasons! Poverty. Illness. No family. Interrupted Education. Loss of full sight at the age of 25!! But he ignored social stigma and common sense and created a life he could only imagine and a life that continues to inspire.

What will I do today to achieve my dreams?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow, Snow, Go Away....

....Come again another day.....or never. Ever.

I want to like all this really is beautiful. But it is so darn cold. And messy. And EVERYWHERE!! AND STILL COMING!! Another 8-12 inches tomorrow to add to the foot that fell over the weekend. Boo.

Spring?? Anytime now is great for me!

We did make the best of it, though. Landon and I got snowed in at his mom's, and spend the weekend watching movies with her and playing. I learned to drive a snow mobil, and Landon showed me how to built a fort out of a snow drift...big enough that both of us could fit in it!

Still. I'm ready for spring....or maybe building a snowman. We'll see. ;)

Ps....Is there a way to check my spelling in here? I can't find it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Free, Free, Free!!

So Lucky Magazine is giving away way cool prizes for the next 45 days. You should know that. Enter here, win, and share it with me. ;-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going Hunting

Job hunting, that is. Seriously, what do you do when there just are no jobs to apply for? My job search is getting broader, I'm willing to commute up to an hour (and on these icy country roads, that is saying something), and I'll even work for pennies.

Today I applied to be a secretary at a jail, for Pete’s sake.

But, I WILL find a job. That’s how it hunt to get the kill!!

Landon's Dad and Stepmom are coming for dinner. Time to get back into a good mood. Folding laundry should help! Wink.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


What a fun weekend! Yay for days off. I'm glad Landon gave them to me. We had a fun visit with Aunt Rita on the way to VA, and spend a great weekend with my family.

The snow followed me to VA. Then back to OH. 2 inches last night. I'm ticked. ;)

Lisa is having a girl!! I'm so excited. Baby kicked me once...I was really glad I got to feel it. I'm so sad I am missing my sisters pregnancy. I really wish I could be there more.

Still nothing from the job....It looks like my search continues. Boo. Sigh. God knows. Patience.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes for dinner. Life is very good. <3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Homeward Bound 1

In roughly 2 hours (depending on when Landon gets off work, we eat and get the car ready) I leave for HOME via Aunt Rita's and PA.

It is strange...going home to Mom and Dad's is a nice 8 hour road trip. Never saw that coming. But living so far away is giving me a strange and happily happy view point on family and family relationships. It is a little strange that this is sinking in now. A year in Honduras should have triggered some of it, I suppose, and in a way it did. But now I am in control of my own time and schedule and direction, and it is kind of nice to be setting my sights on VA. Appreciating home is normal for anyone with a good relationship with their parents and sibs, I think. But it is different when you need to really work, plan, and save money (er....spend money) to make it happen.

Yay, home.

And yay Landon for making it happen. He needed to use up some vacation time up from work and asked me if I wanted to go home for John's Birthday. Um....YES!! Happy.

Ok. I'm leaving in about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Depending.

And thank you Why have I not gotten the new One Republic CD yet?? Oh yeah. I don't spend money. Boo.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm pretty excited about this!

Arlington Catholic Herald - A ministry of friendship -

Tuna Casserole and Lucky Mag

It is my own fault, really. Reverting back to my old guilty pleasure, I ordered "Lucky Magazine" a few weeks ago and stayed up way to late last night reading it cover to cover. This morning I dressed in jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt to make Tuna Casserole and entertain Lacey (Landon's Sister) and her kids. It was a fun afternoon, and I glad they came over.

After they went home, plans began for this evening. The dilemma…what do you wear to a hockey game when you'll be in box seats with your boyfriend's co-workers and a company who is trying to impress them? One broken necklace, several hair styles, and an embarrassing large pile of clothes later, it was obvious.

I have nothing to wear.

For the last year I have survived with three pairs of pants and a stack of T-shirts and sweaters. Missionary life in Honduras didn't require too much fashion thinking.

A year before when I realized I was going to do missionary work, I stopped buying clothes. Why spend money on things that would sit in a box going out of style, right?

And now….Boo. Nothing to wear. No matter how many stained T-shirts you layer, they still don't look cure.
And my mind is full of lots of ideas from Lucky on what I COULD be wearing, but CAN'T. Boooo.

Where do you shop for cute stuff in the middle of the Ohioan Countryside? Tricky.

Now I'm dressing a dissatisfying cute basic mix. Scrunchy necked fuchsia top, jean, black cardigan, cute scarf. And dreams of shopping and tuna casserole leftovers.

Go Blue Jackets! ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Day...New Blog??

Remember when Xanga was popular back in the day? I was a faithful blogger about nothing in particular and loved every minute of it.

Now, years later, I figure it might be time to start. Hundreds of life changes have given me something more interesting to write about.

At least, that is the excuse. Really, I'm just hoping this will give Virginia a way to keep track of me. :)