small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day

extra innings

Yesterday’s/Today’s small thing: Royals won game 1. 

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We’re here again, ladies and gentlemen. The World Series. I believed it would happen, did you? The magic hasn’t left the boys in blue and it is casting a spell on me.

Yesterday I was a little bummed knowing I was missing out on being in KC during such an exciting time. Why do they have to be in the Series when I don’t live in KC? It’s rough being one of the few Royals fans in South Bend! So after my little pity party I decided to see if there were any baseball fans who would be willing to watch the game with me. If I couldn’t be in KC, I at least wanted to share the excitement with someone. I really enjoyed talking strategy, cheering, and yelling at the TV with others…and laughing at the Fox broadcast mishaps. Jonathan loves watching me move from the couch to the floor and back again while yelling, screaming, and telling the team what to do. I just can’t help it!

This time around has proven to me how much I really enjoy watching baseball, and playing even more. I appreciate the things my coaches taught me about teamwork, discipline, and determination. I feel like each time a big play happens, it is a little message from Dad reminding me of all the lessons he taught me during my softball days. It makes me smile knowing I had those opportunities to learn from him. That his love for baseball is continuing to flow through me.

So as I continue to lose sleep and my blood pressure fluctuates, I have to remember there is more to this World Series than just being in KC during this time. Watching this team play is a way for me to connect with Dad and let my loyalty to the Royals of 31 years shine on.

Please read my post from last year about why the Royals mean so much to me: let’s be royal

Why do YOU love the Royals? (Or your favorite team, if for some crazy reason the Royals aren’t yours!)

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a note

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Today’s small thing: an encouraging note from my doctor

Posts have been few and far between on this blog in the past few months. I’ve been uninspired, tired, full of self pity, sadness, so I didn’t feel like putting all that ugly out in the blogosphere. Today, however, feels very different!

Since November I have been seeing a wellness coach and nutritionist. This was inspired by less than desirable numbers at my insurance screening check-up. I was at the heaviest I’d ever been and completely lost. The nurse suggested seeing the wellness coach. Knowing I needed help–especially with where I was mentally–I obliged.

My goals when seeing these lovely ladies have been simple but challenging. I started with eating three servings of veggies a day, drinking more water, and moving more.

I was completely overwhelmed. So I started by adding just one serving of veggies, which became two, than three, and so on each week as I checked in with my coach. I drank a little more water than the previous week, and just set out to do some kind of movement each day, setting appointments for workouts in my calendar (which sometimes get ignored!).

My nutritionist taught me her ‘ABCs’ which is be Active, Breathe and appreciate, Calories. She said moving, controlling stress, leaving a little room at meals, and sleep are the key ways to live a healthy life. Not to diet, but to make small lifestyle changes that are sustainable for the long run.

Now that I’m 9 months in to these lifestyle changes I feel like a different person. I’m eating less bad things and more good, I’m conscious of how much I move each day, and I’m more compassionate to myself and (a little) less stressed. And the biggest reward of all of this?

I’m 25 pounds lighter.

And that is worth the long wait, the small steps, the big sacrifices. And I truly feel like I will be able to keep it off.

And my doctor, wellness coach, and nutritionist sent a note to congratulate me.

It’s a good day.

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What is one small thing you can do today to make you closer to your goals?

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small stuff

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today’s small thing: don’t sweat the small stuff

I’ve been meeting with a wellness coach for about six months now and I’ve learned so much about all aspects of my health. She’s basically a health counselor and I’ve learned that I love seeing counselors. They have so much wisdom that I get to absorb and hopefully put to use!

Today we discussed stress management. She explained how the source of stress is usually about things that have already happened, or things in the future. She said the best way to combat those thoughts are to stay in the now, in the present. Even though that is very hard to do, it is a great way to manage stress.

Yeah, right, lady. Easy for you to say. Sigh.

Right after that appointment I took George to see the dentist for the first time. He was so nervous in the waiting room, but once he got his own toothbrush and was chatting with the dentist he was having a great time!

Before cleaning his teeth, the dentist was telling the hygienist about a talk she heard on the radio. The main point was that we often say “don’t sweat the small stuff,” but we should add, “don’t sweat the big stuff either.” We should sweat only the things we can control. In reality, that isn’t much.

Hmm. Is someone trying to tell me something?

So today I will be pondering these things:

-Keep your thoughts in the present

-Only sweat the things you can control

Even though this is going to be hard, I’m marveling at the fact that this was discussed in two separate places on the same day. I guess that means I have to listen!

Enjoy your day, friends. And try not to sweat.

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child’s prayer

small thing: a child’s prayer

A few days ago I was video chatting with a friend when I asked George to sing his best friend, Monkey, to sleep. Because I have to show my friend his adorable singing of ‘Edelweiss’.

To my surprise, something else came out.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

I’m speechless as he is reciting this prayer, in toddler speak of course. I’ve never heard him say it before! As I’m wondering about how he learned it, he continues.

Great Grandpa Kennedy, Grandpa Kennedy, Pray for us.

Pray for MeMa and Uncle Leon get better ’cause they are sick.

Amen

I could barely breathe. My sweet, loving, amazing husband has been secretly teaching my son to pray. And I was able to see the beauty of it revealed before my eyes.

Now instead of singing a song before bed, he wants to say his prayers. And he wants to teach that to his best friend, Monkey, too.

I guess I didn’t realize how much my little man would teach me. IMG_1816

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plan

Today’s small thing: making a plan for lent

Hey, it’s Ash Wednesday…boo!

That’s kind of how I felt today as lent creeped up on me and knocked me out of bed.

The problem I have with lent is that it is perceived as a horrible time of self-sacrifice and denial. A time of not eating your beloved steak and instead eating a basket of fish and chips (it’s rough). A time of feeling bad about yourself waiting for the banquet of Easter. A time of guilt and sadness.

Lent is so much more than that. It’s a time of reflection. A time of change. A time, set apart each year, to identify what is going on in your life and actually take steps to move in a positive direction. A time to work on yourself and your relationship with God.

It is too too easy to spend life not knowing what you’re doing, where you’re going, and how others around you are affected. I have the curse of ALWAYS thinking about those things yet never doing anything about them.

That is why I love Lent. Not because I like to remind myself of what I do wrong, but because I can remind myself of what I CAN do RIGHT. And then take active steps to change. To return to the path I want to walk, and to bring God along with me.

So today I spent some time making a list of the things in my life I want to change. Anything I want to change. From keeping my house clean, to daily prayer, to drinking 64oz of water a day kind of things. Then I decided which ONE I wanted to focus on this lent and made a daily plan to work on that.

I’ve decided I want to work on keeping my house clean. I’ve mentioned it before but I’m determined to make the sacrifices I need to make to create a stress-free home, during this time of action. I think I’m going to make myself get up at the same time each morning (talk about a LOFTY goal) and throughout the day focus on my daily cleaning plan. I made a plan similar to this before, but it failed miserably. Here is my new plan.

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My hope is that as I complete one of the tasks I will check it off and feel a sense of accomplishment. Who knows, this could fail just like the last one. But I’m trying, and that is the point, right?

I’m also going to set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pray each day, in addition to my alarm that reminds me to do some kind of workout during nap time. Oh the many alarms I will be answering in the near future…

It may seem silly to focus on this, when lent is a time to bring yourself back to God. But for me, right now, taking care of my home and my sanity are ways I can order my life back to God. I can make room for Him by making this change. Instead of worrying about my messy house all the time, I can maybe sit for a few minutes and talk to Him.

I just wanted to share these things because I love hearing what people are doing to better their lives and relieve stress (read–tell me what you’re doing!). I hope others feel the same. Remember, Lent is not a terrible horrible time. It’s an opportunity for greatness.

What is your plan?

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christmas concert

Today’s small thing: the Notre Dame glee club concert

I’m fairly certain I’ve blogged about this concert almost every year. It’s that good.

The glee club sings a variety of pieces dating back to the 16th century all the way to contemporary times aka a Frozen medley.

I have a fascination with the origins of Christmas songs and also with choral arrangements, so this is the perfect night for me.

Each year they seem to do mostly the same songs and I love hearing the familiar favorites year after year, but this year there was a new one that really spoke to me.

It’s called Lux aurumque and the meaning of the song along with the beautiful sound is striking.

“Light.

Warm and heavy as pure gold

and the angels sing softly

to the new-born babe”

Simple and profound.

Just the way I like it.

Here is a video of the composer directing a ‘virtual choir’ singing the song. Enjoy.

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when the rain comes

today’s small thing: watching it rain

Today as I stared out my window, watching it rain, I was whisked back in time to sitting in the garage of my parents’ house with my dad. 

Sometimes Dad would go out to the garage, set up a chair, and just sit there and watch the rain fall. I remember a few times when I joined him. I wasn’t very comfortable with the silence in those moments, but I do remember was how special I felt to be sitting there watching it rain together. 

Gazing outside today I noticed the puddles forming. The high splashes of the raindrops hitting the ground. The calming chorus of drop after drop landing one right after another. 

It is mesmerizing.

I would love to sit in that garage again with Dad. I would soak up the silence. I would embrace the moment. 

Thinking about that a little more, I actually did soak up the silence and embrace the moment, because the memory is something that has stayed with me. 

Now whenever I’m watching the rain, Dad is watching it with me, even if we’re not in the same garage. 

 

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all out

A small thing from today: a lesson from the grocery store greeter

I was on my way out of the grocery store after a much needed shopping trip when the greeter noticed my Royals t-shirt.

“Is that a Royals shirt? The Kansas City Royals?”

We then engaged in a conversation that revealed his immense respect for George Brett. He talked about his loyalty to the game of baseball, explained how he learned how to hit well, talked about how Brett’s brother was a terrible pitcher, and how he just loved to watch him play.

He then told me his favorite story about George Brett. Before playing his last game Brett was interviewed and asked what he would like his last at bat to be like. He responded,

“I want to hit a routine grounder to second and run all out to first base, then get thrown out by a half step. I want to leave an example to the young guys that that’s how you play the game: ALL OUT.”

He explained that he loved that attitude, that no matter what is going on, you give it your all. Brett ended up getting a single, which was more than he asked for. 

At that moment I looked at him and told him thank you so much for telling me that story. I then mentioned that Dad was a huge Royals fan and had passed away recently. He reached over and touched my arm, and continued praising Brett. I somehow peeled away, I feel he would have kept me there all night!

Hearing that story made me think directly to Dad’s attitude during his ‘last at bat’. He fought so hard through two brain surgeries, chemo treatments, radiation, pills, nausea, loss of mobility, loss of appetite, etc. And he did it with so much grace. He always chose to keep fighting, and to do it with all he had. 

And I’m pretty sure Dad would have said, “I want to leave an example to the young guys that that’s how you live life: ALL OUT.”

baseball

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