Friday, January 30, 2009

Walk to Emmaus

(photo taken by my dear friend, Kiley Athansiou, in Greece)

I've mentioned before how I am involved in a wonderful organization called the Walk to Emmaus. Simply is a spiritual retreat unlike any other. Lately I've been describing it as a real "spiritual shot in the arm" (ya know, to go back to my nursing roots...).

My first Walk (or "pilgrim Walk" as it is called) was in September of 1996...before I was even married. Since then I have been a part of many teams over the years...and each experience has served to deepen my relationship with God...not to mention how many incredible friends I've made along the way.

It's really a kind of impossibility to relay in a blog post how amazing these weekends can be, but I wanted to attempt to plant a seed for those of you who might be interested in attending one. I've been called by God to be the lay leader for a Women's Walk in March-- you only get one shot at it (again--nursing terminology--ha!), and I'm extremely excited. If you have ever considered it but something has always kept you from going, I would encourage you to pray about attending this one. And, if March is out of the question, then how about the Women's Walk in July? I would love to see my friends during the weekend in March, but that's not really what it's all about. It's about attending a Walk to Emmaus when God wants you to attend.

As the ole' saying goes....timing is everything.

What happens on a Walk to Emmaus? Laughing, eating, crying, reflecting, praying, eating, soul-searching, and more eating.

All denominations are invited.

And did I mention that we do a lot of eating?

Doesn't this sound like fun????

What's with the song on my playlist? ( I suggest you turn it up and get your groove on. G'head. I won't tell anyone). Well, I truly believe that we all have a light that shines inside. But, sometimes -- especially as women -- we feel that our light is snuffed out or merely a flicker as we burn the candle at both ends due to the circumstances of our incredibly busy lives. C' know the feeling. Feelings of inadequacy. Feelings of failure. Feelings of not being thin enough or pretty enough or stylish enough or a good enough wife/parent/sister/daughter/friend/whatever. Feelings of utter exhaustion because you give and give and give and feel like you're gettin' diddly squat in return.

Anyone relating? Maybe it's just me....

Well, it is my fervent prayer that those of us on Walk 100 in March will become reacquainted with our inner lights and exactly Who makes us SHINE. So that we can SHINE for others. Especially those closest to us. With whom we tend to be a little lax in our shining capacity.

Again...maybe that's just me.

So, I hope you'll consider joining us on what I know will be an amazing journey.

So far from the planning already has been.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Two of my favorite things. Wine. And procrastination. All rolled up into one.

The nice lady at HEB told me I wouldn't believe how many bottles of this "light but flavorful, fruity wine" she had sold just by its catchy title.

I fell for it, too. Yep, the word sucker is stamped on my forehead. In permanent Sharpie ink.

I haven't always been a procrastinator. And, when it comes to some things...I still am not. I will plan one of the little Indian's birthday parties well in advance. My Christmas cards are mailed at least a 2 weeks before the actual holiday. Preschool tuition is always paid on time.

But, sometimes there are some things...some tasks...that I just cannot throw myself into. No matter what time of day or night.

Case and point? Our Christmas tree is still up. And decorated.

Sometimes Animesh will walk by and turn the tree lights on for prosperity's sake. And, oh, how I love to have my procrastination lit up for me...a glaring reminder of another household task awaiting my attention.

Then there are the daily reminders -- by the KIDS no less. "Mom, you HAVE to take the ornaments off the tree! Christmas is OVER!"

Really? I hadn't noticed....

But, now they just want the ornaments off. They have informed me that the tree must stay that it can be adorned with paper hearts for Valentine's Day.

You can bet we'll be photographing that kid-craft activity.

If I ever get those darn ornaments all wrapped up and put away.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Monday, January 19, 2009

Walkin' On Sunshine

Nothing like a perfectly cool, bright, sunny morning and a scheduled appearance on live television to shock me out of my doldrums.

Last week Maile invited me to join her on the San Antonio Living Show to promote her upcoming Hot Mama Photo Shoot. Having done a Hot Mama Shoot exactly one year ago, I was excited to be a model (using that term loosely) and to share with future clients just how much my own photo shoot meant to me...even in the depths of my pure and utter exhaustion the last week.

This morning I left the house relaxed and calm. Animesh dropped off children where they needed to be, so I was cool, calm, and collected. Soothing jazz music seemed appropriate. At the time....

After a stop here for some oatmeal and a grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte (non-fat, no whip, please), I decided that I needed some more serious tunes pumping through my veins to get me through this morning without an anxiety attack. LIVE! TELEVISION! EEK!

The 80s station...and Katrina and the Waves...did not let me down.

First stop? My trusty friend and hair stylist...Tonie. Tonie and I met when she did my hair for the Hot Mama Shoot last year...and the rest is history. After hearing about my TV debut, she was sweet enough to offer to do my hair for me before the show. On her day off. With her cutie patootie baby boy in tow. He was so good sitting on my lap....watching the crazy blonde lady take random shots in the mirror with her camera while getting her hair done.

Thanks, Tonie. You rock.

It wasn't until I parked, walked into the station, and picked up a pen to sign in that I got nervous. Like...really SICK nervous. My hand was shaking at the receptionist's desk.

I waited anxiously in a real "Green Room" till the other girls arrived. I wasn't there long, though. I had to empty my bladder in nervous excitement.

The ins and outs of the show were so cool to watch. This was the news room...located adjacent to the Living Show studio. I can't tell you how many times I've watched a newscast on Channel 4...for YEARS it seems. I had to keep blinking and pinching myself. Very cool.

Me, News anchor Leslie Bohl-Jones, Maile, Living Show host Shelly Miles, and make-up artist Robyn Chappell. It was a blast getting to talk with Leslie and Shelly a bit...both of whom are the nicest people ever.

So. In my humble opinion I didn't embarrass myself too badly on live TV.

But, you can be the judge (be patient...I don't come on the segment till later) and give me your honest opinion.

It's okay. I can take it.

Thanks to you, Maile, for transforming me into a "hot" mama last year....and for giving me the chance to re-live that wonderful experience again this morning.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I am depleted. I am worn out. I am bone tired. I am exhausted to my very core.

Not just physically exhausted. Because that would be treatable. I could just go to sleep early and wake up in the morning refreshed and rarin' to go.

Worse...I am also emotionally whipped. I've been doin' the single parent thing since Animesh left yesterday morning for a business trip, and I'm already so mentally and physically stretched that I think I could just lose it at any minute.

He's not coming home till Saturday.

Today is the second day that we've had an after school activity. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal. Because normally I have some back-up help for baths, dinner, making lunches for the next day, reading stories, brushing teeth, picking out clothes, saying prayers, holding hands of scared children, tucking kids in, re-tucking kids in, middle-of-the-night bed shuffles due to scary dreams, waking reluctant kids up in the morning, packing lunches, making breakfast, asking kids to get dressed a million times, feeding dog, letting dog out before his aging body poops and/or pees on floor, brushing teeth before school, fighting to get kids buckled into their car seats, listening to fights in the back seat of the car, and driving to school at a hurried pace so as to avoid any tardies on the report card.

The past two days I've had one too many voyeuristic experiences while going to the bathroom and taking a shower. I've had one too many interruptions while I was talking on the phone. I've had one too many whines about what was being served for dinner. I've had one too many complaints about how fast dinner was not being cooked. I've had one too many reminders about things I hadn't done yet that I had said I would do. Eventually.

Even now, as I type and re-read this, it doesn't sound that bad. But, trust me. When you're in the throws of feels bad. And I am feeling it.

I need a break. Desperately.

In the past I always thought that needing a break made me sound like a bad mom. In the past I always thought that needing a break sounded selfish. But, if I've learned anything from Brene, it's that I need time to re-fuel. Time to fill up. Time to rejuvenate and pump myself up with that which keeps me going and that which keeps me from running away for months on end. Me time.

I am trying to lean on my faith. I am trying to lean on my friends. But, in the end, it's only me that can carve out that time...time that will keep me sane. Time that will help put things into perspective and keep me from. losing. my. freaking. mind.

Can anyone relate???

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Meet my good friend, Yvette. Last month I had the honor of attending her college graduation.

Graduating from college is a major accomplishment in and of itself, but what I find so inspiring about Yvette is that she graduated from UTSA at the age of 50. And as a wife and mother of three grown boys.

Attending school is something Yvette always wanted to do, and so, when she felt God telling her that the time was right, she did. And, she finished...with exceptional grades, mind you.

While sitting through that graduation it struck me that while Yvette is a highly intelligent person in her own right, she could not have achieved this accomplishment on her own. She has her faith in God, of course, but there are many people in her inner circle on whom she relies on for support and encouragement. Her husband is probably her biggest fan...along with her three sons. I'm sure there were classmates who inspired her and from whom she learned. And, of course, the professors from whom she learned so much undoubtedly made their impact on her educational experience.

It got me to thinking about the many, many family and friends that I rely on to help me achieve my goals. I have the support of my friends as I maneuver my way through the most amazing journey called motherhood. I could not have finished my nursing degree without Animesh's unwaivering support and the best group of study partners (and friends) ever. I could not have trained so diligently for my triathlons and the 1/2 marathon if I had not had Animesh's support...financially (triathlon gear can get pricey) and emotionally. I have a church family and bible study group to grow in faith with me. And, even more so, I have in my life an Emmaus community that has shown me a Christian love so deep my faith has deepened on so many meaningful levels.

I am humbled and honored to have been called to lead a women's Walk to Emmaus in March. For me, the planning began back in October. But, yesterday, the team assembled for its first meeting together. It was the most completely amazing experience...watching all of those friends come together for one purpose and supporting me so lovingly with kind words and prayers.

Like Yvette and her school work, it was necessary for me...and me alone... to accomplish a lot of tasks on my own. There have been (and will be) a lot of little things that only I can take care of. But, I realize that the success of yesterday's meeting can ONLY be attributed to a wonderful team effort. You've heard that old addage..."There's no I in team." It is so true. And, I couldn't ask for a better team than the one God has assembled for this next Walk to Emmaus.

So. This year I'm going to make a conscious effort to thank those who have inspired, encouraged, and supported me in all I try to accomplish. And, to thank those who will do so in the future. Especially the One who has blessed my life with all of these wonderful people.

I was reminded of this song (playing on the playlist) yesterday when one of our team members sang it out loud during the introductions (thanks, "Stephanie"). :-)

Because, when it comes down to it, it would be nearly impossible to get by without a little help from my friends.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiday Recap--Settle in. It's a doozy.


If you're in a might want to come back and visit me later. I have been a slacker in now there are so many pics I want to share that it's too many for one post. Oh, well. I'm sharing most of them anyway.

Above is our family pic on Christmas Eve just before we left for church. True to form, Trevor protested. At least he's half-way looking at the camera.

Animesh's folks came to spend a few days with us before Christmas. They were able to share in our Christmas morning festivities and then took off after that. We enjoyed having them here.

Christmas afternoon we headed to my parents' house for food and fun. Love the food. Love the traditions. Thanks to Mom, I've never, EVER prepared a holiday meal. I know, I know. Slacker again.

The day after Christmas we were on a Disney World in Orlando! Crowded beyond belief (turns out we were there at the BUSIEST week of the year) but still magical.

The evening we arrived we met up with some former San Antonians and dear friends for dinner at the new T-REX CAFE at Downtown Disney. Similar to Rainforest (they're owned by the same company), it was a downright dino-mite experience. Deven was in heaven.

We woke up for our first day of Disney adventures and hopped on the monorail...where Trevor entertained us with some pole dancing.

First stop? Breakfast with Mickey and friends. Always a fun character dining experience.

Highlights include (but are not limited to) meeting every single one of the Power Rangers....

Watching the dolphins at the beautiful aquarium inside Epcot....

Listening to the "Beatles" at Epcot....
"It's been a hard day's night...."

Enjoying all of the gorgeous holiday lights...

Seeing the all of the safari animals SO CLOSE to us on the
Kilamanjaro Safari ride at Animal Kingdom...

And, most of all, being able to hang out as a family.
For an extended period of time.
We were all a little slap-happy by the end of the trip.
This was at Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom...the night before we left.
The silliness was contagious.

It was a bittersweet trip... the first time in 7 years we traveled
without diapers or a stroller or the need of a crib in our hotel room.
Our babies are growing up.

We flew home on the 31st, and the next day...NEW YEAR'S DAY...we were blessed with the best little get-together we could have asked for. Jeanne and her hubby, Catherine and her family, and Tecla and her family all joined our clan for beer, fajitas and entertainment--courtesy of our little ones. This is them preparing to show us their rock creation they worked so hard on. Later, there were Oscar-worthy dramatic performances. So fun.

Us girls got a little silly. But, what else is new?

Catherine's hubby, Kipper, played some tunes while we hung out on the patio in the most gorgeous weather ever. He actually made my guitar sound GOOD! The sing-along was classic.
"Wasted away again in Margaritaville...."

This weekend was laid back with gorgeous weather on Saturday so we broke out some new toys. Priya practiced her driving (thanks to Animesh's parents). She's actually quite good.

Daddy got his work-out helping the boys master Trevor's new pogo stick.
Deven laughed the entire time.

Today is cold and blah. Put away all the Christmas decorations with a touch of sadness. The house looks kind of bare. But, I have such lovely memories of yet another magical, love-filled, peaceful holiday to tuck into my heart and head.

Till next year...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Start of Something New

Karaoke Kids...courtesy of Santa Claus. Great gift, Santa. Great gift.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

Recipe for a Happy New Year

Author Unknown

To leave the old with a burst of song
To recall the rights and forgive the wrong;
To forgive the thing that binds you fast
To the vain regrets of the year that's past;

To have the strength to let go your hold
Of the non-worthwhile of the days grown old;
To dare to go forth with a purpose true;
To the unknown task of the year that's new,

To help your brother along the road
To do his work and lift his load;
To add your gift to the world's good cheer,
Is to have and to give a Happy New Year.