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Today has been one of those days with ups and downs all over the place. And when I say ups and downs, I mean it: both literally and figuratively!
At 4 am this morning, we embarked on a little journey to retreat to the mountains of West Virginia. The family of my brother-in-law owns a cabin there and so incredibly graciously and generously allows us to use it, which we VERY gratefully do about two times a year. The cabin is a very special place to us, containing almost 20 years worth of precious family memories; on our first visit, for example, I announced to my sister and brother-in-law that we were expecting our first child!
One of the really neat features of this historic cabin built so many years ago is that it holds a literal record of almost every visit of every visitor. Anyone staying at the cabin is asked to write down a few words about their trip. This adds up to decades and decades of history and many, many logbooks! It is such blast from the past to go back, year after year, and remember our previous visits. What a treasure!
Anyway, about those ups and downs. So, since the purpose of this trip was to spend some much needed family time away from our family businesses and to recoup a bit from health issues, we turned it into a ski trip. This, of course, meant lugging 6 pairs of skis, ski boots, snowsuits and accessories, and boots. Add that to the clothes, sleeping bags, meals, and extras, we realized that we would have to pack the van and leave ourselves at home. There just wouldn't be enough room. So, after much thought, we made the decision to take our Excursion...our oldie but goodie. Well, it was good until it started breaking down like crazy recently.
Thankfully, I am married to one of those rare people who can fix almost anything given the time and right parts! Well, he'd been working on it (here's a pic of one of the barn cats jumping in alongside to "help") but it turned out to be one of those mysterious car ailments that seemed to match Rod's continuous unknown health issues. As always, he was able to coax it back to life, but he did not feel fully confident it would make the trip. Still, we went ahead with our plans.
All went well for 4 hours until we faced the steep uphill climb of the mountains. As we got closer and closer to our destination, the car worked harder and harder, and Rod was doing everything he could to make it easier on it. My stomach sank as each hill came into view, and I wanted to close my ears to the car's sounds of struggle. I began to pray through each one, and an interesting thing happened!
Thoughts of gratitude entered my head....things I would normally not think of. I was grateful that it was daylight, grateful that I had a husband who is gifted at fixing things, grateful that we had the opportunity to go on this trip. I realized that the sluggish pace we were forced to make as we climbed each hill prevented the possibility of speeding or going too fast around a turn near the cliffs, some of which often turn me a bit green. I also realized that a couple of my children who are plagued with motion sickness weren't having as hard of a time, most likely due to our much slower activity.
There were more thoughts as well, and it came to me that it quite possibly is due to a new book that our parish has generously provided to each family for Lent. It's called "Rediscovering Jesus" by Matthew Kelly. Basically, it's a Lenten Journey that walks you through a few pages at a time for each day and corresponds with a quick online video as well.
I SERIOUSLY encourage everyone to read this book and others by Matthew Kelly, like "Discovering Catholicism." REALLY good stuff, and really perfect for Lent.
So, as I turn in tonight, finally here at the cabin, I really hope you all are having a beautiful Lent.
I'll leave you with a picture of God's amazing, artistic masterpiece that we have been so blessed to see here today. Imagine the care that He took in creating such genius...and that is nothing compared to the care He took in creating us!!!
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Prepare Ye the Way
Here are some beautiful songs just for Advent!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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