Thursday, February 28, 2013

From My Grandfather

I want to introduce you to one of the most beautiful men I have been blessed to know.

It is an honor to call this man my grandfather.  Today my grandfather turns 90 years old.  90 years old!  It amazes me every time I say it.

Turning 90 is a big deal to begin with, but my family will cherish this birthday even more because we know that it almost did not occur.  In the summer of 2011, my grandfather was run over by his own suburban.  Even though it was hard to stand in his room and see him unable to communicate well or recognize us, all you wanted to do was sit in the ICU waiting room until your turn to go visit him came around again.  I learned a lot during that time in the hospital and the months of his recovery.  I am still learning from this experience and feel so blessed to continue to learn from his example.

Some people call him and his peers our greatest generation. This statement has a lot of truth to it. He is hard working, generous, virtuous, convicted, faithful, honest, kind, loving, etc. He is a man of few words with a quiet strength about him, a deep love for his family, and wisdom combined with wit making everything he says a joy to hear.

We couldn't just pose normally for a picture.  I think we get it from him.

Here's a sample of some of my favorite things he's said throughout the years that I thankfully wrote down.
Quoting his father about boys:
"If you have one boy, you have a boy.  If you have two boys, you have half a boy.  If you have three boys, you have no boy at all."

Opening a fortune cookie after getting dentures:
"Maybe my fortune will say, 'Your new teeth will make food taste better.'"

On the jack-o-lantern bucket in the garden:
"I put that bucket out so the pumpkins will know what to grow into."

On ice cream:
"That's the thing about ice cream.  You can have an okay meal and it smooths it out.  It used to be only for Sunday and now you can have it everyday.  I support that."

Oh how we love him!

#Encourage Beauty from IHOD and Dean Street Society

Do you follow Anna at In Honor of Design or Hilary at Dean Street Society?  If not, you must go check out their blogs!  They posted a huge teaser yesterday for a new campaign they are promoting for March called  #Encourage Beauty.  Although I do not know all the details of their campaign (scheduled to come out later today and tomorrow), I am already on board.

The two part manifesto they have posted on their blogs is beautiful and inspiring.  The foundational ideas behind the campaign are that the word encourage literally means to "put courage into" and as women we have a lot of power to put courage into other women, simply by reminding them that they are beautiful.

Think of your favorite article of clothing.  I bet at some point in time someone told you that you looked amazing in it.  Although this compliment was geared towards your outward appearance, I think we can all relate to the glowing feeling of validation that comes from it.  Even though we all appreciate and long for these little moments, how often do we think complimentary things and stay silent?

Are you intrigued by what Anna and Hilary will be proposing?  Are you feeling like a little bit of courage has been put into you that you want to share with others?  Are you excited to be involved in such a beautiful idea and a little bit nervous how it may challenge you?  So am I!

But enjoying the beauty in life and helping others know their own beauty is what we're all about at Waltzing in Beauty.  Anna and Hilary have confidence in us and I have confidence in you, so let's take their hands and #Encourage Beauty.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

My father is a doctor.  His hours are long, irregular and limit the time he has to be with us.  I have a lot to be grateful for because of him.  There are the many big things- a roof over my head, food, clothes, education, and life, but then there are even more little things.  Here's a list of some of those small and yet special things.

Because of him,
I can woo nerds with my knowledge of Star Trek and science fiction.
Aren't you impressed?
I know that Tommy cannot hear, speak, see and yet still plays a mean pinball.
After years of listening to the Who's Tommy album in the car with my dad it finally dawned on me what the song Pinball Wizard was about.  I then was silly enough to ask how someone who could not hear, speak, or see could play pinball.  Hence, the plot of the entire rock opera.
I thoroughly enjoy the hood and body that house the mysterious car engine.
One thing I will always remember doing with my dad is going to look at cars in dealers lots and to the local classic car auction.
I know, "catch as catch can," is what's for dinner.
I had never heard this saying from anyone other than my dad until my boss said it one day.  Must be a New York/New Jersey thing.
I can rely on a GPS to get me out of the parts of town where I "should roll the windows up, not talk to anyone, and most importantly not stop."
I was given this advice when I found myself lost on the street where there had been two shootings a few nights before, my GPS was ordered the next day and received that Christmas.
I know that real men are not afraid to watch romantic movies and admit to enjoying them.
Does this need an explanation?
I had the best date to sophomore formal.
He's an excellent dancer :)

Happy birthday, Daddy.  I love you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes or Birthday & Valentine's Recap Volume 3

We made it to Friday and the ides of February! This week has seen quite a lot of hustle and bustle. I’ll try to summarize in 7 quick takes with Jen over at Conversion Diary.

1.  Monday started with an early morning call from a good friend.

“I’m heart broken.”
Oh no! Something happened with her fiancé.
“Did you hear the news about the Pope?”
Oh no! He’s dead. Really Lord? Two great men in less than a week?
“He’s resigning!”
Oh. Is that all? Wait, what?!? Why?

“What’s with the whole Pope thing?”  Has been a popular question this week.  Yes dear friends, the Pope can resign. Church law allows him to step down if he, in good conscience, does not feel capable of performing his ministry. Although this is something in following with Church teaching the shock of this announcement is due to the fact that it has not occurred in over 600 years. I am sad to see Benedict XVI retire from his office, but I know that everything will be ok.  I do hope that he will be able to continue writing. His theological works are amazing. His encyclical on hope, Spes Salvi, is one of my favorites.

2.   Due to the fact my father was working on my birthday, my family celebrated on Sunday. My mother and sisters made a yummy pasta dinner and my favorite lime bundt cake. When it came time to sing and make a wish the candles were nowhere to be found. In their place my brother held two LED pillar candles turning one off as I dramatically inhaled. Fortunately, a simple flip of the switch and I could blow them out again, saving my wish.  It was very humorous.  I can't wait to wear my new sweater and belt!

I love the colorful pattern!
3.  B called me from the grocery store inquiring about the location of the oats. Come to find out he didn’t know that oats and oatmeal were the same thing.  What recipe needed oats?  My favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

4.  I have the best co-workers.  I was greeted at my desk by a cupcake in a jar from lovely Emily at Raising Barnes (the local cupcake store needs to patent this idea).  Later I received some dainty teacup orchids from two of my oldest friends.  Megan just started writing for Catholic Mom as a newlywed contributor.  Check out her first post!

5.  B surprised me on my birthday by taking me out to our favorite Hibachi restaurant in town.  He was especially happy that the entire room sang to me while I was served birthday sherbet complete with sparklers.  Later, I was thrilled to receive the salt and pepper shakers I fell in love with and gave to a friend for their wedding.

They just make me smile :)

6.  I felt a little unprepared on Ash Wednesday.  I wasn't fully sure what all I would be giving up/doing more for Lent.  I have been trying to drink less coffee, so I decided to take the plunge and give up all caffeinated beverages.  I'm also focusing on practicing some virtues that have been long overlooked.

7.  Valentine's Day was nice and simple.  We made "brinner" (breakfast for dinner), exchanged gifts and channel surfed.  I was so excited to give him his present.  He's been looking for Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs in paperback for months.  I'm glad I followed my mother's advice to check Barnes & Noble one more time.  He was extra sweet to me and actually got me a card (my computer scientist is much more at home with binary than written words)B didn't want to present me with flowers that had not bloomed, so he brought me roses with my favorite orange lilies.  

Sleeping lilies and perfect red roses.

Enjoy your February weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dear Friend: A Letter from Your Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends!

I love all holidays and it is hard to narrow it down to a top few, but Valentine's Day has to be one of my favorites.  As a child I loved giving Valentine's Day cards, the thought process behind which friend received which valentine would make a great skit- I don't really like him so I'll give him the bad guy cartoon character, this is the prettiest I'll give this to my best friend, I can't give this one to him because then he'll know I like him... 

Then came my teens and early twenties and the lonely Valentine's Days, however, I still loved the holiday.  Some of my favorite Valentine's memories are from those years- the one when my college roommate and I gave each other the nickname Valentine and designated it as our friend-iversary, the one my sister left me the deck of hearts with notes written on each card, the year a friend and I debated the ethics of makeup testing on male mice, the one when all my girlfriends got together and laughed until the coffee shop closed.  I think the reason I could not throw out this simple holiday was, despite the many Valentine's without a special someone, the focus on being with the people I love and taking the time to tell them how much they mean to me.

Feeling blessed to share the day with this guy. 
He wanted this picture for FB.  I think that gives approval for posting it here, don't you?
Because of my love for the holiday, I was doubly honored when I was asked to be the guest blogger on My Year of Faith for today.  My Year of Faith is an online blog and mobile app that our diocese has put together for the Year of Faith.  Each day there is a post on a topic related to the faith from many different contributors.  The mobile app also has a calendar with daily challenges to help on your faith walk. 

This project is so exciting.  I have enjoyed reading the posts each day and taken away a lot of food for thought. Hats off to my wonderful co-workers that coordinate this great project!  Please check out this great resource.  While you're at it, check out my post: Dear Friend: A Letter From Your Valentine ;)  Enjoy!

If you're waiting for it to be tomorrow and finding this to be horribly sappy, know that you are a truly amazing person with so much to give to others.  Even if we've never met; I value you.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

Today is my birthday.  Being born on a date in close proximity to Valentine’s Day is both a blessing and a curse (ok, that's a bit over dramatic).  I was brought home from the hospital on Valentine’s Day and I’m reminded each year that I was the best Valentine gift ever.   But as most of us born near a holiday, I am adamant about the two occasions being exactly that - two separate days that must each be given their due and never conjoined.  Fortunately, I love red, pink, hearts, flowers, chocolate, ruffles, sentimental notes … so I do not mind that my birthday always involves such things normally associated with Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, it does place an added burden to loved ones that have to think about two holidays in the same week.  This year I am feeling that hardship a little more.

Valentine's Day snuck up on me.  Despite good intentions, I find myself a few days away from the holiday, feeling a bit empty handed and not quite sure what to do.  I’ve done some brainstorming/window shopping/dreaming of what I could do next year and will just have to make the best of this situation.  Here are some of my favorite finds for my heroes and heroines.


Pretty and feminine.

I love the idea of wearing a passage from a favorite book.
Sentimental and classic to wear all year round.
My favorite scent.

Love notes!


Polka dots for men done right.
Cologne that doesn't give me a headache.
Something to keep him warm.
Adopt a species :)
Longitude and latitude of a special place.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes or 7 iPhone Shots Volume 2

Linking up with Jen again for 7 Quick Takes...a day late...

1. God's timing does not always match up with my own.  Starting this little blog on the first of February made sense. It was a new year, new month and a new adventure.  That excitement was quickly followed by the loss of a dear friend. After being diagnosed with a rare and vicious cancer at the beginning of the year, Bishop John D'Arcy passed away on February 3rd. His funeral was yesterday.  It was so nice to see how many lives he touched and to hear so many good stories. He was the kind of man that truly loved everyone.  I will miss him.

2.  Monday started off with a bump.  I was rear ended on my way into work.  Fortunately, the other driver was nice and the aftermath has gone pretty smoothly.  Unfortunately, I was at a full stop and hit pretty hard.  I have re-friended my chiropractor as a result.

3.  My niece and nephew out witted me at my Christmas present to them.  Ticket to Ride is a great game for all ages, as long as you don't mind being shown up by those not yet a decade old.

4.  Due to the car mishap, my plan of painting my kitchen quickly changed to supervising the painting of the kitchen (and learning that I need to let go of perfection and let others help).  With half the man power only two walls have a coat of paint, but it is looking more like home.

My guy, B.  Unflattering angle brought to you by the supervisor's corner.

5.  B and I have slowly been working our way through The Lord of the Rings.  This started after he confessed to never having been able to get through the beginning part in the Shire.  To this I proclaimed, "I will read you out of the Shire in no time."  (A year later, we are out of the Shire...more like we've left Bag End...).  After all the hard work supervising, I fell asleep on the couch before we opened it.

6.  When I bought these trouser socks I didn't realize they had spots.  I'm not quite sure if they are fun or if they make my feet looked diseased.

7.  Chocolate makes everything better.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I promise to post more next week!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Seven Quick Takes or Hello World!

Hello, I'm Christina and welcome to my blog.

Writing a blog has been a goal of mine for quiet awhile.  I would dance around the idea- coming up with titles, topics, themes, etc. and never found the "it" factor that gave me enough courage to put myself out there for all the world-wide-web to see.  When my friend Emily and I discovered we shared the same desire we banded together to support each other in our resolution for 2013.

One of the things I have enjoyed this past month of preparation is realizing how small the world can be in the blogging community.  As I read one blog I would stumble upon another and another and would discover women I know, have connections to through others or connections between bloggers.  So it seems the perfect way to start is to join the community and link up with the blogging world and Jennifer at Conversion Diary with 7 Quick Takes on my favorite things.

I love:
    1.  My family.  They are the most important thing to me.  We are very close and I am fortunate that my grandparents, parents and siblings all live within minutes of each other.

    2.  Dancing.  I have loved to dance for as long as I can remember.  After college a friend and I decided to check out a local ballroom dance studio one night.  The relationships and confidence I have gained through that choice have made it one of the best decisions of my life.   I guess I agree with the song that, "the best things happen while your dancing."

    3.  Making things pretty.  Be it styling an outfit, decorating a room, rearranging furniture or organizing kitchen cabinets, I love making things look beautiful.  I also love helping others feel good about themselves and seeing that they are beautiful inside and out.

    4.  Notre Dame.  I come from a family of Domers and I am excited to soon officially be a Double Domer (for those of you unfamiliar to the University, we are called "Domers" after the Golden Dome of the Administration Building on Campus).

    5.  Theology.  I received my BA in Theology from Notre Dame and I am currently pursuing my MA in Theology part time from Notre Dame.  I have completed my course work and will sit for my final comprehensive exam this year.  What does one do with a Theology degree?  I work for the Catholic Church.

    6.  Red.  Growing up all I wanted was a red pair of shoes, just like Dorothy.  Red things, however, have to be just right, but when they are I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

    7.  Penguins.  So cute!

    Have a great weekend!
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