It’s a fool what looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart
I think I can go ahead and call the first ever Catholic Exchange Virtual 5K a success.
Some of you not only ran/walk/limped/crawled it, but you even managed to blog about it.
Colleen runs faster than I ever will.
Micaela ran it and took pictures.
Amy completed it in the rain with two children in tow.
Ellen could feel my “haunted New England” vibe as her route took her past a tremendously old, totally haunted house.
Sarah ran it in a pink shirt I’m seriously coveting.
Jen is so tough she ran TWO 5Ks in one day! (kinda)
And Dwija is going to have to do another post on the run, just to include all the hilarious pictures (featuring a whole host of bloggers) of her 5k-turned-frat-party. This picture she sent me just may be my favorite:
There were runners from Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut, some other states I’m forgetting to mention, and then Canada, and South Korea. A special mention to my friend Michelle in Australia who wasn’t able to run on Saturday due to a family bout with the flu, but whose training picture you can see in the upper right hand corner of the collage. That’s her- pushing a jogging stroller that seats four children. She told me how much the stroller weighs, but it was in the metric system, and the mind recoiled at the thought of anyone ever jogging while pushing that much weight.…
So Ken and I had big plans about making today’s 5K a big family event. We were going to stop at the gas station for the finest in junk food, take all the kids to the high school’s track field, and run our 3.1 miles on cushy rubber while the kids ate Cheetos and hung out in the grass.
But there’s a reason so many horror writers come from New England- it’s because about 65% of all days after September 15th are overcast, drizzly, and overwhelmingly dreary. But spooky dreary. Like, you can almost see the ghosts of Pilgrims floating around you. So Clan Donaldson’s family run day was cancelled, and Ken kicked me out of the house at 10 a.m. to go slog out a 5K on my own.
I hadn’t even made it across the front yard when I was accosted by our flock of chickens, escaped from their pen and looking for food. They’re practically feathered dogs, the way they’ll follow you around, and I briefly considered letting them tag along on my run, but I thought better of it and went to the garage to get some feed to lure them away from the road. Then I almost broke an ankle as the stupid chickens tripped me in their excitement about the food. Then I almost gave myself a heart attack because I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye that immeditely registered “Ghostly Pilgrim!!!” (it was my husband’s dead hop vine, disturbed into movement by the chicken stampede).…
In six days, runners/walkers/limpers/crawlers from all over the world (honestly! that’s not patented Cari hyperbole) will be participating in the first ever Catholic Exchange Virtual 5K.
Are you one of them? Are you psyched? Are you fit and toned and raring to go?
Yeah. Me neither. In fact, I haven’t run in over a week. No workout tapes, no slow shuffles to the park- shoot, nothing. In fact, other than a desperate speedwalk through the New Haven station to catch a train, I haven’t done thing one to improve my physical health.
But that’s ok. Want to know why?
(Just say “yes”, because I’m going to tell you anyway.)
It’s ok because of something my priest told me in Confession last week. And while I did not confess my dismal failure in the diet and exercise department, his council is still applicable.
After confessing the usual (honest to God, gossip? Still? You’d think I’d have rooted that one out by now if for no other reason than I’m so so tired of having to keep confessing it), Father says to me, “You know, sometimes it’s very easy to let our sins become anchors in our spiritual journey, weighing us down so much that we can’t progress forward.”
Man, those priests are smart. He was right, of course. All these sins I carry around and confess and repeat and confess and repeat, ad infinitum, do …often weigh me down.
I was teaching Language Arts to a classroom full of seventh graders. It was my first class of the day; a two-hour block, with a 5 minute break halfway through. The first block ended around 9:00, and I took my place in the hallway to supervise students during the break.
The chatter began. A knot of teachers, clustered together, speaking in low voices about strange snatches of news. Students went in and out of the bathrooms, got water from the fountain, traded their own stories.
-A plane- a Cessna- crashed into one of the Twin Towers.
-A plane? Crashed into the…? How does that even happen?
-Probably had their navigation systems fail.
-Maybe. But shoot- that’s a big building! Couldn’t you, you know, swerve around it?
The arrival of another teacher brought more news, but no answers.
-Another plane crashed into the building.
-Not a Cessna. A passenger plane.
-A…? How many people?
-How does this happen? Who’s directing those planes? How do you accidentally crash into a building?
And then one of the teachers said what we weren’t able to.
-Two planes full of people don’t crash into buildings on accident.
Break was over. I returned to my classroom, simultaneously buzzing and numb. I can’t remember what happened during the second half of the class. I can’t remember if staff members knocked at my door to give me updates as they came in over the news. I can’t remember if I said anything to my students, some of whom had overheard snatches of conversation and were asking questions. …
Not very often am I called to write about Catholic-specific things. Whether it’s because God knows I would just mess it up, or for some other, obscure reason, generally speaking, the Holy Spirit leads me to write about topics I’m able to handle; notably diaper malfunctions, humiliation at the hands of toddlers, and the so-much-fun-I-can’t-handle-it emerging needs of tweenagers.
While some are called to apologetics and sermonizing, I seem to have been assigned to reporting from the asylum- er- the Domestic Church.
There are exceptions, to be sure. From time to time I find myself gently nudged, then increasingly pushed to a Catholic-specific topic. And I fumble my way through it, feeling embarrassed and inadequate, hoping desperately that God really meant that thing He said about His grace making up for all my shortcomings.
So when I came downstairs this morning, in full seasonal-allergy glory, and picked up yesterday’s mail to look at through swollen eyes, I knew I was being called to write one of “those” articles today. For in that pile of mail was my yearly renewal for the Association of the Miraculous Medal.
Anyone who’s read my conversion story knows what a pivotal part Our Lady played in it (and those of you whose lives still have that gaping hole that can only be filled by reading the over-detailed account of my conversion can find it in its four part saga here, here, here and here), and how her Miraculous Medal was a tangible reflection of that intercession.…
If someone forced me to give up my comfortable suburban life and move to a city, I hope they would force me to move to Boston (also, in this scenario, the person with the power to force me to move also had the power to force Boston to move- preferably someplace more tropical).
The city is far enough away that visiting it is a special event, but not so far that a day trip is outweighed by the commute. It’s big enough and visually striking enough to register in your brain as “city”, but not so big to make a trip with six children something only a lunatic would attempt (I’m looking at you, NYC). There’s enough free attractions to keep your whole day filled (the Freedom Trail alone would take multiple visits before you exhausted its potential), but the museums, particularly the science museum, are definitely worth the price of admission.
So when I saw that St. Anthony’s Feast was this weekend, I thought I’d lay in on really thick to get Ken to agree to go. What could be better? A Saturday of perfect weather, street food, religious celebration, and a road trip to Boston.
Ken was not immediately on board with the suggestion. Where I said, “exciting opportunity to expand our children’s cultural horizons”, he heard, “six small kids lost in the throngs of people filling the North End to bursting”. I know where he’s coming from. When he takes outings as the solo parent, he’s got one kid with him. …
I’m pretty good at that game. This particular time around, I’m talking about the Catholic Exchange Virtual 5K, where people from all over the world (and I can say “all over the world” because I know people in Australia are all over this idea. They even have their own country-specific graphic. It’s pretty rad.) come together on September 29th and run, walk, limp, and/or crawl their bodies across 3.1 miles. It doesn’t have to be fast. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to remind us that God intentionally created us to have bodies and souls, and we’re supposed to take care of both of them.
For my part, the extra attentive care I’ve been giving my physical body culminated when I came to this shocking revelation: do you know that running errands does not actually count as running? Completely unfair, and I think that whoever coined that term should suffer for it.
Also not counting as running, though it should: beer runs, running for the Border, running out of cash, running short of patience, run-on sentences and listening to Run DMC. All of which I’ve participated in since last we’ve talked. None of which have added anything positive to my training efforts.
I did, for a sold 10 days, participate in the spasm of swearing and exhaustion known as Jillian Michael’s 30-day Shred. …
Here’s a fun math question for you: If you have 8 people (6 of whom are 10 and under) + 2000 miles + 2 overnight stops + 20 sq. ft passenger van, how long until more than 50% of the group goes stark, raving mad?
We just got back from a Connecticut-to-Georgia round trip. And while no one suffered actual insanity, we were all very content to put a little space between each other by the time we got home.
The kids often try to convince us to get a DVD player for the van, since trips like that one are not unusual. We do travel a lot. With family and friends in more than eight states, and none of them here in Connecticut, we find our motley crew of merry men on the road quite a bit. However, to our children’s continued disappointment, we refuse to put a TV in the van, for reasons that are probably better explored in a different post.
So with the above credentials in mind, I now present to you the closest thing to parenting advice I’ll ever write- just in time for those end-of-the-summer Labor Day trips you will probably reconsider after reading this.
Clan Donaldson’s Expert Tips for Traveling with Young Children:
DO: Take the time to clean and organize the car before the trip. If you have children still in diapers, have a stash up by the front seat and a secondary stash in the rear of the car. …
“Doing it” in this case, refers to mothering six children. During these conversations, my mom very wisely points out that your priorities change when you’re the mother of two versus the mother of six.
“Your children are always dressed like fashion plates,” my mom tells the woman, by way of highlighting one of the shifts in thinking. ”Lots of times my grandkids look like ragamuffins.”
Each time my mom tells me this story, I’m unsure what the takeaway is. I’ve come up with two possibilities:
1. It’s a way of subtly congratulating me on maturing enough to realize what battles to pick, and which to avoid, coupled with an observation that all parents, no matter what number of children they have, make priorities with their family’s best interests at heart.
2. My mother thinks my children look like ragamuffins.
Since my children often do, in fact, look like ragamuffins, I’m going with option two. And usually I’m fine with this. Since we generally leave the house only once or twice a week, it really doesn’t bother me that the kids, who dress themselves, heavily favor the ripped, the torn, the stained.
Also, they like to wear costumes.
But sometimes we do leave the house. And then, the word “ragamuffin” echoing in my mind, I try to step up our game a little.…
A year and a half ago, I wrote the post that I’m going to recycle here. I wrote it on my personal blog after the shooting in an Arizona supermarket parking lot that killed six people and severely injured Representative Giffords. When I wrote it, I cried. When I went back to dig it up for today, I cried again.
I never thought I’d revisit this post. I certainly never thought I’d publish it here at the Exchange. But when I woke up this morning, and in the process of idly checking my Twitter feed, I saw news about the shootings in Colorado. I gathered enough information to start praying, but knew better than to go looking for more details.
Ken, however, read the CNN article about it, and kept passing along the heartbreaking specifics to me, as a way of processing the horror and senselessness of it. I know that he kept a lot of it back, knowing how news like this becomes lodged in my heart and mind, but enough came through to remind me of the piece I wrote over a year ago.
The names of the dead and wounded are different. The circumstances surrounding the event are different. But I know that if I went back and swapped out “Arizona” for “Colorado” and “supermarket” for “movie theater”, I’d write this same thing today.
You go around in your normal life trying your best to serve God by serving your family.