Exquisite Everyday Moments with the Beauties...

This post is a collection of little stories from a normal, but not so typical weekend in my life. I share these little gems as a reminder to me...

This weekend I created oodles of Exquisite Everyday Moments. I coined this term to remind myself to drink in the ordinary, the everyday, the moments and memories that we often overlook. I've learned to breathe-in this life. To love the simple, the laughter, the moments where your soul expands. These aren't the big life events, nope they are the simple joys in the journey. I stop, I breathe, and I take a mental movie.  An Exquisite Everyday Moment memory that I will call-up when I'm getting a blood draw, on yet another flipping exam table, having yet another procedure, or when I simply can't get out of bed. When my life is too hard or my situation unacceptable--well it's no match for these treasures, these gems of life, these gifts that keep giving me hope.

It's these moments that remind me, I've got this. That my life is so full of love, that it can over power the darkness. That is what an Exquisite Everyday Moment means... I hope by sharing mine, it can help you find yours.

My little family of four has had a busy weekend.  We had no plans, now when I say we had no plans that isn't absolutely true. Norah has tennis lessons every Saturday morning and since we are now Lectors, and I'm a Sunday School teacher and Eucharistic minister (I share the bread and wine at our family mass) we have specific mass times we need to attend. Which leads me back to, we had "no plans";  what that really means is we had no additional responsibility than our normal ones!  Don't you all have the same, the caveat of what a free schedule really means?

After tennis, Jeff mentioned that within an hour drive was a mission that I hand't seen, well that was it. I'm amazed that since moving West I have lost the notion of travel time. When it's all in the same state a quick drive could be 4 hours, while back East you could be through five states in the same amount of time. I'm game for so much more, perhaps the true spirit of the West has caught me and the Beauties are at the age that they get-it, can offer insights that I find entertaining.  Even when they are whining, it can be entertaining. The Beauties need one thing to keep them happy, food. You would be amazed what some french fries or ice cream can do to get the troops mobilized.

We drove a little over an hour to the mission, walked the expansive grounds and saw the actors dressed for re-enactment, we tasted some bread, and just marveled how hot and dusty the day was.  Which makes the entire experience all the more real. It's flipping hot, dusty and back in the day it took them two or three days to travel what we did in a little over an  hour. The mountains and coastline of our section of California must have been something to the early Spanish settlers.

During the drive, my Irish Prince offered some rare commentaries from his week. I always enjoy the likes and dislikes from his lunch box. He offered that his friend Kat likes his chocolate milk. He suggested that maybe we could throw an extra in his lunch for him to share. My son already buying drinks for the ladies... He also discussed that he could NEVER live without his technology--be like the early Spanish settlers, well he would never. His displeasure with the hot, moaning about dying of thirst, and his threats of running through a field of poison oak were as always original. I can promise you I would suffer more from the poison oak than he would from itching! It was a real concern on my part!  After a significant amount of education torture for a Saturday, we called it a day and heading home in air conditioned comfort with a pile of digital photos and a few Exquisite moments filed away.

Sunday morning arrived with the opportunity for some alone time with Norah. Ian woke up not feeling good after a busy Saturday.  Which created an unique opportunity for Miss Norah--she got her mom all to herself for Mass.

We were giddy in the car, we never get to go alone to Mass. It was lovely to be just the girls and I planned to make the most of our alone time. At Mass we had a visiting Jesuit who was so alive in his faith, my cheeks hurt from smiling.  As we slipped away from the crowds after Mass, we jumped into the car and headed to lunch. Norah has a few favorite places in town and her most favorite place was closed. Thank goodness an acceptable alternative saved the day.  We dined alfresco.  While sitting at lunch I had that moment; where I saw Norah with no distractions, just her. We laughed and giggled, she shared her secrets. To be honest, I had no business taking her to lunch, I was wiped after yesterday; but I would pay that bill later.

I needed this day.

Norah was at her best, she wanted to window shop with me. Norah never wants to shop, but today she wanted to look and touch everything.  At nine she is starting to get glimpses of the wider world. While at Nordstrom she charmed Daisy the head of accessories, who happily walked around pulling the most expensive bags down for Norah's consideration. She was a fan of Kate Spade's cross body bags.  Daisy and I agreed that she knows her style at an early age. Nine and she already has a favorite designer! I also explained we never shame a woman who needs a good bag--never! These are the life lessons my girl will learn from me. We also picked a berry lip gloss. Norah picking my lip gloss is in the running for one of my favorite Exquisite Moments.

So my life may be more ordinary then many of yours. But, what I hope to offer you is the ability to stop. To honestly stop and look at your daily life and find the Divine. To meet yourself and create these moments of joy. Your life should be filled with oodles and oodles of them. It's about finding the joy in the ordinary, the daily joy of living and loving. It's in these Exquisite Everyday Moments that you find your purpose, you find love and you meet the Divine.

The more moments you have, the happier your journey will be. That I can promise you.

Peace be with you.



Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on 



 or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence...and I'm always glad to meet another traveler. xo

Photo Credit: Mr. PilgrimageGal

Happy 3rd Birthday Pilgrimage Gal...

I started my little blog on June 1, 2012. I then spent days looking at a blank screen wondering what to say.

Pilgrimage Gal has evolved in three years. I have grown in confidence, witnessing my health dramatically improve and along the way I found my voice. This space began with the support of my Jeffrey and my dear friend Jessica; both encouraging me to share my truth. What began as a sick and frightened women's journal, changed into a place to find hope, courage and little faith. Back in the beginning, I wasn't scared of sharing my truth, I was scared of


.  In my heart, I felt death chasing me and it was terrifying. The blog became a place to share the fear that filled my heart in the darkness of night.  The worries that didn't go away when I woke. I needed my Beauties to know their mom. So as adults they would have my truth of their childhood. The blog would allow them to see in my own words that I loved them with everything that I had. That I fought everyday for their Dad and them.

When I left this world, they would still hear my voice.

A record for the Beauties of what my life, our life was all about.

Total truth.

I never honestly expected to be here to celebrate this blog turning 3. While I was making peace with my death, the Divine was creating my way to life. Each doctor at every turn was a tiny grain of sand to wellness. You never see the beach when you are focused on individual grains of sand, you can't find the ocean--you can only see the grains.

No one has had access to better doctors. No one. I have fought, challenged, cajoled, and laid out a few. I have listened, cried and screamed when I needed to, I did what I was told, and I never stopped fighting. Never given up. Have I had dark moments? Good Lord, yes.  I looked at my Jeffrey and my Beauties and knew NO ONE would ever love them the way I do. No one possibly could. They are as much part of my soul as I am theirs.

I have meet brilliant minds, doctors who love me more than they should. I have given too many of them sleepless nights. My husband who never once has said it's too much. A doctor, Harvard, who stood next to my hospital bed in the darkest moments and who wound't give up on his most unique patient.  I know no person on earth that has more loving friends, soul sisters, more perfect Beauties and my mother who drops everything to support me.

My riches are too vast to imagine. I may never win the power-ball, but I have won more than my share of grace and love.

So as I step back and give thanks for medical interventions that keep me stable. Teachers who love my children as their own, friends no matter my geography that have my back, a husband that loves all of me, every broken part and every super power.

I know one thing that is true, that none of this is possible without my faith. A faith that humbles me. That in all of my abundance, I have been able to walk with LOVE. My greatest gift in all of this is faith that is built on love.  I have a faith that never falters. That faith has enabled me to see love hidden, love flourishing, and how to find it, keep it and make it grow.

It's all of these gifts that make Pilgrimage Gal my safe place as I hope it is yours too. The Divine gave me the love of all of you. My Pilgrims near and far. Thanks to technology, I have virtual tea dates around the globe. Someday the Divine will connect all of us, in London and in Finland and too many of you to mention in Canada and the States. Each and every one of you take a moment out of your busy daily life to walk with me. To share your truth, to give me insight in your life. You share your Beauties, your dreams, your faith and struggles. Thank you, for walking with me; sharing your exquisite every day moments. My life is richer with your love.

Jeffrey surprised me with a huge Pilgrimage Gal birthday cake, chocolate with salted caramel, no words for the yummiest cake ever. The cake was from the talented cafe and my newest Santa Barbara friend Gillian of

Lilac Patisserie

. I washed the cake down with a toast and small sip of champagne (I'm on crummy antibiotics) toasting each and everyone of you. Without you I would just be some lonely girl jotting musings in her diary.

Your loves, your likes, your comments, your shares, and your amens have made me productive, open, more honest and the best version of myself.

I'm beyond humbled by my life and look forward to celebrating all of our joys, celebrations and struggles for years to come.

Cheers, to you all! To Jess and Jeffrey, I love you both with all that I have, thank you for encouraging me in the darkness. You both give me more than I ever give you!

Peace be with you all.

The Divine in me bows to the Divine in each and everyone of you.

Happy Birthday from the Pilgrimage Gal and our journey continues.



Photo Credit: Mr. Pilgrimage Gal

Exquisite Everyday Moment With Cake...

Exquisite moment eating wonderful treats...

I like to remind everyone that to live well means creating rituals, moments and space for you and your loved ones to experience exquisite everyday moments. These moments are simple, small reminders in our busy lives that life is beautiful and filled with love. The goal is that when faced with the troubles of everyday life, you can call up these exquisite moments, these little gems, to help you get back on track and sustain you until you can create more. 

My family is really good at creating these memories. Jeff and I make this a priority, they sustain not only me, but they are living proof to my Beauties that everything is going to be all right. When your life is filled with taking fist fulls of medicines, and managing doctors like most manage soccer schedules, it's critical that they see we live normally too!

We have a new Saturday schedule, that is relaxed, easy and creates the space to bask in the sunshine of our family. We love to hit the Santa Barbara farmers market to pick up organic and locally grown tastiness. We have made friends with vendors and look forward to our weekly conversations. But our real treat comes when we stroll down the fabulous State Street in our new home town and stop in at our family's favorite cafe;

Lilac Patisserie



Lilac is the sweetest little French Cafe. As a family, we are quietly working our way through their cake menu. Sampling treats, as we go from coffee cakes, to olive rosemary bread to brownies and cookies. Every Saturday, you will find us rolling in to sit in the cafe or grabbing a treat to go. I love to sit in the cafe with my pot of tea and Jeff with a luscious coffee drink.

Ian eyeing Dad's coffee...

We order a table full of treats and fork fight over the tastiness of each bite. I love these moments with my Beauties, want to learn about someone's week? Give them a fruit tart filled with creamy softness, you get a full download of the playground politics.  The moment reminds me that despite everything, my life is good, normal and filled with joy. We picked Lilac also for me, you see I've been gluten free for longer than we have had children. But my gluten eaters comment every time, "Mom this cake is ridiculous, it can't be gluten free?!" So in addition to just delighting in my family, I can enjoy every single bite... and I do!

This week was no exception, a nasty bacterial infection landed me in the urgent care Tuesday night, getting IV fluids and antibiotics. Just what every mother wants, to have her children sitting in the waiting room while I'm getting worked on. The Beauties both had the worry face, the one that says please don't get admitted; please come home with us. Even Jeffrey looked a little more pressed than usual. Thankfully I was not admitted, but I didn't get out of bed all week. Once we got home Tuesday night, for the rest of the week, I had my mind focused on one thing, tea Saturday at Lilac. I needed to nurse some tea, eat a sweet treat and let everyone see that I was fine. My mind stayed focused on our past moments and even more focused on creating a new one. I will create even more...

This week was challenging, I still don't feel great, we missed family parties with our cousins. But we did make it to Lilac. We ordered cake to-go, picking several tasty treats for home; as I sat on my sofa in my jammies, I still created that exquisite moment with Jeff and my Beauties filled with cake, smiles and love. 

So as you make your way in the world--Create your happiness, which include your family rituals, your love and your exquisite everyday moments. And if you happen to be in Santa Barbara let us know, we would love to share our table with you. 



Photo Credit: Mr. PilgrimageGal

PS. The owners of Lilac haven't compensated me for this post. Neither Jeffrey or I have even met them. It's just a great little place that I love, love, love...

Yellow Living Room...

When I was growing up, I had goals. Plans. Ideas. I had a road map for my life. I had expectations of what my life would look like, including my husband and children. In my dream, I pictured my husband and I living in a white colonial with bright shutters and door. We would have a large sunny yellow living room that looked out onto a beautiful cottage garden. I pictured us sitting on matching sofas with our coffee cups, listening to music; all while reading the Sunday paper.  I have no idea where my children were in this dream; but I had them! That was my idea of domestic bliss as seen in my 12 year old mind.  I could create my own stability, calm and security. When I thought of this dream; I always smiled, because I felt loved and cherished.

Children of divorce never feel settled; we are always on the move, sharing time with all the individuals we love. The dream became more of a mantra after losing both my father and stepfather at 15. I never for a second thought I wouldn't go to college. I had to; I had to support myself. I worried about losing my husband, so the dream became a mantra. He couldn't smoke, not be a heavy drinker or do drugs. Smoking killed the two men I loved. In my eyes drugs and booze just increased the chances for mortality. I would make THIS yellow living room world. It would be mine. It would be my reality. As I look back on my 23 years of marriage;  Jeffrey and I have created that life. I have stability. I have calm and security. I'm deliciously happy, in my soul, in my heart and most of all in my head.

I need that world. Jeffrey and I have had some dark times in our early marriage, 22 is young to jump into marriage without tools. I didn't grow up with good marriage models, so I had to teach myself, I learned on the job how to be married. God Bless Jeff, he just needed to learn I was beautifully high maintenance, that isn't a criticism; it's just truth. I needed to talk all the time; about everything, and he just needed to put his arm around me, love me, and tell me it was going to be fine.

I needed to learn that Jeff was exactly what he appeared; a good, honest, trustworthy man. That he loved me and I was good-enough to be loved. Jeff also had to learn to negotiate and to communicate. But, what kept us together was the yellow living room; we both really wanted the same things. We wanted that safe place where we were loved and that we both were all in, not kind of in; but all in.

We learned as a couple what our currency was; what was our truth, what were our deal breakers as a couple and where was the wiggle room. We also created our own tool box as a couple, the short hand that worked for us to make our life work in the ups and downs of the journey. We are very honest and direct, but we do it with humor and love. Our toolbox is the same as the one I have shared with you and it's why we are resilient.

Resilience is the superpower that helps you through the tough times. We are hinged on faith and one another. Everything else is a bi-product of that. God and Jeff are always at the table with me, then it's the Beauties, then it's everyone else. When we work, it all works. For me there is nothing without them. That is how I remain resilient, I focus on that image, that feeling of the yellow living room and the visual of sitting with Jeff and the Divine having a meal talking it all through, laughing and sharing the breaking of bread.

That image and concept is how I stay strong on the Pilgrimage. I use the tools that we have spent Lent honing, shaping and sharpening. When you learn to treat the stupid shit that happens in your life as irritants, and foolishness as obstacles to your happiness you learn how to pivot, to knock down and get around them. That is how you keep your eye on what truly matters...

For me that is enjoying the exquisite everyday moments with my Beauties. This week included a fantastic family meal at the Beauties' favorite white table cloth restaurant on the beach. Also included some moments during Holy Week when I wanted to flick my Beauties for not getting-it during Stations of the Cross. But, more often than not, we had delightful and touching faith filled moments during Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. We had our first ever lovely California Easter Dinner with Jeffrey's parents, a backyard Bocce tournament with Norah and her "Poppie" (which is her grandad), we dyed eggs, made some ridiculous good cupcakes, we stayed up too late, got up too early. But even with Norah getting yet another nasty cold, and my pain being excruciating, Ian having a seasonal allergy attack, we had much more joy than sadness.

So that is where I will leave this series of posts on Resilience...

You CAN become more resilient.

It takes effort, practice using the tools and the willingness to never surrender.

But, the more you do, the stronger you get, until it's your super power too!



I love hearing from you, and I miss it when you don't reach out! So leave comments below, connect with me on instagram at 


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Photo Credit: Mr. PilgrimageGal


I met Betty today.

I met her in the place you would least expect to find her. My Mom, who is visiting from DC and I were getting pedicures at a little toe shop in Santa Barbra. You know the kind, the nondescript store front with the neon-lights that say, "OPEN" in the strip mall. It has rows of sparkly clean and cozy chairs with little whirlpools for your feet. That was where my mother and I were getting emergency repairs for our beleaguered feet. The holidays were tough on our tired toes. Too many children with ever growing feet stepped on them! While mom was getting her "French" and I was watching my "Blame it on Rio" dry, in walked Betty. She spoke to the owner about getting her nails "buffed" and her toes "polished" and then as luck would have it, she sat in the chair next to me.

Betty had a little trouble getting into the chair and getting her black Reeboks off. I helped her stow her bag and she comfortably got her bright pink toes into the tub. No surprise to those who know me, I introduced myself and we started to chat. Turns out that her sparkly clear blue eyes had seen many things in her 92 years of living, including 4 children and over 70 years of marriage. Along the way she had lost one of her four Beauties and a year ago on December 23, she lost her True Love, her husband. I loved Betty from our hello. Betty is tiny, but not frail and she drove herself to get her nails done... I know right!!!  Inside that tiny little body was more wisdom than I could get out in our brief conversation. We have a friend in common, Jeffrey's 101 year old Grandmother lives in the same complex. Apparently they are bingo buddies. Guess I may need to crash bingo next week.

I asked Betty what makes a happy life and what tips could she give me for launching happy, healthy and purposeful adults into our big world.

About the happy life, she told me simply that we live in a world full of judgments. In her experience, the happiest and most joyful folks were those who didn't judge, but who loved.

Betty tip number one: Don't judge--Love!

She also told me that none of us are perfect and that many people seem to take their time focusing on other's foibles and not seeing that they themselves have just as many shortcomings.

Betty tip number two:  Remember you aren't perfect.  Focus on everyone's strengths.

About raising Beauties, she explained that children learn from example. She talked about how she and her Love were partners in every sense. That neither of them were perfect individually, but by working together they became an amazing team. I'm thinking Betty created the term co-parenting! She emphasized that we are models and examples for our children in how we live our life... As we live our's, so they will live their's.

Betty tip number three: Lead by example.

Her last lesson was the best.

Betty told me that Mothers are by nature, made to nurture. She explained that it is one of our primary roles.  Even after our children have grown or in my case while I'm still raising mine, I must pay attention to see others that need to be nurtured. And as mothers, it is our responsibility to reach out and fill that need.

Betty tip number four: Yep, we must find those who need our love and love'em.

It was a fascinating conversation. I was smitten by Betty, a women so open, so filled with life and joy and willing to share her truth in such a simple and beautiful way.

There we were, three Moms just sitting, talking over red toe nail polish... (She had tired of pink and needed something a little flashier!)

When I got up to leave, I couldn't resist, I walked over and gave her a hug. I told Betty she had made my day at 10:15 in the morning.

And I thanked her for providing us with an amazing exquisite moment at the start of a day that was planned to be filled with many more.

Today was filled with just that--so many moments and Betty was just the first one and it occurred when and where I least expected it.

Perhaps that is the most important lesson that Betty taught me.

Always be open and ready for an amazing Exquisite Moment. You never can know when they may occur.

Thank you Betty, wisdom figure, life teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and lover of red toes!

Thank you.



photo credit:






My happy place...

Well my fellow travelers, I just returned from vacation. This is the longest vacation that I have been able to take in years. Nine days of stepping off the treadmill and relaxing. That's right, the longest vacation in years.

It's hard to believe that you can be held back from relaxation because you are sick. But, that has been my story for far too long. The daily stability of my new treatments made it possible to enjoy an amazing vacation and file away many exquisite moments. To drink in the memories, to savor the seconds like a fabulous meal or glass of wine. In summer it is difficult to find the time to sit and write. I need a blend of silence and lack of interruption. The journey of having two amazing Beauties home is that those moments are hard to find... So as I write, the Beauties are yelling at each other about going to the park. I remind myself that these are the days I will long for in just a few years.

But I digress:

There are places in our world that offer us a break from the treadmill, a respite from the storm of life. And this vacation offered me that space. I have known Jeffrey for 23 years and the very first of his friends my Jeffrey introduced me to, were the ones who would become Norah's godparents. Fairy-godmother Jane and her beloved, we just call him the Godfather around here, Steve. I actually met Steve first. I fed him dinner and alcohol after Jane had breast cancer surgery. Jeff and Steve came and sat at the bar with me after that surgery.  I met Jane six weeks later in her kitchen drinking margaritas and eating nachos with fresh jalapenos from their garden. She had just returned from her vacation home in Maine, where she had lovingly hung, while on a ladder, cedar siding. I'm sure every surgeon would think two weeks after major surgery is the perfect time to be on a ladder hanging siding, but that is just what she was doing.  With a cancer diagnosis you have to shake things up and that is just what she did, she shook it all up. And she did it in her happy place.

Camp is that happy place. Camp is part fairy dust, part magic, and all love... It is rustic, beautiful and a place where I have never had a sleepless night and my worries have always melted away. It is something special, it is sacred in that you find yourself there, every-time. You reset your priorities, see life with the clarity of a fine Waterford wine glass. I don't quite know how the fairy's under Jane's watchful eyes do it... But, there is magic there, I have seen it! Jane could tell you how many times in the last 20 years I have visited, I really can't say, but each and every-time it has helped me chart a new course in my life. From jobs, to motherhood, to cross country travel, it has always helped me find my truth North. Camp hasn't only saved me, it brings peace and love to all who visit.

I love that it's informal, you don't bring your club clothes, nope you bring your favorite jeans, your old flip-flops, no one cares if your mani-pedi is perfect. I'm lucky to find my toothbrush, you don't need makeup. You wear T-shirts, and shorts, you never dress for dinner unless you call a lobster bib dressing. You are your real-self. Stripped down to who you are, real approachable, your true self.

Camp has been in Jane's family for years, her Grandfather and Uncle used the property as one of the original man caves, in the 60's. Without benefit of a tape-measure or level her uncle began building the A frame cottage. Steve on the other hand with his masterful touch has used a level and made the Camp's true beauty shine. Steve's superb craftsmanship and Jane's architectural eye have transformed the once lowly fishing cottage into a woodland retreat.  But the building belies the real truth... It is the Lilly pads on the lake that stop you to see the wonder of nature, even the baby hummingbirds we watch test their wings this year, the dock where too many children have learned to swim, take canoe rides, or just splash in the water, every dog is always welcome and oodles of them have fetched sticks. Then there are the countless hours of floating just off the dock, just basking in the cool waters and warm sun of Maine in the summer. The last time I was ever floating in water was in Maine. A great memory. The Godparents have hosted, every niece and nephew they have, every friend have at one time or another visited.

It has been a summer mecca for years.

I had my first Lobster at Camp, a first for many of the visitors, a true right of passing, and a tradition at least one night while there. I have eaten blueberries just picked, and sipped coffee that has never tasted better. I have been over-served and never had a drop, it makes no difference the memories are all the same...

It's heaven on earth.

Steve and Jane see Camp not so much as theirs, but as if they are care-takers of a gift, a precious and beautiful one. They are a rare team that opens their door to all, and loves each and every guest.

It's no surprise we asked them to be our Irish Princess' guide in this world. There are people in this life that are shepherds, guides... That's Steve and Jane. A godparent needs to do one thing really well, they need to "get it". And when I say "get-it", it means that they are in the world, but not of the world. They delight in the foolishness of living, but also are able to teach through example and guide our child. They are phenomenal godparents. For the record, far better than Jeffrey and I have been to our godchildren.

I'm not surprised that God put these two amazing people in our life... Not even close. They are gifts, that I know I will spend eternity with... Heaven for us will look like a small cottage in Maine, with a cool lake that I will swim in daily, the best blueberry pie imaginable, a warm fire in the fireplace every night, with lobster and a coffee called "

Carpe Diem

" and Jesus telling us HE is so proud of us, and telling us that we did well.

So maybe that is what Camp is... A door to Heaven, a taste of eternity, a place to find God without looking at all... Because HE is present with us at the table.

Hope your Summer is filled with Exquisite Everyday Moments just like ours... We are overwhelmed with gratitude, love and well more love.  Please know I'm praying for each and everyone of you, today and always.




Photo credit: Mr. PilgrimageGal

PilgrimageGal as Speaker and a Green Sofa...

Happy to get rid of the green sofa...

Many years ago, I twisted Jeffrey's arm and bought a stupid expensive green sofa. It was beautiful, and went perfectly in our great room. I LOVED this sofa. But, often as a mother I have these

House Beautiful

moments and forget two important things. First, we are not independently wealthy, nope my husband provides for us beautifully as a dedicated federal employee, where he daily answers the call to public service. More importantly we have wolverines that double as our children. So this sofa has seen nearly every kind of my Beauties' bodily fluids.

More significantly, it was the sofa that I lived on for 5 years. I took meals, slept, watched the Beauties play and grow, watched countless movies and too many cheesy T.V. shows to count. It is where I started this blog. It all started with me typing, "The pilgrimage of the green couch: one gal's journey of faith, health and life, all from her very own sofa."

But, over time I realized that it had become my sick bed and it was draining my spirit. So in preparation for Norah's First Communion, I wore Jeff down, explaining we needed a new sofa. The old sofa had bad karma, gu-gu or whatever you want to call a dysfunctional inanimate relationship. I was so over that sofa, I stopped sitting on it!

We were not able to get the sofa before the Communion, which worked out for the best, but two weeks later we did. We scored a practical Ikea sofa, keyword practical.  In just a couple of weeks, we already have paint, Sharpie and popsicle stains on this brand new sofa. But I'm fine, because I can buy a new slipcover for $100 for special occasions. You really can't keep the children from being children and I'm so fine with that...

Now I know many of you are wondering how the sofa goes with the Pilgrimage! In some ways, I'm like the sick man who was lowered into the house to see Jesus (Mark 2:4). That sofa was my bed and my blankee, I wasn't moving and growing like I needed with that sofa. So no surprise, that as I prepared to remove this albatross from my home, new opportunities have emerged.

This past Saturday, in a hot church basement, over 30 women joined me for my first official PilgrimageGal talk and reflection on creating: "Exquisite Everyday Moments of Faith." The talk was filled with a group of inspiring women aged 26-93. The Spirit was present and moving in this diverse and incredibly faith filled group of women. I learned more from them, their richness, their depth, their openness to share their truth. Talk about empowering and moving! We were laughing, crying and sharing in a way that only happens when you recognize what Matthew 18:20 reminds us;

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

I loved this day, it was an opportunity to hear and see the Divine moving in women that I have known for years and some I met for the first time. That is why this journey inspires me daily. I grow, change and develop a deeper appreciation for the gifts of daily life. The 30 women who joined me were kind enough to let me share my truth, to listen and provide insights. I'm forever humbled by the participation and love.

So just as I got rid of the old sofa and welcomed in the new. I have removed another layer of myself and shared myself in a new format; that of public speaker...

And in doing this, I now have even more to do!




The Name We Don't Speak Of...

The name we don’t speak of…

You know how in the awesome Harry Potter books they talk about Voldemort as the name we don’t speak of… well when you have big health issues, like a stupid autoimmune disease, you don’t talk about remission… It is a dirty little word because it puts every one of your life dreams into that one word… Now listen, I’m  not saying I’m poor little old me in a corner crying about what my life could of, shoulda, would have been… I’m never going to run the Marine Corps Marathon, I’m not going to sail around the world…

But, I am the best wife and mom I can be… and that is good enough.

Life isn't perfect and life isn't easy, and frankly for too many of us, we have held onto the notion that everyone gets a trophy… everyone should be on the A team in soccer… Well news flash, not so much.

Maybe the best we can hope for is to learn to appreciate the exquisite moments of everyday activities… to love them, believe in them, revel in them and pull them up when you are in the darkest of the darkest moments…

For me my exquisite moments are very simple… a morning spent in meditation guided by the voice of a friend and sister that I would follow anywhere, a keg party for my girl Beth on her 40th birthday, the best party I have ever thrown, doing errands and getting slurpees with mini A and talking about where babies come from, first born sleeping on my chest for hours in the warm afternoon sun… You never get those moments back…and lunch with Clive anywhere…we have never had a bad lunch together… tea with Maureen, chats with Jess about the weather… I can talk to Jess for days and never get tired…  Mass when I feel great, don’t cough and the homily speaks to my soul… and Thanksgiving when we all sit down, the broken parts of my family quiets for a meal…These are my exquisite moments…

I can pull the memories out often to warm my soul, and there are many others, I can’t talk about, too close to share today….but this is what I do to get through… I don’t know how to run anymore…

Today when my Harvard said the words I have been dreading… ”we have run out of new treatments”, words I already knew, have been keeping me up for days, but didn't dare say out loud.  I’m left with the truth of the word we dare not speak...

There will be no remission for me today… or this month… or probably this year…

What amazes me is that I’m not sad, hurt or angry… I’m just diving into my box of exquisite moments… eating candy with my kids and laughing, being grateful that I’m not a new Saint this year (it is all Saints day after all), reveling in my kids joy in a holy day that we stayed in our jammies... That I won’t feel guilty for missing Mass… that I live in the Mass of Christ’s light... in the belief that this is not the world we are striving to succeed in, that these bodies are just a stepping stone to HIS plan… that I’m just working for the next life that will be free of the brokenness of this body… That we are the people of the resurrection…

So no, I’m not sad, or disappointed by this news… it is just an annoying little sometimes very big part of my life… We move on, we stay focused on the light that matters… Our exquisite moments and our faith...

Namaste my friends… the divine in me, bows to the divine in you…