Housekeeping, Hotels and a Wise Bishop...

Mom and I on our weekend away...

I've been traveling! I ran away from home with my mother for the weekend. O'my goodness it was the best! We drove a couple hours north up the coast to see

a friend's winery

and just enjoy some mother-daughter time. It was a lovely weekend filled with shopping, laughter, sight seeing and just delighting in each other's company.

I loved drinking in every moment of time with her. We met some extraordinary new people and enjoyed visiting with some old ones too.

I can't remember ever staying in a hotel with my mom as an adult. While we were together, I shared my favorite little story about hotel maids. As I told her the story, I began to tear up, recalling a humble and kind man who shared his truth with me many years ago.

The memory came flooding back when we checked into the little hotel off of California route 1. I was waiting in the car as my mom checked us into the extremely clean and simple hotel. As I waited in the car, I watched a women in the housekeeping department walk across the parking lot with her roughly 11 year old daughter. It was a tender moment where clearly the daughter had walked from home to see her mom. The mother had her arm around her daughter, their heads together clearly sharing a story and then she did what we all do; she brushed some brown hair off her Beautie's forehead and kissed her daughter. My window was partially open and I could hear them giggling in Spanish. It was a tender moment. This woman loved her daughter with a fierceness that resonated in my core. We were the same.

But, I digress...

When Jeff and I lived in Seattle early in our marriage, we worshiped at the Cathedral of St. James. Cathedrals are considered the home church for bishops.  For instance, Pope Francis has a few tittles, one includes Bishop of Rome. While we were living in Seattle in the mid to late nineties, the bishop was a kind gentleman named Archbishop Thomas Murphy. Still in his heart, a simple Irish guy from Chicago. Sadly for all of us, he died in 1997 of complications from leukemia.

Jeff and I had a number of fantastic encounters with him. I adored each and every one.  It always amazes me when a super successful person, is still at their core who they were as a kid. A true Irishman in his heart, a gentle soul, a storyteller...

I can't recall where we were when he shared this story, I think it was in a talk for our small prayer group.  He told the story of how he grew up without privledge in Chicago. His mother was a hotel maid. Whenever a guest left her a tip in the hotel room, she would use part of the tip to buy him a piece of candy.

It was a tiny thing really, but it could make his day. This special treat that he received, due to the kindness of a total stranger.  The tip idea stayed with him.

No matter where in the world he slept; he left a tip in his hotel room for housekeeping staff. Fancy hotel or plain little Inn, every housekeeping staff got a tip. I also think he left a note, but I can't really recall, it doesn't matter. You get the idea. As he shared the story, as only a good Irish storyteller can, it resonated with both Jeff and myself. The rich don't clean your room in hotels, it's the working poor, trying to make it in our world. With families, working so hard to give their Beauties a leg up, just like Archbishop Murphy's mother did.

He told the story with such softness, love and amazement. I can imagine his sweet round Irish face, those chubbly little boy fingers, reaching into mom's pocket hoping to find a treat. We are no matter our age sometimes just little people in larger bodies.

His story also reminded me never to leave a hotel a mess. I collect all the trash in one place, towels too. I just want the housekeeping staff (almost always women) not to have to work too hard to make the room for the next guest.

One story, one lesson, one man taught me about the working poor and how little acts can have ripple affects that you can't imagine.

We overlook so many in our world just by being busy...

But, they are all our sisters. Each and every one.

Consider leaving a little note and tip on your next over night stay... You never know when your tip just may buy candy, a treat or touch someone's soul.




Photo Credit: PilgrimageGal

Tool Four: Wrapping Up Love and the Hidden Tool...

Wrapping Up Love...
Can I just say, I'm delighted that you have made the stop on week four of our journey to resilience. This week, we are mixing things up a bit! I have created an activity, it's part meditation and part reflection.  Like everything we do together, it's easy and approachable.  I have even done this exercise with my Beauties, who didn't even complain. That is a miracle in my house!  I will call on you to use your imagination; then I will tie the exercise into the fourth tool and show you how it fits into the tool box.

Let's begin with the exercise:

You need to create a few mental images. I think we will call it, "day dreaming for adults!" Easypeasy. To begin, image yourself alone in a quiet and beautiful space. This should be a place you feel peaceful, safe and loved.

Where are you?  The beach?, or maybe it's simply your living room? Or a mountain top in Hawaii? A tulip garden in Holland? A quiet lavender field in France? For some it may be a place of religious significance.

The key is that it should be the most sacred and calming place that you can imagine, the place you feel most peaceful and connected with yourself.

Got it?... Good!

Next, I want you to imagine your LOVE. All the love that you have in your being. Do you have it? Good. Scoop it all up into your arms. You need to imagine it in an inanimate physical form. Maybe it's a heart, maybe its the word love carved in a stone, or just scrabble letters of L-O-V-E , or a piece of red paper cut into a heart, a charm from a necklace, or a vessel of some kind that can hold all your love. Just get a physical image.  I imagine love as the word. The letters carved in little rocks that I can fit into my hand.  Now place that object, your "love" in a box. Let's be clear, you are not losing love, you are for lack of a better description, cloning it.  A strange idea, I know.

My LOVE, I put into a beautiful square box. The box is cream and I have some airy cream ribbon to make a beautiful bow.

So imagine yourself, holding your box of love. You are sitting in this beautiful space you have created. In this place you are positively beaming, you never have been more relaxed, happy, safe, secure, practically giddy, just you and your box. I would have a glass of champagne, because well it's a celebration of me and my big O' box of love.

Now, turn and look around. You have company. You are not alone. Next to you is the Divine.  Yep, the Divine...

How great is that. Right?!

So let's talk about your image of the Divine. Who do you see?

Do you see George Burns from the 70's movies?  Do you see an old wise fatherly figure?  Or Morgan Freeman?  Some will see Jesus, others will see a woman. Some may see some sort of super angel. I'm fine with whatever physical form you use to meet the Divine.  I feel strongly that the Divine comes to all of us a little differently, so what you imagine is perfect.

Keep in mind, that you are not nervous, you are at peace sitting with your Creator.  The Creator that knows you intimately, that created you in the image and likeness of the Divine. So bask in the attention. You are home.  It's the BEST.

Great.  Now hand over that beautiful box O' love to the Divine.

So you give this gift of love to God.  Now what--right? Hang tight for a second.

Why are we doing this exercise?  I know for sure that God is in all of us--each and everyone of us. Sadly, sometimes we tune God out.  If we agree that love is how we connect to one another and to the Divine, then it may be worth considering how we use love.  Should we use it a little bit more? Do others need to stop treating love as a toy?

Recently, I have needed to remind myself that there are three of us in every relationship; you, me and the Divine.  I can't claim to have a relationship with the Divine and not acknowledge that you do too. So the folks who push my ever loving last button; they are in the same relationship with the Divine that I claim to have.

Imagine you just gave the Divine your box O' love and said, "Could you help me with this love business?" Would your relationships look different? If you let the Divine direct you a little bit, how would the Divine use your LOVE with others?  Would the Divine steer you away from some relationships, and shine you in a new direction?  Would the Divine, push you out toward some folks, and give you great insights into others?

This my fellow Pilgrims is the very definition of our fourth tool: Vulnerability.  The definition is simple: It's the ability to give and receive love in its most honest form.  Vulnerability is a two way street. In order to share where you are on your journey, you have to be willing to let others share with you.  As I like to say, love is messy.  Being vulnerable means you are saying, "yes" to the messy. You peel back that protective layer that we all like to keep covered.  Will others think my messy is too much?  Will they discover that I'm a hot mess or too broken?

All fair worries.

You are risking that someone you have given your trust to, may hurt you.

Is it a risk?


Will you be hurt?

Perhaps.  But I have found that for all of my hurt in this life, the true members of my tribe far outweigh the few trolls who have hurt me on my journey.

Honestly, I have found that the better I use the tools, the more likely I am to find someone who is a perfect fit for my tribe, not an imposter!

So how does vulnerability allow you to be resilient?

Being vulnerable allows us to walk away from unhealthy relationships and toward healthy ones; which is a key component of resilience.  Choosing what is best for ourselves and our spirit. Vulnerability allows us to find others who "get-it," who will ultimately make up our tribe.  As you continue to build your tribe, your ability to use the tools improve.  The tribe members hold you accountable and you them. You create a safe-haven of trust, where you share and grow, you learn, listen and you get stronger in your own truth. When you peel back that layer; you create a space for vulnerability.  It's only when we are in this place (of vulnerability) that we connect on the deepest level and it's then that we see the Divine in each other.

If you are using your tools as keys to resilience; you can look with a loving eye at all your relationships.  You may find that perhaps the healthiest place for you is in fact not with the person you have chosen.  If you are in love with someone who has over time turned the Divine out; you may need to love yourself more and let go. Loving yourself means that you recognize that the Divine created you as a most precious beloved gift.  Love doesn't mean that you are trampled; love means you are treasured.

Which brings me to this question for you: How well are you using your love?  How well is your loved received? How much of your love do you share? How willing are you are to trust and be vulnerable?  Do you give your love away haphazardly?

Here is the kicker: Would the Divine use your love the same way?

O'my, right?

Really think about this: Take a few minutes to really consider it. We know that no one is better at loving than the Divine. So how would the Divine use your love in your life?

Please carry that question around this week. Own it, consider what that means to you and where you are meeting not only your tribe, but the Divine on this portion of the Pilgrimage.

So that is the exercise, everyday you and the Divine, sitting in your special place reviewing your day. Having a snack, or a cup of tea, or maybe even a cocktail.  A chance to look at your day with the Divine, one on one. It's the opportunity to check-in and see how your love meter is working. How you are managing the love around you. It can also be your first step into meditation. At the end of each day to sit in silence, creating the room for you and the Divine and listening to the reflection. If you and the Divine have time to meet up in the morning, even better...

So tool number four is vulnerability, check. You are doing great, really. And I love you!

Can't wait to hear how it works for you this week.


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 PilgrimageGal or on facebook at PilgrimageGal or send me a private email by sending me a note in the form in the sidebar.

photo credit: PixaBay/blickpixel

Tool One: LOVE Times Four...

Happy first Monday of Lent 2015

As promised, here is my first post in my Lenten Series. I have never done anything like this before; and to be honest, it's hard.  I like to remind myself, you have to make yourself uncomfortable. You have to push out of your comfort zone.  So Eeek, what nerve it takes to say, "I've got my life all figured out and I'm going to tell you how to fix yours."  Anyone who knows me; knows I really don't. I'm just like you. Truthfully.  What I have been told consistently is; Jeffrey and I share skills as a couple and as individuals that have allowed us to live a beautiful and happy life, in spite of our struggles.  We don't often get down and when we have problems, we have the ability to right our ship.  We of course maintain that a big piece is due to our faith life.  We are resilient as individuals, as a couple, and as parents.

Along with an active faith life, I think the most important skill we try to teach is resilience.  We need to own this and teach it in our daily life.  We choose how we are walking in this world.  We tell our Beauties daily; life is flipping hard and you have to have tools and skills to make it through the tough times.  That's resilience.

As we work through the Lenten season, which traditionally is a time for reflection and sacrifice, maybe it's also a good time to share my/our ideas on compiling the tools to live in this big old crazy world and make you and yours more resilient.

What tools do you need in your tool box in order to build a resilient life?  Over the next few weeks, I will share my thoughts on several of the tools, including; Love, Community/Tribe, Faith life, Sense of Humor, and Vulnerability.  I will do my best to keep the posts topic based.  But, this is new for me, so we will see how it goes.  Let's start with the most important tool:


We are built to love.  Hopefully, you do it daily without much thought, to be honest.  But, often it is just on the surface and superficial.  We need to dig a little deeper.

We know in scripture there are four types of love: The Greeks they love BIG. A quick review includes the following types of love:

 Storge: Brotherly love, familial love.
 Philia: Friendship.
 Eros: Passionate/romantic.
 Agape: Unconditional/selfless love.

I'm not an expert in Greek; I'm not trying to offer a new thesis on the biblical uses!  We are going to keep with the simple; Us Weekly/People magazine worthy definitions.  Nothing heavy here! I'm good with easy.  I'm not looking to footnote with scholarly definitions.  I'm not even going to go into each one.  I just ask you to consider how do each of the four touch your life?  And I don't think you need to have all four; what I do believe is that you can never have too much!

No one dies thinking I wish I had loved less... I think everyone wishes that they had loved more.

That leads to the first series of questions:

How do you LOVE?
Are you a consumer of love or a generator of love?  Do you make room for love?  Do you close yourself to loves' invitation?  Are you not good enough to be loved? (that is the lie so many say to ourselves.)  Do you love yourself?  Your imperfections, your weaknesses and strengths?  Do you surround yourself with lasting relationships that include love?

There are no wrong answers here.  It's the opportunity for a wee bit of self reflection.  There is no scale at the end to rank your "love quotient".

Also for this reflection, please take Eros off the table and the Agape form of unconditional love for your children.  If you have it, more power to you.  But, you don't need it to live well, to have fulfillment or frankly to love fully.  Keep the Agape in your heart and mind for the Divine's love for you, though.

The relationships that include service to others; that is Agape too.  When you give of your time and talents to others, you serve, you are knee deep in others, wanting nothing in return.   It is this ability to be selfless that fills your love bank.  It does the heavy lifting in good times.

You have to put your money where your mouth is. You have to work on filling your love bank on the sunny days.  When you are at your best.  Do you send that text, do you call when you have five minutes (or 2 hours) when you're needed?  I try my best, but can always do better.

I got one this week. I got a text that told me to "call me when you get up!"  It was all that I could do not to call immediately at 1 am EST.  Do you have folks that can count on you?

One of the most important lessons I have learned is that in my darkest, darkest times.  There was ALWAYS someone who had it worse than me.

And that is the grocery store moment.  Have you ever been in line at the grocery store at 5 pm on a weeknight gritting your teeth for the one flipping item you need to pull dinner together.  Have you ever looked around at the folks surrounding you?  Everyone has struggles, some are big and some are huge.  For the love of all that is good in the world... Stop judging people.  It's the surest way to cut an enormous hole in your love bank.  Everyone has a "cross."  Be grateful that you don't have theirs. And when you can, reach you hand out and offer it to another.  It will make all the difference; I promise.  Because no matter what my trial; I have always had someone who could take my hand and walk with me.  Who loved me, even with all the Kathryness of it all.  And that makes the journey so much more beautiful.

I have held out my hand so many times to find someone else holding mine.  Just this week, I've been worrying about the blog.  Is this really what the Spirit wants me doing.  I guess you could say my love bank was running a little low.  I don't feel my best, my Jeffrey is traveling.  And what do I have to offer?  Does it really resonate with anyone?  And that's when the email appeared in my in-box; the email that made my heart sing, the one told me that I helped them, that my words "resonate FULLY" and that my writing is a "blessing to them."  Now that is some good love and it was just what I needed at that moment.

So that is what this post is asking:  How well are you loving?  How well are you allowing love into your life?  Who are you holding out your hand to?  And have you welcomed, accepted and allowed yourself to feel the glorious light of someone elses love?  I promise it makes all the difference.

When you love, it keeps your scales balanced, it keeps you giving and receiving love, and with a little love everything's easier.  The good days are great and the tough days are tolerable because you can feel the love and you've got a whole bunch of folks holding you up!

If you feel that your "love bank" is more than half full, then take a second to pat yourself on the back. That's the first step to mastering this crazy thing called resilience.

Till next week...


photo credit: Love via photopin (license)


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.



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