Thursday, October 25, 2012

ST. Lious Half Marathon: LIFE Runners, PR's, and medical tents!

The weekend of the LIFE Runners National race, the ST. Louis Rock n roll Marathon, finally came this past weekend.  All of my training, prayers, and efforts were finally going to be realized!  We left Fergus Falls early Thursday morning to bring my kiddos down to Montrose SD, and drop them at my moms house for the weekend.  After spending the day with my fam,  Steve and I  head into Sioux Falls.  As we were getting ready to leave Steve comments on how he is not feeling well, and we decide to make a trip to acute care.  I was not feeling the best either, Sarah had been put on anti-biotic before we left, and I felt like I had the same respiratory infection she did.  We both saw the doc, and got put on Anti-biotic.  We left Friday at 5 am and headed to ST. LOUIS.  We stop at the airport pick up another LIFE Runner and head to the Leadership gathering Friday night. 

Saturday we had a FULL day of events for the LIFE Runners, starting off with mass, and then a rosary procession to the Planned Parenthood a few blocks away.  As I was praying in front of the planned parenthood, I was saddened to see how busy it was, but it strengthened my resolve to not ever give up standing up for and fighting for the lives of the innocent babies, and their mothers and families.
 After our gathering in the morning, I broke off from the group to make a trip to target.  My hubby went with the other four leaders to a radio show that they were on, so one of our LIFE Runner teammates agreed to take me to target.  I got what I needed, and then plugged our hotel into the GPS.  We're driving along, following the instructions of our friendly GPS, and realize we have gone way out of our way.  We get turned around, consult a paper map, and get back to the hotel....without the help of my bro-in-laws GPS, that I fondly (or not so fondly) named STUPID. We arrive at the hotel, and are sitting down to grab bite to eat, and we get a call from Pat and Steve, telling us not to eat, and head to Our Lady of the Snows shrine, and they will meet us there.  We had already ordered our drinks, and oh there was a group of 14 of us together at this point.  Our waitress did not look to happy when we asked to get our drinks to go.  The shrine we were going to was over the river in IL, so we get on the interstate, and get caught smack dab in the middle of a traffic jam.  We moved 1.5 miles in 45 minutes.  I was so hungry at this point, I was about to start eating my arm. We get to the shrine, and decide to forgo the tour and get some food. We sit down order our food, and are waiting on it's arrival, and are told we have to leave....the waitress boxes up our food, and we head out.   At least we finally got to eat once we were back in the car. Then we go to church, and head for the LIFE Runners pre-race banquet, at this point I begin to get a little nervous.  I have a sinus/respiratory infection going on, and I am sing the National Anthem, Acepella,  at the start of the banquet.

I break away for about ten minutes, find the back alley behind the building where the banquet was, and start practicing.  The local Knight of Columbus were who were putting on the banquet for us became my biggest fans as I was right off the kitchen practicing.  They were so sweet and encouraging.  I felt like one of them adopted me after my 15 minutes of interaction with them. Needless to say the evening went well, and I did okay singing the National Anthem.


Sara Vetch and me at the start line!
I woke up the morning of the race with what felt like an ice pick in my head.  I took some Ibuprofen, and prayed for the best. I did not have near the nervous energy I did last year, but I was a little nervous. We meet the huge mass of LIFE Runners (250) for a picture and a prayer and then we break off for the start of the race.  I was in the same corral as another LIFE Runner (Sara Vetch). 
We hung out together anxiously awaiting the start of the race, and the whole start of the race was delayed because they said that some Green Bay packer fans were tailgating on the course, and they couldn't start until it was clear. Finally the race starts, and Sara and I hang together the first two miles, at this point, I knew I had to hang back a little, so I told her to break off and run her race.  We separated and from then on out, I was on my own.  During the course of this race, I realized it seemed to be going much slower than last year, last year it seemed like I was at mile 6 before I knew it, this year it seemed like the miles just dragged on.  I was going at a good pace though, and at every mile, I checked my watch to see if I was on track to come in around the 2 hour 10 minute mark.  I was really happy because the first five miles, I was ahead of where I should be.  Around mile six, I started feeling some cramping, and I thought wow....this is early.  I just kept going. Around mile 7 I noticed that my eyes felt like they were swelling up.....I could feel that they were puffy, but didn't think much of it.  Around Mile 8 my fingers started hurting, and felt like they were cramping.  I looked down at my hands and noticed my fingers were all swollen as well.  I thought, " well this is strange", but at this point I knew that whatever it was would have to wait until I finished the race to be addressed.  Around mile nine I was cramping and hurting and really struggling.  As I was praying I asked God to give me some inspiration because I was really struggling.As I rounded the corner by a church there was a band, and they were singing. "How great thou Art" Which has been one of my favorite songs since I was a little girl.  I of course, start crying and Thank God, and at this point I offered up all of my pain and fear as a prayer.  I was beginning to get worried about the puffiness, I could not longer bend my fingers, and when I looked down at my hands, my wedding ring looked like it was going to cut off  my finger.  My fingers were two to three times their normal size.  I shook the fear off the best I could and prayed the rosary even harder offering up all the pain and fear.  When I reach mile ten, I give myself a bit of a pep talk.  I tell myself that from now to the finish, it is all about heart.  I know I have nothing physical left, but I have the heart to keep pushing forward, and by some miracle I pickup the pace a little, and begin to pass people.  I get to mile 12.5 and Steve is there waiting for me,  he had finished his race and came back for me.  When I first see him a sob wells up in my throat, and I croak out "I am all puffy"  He says in his best calm voice "well, lets finish this strong and you'll be okay.  I pull it together and say okay.  The last half mile of the race seemed to take  FOR EVER!  I was able to kick it in in the end and cross the finish line with nothing left.  I think I made it two steps across the finish line and someone was at my side asking me if I was okay..... I said "I'm fine, I'm just puffy"  I remember him saying "uh-huh (not convinced at all), and putting his arm around me and moving me towards the medical tent.  I again tell him I am fine, that I am just puffy, and he again says uh-huh as he is steering me into the medical tent.  I was asked if I was lightheaded, I said no, just nauseous and puffy.  I reiterated that I was fine, and the doctor laughed at me and said..... "uh-huh"  why don't we go over here and lay down.  Soon I have Gatorade and pretzels and a ice pack I am supposed to hold in my hands to help bring the swelling down.  I'm laying on this cot where my feet are elevated above my head.  I keep telling everyone I am fine, just puffy, and they all keep dismissing my claims to being fine.  After about ten minutes the swelling went down in my eyes and face enough that they all seemed to relax a little.  I was told that I did not have enough salt in my body to handle the fluid I was drinking during my run, but the week before in my training run, I under hydrated and bonked and had to stop running, so every drink station, I drank during the race.  After about 15minutes they let me leave the medical tent.  It took about 5 hours for my fingers to return to normal size, but I could bend them again shortly after the pretzels and Gatorade.  Steve later shared with me that he was much more concerned than he let on, and my face and eyes were really quite swollen. 

My final time was 2 hours 13 min and 43 seconds.  I was happy because I Pr'd by almost 20 minutes, but I was shy of breaking the 2 hour 10 minute mark, that I so badly wanted to break.  However, I know I gave everything I had out there, and didn't have anything left in me.  So I am content for now, and have set the goal that next year, I WILL break two hours in my half- marathon.

As I am completely submerged back into the daily hecticness of my life, I am thankful for the past weekend and my time with my LIFE Runner teammates, and the power of prayer and the peace of knowing we witnessed for the Lord this weekend. Had several comments on the jersey when I was running such as " LOVE your jersey....what a great cause, and even an "oh my you guys are everywhere"  There is nothing better than being united in Christ, and standing for the truth.  Thank you to all my wonderful teammates.  You all inspire and move me, and I feel blessed to call you all my brothers and sisters ....all in Christ.....FOR PRO-LIFE!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Change is in the air!

My life has been so busy, full, exhausting, chaotic, crazy, insane and absolutely a wonderful, beautiful whirlwind.  It seems I blink and two month have flown by.  I am at the height of my training for the upcoming half-marathon. In the next three days, i will clock another 19.5 miles. I have lost 55lbs and for the most part training has gone well. I am dealing with some pain in my left foot.  I ask for prayers of healing, as of late it seems to be getting worse, and I am to close to have something go wrong now.

  My oldest daughter Brianna is a child  that LOVES to be involved in EVERYTHING. She is in Cross Country currently, as well as orchestra, choir, chamber orchestra, and plans to be involved in basketball, track, and drama as well.  Add all this together with advanced placement Math class and more homework than I ever remember getting, and it is all a little exhausting...... and she is loving every minute.  My condition for allowing her to be involved in all of these things is that she can not have anything below a B for a grade.  One thing I love about Kennedy middle school is that I can go online and check her grades for all of her classes. She currently has all A's and one B+. I'm very proud of her.

As for the rest of the kiddo's Mary has settled into third grade nicely. She excels at reading, and is becoming more and more grown up everyday. She has the kindest heart. She is caring and loving and always looks out for everyone, and cannot seem to even fathom how some kids can even think of being mean to other kids. Mary has a very strong sense of Justice, and she is a person that will go to the mat for anyone. Out of all my kids, she is the one that can still surprise me. She is a very unique special little girl.

 Sam is doing well in second grade as well. He has had  more struggles in reading than the girls had, but loves school none the less.  Football is usually on the forefront of his mind, and that is all he ever plays with his friends.  I have to be honest, I was hoping he wouldn't like it.....the thought of him playing, well makes me nervous he is going to get hurt....right now it is just playground football, but the thought of him padding up someday makes me nervous, but boys will be boys, and from the grass stains on his pants that he comes home with, well he's playing pretty hard as it is. He is a good boy, and has a way of always bringing a smile to my face.

Sarah is now 3 and a half and definitely the baby of the family.  She is strong-willed, stubborn, fiery, and really likes getting her own way.  She constantly makes me laugh, she is a clown!  I love how she just seems to pull us all together. She brings so much joy into our family, and has a smile that lights up our whole house.   I am so thankful that I have been able to work out of my home for these last 3.5 years. This time I have had with her has been priceless.

Which brings me to the big changes ahead.  After much prayer, I have decided to close my daycare. Little Miracles has been a HUGE blessing to my family, and I have been able to have many more children become part of my family by having the daycare.  I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know some of the best people, and watching their children.

  I have accepted a position with Synstelien Community Services here in Fergus Falls. I will be the Residence Manager for a new home they are opening up supporting people with Mental illness.  I am excited for this opportunity, and looking forward to  putting my love of helping others into this job.  I have a long work history of working with people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. It is truly some of the most rewarding work.  I have always been someone who roots for the underdog, and feel that people with mental illness are unfairly judged and looked down upon in our world today. To many have unkind stigmas attached to them, and I look forward to supporting them in anyway I can.  I really feel God has called me back to this work, and am excited to get started.

However, this means some really HUGE changes for my family.  I've been running my own daycare for 5 years now, and have been at home for my kids and hubby whenever they have needed something.  With me having a schedule outside the home, it will change things.  Sarah has never been in daycare, or even away from me, so this will probably be pretty hard on her.  That is the part I am dreading the most, but God has provided and one of my friends who is a stay at home mom has said she will watch Sarah for me.  This is a HUGE blessing and I am so thankful for it.  Leaving Sarah feels like a punch in the Gut, but I am trusting this is what God has called me too, and I know he will provide, and having my friend watch her has relieved some of the anxiety and fear I had.

I start my new Job October 8th, and my half-marathon is the 21st. It is all a little scary, but with everyday that passes, I get more and more excited for my job, and I feel peace that this is what God is asking of me.  I have been overcome with gratefulness the last week.  I am so thankful, and can so clearly see the blessings in my life.  So even though there is stress, and chaos, and feeling I never have enough time to get it all done,  I am so thankful to have a busy, full, exhausting, chaotic, crazy, insane, and absolutely wonderful, beautiful, whirlwind of a life.  All Praise and Glory to God.  Thanks you Jesus!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grace poors down like rain

Last Friday as I headed out for my morning run,  I headed out with a very heavy/anxious heart. I had been thinking about my miscarriages, which has been the first time in a while.  I honestly try to avoid thinking about it, because I get sad.....but my mind had been thinking of my four lost children a lot the few days prior to my run.  So as I ran, I prayed....I offered up my run and asked God to help me understand why I was thinking about this.  After my miscarriage in March/April, I had a bunch of tests done.  The Doc said that anything over three miscarriages is indicative of there being more than just the odds.  So we waited six weeks after the miscarriage, and they drew like two gallons of blood...okay not that much, but a lot....something crazy like 22 vials of it, and sent it off to Mayo clinic for the testing.  Three weeks later I got a letter in the mail  stating that most of my blood work looked normal, and at this point it appears that I have something called a Lymphocyte compatibility disorder.  A who what??????  I called the Dr office and the explanation I received was that there is something incompatible between my husband and I's lymphocytes?  HUH?  Essentially what it means is that because of the compatibility body doesn't always produce the protecting amino acids/hormones it needs to identify the baby as not a threat.  So in other words,  My immune system sees the baby as a threat to the body, and goes on the offensive.  There is speculation that since Steve has an autoimmune disorder, if that is passed on in the genetics, my body sees it as a foreign entity....but it is speculation.....we don't know why for sure. We do know that it can be treated with a low dose of prednisone during pregnancy.

I thought knowing why I had miscarriages would help..... I always think if I understand something it would help me cope..... it didn't help at all.  Initially I was numb and a little angry.  It just kinda sat there.  I wasn't sure what to do, or  how to process the information.  I still felt pretty indifferent about it up until my last few runs.  On Friday when I was running,  I was thinking of my little ones....I know that two of them were boys, and I named them Shane Mathew, and Gabriel Martin.  The first two miscarriages I had,  I had never gotten a feeling, or names as to if the babies were boys or girls, or what to name them.  As I was praying I was thinking about what it would be like to see my children in heaven one day,   and I thought how happy I would be to hold sweet Shane and Gabriel, and  Ryan and Timothy.  I was taken aback momentarily, because I just knew those were their names.   It is kinda funny because those two names have never even been on a list of possible names.  They are both great names, but not ones I would have picked.  God gave me the names of my other two angels in heaven.....What a gift.  My first miscarriage was over Ten years ago  I've gone that long not knowing Timothy's name,  and God shared it with me,  it is a humbling and wonderful gift.  I came home after that run, and my heart felt a little lighter.

I went out the next day for my run and again I had a heavy heart.   I offered up my run and began praying my rosary.  As I ran and as I prayed  I began to feel healing.  I know that sounds weird, but I could feel my heart becoming lighter.  I finally acknowledged how truly sad,  and angry I was over losing Gabriel.   I have a tendency to just jump to what I think is the right answer "well I don't understand why, but God will get me through",  but I don't always allow myself to walk through the emotion I need to find healing.  For the last few months, I've been saying I'm not angry,  I know God will carry me through,  and even though I have no doubt God has been carrying me through.....I really have been quite pissed off!  I gave my anger and my sadness over to God.  I was overcome by joy and awe.   I Feel So blessed.   I Think of what a miracle the four Children I have living here with me are.   I miss my four in heaven, but God has blessed me and entrusted me with four amazing Gifts.  Medically it seems to be a huge miracle to me....I have this compatibility thing, and yet I have four amazing Children....WOW.

Today I went out for my 3 mile run, and I felt lighter.  I offered up my run and began my prayers.  I felt strong and encouraged, and happy.  As I cross my "finish line"  I look at my watch.  I ran 3.04 miles in 30 min and 30 seconds.....According to map my run,  my mile pace was a 10 min. mile pace.  My fastest pace....last week was an 11 min 25 second mile pace and that was for a 2.93 mile.  1 min 25 seconds off my mile pace.....not too shabby.  God is GREAT!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reaching for goals, and fighting discouragement

Today I ran 2.93 miles.  I have been doing runs based on time, 20 min to 25 min, and then on to 30 min. .  So far this training period, my running has been SLOW.  I am finding it very hard to push myself.  I ran a 4.63 mile run on Saturday, and begged my hubby to run with me, because I know I will never get any faster if I don't push myself.  Sometimes when I am running I get so lost in my thoughts, yes I am a expert daydreamer,  that means I don't realize my pace, and that usually means I go slow. Today I decided to map out a 5k course and start running that each day to get me ready to start my half-marathon training. So I map out my course, and head out. I offered up my run in prayer and then I started focusing on my pace.  Yesterday when I ran the 30 min, I ran crazy slow, like a 13 min mile pace.  I wanted to finish my 5k in 33 min.  So I started running. The times I felt myself slowing, I would push myself harder.  As I am coming upon the finish I am excited, because it looks like I am going to finish my run in the 33 min goal.  I crossed the finish point and I was pumped.....33 min exactly!  I did my cool down walk the rest of the way home and go in the house and share the news with my hubby.  I tell him I am going to go log my time on Map my run, so I can get my pace.  As I review the map, and the 5k course map, I marked out, I notice there is a little side street highlighted that I don't run, I wasn't sure how that happened so I adjust my course, and realize that I didn't do a 5k in 33 min, but only 2.93 miles.   Which was the equivalent of and 11 min 25 sec pace mile.  I was bummed.

As I re share the actual stats from my morning run with Steve, I tell him how disappointing it was.  He was completely baffled by my disappointment.  He tells me how I'm still at the beginning of my training, that I've only been running a few weeks, and I am running faster than when I started last year.  I know he is right.  It is just that now I have sent this goal to try and reach the two hour mark in my half-marathon, part of me is panicking.  I will have to run around a nine minute twelve second mile pace.  I in my mind can not comprehend how (when I am pushing myself)  I am running a 11 min 25 sec mile pace, how I will ever be able to run 13 .1 miles at a 9 min mile pace.  I know I am getting ahead of myself I still have twelve weeks of training and hopefully 50  more pounds to drop by then, but for some reason, I don't see it happening. 

I have struggled with this my whole life.  I set a goal, and then the self doubt creeps in.  I had someone say to me recently, "You just put your mind to something, and you do it, that is AWESOME."  I honestly felt a little guilty accepting what I consider a compliment, because oh how do I struggle!  I vacillate between thinking, I can do this, and oh no, I have set myself up for failure...this goal is way to lofty for me to obtain.  Then I start obsessing and get myself all worked up, and then I feel discouraged.  Okay probably a little to much insight into my crazy thought processes for you, but that is my daily struggle.

As I contemplated my disappointment,  I reminded myself, that I am way ahead of where I was two years ago, when I didn't get off the couch.  I reiterated to myself what Steve told me this morning about being at the beginning of my training.   I need to stop projecting to October and concentrate on the small victories I have each day.  Today I ran almost three miles.  Today I pushed myself.  Today I got out of bed.  Today I weigh less than I did last year at this time by almost 20 lbs. Today I tried.

I am always the first one to celebrate the tiniest victories for other people, but I don't always allow myself the same courtesy.  I can see that God is using this journey to teach me to be a little kinder to myself.  I am realizing that while it is the most natural thing in the world for me to be kind to others, I don't know how to be kind to myself. Man,  God is so much smarter than me! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Time Flies, Pounds drop, running ensues

Well my hope to be a more consistent blogger is so far falling a little short, but It has only been a month instead of two.  So it is progress.  Steve is home from his two week stint in June, his surprise was well received, we have celebrated Steve's Birthday, Mary's Birthday, the fourth of July, and so much more.

We had some testing done on Sarah for her most recent seizures.  We got good news and more of the same news.  The good news is they felt confident in saying that she does not have one of the more serious types of Seizure disorders......however, they didn't feel they could completely rule out a seizure disorder at this point either.  The neurologist said we had two options, we could wait and see, or we could start her on a daily dose of anti-seizure medication.  I have done lots of research and anti-seizure meds are some pretty serious medications with lots of side effects.  Steve and I feel that it is not in Sarah's best interest at this point to start her on a medication for a possibility.  She has maybe two seizures a year, and the frequency of the seizures vs. the risks of the medications this just seems the best way to go, for now.  If it ever comes to a point where the frequency increases greatly, and of course she is diagnosed with a seizure disorder, we will go the medication route, but for now, we will wait and see.  She still has a very good chance of outgrowing this.

I am so thankful that she is such a tough kid.  She is so full of the dickens, stubborn, strong-willed, adventurous, fearless, and nothing seems to slow her down or stop her.  She just rolls with it and pushes forward.  It makes my job as her parent quite challenging at times, but I am so thankful for her spunk and liveliness and joy.  It is very reassuring to see her out that giving life all she has got.  It gives me a quiet confidence that she will be matter what we face.

I have started training.  I ran a 5k on July 7th.... I only ran four times before the race, so  I was completely out of shape. I also had a serious summer cold, which was later diagnosed as Bronchitis. It was the slowest 5k I have ever run, but it was fun.  I ran the whole thing, and I finished.  It was pretty cool too.  My Bro-in law Pat and his wife Angi, their kids, Steve and I and our kids, and my brother James and his son Christian all ran it.  Of course they all finished ahead of me.  After Pat got done winning the race....yes he won the race, and his daughter Grace won the 1.2 mile, and all 5 Castle Children were in the top 10 of the 1.2 mile finishers.  They all came back for me, and ran me in.  There was a time when I would have been embarrassed that I finished so much further behind everyone, but I honestly had the most fun in the race, and having my family run it in at the finish cheering and yelling for me as I run as fast as I can to the finish line was a pretty fun feeling.  I missed a week after the 5k due to nasty Bronchitis, and even though I have not stopped coughing even after a bout of anti-biotics....I have started running again, and I will be ready for my half-marathon training to begin July 31st.

I also started a new diet.  It is called the Ideal Protein diet.  It is the HARDEST diet I have ever been on, but it is also the most effective.   I have so much more energy, and I feel so much better, and I have lost 34lbs since May 21st.  34 pounds in 8 weeks is more than four pounds a week.....I am excited.  I have days I want to cheat, but seeing the results on the scale and in the inches....I've lost over 33 inches from my body as well,  it makes it easier to stick to the diet.  I have 56 more pounds to go, but I believe I will reach my goal weight before my half-Marathon.  Did I mention that my goal weight is my Pre-baby weight..... as in before 8 pregnancies(4 miscarriages), and giving birth to my four children weight.  I will be so excited if I reach that goal....not to mention it will definitely help me with my running.  I have heard for every ten pounds you lose, you can take a minute of your mile pace, up to a point. So my goal for my half-marathon this fall is to finish it in two hours.  I ran my first one last October in 2 hours and 31 minutes.  I think I can do this. 

That is the update for now.  I will post again soon!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Bugs, More Seizures...............

Steve is currently gone at the Notre Dame Vita Institute, and I have taken this two week period to  plan a surprise for him for fathers day, I will only share part of it, because well I know he reads this.  He knows this part, but I have decided to reorganize and rearrange my entire house along with something else for his surprise.  During this time (week one of his two week departure) it seems that anything that could go wrong has.  I already shared about hurting my back which bumped my training back, but several things with the surprise has gone wrong as well (will fill you in, next blog entry).  Then to top it all off,  Sarah has more nasty bug bites and Friday night she had two seizures.  This seizure was different than past ones for several reasons. 1.) She didn't have a fever. 2.)  I did not have to give her diastat to bring her out of them, she came out of them on her own. 3)  They were not Tonic Clonic (Grand Mal) affecting her entire body. These seizures were what they call Focal seizures,  Only her right side was affected by the seizure, and they were shorter, and stopped all on their own. 

I used to work with people with Developmental Disabilities, and several of them had seizure disorders, so before all of this I had seen seizures, and know what to do and not to do.  However, seeing my own child have one, is well terrifying.  I had to call a friend at midnight to send their daughter over to sleep at my house with my other three kids, while I took Sarah to the ER.  She had a bad infections in her bug bites.....imagine that, but no fever.  So they put her on Anti-biotic and told me to follow up with the pediatrician on Monday.

I saw Dr Eisinger yesterday, and he said that this was not a febrile seizure it was a focal seizure and he recommends a full seizure work up.  I don't know why I was surprised by this, but I was.  I had just gotten to a point where every little weird twitch, or moment of spaciness wasn't putting a knot in my stomach for fear of a small seizure.  People can have seizures, where it looks like all they are doing is staring into space.  Essentially a seizure is a disturbance of the normal electrical activity in the brain,  so the disturbances can be small.  Anyway, now I am logging through all those little events wondering if they were seizures.  If I had not pulled Sarah into bed with me Friday night(due to bug bites and her history)  I very well could have missed the seizures.

I called the Neurologist at Sanford Children's this morning.  I talked to his nurse and am waiting to hear back, but it looks like another trip to Sioux Falls for a possible 24 hour EEG and MRI may be in our future.  Deep down I know if Sarah does end up having a seizure disorder, we will adjust and treat and be okay, but the thought of it, has caused moments of panic.  Most of all I feel helpless, because I can't protect her from this.  The thought of watching her go through this her whole life(yes I know I am getting ahead of myself again) breaks my heart.

Looking at Sarah now, she is no worse for the wear.  She is fiery, feisty, and full of the dickens!  She truly is one of the toughest kids I know.  She is funny and smart and still radiates joy whenever you meet her.  I can be crabby and unhappy and she smiles at me, and her smile does truly light up the whole room.  If I am ever gone (even if it is for five minutes) when I get home she is excited beyond belief.....she just radiates love.  What a gift she is.

Needless to say, I did not start my training this week, because I just don't want to leave her alone(without Steve here) while I am running around the neighborhood in the morning.  So I will start when Steve gets home....which will be Sunday.  I can't wait.  I would appreciate all of your prayers.  Thanks!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Epic Fail!

I have realized that I have earned the worst blogger ever title......It has been over two months since I posted, but  in my defense......Life has been  CRAZY.  The last two months have consisted of two birthdays, one first Communion, one weekend retreat (for me), its been more than 10 years since I had a weekend away from my family. One sixth grade graduation, Track and Field day, planning a memorial mass for all women who had suffered the loss of a child in the womb, for my parish, a funeral of a dear friend Sr. Francelle, a surprise trip home to see my mom after she had her thyroid removed, due to having thyroid cancer, another trip back to Sioux Falls to meet up with Steve's family on his dad's birthday to remember and honor his dad. Starting a new diet....losing 15lbs and almost 20 inches in 3 weeks, Oh and last but not least helping get my husband ready because he is out of town for a couple of weeks at the Vita Institute at Notre Dame.  All this while working 40 plus hours a week and raising four children.  I'm tired!

I was supposed to start my training to train regime on June 11th, but last weekend I decide I was superwoman.   I wanted to reorganize my playroom, so I moved the 7 Ft tall x 4ft wide armour that held my toys out into the garage, by myself, yes I know not my smartest move.   However, when I decide I am going to do something, I do it, and don't always wait for the appropriate help. So now my back is finally getting to a point where I can move somewhat normally.  I should probably go to the chiropractor....he always helps, but I just can't muster the energy.  So if I keep improving with the ice and ibuprofen regime, I will start my training on Monday.

Once my training begins I hope to become a more consistent blogger, but I will make no promises.  I love that my life is so full, I never know what is around the next corner.  Hopefully I will see you there!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Press On

I have started exercising again.  I did a 2 mi run/walk on Sat. I walked a couple miles on Monday, and went for a couple more tonight.  I had not been exercising for a very specific reason.  I was pregnant, and with my history of miscarriage(3) at the time, I did not feel it was safe to put any extra stress on my body.  I have started exercising again, because last week when I was home for my father-in-laws funeral, I suffered my fourth miscarriage. I feel I must back up a little and share the story.

Steve approached me in Nov.  saying he was feeling a call on his heart that maybe we should have another child.  I of course laughed at him, and told him NO. He sweetly asked me if I would pray about it, and I said yes.  The first two weeks of my prayer consisted of me saying "I'm praying about it God, but I am not going to do it."  I'm a little stubborn if you have not picked up on that by now. Anyway, without going into all of the details the next month was littered with signs pointing in the direction of us having another child.  Through prayer and clues about as big as a 2x4 hitting me upside the head, my heart also became convicted that we should have another child.  Having used Natural Family Planning throughout our entire marriage, I of course had no worries of not becoming pregnant.  I often joke that if Steve looks at me the wrong way, I will get pregnant.  January and Feb, passed with negative pregnancy tests, and I'll be honest, I was a little confused.  The beauty of NFP is that I know exactly when I am fertile.  We've never had to "try" before to get pregnant.  However, at the beginning of March we got a positive pregnancy test.  I was thrilled.  I went to the Dr. right away. They put me on progesterone, due to my history of miscarriage.  I was actually feeling pretty calm about the possibility of miscarriage.  Of course it is in the back of my mind, but I really felt everything was going to be okay.

 Fast forward a couple weeks, sitting here having lost the baby, and mourning the loss of my Father-in-law, I am confused, sad, and a little bit numb.  I was truly heartbroken when I started having the miscarriage,  I was helping plan a funeral, and was busy trying to be there for my husband and his family.  I didn't feel I could fall apart and truly grieve the baby though, because my mission was to honor my father-in-law, be  there for my husband and his family, and say good-bye to a man I loved dearly.  Don't get me wrong, I had my moments, and during the wake, when I know the baby passed from my body, I got quite sick.  Luckily for me my husbands uncle is an OB/Gyn and was able to calm me and help me through it.

I swing from sadness to anger at times.  There are times that it seems my whole body feels the loss of my child so deeply.  I feel like part of me is missing.  I feel empty at times, and at others I feel peace. As hard as this loss is, I have the peace of knowing I will be OK.  I have the peace of knowing I have a God who loves me, and is carrying me now, even as my heart breaks. My faith is keeping me tethered in this storm.  I know in my heart that this baby was a little boy, and I named him Gabriel Martin Castle.  I find comfort in knowing that Gabriel will never know any pain, he will only know the fullness of God's perfect love.  I find comfort in the thought that Gabriel and his papa are walking hand in hand into the kingdom of God.  I find comfort in knowing that even though the anguish I feel now is heart wrenching, it will be eclipsed a hundred fold by the joy and beauty that I will experience when I am hopefully reunited with Gabriel in heaven one day.

I am sure many are surprised that I am sharing something so painful and personal on such a public blog, at one time in my own life, I would have never thought I could do it.  However, I feel called to share.  I want people to know that miscarriage is truly the loss of a child.  Sometimes in the culture of death that we live in people tend to minimize the loss of a child so young in the womb.  I was 6 weeks pregnant, and I have had people tell me "well at least it happened early".  I want other women who may have experienced miscarriage to know that it is okay to grieve the loss of your baby.  Don't listen to the people who don't understand that even though it was early, it does not take away the fact that you lost a child. I have had people tell me "well at least you have four beautiful healthy children", and even though I thank God every day for those kids,  It does not take away the loss I feel of my sweet little Gabriel.

If you know a woman who is experiencing or has gone through miscarriage, please reach out to her. There are never any words that we can say that will comfort someone when they've lost someone they have loved, but your love can be a soothing balm to a wounded soul. So I will keep moving forward one foot in front of the other, soaking up the prayers of my friends and the Love, mercy and forgivness of my Father in heaven.  "So as for me I will press on in running the race, with my eyes fixed on Jesus who inspires and perfects my faith.  I will fight the good fight with all my heart and soul, until the day that I am with Jesus the day I'm finally home, the day that I have won the crown." From the song press on.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Greatness is not defined by how much you have, but by how much you loved.

"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much..." ~ Luke 7:47

My father-in-law Joe was called home today during the hour of mercy (3:40 p.m.). Last Monday evening, on the feast of St. Joseph (his namesake), Dad had a severe intercranial hemorrhage (stroke).  He woke up paralyzed on his left side.  My mother-in-law Kathy was able to get three of her sons and their families on the phone with Dad.  We were all able to tell him how much we loved him, and he us,  before he slipped into a coma less than thirty minutes later.  We experienced many signal graces over the past week, as we surrounded him with love and faith.  As I think over the last twenty years that Joe has been part of my life, I am honored to have shared so much with him.  He is one of the greatest men I have ever known.  I wrote Dad a letter the day after his stroke; I had to put all my feelings into words.  Below you will find the letter, and I hope that as you read it you are able to get a feel for the man that so many of us have loved.  If love is the test of greatness then Dad has excelled in this life.  He is a man that would go out of his way to help you and always made you feel important.  I ALWAYS knew I could count on him.

Dear Dad,

As I sit here thinking over the past twenty years that you have been part of my life, I am filled with gratitude.  I am so thankful for the many hours I got to spend with you on our “projects”.  Whether it be building the deck at the lake home.  Moving massive China hutches/furniture, or the complete remodel we did on Steve and I’s house in Sioux Falls, we always worked well together.  I remember in the dating years with Steve, you made it quite clear that a little girl couldn’t be lifting on those things, and doing those kinds of jobs.  However, you changed your mind quickly “once you saw me in action” as you once told me. I still remember your reaction when you and I moved your China hutch from the bedroom to the kitchen.  You smiled at me and said “you are one tough girl, that is my girl”

I am just so thankful, because you and I just understood each other. Even the times we didn’t see eye to eye, never seemed to drive a wedge in our relationship.  You have been a father to me in so many ways.  You are truly my dad.  It is not very often in life that someone gets to have two fathers.  You always took the time to ask about me and my family. My other dad always speaks so highly of you.  He always tells me how much he liked you and the times you got to spend together. You always took the time to help Steve and me if we needed anything.  Some of my favorite memories are of you and Mary snuggling on the couch when she was a baby.  There was times when no one could seem to calm her, but you put her in papa’s arms, and you guys would watch TV and out she would go.

As I am sitting here thinking about you.  I am sad because the time I got with you wasn’t long enough, but I am happy because my life has been blessed to have you in it. I’m a stronger person, mother, daughter, wife, and friend because of your influence.  When I was younger, I needed a father figure, and you gladly filled that role without hesitation. I always knew I could count on you.  I am thankful for the many conversations we have had.  How you shared with me about Grandma Castles journey with cancer, and that I had to promise you that when it was your time to go, I wouldn’t let them put any of that crap on you, that we would just let you go. I never thought that would be the case that we actually would have to decide to let you go.

Dad you have always been a provider and a protector of your family, and you gladly pulled me under that umbrella.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for being my dad in all the ways you were.  Thank you for the wonderful memories, Thank you for your son.  Thank you for asking me at times if I wanted you to kick said son’s ass. Thank you for being a wonderful papa to my children.  Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for being you.  I love you with all my heart, and when I think of you, I don’t think father –in-law.  I think Dad.  You are my Dad, and I will miss you.

Love, Your Girl,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why is fertility a bad word?

As I have been reading articles on the HHS mandate, and the Institute of Medicine, a government funded element of the National Academy of Sciences that HHS hired last year to come up with recommendations for “preventive services” to be mandated under Obama care. I find myself asking " why is fertility such a bad word to this administration. When reading the recommendations of this committee “The committee recommends for consideration as a preventive service for women: the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for women with reproductive capacity,” which the administration accepted verbatim into the HHS mandate, I wonder when sterilization became preventative care?

There was a time, not that long ago in our society, when fertility was considered a blessing from God. Now we have to prevent it?  This mandate is saying that girls as young as fifteen are considered women of reproductive capacity. Girls under 18 can get an abortion with out parental consent, and with this new mandate, you can bet they can get sterilized without parents approval as well.  So our children, who cannot vote, drink alcohol, or in some states even drive, can independently make the decision to kill their unborn child, and possibly receive sterilization.  How is this good for women? How is this health care for young girls?  Studies have shown that contraception is linked to breast cancer. Abortions have long lasting emotional and at times medical side effects. Now adding possible sterilization, a choice made at a young age, and someone possibly living with that pain for the rest of their life.  I know a lot of people think, who am I  to tell someone else how to live their life, but as Christians we have a responsibility to stand up against injustice.  Just because something is legal, does not make it right.

I find fertility beautiful.  I think of my husband and our relationship.  I have four living children and three little angels in heaven due to miscarriage.  My pregnancies have never been easy.  I am sick with nausea and vomiting the entire 9 months.  I am exhausted and don't always feel beautiful, however, I am so humbled by the gift that I have been given as a women.  I am able to carry life within me.  I am able to bond with my child in the most intimate way.  I get the joy of safely growing life within me.  It is amazing.  I also think of the love my husband and I share.  We have used Natural Family Planning throughout our marriage, and yes there are times that calls for abstaining within our marriage, however it has made our love grow stronger.  There is something to be said for denying yourself out of love. It brings a closeness and a bond that is hard for me to explain.  I have seen  Steve's love and respect grow towards me throughout our marriage, and mine in turn for him.  The thing Natural family planning has given to us is, a greater respect for each other, and for our bodies. 

Contraception teaches us, that it is okay to have sex with whoever,whenever, as long as it is "safe sex".  They  preach this over and over to our children in school health classes.  It takes away a level of respect. Women/men are no longer seen as the beautiful beings we are made to come together in sacred union of marriage, to share the most intimate level of love sharing and trust possible.  Sex has become a  commodity.  People have become a commodity because of it.  We are not to be respected, we are to be conquered, to give into our beastly desires and thrown to the side after use.  Society through contraception is teaching us that we can do whatever we want without giving it a second thought.  How is that good for women, and for that matter, how is that good for men?

Being an object of desire is much worse than being the love of some one's life.  I have a husband who has given his life to me.  He has given up certain dreams and things that he wanted to have, for our family.  I have given my life to my husband, and I gladly sacrifice personal desires for the beauty we have in our relationship.  We love God and we try each day to serve him, and we try each day to help each other get to heaven.  Now I am not saying we are perfect, we can have a knock, down, drag out fight better than most.  We get frustrated with each other,  there are times I could kick the man, and I am sure he feels the same way about me, but we are committed to each other, and we love each other.  I find comfort in the fact that even though my body is not what it used to be, that his respect and love for me has grown. 

Fertility is not a condition that needs to be "prevented".  Fertility is a gift from God.  I understand perfectly that everyone is not called to having lots of children.  However, abstinence and Natural Family planning can help balance the number of kids you have.  It also helps you know and understand your body as a women.  I know the minute something is off, because I know my body.  I have a great respect for my body and what God made it to do.  I love being a woman.  I love that I am hormonal and irrational at times.  I love that I am strong and loving,  I love that I am a complex and to my husband at times a mystery as to how my moods may be.  I love that God has given me the ability to carry children and give birth to children.  I love that I don't have to be a man.  I appreciate my differences from men.  I am grateful that God made men and women to compliment each other.  I am always in awe of how my husband can make up for areas I lack, and I can make up for areas that he lacks.  I love that together Steve and I make up a pretty good ONE. We are better together than apart.

So in closing  my hope is that others can see what a gift fertility is.  What a gift it is to be a women, a wife, a mother.  I hope people see through the lies being thrown around in the name of woman's rights and health care. Enjoy being a women, God made us quite spectacularly!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Why is Discernment so hard?

I have completely failed as a blogger as of late.  I have to be honest, I love when I sit down and blog, it helps me put so many thoughts in order, yet It takes a great act of my will to do it.  I have not quite figured out why it takes so much motivation to do something that in the long run, helps me.  I guess it is kind of like my exercising.  I have fallen off the exercise wagon since my half-marathon in Oct.  I have tried repeatedly to get out there, but staying consistent has been the problem.  I go out one day and not the next, and so on and so forth. Before I know it another week has passed and I have a marathon relay coming up in May.  Procrastination is no longer an option.

I have been juggling so many emotions/thoughts/feelings as of late.  I am TERRIBLE when it comes to discernment.  It seems to be something that comes easy for some people, but for me, not so much.  I see contradicting signs in everything I try and follow.  Okay let me be more specific.  I have an incredible desire and overwhelming urge to do more in the arena of Pro-life. I've always been passionate about this, but lately it is a whole new level.  It is to a point where I feel I am going to burst some days.  I see things going on in our world today, and I am overcome with such passion and Zeal to take a stand and scream out against injustice, but I don't know how.  I am involved with the LIFE Runners (which I LOVE).  I started a pro-life committee at my Church, but it has had a hard time catching on and I'm losing committee members due to mostly other obligations.  I have tried to discern (with the help of my spiritual director) if this urge/desire I have is God calling me to action.  I feel it is, but everywhere I turn there are road blocks.  I am trying to be as creative as I can, but every avenue I take leads me to more questions and seemingly more roadblocks.  I pray regularly asking God to show me for sure if this is the way I should go, but it seems when I think it is other thoughts and questions come to mind.  For Example:  I feel strongly that God calls us to take a stand, and stand up in the name of love for those who can not stand up for themselves. Then I wonder if me desiring so deeply to do this is for lack of trust in God, what if it is because I feel like I need to somehow do something because I don't trust he can.  I really hope that is not the case.  I try desperately to always trust in him, but I will be honest, trust is hard for me.  I have been hurt by many in my life  that I thought I could trust, so sometimes I shy away from relationships getting to deep, so I don't have to be hurt. Yet I know God is not people and his love is perfect.

There is a lot of confusion right now, and I am a true believer that Satan uses confusion to try and distract us from God's will.  So is that what is going on?  That I am supposed to be doing this and Satan is trying to stop it?  Or does this mean this isn't what God is calling me to?  How do I know?  I guess that brings me back to my spiritual director.  Who tells me prayer and patience.  To wait on the Lord.  Did I mention I suck at waiting?  I wait to buy presents for people until the day they are supposed to get them, because the minute I have them, I want to give them to them.    Maybe the Lord is teaching me patience.  My spiritual director shared with me that blessed mother Theresa spoke of this desire and urge she had to help the poor, and it took six years of doors being shut, before she was able to start doing what she desired. Not that I am comparing myself to Mother Theresa, but  maybe the Lord is trying to teach me perseverance.   I think I might go loopy if I juggle with this for six years!  God help me!

I ask for all the blogger's out there who may read this to join me in prayer.  I could use extra prayers for peace,discernment, understanding and patience.  I love my Lord, and I truly want to serve him with all my heart.  I have always struggled with self doubt and trusting even in myself that things are sincere.  I so dearly yearn to be sincere and genuine, and always do things for the right reasons.  My desire to do things the right way for the right reasons has often caused me paralysis in my life.  I'm so afraid of doing the wrong thing, or doing it the wrong way, that I don't act.  Then again there are times that I am so overcome with emotion, that I act without thinking.  As I said in an earlier post I am one big contradiction. I wonder if this is what comes with being such a passionate person?

Well I hope this blog post comes off a lot less confusing than I think things are, or I may have just taken you on a journey of epic confusing proportions. :) Until next time!    

Monday, February 13, 2012

Up in Arms

I am a bit of a contradiction.  I am a passionate person, yet I am fairly easy-going most of the time. I love to laugh, yet sometimes only a good cry can make me feel better. I am a cautious person when it comes to the thought of hurting someones feelings, yet I have no problem yelling certain injustices from the rooftop. I am a pretty mild mannered passive person, yet when a line is crossed I will come out swinging.

I feel like I am coming out swinging as of late.  If anyone has viewed my FB page, they will know that I am pretty much in fight mode.   I love my Country,  I love the freedom that my Grandfathers and uncles, brother-in-law, father-in-law, aunt and countless others have fought for.   I am thankful everyday for the freedom's in my life that were bought for me by someone Else's blood.  However, as of late, I feel like those freedoms are slipping away, and people are standing by watching it happen. It's like I'm in a crowded room screaming at the top of my lungs that the ceiling is falling, and people continue to go about their business.

I am not a political person.  I never have been.  I always voted, because I am grateful to have that opportunity.  I always have voted my conscience more than any political party.  I truly hate politics. They way people talk around the issues, or lead you to believe one thing while doing another, it just saddens me. I am especially saddened by our current President.

I remind myself daily that as a Christian, I need to pray for him and love him as a child of God.  It has been challenging for me, especially as of late.  This HHS mandate  is violating our Religious Freedoms, then he tells Army Chaplains that they can't preach certain things from the pulpit, now our freedom of speech is being railed on.  He comes out with a so-called compromise to throw up a smoke screen so he can still slide in contraceptives when it violates certain religious beliefs.  I feel like he thinks we Americans are stupid.  That because he is charismatic he can flash a smile and we will fall for it.  I don't think his charisma has anything to do with people not taking action,  I think that has more to do with the people.   I know when I am comfortable, and things are going good for me, I well, am not always willing to rock the boat. 

I posted this quote the other day on FB:
"They came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and by that time there was no one left to speak up.” -Martin Niemoller
 I truly feel this is what happening in our nation right now.   I am worried that if this President is willing to show such disrespect to our Liberties in an election year, what will he do if he is elected for another term.  I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but  I am not so sure there would be another election after that.  Okay I know, a lot of you will think I am overreacting and being extreme, but  I really don't feel that way.  This administration has pushed through many "questionable" policies...... all in the name of Women's right/Women's Health.  It makes me want to vomit.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am ALL for women's equality.  I grew up thinking I can do anything a silly boy could do and probably do it better.  I remember running in a track meet and there were not that many runners so for the sake of time they combined the boys and girls 1m race.  I was second out of everyone on the track, behind 1 boy.  I heard his friend yell to him "your not going to get beat by a little girl are you?"  So I stuck with this boy and the next time around the track, I looked at his friend and smiled and said , " yes he is going to get this "little girl"   I then passed this guy and crossed the finish line in first place, not only for the girls, but overall. 

I feel like the Obama administration, or should I say Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration, think women are stupid.  That we are so shallow and so consumed with our "rights" that we won't be able to see them stripping our true "rights" away in the wake of all their pomp and circumstance!  I for one, see right through it, and I invite anyone who reads this to stand with me and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  Quit hiding behind women to further your evil agenda.  Please,  Please USE your voice.   Stay silent no longer, we can not let this President get elected for another term. I am not saying it will be perfect when someone new is elected.....that will never happen, we are people and our nature is imperfect,  but we have to let people know that we are not so involved in our own lives that we will blindly be led to slaughter.

I am going to close with a story my bro Pat shared with me after he toured one of the concentration camps in Germany.  He said that people in churches used to sing louder as the trains hauling holocaust victims would drive by.  They shut out what was going on, and didn't speak up.  I pray that my fellow Americans and my fellow Christians don't bury our heads, because it does not directly affect us. In the spirit of this great nation..... we must fight for our freedoms.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Monday Jan 2nd was Steve and I's 13th wedding Anniversary. We went to dinner and a movie, and realized it had been way to long since our last date night. We reminisced a lot of our wedding day. It was a day full of trials and adventures.....kind of like our life, but it was a wonderfully beautiful day. The night before at our rehearsal dinner(at Olive Garden) The weather took a nasty turn. The beginning of a nasty blizzard that stuck around for the weekend. We made arrangements to get myself, Steve, the best man, and my maid of honor (my sister) to my parents place, so if all else failed at least we could get married. We did not know if over half of the guests would make it, because a lot of them were staying in hotels in Sioux Falls. Montrose is just a little town, and does not offer any sleeping accommodations. We got to Montrose driving through a treacherous blizzard praying the entire way. I was really worried for Steve, that his family might not make it, most of mine would be there, but my heart was breaking at the thought of his family not sharing our wedding day. I didn't sleep all night, I was running through last minute details, and was just way to excited/anxious to sleep.  I gave up attempting to sleep at 5am and started getting everyone up and getting things set up.  By some miracle Steve's family, as well as a good share of our guests made it to Montrose.  It was quite the Caravan of SUV's pulling into town.  We had lots of drama with peoples tuxes not fitting right, and pants falling off of people.  WOW. It seemed I would catch family members whispering in the corner about another thing that had not gone right.  By the time we were ready to take pictures, I was exhausted, and verging on collapse.  I remember looking at the alter, and the tabernacle, and saying.....okay Jesus, I give up, today is yours. I had planned my entire wedding, and spent countless hours making floral arrangements/decorations, hours of bargain shopping finding the best deals at the lowest price.  My parents just didn't have any money to help me, so I paid for most of my wedding myself.  I found my dream dress( $ 1500.00) at a dress shop that was having a liquidation sale, and got it for $400. Steve's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner, and bought the food for our reception. Steve's mom Kathy and I  made all the cheesy potatoes ahead of time and froze them, as well as the pear salad.  We had the church auxiliary ladies help get the food in the oven, and serve. We had Ham and Cheese potatoes, corn, pear salad, and wedding cake.  We paid them$50 and gave them some of the decorations off the tables. I paid $50 to rent the brand new beautiful Church hall to have my reception in. I found the perfect invitations/cake topper.  I had a lady in Montrose make my wedding was Gorgeous and I paid $82.  I had my dream wedding on a shoestring budget.  I know that God's hand had to be in that.  I can remember being in the third grade talking about my wedding with a friend.  My dress, color scheme, Christmas wedding were relatively close to what I dreamed of as a little girl. I even remember having a reoccurring dream about my wedding. I would always wake up right when my groom would turn to kiss me, I only saw him from the back.  In my dream he always wore a what seemed to be a Top Hat. I was renewed in spirit, and somehow got through the pictures.  Our wedding ceremony was beautiful.  All of our attendants (12) were there.  All of our Family/friends were there.  I cried of course, but I was so happy and exhausted, but mostly happy.  When I was saying my vows  I was filled with such love and conviction.  I was marrying the love of my life, and my best friend.   Steve's Grandma Mary provided us with a rooster crowing.   She had had a stroke and was in a wheelchair, and wore a clock around her neck....when the alarm would go off it sounded like a rooster crowing.  We got a good laugh our of that.  Our reception was beautiful,  filled with laughter and wonderful stories shared  by our Families.   At the end of the reception,  the traditional stealing the bride and groom came,  My sister and my bridesmaids took Steve to a couple bars in surrounding towns.  My brothers  convinced the wedding party to take me to a cemetery on the edge of town and drop me off blindfolded. (In heels, In the middle of a blizzard.) .  Rob and James wanted to make me walk back to town......that is so my brothers.   They pulled pranks like that on me my whole life.   Once I realized where I was,  I took off walking back to town.  Thank goodness my bro-in-law Pat drew the line at leaving me there.  They came driving back a couple minutes later.  The whole SUV got a kick out of it when I acted like a bull, and was going to charge them.....they were all amazed at what a good sport I was, but I had made the decision that my brothers antics were not going to get me mad and spoil my day, so I went with it.

We had a fun time dancing at the Montrose Legion.  We had a DJ, and all of the traditional dances. The chicken dance is one of my favorites.  The Castle's and the Corbins all like to have a good time, it was a very fun night.

Later when I was looking through all the pictures, I found one my aunt had taken from behind, when Steve and I were standing at the alter.  I looked at it really close, it looked just like my reoccurring dream. The dress, the groom, and yes it even looked as though Steve were wearing a Top hat,  you could see part of the Tabernacle above Steve's head and it could be mistaken for a top hat.  I am guilty of being a completely hopeless romantic, but I just knew we were meant to be.  That God had meant for us to be together in our Vocation of Marriage for the rest of our lives. The Fact that the tabernacle which holds Jesus, was such a prominent part of my dream, shows he should always be kept in the center of our marriage. We try hard to make that happen.

I am so thankful for my husband and children and the life God has given me.  I know each day is a gift, and I hope to use everyday to serve him.  Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Recap

 We had a wonderful Christmas.  Our plans were quite unknown leading up to Christmas due to Steve's father having a complete laryngectomy at the beginning of Nov.  He had cancer in his throat.  They are hopeful that they got most of it, but he will start radiation treatment this month.  Anyway,  his parents were thinking of coming up to Fergus Falls, and I would have hosted Christmas, but then we didn't know.....I think everyone changed there minds about ten times, and then it was decided that we would go home for Christmas.  However, the week before the whole family, with the exception of Samuel was hit with a violent stomach bug.  It was fast and furious and we fell like domino's.  Strangely enough I was the first to get it. I cant remember the last time I got a stomach bug.  It usually hits everyone but me.  That in itself is a miracle, because I am the one cleaning it all up.  I think God looks out for us mom's when these things go through the house, cause usually mom has to take care of everyone, even if she is sick herself.  Needless to say, there was question as to whether we would go home at all, because the last thing we wanted was to get Steve's dad sick.  Steve was the last to get over it.  He ended up going in to  the doc and getting an antibiotic, because he had a sinus infection to boot.  As of Thursday night we still did not know if we were going, but by Friday morning he was well enough to go.

We spent Christmas Eve with my family and went to church in Montrose with my mom.  It was really nice to attend church in Montrose again, it had been way to long. I love St. Patricks Catholic Church. Being in the church again also brought back lots of memories of my wedding day.  I wanted a Christmas wedding because I loved how pretty the church looked at Christmas time! We had a nice low key Christmas with the Castle's on Christmas day.  Monday we got together with some new friends the Lorangs, and our children played like old friends, and we had some great conversation.  Then we headed home.

Tuesday brought about Sam's Tonsil/adenoid removal surgery.  I had been quite nervous, but all went well.  Thank God! Saturday we celebrated New Years Eve, with Steve, the kids, and myself, and lots of  snack stuff.  It was fun, but I was asleep when the new year began, I think that is how I have brought in the New Year, since I've been married.  I like my bed.  Luckily for Steve our oldest Brianna is a bit of a night owl  like her daddy, so she stays up with him now.

All and All it was a great Christmas/ New Years.